22 July 2006

Newsnight with Daniel Pearl: "We're watching you"

In The BBC's News Editors blog yesterday, Daniel Pearl, deputy editor of Newsnight, tries to convince us that the BBC really does (honestly cross-my-heart-hope-to-die etc.) take notice of what bloggers say, and then goes on to try to explain that the BBC knows what bloggers are talking about anyway thanks to Technorati. He then continues with his sleight-of-hand to claim that "often" bloggers believe they "are involved in a private forum". (How often is "often" Daniel? Twice? Wow, that really is "often"...)

However, the unpalatable truth is that the main stream media , especially the BBC and the Guardian are running scared. They know they have been rumbled. With the inception of blogging, their monopoly on what information the general public is allowed to know has ended. Anyone now with an internet connection can read news reports and analyses from other news agencies and from around the world. There are also several sites that now do an excellent job on analysing MSM output such as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting in the US, and MediaLens in the UK. Consequently, the BBC and the Guardian, for example, are trying to lead the blogosphere back within the parametres that we have 'escaped' from.

A clear example:

A week ago today, Saturday 15 July 2006, those of the 5 million Catholics in Britain with a connection to the internet could have found out , by visiting the Reuters' website, that the Vatican had condemned Israel for attacks on Lebanon. However, those who get their news from the BBC, whether TV News or current affairs programmes such as Newsnight, or BBC Radio, etc. would never have known. Hence my letter to the BBC which they have not even bothered to acknowledge.

The same happened last year. As reported by the German-American Law Journal on Friday 02 September 2005:
(1) the U.S./U.K. war in Iraq violates international law; and
(2) a German soldier's refusal to follow orders to support that war isproper.

The court explained, among other issues, that a soldier's duty to followorders is not unlimited. The soldier's exercize of conscience deservesrespect by the law, while a law that supports an illegal war does not.The soldier had refused to assist German NATO operations in support of thewar which Germany based on NATO statutes that the court consideredconstitutional.The just published decision clarifies that the soldier's conscience andthe nation's constitution require no balancing because the soldier'sdecision did not affect the nation's ability to pass constitutional laws."

This was hidden from the British public, and in an e-mail exchange with the BBC News at Ten director, he 'explained' that it had happened at the same time as Hurricane Katrina but that he had not come across this news in any case. One wonders what the BBC Germany Bureau(x) do in fact do! I, obviously mistakenly, thought that they monitored German news and publications.

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