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Hostile Coverage By: Val MacQueen
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, December 01, 2003


The ululations are still echoing down the corridors of power in the BBC.   Reporters are still striding manfully across the dry desert sands, binocs trained on the far distance for signs of a quagmire.  Any old quagmire will do.  The Coalition won the war and the Beeb is inconsolable.

During the war that we fought and won six months ago, the BBC, claiming lofty impartiality, ran every shred of bad news – and some news that wasn’t bad to start with and had to be manipulated so that it seemed so – it could turn up.  Such was their toxic output that British troops headed for Iraq on British aircraft carrier HMS The Ark Royal, petitioned the captain to cut off BBC TV and give them CNN instead.

Impartiality is one thing – although when national interests are at stake, I would argue with that – but the BBC, under Director-General Greg Dyke, his approximately  $750,000 p.a. compensation package paid for by the aforesaid license fee payers, was positively willing the Coalition effort to fail.  I conclude from a report done by River Path Associates, which evaluated the BBC’s news output over the period in question, that even when reporters sent back honest reports of what they had observed, their reports were edited back in London to misrepresent the case.

Now this same Greg Dyke, with the BBC’s disgraceful, hostile coverage under his belt, has had the temerity to get up on his hind legs and criticize American coverage of the war while on America’s home turf.  In New York for the International Emmys, Dyke, who shares the socio-commie British left’s contempt for all things American, told his audience that the Iraq coverage illustrated the difference between the BBC and US networks.

According to The Daily Telegraph on the event, Dyke said, “For any news organization to act as a cheerleader for government is to undermine your credibility.  They should be balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other." A pretty staggering statement given that it was his own country and its closest allies that were at war and his own fellow citizens who were dying for democracy.   They weren’t reporting, with dainty impartiality, on a conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis.  Dyke cited research showing that of 840 experts interviewed on US news outlets during the war only four opposed the conflict.  "If that were true in Britain,” he lectured, “the BBC would have failed in its duty.”

Amid speculation that US broadcasters are interested in buying a share in ITV and Channel 5 after a change in British media ownership rules, Mr Dyke opined that television and radio should not be left to the market.  Well, I should think not!  People making a choice about what service they want to buy?  What an idea!

“[TV and radio] were not just another commodity to be marketed and sold around the world like Starbucks or Coca-Cola".  Catch the sneer?  If there’s anything the British left hates, it’s success, which may be one reason they loathe George Bush so much.   It’s that pesky “cultural imperialism”.    As in, the American government called all the top American corporations to a secret meeting and told them, “Go out and conquer the world with your neat products.”

On the same day that Greg Dyke’s extraordinary lecture at the Emmys was broadcast, up pops the third most senior judge in Britain, Lord Steyn with a thought or two of his own.  Lord Steyn has had the temerity to lecture the freest country in the world on its justice system.

It is the considered opinion of Steyn, a law lord (the law lords sit in the House of Lords, which is Britain’s final court of appeal), that American courts are guilty of a "monstrous failure of justice" by refusing to rule on the claims of Taliban suspects held without trial at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.  "By denying the prisoners the right to raise challenges in a court about their alleged status and treatment, the United States government is in breach of the minimum standards of customary international law."  Ah, yes, the old mythical “international law”.  In which cosmic Valhalla these laws were debated and agreed upon, we have yet to be told.

Steyn, speaking in London at the F A Mann lecture, offered his unsolicited – unsolicited by the American justice establishment, that is - opinion that "detaining hundreds of suspected foot soldiers of the Taliban in a legal black hole at the United States naval base at Guantanamo Bay, where they await trial on capital charges by military tribunals” is not pukkah human rights-wise. But these tribunals, or commissions, were not independent courts, he said. Yes, Steyn, that is why they are called “tribunals” or “commissions”.

Let us not forget that Lord Steyn works in a country whose most senior member of the judiciary announced around eight months ago that first time (caught) burglars would no longer be sent to prison.  A country which has made the ownership of handguns illegal and is in denial about the consequent soaring of crime.  A country where immigrant mullahs preach the violent overthrow of the West unimpeded by censure.

The puzzle here is Steyn’s apparent belief that he preaches from a superior society.

Why this hunger for the United States to fail?  And why does it run with such virulence through the entire leftist British establishment?  Perhaps it is because now they now longer have the Soviet Union to love, they are left with only the United States to hate. 

Ronald Reagan killed all that was held dear for so long by these great, understanding, all-encompassing souls, with their love of mankind and loathing of the individual.

What is astounding is how many leftists feel free to proffer unsolicited criticism of the mightiest, most powerful, strongest, freest, richest and at the same time least territorially ambitious, country the world has ever known, and assume the Americans won’t mind a bit.  May even be grateful from a bit of advice from seasoned chaps like themselves. 

How dare they?

Old Trot British foreign secretary Jack Straw, when asked by the DC media a few months back, to comment on President Bush’s State of The Union address, crafted a sneer along the lines of, “well, there’s an election coming up.”  This was from a senior member of the British government, calling the president of the United States a cheap opportunist while visiting on American soil.  Greg Dyke was chastising the American news industry for being too patriotic, on American soil.

It beggars belief.




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