Had to get back into the special ‘Biased BBC’ posting seat to keep up with the excellent output of Scott the Expatriate.
The latest thing that caught my eye- though this is a fascinating issue-related post called ‘A molehill’– was this thing about Chavez. The Chavez- you know, that ‘colourful’ fellow with all that oil in South America- who has said that ‘“If anything happens to me then the man responsible will be George W Bush. He will be the assassin, This is pure terrorism.”
Anyhow, Scott said he was uneasy about the BBC’s branding of ”assassin’ Bush’ in their headline for an article about this Chavez pronouncement. I think he’s right, and then some. For those who have been following l’affaire Reynolds-Expatriate it will come as little surprise to find that Paul Reynolds swung by the expatriate’s to tell him he was wrong (Mr Reynolds has a fairly good record in informing posters of their errors)- and when I piped up he came back and said the same to me. He said that Scott was wrong- that Chavez did call Bush an assassin, and so the headline was right.
Wrong, unfortunately. Chavez said that if he was assassinated, Bush would be the assassin. Bush, therefore, has been labelled an assassin in the present tense by no-one but the BBC (and maybe the inmates of the Democrat Underground etc.)- even if they clearly attributed it as Chavez’s view. What he said doesn’t equal the headline’s meaning- which it vitally should at some level. As it happens, Chavez also accused Bush of being a terrorist- but the Beeb eschewed that epithet for their headlinewriting somehow. On such small points though hangs a great deal.
Of course we all know why Chavez called Bush a terrorist. It was a crude populist jibe of the sort that is popular among the sons and daughters of Mother Sheehan. See, Dumbya can’t tell that though he thinks he’s fighting a war on terrorism, he’s actually the terrorist! (incidentally, a second thought might be that Chavez is giving the headline writers an easy option present tense accusation, rather than a problematic predictive term- but the BBC headline writer at any rate didn’t see the need for that option, perhaps seeking a juicier option.)
Why did Chavez go out of his way to talk about who to blame if he was assassinated? Obvious, isn’t it. The paranoid ideologue is trying to boost his image as the opponent of so-called ‘American imperialism’ and at the same time win more than a scintilla of US protection by making it clear that if ‘anything happens to him’ (as the BBC puts it) it will be Bush’s responsiblity. I’m tempted to call that terrorism by soundbyte.
It’s a strongly political message, a cynical one, and one which the BBC not only promote through reportage but amplify through misrepresentation.
With the great numbers of visitors from all around the world that Paul boasts about, should they be doing that for Hugo?