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First anniversary

Rome Hartman | 09:40 UK time, Wednesday, 1 October 2008

In the summer of 2007 I was hired by the BBC (after a long career at CBS News) to launch a new nightly news broadcast. The idea was fairly simple, and to my mind, elegant:

BBC World News America logo1) At the precise moment when Americans needed to know more and more about events and issues beyond their borders, they were less and less likely to find good coverage of the wider world on US television news networks.

2) The BBC was the perfect organisation to address that shortage with unparalleled global journalistic reach and an unrivalled reputation for smart, sophisticated, impartial coverage of international news.

Matt Frei and Katty Kay from BBC World News America websiteThus was BBC World News America born. Our first broadcast was exactly one year ago, on 1 October 2007, with BBC veteran Matt Frei in the anchor seat in Washington DC, correspondent Katty Kay delivering reports from the field, and a crack production team in DC and in London working night in and out to deliver the best of BBC journalism from around the globe to audiences watching on BBC America here in the US, BBC World News internationally, and the News Channel in the UK.

Our primary mission is to deliver strong international coverage to American viewers, and we're proud of how we've accomplished that in our first year, on stories as varied as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the earthquake in China, and the global financial crisis.

We also attempt to offer a fresh and distinctive take on American stories, and we've been fortunate to have a great story to follow in our first 12 months: the US Presidential campaign. Matt and Katty know the election landscape better than most American reporters, and contributing analyst Ted Koppel has given us a fresh take and original insights all along the way.

The unique strengths of this proposition were evident a few days ago in our coverage of the much anticipated first presidential debate. Whereas US networks went straight to the spin room for pre-cooked claims of victory from campaign officials, we had live reaction to the substance of the debate from BBC correspondents in Baghdad, Moscow, Beijing and Kabul. These reporters skilfully conveyed just how engaged the rest of the world is in this election. Substance over spin.

We've also featured sharp and smart interviews with top newsmakers and analysts, developed signature franchises like First Person, in which people tell their own stories in their own words, and nurtured vital partnerships with other BBC programmes such as Newsnight, with whom we shared a prestigious Peabody award this year, for the wonderful "White Horse Village" films from China.

It has been a very rewarding first year. But it's only the beginning of what we intend to accomplish.


  • Comment number 1.

    Its good that your first aniversary is on the day that the US end 'posse comitatus' and has the US army now on active duty ready to patrol the streets and uphold the laws of the good ole USA. and only a few days after 'congessional martial law' is declared

    haven't seen much reporting on those ones

    So I know you say that

    The BBC was the perfect organisation to address that shortage with unparalleled global journalistic reach and an unrivalled reputation for smart, sophisticated, impartial coverage of international news

    but most folks are waking up to the idea that the BBC are just another arm of the propoganda machine.

    and when you say it's only the beginning of what you tend to accomplish, i have to say, it actually scares me when I think about it.

    So enjoy the job and all that it offers you. it's good to see that our license fee is being spent keeping americans entertained with dodgy news too.

    Maybe we could see if any other countries would like us to start a news program for them.

  • Comment number 2.

    So Aunty Beeb finds it necessary to fork out for news coverage for America?

    "I don't believe it."

    Where are the accountants? Has the BBC gone mad?

  • Comment number 3.

    It's produced by BBC World, so not paid for by your (or my) licence fee. It's funded by advertisers.

    No doubt some money will change hands from the BBC News Channel to BBC World in order to show it in the UK, but that's purely a technicality anyway since any profits made by BBC World are fed back to the UK BBC in order to supplement licence fee incomes.

  • Comment number 4.

    An American news programme? A very noble and worthwhile endeavour on the face of it. Perhaps not for a British broadcaster, the patron of which is the UK license fee payer. Stop wasting others and my money, your consumers are the licence fee payer here in Britain.

    The legality of the license fee will forever be called into question for as long as the BBC pursue profligate projects like this.

  • Comment number 5.

    and the set up costs for that came from where sven.

    the point is sven we are forced to pay for a license and we should get the representation from it. If the BBC is going to start going into other business ventures on our behalf to supplement their income then i would prefer them to go for something more profitable.

    CBS for instance is owned by westinghouse who are also arms dealers. NBC is owned by GE who are also arms dealers. This sort of thing the BBC could do if they are just about profit. Rome used to work their I am sure he can help explain how the arms profit for news model would work. With luck then our license fee could come down. Everyone happy

  • Comment number 6.

    "NBC is owned by GE who are also arms dealers. This sort of thing the BBC could do if they are just about profit"

    yeah, Hank, that's a really swell idea! Get arms dealers to fund the news! I can't see a conflict of interest! Awesome idea! You should run the BBC!

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure about the set up costs of BBC Worldwide, but the profits will have _far_ outweighed those costs.

    Are you really saying that the BBC should go in to arms dealing? Really? Perhaps they should buy a 30% stake in the Real IRA while they're at it.

  • Comment number 8.

    I was being facetious about the BBC going into arms dealing, although arms dealers do run news channels.

    thats my point,

    The idea of publically funded news is that they should have no commercial constraints. Advertisers putting pressure to cover up stories that might affect their businesses.

    The BBC will already do the Govts. bidding. Pulling documentaries about BA etc etc. lets not give them the license to start bending over backwards to corporate interests.

    which they already do, so i suppose so the whole point is mute.

    The point of the BBC was to inform, educate and entertain. Not advertise, dumb-down and refrain.

    There should be no question of profit making excercises apart from selling on programs made for us to other broadcasters.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hank, how is the BBC a "propaganda" machine? Just because it doesn't bitch on about immigrants and the monarchy like ITV?

    The worst thing about BBC news is BBC1's constant use of pointless graphics and awful, awful puns. Propaganda it ain't.

    Many Americans will probably regard this as a welcome window to the outside world compared the journalistic rubbish CNN, Fox and Sky give out.

  • Comment number 10.

    As an American viewer, I am extremely grateful for a view of the world that is not filtered by the self-interest of greedy corporate oversight or polluted with commentary by the idiot pundits they employ. In their quest to fill 24 hours of commercial sponsored news, they've turned a once respected profession into a circus more suited for the likes of Jerry Springer.
    Hopefully, you will help stem the nationalistic tide that is engulfing us by providing an alternative view that is not so US centric. Please remember, 49.5% of us did manage to see through the fog of 2004 so there is hope.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am guessing your some kinda nationalistic republican there clueduprock.

    The BBC are a propoganda machine because they serve specialist interests rather than reporting the news.

    From the present economic collapse, Dr. Kelly and the Iraq war to having news reports that are not for broadcast in the UK. The lack of reporting on what i mentioned in comment 1 would be another sign of the BBC's propoganda credentials

    Its not just the BBC, its basically all the mass media. Ben Bagdikian (the media monopoly) is just one of many who has written about this.

    I only get upset with the BBC because its the only one i am legally required to fund. Sky, Fox and the rest, I at least dont have to become financially complicit in their lies.

    But hey, if you trust everything auntie beeb tells you. Thats your decision

  • Comment number 12.

    Really, the "World News America" programme is not all that wonderful. I used to watch the BBC world news every night on BBC America, and was happy to see an hour long programme start last year. Now I watch BBC world on PBS. It's sad to see the BBC make a news programme just for Americans that's so much like the typically shoddy American nightly news. I find it to be pretty insulting in that it panders too much to the lowest common denominator.

    Also, I don't want to see Brits reporting about baseball! Come on, you guys don't know anything about it and if I wanted that on my news I'd watch ESPN.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks for this program. It's far and away the best journalism available on American television screens.

  • Comment number 14.

    I try not to watch it. Why? Because I don't care about what you have to say about the US. Hear me out.

    One of the main reasons I watched BBC World is because I want, I need to know what it is that people around the world are hearing about the United States. Living here I get one view from the media and another from well, just living here. But I want to see how that it spun (usually inaccurately) to folks in Europe as that gives me a better understanding of the information they are getting and the choices they are making.

    When BBC American dropped the World News I lost that option. I got their view of the US, which was kind of like 'ok, we Europeans have come to a conclusion and here it is' rather than 'this is what we are reporting about the US and we'll make our own conclusions from this information'. BBC News America has gone through an additional filter that I don't really care about.

    Basically, give me what everyone else gets an I'll make my own conclusions.

  • Comment number 15.


    You made one of the best comments ever on the bbc blogs. the one about your mother and her lack of trust.

    Maybe the BBC is the closest thing you have to decent journalism on your tv screens.

    That is like saying stale bread is good food when your starving.

    Do you think it is a good idea to trust an organisation that does not broadcast certain stories to the very people that fund them.

    The Benizar Bhutto interview they carried is just one example of how the BBC will happily edit out any information that they don't deem acceptable for the UK audience. The report about the civilian casualties from bombings in afghanistan is another.

    I can find little or no mention of the end of a reserve with regards to the US Bail out Bill. the BBC tell us what we meant to know and only when we are meant to know it.

    I am with your mother on this one. If they are willing to skew the facts of those stories then what other truths will they manipulate

  • Comment number 16.

    Congrats to the First anniversary of the WORLD NEWS AMERICA...I remember it very much....

    Again, Congrats. To Matt Frei and Katty Kay and the rest of the staff in Washington, London and around the world!

  • Comment number 17.

    I used to be a religious BBC NewsAmerica viewer (from Canada) but I found that they are losing the britishness of their broadcasting by getting too excited and to in love with America. Its not impartial, its emotional. I think they should go back to dry British reporting and stop trying to overanalyse and use every imaginable pundit. I like BBC during the rest of the day because their is a variety of news stories. Only focussing on one story night after night (like CNN etc) is tedious.

  • Comment number 18.

    congrat on your first ann.! i always enjoy your show-- esp. the variety of pundits and reporters. i try to hear and read at least 3 p.o.v. before i consider my opionions decided.

  • Comment number 19.

    It's watched each and every night in our household in California (we are expat Brits, here 11 years.) Now my teen son watches it every night too, which has to be a good thing, getting a teenager to sit through an hour's news bulletin. Frei and Kay seem to come up with the right combination of gravitas and humor as appropriate, and are very good. They get useful guests on to interview too. The US Congresswoman on last night (9/30/08 - talking about the bail out) was very good.

    One or two of the correspondents can be a bit dorky on occasion though. The other night I watched one struggling to remember the name of the first African American to attend Ol' Miss, as he previewed the presidential debate. He looked scruffy,amateur, badly briefed, out of touch and inept. It was very poor. Make sure all your correspondents are briefed and look smart!! It matters.

    And after the BBC news ends, it's straight into The Daily Show. I'm waiting for Jon Stewart to interview Matt Frei.

  • Comment number 20.

    I look forward to BBC World News UK.

    PS: It would be lovely without the background of a continuous loud banging of drums that passes for presentation or is actually brainwashing.

  • Comment number 21.

    It would be very helpful if, before venturing to spread its "excellence" elsewhere, the BBC would concentrate on bringing it back to those of us at home who are sick and tired of falling standards.

    As Hank mentions, the BBC have become a propaganda machine more concerned with opinion about news rather than the news itself. I guess we were all warned that when the BBC became a multi-channeled, multi-faceted enterprise that standards would fall exponentially. It is pity that the BBC seems incapable of looking at itself with a critical eye and listening with a careful ear. That way it may understand that the news sounds and looks better when it is clearly stated, factually correct, unbiased, and released with commitment and self belief.

    When the BBC acquiesced to Blair and Campbell they performed a major disservice to the license payers. Since then it would seem that BBC lawyers work 24/7 on every facet of the business. Shame on you BBC.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have to say you have done and excellent censorship job. . . the BBC America, churns out the same self-congratulatory garbage as the rest of the US media.

    One of the great rules of the US media is always tell the American public what they want to hear - never tell them the truth.

    What have you not told Americans?

    Well you've yet to pick up that the British NHS could provide universal health care to Americans, improve quality, remove the need for private insurance - and give them a tax cut.

    It should be the No 1 story in the US - its never mentioned.

    Education? Well you could point out that all the other English speaking education systejm in the developed significantly outperform the USA (mainly as result of integrated vocational and academic testing systems)

    You could do stories on vast American prison population. . .

    The stories are endless - but unfortunately they all show the USA in a bad light - so Americans are never going to hear them are they? It's you job to make sure they get mindless pap that keeps the ratings up - right?

    As a censor you're doing a great job, as a journalist - I'd sack you.

  • Comment number 23.

    I watch your program for the very reasons you started it. Thank you so much for providing a fresh, world perspective about America. Our networks here are predictable, unimaginative and myopic. I love hearing what people outside the U.S. have to say about the U.S. And it's quite lovely listening to Matt's British accent as well.

  • Comment number 24.

    You are no doubt delighted to have an arm of the BBC in the US, but, no matter how it is funded, it seems to be broadcasting at much the same standard as the commercially driven news. Does that make you proud to be using the three initials or will you be stung into improvement by the comments listed here?

    If your coverage is anything like the UK arm of the BBC then in will be neither unbiased or even accurate. It will not be comprehensive and it will not cover "uncomfortable" stories. There will be high levels of trivia and rampant following of celebrity difficulties.

    It will amount to a complete and utter waste of time and money.

  • Comment number 25.


    I am sure that if the BBC ever give the police their own channel there will be a place for arms dealers sponsorship. "Our forces use ***** the most reliable semi-automatic weapons money can buy - we never miss....."

    But on the serious comment that is being made it seems sad that the BBC, which is (perhaps "should") not (be) at the mercy of commercial interests still follows others rather than creates its own values.

    Too often comments made by leading politicians are billed as news by carefully manufacturing a "code" behind the words. I regard this as commentary not news and it should never be broadcast as fact but sadly it is.

  • Comment number 26.

    It sinteresting that the american commentors all seem to love the bbc and the uk commentors all seem to think they are full of it.

    I guess you can't fool all of the people all of the time. But you can fool americans.

  • Comment number 27.

    Eutectics, Liked your message.
    Many of us 'Amircuns' like our truth wrapped in thick layers of sarcasm and delivered by late night comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They get away with it because the family values conservatives are usually surfing the web for photo shopped pictures of Sarah Palin around that time. Perhaps BBC America should invite Russell Brand on as a guest commentator to ensure that they don't go too CNN on us.

  • Comment number 28.

    I would like to congratulate your team on an excellent news program, especially Matt Frei and Katy Kay. But all your correspondents are equally good.The insight and interviews that are conducted, on the whole are very good. Sometimes the interviews are painfully, unnecessarily prolonged.
    As you are well aware, being objective is of utmost importance and the program seems to achieve this most of the time. I would be interested to see an occasional item on how your correspondents deal with the realities of actually living/reporting in the areas where they live or had to travel to, eg. how do they cope with 10,000% inflation or the experience of reporting from a hurricane ravaged area.
    It would be helpful to provide some background to some issues that you assume everyone knows the history, eg. how is the proposed $700 billion bailout going to be spent. It keeps being reported but it's never fully explained. In response to some of the other posted comments, I think that the benefit of having your news program (that is paid for by the British taxpayer or advertising) is achieving a beacon of credibility, especially in this era of blogging and unfortunately, misinformation. I hope this is helpful feedback and wish you the best in your continuing efforts.

  • Comment number 29.

    So the BBC are now producing a news service for the US?

    How ironic!!

    In the late 80 I spent a year in the Arizona. I really missed the BBC - The news programs in Arizona were so parochial and had nothing requiring an attention span of more than 3 minutes.

    This week, the UK BBC news in the morning has about 3 minutes of "News" before going on to "Gossip" - Chatting to "Celebs on a sofa" - the new BBC format.

    I now get my news from CNN and Sky!! At least they still cover proper stories.

    And this is paid for by my license fee! Sheesh!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Ha Ha. You lost me at "impartial coverage of international news".

    Your reporting of the US election has been a disgrace, your reporters obvious infatuation with Obama is shocking to behold.

    And as for your reporting on Israel, well at times you come across as the propaganda wing of Hamas.

    Also, could you really be any more patronising in this post.

  • Comment number 31.

    I watch the programme on the advertiser funded BBC World News channel. I think BBC WNA is a poorer programme than World New Today.

    Largely this is because of Matt Frei. I don't appreciate his sneering and other expressions of contempt for countries, people and stories he doesn't much care for. I don't appreciate his over-the-top emphasis on certain phrases (complete with jabbing the table) or his feigned surprise either.

    Frei is also a weak interviewer, and his moderation of the BBC World Debate was uninspired. People like Paxman and Tim Sebastian should probably train other BBC presenters.

    Why doesn't Philippa Thomas present the programme? She doesn't attempt to convey personal feelings while reading her teleprompter.

    Apart from Frei, I think the programme is good enough. It's not spectacularly insightful, but that's okay. Your guests are usually quite good.

    I'm not sure about your "Odd Box" segment on the weekends.

    The new set is definitely an improvement over the nonsensical blue background. Some things like the grey border for the screen and the red stripe in the background are not to my taste, but I suppose I'll get used to that.

    Congratulations on your first year, and I hope to see you improve and give American and foreign viewers more insight into that strange perplexing country. I also hope you replace Frei.

  • Comment number 32.

    The BBC has two very good-looking and intelligent-sounding presenters for America. There is also a very serious-looking fellow who speaks in a serious voice for a few moments with the White House seen through the window as background.

    There is a “crisis” legislation being processed in the Congress. The Senate has passed a bill that offers the financial industry a bailout and would increase the federal deposit insurance to $250,000. What ELSE is of importance in the bill?

    We don’t know, but certainly the presentation is impressive!

    The HARDTALK team manages to get some good facts together for Saquer. Perhaps the rest of the organization might get some pointers therefrom?

    Could we get some steak with the sizzle?

  • Comment number 33.

    Note that Jonathan Beale has NOW come up with some pertinent facts,

    so the BBC CAN do this sort of thing!

  • Comment number 34.

    Pity you can't purge your 'on air talent' of their bias and unbridled contempt for America. Except of course for the uncritical and slavish devotion to Obama.

    Why no analysis of the Clinton role in the current crisis - afterall is was his repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999 that ultimately started this all off, the effects of which were held back by the 9/11 shock, until it crashed the system now. You could argue like all left wing Presidents there is always a toxic effect of their Presidency that the Republicans have to sort out.

  • Comment number 35.

    The best way to describe BBC America is mediocre. While it is true it covers stories around the world that many American networks do not, it is superficial. Among the many typical flaws in the BBC method of journalism are lack of background to put stories in context, relying on "man in the street" opinions and interviews instead of subject matter experts, and of course a concept of an interviewe that is so flawed as to be worthless. BBC interviews are a soapbox to those who agree with it, a debate with those who don't. It's interesting that BBC always seems to be compared to large commercial news networks in the US such as Fox which makes no pretense or apologies for having a conservative point of view, CNN, MSNBC but when compared to the real heavyweights in the US such as PBS, NPR, C-Span, CNBC, Charlie, Rose, The Leon Charney Report, the fact is that BBC comes off as a clearly very inferior source of understanding. What's more, in coverage of American news, even the Commercial networks get armies of the most important knowledgable, experienced, and influential people on a regular basis while BBC gets almost none. For example, in the current credit crisis, we see a steady stream of legislators, government economists both past and present and the most influential business people on American television. Last night Charlie Rose interviewed Warren Buffet. Last week he had the founder and recent CEO of Goldman Sachs on at least twice. Barack Obama wouldn't even talk to the foreign press and small wonder. Anyone who saw the way the famous American attorney Alan Dirschowitz was treated by BBC when he accepted their invitation to participate in a program would have to be an idiot to give BBC the time of day. If you want to compare your current organization to the one you left at CBS which could do no better than the infamous Dan Rather about whom the best spin you could put on him was that he was duped, then that may make you feel good Mr. Hartman but don't try to compare BBC to a real news organization. It's little more than a left wing Eurosocialist overrated propaganda machine living on the reputation of its long past glory and the involuntary license fees it forces out of its all but captive audience in Britain.

  • Comment number 36.

    Or 20 negative comments, 3 neutral and 8 postive.

    Or, as one might expect, like the reporting on BBC America, your self-congratulatory tone does not match up to reality

  • Comment number 37.

    Marcus Aurelius. . . .

    I think the point to be made is that the US media is perhaps the most highly censored in the world.

    What American's think are the stories of the day and issues are just a re-hash of the propaganda the corporate entities want people to discuss.

    The number one issue with the US public is affordable health care - yet its hardly ever discussed by media and politicians in concrete terms.

    No news outlet dare report that the British NHS could deliver universal health care and a tax cut to the US public.

    No reporter dare ask a Presidential Candidate 'why can't we have universal health care and tax cut' - such a debate would turn the whole debate on its head and point the finger at who is stopping Americans getting affordable health care - US politicians, both Democrat and Republican who have been bought out Health care industy.

    Almost as comic was the US reporting on 9/11, which sought to explain it all in terms of 'crazed muslims extremists' and not 'resistance fighters striking back against American terror' - No mention of the US sponsored occupation of Palestine and Syria, the US sponsored terror campaigns in Lebanon and Afghanistan - 9/11 came out of thin air and could not be the natural consequence of US actions.

    So BBC follows the same self censorship line as the rest of the US media, telling Americans what they want to hear and driving American further and further away from any contact with reality.

    I tell you something - A BBC that told the truth would have rating that when through the roof, Americans are ready for now as they have never been.

  • Comment number 38.

    Eutectics, I don't know what planet you live on but the fact is that every opinion on every topic that exists is available to the American public. So much so that it is hard to filter out the noise from the news. BBC is just one outlet. There is no problem for an American getting Radio Havana, or al Jazerra. If you want to hear antiAmerican propaganda on American media, just tune into one of Pacifica's stations like WBAI. But if you are talking about network news, the American taxpayer will not patronize networks that spew foreign propaganda or anti-Americanism gratuitiously the way BBC does. When you get a better radio-telescope or access to the internet, look at everything available to the American public and then you might have something to talk about. Meanwhile, it is BBC that is the real censor. How do I know? I am going to post one sentence, an opinion on the following post and you will see that it will be first referred to the moderators and then not posted at all. It will have nothing to do with anything offensive such as pornography. It is not a call to armed insurrection or a crime. It is just an opinion about an event in the the news. BBC has put it off limits. Just watch for my name in the next few postings below and see if it isn't true.

  • Comment number 39.

    Marcus - that's your belief, your opinion, which is based on what you are told by the US media.

    The dificulty is any station broadcasting 'the facts' or suggesting that the US is not quite as good as it would be 'anti-American propaganda'

    Which in a sense shows how succesful US media control is - most Americans are trained not to trust any source not controlled by the US establishment.

    If I want to hear anti-American propaganda I only have to listen to CNN, Fox or NBC telling Americans what great health care system they have and how Canadians are flooding over the border to sample it - both completely untrue

    Or maybe its Fox telling Americans they 'love freedom' when the USA has the largest prison population in the world and the election results are stitched up by gerrymandering.

    "One of the stark realities of our politics now is that fewer than one in ten House races is competitive today," he said. "That means that almost from the get-go, more than 90% of races can be safely put in one party's camp.

    "In 2002, out of 435 seats, only four incumbents lost to challengers, the fewest ever in our whole history."

    Bob Ritchie

  • Comment number 40.

    So Eutectics, anyone who doesn't agree with you has been brainwashed by American media whatever the hell that is. I suggest that it is the other way around, that anyone who believes what you do has been brainwashed. The facts speak for themselves. Tell me one news outlet as an American I do not have access to if I want it.

    OK, my next post will be the one that will be censored by BBC. It will have no obscene or forbidden words in it that would be offensive to a general audience and does not suggest to anyone to commit a crime. It is the idea that BBC will censor because they find it unacceptable.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Eutectics and everyone else, I told you my posting which was #41 would be censored and I was right. The subject is strictly off limits on any BBC blog site. BBC will not allow it to be discussed, in fact not even mentioned. It violates their own dogma in a way they find unacceptable. A hot button that is still far too hot for them to handle. The only option is to censor it.

  • Comment number 43.

    Nobody has to agree with my opinions.

    The facts are a different issue.

    That's your problem, the facts always disagree with what the US media support as the 'correct' opinion.

    That's why most of the output of the US media is considered 'propaganda'

    You can tell me you believe Israel to be under constant attack from crazed Islamic terrorists.

    I will point out the world communities universal condemnation of the Israeli occupation.

    I will point out the confiscation of land and property and water by the Israeli government

    I will point out that the kill rate for Palestinians is 10 times greater than Jews

    I will point out that every Isreali taxpayer gets an annual gift of around $3,000 from the US government

    I will point out that the Israeli Army is a tax deductible charity in US law

    I will point out that it impossible for a Israeli soldier to be accused of murder.

    But that of course is not what you want to hear. . .so it never makes it into the US media.

  • Comment number 44.

    Well of course I'm intrigued as to what was so objectionable - but I suspect it has something to do with the USA rather than the BB

  • Comment number 45.

    My posting that was not published had no mention of the US and only to do with BBC.

    Last night I watched RT (Russian TV news in English) and French Channel 24 (French TV news in English) on C-SPAN. It's available to anyone with cable TV or satellite TV which means just about everyone. As with most things said by most Europeans, IMO they usually don't know what they are talking about, especially in relation to America.

    The Israelis have not been trying to destroy Palestine or the Arabs for 60 years with wars and terror. Now they are finally fighting back, their forebearance is all but gone. 10 to 1? If I ran Israel it woudl be 10,000 to 1. There won't be a Palestinian state, the Palestinians have seen to that themselves. Every time an agreement is even close, they demand the right of 5 million Arab refugees and their descendants to go to live in Israel, a nation of only 7 million which is just one more plan to destroy it. Won't happen. The future for the Palestinians can only be seen as bleak.

  • Comment number 46.

    You have to be either delusional or fed constant diet of US media lies to believe what you just posted - if you care to read a mainstream Hebrew newspaper like Haaretz you'll find even the Israeli's don't believe what you just posted

    "The Israelis have not been trying to destroy Palestine or the Arabs for 60 years with wars and terror. "

    What you have posted is about as accurate as saying Adolf Hitler was a nice guy and the Holocaust never happened.

    Are you a Holocaust denier as well - it takes about the same degree of self-delusion.

    What's scary is that you can post something as lunatic as that still thing people outside the USA will take you seriously.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    So many threads on BBC blog sites wind up as anti Israeli rhetoric and by extension anti American rhetoric as well. After all, as Israel's staunchest ally, America will virtually guarantee its survival within safe secure borders. A remarkable transformation has taken place in American politics. The most conservatie elements which were strongly anti-semitic just a few decades ago have become some of Israel's strongest backers. That is because they believe that the second coming of Christ will depend on Israel fighting a major war agaisnt Islam, in fact a nuclear war. Some of them can hardly wait. I'm not going to waste my efforts here reciting the history of that region, the four wars the Arabs fought to wipe Israel out and the two intifadas, the countless instances of Islamic terrorism against Jews both within Israel and around the world. Nor is it necessary for me to point out the resurgence of anti-semitism in Europe. Given a choice between supporting Israel and supporting Europe, at this point America would abandon Europe without the slightest doubt. Sir Christopher Meyers said on "The Interview" that the US is by far closer to Israel than to any other nation including Britain. And it is true.

    It's hard to see how the Palestinians could ever form a state. They elected a government in Gaza whose only unifying credo is the destruction of Israel. When given Gaza as a gesture of peace, instead of making use of its greenhouses and building apartments to relieve its overcrowding, it was used to launch rockets at Israelis. Suicide bombings didn't stop until the Isrealis built a wall. Without what amounts to a quarantine, they'd still keep importing arms to attack Isreal. They even tunnel beneatht the border with Egypt to smuggle more in. Their economy is dead as a doornail. There territory is broken up not only between Gaza and the West Bank but the West Bank is now fractured into many small pieces while half a million Israelis who aren't going anywhere call it home now. They still demand the right of 5 million refugees and their descendants to return to live in Israel, a nation of only 7 million. That's just another way to destroy it Israel will never agree to. It doesn't matter what the press there says, a Palestinian state isn't anywere on the horizon, there is not one reason to expect one to come into existance. And if it did, there would be no reason to believe it wouldn't be just one more strategy to ultimately destroy Israel. The Arabs have never accepted that it even has a right to exist.

  • Comment number 49.

    It's not anti-Israeli rhetoric - its simply pointing out the facts that are censored by the US media.

    Communicating the facts about Israel to Americans is rather like trying to communicate with a bunch of Holocaust deniers.

    Nobody has EVER attacked Israel, get it??? If you can show one occasion when the Arabs states have attempted to invade or colonise Israel - please do so.

    Why do you believe something that is so patently, obviously and clearly untrue??

    Israel doesn't have 'secure borders' the for the same reason as Nazi Germany - it doesn't define them, borders are for wimps who believe in the rule of law - not conquest, occupation and terror.

    Anyone can check out the UN resolutions on the subject and see you are delusional - so why keep repeating the same fantasies?

    What is it do you think the Holocaust Deniers and Poor Defenceless Israel fantasists have in common?

    Could it be a love of the same ideology?

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.


    you onlyhave to read through marcus' posts to realise that the man is so far gone it's beyond the comprehension of anyone with some humanity in them.

    If you state a dis-agreement with the policy of Isreal, (the state) he will tell you, you are an anti-semite. If you state that you have concern with US policy he goes of on one about his, quite comical, hatred of all things european. (he lived in france and i don't think he enjoyed it, or them him i would imagine).

    He understands history hollywood style, where saving private ryan is a documentary and U-571 is what actually happened.

    My favourite thing is he will post poems about paul revere and then when you try and warn him about the coming collapese he tells you your mad. How ironic is that.

    Not that he disagrees that it is going to happen, its just that he seems to be looking forward to martial law and all that the collapse will bring.

    Apparently hyper-inflation is not a bad thing and the collaspe of the dollar is OK. I wonder if he has fixed his financesso that has a stack of Ameros tucked away.

    Good luck debating with him. But i would suggest its kinda hard when dealing with a guy who says he would happily nuke iran if given the chance. I have an image of him being like slim pickens at the end of Dr. Strangelove. Only less lovable.

  • Comment number 52.

    Unfortunately I've enough experience of the internet to know that Marcus is far from being an isolated example.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

    Saor Alba. . . ..

  • Comment number 53.

    One of the things that has always intrigued me is why a paid up card carrying member of the Nazi party would want to deny the Holocaust?

    Surely this is the big triumph?

    And to be honest, it changed the political landscape of Europe irrevocably.

    It's politically incorrect to say that of course. . . . ..

  • Comment number 54.

    Rear end, people like you and Eurotics make it very easy for me to hate Europe and Europeans. If I didn't have more than sufficient cause already, you would give it to me all on your own. How absurd you are. All I want my government to do is pull out of Europe and leave it to itself and this is what you people constantly argue against. Why should Americans ever again pay their money or die fighting to protect Europe. I cannot think of even one single reason.

  • Comment number 55.

    You don't hate Europe - You hate the idea that folks are unimpressed by your desire to turn the world into an American funded National Socialist paradise.

    Martin Niemoller (1892–1984)

    First They Came

    First they came for the Communists,
    - but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
    - but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    - but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
    And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

  • Comment number 56.

    Marcus why don't you lead the charge then.

    Stop all ties and connections with europe yourself. I am sure O'reilly has a website you can contribute to rather than you sending bytes of data over the ocean to europe.

    I for one would love the US to go back to a foeriegn policy where they never strayed outside of their borders. The marshall plan was your idea not ours. If americans had kept there money out of europe instead of you funding terrorists for years, it would have greatly limited the IRA and there opererations for one.

    It would have saved millions of lives if your lot stuck to your borders. No south american death squads, no agent orange babies in vietnam, no million deaths in iraq.

    And calling me rear end is a stroke of comedy genius.

  • Comment number 57.

    There seems to be a certain justice to the way the world works. Surprising but from my point of view true. I'm not a believer and I wouldn't rely on the old saying that god looks out for drunks, fools, and the United States of America but I have to admit that somehow it does always seem to work out that way.

    Eurotic, I really do hate Europe and Europeans. Hard for Europeans to believe and accept that there is someone out there who is not only not impressed by Europe and its civilization but actually finds it loathsome, and not just based on lack of knowledge of it. either. Yes I may get some historic points not quite right but I more than understand the gist of it, I fully understand the crux of it too.

    Take the Palestainians. They are getteing pretty much what they wished for the Israelis. That seems poetic justice to me. They voted for a government whose only platform is to destroy Israel and now they are being destroyed themselves, slowly and painfully. Even the normally sympathetic EU has labeled them terrorists. The peace plans are dead, they are fractured, quarrantined, it's as hopeless as anyone could make it. And I must say that not only am I very pleased by the way my government has handled itself in this regard, the next administration regardless of who wins the election has pledged to carry on the same policy.

    The reason for the NPT is to assure those nations whose hostile neighbors are developing nuclear power that they are not building weapons. By dropping out of the NPT, Iran has removed that assurance. It seems to me that when they are perceived to be on the verge of being able to build them, their threat will be seen as entirely unacceptable and they will be nuked first instead. The only open question is when and by whom. Perhaps President Bush or the Israelis are waiting for the American election to occur first. It does seem inevitable and it will be justice as I see it.

    Will Russia shut off gas and oil to the EU this winter because of the planned installation of 10 ABMs in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic? Who can say but it will be interesting if it does. If Poland and Czech back down from their agreements with the US, they will not only be seen as unreliable allies but it will be clear Russia can blackmail the EU any time it wants to. If they stick with their agreements....well it may be a very cold and idle winter for Europe. Either way, I see that as justice as well. Finally a real sacrifice for our mutual defense on the other side of the Atlantic for a change.

    IMO Americans and Europeans by and large don't know what each other think of each other. Some Americans are under the deluson that Europeans are friendly rational affable people worth befriending. Printouts of comments like some of those on this post win my argument to the contrary every single time. Just keep up the good work. I never mind having more ammunition from you people. The more hateful and vitriolic of America and Israel the better. How accomodating of BBC to serve as a vehicle for it. That alone shows Americans where Europe's true sympathies lie....and lie...and lie.

  • Comment number 58.

    Like I said before - your beliefs clearly have little contact with the facts or reality.

    You might wish to debate how you so much enjoy the cheese from the different cheese mines on the moon - but I don't see much point.

  • Comment number 59.


    Your still here, I thought you would have joined your ilk at o'reilly by now. your still living in hollywood history land too.

    If you really want all ties with europe broken, which would seem odd as you keep refering to parts of it as your allies, then why do you keep borrowing money from the EUROPEAN OWNED federal reserve.

    You must be aware that the fed is a private bank owned by a collection of european bankers. You just begged us for another 700 billion dollars that we were more than happy to lend you, with a good rate of return of course.

    How does this fit into your understanding of things, i would dearly love to know. Or is this just a small fact that your own brand of patriotism blinds you to. You are after all an expert on every subject going, from wine to geo-poitics. I have to confess i know little about wine and will bow to your knowledge on that one. Geo-politics is another kettle of fish though.

    Mybe you should read 'tragedy and hope' or 'the creature from devil island' both very good books the first about how our counties are run and the latter about the federal reserve.

    I have asked you about this before and you remained very silent on the subject. Maybe if you ignore some things they just don't exist. Is that how it works.

    Also you chose a mantle of a figure from european history. Doth marcus protest too much when it comes to europe.

  • Comment number 60.

    Rear end, as the old saying goes, with allies like Europe, America doesn't need enemies. They only come around when they want something. Protecton, money, favors, a war against Kosovo, oil and gas in case Russia shuts theirs off, something.

    I did not borrow one cent from the EU. I can't help it if Europe is stupid enough to lend the US government and banks vast sums of money the way China did so that it could throw it away. Europe and China will get a lesson in Americanomics. They will be paid back...but with far cheaper dollars than they loaned out. Funny thing though if you have been watching the markets, the Euro and Pound have fallen recently against the US dollar by about five to ten percent. It doesn't mean America's economy is getting stronger, it means that Britain's and Euroland's are getting weaker faster than America's. It also means there is a flight of Pounds and Euros to Short term US Treasury Bills. This is because despite everything, the US is still the safest place on earth to keep money.

    Not only have I anticipated the current financial crisis, I have arrranged my own personal finances in such a way as to take advantage of it. In fact I've been counting on it, it's the opportunity of a lifetime. The best times to make money is during change when things are uncertain. It doesn't matter what the change is, as long as you know it is coming and what its general nature will be. Anyone who didn't see that see this was inevitable is like a deer standing on the railroad tracks with its eyes transfixed on the headlights of the approaching train, mesmerized by the illusion of false profits at marginally higher interest rates on junk securities. Stepping out of the way if you haven't already may be a little too late now.

    Right now the only thing I am concerned about is that 1990 Chateau La Louviere does not quite live up to expectations, it may be a little over the hill. It's got a nice smokey nose, good color, slight browning at the rim but the intensity of the fruit is a little short. Of course it is a lesser wine but still there's probably still another half case in my cellar. It's kind of a picnic quaff for me but in the past it has been surprisingly pleasant and more intense. Perhaps this is just bottle to bottle variation. It is getting better with airing though and the fruit is finally coming out. Not ready to get into the big Graves/Pessacs yet, my Haut Brions and La Mission Haut Brions. Still too young IMO. I like them well aged. Same with women. Much more interesting that way. Only fools pick them before they are ripe and then live to regret it when they don't develop as expected. BTW, future wine purchases will be all from my newly found pleasure in California. They are just killing the French especially when you take their relatively cheaper price into consideration. Some Australias are not bad either.

  • Comment number 61.

    The US is the safest place to keep money. That has to be the stupidest thing you have ever come out with marcus. Actually, you saying you hav'nt borrowed a cent from europe is. The 700billion that has been borrowed is on your behalf and you will pay with it through your taxes. So YOU may not have directly borrowed any money, but your whole federal reserve system is based on borrowing money so indirectly your whole economy exists to pay back the debt. A debt which is owed to a private european owned bank, the fed.

    Please try and understand how the federal reserve system works. Every dollar printed is a debt to the fed.

    Its strange but you and I actually agree on many a thing. Nearly everything in fact. Ok you think 9/11 was a guy in a cave so not nearly everything, but we share much common ground.

    Although i do think it it is kind of heartless that you are reveling in the fact that a bunch of euro bankers are bankrupting your country for profit. But the US is the land of the individual so i guess its your perogative to revel in the death of your neighbour. What was it 7 million dead as a resuly of the depression in the 30's. Whats coming is going to make that look like a picnic.

    You might have a collection of fine wines, just a shame you will have nobody to share it with.

  • Comment number 62.

    And marcus,

    The wine i like is from the valleys of devon, a beautiful full bodied number called buckfast.
    A monk recieved the word of god on how to make the perfect tonic wine and like all good monks he spread this knowledge to the people.

    It has overtones of cough medicine, but if you gulp it till you are past the neck you wont taste much beyond that, its around 15 volts and does the trick every time.

    Also very pleasant when mixed with tennants lager to create a hybrid cocktail, often known as 'buckie breaker'.

    I would recommend both. it also comes in a 'pocket friendly version' half bottle.

    It retails around £5 per bottle and is dynamite stuff.

    God bless those monks

  • Comment number 63.

    And if you stand on a corner with a bottle of Buckie you'll suddenly discover you have new friends, (a novelty for you no doubt) some of whom may even offer to share some of the delightful Danish beer known as 'Cally Special' with you.

    God Bless Monks and Danish Oceanographers. . . . .

  • Comment number 64.

    "...impartial coverage of international news..." I beg to differ. Guys I'm a huge fan of the BBC, anything produced by the BBC I usually find interesting whatever its on. I'm a Sri Lankan, and I can safely say that the BBC do a very poor job of being impartial when reporting on our on-going civil conflict. Even yest, we lost a former Major General of our armed forces to a LTTE suicide bomber. His wife, the most decorated female in the history of the Sri Lankan armed forces was also killed in the same attack along with 25 others which included a senior member of the opposition party and his wife. But in the BBC report, there is more emphasis placed on the the Late Major Generals performance with regards to human rights violations during his tenure. Its a shame that the BBC chose to address this in the report regarding his brutal assasination. What is more disappointing is the fact that the BBC seem to be very taken up by the LTTE propoganda machine. I know that it has a very strong presence in the UK, but why the BBC pays this much credence to the accusations of a banned terrorist organisation is beyond me. I dont recall the BBC reporting on war crimes alledged by Al Qaeda, and I dont see them quoting Amnesty when they report the US war on terror with regards to Guantanemo Bay. I have the utmost respect for the BBC still, but feel that currently, not ALL of they're coverage on international affairs is "impartial".

  • Comment number 65.

    I don't doubt that the BBC can be interpreted as 'biased' but it is 'biased' in a way that serves the British establishment - not the American.

    All news services are biased in one way or another, but in a free society with open access to the media its generally easy to see where the bias lies (as in your case) because we can compare the BBC with the Indian Media, the Arab Media, the US Media.

    The difficulty for the USA is that it's media system is dominated with home grown media outlets that have a consensus on what news Americans should get - its self censored.

    The sad thing about BBC America is that instead of offering an alternative view of the USA - it wants to join that highly censored US media consensus.

  • Comment number 66.

    BBC has and uses so many arrows in its quiver to bias news it's hard to catalogue them all. Here are a few.

    Lack of context. A story is presented without any reference to historical or cultural facts which give insight, explanation, understanding of why something happened or what it means. Thus an example of a factory in Lebanon going out of business as the result of the war with Israel but not even a mention of why that war was fought.

    Selective "man in the street" interviews. A favorite to present its own views by interviewing ordinary people whose knowledge is suspect at best and whose views are entirely predictable and not expert. In BBC's series "America Age of Empire" BBC went to Cuba where the Spanish American war started a hundred years ago and asks a Cuban "historian" who is an employee of the Cuban government what he thinks of current American policy towards Cuba.

    Confrontational debates disguised as interviews. In these one sided exchanges, the interviewee is caught off guard. In a real interview conducted to high standards of journalism, the interviewer tries to elicit the views and experiences of his guest and the factors in his life which formed his views. In a BBC "interview" the interviewee is put off his guard usually almost from the start. He or she is challenged in some demented rationalization of being hard headed journalism based on the interviewer's bias. Often the interviewer is so poorly prepared, the interviewee has to correct the presumptions of the questions because they are factually incorrect. These interviews are actually worthless from the point of view of giving an audience insight into what the interviewee is about which is the legitimate goal of an interview. On those occasions when the interviewer agrees with the views of the interviewee, he is given a soapbox from which to pontificate rather than asked any meaningful questions which would explain those positions.

    Straying off the topic. A BBC program often misses the mark so badly that it is all but worthless. In an early post mortum of the ten years of Blair stewardship of the government aired while he was still in office, four British journalists on Poltics UK wasted an entire half hour discussing the war in Iraq and the fact that the government hadn't become more user friendly. They never once mentioned the performance of the British economy, the NHS, education, crime, relations with the EU, or any of the other myriad topics that analysis of ten years of a government should consider.

    Overt political posturing. During the conflict in Somalia, BBC conducted interviews with the leaders of the Islamic Courts Revolution when they occupied the country trying to set up a Taleban like regime which could have become a haven for al Qaeda. It was a friendly and sympathetic presentation. By contrast, interviews with the temporary Somali government and Ethopians trying to restore it to power with the help of the US challenged their legitimacy. All prestense of journalistic impartiality was thrown out the window in what was an entirely confrontational report.

    This brings up one thing much BBC "reporting" has in common, it does not attempt to separate editorializing from factual presentation. It renders not just interpretations but opinions of the facts as they are presented and they are so enmeshed and interspersed that they are often difficult for even an experienced observer to parse out. It is not clear that BBC's product can even be legimitately called journalism except when the term is used in its widest and loosest sense, its standards in recent years being so low.

  • Comment number 67.

    I agree marcus, the bbc are simply no good at reporting the facts of any situation. They dont even feel the need to mention that the Fed and the Bank of England are private banks who control our ecomonies and money supply.

    Imagine that.

  • Comment number 68.

    The Bank of England was nationalised in 1946

  • Comment number 69.

    And Marcus, you do post some wonders. . . . ..

    "By contrast, interviews with the temporary Somali government and Ethopians trying to restore it to power with the help of the US challenged their legitimacy"

    Are you telling us if the US government was being run by the Japanese and American colloborators and with money and arms from the Chinese it would have been wrong for the BBC to challenge its legitimacy?

    Such is the world of US propaganda fantasy. . . . .

  • Comment number 70.

    Eutectics you missed my point entirely. I'll try to be even more explicit. The point was that the BBC took sides. It reported the facts and rendered an opinion simultaneously. That is not journalism. Right, wrong, or otherwise, in reporting the news you present the facts as completely and clearly as possible and let the audience decide based only on the facts, not how you feel about them yourself. BBC doesn't do that. By mixing editorials with reporting BBC is reduced to a propagandist. Who controls the direction of that propaganda is another matter entirely but sufffice it to say that in real journalism, when an editorial opinion is expressed, it is clear and distinct from reporting the news. I am not impressed by past reputation which is what BBC lives on nor by huge budgets and vast resources that are in the main publicly funded which is what BBC lives off of. Taken at face value, BBC is not a credible reporter of the news.

  • Comment number 71.

    And of course you are the perfect judge of what is biased and what is not biased?

    All news services are biased, its inevitiable in that they all serve particular audiences and have particular editorial policies.

    In a free society and with free press we should have as wide a access to different opinion and different news sources as possible. From these different sources we make judgements and form our own opinions.

    The problem for the USA, is all main media sources are pretty much agreed on what to tell Americans and how that story should be told.

    All your telling me is that is the BBC story did not agree with the propaganda story produced by the US media.

    Well done the BBC!

    It's time to get suspicious of media censorship when you find all the major news sources coming up with the same 'unbiased' opinion and the same stories.

    And of course the BBC is never going to be a 'credible' news source to you because its never going to tell you what you want hear.

    Duh. . . . .

  • Comment number 72.

    And gained independence in 1997

  • Comment number 73.


    Where I come from, when there is one huge organization which is generously funded by the government through what amounts to a tax and dominates the news dwarfing all other voices, infusing everything with its opinions, they have a name for that. They call it dictatorship. I call it Britain.

  • Comment number 74.

    It seems to me That BBC was very critical of Putin's government stiffling all dissent by eliminating all competing media voices in whatever way it could yet as I see it, the Russian government was only trying to arrive at a point Britain was already at. Their means may have been a bit extreme including assassinations of reporters but he end result was more or less the same.

  • Comment number 75.

    You are quite correct Marcus, when you get a media system that is entirely paid for by a corporate tax known as 'advertising' the media reflects the wishes of the advertisers.

    You hit the nail right on the head!

    Unlike the UK and the media systems of Europe in which control of the media is distributed between society and business interests the US media system is controlled by a corporate oligrachy which is much like that of Russia.

    Witness US health care - how else could you could you convince people to pay twice as much as anyone else for the worst health care in the developed world without tight media control and censorship?

  • Comment number 76.

    I think you mean Putin's government was trying to arrive at a system of censorship the US has had for decades. . . .

  • Comment number 77.

    Persistance of lies based on ignorance about the United States around the world no longer surprises me Eutectics. Every opinion possible on every subject that exists can be found in the US. The din of it is so deafening that it's sometimes hard to sort it out. But those that generally depend on audience share and interest whether through commercial sponsorship or voluntary contribution to thrive do determine to a large extent the predominant mainstream views that will get aired or broadcast on cable for the most part. Therefore, those which are found from the mainstream conservative FOX to the mainstream liberal views of MSNBC by American political standards will be far more successful and widely heard than those of a left wing radical point of view for example like Pacifica. Even so, Pacifica is available over broadcast airwaves in large American cities and now of course everywhere on the internet. Sometimes it's entertaining to hear what the lunatic fringe has to say but of course I'd never send them even one dime. You on the other hand in the UK have no choice but to support the one major outlet, the 800 pound gorilla in the room which dominates all of the news, BBC. Having a single overwhelming entity like BBC to control and direct the editorialization of the news would be Vladimir Putin's perfect media dream come true.

  • Comment number 78.

    Ah American 'success' - paying more than anyone else for the worst health care system in the developed world.

    Paying more than anyone else for the worst high school system in the English speaking world. . . .

    The worst poverty rates in the developed world, the largest prison population in the world, one of the worst road systems in the developed world and a rail system that is somewhere back in the 19th century.

    These are as you point out, 'successes' the American public can be truly proud of.

    Personally, I rather have French failure.

  • Comment number 79.

    "Personally, I rather have French failure."

    Good because if you don't have it now, you soon will along with the rest of the EU.

    BBW, rail service is of limited value in a nation where distances are as vast as America's. 4 round trips from NJ to California this year took about 5 to 6 hours each instead of days. In a small place like Europe rail is far more useful. Small nations, small cars, small minds.

  • Comment number 80.

    Rome Hartman, in case you think Dan Rather was CBS's one and only big gaff, think again. If you can, dig out Walter Cronkite's interview with Alexandr Solzhenitsyn from around 1979 after he had just left the USSR. This interview was a one hour distillation of four hours I think conducted in Switzerland. Having read the Gualg Archipelago, I wanted to hear what he had to say. He probably knew more about the Soviet prison system than the KGB itself. Instead Cronkite spent almost all of his time in a self serving effort trying to get Solzhenitsyn to say what a great job the Western press had done getting him and his family out of the USSR alive by applying the pressure of public opinion. It was so embarrassing it occurred to me that Solzhenitsyn must have been wondering "is this what I escaped to?" It was all he could do to fight Cronkite to get his story out. It proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that as journalists, US Commercial TV anchormen were utterly incompetent and the BBC term "presenter" was far more appropriate. Contrary to popular opinion, there was little space between Walter Cronkite and Ted Baxter. Therefore Dan Rather hardly came as a surprise to me. Thank goodness we have far better today not only on the news network stations but on PBS, NPR, C-SPAN and other high end serious US media. But while the best of US TV quality has gone up (Bill Moyers excluded) BBC has gone down sharply and severely. It has an army of its own Ted Baxters now. You'll feel right at home.

  • Comment number 81.

    'A small place like Europe'

    It's about 2,700 miles from Seattle to Washington DC

    It's about 1,900miles from Helsinki to Corunna or Belfast to Istanbul - there's about 700 miles difference.

  • Comment number 82.

    Yes about 700 miles difference....and about 700 years. Compared to us, Europeans are social primitives. They are so backwards they don't even know how backwards they are. Just look at World Have Your Say and read the hate Europeans have written about the Roma in just the last few days. But it could have been written by many people in Europe about many other people in Europe. I make no distinction having lived among them. Of all the things about Europe I found distasteful, it was their feelings towards each other which was the most painful and disgusting to see. I find it tragic that Americans have spent so much time, money, and effort trying to keep them from each others throats. I say walk away and let them have at it again.

  • Comment number 83.

    Ahhh ... Katty Kay ... Yes ...

    The last I saw of her she had been hitched to the McCain circus during the primaries. Given his predilection for younger blondes, have you thought of checking in on her?
    P.S. I like the show; much better than anything on TV except some of the PBS stuff.

  • Comment number 84.

    Katty Kay occasionally appears on American network TV news shows as a foreign correspondent giving an outsider's perspective. Lately she looks pale, gaunt, and in need of a vacation. Small wonder considering the likely pace she's had to keep these last few months. Why not give her a couple of weeks off after the election for a vacation in Marbella? :-)


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