BBC mixes up issue shock!

. The BBC does in fact report the departure of Eason Jordan. Uh, but it seems to ‘misunderstand’ the issue slightly. Its introduction says

‘The CNN’s chief news executive Eason Jordan has resigned amid controversy over the death of journalists in Iraq.’

This isn’t true. However sad it may be that they died, a least some deaths of journalists in Iraq were/are inevitable, such as the kind of death suffered by BBC cameraman Kaveh Golestan, and some seem to have occurred when they did stupid things like travel in frontline convoys without body armour like John Simpson’s translator, Kamaran Mohammed, or fall off roofs, as sadly seems to have happened to Gabi Rado. These incidents are, viewed rationally, uncontroversial with respect to US forces. What is controversial is Eason Jordan’s theorising, borrowed, as Scott & co are pointing out, from BBC journalists, that US military forces have deliberately targeted journalists. That is the controversy, and any other presentation of it is loaded and false.

On a side note, this phrase the BBC seems to like, of ‘appeared to suggest’ seems to me unecessarily vague. He either ‘suggested’, if the wording was vague but undeniable, or ‘appeared’ to say, if the wording was practically opaque, that the US military had targeted journalists. He didn’t do both.

It is perfectly rational for the BBC to present the issue as one of general controversy, given their many incursions into the territory of conspiracy theorising. They have ground to defend or they will be hounded themselves. According to this narrative, journalists are targeted by right-wing critics for raising issues of legitimate concern in a way which fails to recognise the emotion it will provoke. The last thing we should do, according to that viewpoint, is extend the witchhunt over the pond to the likes of Gowing.

The trouble I have with this is that the only groups I can find, apart from journalists themselves, promoting this particular area of ‘concern’, are groups like this one– the World Socialist website. So, if we understand the BBC’s position by their friends, we see just how extreme the BBC’s position really is.

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17 Responses to BBC mixes up issue shock!

  1. JohninLondon says:

    No mention in the BBC story that Richard Sambrook of BBC World Radio tried to defend Eason Jordan. And no mention, of course, that Nik Gowing of BBC World has repeatedly been saying the same sort of things that Jordan was alleging.

    If the Davos tape does finally surface, I bet we will see that Sambrook’s FORMAL, considered statement defence of Jordan was a load of deceptive bull.


  2. JohninLondon says:

    The best recap of the Jordan affair is by Michelle Malkin, who describes it as a victory for media accountability :

    And the best end-note is by Sisyphus – “Message to MSM – you no longer control the news nor the agenda….You no longer have the power to jam your liberal agenda down our throats. Deal with it”


  3. Susan says:

    This BBC story also doesn’t mention the role of Barney Frank in confronting Jordan. Frank is one of the most left-leaning politicans in the US and also the first openly gay member of Congress.

    Frank’s involvement shows they can’t claim Jordan’s downfall as a “right-wing witchunt” which is probably why they left it out of the story all together.


  4. wally thumper IV says:

    John — Even without the film, many reports establish Jordan actually did make his loony and entirely unsubstantiated claim — the argument is over his defenders’ assertions (including the rambling waffle from Sambrook) that Jordan reacted to outrage in the audience and retracted what he’d just said. The stone-walling and evasion in the aftermath don’t make the case that the retraction was more than a “retraction” — itself a sign of badly flawed judgement.

    This crap piled on top of Jordan’s startling admission in 2003 that CNN had remained silent about Saddam’s atrocities simply to maintain access in Baghdad. That is irrefutable, since he said it in a NY Times op-ed piece.

    Connect the two and you end up with one craven whacko.

    Unsurprisingly, the BBC won’t go near this in any detail — much too close to home. So the BBC “report” shifts the focus completely, starting in paragraph four. Out comes the airbrush. Again.

    Personally, I’d like to see Sambrook’s head


  5. wally thumper IV says:

    Personally, I’d like to see Sambrook’s head on a stick above Bush House.


  6. David B says:

    “appeared to suggest” is the “allegedly” cover-all phrase. In this way you can’t say that it is the BBC view, because they are only “taking a guess” from someone else’s words, but then go on to make the point that they wanted to all along.

    cf “Allegedly Mr Bloke slept with Mrs Fellow…..” because someone else said it. Gets the essential point across, doesn’t it?!


  7. Susan says:

    Yes DavidB that is indeed how the Beeb does it — again and again and again. Slander by innuendo and “suggestions”.

    It makes the Beeb seem like a bunch of gossipy old hens whispering across the garden hedge about the town divorcee. “Well, I’m not the one to repeat gossip BUT I heard from the vicar’s cousin that SHE’s no better than she should be. . .whisper, whisper, whispery” It’s sickening.


  8. Rob Read says:

    Just can’t say Islam…


  9. dan says:

    Killing of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

    Newsnight seems almost alone in wanting to push Israel forward.

    The daily Newsnight e-mail says ” and who’s to blame? At the moment all eyes are on its next door
    neighbour.” Ambiguous as Lebanon has 2 neigbours.

    In the programme Israel headed the list of those blamed by “some”. This is despite a claim of responsibility from an Islamic group & Lebanese politicians accusing Syria.

    Newsnight only “almost alone” as Fisk says ” my first instinct was to look up, to search for the high-altitude Israeli planes”


  10. dan says:

    BBC makes a small attempt to justify Livingstone.
    This article just can’t resist throwing in a picture caption that is not part of the text.

    The caption states “Oliver Finegold allegedly swore at the mayor”

    This is not explained in the text. We know from the tape that Finegold’s approach sounded low key & reasonable. Perhaps the swearing occured after Livingstone liked Finegold to a kapo or sonderkommando.


  11. dan says:

    Also I note that R4 “Today” had no room for this story this morning.


  12. Joe N. says:

    It’s almost as amusing as this mornings lack of evenhandedness on (their obviously now beloved) review of the McLibel case. All on the basis that someone with little apparent backing should not be sued if Legal Aid can’t be offered.

    As if the globophobes aren’t well funded!


  13. Anonymous says:

    In the Today discussions of the Iraq election results on Monday eg by James Naughtie, they were referring to the low turnout of Sunnis as a boycott. With the suggestion that this weakened the legitimacy of the election.

    They somehow forgot the words “terrorism” and “intimidation” as reasons for low turnout in Sunni districts. Strange, that. Any fair-minded person wold say that low turnout was a combination of intimidation (involuntary absence) and boycott (voluntary).


  14. Jarndyce says:

    _some seem to have occurred when they did stupid things like travel in frontline convoys without body armour like John Simpson’s translator, Kamaran Mohammed_

    Aside from the fact that this is a pretty revolting thing to say about someone who cannot answer back, it’s factually incorrect. Body armour wouldn’t have made a bit of difference in this case. 18 people were killed in the incident, some of them, as far as I can ascertain, wearing body armour.


  15. Dave Perkins says:

    Does Gowing’s book have any real demonstrable evidence of these charges? I have to think it doesn’t, else Jordan also would have some and he wouldn’t have to quit.

    As it stands, Jordan (a real CNN hero, somebody they would give a king’s ransome to keep) could not stay, because that would leave CNN open to any sort of libel suit or other charge resulting from Jordan’s words. Those words have been kept secret, by the WEF but presumably at the request of CNN. Whatever the exact words, they are doubtless actionable and indefensible, else Jordan would not have quit.


  16. ArchAngel says:

    Eason Jordan and the whole top management of CNN should be charged with accessory to murder and genocide, by AGREEING to become Saddam’s puppet, and breaking just about every single rule of journalism. We should dig a Saddam’s hole in the ground (could this have been the “underground” bunker system?) and throw the whole bunch of them in it and let them rot.


  17. Anon says:

    It wouldn’t be too incredible to believe that saddam agreed to “come out” of his underground bunker system at one of the many exits. And that he didn’t spend his last days crouched in a little hole but in fact living it up in a extensive underground retreat.

    The allies are just as bent as the supposed “terrorists”. And it’s not that incredible to imagine that we’re all being held back by some kind of elite, otherwise surely we would have resolved most of our world problems like poverty, disease in a flash?

    We’re being held back so people can make $$$