“Don’t Mention the Navy”

We’ve written about the heroic job the U.S. Navy is doing, with help from the Australians and a few others, in relieving the effects of the tsunami. A reader named Plastun–I think–pointed out this infuriating column by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph:

‘Don’t mention the navy’ is the BBC’s line
Last week we were subjected to one of the most extraordinary examples of one-sided news management of modern times, as most of our media, led by the BBC, studiously ignored what was by far the most effective and dramatic response to Asia’s tsunami disaster. A mighty task force of more than 20 US Navy ships, led by a vast nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln, and equipped with nearly 90 helicopters, landing craft and hovercraft, were carrying out a round-the-clock relief operation, providing food, water and medical supplies to hundreds of thousands of survivors.
The BBC went out of its way not to report this. Only when one BBC reporter, Ben Brown, hitched a lift from one of the Abraham Lincoln’s Sea Hawk helicopters to report from the Sumatran coast was there the faintest hint of the part that the Americans, aided by the Australian navy, were playing.
Instead the BBC’s coverage was dominated by the self-important vapourings of a stream of politicians, led by the UN’s Kofi Annan; the EU’s “three-minute silence”; the public’s amazing response to fund-raising appeals; and a Unicef-inspired scare story about orphaned children being targeted by sex traffickers. The overall effect was to turn the whole drama into a heart-tugging soap opera.
The real story of the week should thus have been the startling contrast between the impotence of the international organisations, the UN and the EU, and the remarkable efficiency of the US and Australian military on the ground. Here and there, news organisations have tried to report this, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine in Germany, and even the China News Agency, not to mention various weblogs, such as the wonderfully outspoken Diplomad, run undercover by members of the US State Department, and our own www.eureferendum.blogspot.com. But when even Communist China’s news agency tells us more about what is really going on than the BBC, we see just how strange the world has become.

Yes. But the BBC, I’m afraid, has been strange for a long time.

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