Thursday, April 29, 2004

BBC biased against Bush

In violation, again, of its own charter, Rob Watson BBC Washington correspondent, attempts (and fails) an "analysis" of President Bush's testimony to the 911 commission.

Paragraph 3.2 c of that charter states:

" contain comprehensive, authoritative and impartial coverage of news and current affairs in the United Kingdom and throughout the world to support fair and informed debate at local, regional and national levels;"

Dr. Watson's "so called" analysis is neither impartial, fair or informed.

When President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney appear before the 9/11 commission on Thursday, it will be in private, with no cameras and no transcripts.

While that is correct Dr. Watson fails to inform BBC readers that Clinton and Gore testified, together, in exactly the same manner. By leaving this information out Watson tries to create the illusion that no one else has testified this way and therefore it is Bush who has something to hide. Here Dr. Watson is not being impartial.

The fact that the president and vice-president will be appearing together has been a gift from heaven to political satirists, with one cartoonist depicting Dick Cheney as the ventriloquist and George W Bush as his dummy.

Here Dr. Watson is not being fair by using one cartoon about the 911 proceedings to put forward his own views on who runs the White House. Since this is merely his own biased view, how does this add to his "so called" analysis?

It has also prompted some awkward questions for the president - including the obvious: Why does Dick Cheney have to be there too?

No one seemed to mind when Clinton and Gore appeared in exactly the same manner. But clue less Dr. Watson fails to inform his readers of this.

Notice how the first three paragraphs of this "so called" analysis are devoted to the issue of Bush and Cheney appearing together. Watson is trying to hammer home his point that there must be something wrong with this. He is trying to build the illusion that they have something to hide; something he later claims in the article. This is not fair or impartial.

One of the Democrats on the commission, former Congressman Tim Roemer, told me he wasn't that bothered about the unusual double billing, but he insisted he would have some tough questions for the president.

He wants to know whether terrorism was a priority in the Bush administration and whether Mr Bush personally spent enough time on terrorism.

There has already been one witness, former counter-terrorism chief Dick Clarke, who has alleged that fighting al-Qaeda was not as big of a priority for the Bush administration as it was for the Clinton administration.

And Mr Roemer agrees with that assertion.

Dr. Watson gives us the views of one commissioner, a Democrat and Bush opponent, on this issue. He also quotes Dick Clarke's testimony which has already been widely discredited. And, finally, we are told that Mr. Roemer agrees with Clarke, at a time when the commission is still hearing evidence. Dr. Watson fails, again, to be fair and impartial.

The president won't be going unprepared. Bush administration officials say he has been extensively briefed for his appearance senior White House officials and lawyers.

The 911 commission is looking in to ways to prevent another such atrocity; should Bush go in unprepared Dr. Watson? Here again, the good Dr. Watson wants to continue building the illusion that the administration has something to hide.

"I don't really see any danger. It's a private session. There will leaks on both sides, probably neutralising one another," Mr Mann said. The commission's conclusions are what will matter and whether the commission finds the president bears any responsibility for 9/11, he said, adding: "But for now, the testimony will come and soon be forgotten."

Dr. Watson fails to point out that finding if the president bears any responsibility for 911 is not the commissions mandate. Nor is its mandate to put blame on Clinton.

As you read the next few paragraphs, remember how Dr. Watson has been trying to build the illusion that Bush has something to hide. Now he is going to make that claim with some "analysis" of a CBS poll. Read carefully.

That said opinion polls suggest the hearings already held by the commission have started to take their toll.

Dottie Lynch, the senior pollster for the CBS network, says the American people are now decidedly less trusting.

"In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, they were very positive. It was a time of national unity," she said.

"But since then, people have become very sceptical of what the Bush administration knew before 9/11. Our recent poll show that 72% believe that they are either hiding something about what they knew or lying outright about what they knew about 9/11," she added.

What is missing here; what has Dr. Watson failed to inform us of? Well, how about a link to the poll so we can see for ourselves and make our own conclusions. But Dr. Watson doesn't want you to see the poll for good reason.

Here is why.

Only one-quarter thinks the Bush Administration is telling the entire truth about what they knew of the terror threat prior to 9/11. 59 percent say they are mostly telling the truth but still hiding something about that knowledge, and 11 percent say they are mostly lying.

So, 25% completely trust the administration compared to "only" 11% that think they are lying. And 59% say they are mostly telling the truth but are hiding something. I don't doubt for one minute they are hiding something; I hope they are. That would be called intelligence but we are not given the exact question so we don't know how it was worded.

So where did the 72% come from? Beats me. If you add the 59 and 11% you get 70%. However if you add 25 and 59% you get 84%. There you have it 84% of the people either completely or mostly trust the Bush Administration.

Dr. Watson leave the "analysis" to Sherlock Holmes.

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