The Truth Sometimes Hurts

The British media are treating the terror attacks on Spain and America very differently. This may come as a great shock to most Americans —— specifically those who remember Tony Blair and his 'shoulder to shoulder' speech after 9/11. But having studied the UK's left—sided media output over the last two days since the awful terrorist attack in Madrid, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that 9/11 and 3/11 are being viewed in very dissimilar perspective by much of the British press.

 

A good example of this inconsistency can be demonstrated by comparing the BBC's Question Time program aired the night before last —— the evening of the Madrid attacks —— and the same program aired two days after 9/11, two and a half years ago. For those of you who are not familiar with Question Time, it's a live studio debate with a panel consisting of commentators and politicians, and of course a handpicked (read loaded) audience.

 

Let's take a walk down memory lane and revisit the 9/11 episode. I'll never forget it. On that very day I started having severe doubts about the future viability of the so called 'special relationship' between the UK and the US.

 

The only American on the panel that night —— Phil Lader, former US ambassador to London —— was so berated, heckled, and verbally abused that one could have been forgiven for thinking that Americans had not been attacked, but were instead the villains of the piece. The rest of the panel appeared equally happy to pitch in on the side of the audience's hatred against the only American present.

 

Bear in mind —— I know I'm repeating myself —— that this was only two days after 9/11. It is pointless making the observation that the audience was a particularly heady mixture of British Muslims and hard left wingers, because they are, after all, just Brits, and if that's the kind of perception the BBC wishes to project, then we must all accept that this was an expression of British media opinion.

 

The primary logic behind this vitriolic scorn directed against Phil Lader was simple: America deserved what it got because of its foreign policy in the Middle East. A few other sore points arose from the British audience, such as past IRA fund raising in the US. Forget about the help the US gave the British during World War II: that inconsequential event was not important, and for all we know, just a figment of everyone's imagination.

 

By the end of the show Phil Lader was in tears. Very few Americans would have seen this show.  Perhaps BBC America will  air the video on its US cable service, if you ask nicely, but don't count on it. However, it has seared a lasting impression on those of us in the UK who value the Transatlantic Alliance. Yes, there are still some of us left.

 

On the other hand, last night's BBC Question Time could not have been more different. Instead of the audience and panel berating the Spanish for having brought this terrible attack on themselves, it was all best wishes and tears. Not one member of the panel or audience attempted to justify the Madrid outrage, and rightly so.

 

However, the conversation quickly moved on to more important issues, such as the four British Muslims who had just returned from Guantanamo Bay (they call them 'heroes' over here) — not to mention the five 'lads' still held there 'illegally'. Of course, this topic erupted into the usual anti—American froth and tut—tut ting from the predictable audience response.

 

The only member of the panel who took a balanced view of the situation at Guantanamo Bay was —— would you believe it? —— The Independent's Bruce Anderson. It's quite ironic really, because Mr. Anderson is probably the only pro—American at that newspaper. I guess if there isn't an American to scream at, the next best thing is to scream at a Brit who sticks up for them.

 

Is this just a problem with the BBC? Nope, I'm afraid not. Having read all the left wing newspapers this morning, I can confidently report to you that, unlike the Americans and 9/11, the Spanish did not deserve this terrorist attack, and there is not one article that attempts to justify the action of the terrorists, whoever they may be.

 

So, now you know. Tony Blair may be standing shoulder to shoulder with President Bush and committing British troops to the war on terror. But at least half the British population, their favourite newspapers, and the BBC, are clearly not onboard. The truth hurts, but it's time Americans knew what some —— to be fair —— of their so called 'allies' really think about the nation that saved Europe, first from the Nazis and then the communist threat.

 

That's all ancient history. There's so much ancient history here in Britain that many of us have a hard time keeping it all straight.

 

Michael Morris writes on United Kingdom media from London

The British media are treating the terror attacks on Spain and America very differently. This may come as a great shock to most Americans —— specifically those who remember Tony Blair and his 'shoulder to shoulder' speech after 9/11. But having studied the UK's left—sided media output over the last two days since the awful terrorist attack in Madrid, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that 9/11 and 3/11 are being viewed in very dissimilar perspective by much of the British press.

 

A good example of this inconsistency can be demonstrated by comparing the BBC's Question Time program aired the night before last —— the evening of the Madrid attacks —— and the same program aired two days after 9/11, two and a half years ago. For those of you who are not familiar with Question Time, it's a live studio debate with a panel consisting of commentators and politicians, and of course a handpicked (read loaded) audience.

 

Let's take a walk down memory lane and revisit the 9/11 episode. I'll never forget it. On that very day I started having severe doubts about the future viability of the so called 'special relationship' between the UK and the US.

 

The only American on the panel that night —— Phil Lader, former US ambassador to London —— was so berated, heckled, and verbally abused that one could have been forgiven for thinking that Americans had not been attacked, but were instead the villains of the piece. The rest of the panel appeared equally happy to pitch in on the side of the audience's hatred against the only American present.

 

Bear in mind —— I know I'm repeating myself —— that this was only two days after 9/11. It is pointless making the observation that the audience was a particularly heady mixture of British Muslims and hard left wingers, because they are, after all, just Brits, and if that's the kind of perception the BBC wishes to project, then we must all accept that this was an expression of British media opinion.

 

The primary logic behind this vitriolic scorn directed against Phil Lader was simple: America deserved what it got because of its foreign policy in the Middle East. A few other sore points arose from the British audience, such as past IRA fund raising in the US. Forget about the help the US gave the British during World War II: that inconsequential event was not important, and for all we know, just a figment of everyone's imagination.

 

By the end of the show Phil Lader was in tears. Very few Americans would have seen this show.  Perhaps BBC America will  air the video on its US cable service, if you ask nicely, but don't count on it. However, it has seared a lasting impression on those of us in the UK who value the Transatlantic Alliance. Yes, there are still some of us left.

 

On the other hand, last night's BBC Question Time could not have been more different. Instead of the audience and panel berating the Spanish for having brought this terrible attack on themselves, it was all best wishes and tears. Not one member of the panel or audience attempted to justify the Madrid outrage, and rightly so.

 

However, the conversation quickly moved on to more important issues, such as the four British Muslims who had just returned from Guantanamo Bay (they call them 'heroes' over here) — not to mention the five 'lads' still held there 'illegally'. Of course, this topic erupted into the usual anti—American froth and tut—tut ting from the predictable audience response.

 

The only member of the panel who took a balanced view of the situation at Guantanamo Bay was —— would you believe it? —— The Independent's Bruce Anderson. It's quite ironic really, because Mr. Anderson is probably the only pro—American at that newspaper. I guess if there isn't an American to scream at, the next best thing is to scream at a Brit who sticks up for them.

 

Is this just a problem with the BBC? Nope, I'm afraid not. Having read all the left wing newspapers this morning, I can confidently report to you that, unlike the Americans and 9/11, the Spanish did not deserve this terrorist attack, and there is not one article that attempts to justify the action of the terrorists, whoever they may be.

 

So, now you know. Tony Blair may be standing shoulder to shoulder with President Bush and committing British troops to the war on terror. But at least half the British population, their favourite newspapers, and the BBC, are clearly not onboard. The truth hurts, but it's time Americans knew what some —— to be fair —— of their so called 'allies' really think about the nation that saved Europe, first from the Nazis and then the communist threat.

 

That's all ancient history. There's so much ancient history here in Britain that many of us have a hard time keeping it all straight.

 

Michael Morris writes on United Kingdom media from London