Tuesday 13 May 2014

Putting "the government" in the frame

I see tonight that both the Guardian ("ICC to examine claims of British war crimes in Iraq") and the BBC News website ("Court to probe UK Iraq abuse claims") are leading with the news that a group of left-wing lawyers has persuaded the International Criminal Court to begin preliminary investigation into claims that UK forces abused Iraqi detainees between 2003 and 2008. 

In contrast to the BBC-Guardian's sense of new priorities, however, the Sky News website places that particular story way down its running order (I count it as being in 15th place), the ITV News website is leading with the man arrested for the murder of Claudia Lawrence and the fatal Cornish coach crash, and the story is completely absent from the Daily Telegraph homepage and the Times homepage. The (omnivorous) Daily Mail homepage places it in 14th place. The Independent places it in 15th place.

I wouldn't want to go down the path of labelling the BBC "the traitors in our midst" (in the manner of right-wing Americans), but this sort of thing riles me. The BBC and the Guardian could pretty much be relied upon to give Phil Shiner & Co's little victory top billing, couldn't they?

Radio 4's PM also led with the story and gave Phil Shiner (the best-known of those left-wing lawyers) a platform. Eddie Mair posed just one challenging question to him. 

Public Interest Lawyers' main angle is to get at those at the top - the senior Labour ministers and defence chiefs in place at the time of the Iraq War. 

Curiously (or at least it seemed very curious to me), PM talked only about "the government", and quoted responses from "the government", as if "the government" were in the frame here.

Now I know we're not all stupid enough to think that the present government was in power when the Iraq War took place, but you might have thought that PM might, just once, have mentioned that it was the previous government, the Labour government, that the left-wing lawyers are accusing of war crimes, but the words "previous" and "Labour" were conspicuous by their absence from the mouths of either Eddie Mair or Paul Adams here.

Ah but, towards the end of PM, Attorney General Dominic Grieve came unto PM to give "the government" response. Eddie stuck to talking about "the government" and "senior government ministers" with him. 

Wonder what far-left Media Lens makes of the apparent BBC bias here? 

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