BBC: Caught in the Act
by Stephen Lendman
On February 11, the London Independent headlined, “BBC to issue global apology for documentaries that broke rules,” saying:
“….(P)rograms were made by third-party in pay of governments and firms.”
In other words, they were propaganda, not legitimate news and information. More on the scandal below.
Throughout its history, BBC’s been an imperial tool. It replicates the worst of America’s major media, its NPR/PBS managed news operations, and Qatar controlled Al Jazeera on major world and national issues.
Reliability’s not its mandate. Owned, operated and controlled by Britain, government officials appoint its management. Nothing fundamentally changed from 1922 inception to today. Only technology’s different, not BBC’s state controlled message.
It’s pro-government, pro-imperial, pro-war, pro-Israel, pro-corporate, and anti-populist. Deception triumphs over truth. Step over the line and get fired.
In 2003, correspondent Andrew Gilligan, Chairman Gavyn Davies, and Director-General Greg Dyke got the boot because Gilligan reported government officials “sexed up” WMD documents, knowing they were false.
In other words, fake information, in league with Washington, promoted war on Iraq. Exposing it got Gilligan and top management axed. New bosses replaced former ones. Seamlessly it was back to business as usual, producing propaganda instead of truth and full disclosure.
In March 2011, the London Guardian headlined, “BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US State Department,” saying:
BBC will “receive a ‘significant’ sum of money from the US government to help (circumvent) the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China,” as well as develop early warning software to more easily detect jamming.
At the time, BBC’s Jim Egan said software would help “monitor dips in traffic which act as an early warning of jamming, and can be more effective than relying on people contacting us and telling us they cannot access the services.”
Proxy servers are also used to misdirect web site blockers to countries other than where broadcasts emanate.
Egan left unexplained why foreign blocking occurs: namely, to prevent state-sponsored propaganda vilifying targeted regimes. Funding buys influence. According to Institute of Economic Affairs director Mark Littlewood:
“The minute you actually start taking the money, there is bound to be a certain element of ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune.’ It is a strange arrangement, and I would worry that the more complicated we make (BBC), the less pure its message can be.”
Of course, BBC’s tainted and disreputable, not pure. Its state controlled message serves wealth and power. EU Parliament member Gerard Batten once called it “institutionally politically biased, certainly in favour of things like the European Union, mass immigration, and a whole other ‘politically correct’ ideas that I think it peddles to the public.”
He added that the “sponsorship of any news and current affairs TV programs (is prohibited) across the EU. Now it would appear then, that if the US State Department is going to fund BBC that would appear to be in breach of the directive.”
BBC’s Latest Scandal
A London Independent investigation learned how BBC’s paid nominal fees of as little as one British pound for programming produced by Britain’s FactBased Communications (FBC Media).
It calls itself “a European-based media and entertainment group specializing in television format creation, production and distribution.”
Its activities include “current affairs content for television and airlines plus original TV format creation and quality production for the UK and international television markets in the business, economy, entertainment, sport and factual genres, as well as FBC’s international sales, sponsorship and distribution of syndicated programmes.”
FBC’s run by former Financial Times correspondent Alan Friedman and former CNN reporter John Defterios until he resigned. Its services include government and corporate propaganda.
Its clients are featured in programs made for CNBC, India, Greece, Kazakhstan, Italy, Zambia, Indonesia, Hungary, and corporations like Microsoft. Its promotional literature says it “cultivate(s)” key opinion makers, the types showing up on major media TV. It boasted that its:
“clients include heads of state, governments and ministries, special economic zones and property projects, companies and international organizations.”
It produced eight Malaysia propaganda pieces for BBC without mention of being paid 17 million pounds by its government for “global strategic communications.” Material portrayed Malaysia’s controversial palm oil industry favorably.
BBC also aired FBC’s documentary about Egypt’s 2011 uprising produced by former dictator Hosni Mubarak. BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee discovered 15 World Service editorial breaches. Eight were about Malaysia. Others were on violating sponsorship rules.
As a result, on February 11, BBC apologized on air to millions of viewers. The Independent called it a “remarkable broadcast, available in 295 million homes, 1.7 million hotel rooms, 81 cruise ships, 46 airlines, and on 35 mobile phone platforms,” as well as anyone worldwide online.
Given BBC’s longstanding government controlled mandate, it apologized tongue in cheek for breaking “rules aimed at protecting our editorial integrity.” In fact, it got caught with its pants down.
Saying “(e)ditorial integrity is the highest priority for BBC World News” falsifies facts. Perhaps its most flagrant breach occurred on 9/11. At 4:54PM EDT, BBC’s Jane Standley reported WTC 7’s collapse – 27 minutes before it happened at 5:21PM EDT.
Later she disingenuously claimed she didn’t “remember minute-by-minute what she saw.” Of course, neither she or BBC could explain how an event was reported before it occurred. BBC knew in advance, but erred by informing viewers too early.
The Independent concluded its report, saying:
It “kept strict divisions between (FBC’s) editorial and PR operations. Still operating in Europe and India, FBC closed its London offices and went into administration (last) October. Broadcasting regulator Ofcom is investigating” its operations.
Administrator Hillier Hopkins Corporate Recovery’s David Butler said:
It’s “working on establishing the extent of the company’s assets (to) maximize any potential return to the ex-employees and other creditors. As with any insolvency, the circumstances surrounding and the reasons for they company’s failure will be fully investigated in due course.”
Expect nothing further exposing BBC’s state controlled propaganda, not real news, information and analysis. Its mandate entirely excludes them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.