The moral murk

From the pathetic (see below post) to the poignant. Joseph Loconte notes the frenzied way in which the BBC is campaigning for the release of its journalist Alan Johnston.

Naturally one feels a little of their desperation; we’ve seen far too many atrocities and needless deaths over recent years in the name of Islam and the Palestinians.

Quite whether almost daily Johnston-centred updates, pleas and reports from the BBC is a good use of telly-taxpayers money is a question almost indecent to mention, yet inevitable because the BBC is a state-sponsored organisation. One wouldn’t wish to be brought into it, but where one’s wallet is compelled, one is drawn afterwards.

There is also the question of the BBC’s closeness to Government, as HMG seeks to draw near and reason with Abu Qatada, a radical (terror enabler) believed to have close links to Al Qaeda, believed to have influence in the group holding Johnston. To what extent the BBC is using its influence to manoeuvre the Foreign Office- which funds the BBC world service – is as unclear as ever.

Loconte zeroes in on the words of Mark Thompson, BBC DG:

“Alan…is a brave, dedicated and humane journalist who was deeply committed to reporting events in Gaza to the wider world,”…“The people of Gaza are ill-served by kidnappings of this nature.” (highlight mine)

Loconte points out the strangeness of saying “kidnappings of this nature”, which implies that some kidnappings might be justified. Certainly such a distinction is in keeping with BBC moral equivocations over terrorism. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, just as any of your nuanced imams might say.

What they cover, and why

When the US lower House votes on a military funding deadline (a long acknowledged and anticipated event), the BBC has no need, and I would argue, no right, to make that its headline. Yet it does.

It is internal US politicking, and given the primacy of both President and Congress, of little moment.

Meanwhile, to the right on the BBC front page is a totally pointless video entitled “Dubya Dances”. Notwithstanding the inappropriateness of using Bush’s ill-intentioned nickname, it’s simply a clip of Bush dancing at an African anti-malarial meeting. Not only does this have no purpose save to make Bush look ridiculous excerpted from context, it also demeans the seriousness of his program to help Africa with malaria (which, I should add, they do cover, in routine fashion), and would no doubt irritate many US conservatives at a time when the lefty politicians are rooting for US defeat in Iraq.

It tallies quite well with the BBC’s general desire to caricature Bush though, after the fashion of the BushHitler posterthey gave such pride of place to.

Ps. I wonder where they get their “Dubya dancing” fancies from? Not things like this, I hope?