Archive for the ‘Blair’ tag
OFCOM has upheld its ruling that ITV did not show due accuracy in its reports about Blair’s decision to go to war (OFCOM’s Broadcast Bulletin No.179, 26-2-07). In an analysis worth reading in full, OFCOM takes apart the interview between Michael Parkinson and Tony Blair and, though it finds some ambiguity in the language, concludes that ITV misrepresented what Blair said. Blair did raise the issue of his faith in the interview, and that he would eventually be judged for his actions (the implication being by God). But what he did not say was whether he’d asked God if Britain should go to war in Iraq.
Yet the headlines emblazoned over the 1830 and 2230 ITV news said just this: “Tony Blair says his belief in God played a part in deciding to go to war in Iraq”, and “Tony Blair’s belief in God played a crucial role in his decision to send British troops to a war in Iraq”.
Whether or not you agree with ITV’s argument that it made a fair interpretation of the gist of the interview if not the exact words spoken, it is refreshing to see such an intense examination of a news story – imagine the same sort of scrutiny being applied to newspapers.
…when we have so little context in which to place it? Most newspapers and broadcasters have covered Blair’s announcement in breadth – particularly given the subsequent political repercussions it has had in the US – but very few in depth. By this I mean that there is precious little reporting from the ground in Basra. We know the view from Baghdad, from London, and from Washington, but not, sadly, from the place from which the troops are leaving. We understand from Blair that British troops are constantly under fire, and, from Cameron, that there has been a ‘bleak deterioration in Basra over the last three years’ (via Steve Richards), but we’ve got no picture to compare this against.
The situation across Iraq is catastrophic and this hampers both the movement of journalists and their ability to stay somewhere like Basra long term. And there are already many journalists putting themselves at great risk reporting from inside and around Baghdad – Peter Beaumont in Buquba, Patrick Cockburn, David Loyn, Stephen Farrell, Ned Parker and others.
But it is unfortunate that there don’t seem to be any UK reporters, even embedded, in Basra (please tell me if I’ve missed them).
I suppose we should be grateful that most news reports focused on the withdrawal rather than the news that Prince Harry would serve in Iraq, although The Sun managed both, ’1,600 out, one’s in’ (their focus, online at least, has since shifted)
And talking of news values, after the news about Basra why on earth did The Times decide to lead (its print edition) on a report charting the continuing decline of the institution of marriage (‘Britons fall out of love with marriage’)?