is Radio Scotland’s flagship morning news programme.
Yesterday, the US Government passed a USD87 billion programme for operations in Iraq – of which is USD18.6 billion is for genuine civil and economic reconstruction. This money is paid as grants (not loans), so does not need to be repaid.
To discuss this significant event with the BBC’s Derek Bateman, the BBC wheeled out Martin Lewis, announced as a ‘US-based political commentator’. They could have announced him as ‘arch self publicist and Beatles historian.’ Read more here .
A few things stood out from the bizarre discourse that followed. Firstly, the tone is always to attack the US government for everything, as Bateman says
“The [US] government is spending more on Iraqi healthcare than American healthcare”
This may be true, but an alternative way of looking at this is it shows the commitment of the US to the country it now occupies.
Lewis chips in with
“the package was passed by voice acclamation, without a proper, formal vote…”
which went unchallenged by the BBC’s Bateman. For me, this was a nice little smear, implying a stitch-up in the Sentate to its Scottish listeners. American readers of this blog will be able to explain better than I that there is nothing sinister about this procedure.
And then comes the following from Lewis, again unchallenged
“During the election in 2000, George Bush said he didn’t believe in nation building abroad…yet here he is investing a huge amount at a very time when the American economy is fragile”
I seem to recall four hijacked airliners, around 3,000 dead people, and the most grievous attack on American civilians in living memory. Maybe, just maybe, this caused a total rethink of American diplomatic and defence policy. Also, although the US is building a very large budget deficit, the US economy is reporting very strong rises in GDP and confidence at the moment.
The question is this : is this bias? Possibly, in that the correct angle to approach any story is that US policy is wrong or corrupt (if you work for the BBC). It is certainly lazy journalism, and does not inform or serve it’s listeners well.