Wedding party or war party? The Beeb knows.

The Belmont Club has some help for the Beeb and other media outlets. It is hard to determine if some reportage is deliberate bias or lack of careful analysis or human laziness.

Although the news media functions as the civilian intelligence system, collecting raw data, processing it and distributing it to the public, for historical reasons it lacks many of the features which professional intelligence systems have evolved over the years: namely a system of grading information by reliability and existence of analytic cell whose function is to follow the developments and update the results.

Except in the case of individual news threads, like Faramarzi’s, whose content has evolved, the reportage as a whole resembles a palimpsest, a word used to describe a sheet of parchment which has been overwritten many times by different symbols until finally the newer cannot be distinguished from the older. We are collectively no nearer to definitively finding out the truth about the “wedding party” than we are to discovering anything definite about the Oil for Food scandal, WMD stockpiles in Iraq, the anthrax letters or what the deal was in Fallujah.

Based on this story with this headline,

Iraqis bury victims of US strike

the BBC has yet to do anything but cut and paste other reports which lead to the inevitable anti-American conclusion.

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4 Responses to Wedding party or war party? The Beeb knows.

  1. billg says:

    An apt comparison. Other differences worth noting:

    –Intelligence agencies follow issues, and they assign people to stay with issues for years and, sometimes, careers. News producers follow stories, which they stop following at a moment’s notice.

    –Rarely do the journalists reporting a story have any serious substantive knowledge of the underlying issue.

    –Prediction, however reluctantly, is an element of intelligence. The nearest news sources get to that is talking head punditry. There predictions typically amount to this: “If Bush gets fewer Electoral College votes than Kerry, I predict he will lose.”

    — Thanks to agencies like Reuters, AP, AFP, etc., there’s a lot less original reporting going on than meets the eye. Intelligence agencies do cooperate with other agencies, but no one bets the farm on what their friends report unless the local home boys back it up.


  2. Susan says:

    Check out the apallingly self-serving thread over at (Don’t) Have Your Say, inviting BBC Online readers to respectfully submit their brown-nosing comments on the appointment of Mark Thompson.

    Featuring such gag-worthy comments as:

    “A real shame for C4 – a very enthusiastic and charismatic man. Having lived through both Thompson and Grade at C4, I think that the BBC now has the dream team in place. Good luck to them. P.S. If you work at the BBC and have an office, watch out! Mark has been knocking all ours down in favour of open plan – even his own!”
    A C4 Employee, London

    I need insulin pronto!


  3. rob says:

    As Piers Morgan’s failings were so similar to those of the BBC, I thought it likely that his future career would be with the BBC.
    Andrew Pierce in the Times (21 May) also thinks Morgan will end up at the BBC. Pierce’s view may be more informed than my hunch.


  4. Susan says:

    What you’ll never seen on the BBC: dead children from “US wedding massacre” were filmed miles away in a different town: