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The Row Continues...


John HumphrysToday Presenter - John Humphrys
The BBC and the Government are deadlocked in a bitter dispute over allegations that an intelligence dossier - released in the run-up to the war in Iraq - was "sexed-up". Alastair Campbell is demanding an apology from the BBC for the way we reported on the government's use of intelligence material.

John Humphrys interviews Government Minister, Ben Bradshaw on the row between the BBC and Downing Street.
Ben Bradshaw

Ben Bradshaw




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possible weapons of mass distruction lab

Head of Communications: Alastair Campbell
The UK Government Dossier

Read the 24 Sept. 2002 UK Govt. dossier

On Saturday's programme, a Government minister Ben Bradshaw accused the BBC of flouting its own guidelines and wrongly relying on a single unattributable source. Does he have a point? Should the BBC apologise? Listen to the interview again.


Haha - good old Sir Bernhard Ingham - always a good laugh - "More!" we cry.
Alastair Campbell has flipped his lid? Who'd have thought it?

If A.Campbell felt that the reporting by the BBC was wrong - why did he not correct it at the time?? Because it suited the Labour Party NOT to!
Gill Chesney-Green

I think we have our own comical Ali in the form of Alistair Campbell. It is his job to get the Government to stick together come what may. Stick to your guns BBC.
J Williams

If Tony is looking for a new spin doctor, comical ali seems to be at a loose end.
Martin Green

Bingo John.!
Wim Wellinghoff

Please tell Ben Bradshaw that we long since given up the hope that we will hear the truth from the government. Please dismantle the smokescreen. The issue is that this government claimed that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction that could go off in 45 minutes. Ba humbug.
Kathleen O'Neill, Croydon

I have always wanted not to believe the rumours about Alister Cambell . When I was a Labour party Cllr in Brighton the spinning was most distasteful but I had hoped that one man was not behind it as this was too unbelieavable. However after the Channel 4 and the Committee appearance I am very worried that our country is being run by such a disturbed man and I don't mean Tony Blair!
Susan Joy

Would it not be possible to use words other than 'sexing up' for what used to be 'exaggeration', 'hyping up' etc., I, together with many other listeners I presume, am becoming heartily sick of this silly and pointless expression. The context in which 'sexing up' is used has nothing to do with sex. Please please radio 4, don't fall into this ridiculous trap of populism, look at a thesaurus and try and find more appropriate language. I am confident you can do this.!! 
Karin Griggs.

There were no weapons of mass distruction. Our "cassus belli" was a massive lie. Six soldiers died in horrible circumstances this week - without radios, heavy weapons and without even a figleaf of international legitimacy to justify their presence. Mr. Campbell is an unelected spokesperson of the government that sent them to their deaths. He is attempting to bury British servicemen beneath a mountain of obfuscation and feigned outrage. Far from apologising the BBC must continue to tell it "like it is".
Steve Goodman

You report Comical Ali has re-surfaced - not only in Baghdad though - he has also appeared in Downing Street, surname Campbell.
Donald Harris

Alistair Campbell's ploy has worked completely. He has you all discussing the fine point about the accuracy of a BBC report, rather than the more serious issue of whether the Govt "sexed up" the dossier to get us into a war. Let's get back to the main point, please.
Ron Condon

I'm really enjoying your interview with one of Comical Ali (Campbell)'s henchmen. How many reliable sources did the plagiarised outdated thesis constitute? Will anyone take this government seriously ever again? Campbell's accusation against the Beeb is hilarious.
Tim Jones

Messrs Blair and Brown care nothing for the British People or the British Service men who lives they have spent in Iraq. Their only concern is for their own personal achievement and their place in History. New Labour is the New Right in Red as is seen by their appeasement of Murdoch through their relaxation of media ownership rules both earlier in their administration and that which they now propose. Blair wants to get control of the BBC so that he can subvert our democracy in the same way as the Italian Government.
Richard Coe

This is not the real issue, our country went to war without any real mandate, based on spurious information. THAT IS MUCH MORE SERIOUS THAN ALASTAIR CAMPLBELL AND TONY BLAIRS FEEBLE ATTEMPTS TO BLAME THE BBC. The BBC is now under threat from this Government. That is now a very worrying situation.
Grahame Morgan-Watson

Humphrys allowed it to get personal with Bradshaw. Humphrys sounded like a kid in the playground.
Ian McRobert

Me thinks Alistair Campbell has lost his head, mentally though not yet in fact. If you reported that trains are late and dirty would they say you only have one source? would they send their chief bully round to clench his fists and snarl at you? I found his performance on TV very frightening and if I met a man who spoke to me like that I would dial 999 and have him arrested for threatening behaviour. Honestly, I would! And he would be dragged off for that.
Sue Doughty

I wish John Humphries could indulge his argumentative nature in private.
Elizabeth LeMoine

Alastair Campbell is the boy who cried wolf - he's spun so many stories that his attack on the BBC is seen as a cynical attempt to massage the focus of truth away from the real enquiry. The BBC should shut off his lifeblood of publicity and refuse to cover this story further.
Claire Holdsworth

Dear John Humphries – you da man!!
N A Holmes

Politicians and their hangers on sometimes forget that they should be totally accountable to the public. Decisions have been made which led this country to war and those decisions appear to have been based on dubious research. I'm sure the British public would like the truth on this. Go for it John.
John Kelly

Stop bickering! This is just becoming self-indulgent on the part of the BBC.
Dr Nikki Cooper

Why does John Humpries resort to sarcasam if he is not winning his argument? Pathetic!
Alan Scott

If the Today programme were reporting impartially, surely they should refer to the BBC as "they" rather than as "we" - which suggests partiality and defensiveness.
Simon Plint

I haven't heard anybody ask the question as to how, a document that Mr.Campbell said to the committee was only for a Sunday papers briefing got presented to the Commons as a serious reason for going to war.  Perhaps Mr.Campbell in his present harangue is trying to hide this terrible mistake.
Best wishes Chris

If the allegation was 'the most serious that the BBC ever made', etc, why didn't the government question it at the time? Why allow the public to be misled in that way? Why wait months? Why, because it suited them. Keep going - we're all behind you!
Karen Hicks

As I now listen to him, defending your programme, I just get a warm feeling. Hurrah for Mr Humphreys!!!
Mike Bell

WELL DONE, JOHN! Please don't you EVER consider retirement - the world would be a worse place. How on earth did you keep your temper?! Great stuff - and I'm still listening, as I type. Must go.
Many thanks.

Well done John Humphrys for keeping your end up. I wouldn't trust Alastair Campbell as far as I can throw him.
Roger Fletcher

I have just heard John interview Mr Bradshaw and he has said that he spoke to a large number of BBC journalists - and I wish he would have asked him to name the names of his sources.
Colin Simpson

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