BBC shines bright once again

Opinion Editor

This week’s feature in the theater of the absurd is the BBC’s new documentary series, “Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs.”

The BBC claims in this series that President Bush told Nabil Shaath, then foreign minister for the Palestinian Authority, that God had given Bush a personal order to drive the terrorists out of Iraq. The BBC quotes Shaath as saying Bush told him “God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq -‘ And I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.’ And by God I’m gonna do it.”

The BBC is widely disseminating this story, and sent out a press release revealing this information on Oct. 6, four days before the broadcast of the first part of the documentary series.

The whole thing smacks of a promotion scheme by the BBC to generate buzz for its “Elusive Peace” series. It was sent out from their press office and the release looks like nothing more than an advertisement for the documentary. The title of the documentary is highlighted in garish orange when it appears in the body of the press release, and a broadcast schedule is included at the bottom of the article.

The obvious promotional nature of the “news” story did not stop the more gullible members of the media from eating it up like emaciated piranhas. The AP ran a story on the subject, complete with a denial by White House press secretary Scott McClellan. Of course, as the more conspiracy-minded among us will note, a denial only makes it true.

That the BBC, which is apparently competing with the New York Times to be the most discredited news organization, has to stoop to the level of slandering the President of the United States in order to promote its programs is sad.

It’s absurd that Bush would claim that God told him to invade Iraq, and it’s especially ignorant to believe that he would say such a potentially damaging thing to the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority. That group is not known for either its discretion or its honesty.

Of course, we are talking about reasonable expectations here. For the legions of Bush haters in the BBC, the idea that Bush is a religious nut who thinks he gets personal messages from God is as undeniable as the fact that the Iraq war was orchestrated by Halliburton as a way to enhance its stock price.

It’s too bad that the BBC has bought into this story. One can only hope that the British government will cut the BBC’s funding and invest the money in more intelligent ways. I suggest pyramid schemes.

Sean Paroski can be reached at