January 31, 2004

This is a theatre of the absurd. It has left everybody I know shaking their heads in disbelief and anger. Such a performance should make us all deeply nervous about the future of Britain.

Thom Yorke, lead singer for Radiohead, will have his
name scrawled on the John O'Neil Wall of Heroes...

Thom Yorke/Guardian: Lord Hutton's damning report of
the BBC is a whitewash. The result will create fear at
the Today programme, where there should be pride. As
so many times before, they were there with a story
that nobody else would touch. And I still cannot see
why Gavyn Davies and Greg Dyke have had to resign. It
flies in the face of reality, ripping all evidence to
shreds...This is a theatre of the absurd. It has left everybody I know shaking their heads in disbelief and anger. Such a performance should make us all deeply nervous about the future of Britain.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1135750,00.html

This theatre of the absurd

Campbell hounded the BBC simply for doing its job

Thom Yorke
Saturday January 31, 2004
The Guardian

When the Hutton report arrived this week, I expected
Geoff Hoon to have to resign. I expected, at the very
least, a grovelling apology from Tony Blair. I had
been looking forward to this for months.
Instead, I have had to stomach the gloating and
moralising of Blair, Hoon and Alastair Campbell as the
establishment of this godforsaken country closes ranks
to protect itself, its intelligence services and the
oh so wonderful MoD.

Lord Hutton's damning report of the BBC is a
whitewash. The result will create fear at the Today
programme, where there should be pride. As so many
times before, they were there with a story that nobody
else would touch. And I still cannot see why Gavyn
Davies and Greg Dyke have had to resign. It flies in
the face of reality, ripping all evidence to shreds.

This is a theatre of the absurd. It has left everybody
I know shaking their heads in disbelief and anger.
Such a performance should make us all deeply nervous
about the future of Britain. While Blair wishes to
draw a line under the whole episode, I hope this
doesn't happen. Sometimes a story will end up being
told, no matter how many times they try to close the
book.

I am staring at a photo of Campbell at the foot of
some grand stairs, mewing and preaching about truth.
An unelected, unanswerable force who was willing to
destroy the integrity of others and make their lives
unbearable to save his skin and that of his masters.

As Andrew Gilligan submitted to Hutton, why was the
BBC singled out when other media reports questioned
the intelligence as well? Why did Campbell suddenly
give disproportionate attention to the Today
programme's story, after weeks of hoping it would go
away?

Campbell needed to deflect attention from an issue
that stood to bring down the government. He had been
told to construct a truth that would justify a
"pre-emptive" war against international law, while
voices in the wings were whispering "lies". His
response was unforgivable. He deliberately went on the
offensive, choosing his favourite soft target, one
that had dared to go beyond the embedded reporting of
the war to show it in a less than flattering light.

Campbell himself chose to become the story, using his
indignation at such a slur on the government's
"integrity", and so avoiding the substance of the
accusation itself.

He now claims the BBC, from the top down, did not tell
the truth. In what way? It didn't check out the story?
It seems, sir, your little story about WMD didn't
check out either. Are we supposed to feel sorry for
him after this sustained attack on his integrity?
Nobody cares about his integrity; they just want to
know why we went to war against international law on
weak single-source intelligence.

And are we supposed to feel sorry for Blair? He has
made a very dangerous political mistake which
endangers global stability and has sent thousands to
their deaths. He tells us that he will be judged by
his maker. Well, he certainly wasn't judged by Hutton,
was he?

It was entirely in the public interest to question the
construction of this intelligence report, even if done
rather shakily at 6.07am. That is what public service
broadcasting should be about, serving no proprietor,
not controlled by the state, and addressing the
concerns of those who pay for its existence. This is
exactly what the Today programme did in this instance.
So where was the mistake?

Thom Yorke is the lead singer of Radiohead

radiohead.com


Posted by richard at January 31, 2004 01:19 PM