For any Brits who keenly remember the Partygate saga, the story coming out of America will bring out a wave of nauseating déjà vu: a centre-left leader making great political capital out of a lapse of standards by his blonde populist opponent, only to get hoisted on his own petard. President Biden now faces his own Beer Korma headache, as it emerges from Washington that he himself possessed two batches of classified government records in private offices. While Trump is facing an investigation for allegedly mishandling similarly classified files…
While the second document discovery proves embarrassing for the White House, it’s proving equally awkward for Aunty Beeb, who are clearly struggling to keep up with the rapidly developing nature of the story.
On January 10th – before the second batch of files were uncovered – the BBC wrote an explainer attempting to downplay the story, “Why the Biden-Trump classified documents cases are different”.
A day later, the 11th, that had been changed to “How the Biden-Trump classified documents cases are different”. No other adjustments were made to that copy.
Yesterday however, that all changed. The article was amended for a third time, this time with the headline “How the Biden and Trump classified documents cases compare”. The article also revised its analysis that the discovery of documents “had the potential to be a political headache”.
Following the discovery, this was updated to:
“The revelation that aides to Joe Biden discovered classified documents as they were moving boxes out of the president’s Washington-based think tank offices already had the potential to be a political headache.
Now a second batch has been found in a garage at his Delaware home, the embarrassment will deepen further.”
All news outlets struggle to nail down details during breaking news, though the BBC might’ve spared itself some embarrassment had they been less keen to spin for the Democrats in the first place. Readers are also offered no indication that the article has ever been updated. Tut tut…