I just noticed this post from Andrew Sullivan's <$NoAd$> site taking a shot at the BBC ...
Yep, they went in and changed the text which had said that "peace" had been declared in Iraq last April. It's not my error. The Beeb is one of the few news organizations which simply rewrites posted copy without any indication that they have done so. Sometimes with simple typos etc. this makes sense. But in factual errors, it's a form of deception, a rewriting of the record, with no accountability. It's a sign, I think, of the general level of integrity at today's BBC - i.e. frayed.
That reminded me of something.
The week before last I wrote
a post questioning the wisdom of something President Bush said when he addressed the Australian parliament.
"We," said the president, "see a China that is stable and prosperous, a nation that respects the peace of its neighbors and works to secure the freedom of its own people."
The statement and its rather odd implication were reported around the world. But then a few days later I got an email from a reader who had followed the link I'd provided to the White House's transcript of the speech and asked if maybe I'd gotten it wrong.
A few days ago (10/23), you quoted Bush as speaking to the Australian Parliament and saying that he "sees" a China that is free, etc. At the time, I didn't go back to the White House press release, but if you look at it now you will see that it says he "seeks" a free China. Did you misread it, or have they been massaging the record after the fact? I don't know how to go about looking for a cached version of the page, but maybe it's worth pursuing.
Well, I'm not sure I'd know how to go about getting the cached version either. But luckily that's not necessary, since I made a PDF version of the original White House transcript as it appeared on the day in question. (Call me suspicious.) You can see it right here
. If you scroll down to the big, clumsily-drawn red circle you'll see that the word was 'see' not 'seek'. Then compare it to the current version
now at the White House website.
At some later point, they (i.e., someone in the White House press operation) simply changed the word and thus utterly changed the meaning.
Now, I've heard some speculate that the president had meant
to say 'seek' but somehow misspoke or perhaps was supposed
to say 'seek'.
But I find that a touch dubious because I think that on such a delicate matter the White House would check the 'transcript' against the prepared speech that the president read from. But however that may be, I'd say this performance from the White House press office turned out to be, to paraphrase Andrew, frayed as well.