Monday, February 02, 2004
Denial isn't just a river in Egypt: In the wake of the damning Hutton report that accused the BBC of "sexing up" its anti-war reporting, the San Diego Union-Tribune's own James Goldsborough comes to the BBC's defense.
The BBC is no longer one of the "world's great news organizations" -- despite Goldsborough's protestations. Goldsborough is defending the Beeb because its war "reporting" mirrored his views. Goldsborough criticizes Fox News and other Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers because their reporting is not as left-liberal.
Goldsborough defends the BBC even though, until last week, their star defence reporter, Andrew Gilligan, was a proven liar and still on the payroll.
It's that simple.
The BBC, one of the world's great news organizations, is already under attack. In the Commons debate following Hutton's report, both Labor and Tory members called for an end to the BBC's independent status, desiring that it be brought under government control or privatized.
Some media, starting with Rupert Murdoch's execrable tabloid The Sun, have waged a vendetta against the BBC for years. The Hutton inquiry, wrote The Sun last week, "has inflicted massive damage on the BBC's reputation for impartial reporting."
Let's look at the big picture and turn this around on Goldsborough. The BBC is funded in Britain with an annual tax of more than $150 for every television set in the country. As far as what it broadcasts, it is, as Goldsborough notes, not controlled by the British government.
Opponents are arguing that if the BBC is going to be supported by taxpayer pounds, then it should be government-run. It's about accountability -- of which the BBC has little. The other argument is that the BBC should be cut loose to compete in the marketplace without the support of tax monies. Only to liberals like Goldsborough is the cutting off of taxpayer funds an attack on a news organization's "objectivity."
Now let's pretend there is some alternate universe where it's not the BBC and its reporters that are funded by the British government, but ... say ... Fox News. Would Goldsborough be defending a more conservative (than the BBC) Fox News' taxpayer-funded cash flow?
Don't hold your breath.
Reporting that agrees with Goldsborough's worldview should be defended; those opposed should be attacked.
Intellectual honesty not required.