, it is safest to have your say as a comment. Writing to me is always a gamble: will I lose your email, misattribute it or merely ignore it? Here, belatedly, are some that slipped through:
From Stan Brin:
I am an American journalist specializing in media criticism. Two questions:
1. Does anyone in Britain know how horrid the nightly
North American BBC television broadcast is? Pure
propaganda, paid for by the British taxpayer.
2. A few years ago. BBC and the American PBS teamed
up to produce an account of the Arab-Israeli wars
called “The 50 Year War.”
I interviewed the producer the PBS version of the
documentary. He called the BBC version a damned lie.
I am curious about the BBC version, never having seen it.
Although PBS often caters to the Arabs, their version of
“50 Years War” is the finest, most balanced story of its
kind I have ever seen.
It would be useful to compare the two, somehow. Any idea
how that could be done?
John W. Matthews is a regular correspondent to Geitner Simmond’s Regions of Mind blog. He provided us with the following two links:
But not a word was said about where [BBC reporter] Andrew Gilligan was and what his reaction to the report was. Nor was there any discussion of his future with the BBC. I didn’t even hear a mention of where he was, although a friend latter told me a BBC radio report early in the morning had said he was going to Broadcasting House.
There was no reporting on the reactions of BBC editors and news execs. mentioned in the report.
Yes, it’s tough to report on colleagues, but this is the organization that prides itself on “asking the awkward questions of anyone.” (“We know it only been a hour since your son was murdered, but can you tell viewers whether you think the police are doing enough to find his killer?”)
Any news organization would have difficulty seeing itself described as Hutton described the BBC. However, the report was especially problematic for the BBC for two reasons.
First, at the time of Hutton’s selection and in the weeks leading up to the report’s release, the BBC repeatedly and fulsomely praised him. He was an “extremely well-respectd judge” with a reputation for “thoroughness and fairness.”
And no one, the BBC often said, could question the courage of Lord Hutton to stand up to any kind of pressure. As a judge in Northern Ireland during the worst of the terrorism, he presided openly over trials of terrorists in situations where it was too dangerous to impanel a jury. A judicial colleague was the victim of an assination attempt. Hutton and his wife had to send their two young daughters out of Northern Ireland when it became known they might be targets of kidnappers. But he stayed and administered justice.
Now, how do you attack the report of a judge you’ve been describing like that? The BBC, after many hours, found a way: use surrogates…
The BBC did praise Hutton fulsomely in the run up to the Report. As Mr Matthews says, the BBC was quite sure until the last moment that Hutton would come down against Blair.
While I’m here at the keyboard… it’s not a reader’s letter, but read Mark Steyn: “The BBC takes the rap.”