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To BBC's Lyse Doucet on fawning portrayal of McChrystal

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Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: To BBC's Lyse Doucet on fawning portrayal of McChrystal Reply with quote

Dear Lyse Doucet

I read with close interest some of your exchanges with General McChrystal and observations on his conduct in heading NATO's occupation of Afghanistan.

This came courtesy of the latest Media Lens Alert, which raises rather important questions about the selective praise and empathy offered in your reports for someone with a documented record of violent military abuse.

I wonder if you'd care to comment on the points raised in the Alert?

As ML note:
"We are not suggesting that McChrystal is a bad or evil man who should not be afforded compassion. The point is that he is a deeply controversial figure responsible for the killing of enormous numbers of people. Attention should be drawn to the controversial and bloody nature of his activities, as would happen as a matter of course if he was one of ‘the bad guys’. Questions should be asked and answered about the death squads, about the allegations of torture, about the tsunami of civilian casualties."

As they also say:
"It is not the job of serious journalism to fall at the feet of power, but British and American journalists habitually do just that."

Do you think your reporting and characterisation of McChrystal is appropriate in content and tone given the background here noted - a track record which, as a senior BBC journalist, you, presumably, know about?

Can you see how your intimate representation of McChrystal helps authenticate the war in Afghanistan and its effect in legitimating the killing of Afghans?

Bearing in mind the BBC's specific guidelines on balanced reporting, would you ever present such a close and endearing portrayal of a Taliban leader or anyone else designated an official enemy of the West?

Are you in any sense embarrassed by this output?

I look forward to your considered thoughts.


John Hilley
Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:59 pm
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