Sunday, August 10, 2008

How the BBC is deliberately distorting the News from the Georgia Region

As usual, the BBC is twisting and distorting the news coming out of the Georgia region. We keep being told that around 1500 have been killed in Georgia, the inference being that this has resulted from Russian bombing.

Not so, the casualties are in Ossetia.

While the Ossetians claimed over 1000 dead the BBC neither reported this or any newsreel coming out of Ossetia showing the destruction caused by the Georgian shelling of the breakaway republic.

All we are getting is one-sided reports of the destruction being caused by the Russians.

Unlike News 24 which is its international news carrier, the BBC website does make some mention of Ossetian casualties:

"We left our town because the situation there is worse than anything I've seen in 18 years of conflict. Houses are being hit by rockets and heavy artillery, aircraft are bombing the roads."

Since yesterday, Russia Today was reporting the complete destruction of Ossetia's capital by Georgian shelling. Again, the destruction of the Ossetian capital was never reported by the BBC.

Last Friday, RIA Novosti reported that Ossetia was claiming over 1000 dead:

"Over 1,000 civilians have been killed as the result of an attack by Georgia on the capital of its breakaway republic of South Ossetia, the North Ossetian nationalities minister said Friday.

According to the South Ossetian information and press committee, the number of fatalities is estimated, according to preliminary information, at over 1,000," Teimuraz Kasayev said."

Sometime after mid-day today I tried unsuccessfully to access the Russia Today website for further information. Whether this is because of heavy traffic or because the website is being blocked by someone it is difficult to tell. I experienced the very same problem trying to access the RIA Novosti website.

Meanwhile, a BBC News 24 reporter, Lyse Doucet, tried to suggest that Russia had attacked Abkhazia by sending troops into that breakaway republic! That was soon put into doubt by another BBC reporter from Moscow who speculated that the sending of Russian troops into Abkhazia was not an attack but intended to protect its citizens and holiday-makers there.

On Saturday, China's Xinhua news service reported, "Abkhazia launches operation to force Georgian troops out" and "Georgia defeats Abkhazia's attacks". And previous news from Russia Today had announced Abkhazia's attack on Georgia. So was the BBC's Doucet confused or deliberately confusing the facts?

What is clear, however, is that the BBC is giving carte blanche to the Georgian point-of-view to be aired on its services while nothing whatsoever is being heard from the Ossetian side. The BBC's repetitive playing of a statement by George Bush, given several days ago, without balancing these against statements from the Russian side indicates where the BBC is coming from.

The contrast between the brazenly pro-US, pro-Georgian views being put out on BBC News 24 and the BBC website is to be noted whilst a more balanced assessment has been published by Richard Seymour of Lenin's Tomb. He, like me, believes that the BBC is deliberately confusing the issue. I'm sure we'll get much more of that from the BBC:

"Incidentally, just so that this point isn't lost in the deliberately confusing reportage. Yes, Russian jets are attacking Georgian targets and killing civilians. Yes, the reported civilian casualties "on both sides" is reported to be over 2,000. What is quite often not stated or just gently skated over in the reporting, so laden with images of Georgian dead and wounded, is that the estimate of 2,000 civilian deaths comes from the Russian government and it applies overwhelmingly to the Georgian attacks on South Ossetia on Friday.

In fact, this is the basis for Vladimir Putin's claims of a "genocide" against South Osettians by the Georgians (is he deliberately referencing the ICTY judgment about Srebrenica here?). The Georgian side, by contrast, claims 129 deaths of both soldiers and civilians. So, if Russian figures are good enough to reference, why is the source of the figures and their context obscured? Why is being made to look as if Russian forces are behind most of those alleged deaths? Doesn't this just amount to a whitewash of the actions of the Georgian army in South Ossetia? And why not mention 30,000 refugees too?"


"American says US and Georgia to answer for Violence in South Ossetia"

See it on Russia Today now

Being a glutton for punishment, more often than not I have BBC News 24 running in the background to provide some background noise in what would otherwise be a very sleepy flat by the sea. Of course, recently I've been keeping a sharp eye on them to see how they manufacture and manage the news coming out of the Georgia region.

Ironically, I find that Rupert Murdoch's Sky News is nowhere near as warmongering as is the BBC. Now why should a scoundrel like Murdoch be providing us with a marginally saner version of the News? I can only imagine it's because there's nowhere like the amount of pressure put on Sky News by the UK Government and MI5. Besides, would anyone dare pressure a powerful, multinational mogul like Murdoch? As for the BBC, the Government has it by the goolies because of the TV licence. It knows it and it's squeezing so hard now that it won't be long before it has it's balls broken and privatised. To mix metaphors, the BBC is in the Alamo and down to its last bullets.

Hence all the warmongering hysteria which reflects nicely the change from the BBC being a mouthpiece for British imperial values to those of the USA on, for example, the current desperate attempt by the BBC to pin the blame on dem bad Russkis who are up to it again.

But just occasionally they slip up, either accidentally or mischievously. Such an occasion took place this afternoon when the BBC's boyish Tim Willcox interviewed Sergei Markov, a Russian political analyst and member of the government's United Russia Party. Sergei would have looked just the part as a tank commander, fur hat and ear-flaps flying free, atop an indomitable WWII T-34 tank charging straight at NATO's Nazi Panzers.

Despite his thick Russian accent Sergei weighed into Willcox, George Galloway-style, and blew open the BBC deceit on its reporting. Why did the BBC only report the story from the Georgian side of events? Why did they not report the genocide being carried out by the Georgians in Ossetia? Willcox suggested it was because the BBC couldn't access the Ossetian capital. Nonsense, replied Sergei. If they really wanted to no one was stopping them. Truth was they weren't interested in the genocide going on there! Willcox cut him off in true BBC-style with an embarassed comment that actually the BBC were being fair. End of report and a quick switch to another embedded reporter of the deceptive Doucet ilk.

I'm looking on Google-Youtube in the hope that some urban media-guerilla might have recorded the incident. If anyone finds the exchange between Sergei Markov and Tim Willcox on BBC News 24 today can they let us see it or provide the link?


  1. Hello there. I read your blog post yesterday about the BBC biased reporting of the conflict in Georgia and Ossetia. I actually copied your post on to medialens where a keen interest is taken on the subject of BBC bias.

    I agree with your reading of the Willcox/Markov interview and made a comment on the medialens site to the same effect. Unfortunately it is not retrievable from their silly and selective iPlayer. In the old days, items like this would have been available and in perpetuity not for the seven days they allow now. Not stupid are they!

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for the extra publicity. I've already seen your piece about the Markov-Willcox exchange which was thoroughly enjoyable.

    I would have published this stuff on the ML Message Board but was banned (I feel most unfairly) by the two Davids for ad hominem attacks on George Bush!!


  3. Stefan4:25 pm

    I've debated people who say vaccines are safe, and they always pull out the ol "ad hom" when you show them the government links showing that the mercury in them is a potent neurotoxin. People in general seem to run, like they've been magnetized, to whoever has a desire to kill or control them, and I do not understand why they choose this experience. They love Bush, love Scientology, love it all.

    I must say, this is very good work. You've got the talent, my friend. I've written an article on the slaughter there myself. I guess you won't agree with everything I wrote, but there is a good bit you may.

  4. Anonymous5:03 pm

    your post (republished by is doing well on digg!

    Just found another example of distorted reporting you might use:

    The article tells a dramatic story of a woman (Paisia Sytnik) calling from a town under heavy attack.
    It talks about civilian victims and strongly implies that Russian army is responsible for all of them. However, brief googling for Paisia Sytnik reveals that she was reporting an attack by *Georgian, not Russian forces*. This fact is not mentioned anywhere in the article; instead, it is framed by statements like "[Georgia] outmanned and outgunned [by Russia]", or pictures of destroyed Georgian homes.
    For anyone unfamiliar with the situation and geographic names, this would create a wrong impression.

  5. Many thanks, Stefan. So far I have restricted myself to commenting upon the BBC's hysteria about the evil Russians.

    I've had a quick look at your article (will try & read all of it later) and find it interesting and informative though I would question the 'Al CIA-duh did it' angle.

    With many others I tend to consign most references to Al Qaeda into the Bollocks Category! ;-)

  6. Hi Anonymous:

    your post (republished by is doing well on digg!

    Thanks for that. I'm amazed how popular this commentary has been. It only goes to show the paucity of good anti-Big Brother articles have been published in the West over the Georgia Region war.

    I'm just preparing another one about BBC war hysteria so keep checking in!

  7. Stefan, I forgot to mention that @I've linked your blog with mine.