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Lapdog Blair licks Bush's wounds over BBC Katrina coverage

Tony. Such a loyal pup, defending Chimpy when he’s at a low moment with Katrina. It’s a wonder your country can stand your toadying behavior. It’s sad. Kate and I were looking at the BBC Katrina coverage on public TV, and I don’t know what he’s talking about – it wasn’t Bush-bashing, it was simply reporting of the obvious, horrible truth. (Guardian):

Tony Blair has denounced the BBC’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina as ‘full of hatred of America’ and ‘gloating’ at the country’s plight, it was reported yesterday.

Blair allegedly made the remarks privately to Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, which owns the rival Sky News.

…The disapproval will come as a blow to BBC executives, who had declared themselves delighted with the hurricane coverage, led by Matt Frei. They believed they had learnt the lessons from the Boxing Day tsunami in Asia, when the BBC was regarded as being slow off the mark.

Blair’s reported comments were strongly criticised last night by Martin Bell, the former BBC war correspondent and former MP. Bell said: ‘Assuming it’s accurate – it may of course be that Tony Blair was simply telling Rupert Murdoch what he thought he wanted to hear. If he really does have a gripe with the BBC coverage, there is no shortage of forums in which he can say so publicly. But the last time he picked a fight with the BBC, as I recall, the government came off rather badly.’

He added: ‘I think Matt Frei’s reporting was absolutely immaculate and reflected the fact that one of the things the BBC is there for is to report events as they happened rather than as politicians may want them perceived to have happened. If Tony Blair does want to confront the BBC over this, I’d be surprised – because he would find absolutely zero support, except perhaps among his usual henchmen.’

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Bill Clinton, who cannot decide whether he loves the Bushes or not, was equally dismayed at the BBC coverage, but today he was ripping the admin a new one over its Katrina failures and especially the non-plan to pay for the reconstruction.

Breaking with tradition under which US presidents mute criticisms of their successors, Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq “virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction.”

….On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest one percent of the US population, himself included.

“What Americans need to understand is that … every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq,
Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts,” he said.

“We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else.”

Clinton added: “We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don’t think it makes any sense.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding