Not only Hutton, please, BBC

– while we’re ‘managing’ disastrous news, don’t ignore Galloway! According to a widely cirulating report from Le Monde, which has found echoes in such luminaries as The Washington Times, and ABC in America, a number of French public figures have been named by ‘independent newspaper Al-Mada’ in Iraq, quoting IGC sources and Hussein regime documentation, among a long list of people who received the proceeds of barrels of oil from Saddam. The BBC a few days ago reported this scandal via the protestation of innocence of one former French Minister- Charles Pasqua- while the other names on the list are referred to as ‘foreigners’ (presumably ‘foreigners to Iraq’). But wait, not so fast- not only are there hundreds of important names to investigate, as I read the Le Monde article I come across this very newsworthy passage, semi-translated by Google:

‘George Gallaway, former Labour deputy with the Communes, appears in good place in the list. Its name is mentioned in six contracts and the newspaper publishes a letter of the SOMO on December 31, 1999, signed by Saddam Zbin, cousin of Saddam Hussein which managed this company and in which it asks for the ministry for oil of grant contracts to him. Apparently, this British member of Parliament was particularly well treated.’

Now, Pasqua’s name might be newsworthy- in France (though not as newsworthy as Chirac, see Washington Times)- but Galloway is trying to launch his own ‘electoral coalition’ in the UK. He’s also still an MP. His new party is called R.E.S.P.E.C.T., and don’t you think the BBC should allow us a peek at these allegations to see if he deserves any? Maybe they’re frightened of adding to the laughter in court ….“I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned a barrel of oil, bought or sold a barrel of oil… “.

I mean, I could understand some squeamishness in the Telegraph (in the midst of a libel saga, after making similar allegations), but where’s the BBC when you need them? Oh, I forget, in a heap on the floor, exhausted from journalistic ‘crusading’. (Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the initial links. Oh, and before I go, a mention for Harry’s Place , who noticed this too. Meanwhile, since I made notes of this, Scott Burgess has been on the case, and former French Prime Minister Alan Juppe has created a different kind of stir. It’s all go in the world of corruption!). Update: Stephen Hayes thinks the Telegraph might have been onto something.

Update2: How about rounding off with an Iraqi POV via Healing Iraq?

Rich writes:

On the morning thing, they had David Attenborough, they showed 2 minutes of one of his excellent nature shows and then cut back to the sofa. “Will we ever see programmes like that again?” asked Bill Turnbull.

Of course, now that they have been exposed for what they are, all documentaries and period drama will be pulled from our screen. It’s an inevitable concequence, isn’t it?

Oh, and did you see when Greg Dyke came out of broadcasting house to give his speech, I do believe the door hit his ass on the way out. Nice touch.


John Perry writes:

Everything you need to know about the BBC on one page.

…within hours of director general Greg Dyke’s resignation on Thursday, there were unprecedented scenes of spontaneous support and raw emotion from BBC employees outside Television Centre.”

Passing drivers… honked their horns in a cacophony of support.

“It’s an unprecedented show of determination and support, for the BBC and its values,” said Jeremy Dear of the National Union of Journalists…”

Values? What values?

Regards, John Perry

I’m glad, I really am, that Mr Dyke’s last gloomy hours in post were cheered by the knowledge that his colleagues held him in affection. He was one of them.

That was the problem.

“…It would be easy and tempting merely to pronounce victory, to crow smugly and to damn the BBC.

“So I shall do all of those things.”

Here is a righteous summing up of the Hutton verdict and its causes and consequences from Oliver Kamm.

And so the war goes on

‘The White House has acknowledged for the first time that its intelligence reports on Iraq might have been wrong. ‘ -BBC introduces report of Con Rice’s interviews.

“I think that what we have is evidence that there are differences between what we knew going in and what we found on the ground” -Con Rice on CBS

The two statements do not agree- the difference is subtle but crucial, aside from the inference that we are about to hear of a formal statement- and above is the only meaningful quotation given of Rice’s words in the article on the BBC website. Once again the BBC has ‘interpreted’ the views of its source- in this case remarks made by Condoleeza Rice on CBS [and, I should add, a low-key, tacked-on comment to NBC]- by making a central eye-catching claim that cannot be supported by the evidence they produce. It is interesting how this story found NO place on CNN’s front page at the same time, and no place on CBS either, though I would stress that I don’t believe that CNN or CBS is particularly friendly towards US policy. If it was a real story, as opposed to an uncalled for scrambling of well-chosen words, does it take the BBC’s ‘non-flag-waving’ journalism to discover it? Or is it just the BBC trying to fight back against what it sees (and believes is at the moment popularly seen) as a ‘whitewash’ of the concerns about WMD that appeared to motivate Gilligan? I would submit that there can be a sensible media approach to this issue, and the BBC is leading the media away from it by reporting in this manner.

Greg Resigns! BBC Apologises!

Ah, let’s begin our favourite Then and Now comparisons:

‘In fact last year I was sitting at a dinner party in London next to a charming American woman who asked me what I did. I said I run the BBC. She then informed me she regarded the BBC as a communistic organisation.

That was decision time. Did I get into a detailed argument about publicly funded broadcasting with someone who appeared culturally unable to understand the merits of such a system, or did I just politely get back to eating my dinner.’

Naturally, Greg (once known to some affectionately as ‘Boss Hogg’) didn’t bother with the detailed argument bit, and just tucked in.

I’m sure that lady would be interested to hear that the criticisms of Lord Hutton of BBC Management included- I’m being kind and only using three-

‘failing to investigate…to make an examination…to appreciate’

and would reflect on who might have been culturally disabled.

On Being Ungracious

. Not surprised to hear from the Guardian of Gilligan anger and NUJ militant spin in the face of Hutton’s well aimed punches. I’m also not surprised to hear that Gavyn Davies made an ungracious exit, questioning Hutton’s ‘bald conclusions’ even as he looked up at his red card, or that any number of people, including the Tory Leader, Michael Howard (in his way), will give comfort to the BBC ‘victims’ of Hutton. I am though as convinced as I can be that Hutton did all that he could do in the circumstances, as opposed to the crude balancing act that could have salved the reputations of the BBC journalists involved and saved the blushes of the journalistic establishment. The truth was that all the crucial lacunae (gaps) of logic and action were on the part of Gilligan and the BBC, along with almost all the obvious dishonesty, and, well, Hutton’s a judge, so…

‘In what amounted to a complete demolition of Gilligan’s controversial report. Lord Hutton cast doubt on the “sexing up” claim and rejected as “unfounded” the allegation that the infamous 45-minute claim had been inserted at the request of the government.

Meanwhile this from Gilligan also via the Guardian:

‘Andrew Gilligan today came out fighting with a statement issued on his behalf describing Lord Hutton’s report as “grossly one-sided”.

Much of this basically via Jeff Jarvis. Also, my own little word to Gilligan- you see, for you this Hutton report was like an exam, with marks for every separate question of fact you might in good faith have been attempting to answer with your reporting, and- you failed. No point pretending that you didn’t when even those sympathetic to you saw in it a ‘demolition’, and anyone who listened to Hutton listened to the force of argument tempered by considered reason. If he didn’t get around to criticising Blair, which to be fair he couldn’t in the context you helped define, that was because your facile errors and insouciance in the face of reality took up all of his concentration. Actually, for Hutton, you became the story- which is I think a good bit more just, in the context, than when that was said of Alastair Campbell.


, in the light of BBBC’s continuous stream of comments on BBC bias, and some report a judge has filed, BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies has an announcement to make. HE’S RESIGNING! (Thanks, Susan)

Update: There’s wisdom in the comments from Patrick B : ‘Gavyn Davies to offer to resign—but what about DYKE and the rest of the sorry gang of propaganda artists? And will the Board of Governors ACCEPT the resignation, or will they dare Tony Blair to step in and clean the stables? ‘

Further Update: Ok, I really believe that Davies has resigned now, and that it’s been accepted (although Patrick B. still has a point or two I shouldn’t forget). Why? Oh, I heard it on the BBC.