Sunday, August 17, 2008

BBC bias part III

In another Reynolds piece,

... the West needs to acknowledge that the Russians did have a case. It needs to explain why it helped Kosovo but questioned Russia's right to help South Ossetia

It has been explained! See Deutsche Welle's interview with legal experts and note the "Not Another Kosovo" section. See also the New York Times on the question of "Is This Different Than Kosovo?" and this Slate piece: South Ossetia Isn't Kosovo. Reynolds' journalism is misleading because it implies that material like this does not exist. Responsible journalism would acknowledge the offered explanations and then bat them down in a piece that is clearly labeled opinion or editorial. Bonus question for Reynolds: when Russia "helped" South Ossetia did it help the more than 15 thousand Georgians living in South Ossetia who were robbed and expelled as a consequence of the Russian "help" or do they not count?

Since I've titled this "BBC bias" instead of "Paul Reynolds bias", let's consider a BBC piece without an author byline. The "timeline" pulls a Georgian action on August 7 out of the sequence of events to mark its beginning, the day "Georgian forces launch a surprise attack".

"Surprise"! From out of the clear blue sky of peace and harmony "perfidious" Georgian aggression bursts forth! Yet Russia's Interfax news agency reported that on August 5 "Volunteers are arriving in South Ossetia to offer help in the event of Georgian aggression". You've got forces moving across the internationally recognized Russia/Georgia border and that's just ignored?

According to the UK Times,

[t]he US State Department’s internal timeline of the crisis pinpoints the explosion on August 1 of two roadside bombs, believed to have been planted by South Ossetian separatists sympathetic to Russia, as a decisive moment. Five Georgian policemen were injured, one severely. ... It now appears that August 1 was a well-prepared “provocation”...

And according to the New York Times,

Pentagon and military officials say Russia held a major ground exercise in July just north of Georgia’s border, called Caucasus 2008, that played out a chain of events like the one carried out over recent days.
'This exercise was exactly what they executed in Georgia just a few weeks later,' said Dale Herspring, an expert on Russian military affairs at Kansas State University. 'This exercise was a complete dress rehearsal.'

Perhaps someone will write "surprise" on a piece of paper and pin it next to Reynold's "evidence" on a bulletin board in the BBC editorial room under the title of "We Called It!".

Meanwhile, the UK Times reports what went on behind Russian lines, as does the Guardian.

UPDATE (August 24): A BBC Editor has apologized... for a "slip" whereby a "Russian invasion" was mentioned. There was no invasion. So very sorry. The Russian army ended up in Poti on the BBC's magic carpet ride, also known as a "humanitarian intervention". The there was no US-led "humanitarian intervention" in Iraq, however, the BBC can call an "invasion" when it sees one!

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