Saturday, August 16, 2008

BBC bias on display: unverified vs "evidence"

While the BBC qualifies the claims of Georgian refugees as unverified ("but..."), the claims of Ossetian refugees are "evidence"! BBC correspondent Paul Reynolds also takes a select quote from Human Rights Watch to argue, in a non sequitur stretching from Tskhinvali to the White House, that "[t]he Bush administration appears to be ... playing down the Georgian attack [into the parts of its breakaway enclave that it does not already control] on 7 August". Never mind that Tom Parfitt of the Guardian quotes Human Rights Watch's Anna Neistat as saying

"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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Gruniard's story of the war is very anecdotal but I am sure reasonably accurate especiall now in hindsight.
However you will note the bias in stating that Europe including Germany is villified for doing nothing, and that France took advantage of its premiership to eventually do something - but in not mentioning Gordon Brown's total lack of any action until forced into making a meek statement and giving a few millions well into the future.