An apology, sort of 

The BBC expresses regrets about Andrew Gilligan's story on the "sexing up" of the British government's dossier on Iraq. Excerpt:

The BBC's lawyer has told the Hutton inquiry that the corporation "regretted" that Andrew Gilligan's first Today programme Iraq dossier story did not "sufficiently distinguish" between David Kelly's comments and the journalist's own interpretation of what he said.

Andrew Caldecott QC, in his closing statement to the inquiry, said the BBC also accepted the government should have been alerted about the story, which alleged that the dossier was "sexed up", before Gilligan's first broadcast at 6.07am on May 29.

But Mr Caldecott added that the BBC "defended the broad judgment" that it was "entirely right" to broadcast Gilligan's story, given that other media outlets had been reporting unease within the intelligence services about last September's Iraq dossier.

He admitted that Gilligan was wrong, in his 6.07am broadcast, not to make clear that allegations that the government inserted the 45-minute claim knowing it to be wrong and demanded more information from the intelligence services to "sex up" the dossier were his own interpretation of what Dr Kelly said, rather than direct quotes.

That's one thing that's always irritated me about journalists in Britain -- so often they insert their own spin or interpretation of a given quotation or incident without making it clear that that's what they're doing.


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