Sullivan Vs. The BBC

Andrew Sullivan has been following the issue of the BBC and the dead British scientist David Kelley. His conclusions are that the BBC is acting like a shadow government in Britain, using skewed articles and biased reporting to undermine the Blair government.

It was clear to anyone with eyes and ears that at some point in this past year, the BBC decided to launch a propaganda campaign against the war against Saddam and to tarnish, if not bring down, the premiership of Tony Blair. When news organizations turn into political parties – as we saw with Howell Raines’ New York Times – it’s only a matter of time before they over-reach. May 29 was such a moment. On that day, the BBC produced a story claiming that a "senior intelligence official" had told them that the Blair government, in the person of Alastair Campbell, had "sexed up" its dossier on Iraqi WMDs against the wishes of the intelligence services. One central claim was the notion that Saddam could launch WMDs within 45 minutes. We learned yesterday that David Kelly was indeed the source of such a claim. But Kelly denied that he had made such broad claims when he was alive; he was never a "senior intelligence source," but a mere, if excellent, scientist; and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan, sexed up his own story in order to further the BBC’s campaign against the Iraq war.

For all the tumult about media concentration in the US, the reporting in Europe is almost singularly one-sided. Furthermore, the BBC is financed using mandatory television license fees that must be paid by the British people under penalty of law. You have a situation in which everyone must pay for a view regardless of whether they agree with such a view. Given such abuses of power by the BBC, it only shows that increasing governmental control of the media does not lead to more views, but institutional arrogance of the highest order.

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