Democrats are cute when they're being pragmatic. They furrow their brows and try to think like Republicans. Or as they imagine Republicans must think. They turn off their hearts and listen for signals from their brains. No swooning is allowed this presidential primary season. "I only care about one thing," they all say. "Which of these guys can beat Bush?" Secretly, they believe none of them can, which makes the amateur pragmatism especially poignant......
The process the Democrats are putting themselves through resembles John Maynard Keynes' famous description of the stock market. The game isn't to figure out which stocks are most likely to do well, but to figure out which stocks other investors think are most likely to do well. And these other investors are thinking of other investors and so on. Keynes thought this helped to explain the volatility of stock price. Your judgment about other people's judgment, let alone other people's judgment about other people's judgment, is inherently less certain and more subject to breezes of false or true insight and information than your judgment about your own judgment.
The real mystery is why the BBC so vehemently defended his report. It appears to have taken the attitude that any government complaint about its coverage of the Iraq war must be unjustified, and therefore was not worth following up, but should be rejected out of hand. That is, the responsible people right up to the director-general and the board of governors were so sure that anything they said was right that they treated the Prime Minister (and his press office) as dishonest and insincere.
They were convinced like so many others in the British political class (and elsewhere) that there was no case for war on Iraq, or an insufficient case, and that anything emanating from Blair's office was pure political spin.
To them Blair was a liar, pure and simple. Moreover, there was no case for the war that could be made by Blair that they would accept.
This stance enjoyed great popularity among the rest of the media, and among the vociferous anti-war propagandists which constituted much of the audience for the BBC and like-thinking organs of journalism. It was followed with dog-like devotion by the ABC and its admirers.
The protests by Blair were treated contemptuously as if any suggestion that the BBC might not be fair, objective, truthful and wholly accurate in its reporting and treatment of stories had to be rejected since it represented attempted political interference by government in the fiercely defended independence of the BBC.
There is a clear answer to the opening question. The BBC, in its overweening institutional arrogance, killed David Kelly.
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