La veritat com horitzó i com a principi

Dans le document 1.1.1. Objectius de la recerca (Page 96-101)

h. Avaluació de resultats

2.3.1. La veritat com horitzó i com a principi

En el BBC Handbook editat el 1942 es troben algunes conseqüències pràctiques d’aquest principi. En concret, per exemple, l’aplicació de l’amor a la veritat sobre l’enregistrament sonor dels esdeveniments:

Nothing is put into a news talk that is not true –not even the addition of a sound which did not come exactly in the right place. The aim, the BBC put it, is not to

259 Nota interna de R. T. Clark, news editor del Home Service de la BBC, recollida a Hickman What did you do in the war, auntie?: the BBC at war, 1939-45, pàgina 23. Citat també a Briggs The history of broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Volume III: The War of Words, pàgina 77. Aquí s’afirma que està tret d’un comentari pronunciat l’any 1938, al mes d’abril.

260 Sedgwick, R. L. Propaganda. FO 898/99. The National Archives, Kew, pàgina 3.

261 Sedgwick, R. L. Political Warfare. Its meaning, objecs and development. FO 898/99. The National Archives, Kew, pàgina 4.

broadcast an artistic reconstruction of an event but a truthful account which may also bring to the listener the words and sounds recorded at the time262.

No s’amagava, per exemple, que les notícies havien passat prèviament la censura, sinó que n’explicitaven els motius i els límits:

The news contained in a broadcast bulletin comes from one of three sources – official communiqués, news agency reports, and the BBC’s own observers. All news is censored in time of war for security reasons – nothing, that is to say, is broadcast which might help the enemy. The Germans may, for instance, put out that they have sunk a British battleship. Nothing may be said at the time by the BBC about this story. The reason –and the only reason- for this silence is that the Germans are

‘fishing’, are trying to sting us into denying their story and thereby telling them something they want to know about whereabouts of our ships263.

El redactor del Yearbook fa, unes línies més endavant, tot una presa de posició en favor del periodisme de fets:

He [the BBC’s News Editor] checks his facts for accuracy with the fighting services and other official people. He deals, so far as he can, in hard news, avoiding rumours and unconfirmed reports. He is not asked to leave out facts, however grim, unless their publication might help the enemy. He does not deal in sunshine rather than in clouds. The plain unvarnished tale of a reverse to our armies –and reverses come in the course of all wars- often leaves listeners complaining that it should have been coloured more black. But it is the business of BBC news to record facts and not to comment on them. The BBC gives listeners the raw material which they can make their own comments264.

El compromís amb la veritat se sustentava en tres pilars: accuracy (no transmetre res del que no es tingués seguretat que era veraç), comprehensiveness (donar tota la informació, també que la que estigués circulant perquè una agència o algun altre mitjà l’havia donada) i consistency (donar la mateixa veritat a totes les audiències)265.

En alguna ocasió, tal compromís va generar tensions amb els interessos del govern.

Churchill, per exemple, sempre va mantenir un sentiment de certa hostilitat per allò que podria considerar-se una BBC mancada de patriotisme, per bé que mai va acabar amb el seu estatus d’independència i de control tolerable per part del govern266. El propi Lockhart comentaria en el seu diari, el 14 de desembre de 1944:

262 The British Broadcasting Corporation (1942). BBC Handbook 1942. London, Jarrold & Sons, pàgina 59.

263 Ibid., pàgina 55.

264 Ibid., pàgina 55.

265 Cf. Mansell Let truth be told: 50 years of BBC external broadcasting, pàgines 90 i 91.

266 Cf. Hickman What did you do in the war, auntie?: the BBC at war, 1939-45, pàgina 30. El Ministeri d’Informació va imposar dos advisers. De tota manera, qui fou titular de la cartera des de l’estiu de 1941, Brendan Bracken, creia en la independència de la BBC.

It is curious how everyone near the P.M. (including the P.M. himself) believes that the B.B.C. is a nest of Communist or of intellectual perverts267.

El tipus de tensions que es visqueren, des de ben inici de la guerra268, deurien ser com les generades per l’emissió de les notícies de les 9 de vespre de l’1 d’octubre de 1939 a Irlanda. El responsable de publicity en aquell país escriu l’endemà mateix a Mr.

MacGregor, de la BBC269:

The effect of the bulletin last night was that of strong pro-enemy propaganda.

This was the immediate impression on three people listening in the same room as myself, and I have heard exactly the same thing from everybody I have talked with since.

The brief British communiqué about a reconnaissance over enemy lines, in which two German planes were brought down in flames, was followed by a German communiqué admitting the lose of two planes but adding that ten British planes had been destroyed. No denial, no comment of any kind. Just a stony pause and then the next item of news. The effect on the listener could not have been other than to discredit the British story and to leave a powerful sense of depression270.

MacGregor redactava la resposta dos dies més tard:

... with regard to the air fighting over the German lines, the B.B.C. was in a difficult position, after waiting all the evening for a statement from the Ministry, only to be met by the consistent answer “we have no information”, it was felt essential to quote the German Communiqué, which would certainly be heard by many listeners in this country who listen to the German bulletins in English. Its omission would have seemed to be a case of deliberate suppression of news. If it was desired that the true facts of the case should be published and broadcast, they ought to have been issued271.

La BBC argumentava sobre la conveniència i la dificultat de construir i mantenir la reputació d’un servei fiable de notícies. Explicava MacGregor en un altre escrit:

From the very beginning, B.B.C. news policy has been based on the objective statement of facts, and that is the main basis for the reputation which our news enjoys. It is sometimes accused of being dull (in comparison with the more irresponsible American method of frankly mixing fact and speculation), but there

267 Lockhart i Young The diaries of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart (1939-1965), pàgina 378.

268 Asa Briggs afirma que “it was not only individual Ministers who continued to try to keep the BBC under control in wartime. Parliament, which had lost much of its importance under Churchill, did not lose its jealousy of an institution which seemed at times to be in closer touch with the public” (Briggs The BBC: the first fifty years, pàgina 214).

269 Firma com J. C. S. MacGregor, BBC Liaison, Radio Relations and Communications Division.

270 Hodson (02.10.1939). To. Mr. MacGregor. INF 1/161. The National Archives, Kew.

271 MacGregor (04.10.1939). To. Mr. Hodson. INF 1/161. The National Archives, Kew. La manca d’informació del propi ministeri palesa els greus problemes de coordinació i gestió de la informació de l’inici de la guerra. La BBC va ser, a més, també sotmesa a reduccions en els ingressos com a conseqüència de l’esclat de la guerra. Cf. Briggs The BBC: the first fifty years, pàgina 178.

has been ample evidence in each successive international crisis that London is looked to by listeners as the reliable source of world news272.

Intentar servir-se d’aquesta bona reputació de la BBC, a efectes d’obtenir millors resultats en la seva tasca contra Alemanya, fou una temptació recurrent per a la propaganda negra. La BBC s’hi negà sempre, i d’això en dóna compte una historiadora:

Before leaving Britain for Canada ten days after the fall of France, Campbell Stuart had complained that ‘since Electra House had had difficulty in getting the BBC to do many things that they wanted, it should be determined who had the deciding voice in such matters’. Tallents’s273 view was that the BBC should be more than ‘parrots acting to the dictation of Electra House’, but Ivone Kirkpatrick of the Foreign Office, who was to play such an important part in the later war-time history of the BBC, was influential behind the scenes and felt that far stronger control of the BBC was necessary274.

Una mostra de la resistència de la BBC, i una de les seves victòries, és la seva negativa a participar en l’estratègia de disseminació dels rumors. Barry, en el seu informe abans citat, contemplava l’ús d’aquesta emissora només en un cas molt particular: sempre que es fes ressò d’alguna font d’informació neutral, de tal manera que no es veiés afectada la seva reputació275. Però fins i tot això despertava oposició, i no només per part de la BBC.

També per part del SOE: Charles Hambro, responsable dels agents sobre el terreny, afirma de forma taxativa:

I, personally, would deplore the use of the B.B.C. for the distribution of Sibs.

However much they may cloud the issue by pretending the information comes from neutral sources, the B.B.C. will inevitably lose its grip abroad once the listeners have reason to believe that the news put out is not true. If you have been in neutral countries surrounded by the enemy, as I have, you will realise the importance of

272 MacGregor (05.10.1939). To. Sir Kenneth Lee. INF 1/161. The National Archives, Kew. Keneth Lee va ser, per un breu període, director of Radio Relations, per passar a director general de MOI el mes de novembre de 1939, càrrec que va ocupar només uns mesos (Mansell Let truth be told: 50 years of BBC external broadcasting). Sobre aquesta mateixa problemàtica tracta un altre memoràndum, amb firma desconeguda. Apunta: “That reputation is perhaps a rather more delicate plant than some people would have us believe. I think it questionable how far it will survive once a suspicion gets about that our news service is not but propaganda. This is why I am so anxious that any refutation of German claims which we may be able to do must be in accordance with news principles”. Desconegut (10.10.1939). War Policy in the World Service in English. INF 1/161. The National Archives, Kew, pàgina 2.

273 Tallents, Stephen (1884-1958). Fou funcionari de la corona britànica i expert en relacions públiques.

Desenvolupà diferents funcions durant la Primera Guerra Mundial. Entre 1926 i 1933 va ser secretari del Empire Marketing Board, organisme encarregat de la promoció del mercat intern de l’Imperi Britànic.

Després es va fer càrrec de les relacions públiques de General Post Office. El 1935 va entrar a la BBC com a Controler de relacions públiques. Va ser controller de Overseas des de maig de 1940, però va dimitir a l’octubre de 1941, poc després de l’entrada de Kirkpatrick.

274 Briggs The history of broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Volume III: The War of Words, pàgines 274 i 275.

275 Cf. Barry Plan for Improving Sib Production.

keeping the B.B.C. absolutely pure from the point of view of news-giving. Compared with the German, Russian and other broadcasts, the B.B.C. is like a breath of fresh air throughout all the occupied and surrounded nation who listen us276.

El SOE sí que va requerir a la BBC la transmissió d’alguns missatges en clau dirigits als seus agents sobre el terreny dintre dels butlletins informatius. No obstant això, eren peces que es diferenciaven molt clarament de les notícies. Es tractava d’anuncis tant estranys com La négresse est plus noire que l’élephant277. També en aquesta línia la BBC acceptava habitualment emetre alguns avisos de l’exèrcit, com ara un avís als treballadors francesos de pròxims bombardejos sobre determinades fàbriques que col·laboraven amb els alemanys278.

Com es pot comprovar, la situació de l’emissora dins l’engranatge bèl·lic no fou quelcom planificat de ben antuvi. Els britànics, a diferència dels nazis, no havien reflexionat ni treballat per convertir la ràdio en un arma de guerra. Paradoxalment, aquesta mateixa manca d’estratègia va permetre que emergís una línia de treball a partir dels principis inspiradors del periodisme que s’hi practicava; una línia que, al final de la guerra, es va revelar com una arma propagandística molt més poderosa que totes les emissores de Goebbels. La BBC deia la veritat: aquest va ser el seu gran valor279. Diu un observador: “British propaganda was the product of untidy intellectual argument among small groups of free men who were agreed on principles and objectives but not necessarily on means”280.

276 Hambro Carta a David Bowes-Lyon.

277 Citat a Kirkpatrick, Ivone (1959). The Inner Circle. London, Macmillan & Co Ltd., pàgina 160.

278 Per exemple, aquest avís: “To shorten the war, the Allied Air Forces are to the opinion that is essential to neutralise at once those plants which in France are engaged in making tanks, guns, motorlorries, planes, locomotives and all component parts such as ball-bearings and rubber tyres. It is impossible for us to give you details as to the exact day and hour when our operations will be carried out, but to spare French lives we will go so far as to announce that these operations, which may be carried out by day or by night, will strike the chosen targets in the following areas”. I acte seguit donava una llista de localitats, com ara Metz, Le Mans, Lió, Lille, Tolosa i Clermont-Ferrand (Roberts, Michael (1944). Twenty millions listen to London. Dins Europe. Nöel Newsome. London, King and Staples Ltd., pàgina 31).

279 Cf., per exemple, Mansell Let truth be told: 50 years of BBC external broadcasting, pàgines 56 i 57. En opinió d’aquest autor “if the BBC can be claimed to have to some extent ‘missed the boat’ in the early stages of the war, the blame must largely rest with the Government of the day, whose attitude reflected faithfully the reluctance of the British people as a whole to face the reality of the imminence of war”.

280 Ibid., pàgina 90.

Les tensions281 existiren i foren molt fortes especialment pel que fa a la persona de l’editor dels serveis europeus de la BBC. Malgrat tot, des del PWE, el seu secretari Stephens tenia el desig de mantenir intacte el prestigi de les emissions de la BBC:

The B.B.C. has built its reputation and audience in Germany by the reliability and interest of its information. If our strategic objectives are to be achieved this reputation must be maintained. The skeleton of the propaganda plan must not be visible through the flesh of news, talks and features282.

Per a accions propagandistes compromeses, el PWE i el SOE ja comptaven amb un instrument més mal·leable, com eren les emissores clandestines conegudes com R.U.:

Although the B.B.C. broadcasts are listened to widely, they suffer from the limitation that they are accepted by our friends as carrying the authority of the British Government. This limitation prevents the inclusion of matter obtained by most secret means, which would be compromised, were such matter included in broadcasts known to be transmitted from this country or from allied territory with the approval of the British Government. They also reach those sections of the various populations, who will not or dare not, listen to the B.B.C. broadcasts but who believe that the R.U. broadcasts represent the voice of pro-ally authority in their own country283.

Dans le document 1.1.1. Objectius de la recerca (Page 96-101)