The Spectacle Blog

The BBC: British Broadcasting Chamberlain?

By on 11.18.10 | 11:01AM

So while Americans are busy being patted down at airport security as Thanksgiving -- a celebration of America's beginning as a nation of freedom -- approaches, we have this story.

A hat tip to our friend Dan Friedman at Topcopy, who has alerted to this interesting story in The Jerusalem Post

It seems the British Broadcasting Company, the venerable BBC, is haunted by the spirit of the appeasement-minded 1930's British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

The BBC was poised to run a documentary titled Murder in Beirut. The subject? The assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The Post, in turn, picked up the story from the British paper The Guardian.

It seems that the Lebanese paper al-Akhbar raised a furor by declaring the film's purpose was ""to accuse Hizbullah of the crime."  Which is to say, the documentary apparently fingers a group the US State Department formally lists as a terrorist organization as the killers of the late Lebanese PM Mr. Hariri.  Shocker! But apprised of this news from al-Akhbar the BBC went into Chamberlain-like overdrive.

It pulled the series.

Christopher Mitchell is the series producer, and the Post says he told The Guardian:

"I am assured by the BBC that the series hasn't been dropped. Stories about the Middle East are...highly sensitive and go through a lengthy period of fact-checking and approval...'Murder in Beirut' tackles a difficult subject and everybody on the production worked hard to make sure it was as fair and accurate as possible."

The Post concludes by saying:

The series was originally produced by the British-Saudi production company ORTV and commissioned by al-Arabiyya TV, a Saudi television channel, The Guardian reported. The original documentary was never broadcast, because Saudi Arabia was attempting to improve its relations with Syria, but the BBC commissioned a new version.

The BBC says the program does not yet comply with its editorial guidelines, and needed more time to be complete.

Now, let's just ask a wild question.

Is there any possibility that the attitude on display by the BBC is in any way related to the fact that, if you are traveling by plane this holiday, you may have an American bureaucrat's hand down your crotch?

Some have learned the lessons of the late Mr. Chamberlain - clearly that does not include the BBC.

Perhaps a simple name change is in order: the British Broadcasting Chamberlain.

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