BBC chairman resigns after Hutton Report

Mr Davies told the corporation’s governors of his decision as they met at 1700 GMT.

It comes after Lord Hutton said the suggestion in BBC reports that the government “sexed up” its dossier on Iraq’s weapons with unreliable intelligence was “unfounded”.

And he criticised “defective” BBC editorial processes over defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan’s broadcasts of the claims on the Today programme.

Announcing his resignation, Mr Davies said the people at the top of organisations should accept responsibility for their actions.

Blair has just spoken on the floor of Parliament to demand an apology from those who used the BBC’s reporting to claim he’d misled or lied to Britons.

I’m glad that there was a prompt investigation with clear findings so that there wouldn’t be any doubt about this, and I’m glad that someone took responsibility and quit for this.

Its a good contrast to the current situation in the US.

Man, the past 24 hours have been The Year of Living Dangerously for Blair.

If he had lost the tuition fees, his government would have collapsed. (And he almost did lose it. 3 votes go the other way and it would failed).

And if Lord Hutton had put out a damning report, his government would have collapsed.

Blair’s not out of the woodwork yet, he’s still incredibly unpopular in Britain due to the war. But talk about a survivor.

Web page for the full report:

Can we get proponents of state-run media to eat a little crow here?

What, that the process was followed and consequences occurred? Sure, now how often does it happen in the commercial media?

The state does not in any way run the BBC - it is an independant institution.

I suspect we haven’t heard the last of this yet. The report isn’t without it’s own measure of controvesy from sources as afar afield as both political parties as well as some in the BBC itself. That said, it seems to me the BBC may well have been stuck with an overzealous reporter it should have overseen a bit more and defended a bit less. What I don’t feel terribly confident about are claims the British government didn’t ‘sex up’ its reports on WMD. There are many stories from various sources that, if not proving this, certainly indicate it and that meshes as well with the reports we’re constantly hearing from our own intelligence community about pressures Cheney was putting on it for certain results.

The state does not in any way run the BBC - it is an independant institution.[/quote]

BBC coverage is usually the most fair and balanced you will see. I often tune into BBCAmerica to get some real news, away from the biases of FOXNews and CNN. It’s pretty clear that it has NOT been supporting Blair all this time, but I haven’t gotten the impression that they were specifically targeting him either. They just provide news. Of course, every report will have some sort of slant, but they are better than most.

As I suspected, the story goes on. Heard a report on the radio about this and here’s a story from the horse’s mouth. Thousands of BBC employees have pitched in to take out an ad defending their deposed chairman. That’s not exactly the tail-between-the-legs reaction of journalists who wish to disassociate themselves from someone they see as flawed.

I’ve also seen poll results that indicate the majority of Britons see The Hutton report as an attempt to whitewash rather than an impartial judgement.

Last night half the people asked in a London’s Evening Standard poll branded Lord Hutton’s inquiry a whitewash by 49%, with 40% disagreeing.

Half of respondents to a NOP poll said Hutton was wrong to clear the Government of any “underhand and duplicitous” strategy to out Dr Kelly.

That figure rose to 56 per cent of the public who thought the peer wrong to lay all the blame at the door of the BBC and not criticise the Government at all.

And more than one in four, 27 per cent, said the PM should resign for his role in the saga with 70 per cent of the public wanting a full independent inquiry into the reason Britain went to war with Iraq - a question ignored by Hutton.

Polls and surveys are interesting and all, but they don’t carry any actual moral (or legal) force. All those people could be wrong. All of them could be right. But most of them don’t have all the facts any more than we do. There may be some whitewashing going on, or there may not.

I do, however, find it interesting that so many people responded. I assume it was a random poll, so that’s a telling fact. Does that mean that many people actually have an opinion on the matter? Would that many (percentage-wise) Americans have an opinion if it were an American network? I doubt it. Of course, people may answer one way or another anyway. It’s not like they have to actually have an INFORMED opinion…they just have to pick a side.

Sure, that’s certainly one light to view this poll in. I tend to assume that Britons pay more attention to the affairs and innerworkings of their government than you or I and so might have a better sense of the context of the Hutton verdict than you or I. There’s been a tendancy for conservatives in the US to prance about celebrating the rebuke to the BBC (whose skeptical coverage of the Iraq war is looking far and away the most accurate as time reveals the truth of the matter). However, to those that are effected most by this decision there’s very little of the same reaction.

Again, I think this story is far from over.

"I’ve also seen poll results that indicate the majority of Britons see The Hutton report as an attempt to whitewash rather than an impartial judgement. "

Yep. While the Mirror isn’t really the height of journalism, everyone I know considers Hutton a joke, coming from an over-inflated Lord with a tendency towards government backing conservatism. Bremner and co. did a pretty good take on the prevailing mood last night.

But hey.

Which I almost missed. Thanks for the consistancy Channel 4.

The Paxman bit was the funniest.

“On my left, I have Alistair Campbell. On my right…er…my solicitor. …”

I liked the Hutton musical bit myself.

Are you kidding? BBC’s been a farce since about 1965, when it become completely dominated by usually unaccountable ultra-leftwing characters completely divorced from reality. Having two key executives resign in utter disgrace is both long overdue, and probably the most constructive step imaginable to allow the BBC to regain some objectivity.

The executives must have realized that, and deserve some praise for having the courage to for once do what was in the best interest of both the BBC and UK journalism.

One other point - which perspective do you think CNN is skewed towards? I used to think it was very left-wing leaning, but now I just think it’s sensationalistic, and focuses on whatever will generate the most attention, offending anyone of an opposing view. I suspect that since both the right/left wing pundits think CNN is biased, it’s actually pretty objective.


The intelligence official whose revelations stunned the Hutton inquiry has suggested that not a single defence intelligence expert backed Tony Blair’s most contentious claims on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

As Mr Blair set up an inquiry yesterday into intelligence failures before the war, Brian Jones, the former leading expert on WMD in the Ministry of Defence, declared that Downing Street’s dossier, a key plank in convincing the public of the case for war, was “misleading” on Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological capability. Writing in today’s Independent, Dr Jones, who was head of the nuclear, chemical and biological branch of the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) until he retired last year, reveals that the experts failed in their efforts to have their views reflected.

Dr Jones, who is expected to be a key witness at the new inquiry, says: “In my view, the expert intelligence analysts of the DIS were overruled in the preparation of the dossier in September 2002, resulting in a presentation that was misleading about Iraq’s capabilities.”

He calls on the Prime Minister to publish the intelligence behind the Government’s claims that Iraq was actively producing chemical weapons and could launch an attack within 45 minutes of an order to do so. He is “extremely doubtful” that anyone with chemical and biological weapons expertise had seen the raw intelligence reports and that they would prove just how right he and his colleagues were to be concerned about the claims.

Dr Jones was the former head of the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons section of the defence intelligence staff - a military assessment service inside the Ministry of Defence - but is now retired.

He blamed the heads of the intelligence agencies for “over-ruling” them - despite the fact that his staff were, in his opinion, the “foremost group of analysts in the west” on chemical and biological weapons intelligence.

It would be a “travesty” if they were now blamed for any intelligence failings with regard to Iraq’s WMD.

Dr Jones said that if - as he had been told - there was other, top secret, intelligence which would have removed his reservations, that should now be made public.