Monday, July 09, 2007

Subtle bias, or just bias?

Yesterday was a big day for Boeing as it rolled out its 787 Dreamliner – propitiously on 7/08/07 (American date style). Such an event is real news, so it could not go unrecorded by the BBC, which posts a report on its website. It starts off:

US plane manufacturer Boeing has unveiled its 787 Dreamliner - the firm's first all-new jet since 1995. It is the only big commercial aircraft made mostly of carbon fibre rather than aluminium and is billed as the most environmentally friendly ever built. Boeing says the 787 is much more fuel efficient than its competitors and produces 20 percent less CO2. The firm says it already has more than 600 orders. The first test flight is expected in August or September.
That is a neutral enough report, but the BBC then adds a sour note, questioning the environmental credentials of the aircraft. To do so, it cites Phil Clapp, president of the US "non-partisan" National Environmental Trust. He tells the BBC that the 787 was a "major step forward" but not the sole solution to aviation emissions. Some environmentalists say the lower operating costs will make air travel cheaper and simply encourage more people to fly.

Now go back to January 2005 when the Airbus A380 was launched. Again the BBC was on the case, with this report:

The world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, has been unveiled in an elaborate ceremony in France. The twin-deck aircraft can carry about 555 people - more than the Boeing 747 jumbo built by Airbus' main competitor. The ceremony was attended by European leaders including Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder. French President Jacques Chirac praised the A380 as the "crowning achievement of a human and industrial adventure", describing it as a "European success".
We then get more of Blair, who praises the "dedication" of all those involved in the project, sayimg the A380 was a symbol of European cooperation at its best. "This is the most exciting new aircraft in the world, a symbol of economic strength and technical innovation," he adds. "Above all, it is a symbol of confidence that we can compete and win in the global market."

Is it my imagination, or is there a subtle difference in tone between the two pieces?


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