The BBC anti-Bush sniffer dogs were quick to uncover the story of Iraqi Olympic footballers criticising Bush, and swift to publish. The story was based on a Sports Illustrated interview with team members, and their coach.
The BBC reported:
‘Midfielder Salih Sadir said the team – which won its group stage in Greece – was angry it had been used in Mr Bush’s re-election campaign ads.’ This would have been a good opportunity for the BBC to have used their famous ‘scare-quotes’, but for some reason they missed it.
They also fail to point out that the Iraqi football team are not mentioned in the ad., titled ‘victory’.
It would be clearer to point out, as S.I. pointed out, that Bush ‘is using the Iraqi Olympic team in his latest re-election campaign advertisements.’- even though the Olympic teams of Iraq and Afghanistan are neither obviously pictured or directly mentioned in the ad. Even while sourcing their report with S.I. the BBC manage to make it less clear.
When midfielder Sadir says “Iraq as a team does not want Mr Bush to use us for the presidential campaign,” the BBC fail to make clear that he cannot be speaking for the Iraq Olympic team as a whole- even though he might like to.
One further way in which S.I. outperforms the BBC is in describing the backgrounds of the players. Unlike S.I., the BBC fail to mention that Sadir hails from Najaf- a fact that in current circumstances might seem significant. I don’t think ‘Sadir- from Najaf-‘ would have cluttered their page too much.