Friday, July 25, 2003
The irrelevant truth?: The San Diego Union-Tribune's liberal columnist, James Goldsborough, had a piece in Thursday's paper on the controversy surrounding the BBC, Tony Blair and the allegation that the British politicos "sexed up" the intelligence on Iraq.
Earlier this month, the apparent source for the BBC piece, David Kelly committed suicide. Who does Goldsborough blame this on? Tony Blair.
The most interesting part of Goldsborough's piece, however, is the following statement:
The dispute over what Kelly told Gilligan is the least interesting part of this treacherous story.
Goldsborough's alone on this one -- because just about every report in the British media -- except the aforementioned BBC -- zeroes in on just that fact as being the probable trigger leading to Kelly's suicide.
From the London Times:
The first hint that Dr Kelly was about to get caught up in the row over whether the Government had deliberately “sexed up” the intelligence dossier was when he returned to his office in Whitehall from a week’s trip to Iraq.
He was shown a transcript of the evidence Mr Gilligan had given to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, and recognised certain technical references to be ones he had divulged during his lunch with the reporter.
He wrote a memo to his line manager explaining his fears that he might have been the informant for Mr Gilligan’s story on the BBC Today programme. Later, however, when Dr Kelly appeared before the committee, he said he could not have been the main source because of allegations that bore no resemblance to the conversation he had with the journalist on May 22.
Throughout his piece, Goldsborough praises the BBC for being "one of the world's great news organizations," and slams Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel. But much of the reporting now suggests that it wasn't the British government that "sexed up" intelligence reports, but the BBC that "sexed up" it's own reporting.
Goldsborough ignores the fact that just a few months ago another of the world's "great news organizations," the New York Times had a little problem with Jayson Blair's "reporting." CNN likewise had a little problem with that Vietnam nerve gas story. Just because a "great news organization" airs or publishes something, does not mean that it's reporting should automatically be off-limits to tough questions.
But, taken Goldsborough's way, Blair looks like he's engaging in some Nixon-style cover-up -- and that was the real goal of the column. To Goldsborough, the search for the truth is uninteresting.