December 16, 2003

“IRAQI MINISTER TELLS U.N. TO STOP SNIPING, START HELPING:” Indeed.

UPDATE: Reader Julie Meehan notes that the same story plays rather differently at the BBC:

It’s titled “UN Chief demands clear role for Iraq”

The BBC story makes no mention whatsoever of the Iraqi foreign minister’s comments that the UN “failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years” or that “One year ago, the Security Council was divided between those who wanted to appease Saddam Hussein and those who wanted to hold him accountable”.

It’s a horrible piece of reporting by an increasingly horrible media service. Thank god we’ve got you! :-)

And no license fee required! Meanwhile, though the New York Times must not have gotten the BBC’s memo, as its coverage does not omit the criticism of the UN, and adds some additional material that seems to contradict the BBC’s Kofi-boosting coverage:

Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, accused the United Nations Security Council today of having failed to help rescue his country from Saddam Hussein, and he chided member states for bickering over his beleaguered country’s future. . . .

Taking a harsh view of the inability of quarreling members of the Security Council to endorse military action in Iraq, Mr. Zebari said, “One year ago, the Security Council was divided between those who wanted to appease Saddam Hussein and those who wanted to hold him accountable.

“The United Nations as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years, and today we are unearthing thousands of victims in horrifying testament to that failure.”

He declared, “The U.N. must not fail the Iraqi people again.”

It was not immediately clear how the accusatory tone of Mr. Zebari’s speech affected the closed-door discussion over the United Nations’ role in Iraq that followed, but Secretary General Kofi Annan, the first to emerge from the hall, appeared taken aback.

“Now is not the time to pin blame and point fingers,” he told reporters.

By which he meant, Now is not the time to pin blame on me! The BBC’s characterization of this meeting seems quite at odds with the other two stories, and will only serve to confirm the BBC’s image as increasingly shoddy, biased and out of touch. And, apparently, still unaware just how easy it is to notice this sort of thing, thanks to that newfangled Internet.

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