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Friday, January 30, 2004

Better Than P0rn
That's how good the Hutton Report is. Mmmmmm ... Comeuppance .... ggghghgghhhaaghgh.

In brief, this is what it says:
On Tony Blair
· No 'dishonourable, duplicitous, underhand strategy' by the prime minister
· There was nothing dramatic in Kevin Tebbit's evidence that Blair chaired the meeting that agreed to confirm Kelly's name, or any inconsistency in their evidence
· The desire of the PM to have a strong dossier may have subconsciously influenced John Scarlett and the Joint Intelligence Committee to produce a strongly worded document

On the BBC
· BBC editorial system was 'defective'
· BBC management failed to appreciate that Gilligan's notes did not support the most serious of his allegations
· The BBC governors should have recognised the desire to protect its independence was not incompatible with investigating Mr Campbell's complaints, no matter what their tone
· The BBC governors should have investigated further the differences between Gilligan's notes and his report, and that should have led them to question whether it was in the public interest to broadcast his report relying only on his notes

On Andrew Gilligan
· Gilligan's report on Today programme that dossier was 'sexed up' by the government was a 'grave allegation'
· Gilligan attacked integrity of government and Joint Intelligence Committee in Today broadcast
· On the 45-minute claim: Gilligan's report did not distinguish between long-range battlefield and strategic weapons
· Gilligan's allegation that government probably knew its 45-minute claim was wrong was unfounded - even if the claim is proved to be wrong in the future
· Kelly did not tell Gilligan that the government knew the 45-minute claim was probably wrong
· 'I am satisfied he did not say the reason why it was not in the original document was that it came from one source and that the intelligence agencies did not believe it was necessarily true'


There has been some justice, in that Gavyn Davies has resigned, Greg Dyke has resigned, and now Andrew Gilligan has resigned. Although they still claimed to be maligned parties.

[Gilligan] said: "If Lord Hutton had fairly considered the evidence he heard, he would have concluded that most of my story was right." He said the BBC's punishment was "far out of proportion to its or my mistakes, which were honest ones". Mr Gilligan said: "This report casts a chill over all journalism, not just the BBC's.

This is extra-super sweet because Dyke used to lecture American reporters for being unbalanced and unjustifiably pro-war.

Greg Dyke, the BBC's director general, has attacked American television reporting of Iraq. "For any news organisation to act as a cheerleader for government is to undermine your credibility," he said. "They should be... balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other." He said research showed that, of 840 experts interviewed on American news programmes during the invasion of Iraq, only four opposed the war. "If that were true in Britain, the BBC would have failed in its duty."

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