It’s nice to see a defense of objectivity in reporting, even if it’s only in passing:

As the American forces quickly advanced on Baghdad, the BBC offered viewers live feeds of the briefings given by Iraq’s information minister. As those sessions began to look more and more like “Saturday Night Live” skits, the BBC continued to treat them at face value and continued to give them equal billing to briefings from the Americans in Qatar.

Even more troubling, the network rarely chose to make any effort to establish the objective facts. When the two sides disagreed about who controlled the Baghdad Airport, the BBC could have noted that American journalists, embedded with American troops, were standing on the runways, but it did not. That kind of credulous evenhandedness is not a service to viewers; it is an abdication of journalistic responsibility. [Joshua Gerstein, New York Sun, 4/23/03]

Several paragraphs later, however, Gerstein (a reporter for ABC News) completely undercuts his defense of objectivity. With full knowledge of the CNN scandal, he defends the BBC for staying in Baghdad: “Imagine the journalists and news outlets we would have had to rely on had the BBC pulled out of Baghdad as most American television outlets did. But Iraqi censorship is no excuse for the network’s failure to have its correspondents outside Iraq, who were not under the thumb of Saddam’s goons, report on the true nature of the Iraqi power structure.” The utter failure to think in principle is exasperating. Isn’t it clear by now how little value there was in reports from Baghdad?

From Cox and Forkum:

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