The BBC: Press Agents for Gorgeous George in Washington?


Not to throw stones across the pond, but this one can not be ignored. The BBC Scotland sent a close personal friend of Galloway’s to cover his hearings in Washington. The BBC has been know to be a bastion of anti-Americanism.Their toeing of the “Get out of Iraq” line that Galloway has been paid of in oil by Saddam to maintain has been consistent from day one, and any balance in their reporting has been purely accidental. They have been pit bulls. But to have a reporter acting as a press agent for Galloway is absolutely beyond the pale, and the BBC should be ashamed.

Jenny Hjul for the Scotsman tells us the story:

FROM a Scottish point of view, the most puzzling aspect of George Galloway’s appearance in Washington this week was Bob Wylie.

We first caught sight of the grinning and gangling BBC Scotland reporter at Galloway’s side in Dulles airport. Then, after the MP’s performance in front of the US Senate’s sub-committee, there was Wylie again, popping up to tell us how, in his considered opinion, he thought it had all gone.

Which was pretty well, actually. Oh, there may be a few people yet to be impressed by Galloway’s bluster, but on the whole, Wylie assured us, Washington was knocked out. The MP for Bethnal Green and Bow had faced down American accusations that he’d profited from Saddam Hussein’s illegal oil deals and, what’s more, he’d denounced the US invasion of Iraq.

Galloway, reported Wylie, was the “Braveheart” on Capitol Hill. Braveheart? Come off it. Even Gorgeous George’s most ardent supporters in Britain would shrink from romanticising him in this way. But not the gushing Wylie.

His presence in Washington begs two questions: why did BBC Scotland feel it needed to send its own man when (a) it is currently implementing drastic cost cuts and (b) the BBC’s Washington correspondent, Clive Myrie, was already there and more than up to the job?

Also, if BBC Scotland really, really had to send, why did it have to be Wylie, whose friendship with Galloway goes back years and who, as the Diary pointed out yesterday, received an acknowledgement in Galloway’s autobiography?

Wylie is not an expert on Iraq or on American politics. And in this case, he was clearly not impartial, and neither was BBC Scotland. Shame on them.

It would be a wonderful thing if we could get the governments on both sides of the Atlantic out of the news business. NPR, PBS, and the BBC: BEGONE!

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  • Comments

    One Response to “The BBC: Press Agents for Gorgeous George in Washington?”

    1. Chris Bidmead on May 23rd, 2005 10:34 am

      > It would be a wonderful thing if we could get the governments on both sides of the
      > Atlantic out of the news business. NPR, PBS, and the BBC: BEGONE!

      You’re confused. The UK government isn’t in the BBC, in any sense. It doesn’t pay for the BBC, it doesn’t even subsidise it. The BBC is financed directly by British citizens, who, like the BBC, frequently find themselves at odds with the UK government.

      By the way, Galloway didn’t at all “bluster” before the Senate Sub-Committee. A video of the full proceedings is circulating on the Web for anyone who wants to confirm for themselves that Galloway was courteous and statesmanlinke, although he didn’t pull any punches in his condemnation of the US — and British — engagement in the illegal war against Iraq.

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