Update on Monday: I should have done this at the beginning, but here is the link for the audio and script of Bush’s latest weekly address from the Whitehouse. The BBC, of course, had taken the audio down by Sunday morning, but not before they had apparently used it to extract a little soundbyte which doesn’t in fact exist. According to this report “On Saturday, Mr Bush again promised that the government would learn from mistakes made last year.”
Unfortunately for the BBC and the accuracy of their reported speech, Bush said no such thing (see below post, where the Bush “mistakes” meme was first identified).
It was not mistakes they would learn from, but lessons that Katrina had revealed- it’s quite a different point, and the word mistake doesn’t anywhere appear in the address.
The BBC, preferring freeze-frame journalism to the sort where things move on and need reporting to reflect that, still have Bush in apologetic mode (which to be frank he was never really in anyway, and with reason).
“Bush promises to learn from Katrina mistakes”
So quoth the BBC, as they reported Bush’s weekly address (the full description was “US President George Bush has used his weekly radio address to talk about the anniversary of hurricane Katrina. Mr Bush praised the “heroism” of those involved and promised to learn from mistakes made in the aftermath.”)
In fact, Bush never mentioned mistakes- and certainly gave no hint of acknowledging personal culpability. The nearest he got was in saying briefly that “Federal, State and Local Government” had been underprepared for dealing with the magnitude of Katrina. He also talked of “learning the lessons” (not personally, of course, but institutionally and collectively.)
Not paying too much attention to such items usually, I have no idea if they always report his weekly address. I don’t think so, but it would be interesting to catalogue how often such a report- really the lede to the audio- carries a negative spin for W.
Katrina mistakes, by Bush, were of course part of the BBC’s catechism for 2005. Matt Wells was temporary teacher of the catechism, as I recall from B-BBC history.
Well, fair enough, the BBC hate G W Bush… (no, no, no, this is not fair. This is bias– but what can one do?)
But even given that, isn’t it just a teensy weensy bit unfair to report it this way since the main item in Bush’s address was that of a man, Rocky Vaccarella, who had driven all the way to Washington to personally address Bush with thanksfor the actions of the Federal Government in the aftermath of Katrina?
I see nothing about this from the BBC- yet anyway- but certainly you can already sense the imposition of the meme of “culpability Bush”, no matter what.
ps.- it’s not all US politicians the Beeb gives a bad spin to- take for example this guru in Edinburgh.