Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sliming Wolfowitz

Re: Why Wolfowitz did nothing wrong. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

I am not an apologist for Paul Wolfowitz. His failures with respect to the Iraq War are among the most serious in the history of the U.S. State Department. They should be discussed and analyzed. However, he should be held accountable for THOSE failures, not scapegoated for invented, exaggerated scandals.

The coverage of this story on the BBC World Service radio news was so inflated as to be comical. Yesterday's edition played this story as the major event on planet Earth (whereas it was only that important on planet BBC). It was their top story, and, listening for an hour on the National Public Radio station here in New York, I caught half an hour of reportage on the subject. By reportage, of course, I mean BBC reporters asking the opinions of people who agree with them. You see, that's what makes it news and not opinion.

My understanding is that he was raised in upstate New York, not Warsaw. However, BBC as a rule has pronounced Wolfowitz' name with an ersatz Polish or Yiddish accent, something like "Wolfervitz". They have portrayed him as a sort of foreign agent influencing U.S. policy for foreign, nefarious interests. In other words, he has become the target of BBC anti-Semitism.

BBC, which is currently in an expensive legal battle to suppress an independant study of bias in its reporting on Israel, would do better to be less blunt. If they want to influence public opinion, they need to be seen as objective. If they want to be seen as reporting without bigotry, they need to stop pronouncing Jewish names with odd, faux authentic accents. If they want to be a news agency, they need to stop reporting opinion as fact, and stop demonizing public figures they oppose. They should be frank about Wolfowitz' record (and those of Bush and Blair), and they should be frank about their own.

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