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I Don’t Get It

There is a big flap in the UK over the BBC decision not to carry a fund raiser for Gaza relief: Gaza decision up to BBC. The BBC hierarchy is saying that carrying the “telethon” that involves major charity organizations would demonstrate bias on the part of the BBC.

The BBC is a media network, just like the US media networks, except that it is funded by licensing fees on the users. They have separate divisions, just like the US networks, and I don’t see how running a charity event during prime time will affect the ability of the news division to do its job. They have aired political satires that would never see the light of day in the US, but no one questioned their impartiality. If they feel they must, they could run disclaimers, as often happens in the US media.

If the BBC only allowed Israelis to be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, then a case might be made for bias, but this is not the case. I feel certain that if Israel had been subjected to three weeks of bombardment with no ability to respond, these same charities would schedule a fund raiser for them. The reality is that it was Gaza that was blasted, and Gaza is the area that needs the help.

January 25, 2009   2 Comments

Lawyering Up

CNN reports that Israel prepares legal defense of soldiers

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel’s government on Sunday approved a measure that will give legal protection to its military officers if they are accused of war crimes during the Gaza incursion, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.

“The state of Israel will completely back anyone that acted in its name,” Olmert said Sunday at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting. “The soldiers and commanders that were sent on missions in Gaza need to know that they are safe from different tribunals.

The best way a government can protect its military is not to encourage or require it to commit war crimes in the first place, and not to prevent independent reporting on the conflict. The only reasonable explanation for these actions by the Israeli government is that the military believes that war crimes charges will be forthcoming.

January 25, 2009   15 Comments

An Experiment

News Writer is testing a theory at Stop The Press!.

To avoid contaminating the experiment, I’ll note that it took four hours for the subject to appear at this lonely outpost. I assume it’s a ‘bot searching for certain names and nouns.

January 25, 2009   6 Comments

Burns Night

flag of Scotland

This is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns in Ayr, Scotland, so it will be a special edition of the Burns Night celebrations conducted by Scots all over the world with haggis, whisky¹, and poetry.

Wikipedia has a description of the standard celebration, but easy on the malt or you may end up with a William McGonagall morning.

1. This is the correct spelling when referring to Scotland’s “water of life”.

January 25, 2009   4 Comments