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May 20, 2003

THE BBC'S JOHN KAMPFNER IS BACKING AWAY FROM THE JESSICA LYNCH STORY -- while, of course, pretending not to do so. Note that he never really answers the question about U.S. troops firing blanks -- instead he offers a non sequitur about whether Jessica Lynch was shot.

The new version of his story -- even given his spin -- is simply that the U.S. military milked the story of the rescue for PR. Well, duh. But that's not what his original story charged. His original story charged that it was a fake, with U.S. troops firing blanks in a Hollywood-style extravaganza.

This guy has been busted.

The press wouldn't put up with this sort of spin from a politician. Let's see if it's as tough on one of its own. Kampfner says: "Well, I mean, it must be said the British are no more angels than the Americans when it comes to putting out certain messages in the war."

Well, they're no angels at the BBC, that's for sure.

UPDATE: Well, what Kampfner is accusing the Pentagon of doing isn't nearly as bad as what CNN has admitted doing in terms of misleading video. So will this get worldwide media attention? Hell, will it even get major play on the BBC?

Don't hold your breath.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Bill Adams thinks this point deserves more stress:

If the American forces arrived firing blanks and playing tapes of explosions to create a great p.r. film, WHERE'S THE FILM? Kampfner complains that the U.S. suppressed the "rushes" and only supplied a "professionally-edited" final tape, but note the complete logical disconnect: that edited tape, the tape the military's press managers presumably wanted to put out from the get-go, doesn't show Americans firing wildly in response to explosion noises. So Kampfner's claim is--what?--that they faked combat in order to the fool the world, but then didn't show any of the fakery in order to fool the world.

Bill, you're thinking too small. Actually it was all an elaborate deception to destroy Kampfner's credibility. Seems to be working. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader writes:

In his non-retraction to CNN, Kampfner refers to the alleged attempt to evacuate Lynch in an ambulance as occurring the day before the rescue raid, but the BBC story he's defending says it occurred two days before the raid. Just a mistake? Or has he realized that two days before, the hospital was still in Iraqi military hands, making the scenario much less credible?

Hmm.