December 21, 2003


The BBC has told its Stalinoid staff to describe Saddam not as a dictator, but as the former leader of Iraq. BBC management apparently believes this to be "neutral language".

Via Andrew Sullivan, who also observes: "How gay is Apple."

UPDATE. The London Sun rounds up opinion on the BBC’s decision:

Labour MP Kevan Jones, of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: “This shows the crass naivety of the BBC. Such political correctness will be deeply hurtful to many of our servicemen serving in Iraq.

“It amply demonstrates elements of the BBC have got a clearly anti-war and anti-Government agenda.”

Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who chairs the Indict group which has dossiers on the crimes of Saddam, his sons and henchmen, was astounded at the BBC’s stance.

She said: “It’s frankly ridiculous. Saddam Hussein is a despot, a murderer and a torturer. He will have to answer charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Tory Party chairman Liam Fox also slammed the Beeb — which was accused during the war of giving too much weight to Iraqi propaganda.

He said: “To afford this level of politeness to a tyrant, torturer and murderer is deeply offensive to the Iraqi people.”

John Pilger, striding boldly along Delusion Avenue, believes the BBC’s coverage was too pro-war.

(Sun link via NZ Pundit)

Posted by Tim Blair at December 21, 2003 12:13 AM

And in other news, the BCC reported that hundreds of "final resting places" were being visited by "emotional" relatives. The "former leader of Iraq" was known as a generous man who only charged a small fee to have Iraqis interred in their "final resting places" which had been specially constucted all over Iraq.

"emotional" = grieving, shrieking ...
"final resting places" = mass graves

Posted by: Bruce at December 21, 2003 at 12:34 AM

1) This means Hitler, who was legally elected, was not a dictator either.
2) The origin of the word "dictator" was a person legally appointed by the Senate of the Roman Republic as an emergency wartime commander.
3) In 2001 the BBC appealed to the broadcasting standards tribunal (successfully), for the ight to call the Queen Mother a "bitch."

Posted by: sue at December 21, 2003 at 01:04 AM

I can't believe how mean people are to poor Saddam! What did he ever do to you?

Posted by: ushie at December 21, 2003 at 01:34 AM

I know it sounds bad, but the description of Saddam is the result of a compromise at the BBC.
The original description was much worse. BBC reporters wanted to refer to Saddam as:

"The benign former leader of Iraq maliciously deposed by the US under the Nazi-like regime of un-elected President George Bush, whose cowboy-like diplomacy has placed the entire world at risk in his quest to establish his Empire."

So, when seen in its true context, the compromise is rather tame.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at December 21, 2003 at 01:46 AM

Actually, it has been plausibly argued that the spiderhole was actually a septic tank.

So "FURRY SPIDER HOLE SCUM" is way too verbose. Let's just call him "poo".

Posted by: akpm at December 21, 2003 at 01:53 AM

Biased BBC found more than 400 references at BBC online to Augusto Pinochet as a "dictator."

Deaths of political opponents attributed to Pinochet: 5,000

Deaths of political opponents attributed to Saddam: 300,000+

Hypocrisy, thy name is Leftism.

And, oh yeah, the BBC is as nutty as a pecan pie with a walnut crust. The whole organization needs a massive psychiatric intervention.

Posted by: Susan at December 21, 2003 at 04:39 AM

I can't believe the BBC is not calling Husseing a dictator any more. He most certainly was. Perhaps "former dictator" would be more accurate.

Posted by: fatfingers at December 21, 2003 at 09:06 AM

What that guy should be saying is "Goddamnit gay people!! Stop harassing me at work! I can't help it if my computer sucks it's the one they gave me! Police!"

Posted by: Amos at December 21, 2003 at 09:49 AM