I have been following this story with great interest for a very long time. It has been clear for a very long time that Andrew Gilligan did the BBC wrong, but they jumped in with both feet because for whatever reason they weren't willing to back down and simply say it was possible that a reporter for them might have made a mistake. If they had just been willing to say that months ago, think how differently things would have worked out -- for everyone. But they clung on as long as possible.
Now the head of the Beeb has been forced to resign. And even now, as the Prime Minister demands an apology, the best they can do is say that the BBC never said Blair lied. No, they only charged that his closest aid, his "Karl Rove" if you will, pressured their intelligence community to manipulate a public document to persuade the country to go to war. Nothing there that would warrant an apology, is there?
Jeff Jarvis, meanwhile, says it was a bad day for "Big Media" and a good day for the truth. We'll see. Lets see how the media cover this story. But I agree with him that the problem is that the media wants to choose a particular narrative frame for any story, present it to us as if it were "self-evident," and gets very, very, cranky when we want to see "the man behind the curtain." Why do you think the responses to Fox are so over the top, nearly hysterical? By framing stories differently, whether you want to call that conservative spin or something else, the main thing Fox does is to demonstrate that which frame is chosen for a particular story is in fact a choice. By showing us that, Fox's very existence puts in danger Big Media's most treasured perogative -- defining for us what the news means. Now on many stories we can choose for ourselves between different perspectives on the events of the day.
Is it really that surprising, contra Jeff Jarvis, from whom I get this link, that the British writer's union is standing by Gilligan still? How many times must people be confronted with the evidence that this report was simply fatally flawed?
He changed his story in front of Parliament. The whole story is summarized here When confronted with the fact that a BBC colleague had taperecorded a conversation with Dr. Kelly that contradicted Gilligan's reporting, she was made to feel so uncomfortable by her BBC superiors she went ahead and got her own attorney. Was the writer's union there when she needed support?