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FW: BBC complains of Pentagon lies

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  • bob.steel1@juno.com
    ... http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/mar2003/bbc-m29.shtml BBC complains of Pentagon lies By Julie Hyland 29 March 2003 The BBC has become so concerned at
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2003
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      BBC complains of Pentagon lies

      By Julie Hyland
      29 March 2003

      The BBC has become so concerned at false and
      misleading information being put out on the war
      against Iraq that it has stressed to its journalists
      that they must clearly attribute military sources.

      According to the Guardian, BBC news chiefs met to
      discuss the problem after the broadcaster carried
      several reports later shown to be inaccurate. The
      misleading reports were all favourable to the US/UK
      forces and so their exposure has undermined the BBC's
      claims to be providing unbiased coverage.

      On Sunday March 23, British military sources claimed
      to have taken the port of Umm Qasr in southern Iraq.
      Three days later, they were still fighting to quell

      The BBC then ran headlines with reports of the
      discovering of a chemical weapons factory in An Najaf,
      which was later dropped.

      On Tuesday, March 25, the British news was filled with
      reports of an uprising under way in Basra, Iraq's
      second largest city. Claims of the "popular uprising"
      were first made by British military forces, but were
      later found to be untrue.

      On Wednesday, March 26, the British military were
      cited reporting that "up to 120 tanks" were leaving
      Basra. The convoy was later found to be just

      Numerous other examples can be cited, including the
      continuous downplaying of the extent of popular
      opposition to the US/UK invasion and the particularly
      cynical claim that the Iraqi regime was responsible
      for the missile attack on a Baghdad market that killed
      17 civilians.

      A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that a meeting had been
      held to discuss recent events.

      "There's been a discussion about attribution and it=92s
      been reinforced with people that we do have to
      attribute military information," she said. "We have to
      be very careful in the midst of a conflict like this
      one to be very sure when we're reporting something
      we='ve not seen with our own eyes that we attribute

      An unnamed "senior BBC news source", cited by the
      Guardian, went further, stating: "We're getting more
      truth out of Baghdad than the Pentagon at the moment."

      "We're absolutely sick and tired of putting things out
      and finding they're not true. The misinformation in
      this war is far and away worse than any conflict I've
      covered, including the first Gulf war and Kosovo."

      Many news sources in Britain are now admitting that
      much of the key information they are relaying has been
      proven to be inaccurate. But this is often put down to
      the pressures of 24-hour coverage and the "fog of
      war". For example, the BBC source cited by the
      Guardian went on to claim that the misinformation was
      an accident, rather than deliberate deceit: "I don't
      know whether they [the Pentagon] are putting out
      flyers in the hope that we'll run them first and ask
      questions later or whether they genuinely don't know
      what's going on - I rather suspect the latter."

      In truth, much of the British and US media is simply a
      propaganda tool of their respective military forces.
      Some 900 journalists and reporters are "embedded" with
      US/UK troops, effectively functioning as part of an
      act of armed aggression against the Iraqi people and
      paid to conceal that fact. The concern expressed by
      the BBC's top brass is that this fact has become so
      obvious to millions in Britain and around the world
      that its own credibility - and hence its considerable
      political influence internationally - will never

      Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

      All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk

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