Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by KGB_resident, Oct 26, 2006.
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I would like to add a poll to the existing thread.
You didn't vote Serge
If you're interested in journalism over propaganda then, yes.
We may find the other side to be distasteful in their ideology and method, but if we place any kind of value on democracy then we have to say that, yes, it is right.
It must, however, be pointed out that by saying it is right to try and find out more about the Taleban, we do not necessarily condone what they do and how they do it, unloess your conclusions drawn from these reports lead you to that, in my opinion, f*cking nuts conclusion.
I (almost always) don't vote myself because I don't belong to the British military and it appears that British media frequently quotes ARRSE. Our friend Random_Task informed me that a quote from one my post about Afghanistan was used by Financial Times. I adore ARRSE for many, many, many... reasons but it would be unfair to expose my prive opinion as an opinion of a British soldier.
Though I voted in the poll about preferable British newspaper. I voted for Telegraph because I believe it would not seriously distort results of the poll.
I'm guessing KGB wasn't expecting the result so far of his poll??!
Sergei - we are all expressing our private opinion - it's what our forefathers fought for. Sadly our current crop of useless idle good for nothing politicians don't quite realise this.
Back to the point - it is the duty of the BBC to inform us about such people in a totally neutral way, so that we can make our own minds up.
The BBC is reasonably good at this except in domestic politics.
The BBC report helped a little to understand who the Taliban really are. I remember from my youth images of Mujhaddin, holy warriors fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. Now they are terrorists and called Taliban. To be honest I could not tell the difference between Taliban and locals. There must be foreign Arabs amongst them, for instance who is doing the suicide bombing, locals or religious extremists? They seemed at ease in their surroundings, to be honest the Govt try and sell this as a fight between the good of democracy and reconstruction and the bad of fundamentalism and deconstruction. It looks a darn sight more complicated than that, with the peace sought by the West actually bringing war and the reconstruction in the South non existent. And the drugs thing? Taliban obviously did pretty well at stamping that out, but now they encourage it? And we were supposed to help eradicate it but now we are turning a blind eye as well. Confused? You are not the only one.
It can only be right to try and understand what the other side is about, I think people are being a bit harsh on the reporter, Jees another gang came to kill the bloke. I think I too would have left my Paxman teeth in the glass in the bathroom at home.
Like Mushroom says, the BBC do manage to remain impartial in everything except domestic politics. What they are doing here is letting the public (including HM forces) know that the situation is not so simple as HM Govt would have us think. Not all the fighters are Taliban, even in Helmand. Some of the people currently chucking metal at NATO actually fought against the Taliban in 2003. Now, however, their crops are being destroyed and Joe Afghan has the choice of picking up a gun for pay, or watching his kids starve.
I think we need the BBC and other news agencies to cover this kind of thing so we can better understand why our opponents are fighting. This allows us to: a) find a way to stop them fighting so we don't have to risk squaddies' lives; and b) hold our government to account when they try to treat us like morons.
A free press also acts as a weapon against the extremists, in that it shows we are willing to listen to their side of the story.
O.K. - here goes:
When the Taliban were fighting the Russian backed govt: it was OK to interview them.
Before that, when the Mujahaddin fought CCCP, it was OK to interview them (I know people who went to AFG to film the fighting: it cost them Â£1000 pounds to get there, their film sold to ITV for Â£1000 - they nearly got killed - they broke even - they didn't go back).
As the intelligence analyst in ARRC, in the run-up to IFOR in B-H, I was always happy to read-hear-watch interviews with tw*ts like Arkan; because (taken with a pinch of salt, and in conjunction with material from other sources) it was a 'way in' to their world view, which was advantageous.
Sure, it was necessary to ensure that Staff in the HQ understood that news and intelligence were quite different, in these ways:
(Good) Intelligence is a forward-looking product of systematic and thorough acquisition and analysis of information from multiple sources, on which is based an assessment - an educated guess - of what is likely to happen next, and accepting that 100% accuracy is unachievable.
News, on the other hand, is information thrown rapidlyy together, in the most dramatic way possible. NOT in order to inform - but to sell newspapers/draw viewers/get people to read a website.
The real issue for the UK, right now, is that journos are prevented from seeing what is going on from the UK/NATO perspective: so off they go to look for another way in: and FFS - you're sure as hell going to see the war from the viewpoint of the guys keeping you alive/choosing not to kill you . . . isn't that obvious . . . it's called Stockholm syndrome . . .
If what we are doing is right - why should we be embarrassed by it?
Even if what we are doing is dangerous, why should we use that as an argument for preventing journalists from reporting it first hand?
Danger didn't deter W.S. Churchill when he was 'embedded' in S. Africa, and I'm dam' sure it won't stop good journos today.
I posted yesterday some words from Gen Rupert Smith that may be worth reading:
So far 62% voted unconditionally YES. I believe that journalists from BBC would be pleased.
And that 62% from a bunch of army and ex-army - alert the media!!
It is the duty of a tax payer funded media organisation to remain impartial and prevent ALL of the sides to an arguement / View.
However imagine the response in the US and the slant given if ABC or CNN were to do the same thing.
Carry on the impartiality - besides if we prevented them / censored their materiel are we not just as bad as any other dictatorial regime ?
Gen Rupert Smith makes some interesting observations in The Utility of Force (see link above, to a different section of the same chapter) about the trade-off an embedded journo makes; food and protection vs a degree of mil editorial control.
In GW1 Smith offered a faster censoring process thru UK channels than the US were offering, and the press bit his hand off to get on board.
The Press are not essentially about 'truth', whatever they may say. The good ones will concentrate on facts, but the big driver is 'good copy'; stuff that sells papers.
Embedded where the fighting is = good copy.
If the Army won't embed them, they'll embed with the TLB: and some of them will do that anyway.
Yeah of course they should be able to interveiw the Taliban....as long as the reporter has a GPS shoved up his arrse with a direct link to an MLRS Regiment!
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