Compare this report from Fox News:
The U.S. Navy fires the first U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles against Libyan leader’s Muammar al-Qaddafi’s air defenses Saturday, a military source tells Fox News.
The U.S. military strikes clear the way for European and other planes to enforce a no-fly zone designed to ground Qaddafi’s air force and cripple his ability to inflict further violence on rebels, U.S. officials said.
Sounds like the US fired first right? But skip a paragraph about Hillary Clinton attending some meeting about this and we get this:
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive military operations, said the Obama administration intended to limit its involvement — at least in the initial stages — to helping protect French and other air missions.
French fighter jets fired the first shots at Qaddafi’s troops on Saturday, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat. The French military says warplanes have carried out four air strikes, destroying several armored vehicles of pro-Qaddafi forces, according to AFP.
So those damn Froggy warmongers (always spoiling for a fight, right?) drew first blood, and the US was close behind. What a difference from when Chirac wouldn’t even let us fly over French airspace to go after Sadaam.
In any case, contrast it with this report from the BBC:
A French plane has fired the first shots in Libya as enforcement of the UN-mandated no-fly zone begins.
The UK prime minister later confirmed British planes were also in action, while US media reports said the US had fired its first Cruise missiles.
So who took the first shot? The stringent US media says – natch – the US fired first. Of course, they would say that, as Mark Mardell’s reporting would give us the idea that only all those foolish United Statesian warmongers obsessed with the notion of American decline would demand it. Unapologetically leading the charge and all that, yeah.
In any case, I can’t recall any criticism aired by the BBC from French anti-war voices. Is it not ill-advised when the French do it? Was there a segment with their equivalent of Caroline Lucas saying, “Pas de guerre pour l’oeil“?
After a few paragraphs about how the French are going over with no fewer than 20 aircraft, guns blazing, the BBC allows this:
Other air forces and navies are expected to join the French.
“Other air forces”. As if we couldn’t guess immediately which other ones are involved, and it’s not so important who they are. Except of course it’s vitally important for the BBC Narrative who they are.
The US would use its “unique capabilities” to reinforce the no-fly zone, said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warning that further delays would put more civilians at risk. However, Mrs Clinton said again that the US would not deploy ground troops in Libya.
The BBC News Online editors are just playing games here.
The Prime Minister also said yesterday that nobody was going to occupy anybody, essentially no troops on the ground, full stop, occupation is “not going to happen”. It was aired at least twice on the News Channel yesterday. No mention of that at all here, even though it’s more relevant to the license fee payer who might be concerned about, you know, their own government. But the BBC’s focus is exclusively on protecting the US President here. He’s not George Bush, dammit.
Fox News, naturally, is focused on the US angle, and how the US is leading the way. On one level, this would seem to please those whom Mardell describes as being “obsessed” with the notion of American decline. The US is actually – laudably, to hear the BBC tell it – taking a back seat. Or, as Mardell would have it, “leading from behind”. This is obviously a definition of “leading” of which I wasn’t previously aware.
So, if the hated Fox News is clearly reporting from a pro-US, right-wing bias, a news organization which reports from the exact opposite perspective – not just different, but opposite, mind – must by definition be Left wing. I’m not talking about which report one agrees with: I’m talking about the angles and perspectives involved.
All of the BBC’s reporting from now on for this war for oil….no, sorry, UN-backed war for human rights, is slanted toward this angle. Just remember the Narrative that the US taking a back seat and following along is considered “leading from behind”. No problem, no bias, right, BBC?
UPDATE: While the Secretary of State is in Paris leading the US operations in Libya, the President Himself is sucking up to Brazil and waving at us from afar. Leading from behind, indeed. I assume Mark Mardell approves whole-heartedly, as he says that US decline is a doddle.