BBC Director-General Greg Dyke said Thursday that many US television coverage of Iraq war had lacked impartiality and risked losing credibility if they continued in this way.
"Personally I was shocked while in the United States by how unquestioning the broadcast news media was during this war," he told a conference at the University of London.
"If Iraq proved anything, it was that the BBC cannot afford to mix patriotism and journalism. This is happening in the United States and if it continues, will undermine the credibility of the US electronic news media," he said in a speech.
Dyke singled out Fox News, the most popular US cable news network during the war, for its "gung-ho patriotism."
"We are still surprised when we see Fox News with such a committed political position," said Dyke.
Dyke said he believed many American broadcasters had shied awayfrom criticizing the pro-war stance of President George W. Bush because they feared appearing unpatriotic, particularly in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, he urged British broadcasters to retain their impartiality and not to become "Americanized."
"Far from wanting a narrow, pro-American agenda, there is a real appetite in the US for the BBC's balanced, objective approach," he said.
"For the health of our democracy, it's vital we don't follow the path of many American networks," he announced.
The state-funded BBC was among British media outlets criticized by some lawmakers earlier this month for airing comments and claims by Iraqi officials alongside those of British leaders.
Dyke defended the BBC in the face of accusations that the broadcaster had been soft on Saddam Hussein's government, some of which came from the British government.
"In times of war, British governments of every persuasion have sought to use the media to manage public opinion...it's only a problem if the BBC caves in," Dyke said.