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Lord Hutton on the BBC = Bye Bye Credibility

By Aleksander Boyd

London 28.01.04 – One should be ecstatic when events such as this come round. Today Lord Hutton cleared Tony Blair and the British government of all accusations of wrongdoings in regards to the manipulation of the Iraq dossier, stating beyond reasonable doubt that Andrew Gilligan’s remarks were untrue and unfounded. He also charged against the editorial team of being defective, directors and the Board of Governors for lack of care in the performance of their duties. Greg Dyke offered a grim apology for having led the public to the belief that the government indeed manipulated intelligence reports in order to build the case for war. It is by no means my intention to defend this government or Blair –sadly the issue of the manipulation of intelligence remains unresolved- but rather to alert about what I have been reporting on this site, i.e. the profound bias that has become the primary skin of the BBC. Nonetheless Lord Hutton has opened the floodgates. The core values of the BBC namely credibility, trustworthiness and impartiality are, as of today, dead letter.

We have learned that Gavyn Davies, head of the Board of Governors of the telecommunications giant, tendered his resignation this afternoon. His character of donor and member of the Labour party coupled with a close friendship with the Chancellor gained him brownie points and therefore the appointment three years ago. Gordon Brown, and the cabinet, must have been quite upset at the time of realising the frontal position that the BBC, commanded by Davies, took against the government over Dr Kelly’s issue.

It is sound to affirm now that the BBC’s editorial team did not take the time to investigate and double-check accordingly the false allegations made by Gilligan, which were of paramount importance and of great transcendence for this country. How can one expect then that they would do so vis-à-vis reporting the political crisis of Venezuela? Again, by chance, one must rejoice with the revelations of Lord Hutton for it is evident that examination of facts is a test currently applied not by the BBC. If all fingers are pointing at Andrew Gilligan, what can be said about the reports produced by Richard Gott and Greg Palast, to name but a couple, and published by the BBC with respect to Venezuela? Have their reports been cross-examined or verified? Have their sources been checked? The answer is NO. Furthermore, how can we trust the analyses of these self-appointed international experts if the local experts do not get the domestic stories right?

The BBC has been producing the most staggering string of biased and false reports about Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, moreover the corporation pitched in as co-producers of a propagandistic film that portrays –at the expense of the truth- a benign image of the Venezuelan President [worth noting that the man is being investigated by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity]. The film, conveniently edited, fails to show matters of huge importance for the understanding of the events that took place in Venezuela in April 2002 in which 21 people were assassinated and more than 100 were wounded. Venezuelans have sent various letters of complaint –myself included- to the Programme Complaints Unit only to be disregarded; appropriate measures have not been taken by the BBC to deal with the matter properly and our right to reply to be honoured continues to be an extremely elusive goal. Fraser Steel, head of the unit, had the guts of sending a response to one of my letters excusing his department’s lack of action owing to “…pressure of work and staff sickness.” Is this the kind of attitude that should be expected from a corporation that constantly brash about its integrity and credibility?

Latin American “expert” Richard Gott stated, after the strike of 2003 ended, that there was not such thing as a strike as reported by Venezuela’s media, please bear in mind that Gott is a proclaimed fan of Hugo Chavez. Statistics show different though; economic analysts across the globe maintain today that the strike has cost between 12 and 15 $billion to the country. In a recent short visit to Venezuela the infallible Greg Palast commented that the deep political unrest of the country stems from “a racial struggle between blacks and whites.” What an acute perception this gentleman must posses; from a hotel room in less than a week he figured out the root of the problem.

The undeniable truth is that a charlatan [a.k.a. Hugo Chavez] has seized absolute control of ALL the branches of power and is ransacking the country in unimaginable fashion with the ever-helping hand of the leftists’ last standing hero Fidel Castro. Clairvoyance, imagination and suspicion seem to be the sine qua non pre-requisites to be able to qualify as an “expert” in the BBC these days… Therefore I rest my case, the BBC has lost it and I am not the one saying it but Lord Hutton!! As far as Venezuela is concerned the BBC is doing the sexing up. We can only hope for all of those -for whom continuous tergiversation of facts to fit personal or ideological agendas is the definition of journalism- to be immediately sacked from the information giant. In a professional company the presence of such fundamentalists should not be allowed. After all they can continue doing so quite inoffensively from their alter tribunes in the tabloids.

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