"The torching of houses in these [Georgian] villages is in some ways a result of the massive Russian propaganda machine which constantly repeats claims of genocide and exaggerates the casualties. That is then used to justify retribution."
The "machine" even managed to get "2000 dead" out on FOX, practically the citadel of conservative American mass media, from where it's gone viral on youtube and is raging through the blogosphere like Ossetians through Georgian villages. Yet Reynolds reports the "news" that Russia "los[t] the propaganda war"!
I suppose BBC's abandonment of its MSM gatekeeper role concerning the Ossetian/Russian allegations is a fitting parallel to the role the west has played concerning the gates to Georgia.
While Reynolds takes Georgia's relatively fledgling communications to task for daring to draw analogies with Prague in 1968 or Budapest in 1956 ("The comparisons did not fit the facts"), the International Herald Tribune ("the global edition of the New York Times") says that today "Russian armor ... travel[ed] nearly to the edge of the Georgian capital", a move that "opened a new security vacuum between Gori and [Igoeti], creating fresh targets" for "looters and armed gangs in uniform - many of them apparently Ossetians, Chechens and Cossacks - [who] have operated behind the army's path, ransacking villages..." and in another article titled "Georgians doing forced labor in South Ossetia" the paper quotes "a Russian officer" as believing that "Labor even turns monkeys into humans."
Reynolds also wags the finger at the "Western media" and unspecified nefarious forces for throwing "mud" at Moscow, and the BBC does not identify this piece as opinion or editorial?
I've e-mailed Mr Reynolds to ask him to comment on the rather different perspective of the editors at the Washington Post.
After reading this gripping overview in the Guardian, "A dirty little war", I don't think it is too much to say, shame on you, BBC, not just for being biased (to the anti-American left), but for abandoning the humanitarianism of left-leaning journalism like that of the Guardian. Guardian op-eds and editorials have "Comment" above their titles. This one has "News". The paper is accordingly puting the full weight of its credibility behind the claims of the fact this piece, claims of fact Reynolds should be challenging if he is not going to be writing a retraction.