Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wringing Out The Old

A windy, soggy start to 2007. New Year's Eve was spent with friends at a pub in Crosby. Nothing particularly unusual for the occasion, just a crowded pub, generous quantities of beer, & anecdotes swapped freely.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one to find the news coverage of Saddam's execution rather ghoulish. By far the best of the 24 hour news channels is BBC News 24. However, the attention & detail it gave to the story, on what was admittedly a slow news day, verged on the pornographic. It makes me wonder how the story was covered by Fox News in the US.
It's apparent that the American public are now weary of the Iraq bloodbath. A small indication of this has been the reaction, or rather lack of it, to Saddam's death from an acquaintance of mine in Manhattan. When US forces killed insurgent leader Musab al-Zarqawi last year he sent me an email with al-Zarqawi's head superimposed on a target practice board, a single bullet hole marked on his temple. It surprised me at the time because my acqaintance would normally correspond with me about music (we're both posters on a music messageboard, ). I didn't realise he was so, well, gung-ho.
This time around, there has been no celebratory email, which is probably indicative of the general feeling in the US; Saddam may be finally out of the picture (save for the one caught on that execrable cameraphone video), but the morass remains &, if anything, deteriorates even further.

Today's FA Cup 3rd Round tie between Liverpool & Arsenal kicks off in less than an hour, as I write. A word of support to the organisers of a six minute protest on the Kop at the start of the match against Kelvin MacKenzie's Hillsborough comments. The BBC are in charge of live TV coverage, so it will be interesting to see how the Beeb handle, or react, to the protest, given that the corporation employed MacKenzie's services for their news review programme on BBC Radio 5Live. For further details, go to: .
While I'm on the subject, a rap on the knuckles to Simon Kelner, editor of the Independent, for a piece he's written in this week's New Statesman ( ), claiming that the decision to move the slot for the 5Live programme amounted to "terrified self-censorship".
Kelner, who also appeared on the programme, declares that it is symptomatic of the "craven editorial judgements of the post-Hutton BBC", & adds that the decision to move the programme was "shocking".
Kelner quotes the programme's presenter, Richard Bacon, as saying in a text message that "5Live received a petition of 700 signatories asking for [MacKenzie] not to be put on air."
The reality, of course, is that the online petition I presume is being referred to ( ) attracted over 10,000 signatures. Kelner doesn't dispute the outrage caused by MacKenzie's remarks, but seems to believe that MacKenzie has a right to air his disgusting bilge. The logic of that argument is that anyone has the "right" to express their views, even when it is accepted that such views are designed to cause offence, protests, disorder, racism, etc.
Kelner really should admit that he's on shaky ground & grow up.

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