Our media and our MPs are letting us down

This entry was posted on
Monday, January 9th, 2006
9:25 am and is filed
under It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!.

Observer – Official or not, it’s no secret in the blogosphere: This episode is proof of a widening gulf between law and technology. The downside for Murray is that his memos did not cause the sensation he hoped for. This might be because they don’t reveal anything that wasn’t widely suspected; or because, since they were available to all online, they were nobody’s scoop and so no editor made a song and dance over them.

On the first point, yes it was widely suspected, but it could not be proved.

On the second, editors who place a ‘scoop’ status ahead of the public interest should hang their heads in shame.

Here’s evidence of someone else letting us down:

Tiny Revolution – NY Times: Downing Street Memo Background Is Too Good For The Likes Of Us: Most of the attention given to James Risen’s new book State of War has focused on Risen’s reporting on warrantless spying by the NSA – and how the New York Times didn’t publish it until State of War was about to come out. And of course that’s important. But the book also contains critical new background on the Downing Street Memo. And incredibly enough, this information has NEVER been published by the New York Times…. one of the most important questions about the Downing Street Memo has always been who exactly Dearlove met with in Washington. This would go a long way to answering why Dearlove believed “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Pundits wishing to play down the significance of the memo, such as Michael Kinsley, opined that Dearlove may have just been talking to “the usual freelance chatterboxes” and perhaps was simply reporting on the “mood and gossip of ‘Washington.'” This isn’t what Risen writes, to say the least.

Also rather poorly reported this morning, with the exception of an appearance on this morning’s Today programme, (listen again here at 07:32), no-one in Britain is picking up on the Mail on Sunday report that General Sir Michael Rose says in an interview to be aired this Friday on Channel 4 that; “I think the politicians should be held to account… my view is that Blair should be impeached… I would not have gone to war on such flimsy grounds.”

Normally, the first line of defence against such people is the ‘benefit of hindsight’ argument. Too bad this in on record, then…

Daily Mail – Commanders warn against Iraq attack (30th July 2002): Tony Blair was under mounting pressure last night not to join any military action against Iraq. The Prime Minister was given a grim warning by King Abdullah of Jordan that support for a U.S.-led bid to topple Saddam Hussein would risk opening a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of fresh conflict in the Middle East. The Prime Minister was given a grim warning by King Abdullah of Jordan that support for a U.S.-led bid to topple Saddam Hussein would risk opening a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of fresh conflict in the Middle East. The King spoke out as it emerged that military commanders on both sides of the Atlantic are uneasy at the apparent momentum towards an invasion. They fear that trying to overthrow Saddam is simply too big a task, at least without the most careful planning. Those concerns were echoed by Sir Michael Rose, a former head of the SAS and UN forces in Bosnia. The respected former soldier, writing in the Evening Standard, said: ‘There are huge political and military risks associated with launching large-scale ground forces into Iraq.’ He said Mr Blair was ‘even more vague’ than President Bush about what weapons of mass destruction Iraq held.

Meanwhile, Parliament is back in session, but the Liberal Democrats will probably be unwilling to do much boat-rocking as they sort out the leadership question.

The Tories were equally gun-shy when they went through their change in leadership. But now the Tories have sorted this out, the policy of David Cameron, the man who wants to be our next PM, seems to be ‘feed out more rope’…. Why? For God’s sake, why? There’s already three miles of slack!

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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