A reader writes:
As of 00:21 UTC this story is linked on the BBC’s front foreign web page:
“End of an era: Debate still rages over the toppling of Saddam’s statue”
To his credit, Mr. Wood includes his firsthand recollection that the crowd at the Saddam statue (which some have claimed was faked) was in the several hundreds. To his shame, he mentions that wide shot of the square as if it shows anything like what the activists claim.
Here’s the wide shot, folks:
link Notice that the BIG, BLACK STATUE is nowhere near its pedestal, and therefore the picture could have been made any time AFTER the event.
Typically, the BBC Online editors spin the story as a “raging debate,” in which the firsthand account of the BBC correspondent carries as much weight as a photograph scribbled on by someone thousands of miles away.
I propose a photoshop contest in which people prove that other historical events did not occur by scribbling on well-known photographs in Indymedia fashion.
I think Wood’s own testimony clearly and deliberately debunks the conspiracy theory – which was feeble even by the usual standards of such things. It was a pity that he doesn’t seem to have looked at the famous wide shot very hard or read the many criticisms of it written at the time. Like, it’s getting dark yet the statue fell in bright sunlight. Read this post by Josh Chavetz of Oxblog for more analysis.
As so often with the BBC the link text or the headlines let the actual reporting down. When I linked to this article the headline was “The Day Saddam’s Statue fell.” I think the reader who sent this is saying that the original headline was the one mentioning debate as still raging. If so, it’s good that they’ve changed the headline.
The reason I have no trouble believing that the original headline gave credence to the conspiracy theory is that the link to this article under the under the heading “Analysis” (in the right hand column common to all this clutch of articles) is still offering a leg-up to the conspiracymongers.
At 11.20 BST it says “Toppled But questions remain about the iconic moment when Saddam Hussein’s statue fell. “
Excuse me, no they don’t. Not unless you think your own reporter – all of your own reporters – and several dozen others from many countries – and several hundred Iraqis – and dozens of US troops – have all agreed to tell the same barefaced lie and have maintained it with superhuman consistency for a year since.
Incidentally, having tracked a number of BBC stealth edits I know that the the “Last updated” field at the top of web stories means nothing.