Who among us is not aware of the disgraceful behaviour of the BBC during the Falklands War. They did their utmost to scupper our chances and give information in public that was very useful to the Argies. They must have cost us quite a few lives and yet the bastards got away with it. They support anyone except their own country.
You would be forgiven for believing this kind of thing had not happened before. Well it did and once again it was political. During the Peninsula War there was a struggle between the Whigs and the Tories. The government was Tory and the Whigs did not want to pay for a very expensive war, come to that the Tories took some cajoling too. The Whig supporting newspapers published details that were eagerly read by the French Minister of War who passed the information to his Marshals and Generals in Spain.
The background to this was that the French were continually harassed by Spanish guerrillas who made it very difficult for communications between the various French forces in the Peninsula and also Paris. The left hand could never be sure of what the right hand was up to because messages were intercepted and passed on to Wellington. The big French base for the Peninsula War was Bayonne. Thousands of their troops guarded the roads and fortresses south of there to enable some communications to function. If a fort or two was left unguarded, the guerrillas immediately swept into it only to retreat when the French returned. The whole of Spain was like that and many of the up to 300,000 French troops were occupied trying to suppress these hit and run raids.
Here I quote from William Francis Patrick Napier’s book of 1840 – English battles and sieges in the Peninsula regarding the retreat from Burgos in October 1812.
…. the minister of war at Paris, who found the information he wanted in the English newspapers ! These, while deceiving the British public by accounts of battles never fought, victories never gained, enthusiasm and vigour nowhere existing, with great assiduity enlightened the enemy upon the numbers, situation, movements and reinforcements of the allies.
Soon however, the English newspapers told him Marshal Soult was in march from Andalusia—that the King (Napoleon’s brother Jospeh) intended to move upon Madrid,—that no English troops had left that capital to join Wellington, that the army of the latter was not numerous, and the castle of Burgos was sorely pressed: then he resolved to raise the siege.
The French Minister of War was even ill informed about his own forces, the Royal Navy blockade stopped shipping and the roads in Spain were full of brigands; so helpful were our newspapers to the enemy. Their reports were like gold dust in Paris.
Spencer Perceval was Prime Minister until May 1812 when he was assassinated and replaced in June by a reluctant Earl of Liverpool (he was the fifth choice of the Prince Regent) and neither was able to bring the press under control.
The treachery of our very own fourth estate has been a recurring theme throughout history. Even in WW2 the Daily Mirror was nearly shut down and the Daily Worker and other openly communist organs were shut down for a while. Anyone who has ever had dealings with the mainstream media will be well aware that more than enough of the reptiles are out for their own advancement and glory at any cost.
© well_chuffed 2022