Tuesday 7 December 2021

“The details of this story are pretty astonishing”

“The details of this story are pretty astonishing”, tweeted Jess Brammar, editor of the BBC's news channels, this morning. 

She was referring to a BBC News website report by James Landale, the BBC's diplomatic correspondent: Afghanistan: Foreign Office chaotic during Kabul evacuation - whistleblower

Reading it myself and then reading other accounts astonished me too. 

The headline in The Times shows where that paper's emphasis lies: Work-from-home culture fuelled Kabul chaos, leaving Afghan refugees in danger, says whistleblower

The Daily Mail agrees. In its account, the whistleblower's main point is that the UK's Afghan rescue effort was hampered by a 'work from home' culture in the Foreign Office. 

That, however, doesn't even get a mention in the BBCs report. It's not listed under ifs 'Key issues flagged' flagged section. It must be a key point, however, as the Guardian lists it as a key point under the sub-headline FCDO ‘working culture’

The public service 'working culture' at the FCDO sounds rather similar to that at the BBC. Is that why the BBC hasn't reported this part of the story, either because it made they weren't interested in it or felt uncomfortable reporting it? The ''chaos'' outlined in the BBC piece is about everything but that.

Update: As others are noting, the name 'Joe Biden' is missing from that long report about the chaos of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite him being ultimately responsible for it. 

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