02 February 2010

Iraq and BBC 'censorship'

Today at the Chilcot inquiry into the war against Iraq, the former minister Claire Short revealed that Tony Blair had manipulated the gorvernment process by stifling debate in cabinet; lied to the cabinet about the weapons of mass destruction; and even lied to the House of Commons about the same thing. These were possibly the most remarkable and damaging allegations to come out of this enquiry so far - especially given the pathetically weak questioning which has been addressed to people such as Blair and his non-elected PR consultant Alastair Campbell.

So I was especially interested to see how Newsnight, BBC2's vanguard political commentary programme would cover these incendiary remarks. The result was that the Chilcot enquiry was relegated almost to the end of the programme - and then wa summarised as merely a statement made in criticism of the former attorney-general, Goldsmith, and his part in the WMD turn-around.

Was the BBC under orders to bury this story? No - of course not. They are completely independent and impartial - ha, ha. Kirsty Wark conducted the whole programme with her customary lack of professionalism - which led to people talking across each other, debate mangled by her interruptions, and the whole thing descending into a mess of badly managed ill temper.

Maybe I will take a leaf out of Billy Bragg's book and refuse to pay my TV licence next time it comes up for renewal. Anybody know what the rules and possible consequences are?

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