June 25, 2003


Justin Webb, the BBC’s Washington correspondent, recently attended the annual dinner of the American Radio and Television Correspondents Association, which was addressed by Vice-President Cheney. Where was the BBC’s table?

Next to the lavatories and the emergency exit.

Ha ha!

Posted by Tim Blair at June 25, 2003 07:57 PM

I am so liking this story...... :-)

Posted by: wilbur at June 25, 2003 at 08:19 PM

How considerate, only a short sprint when Cheneys half-baked lies induce the need to vomit.

Posted by: Stewart Kelly at June 25, 2003 at 08:43 PM

I especially liked the line, "It does not matter which is true." There's an attitude for a journalist to have.

And Stewart's gibbering about Cheney's "Half baked lies?"

Posted by: John Nowak at June 25, 2003 at 08:46 PM

This guy almost had me going for a minute there. He almost had me thinking; 'well, maybe the American press could learn a thing or two from the pommie journos about grilling their leaders.'

You'd think he'd mention the fact that there is a credibility crisis in both the U.S. and British media at the moment. Neither are in good position to punch holes in Pentagon spin since their own reporting has been so unreliable and biased (thank you blogosphere). I suppose I shouldn't expect so much from Robert Fisk's paper.

Granted, this guy is not as bad as old American correspondent, Matthew Engel of the Guardian (I miss him already). At least he concedes (in the last paragraph) that the British press can be ideologically biased and hysterical at times.

Putting the BBC by the toilet is a classic snub though. And to the writer's credit, he didn't go off screeching about "silencing dissent."

Posted by: Tokyo Taro at June 25, 2003 at 09:02 PM

Yeah, it's certainly good John, but my favourite piece of social analysis was this little nugget:

Q: Why are the American journalists so Timorous?

A: "Americans in all walks of life have a respect for authority that the cynical Brits jettisoned somewhere around the time of Profumo and Christine Keeler. Americans, remember, still go to church."

Remember, the journalist who wrote this probably believes that.

Posted by: Preston Whip at June 25, 2003 at 09:04 PM

preston, that's because we all are part of the vast religious right-wing conspiracy

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 26, 2003 at 02:03 AM

What we've seen from the British press in the past year or so: the Jenin "massacre" that wasn't; the humanitarian "disasters" in Afghanistan and Iraq that didn't occur; the Baghdad museum "looting" of 170,000 precious artifacts that didn't occur; the alleged "meeting" between Colin Powell and Jack Straw that didn't occur; the fake "smoking gun" quote from Paul Wolfowitz claiming the war was "all about oil" and the "fake Hollywood rescue story" of Jessica Lynch that allegedly used blank ammunition that US army-issue rifles can't handle.

None of which was adequately apologized for or corrected by the offending media outlets.

I think this author is confusing the word "timorous" with the word "accurate."

Posted by: Susan at June 26, 2003 at 02:37 AM

It is passing strange that the "unbiased" press seems incapable of printing anything that stands up to fact checking, while the "biased" news sources seem to be doing awfully well.

Notice that Stewart isn't actually able to say what these alleged lies are.

Posted by: John Nowak at June 26, 2003 at 02:59 AM

Susan, John - both banned.

Posted by: tim at June 26, 2003 at 03:12 AM

I'm sorry, tim -- what do I need to do to be unbanned so I can post here once again?

Posted by: John Nowak at June 26, 2003 at 04:58 AM

You must be a worse writer than the host. Dumb it down, man. I'm being embarrassed here.

Posted by: tim at June 26, 2003 at 05:20 AM

Dem pommie writuz telz a buncha liez and den ragz on Yankee writuz dat don't.

Dat better? :)

Posted by: Susan at June 26, 2003 at 06:51 AM

This is one of my favorite bits of rant-fodder. As I wrote here, those "tough" questions asked by the British press at Centcom briefings often amounted to "Why should we believe the lies you've cooked up to justify your illegal and immoral war?" I'm not kidding. Many questions were not so much questions as propaganda statements, which the officials had to . You got a lot of that from the mainland Chinese news agencies, and from the BBC.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at June 26, 2003 at 08:14 AM

Oops, brain glitch. That one sentence above should read "...propaganda statements, which the officials had to answer politely."

I also should mention that the propaganda questions were rarely designed to elicit actual facts, but were basically just grandstanding by the reporter.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at June 26, 2003 at 08:17 AM

not "...which the officials had too" angie? ;)

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 26, 2003 at 01:27 PM