The BBC, Britain’s public-funded “impartial” broadcaster, has labelled U.S. President Donald Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey as “highly suspicious”, running several articles and bulletins drawing comparisons with the Watergate scandal which brought down President Richard Nixon in 1974.
In an article on the BBC News website, titled “Did President Trump fire James Comey as part of a cover-up?”, the corporation’s senior North America reporter Anthony Zurcher speculates that “the abruptness and timing of Mr Comey’s dismissal, to put it mildly, is highly suspicious”.
“While the White House has said that the move is based on concerns over how Mr Comey handled last year’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, not many people … are buying that line,” he writes, with little further elaboration.
“If the dismissal was because of the email investigation, why act now?” he asks.
Zurcher does, however, acknowledge that many of the Democrat politicians “howling” over Comey’s dismissal, such as Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, had previously called for the director to be axed when he announced an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails was being reopened during the 2016 presidential election.
Democrats were calling for Comey's firing until Trump actually did it. pic.twitter.com/flQobM4EbI
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) May 10, 2017
In another article from 6 March, with the provocative title, “Echoes of Watergate resurface as Trump-Russia links probed”, the BBC provided a space for a number of individuals to cast aspersions at President Trump and his Attorney-General, Jeff Sessions.
The article quotes former Nixon lawyer John Dean as a “prominent voice” who believes he has “been hearing echoes of Watergate ever since this presidency started”, accusing the Attorney-General of “dissembling”.
It also states that “Russia is believed to have wanted Mr Trump to win the election [and an] unverified report apparently compiled by a private intelligence firm claimed Russia had compromising information on Mr Trump and was in a position to blackmail him”, providing little in the way of explanation.
It immediately follows up by pointing out that “some commentators” such as George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer Richard Painter “now fear the Russian connection could make Watergate seem trivial”.
— RichardNixonLibrary (@NixonLibrary) May 9, 2017
The article offers nothing in the way of countervailing opinion until its conclusion, in which it briefly discusses a tweet from President Trump in which he accuses Barack Obama of having tapped his phones.
However, in contrast to its coverage of individuals speculating negatively on the president’s motives for dismissing Comey, the BBC is quick to point out that the phone-tapping claims are only an “allegation” for which “Mr Trump has not provided evidence”.