The liar Oliver Kamm (hosted by Edward Stourton, bbc.r4.media)

Liars league

BBC (website episode description, not broadcast). “Ofcom have found the two programmes that George Galloway presents on London-based Press TV to be in breach of impartiality rules. Some journalists have expressed their concerns that those British journalists contributing to the Iranian state-funded television station are lending their credibility to a ‘propaganda channel’. Mehdi Hasan, senior editor for politics at the New Statesman, and Oliver Kamm, leader writer and columnist at The Times and contributor to The Jewish Chronicle, discuss the ethical decisions that face journalists.”

(BBC Radio 4, The Media Show, August 12 2009 13:30-14:00pm, segment 2), BBC audio 30:01 at 9:35-17:00 {iplayer, real}, excerpt:

Edward Stourton (BBC host). Press TV is Iran’s 24 hour english language news channel. It’s based here, and funded by the Iranian government, and last week the regulator Ofcom found that two of its programs had breached impartiality rules. The programs were presented by the MP George Galloway, here’s a flavor of his show, The Real Deal {audio clip, text omitted}. George Galloway, talking about the conflict in Gaza.

Well, the Ofcom ruling comes in the midst of a scratchy debate among journalists, about whether it’s right to take Press TV’s shilling, perhaps I should say its rial. The station’s presenters include the Evening Standard‘s Andrew Gilligan, James Whale, formerly of Talk Sport, and the tory MP Derek Conway.

Oliver Kamm is a leader writer and columnist on The Times, he’s appeared on Press TV in the past, but has now stopped doing so. Mehdi Hasan is a senior editor for politics at the New Statesman. They are both here, in the studio. Oliver Kamm, why have you changed your position.

Oliver Kamm. I changed my position at the start of this year when Press TV published on its website an article promoting holocaust denial. …

Edward Stourton. … Is it that narrow issue that’s made you change your position, or is it a more general point about appearing on something which belongs to, or is funded by a regime of which many people disapprove.

Oliver Kamm. … On the general subject of Press TV’s credibility, I think something has happened quite recently, which is the coverage of the Iranian presidential election, when President Ahmadinejad was revealed as a ballot-stuffer, certainly on a Miloshevich scale.

And the protests in Iran were plainly not covered by Press TV in any reputable way.

Editorializing, they claimed that the murder of Neda Agha Soltan, the young protester, was mysterious and had been hyped by western media. That’s obviously not a reputable way of covering a news story. …

Press TV is unquestionably the propaganda arm of an extremist regime.”

Update

Ad. A poster, for Press TV, a satellite news channel, stated … “Get the full story at Press TV.”

Issue. Four complainants challenged {3 items} ….

Assessment. 1. Not upheld. … 2. Not upheld. …

3. Not upheld. We noted that the website links and news footage provided by Press TV showed that there had been regular coverage of the events in Iran after the presidential election results were announced. Because Press TV had shown us that they had provided coverage of the opposition to the election results, including the post-election unrest and banned rallies, we concluded that the claim “the full story” was not misleading.”

Press TV Ltd” (ASA adjudication, Advertising Standards Authority, London, December 2 2009, media: poster, number of complaints: 4).

CJHjr comment:

1. There being no evidence of ballot-stuffing, and abundant evidence of no ballot-stuffing, Oliver Kamm is a liar, bold, audacious, extremist, peddling as fact his fiction, fantasies, wishes, stereotypes, cartoons (“Ahmadinejad was revealed as a ballot-stuffer, certainly on a Miloshevich scale”).

The BBC, funded by the U.K. government (licence fee tax and direct funding of the World Service), breached impartiality rules, promoted U.K. regime propaganda, and exhibited disreputable conduct, when Edward Stourton failed to challenge Oliver Kamm — his despicable lie — and thereby permitted Oliver Kamm to describe the election result in a disreputable way.

Edward Stourton failed to put facts to Oliver Kamm for a reply, viz, there is no evidence of ballot-stuffing and, in addition, the candidates themselves (with power to require an audit) did not challenge a single one of the published ballot box counts (45,692), most of them observed in real time by 92,661 credentialed candidate balloting observers, including 54,182 balloting observers appointed by Mousavi (40,676) and Karroubi (13,506), them in addition to the official monitors (14 per box), some hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens, each one signing their name on the dotted line, verifying the box count (form 22), a criminal offense if they lied.

2. There being no evidence Neda was murdered, Oliver Kamm is a liar, bold, audacious, extremist, peddling as fact his fiction, fantasies, wishes, stereotypes, cartoons (“the murder of Neda Agha Soltan”).

Huw Borland, “Stray Bullet Kills Boy Up To Three Miles Away” (Sky News Online, London, Monday January 4 2010).
Rhonda Cook, “Boy most likely shot by a rifle fired into the air” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Saturday January 2 2010).

Update, January 5 2010

Neda was likely killed by a bullet fired far away, into the air, many have been killed and wounded in that way. It’s a prima facie reckless act (unless the shooter, in reasonable fear, was warning-off attackers), but it’s not “murder,” the shooter does not exhibit immoral malicious intent, what that term embodies. And, this act, by a solitary individual, cannot be attributed to the “regime,” it does not exemplify the regime, the government of Iran.

The BBC breached impartiality rules, promoted U.K. regime propaganda, and exhibited disreputable conduct, when Edward Stourton failed to challenge Oliver Kamm — his despicable lie — and thereby permitted Oliver Kamm to describe Neda’s death in a disreputable way.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (WarLaw)

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