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Guest BROWNer

'if only CNN was taking notes'

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Guest BROWNer

The BBC is pissing off a lot of people lately. If only CNN was taking notes. This weekend, the Israeli government announced they were cutting all ties to the British government-owned news network in_retaliation for the Beeb's airing of a controversial documentary about that country's nuclear and chemical weapons programs.

 

Back home, BBC journalists_are locked in a_battle with an even_greater adversary:_their boss, the British government.

 

The current row_began earlier this month when the BBC's defense correspondent Andrew Gilligan alleged Blair's chief spin-doctor had manipulated the so-called "September dossier" on Iraq's WMD threat, which claimed, among other whoppers, that Saddam could launch a chemical and biological weapons attack against U.S. and Britain within 45 minutes.

 

Gilligan said he had been told by an unnamed intelligence source_that the dossier, which also included plagiarized material from a grad student's thesis, "was transformed the week before publication, to make it sexier." The source claimed Alastair Campbell, Blair's spinmaster,_was the brains behind the manipulation. _

 

Blair responded with an unprecedented attack on the BBC, demanding it retract the implication that he "lied" to the British people. Blair government officials claimed Gilligan was misled by "rogue" intelligence officers who had a political agenda, and called for public hearings on_the incident.

 

Gilligan, who had repeatedly questioned the British government's claims during the war, stood by his reporting, telling the Guardian: "A senior official involved in the preparation of the dossier has told me the document was extensively rewritten at the behest of Downing Street and intelligence sources were unhappy with the changes. We never said that they made anything up but essentially they overemphasised the information."

 

For its part, the_BBC has refused to cave in to Downing Street pressure, creating a firestorm of bad publicity for the already weakened Blair government. Campbell has called for a "truce" in the dispute,_while the news organization is reportedly preparing to release new information this week to support Gilligan's claims, as this article from the Independent describes:

 

BBC has fresh details to support its dossier claim

 

By Kim Sengupta 30 June 2003, Independent_

 

The BBC will present fresh details about how the Iraqi weapons dossier was allegedly "sexed up'' by Downing Street and accuse Alastair Campbell of giving "inaccurate'' evidence to the official inquiry into the affair.

 

Publication of the claims, in the next 48 hours, will reignite the unprecedented row just as the Blair Government appears keen to damp it down. According to senior sources, the corporation has decided at the highest level not to give in to the relentless pressure from the Government.

 

Journalists and officials at the BBC have spent the weekend poring over the testimony given by Mr Campbell to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

 

According to the sources they have discovered "inaccuracies and inconsistencies'' in what the Prime Minister's communications chief told MPs. Andrew Gilligan, the BBC reporter who has been the focus of government attacks, will produce further information on how the intelligence services were supposedly pressured by Mr Campbell about the "45-minute threats'' posed by Saddam Hussein, which appeared in the first Downing Street dossier last September.

 

An investigation is under way, allegedly at the behest of Number 10, to hunt down Mr Gilligan's source.

 

Mr Gilligan, the defence and diplomatic correspondent of Radio 4's Today programme, has told Richard Sambrook, the head of news at the BBC, the identity of his informant. Greg Dyke, the director general, has been given details of the source but not his name.

 

Sources within the intelligence services have indicated that they will be "combative'' if the Government attempts to start a witch-hunt to find out those responsible for leaks to a number of journalists about the unhappiness within the services over how intelligence on Iraq was manipulated.

 

The hierarchy at the BBC is also ready for a prolonged confrontation with Downing Street over the affair. Both Mr Dyke and Gavyn Davies, the chairman of the board of governors, have links with New Labour. Taking on the Government at this stage is seen as a measure of their independence, according to BBC sources.

 

Mr Gilligan, with the backing of the BBC, has announced that he is ready to sue Phil Woolas, the deputy leader of the House of Commons, over the allegation that he misled the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. The BBC reporter had said he will proceed to sue Mr Woolas, who made the allegations in a letter to Mr Gilligan, which was also given to the media, unless he gets a retraction and an apology.

 

Unlike the accusations made against Mr Gilligan by Mr Campbell, Mr Woolas's remarks are not covered by parliamentary privilege.

 

Although Mr Gilligan has his critics within the BBC, the general consensus appears to be that the corporation should not back down in the confrontation with Number 10. A senior source said: "We shall let the public make up its own mind about Alastair Campbell when we present an analysis of his evidence."

 

Three former Beeb men lead attack on corporation

 

The Government's fierce attacks on the BBC over allegations that Downing Street "sexed up" a dossier on Iraqi weapons have been led by three former BBC journalists who now work for the government.

 

Phil Woolas, the deputy leader of the Commons, is being threatened with legal action by Andrew Gilligan over his claim that the BBC defence correspondent may have misled the inquiry by the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Mr Woolas is a former assistant producer on BBC2's Newsnight programme, and has battled with Jeremy Paxman, its presenter, over the issue.

 

The most explosive clash was on Saturday when Ben Bradshaw, a former BBC Radio 4 reporter who is now an Environment minister, locked horns with John Humphrys, the presenter of Radio 4's Today programme.

 

The third ex-BBC man is Tom Kelly, Tony Blair's official spokesman, who used a press briefing last week to list 12 questions the BBC should answer about its story. Mr Kelly, whose boss is Alastair Campbell, started his career with the BBC, holding several senior posts in Belfast and London.

 

Lord Birt is believed to have encouraged the close links with Labour as part of a campaign to protect the licence fee. Several other ex-BBC staff have links to Downing Street.

 

The BBC's claims that it is even-handed will receive some backing tomorrow when Theresa May, the Tory chairman, meets BBC bosses to complain of anti-Tory bias.

_

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Jornalism is completely different in Europe.

There's a very clear line between the NewsPapers (and news sources)

and the tabloid pages. I think in the US the line between news/tabloid

has blurred to such a point that people only assume it's a tabloid if the

BatBoy is on the cover. The Enquirer should have no business reporting

on any real issues. It only taints those stories.

 

And with the surge of 'Hollywood / Entertainment Reporting' it only cheapens

the rest of the content. First up... The War on Terror followed by our special report on the Baywatch Reunion.

 

bullshit.

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Originally posted by Kilo7-

 

And with the surge of 'Hollywood / Entertainment Reporting' it only cheapens

the rest of the content. First up... The War on Terror followed by our special report on the Baywatch Reunion.

 

bullshit.

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This entire post is dead-on.

 

Originally posted by Kilo7-

Jornalism is completely different in Europe.

There's a very clear line between the NewsPapers (and news sources)

and the tabloid pages. I think in the US the line between news/tabloid

has blurred to such a point that people only assume it's a tabloid if the

BatBoy is on the cover. The Enquirer should have no business reporting

on any real issues. It only taints those stories.

 

And with the surge of 'Hollywood / Entertainment Reporting' it only cheapens

the rest of the content. First up... The War on Terror followed by our special report on the Baywatch Reunion.

 

bullshit.

 

Word.

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Guest BROWNer

i find it pretty odd that bbc and numerous other large

papers in the UK are 'state' owned or run, and they

don't blindly propagate state syntax, and consistently

challenge the government line, while in the US,

the major news corps are not owned by the government,

but are totally influenced/controlled by it.

it still blows me away the US media is being so weak kneed

towards bush, while blair, rightly so, is getting his ass whooped.

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