The British Broadcasting Corporation is promoting the upcoming broadcast of a global television debate that will “confront the critical question at the heart of the 21st century – what does the world think of America?”
The special 90-minute program will be moderated by BBC political editor Andrew Marr and hosted from the British Cabinet war rooms in London.
According to the BBC, producers will assemble via satellite hookups 10 national broadcasters and “diverse voices” from around the world to “give a multi-national verdict on the United States.”
Among the panel of “quality thinkers, movers and shakers” is former Cabinet Minister Clare Short, former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto and Joe Klein, a senior writer for Time magazine and former Washington correspondent for The New Yorker.
The BBC boasts the debate will also release results of a “ground-breaking, international survey of attitudes that will capture popular prejudices and convictions about America.”
A separate poll will be conducted in the U.S.
The broadcast, which airs Tuesday night in the UK and will be available for download from the BBC website, will undoubtedly serve as a sounding board for those opposed to the U.S.-led military operation in Iraq.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the BBC itself came under fire over the accuracy of its reporting on the war.
Paul Adams, defense correspondent for the BBC, accused his own colleagues of distorting the truth, and claimed the BBC exaggerated the severity of casualties suffered by British forces.
In a memo written in late March from U.S. Central Command in Qatar and originally leaked to the Sun newspaper in Britain, Adams told his network supervisors:
“I was gobsmacked to hear, in a set of headlines today, that the coalition was suffering ‘significant casualties.’ This is simply not true.
“Nor is it true to say – as the same info stated – that coalition forces are fighting ‘guerrillas.’ It may be guerrilla warfare but they are not guerrillas.
“Who dreamed up the line that the coalition are achieving ‘small victories at a very high price’? The truth is exactly the opposite. The gains are huge and costs still low. This is real warfare, however one-sided, and losses are to be expected.”
In response to the controversy, the director of BBC News is acknowledging the difficulties in reporting the conflict with Iraq accurately.
“Nobody, including the media, has the full picture of what’s going on,” Richard Sambrook told the BBC’s Breakfast program. “Reporting the war is about putting together fragments of information. We’re all trying to work out this jigsaw and what the overall picture is.”
He added that fact verification was especially problematic with live, continuous coverage.
“The difficulty with a 24-hour news channel is you’re trying to work out live on air what’s true and what isn’t,” he said.
WorldNetDaily also reported U.S. troops deployed to Iraq complained about the BBC skewing its coverage of their battles.
In an e-mail to his wife, which was shared with WorldNetDaily, 1st Lt. Jon Wicklund with the 1st Marine division urged her to spread the word, tell everyone the “truth” about what was happening in Iraq. He was emphatic that the media portrayal of the troops’ progress was “wrong.”
Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group watching CNN Headline News
“Things are going OK for us out here. Don’t believe all the b——- in the press. We are kicking a– at every corner and everything will turn out OK. The only news we get is from the BBC – the British Broadcasting Corporation. Those Brits are a snobby negative bunch alright. Don’t know what the news agencies are saying back home about the war. Don’t really care too much at all anyway. But I just want you to know the truth. We are fighting a bunch of militia guys who are loyal to Saddam and wear civilian clothes … They execute civilians and all and they are not holding us back,” Wicklund wrote.
Among the topics to be discussed in the BBC program is whether the export of American culture around the world is a “good thing” and France’s “love-hate bond with the U.S.
France was among the vocal United Nations Security Council members who opposed military action in Iraq. It’s promise to veto any resolution authorizing the use of force prompted the breakdown of pre-war diplomacy.
The BBC broadcast will also assess the status of U.S.-European Union relations.
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