Friday, July 18, 2003

BBC Bias Part 137

The recent coverage on BBC News of WMD, African uranium and Blair's Congress speech has once again shown that the BBC is quite happy to criticise a Labour Government - as long as the criticism is coming from the Left.

When I read last night (at Stephen Pollard's) of Blair's speech and its rapturous reception by Congress, I wondered how the BBC would spin it this morning. I woke up to find the Today programme billing the speech not as a triumph, but as the case for the defence. By nine o'clock Radio Four news felt it important, in a two-minute bulletin, to quote Peter Kilfoyle's disgusting remarks comparing the US Congress (and its freely offered applause) to a Soviet or Chinese Communist Party meeting.

This didn't make it onto the BBC website. Instead, we had a report where all three BBC staff quoted were negative. Gordon Corera said "the pair left many questions unanswered on the issue of intelligence and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction - an issue that has plagued both leaders domestically and which they hoped could be settled by developing a common line during the visit. ". Nick Assinder volunteered that "Mr Blair is preparing the ground for a fresh justification for war in the event WMD never turn up". And "the BBC's Laura Trevelyan says that even by admitting (sic) the possibility that he might have been wrong will give ammunition to Mr Blair's critics."

Ms Trevelyan then flew off on Blair's jet to Japan. Half way through the flight the news of the presumed death of Dr Kelly broke. By the P.M. news programme the spin had changed. Ms Trevelyan reported how Blair's 'triumph' in Washington had been shattered by the news. Mr Blair's conquest of Congress, previously played down, was now reinstated, the better to contrast with the news from Britain.

My view is that the number one suspect in the death of Dr. Kelly must be Andrew Mackinley. I suppose a man can't be blamed for his accent, but after this unpleasantness, delivered in Mr Mackinleys whining tones, anyone would dread the prospect of a repetition.

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