Allez-y doucement!

Rob writes:

There is an interview with Kofi Annan on the BBC website. The interview is conducted by Lyse Doucet. Not an entirely surprising line of questioning by a BBC “reporter”.

I’m afraid I couldn’t be bothered to write a transcript of Annan’s replies. I think the questions speak for themselves.

Q1) Let us start with the crisis in the US state of Louisiana. Has the aftermath of this crisis shocked you?

Q2) As you say, you offered it [assistance]early on, but they accepted it only recently.

Q3) They have been criticised for being too slow to respond. Did that exacerbate the crisis?

Q4) Kofi Annan, in a few days time, what has been described as the largest ever gathering of world leaders will start in New York. You have described it as nothing less than “a mandate and a vision to change the world”. Are you angry that the US is now trying to highjack it?

Q5) So you worked on it for about a year. A team has been working on it for about 6 months. Weeks ago 750 amendments come from the US ambassador John Bolten.

Q6) Is there a risk of failure?

Q7) Can you fight poverty if, as the United States demands you remove the target for countries to give 0.7% of their national product?

Q8 When John Bolton came to the UN you told me he had to operate in a spirit of give and take. He didn’t take your advice, did he?

Q9) Do you suspect that those critics you mention may be behind the timing of the next independent report for the oil for food program coming this week?

Q10) Are you braced for devastating criticism on Wednesday when the Bolton report is published?

Q11) For you, this comes at a time when you need the strongest hand possible. Critical summit beginning on reform and for your critics the oil for food is the single of human incompetence, efficiency and corruption [sic].

Q12) And sadly for you there is a personal dimension for you. The leaks suggest that you will be personally cleared of any wrong doing, but your son Kojo will again be in the spot light for trading on his father’s name.

I was not quite sure where Rob’s transcript came from. [UPDATE 15 SEP: Rob writes to say he did the transcript himself.] In one or two cases Rob’s transcript, which looks as if it might have been taken from computer-generated subtitles, differs from the presumably final version on the link. For instance, there are differences between his wording for Q11 and the wording on the website:

Q: But for you, it comes at a time when you need the strongest hand possible: a critical summit beginning on reform. And for your critics, the oil-for-food is the symbol of UN incompetence, inefficiency and corruption.

There are also one or two questions not included on Rob’s list – for instance the one about Make Poverty History. However these minor differences do not diminish his point. Lyse Doucet’s questioning is gentle to the point of sycophancy. Half of it is just feeding Annan lines of defence. And do you possibly think that Doucet might have a bit of a thing about the US?

Remember this next time you hear the BBC praise itself for “speaking truth to power.”

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15 Responses to Allez-y doucement!

  1. uth says:

    I have a site suggestion.

    Is it possible to set up a place on this site to archive the “worst of the worst” of BBC slant and outright lies? To keep it separate from the more mild complaints?

    I ask, because I’ve had arguments in the past over BBC bias with people who refuse to accept the possibility that there is any. I tried finding the ‘good stuff’ here, but it’s too mixed in with complaints that aren’t so strong.

    Some of the Katrina stuff and this Annan interview seem too damning for even the strongest of apologists to defend. It would be nice to have an archive of this kind of stuff 🙂


  2. Paul says:

    In the religion that is BBC style ‘liberalism’, the head of the UN is as near to a god as you can get. Hence the reverential questioning. They’re an old fashioned, almost medieval lot at the BBC really. Black and white, good and evil, Annan and Bush, god and the devil. The real world is too complicated for the BBC fundamentalists so they insist on a simpler one.


  3. Rob says:

    Wow! My post was elevated to the main page.


  4. Teddy Bear says:

    Some of the Katrina stuff and this Annan interview seem too damning for even the strongest of apologists to defend. It would be nice to have an archive of this kind of stuff
    uth | 13.09.05 – 6:08 pm | #

    Which is why I set up my website. I would only ask that all those making new points concerning BBC bias register them there under a new topic so we can keep things organised for future reference.

    I would also remind new readers that the Anti-BBC bias Petition, to eventually be sent to Tony Blair, needs many more signatures.


  5. Peregrine says:

    I saw a BBC interview with Annan and even he seemed embarassed or surprised by the softballs being thrown his way.

    The most laughable question went along the lines of “With the UN’s vast experience of successful disaster relief, what advice do you have for the US?”

    Unbelievable. Surely the interviewer meant unsuccessful?


  6. Pete_London says:

    This is Annan, right? Kofi Annan? The Kofi Annan who was in charge of the UN’s peacekeeping operation in Rwanda, yes? The one who presided over the UN while its Oil-for-Kickbacks scheme ran unchecked and whose corrupt son walks free in Africa?

    Just wondering.


  7. Teddy Bear says:

    ….he presided over the fiascos in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda without attracting much blame. The exception was the so-called “genocide fax” that he sent to the head of the UN force in Rwanda, instructing him not to offer sanctuary to an informant who was warning of the impending ethnic massacres.

    Though officials long argued that he was distant from his son, Kojo, the Volcker report found that the two are in fact “close”. Just how close emerges from the report’s account of Kojo Annan’s purchase of a Mercedes using his father’s diplomatic tax-exemption.

    Kojo called Wagaye Assebe, his father’s personal assistant, to ask for a UN letter authorising the use of Kofi Annan’s name in the purchase. Ms Assebe then prepared a note to Kofi Annan, retrieved from her computer, asking for permission for Lamin Sise, the UN chief’s legal adviser, to sign the letter.

    Both Kofi Annan and Mr Sise deny any knowledge of Ms Assebe’s note and the original has disappeared along with the letter. But the car purchase went through and Kofi Annan gave his son $15,000 (£8,000) towards the $39,000 price.

    Full Article at ‘Confident’ UN chief defies calls to quit over oil-for-food scandal


  8. Bryan says:

    I used to think of Doucet as a relatively good egg in the BBC’s rotten basket but my opinion of her changed radically after I heard her on the World Service interviewing Annan.

    It was like listening to a fawning journalist in a dictatorship interviewing the dictator.

    As for the anti-Bushism, there’s a busy little propagandist who, shortly after Katrina hit, had Judy Swallow on ‘News Hour’ and Linda Duffen on ‘The World Today’ broadcast the following comment about President Bush’s radio address to the nation:

    “Gone was the defiant bravado of a week ago.”

    Of course there was no attempt to justify the use of these terms to describe the pre-hurricane Bush.

    Though publically funded, the BBC is like an exclusive private club with rigorous requirements for membership. And, nudge nudge, wink wink, Bush-bashing is one of them.

    Nice work, if you can get it.


  9. Verity says:

    Bryan – How interesting. When did Mr Bush look defiant with bravado, I wonder? He was on his ranch until the hurricane hit down in MS, so maybe this Linda Duffen was a houseguest and had an opportunity to observe George Bush looking defiant around the house. I’d love to know.

    BTW, did Lyse Doucette say to Annan: “Sir, I salute your honour and bravery” or whatever the quote was? If not, only because she didn’t think of it in time.


  10. Rob Read says:

    From the sound of it she was ccoffing Kofis sock.

    FFnar FFnar.


  11. Bryan says:

    Verity, verily I say unto you that, when the final reckoning comes, the BBC shall be judged and found wanting.

    Meanwhile, I guess we’ll just have to fact check their communisttreasonousuniversity’educated’uppercrustanti-semiticpropagandist arse!


  12. Big Mouth says:

    Where do they find these moonbats? Is it true that if someone “works” for the bbc they don’t have to pay the licence fee?
    Anyway, if you want a real stomach-heaving listen, check out the appalling Justin Webb on this morning’s Today programme. He’s the one who admits to distorting his portrayals of America and Americans. After all, he knows so much about a 290 million population Continent-Nation that he is to be believed even more than an actual born-in-the-USA reporter!


  13. Natalie Solent says:

    Big Mouth,

    No, it’s not true. Even BBC employees have to pay.


  14. simon says:

    ‘I used to think of Doucet as a relatively good egg in the BBC’s rotten basket’

    In a basket of eggs that you are forced to buy it doesn’t matter how many of the eggs are rotten.

    Not to the seller anyway.


  15. Bryan says:

    True, but I have the great good fortune of not having to pay the Bovine Bullshitters Conglomerate a penny since I don’t live in the UK.