BBC: Inadvertently Believing Berger’s Coverup?

It’s been awhile since former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger’s embarrassing shenanigans splashed across the newscape. He has been given a mercifully light sentence after perjuring himself in a Washington court. For some strange reason the Beeb repeats Berger’s ‘inadvertent’ defense in this story as if it is still Berger’s claim. Did Berger just accidentally walk off with those documents? Here’s how the Beeb puts it.

Former national security adviser Samuel Berger has admitted taking copies of a classified memo to prepare for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

Mr Berger has said it was “an honest mistake” and apologised. He has agreed to give up his security clearance and co-operate with the investigation.

Here’s how Bloomberg puts it.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger pleaded guilty today to removing classified documents from the National Archives while reviewing anti-terrorism efforts by President Bill Clinton’s administration.

In pleading guilty to the misdemeanor in federal court in Washington, Berger, 59, reversed his earlier claim that he took the documents inadvertently. He agreed to surrender his security clearance and cooperate in the government’s continuing investigation, the Justice Department said.

Here’s how the Scotsman puts it.

A top national security aide to former US President Bill Clinton pleaded guilty today to removing and destroying classified documents from the National Archives.

Sandy Berger admitted in a Washington court that he had deliberately taken three copies of the same classified document and cut them up with scissors.

Here’s how the Washington Post puts it.

The deal’s terms make clear that Berger spoke falsely last summer in public claims that in 2003 he twice inadvertently walked off with copies of a classified document during visits to the National Archives, then later lost them.

He described the episode last summer as “an honest mistake.” Yesterday, a Berger associate who declined to be identified by name but was speaking with Berger’s permission said: “He recognizes what he did was wrong. . . . It was not inadvertent.”

I don’t know whether this is a case of bias or just sloppy journalism.

Update: See Natalie’s post of Clark T Irwin’s email in Comments.

Update 2: The original BBC article was stealth-edited within an hour or so of the original post. The “inadvertent” is completely gone and the article has been substantially re-written to reflect Mr Berger’s guilty plea as being justified. Still no mention of his shredding documents with lowly office scissors.

The BBC discovers ‘positive Iraq news’

only to come up empty-handed once more. Yes, friends, the BBC has a story about Iraq the Model, a pro-western blog by Iraqis (and sometimes linked on B-BBC of all strange things). Now, however, such hopeful news is clouded by this ‘revelation.’ (Hmm, the Beeb must read the New York Times once in a while.)

The fight has raised the issue of identity and misrepresentation in weblogs, where often it is nearly impossible to verify if the person “blogging” really is who they claim to be.

The BBC online article makes much of a supposed rift between the three Iraqi blogger brothers. Ali, started a blog called Free Iraqi. Now that the BBC has highlighted this supposed conspiracy, check out what Ali has to say about some members of the press.

I feel I should give my opinion on the NY times article about me and Iraq the Model that has created some variable reactions on the blogosphere. The article was, despite Ms Boxer’s kindness, a bad piece of journalism. I had around 45 minutes long phone call with the reporter about my journey with Iraq the Model, my new site, the elections, the general situation here in Baghdad but she (or the paper) seems to have a certain agenda and managed to change the whole issue into a very silly gossip (going as far as quoting trolls!) that is way beneath any respectable paper and certainly beneath me so I won’t give it more attention but lesson learned and I won’t make the mistake of talking to anyone from the NY times again. It’s important to note though that my feelings of respect, gratitude and love for the American people have never and will never change.

Just face it. Every last one of us works for the CIA.

UPDATE: I just noticed that InstaPundit points to Chrenkoff on this smear of Iraqi bloggers.

In a world of its own.

In the parallel universe inhabited by Beebazoids this panel might seem like a representative, even right of centre, assortment of opinion regarding the next four Bush years. Having selected eight panelists, all the Beeb can muster is two solid Bush supporters and a semi-supportive one. The remaining five might consider Michael Moore a bit too mushy. Alice in Wonderland makes better sense. The BBC must still be trying to come to terms with the idiocy of the American electorate.

Struggling BBC employees have a voice on the panel in Nancy Pew, who states: “Inauguration Day 2005 will be a day of mourning, reflection and prayer for me.”

It’s deja vu all over again.

The Rathergate report [pdf] must have been a shade touchy for some loyal BBC scribe to report. Replacing a name here, a circumstance there could easily conjure images the Beeb would prefer to forget. It’s a bit ironic to read the following:

The internal investigation received widespread coverage in the US media, which has been battered by a series of media scandals in the last two years at such major newspapers as the New York Times and USA Today. [And we won’t mention any battered media institutions on the other side of the pond, will we.]

“The 224-page report, which blames the network’s rush on a ‘myopic zeal’ [Now where have we seen that before?] to be first with the Bush story, amounts to a stunning repudiation of the newsgathering process of CBS News,” wrote Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. The US media hit CBS hard in the wake of the investigation The New York Times wrote: “Already under duress from years of budget cuts, poor ratings and reduced influence [The Beeb feels your pain…well, except the budget cut part.], CBS News suffered a crushing blow to its credibility yesterday because of a broadcast that has now been labelled as both factually discredited and unprofessionally produced.”

The Boston Globe called the investigation “a scathing independent post-mortem that describes the story’s journalistic failings“. [Lord Hutton led the way.]

So, are fossilized old media BBChemoths capable of learning anything? The perils and punishments for prejudicial ‘journalists’ who refuse to let the facts get in the way of a good story can be painfully public. As Yogi Berra used to say– “It’s deja vu all over again.”

Mikey’s “Anti-Bush” ‘documentary’ “surprise winner”!

The BBC must be the only people on the planet who are. Big Mike made sure his loyal wacko fans stuffed the ballot box. That’s fair enough, but the Beeb could at least mention this less than obscure fact. Leave it to one of those money-grubbing American broadcasters to let us know the fuller picture.

Last month Moore posted a letter on his Web site,, asking fans to vote for the movie, in part to annoy conservative critics of the documentary, which is critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the Iraq war.

Moore’s win was greeted by catcalls as well as cheers.

I guess things are looking up in Beebdom.

“The BBC is a perfectly closed system of thought.”

In a lengthy speech on media bias, Melanie Phillips examines the awful consequences of biased reporting regarding Israel and Iraq. The speech runs to 17 pages in a pdf document on her website. Here are her observations on the BBC.

But probably the greatest single reason for the obsessive and unbalanced focus on Israel,along with the irrationality over Iraq, is the hostility and prejudice of the BBC’s reporting.

Unlike newspapers, the BBC is trusted as a paradigm of fairness and objectivity. In fact, it views the world from a political position which is similar to that of the Guardian or Independent. In other words, its default position is the left. And since it regards this as the political centre of gravity, it cannot acknowledge its own bias. The BBC is thus a perfectly closed thought system.

When it comes to Israel, it persistently presents it in the worst possible light. It language and tone are loaded, it handles Arab and Israeli interviewees with double standards, and panel discussions are generally skewed with two or three speakers hostile to Israel against one defender or, more often, none at all.

The BBC’s bias against Israel is simply staggering. A 30-minute BBC profile of Arafat

described him as a ‘hero’ and an ‘icon’, and spoke of him as having ‘performer’s flare’, ‘charisma and style’, ‘personal courage’, and being ‘the stuff of legends’. Ariel Sharon, by contrast, was subjected to a mock ‘war crimes’ trial. It constantly presents the Israelis as the aggressors and responsible for the violence in the

Middle East — the opposite of the truth. And it wears its heart on its sleeve for the

Palestinians who are presented not as aggressors motivated to murder by brainwashing in hatred of Israel and the Jews, but as innocent victims. For example, BBC Radio News said of Israel’s raid into Gaza last autumn to stop the rocket attacks from there upon Israeli citizens that this was ‘making Israeli streets safe perhaps, certainly making life miserable and intolerable for the Palestinians of northern Gaza’.

A previous radio news bulletin reporting Israel’s killing of 14 Hamas terrorists was an object lesson in bias. Reporter Alan Johnston’s language made it sound as if the event was on a par with the recent murder of Russian schoolchildren in Beslan. Thus there would be ‘many funerals’ today for the Hamas ‘faithful’, much ‘anger and grief’. And then came the following startling assertion: ‘The movement is struggling to end Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank’. Thus Johnston presented Hamas as some kind of heroic freedom fighters ‘struggling’ — a loaded word if ever there was one — against colonial oppression. But Hamas of course does not seek merely to end Israel’s presence in Gaza and the West Bank. It aims to eradicate Israel altogether as a Jewish state.

That particular week, the Today programme broadcast a total of 17 items on the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, four items hostile to Israel, and one item complaining that money for the poor was being diverted to the war on terror. It broadcast no items on the murder of six Israeli soldiers and the subsequent murder of five more in Gaza that week, events which were mentioned in passing; no mention of the fact that Palestinians had played football with the heads they cut off murdered Israeli soldiers and even placed one of the heads on a desk while being interviewed; and merely two items, on the same day, on the decapitation in Iraq of the American hostage Nick Berg. Thus the BBC’s objectivity and sense of balance and, indeed, moral values.

Read the whole thing.

Hat Tip: Power Line


To: Orla Guerin and Barbara Plett

From: Truthlovers Everywhere

RE: Unreported tsunami news

It has come to our attention that the tiny state of Israel is doing yeoman’s work in the tsunami disaster effort. Unfortunately, very few people would have heard this, for you have not reported it! You and your colleagues received a press release (Dec 27) to this effect. Where are your reports? This is not looking good.

Ms Guerin, since you are a lover of truth, please note the following points from a website you are sure to love.

* The Israeli organization Latet (‘To Give’) filled a jumbo jet with 18 tons of supplies.

* A medical team headed by four doctors from Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday night (Dec. 27), carrying medicine and baby food. The doctors specialize in rescue operations, trauma and pediatrics.

* An IDF rescue team is now on its way to Sri Lanka with 80 tons of aid material, including 10,000 blankets, tents, nylon sheeting and water containers, all contributed by the IDF.

* A ZAKA rescue-and-recovery team arrived in the disaster areas Monday night, armed with its specialized equipment for identifying bodies.

* A Health Ministry contingent left for Thailand on Monday night to aid in rescue efforts. The group includes doctors, nurses and four members of the IDF.

* Israel has also offered its assistance to India — a search-and-rescue team from the Home Front Command, as well as consignments of food and medicine.

Since the BBC website features an article which gives an incomplete picture [Tsunami Aid:Who’s giving what], maybe you or Barbara could try and get with it and simply report the news,…even if it goes against the grain. Oh, and one more thing, with your colleagues carping about the slow US response, wouldn’t it be a refreshing contrast to mention how quick off the block the Israelis have been in response to this disaster.

UPDATE: In fairness to the Beeb, on 28 December they did report the cancellation of the IDF team offered to Sri Lanka, apparently refused by the Sri Lankan government. Thanks to “Anon” in comments.

Hat tip:

A Rather Glaring Omission.

Is it self-parody which drives the BBC (in a story about the growing power of blogs and the blessedly waning influence of MSM as news gatekeeper) to completely omit mention of Dan Rather’s cliffwalk to retirement at the hands of lowly pajamahadeen? Here are a few graphs from the story:

The blogging movement has been building up for many years. Blogs in places like Iran have provided sources of information

Andrew Nachison, Director of the Media Center, a US-based think-tank that studies media, technology and society, highlights the US presidential race as a possible turning point for blogs. “You could look at that as a moment when audiences exercised a new form of power, to choose among many more sources of information than they have never had before,” he says.

“And blogs were a key part of that transformation.”

Now this is where I was expecting some mention of Rather’s lame use of forged documents against Bush. Is it inept journalism or just plain bias that keeps them from mentioning a story that even got the Power Line bloggers a mention in Time.

Among them were blogs carrying picture messages, saying “we are sorry” for George W Bush’s victory and the responses from his supporters. [Emphasis mine]

Mr Nachison argues blogs have become independent sources for images and ideas that circumvent traditional sources of news and information such as newspapers, TV and radio. “We have to acknowledge that in all of these cases, mainstream media actually plays a role in the discussion and the distribution of these ideas,” he told the BBC News website. “But they followed the story, they didn’t lead it.”

Mr Nachison, the Beeb is not following, it is in denial. Instead of asking fellow journos or aging lefties, why not talk to some people who know more about blogging than Norm ‘the-horse-has-left-the-barn’ Chomsky or echo chambers of The American Press Institute they could start by talking to Hugh Hewitt or read his new book Blog or read his latest article on the collapse of old media. Maybe this revelation will bring further denial. If so, dear Auntie, be prepared for another embarrassing year.

While we’re talking blogs, enjoy this interview by Norm Geras featuring Donald Sensing.

(Hat tips: K-Lo in The Corner and Instapundit)

A Question of Timing and Moral Equivalence.

In an instant millisecond twinkle-of-an-eye kind of way the ever predictable Beeb comes through when the pot calls the kettle ‘black’. One piece of advice for Mark Gregory: listen to your own programmes before writing stuff like this.

US politicians have often accused the UN of incompetence and, perhaps, corruption in its handling of the oil-for-food programme, a scheme to alleviate Iraqi suffering under sanctions before the war. Now the boot is on the other foot. [bolding added]

Yes, and the mention of Halliburton definitely balances the scales of moral equivalence. Those eeevil ooooiiiil mongers are at it again. What a pity that the BBC was unable to discover the corruption under the Saddam regime that they now have in their investigative crosshairs.

The panel’s report says the US-led authorities also failed to deal with widespread smuggling of Iraqi oil out of the country immediately after the war. Nobody knows how much revenue for reconstruction was lost as a result. [bolding added]

It doesn’t matter that the UN Oil-for-Food scandal burgeons (prompting calls from certain quarters for a “Kofi Break“). Now that a defunct “US-led authorit[y]” is discovered to have possibly been inept, the BBC is all over it.

You’ve heard about Marines shooting Iraqis

(who, let’s not forget, were out to kill them first). What about French ‘peacekeepers’ who shoot and decapitate Ivorian protesters? As John Rosenthal points out,

It does not require a very elaborate demonstration to be able to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it were not the French, but rather the American military that was caught on videotape firing into a crowd of civilians, it would be all over the airwaves 24/7.

Is the BBC partially funded by the French government? If not, France owes them big time. (Silly me for thinking BBC coverage should be fair to the public and government funding it!) And while I’m on the subject of France in Ivory Coast, where is any BBC ‘analyst’ critiquing the double-standard at play between France and the UN? This really stinks. Where is the BBC? (My thanks to Instapundit, Transatlantic Intelligencer and Free Will for doing what the MSM is failing to do.)

UPDATE: I did manage to find one mention of this incident in a BBC online article.

When French tanks and armoured vehicles massed at the Hotel Ivoire, a luxury hotel not far from the state television and the presidential residence, state media implored Ivorians to form a human shield around the president.

According to the radio, the French tanks were intending to oust President Gbagbo. Again, thousands of people responded to the call, and again, hundreds of people were injured and at least 10 died. State television showed report after report showing wounded men and women in graphic detail, accompanied by commentaries denouncing France.

This is a BBC story on how the media has been used in Ivory Coast to fan tensions, yet there is no scrutiny of French actions. Their explanations are taken at face value. So, do I hear the BBC alleging that the deaths of at least ten civilians and the wounding of many others by French soldiers is to be blamed on the misuse of radio and TV by the Ivorian government?