LONDON–Seems I’m not the only one over here who’s aghast at the BBC’s hurricane Katrina as a Bush-bashing photo-op (see my post yesterday in which I noted that the Beeb, weeks after the storm, was still reporting that Bush had “been on vaction” when the winds began to blow). U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is up in arms as I am, it seems. In a conversation with press magnate Rupert Murdoch, Blair declared that the BBC’s reporting is “full of hatred for America.”
In a seminar hosted by former prez Bill Clinton (who also blasted the Beeb–go, Bill!) Murdoch also accused the U.K. taxpayer-subsidized broadcast network of “gloating about our troubles.” And Clinton threw in his two cents, saying that the BBC’s Katrina coverage had been “stacked up” to take potshots at the way Bush dealt with the appalling wreckage (gee, I’m starting to like ol’ Bill these days).
Naturally, the BBC has denied the allegations of biased coverage–but in my choice of whom to believe, I’ll go with this editorial in the U.K. Telegraph, which notes that the BBC is still quoting the absurd figure of 10,000 deaths from Katrina):
“[I]n their reports, one heard a whining undertone, like a bagpipe’s drone. How could this have happened in such a rich country? Do theAmericans really believe they can sort out Iraq withthisin their own backyard? Will they finally learn some humility?
“Even if these were legitimate sentiments, the aftermath of a tragedywould be no time to express them. Just imagine, by way of illustration, if, following the tsunami, the BBC had focused on the civil wars of Sri Lanka and Aceh, arguine that victims were, in a sense, reaping what theyhad sown, since those conflicts had destroyed the infrastructure that relief workers needed. Doing so wouldhae been poor news judgment as well as poor taste. Yet the BBC dwelt endlessly on the deployment of a few hundred Louisiana guardsmen in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Telegraph asks: Instead of pinning all the responsibility on Bush, why didn’t the BBC focus on “the clownish mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin” who had the local responsibility for emergency services.
“Good question. But as I noted in my last post, the ordinary Brits I’ve met so far in London don’t play the BBC’anti-American basso profundo–and neither does Tony Blair, it seems. Now, when will someone over here get around to defunding the BBC?