January 29, 2004

Whitewash!

Scream all the Beeb's men. Here's a typical example of the genre.

And the top half of the Independent's paper edition is (risibly), you guessed it, all white (they should do that more often and spare us their grotesquely biased journalism, no?).

But back to Jonathan Freedland's piece:

"For the press benches, this was all too much. Several journalists began first to sniff, then to snort and finally to chuckle their derision. Jeremy Paxman, for once barred from asking questions, was shaking his head in bemusement as each new finding in favour of the government came down from the bench. When Mr Scarlett's subconscious was introduced, the room seemed to vibrate with mockery."

Incorrigible and arrogant, aren't they?

You'd think there might be a smidgen of shame and introspection among the Jeremy Paxmans of the journalistic trade, no?

Alas, quite the contrary.

This attitude is part of the reason the Beeb is facing its darkest hour ever.

I mean, Gilligan actually wants to keep his job!

More likely, like others, one hopes he will be gone soon.

But, believe me, the problem will remain. The mockery in the judicial chambers makes that clear. The message is--we don't care about the facts--when they run contra our deeply embedded biases.

So facts be damned!

Whether the clinically examined facts of the Hutton inquiry.

Or the fact that Blair didn't knowingly mislead the Commons on WMD.

Or 'sex up' any dossiers.

He, you know, did all that anyway. Hutton's an arse. He's a rank apologist for the government. It's a whitewash.

So back to Blair and Bush hating.

It's the best game in town--at least if you are a simplistic, journalistic hack--and don't care to really examine the geopolitical scene with care, the actions really taken by those in power (rather than those conjured up by Islington conspiracy think), the deeper problems related to why so many intelligence services the world over believed Saddam possessed major WMD stockpiles.

No, just run around playing gotcha and impugn, grossly, the motivations and actions of those in power whose views you don't like.

The difference is, this time, this tawdry and incendiary kind of journalism wasn't carried off with impunity.

There will have to be a real reckoning. Heads are rolling.

But, will it really make a difference?

I doubt it.

After all, Paxman's arrogant courtoom sneers don't bode well, do they?

UPDATE:

The Independent's 'whitewash' cover--


Can they do this tomorrow (and the next day) too? It's, er, easier on the eyes...

MORE: Dyke's out. The casualties grow. As they should.

STILL MORE: Yes, Dyke resigned. But in a press conference, he averred:

"I don't necessarily accept the findings of Lord Hutton's report."

And he told cheering supporters: "Don't be cowed."

Again, no humility, no repentance.

Instead, Dyke keeps fanning the flames thus making the crisis messier (yes, it's possible) for the Beeb.

One result? More boorish romantization of Dyke as some besieged keeper of the flame of that so unique (and nauseatingly self-important) Beeb "independence."

Remember, these protestors (er, I mean reporters) all still work at the Beeb.

So don't worry Greg, they're not cowed! Quite the contrary.

Pity they don't have a leader who, when forced to resign, would issue an unvarnished mea culpa.

Who would say that the entire episode wasn't about the preservation of the Beeb's independence--which was never threatened by nefarious Campbell.

It was about being challenged about flatly false reporting--regarding hugely important issues of war and peace--by leaders whose honor and integrity had been besmirched by the Beeb's sloppiness, bias, and bull-headed refusal to apologize or retract the inaccurate reporting for so many long months.

Traits and characteristics, I fear, still well alive at the Beeb.

A final note.

Tony Blair was very magnanimous (imagine the joyous lynching of Blair, in all the likely quarters, had the report gone the other way!) accepting acting Chairman Lord Ryder's apology.

But he didn't mention Greg Dyke. Now you know why.

Posted by Gregory at January 29, 2004 12:32 PM
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