Friday, June 02, 2006

Reason to suspect...

The politicisation of the BBC is on full display at the moment. I do not refer to a Right or Left division, but to the naked desire to influence political events. Not any particular events that I can think of, such as an election, but simply the way things unfold in a country where all our political interests are invested- Iraq.

According to people such as Peter Glover, the BBC's treatment of the alleged Haditha killings has been appalling.

What I think is clear is that, as with Abu Graib, though I would say with a little more substance to work with, the BBC is both pre-emptively judging one incident, and integrating it into a large and long-running news item. Both are inappropriate in the extreme when the organisation is the British Broadcasting Corporation.

It angered me in particular to find a 'new' incident roped into the coverage. It should, of course, be dealt with, but the snowballing of disparate incidents into a frontpage avalanche is totally wrong when both cases are still alleged, when enquiries are ongoing, and when a process of justice, if required, has yet to take place.

But worse is the BBC's conflation of these issues in accordance with the wishes of both the anti-war lobby and the so-called insurgents, as exemplified by Ian Pannel in the above-linked report:

'The news of ethical training for US-led troops is likely to be greeted with cynicism by many Iraqis, the BBC's Ian Pannell in Baghdad says, as the troops have long been accused of deliberately targeting civilians.'

Well, I do not believe this journalism and I consider it poisonous. I do not believe the Iraqi people generally believe themselves targeted by American troops. We have thousand upon thousand of photos and anecdotes to demonstrate that Iraqi children often make a bee-line for US troops on patrol, in the hope of sweets usually. The Iraqi people may be cynical because shit happens, unfortunately, but they are unlikely to feel that Don Rumsfeld sent a memo decreeing their extermination wherever possible.

The BBC's conflation of accident with indiscipline, indiscipline with intent, intent with policy, is journalistically totally indefensible in my view- and mirrors what they attempted to do with Abu Graib, as they tried to shift the blame higher and higher and have never apologised or shown the slightest backtracking from the position that Abu Graib was part of a systematic US torture network. The BBC however is not thinking about journalism, true or false, but about exerting influence- and that is the problem.

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