Understandable Silence

It’s understandable that the BBC has chosen to wait for the grand finale before reporting any news about the forthcoming Gaza flotilla, even if the build-up has caused a stir elsewhere.So far they have had nothing to say about the elaborate preparations currently taking place in 12 European countries and various other far-flung locations. I’ve been searching the BBC news pages each day to find a reference, but the website only comes up with stories concerning the fiasco which created nine martyrs last year. This year’s extensive preparations by pro Palestinian Peace activists haven’t made the cut. Normally one might just think that’s fine and dandy, after all, ‘if it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead’. But as this stunt is deliberately designed to provoke Israel, and the peaceful protesters are evidently hoping it will lead to another violent confrontation ending in bloodshed, Israel’s supporters would say background information is essential. That is, if there were to be any hope of fair reporting, if and when the anticipated drama unfolds.

I find several reports about this more newsworthy than the BBC does. Apparently, the fashion for using ‘Lawfare’ as a weapon against Israel has been adopted by the Israelis and redirected at the flotillistas, with knobs on. Melanie P explains on her blog that warnings concerning potential accountability for Hamas’s future acts of terrorism are causing suppliers and maritime insurers to pull out. Various other delays and impediments to the preparations have taken yet more of the wind out of their sails.
A number of the recruits on stand-by are elderly, which means that their value as human shields all but equals that of babies and toddlers. Some of us might interpret this as the cynical exploitation of expendable useful idiots, while others will see pensioners’ participation as endearingly brave and selfless.
Ha’artetz has run some stories about preparatory workshops designed to whip up an atmosphere of defiance mixed with fear, creating amongst the passengers such an expectancy of violence that it is very likely to be self-fulfilling. That will provide the requisite anti Israel message for the media.
There have been reports that they intend to kill IDF soldiers, but having seen that this wouldn’t fit the agenda, they are hastily backtracking on that.
The BBC hasn’t reported any of the above, but the Guardian has, putting the case for the flotillistas. The Guardian is not under any obligation to be impartial, so it’s understandable that, as Just Journalism points out, they’re not bothering to report that Israel has promised that after an inspection of the cargo, which must be carried out as per the conditions of the blockade, they will deliver all the humanitarian aid on board, safely and lovingly to Gaza. Similarly, the Guardian hasn’t reflected on the fact that ‘there doesn’t seem to be a practical reason to send the aid.’ But, again that is understandable, since the media’s orchestrated campaign to delegitimise Israel is a given, and the Guardian is not constrained by a charter which limits their freedom of expression. Unlike the BBC whose motto might be
‘if you can’t say something bad, say nothing.’
So the BBC has been silent, in strict, officious accordance with the genetic impartiality it’s so proud of.

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Question Time LiveBlog 30th June 2011


Question Time comes tonight from Birmingham; a post apocalyptic prison-city which was extensively remodelled in the mid 20th Century by Adolf Hitler and is located in a huge bomb crater somewhere in the Midlands. Highlights include nightmarish buildings, utterly miserable public transport and sadistic traffic systems. For this reason Birmingham has been designated an IKEA World Heritage Site.

Birmingham currently holds the world record for fruitless scratch card scratching and bitterly screwed up lottery tickets.

On the panel tonight we have Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond MP, Shadow Business Secretary John Denham MP, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower, Labour supporting Sir Richard Lambert (although recently in favour of deficit reduction) and Polly Toynbee.

LiveBlog commenters are kindly asked to leave sharp objects at the door. Your moderators accept no responsibility for injury or damage to nearby objects. Alcohol is virtually essential.

The LiveBlog will also stay open for the bizarreness of This Week with Andrew Neil, and Michael Portillo. They are joined on the Sofa of Mediocrity by Gisela Stuart MP; hindered by some people calling themselves “Michael Rosen” and “Trevor Beresford Romeo OBE” who all of you down wiv da kidz peeps will know as “DJ Jazzie B“. Plus a political round-up from Adam Boulton. Joy.

David Vance, TheEye and David Mosque will be moderating the abuse here from 10:30pm. See you later!

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Those Oh So Sensitive BBC Editors…..

It’s a tough job, trundling through BBC’s Editors Blog (did Goebbels have something similar at his Propaganda Ministry?) but two items are worthy of note.

Firstly a tear stained piece from Jeremy Hillman, editor of the BBC News business and economics unit. Jeremy was soooooo upset about George Osborne suggesting

the BBC’s approach to reporting the economy was relentlessly to focus on the bad news and the most gloomy statistics.

Hillman went on to produce a fistful of examples in an attempt to derail Osborne’s case, par for the course for any BBC suit when faced with accusations of bias. Then he sits back smugly thinking he has proved his point.

Actually Sarah Montague, despite Hillman’s spin about consciously downplaying Padoan, did indeed home in on the Padoan remarks so obviously she didn’t get the memo.

But we all know what Osborne was really getting at – not that they ignored positive items about the economy from third parties but the whole question of tone and emphasis which is why he used the word “relentlessly”. Ever since the Coalition took office the BBC’s overarching leitmotif has been CUTS rather than savings and one only has to watch any QT audience to see how successful that campaign has been.

However the good news is that Osborne’s comment touched a nerve. I guess that this issue has been raised at several North London dinner parties recently because Hillman and his pals realise that Charter Renewal is beginning to appear on the horizon and they cannot afford to upset a senior cabinet figure. Let’s hope that other government big cheeses start getting under sensitive BBC skins on a regular basis.

Then this abject apology re the Israeli Dog Stoning story from Nathalie Malinarich, world editor of the BBC News website

We failed to make the right checks. We should never have written the article and apologise for any offence caused.

Don’t worry, luv – we know why you failed to make the right checks…..while you were all busy filling in your expenses forms a breathless young graduate trainee rushed in and blurted out “those crazy religious bigoted Jews – as well as murdering helpless innocent Palestinians they are now going after helpless dogs…”

It fitted into the BBC’s anti Israeli narrative so perfectly you just couldn’t resist it…c’mon, Nathalie…is the Pope catholic? Those Jews aren’t they evil?

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ATTACK!

Anyone catch this verbal assault on Francis Maude this morning? I note that Evan Davies picks up where he left off the other day insisting that it is wrong to say that public sector pension are “unaffordable”. Basically Davies acts as a sounding board for Mark Serwotka and I believe this is a classic beating up of a Conservative. Give it a listen and let me know what you think?

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HALF THE STORY, ALL THE TIME

The squalid North Korean regime is one that most civilised people hold in contempt, although I note the BBC has never seemed very interested in anything actually being DONE about it, although that is another story. This morning, Today treated us to an item on the appalling conditions that prevail within the prison camps of this failed thugocracy, and very moving too. But how strange that the BBC does not highlight the fact that Nuclear-armed North Korea has just assumed the presidency of a key United Nations disarmament body — despite facing UN Security Council sanctions over its weapons programs. Naturally to associate the wise and all-knowing United Nations with facilitating the notorious North Korean regime might not look too good for the UN-worshipping BBC, so nothing is said. I suppose that is why the BBC also ignored the UN supporting Iran’s holding of an international “anti-terrorism” conference — which saw participants declaring that Western powers were the international terrorists.
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"I LOVE HIM!"

Hat-tip to John Horne Tooke in the comments for pointing us to the Twitter account of BBC journalist Jude Machin:

“Obamama”? Urrgh *shiver*.

OK, so she’s assigned to the 2012 Olympics and isn’t covering US politics (and quite clearly can’t be allowed to do so – right, Ms Boaden?) However, isn’t it interesting that every time a BBC hack expresses a political opinion on Twitter it always seems to come from one direction? Imagine a BBC journalist declaring his or her support for a Republican candidate on Twitter. It would mark them out as a freak. Career suicide. But announcing one’s love for Obama? Hey, no big deal, everyone at work’s cool with that.

The same sort of thing didn’t do Anita Anand’s career any harm, did it?

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NICK THE KNIFE!

BBC favourite Tory in name only Ken Clarke was on the BBC this morning to discuss his alleged u-turn on prison sentencing discounts. To be fair to Clarke, he gave a pretty decent account of himself but the bit that fascinated me was the intro interview with Nick Robinson on Clarke.(Not on the link, alas) Robinson made reference to the “Tory Press” undermining poor Clarke at least three times in a minute or two. Is this the same press that supported Blair for years? Will Nick be also using the term “Labour Press” to describe his soul-mates in the Guardian, Indie, Mirror – in the interests of balance?

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UNAFFORDABLE AND UNTENABLE

Evan Davies is running a one man campaign to inform us that maintaining public sector pension provision is both affordable and a moral imperative! Listen to the petulant tone he adopts in this interview with Treasury Minister Justine Greening as he doggedly tries to get her to say that it is wrong to suggest that the gilt-edged public sector pensions are in any way “unaffordable”. His semantic point is neither here nor there and yet he made it the main focus of the interview. Greening should have been more direct and simply pointed out that since Labour devastated private sector pension provision (to the complete indifference of the comrades at the BBC) then the public sector must now pay part of the consequences. It is immoral to expect the private sector workers to retire on a pittance in order to ensure that public sector workers – like BBC employees -can continue to enjoy their bloated pension benefits. Whatever happened to we are all in this together, eh?

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The Dishonesty And Political Advocacy Of Justin Webb

The latest BBC article about the US economic situation is by that well-known economics and business expert, Justin Webb. Yes, he went to the LSE, so must surely be qualified to prescribe a cure for what ails the US.

But first, his dishonesty:

I should make it clear that my reporting of the United States, in the years I was based there for the BBC, was governed by a sense that too much foreign media coverage of America is negative and jaundiced.

Too much foreign media coverage, eh, Justin? You mean like this?

America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge.
I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture, and that picture is in many respects a true one.

Who said that? Justin Webb in a ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ piece for the BBC. So who said this:

Some Tea Party folk hate Obama, but the movement is a symptom of something much deeper and more worrying for all Americans: they kinda hate themselves.

Justin Webb, in the Mirror (h/t David Vance of this parish). That was back when Webb and the BBC were pushing the lie that the mass murderer who attempted to kill Rep. Giffords in Tucson was a right-winger whose actions were inspired by the Tea Party.

And then there’s this gem:

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to ‘correct’, it in his reports. Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it ‘no moral weight’.

Foreign media, indeed.

Now on to the main point, ol’ Justin’s political advocacy masquerading as expert analysis.

This is a story of debt, delusion and – potentially – disaster. For America and, if you happen to think that American influence is broadly a good thing, for the world.

The debt and the delusion are both all-American: $14 trillion (£8.75tn) of debt has been amassed and there is no cogent plan to reduce it.

Denial? No cogent plan? He’s talking about the Democrats, most especially the President, who initially refused to cut any spending at all. Only that’s not what ol’ Justin wants you think. No, so long as he can convince you that it’s a bi-partisan denial, he can get away with the dishonesty.

In fact, Paul Ryan has had a cogent plan out for a while now. It’s only that Justin doesn’t like it because his personal political beliefs lead him elsewhere. To claim that nobody has one is simply a lie.

Webb’s first expert source is Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia’s Earth Institute. Even without guessing the political leanings of an organization with such a name, we can figure it out because Sachs himself says that Keynes was the “greatest political economist of the 20th century”. How convenient that it matches up with Webb’s LSE schooling.

Sachs says that the debt simply must be brought under control. Seriously, that’s it. No cogent plans offered. It’s as if Webb thinks that many people don’t realize this and need experts to tell us. What the hell does he think the Tea Party movement has been about? Oh, that’s right, I forgot: racism.

Next expert up is someone whom Webb describes only as an “author and economist”, Diane Coyle. What ol’ Justin doesn’t want you to know is that she’s also the Vice Chair of the BBC Trust and is married to BBC technology maven Rory Cellan-Jones (who was it here that coined the phrase “incest interview”?). Sure, she was an adviser to the Treasury during Thatcher’s Government, but did mostly foreign policy analyses and predictions, so not much of a Conservative. Her own website shows her involvement in Left-leaning philosophies. Her new book, “The Economics of Enough”, is all about countries living above their means and how over-spending and too much entitlement expense is not a good recipe for a secure future. Obviously ol’ Justin knows all about her book and its viewpoint, or he wouldn’t have brought her into the discussion. Coyle also offers no answers, only an explanation of one part of the problem and an emphasis that it’s really, really scary. Again, nothing new here, nothing added to the discussion of what to do, and certainly no proof that we’re all in denial, as Webb claims.

The third expert voice is just someone from the Council on Foreign Relations quoted to reinforce Webb’s contention that what happens to the US affects the whole world. Again, this assumes that the reader has no idea and Webb thinks you need an expert opinion to convince you that he’s right. Talk about underestimating the intelligence of the audience.

The only person identified by his political association is….wait for it….Republican David Frum. He’s a favorite of the BBC because he has shifted Leftwards and criticized George Bush. Webb quotes him as an example of stupid Republicans (read: Tea Party denialists and other enemies of the President) who are in denial of the problem.

This is, of course, a lie. Everyone knows there is a problem, which is why there’s such a huge budget battle on Capitol Hill right now. Who does Webb think he’s kidding here? Frum, in fact, is the only one of the voices Webb brings in who actually offers some kind of solution. Only he doesn’t like it, so dismisses it as denial. If there’s a simple solution, it must be no good because the problem is so complex and horrible. According to Justin, anyway.

So what’s this all about? A bit of scare-mongering. But before Webb gives us the answer, he first has a little attack on Alaska. What he says about the state being over-subsidized is true, even if Sarah Palin never existed, so I won’t say he’s focusing on Alaska only as a dig at her. What he is doing, though, is trying to use Alaska as a cudgel with which to beat the non-Left citizens and politicians of the US. He calls us hypocrites because Alaska exists as it does, and is mostly politically conservative. This is not a logical argument, but that’s what he’s saying. At no point does Webb show a Republican or Tea Party voice saying that we must keep federal subsidies at all cost while cutting spending on the poor. It’s just something he made up. Oh, and of course because he can’t resist it, he gets in a little ad hominem at the Tea Party:

The Tea Party movement talks of cuts in spending but when it comes to it, Americans always seem to be talking about cuts in spending that affect someone else, not them – and taxes that are levied on others too.

Yet another lie. The Tea Party movement is made up of people from all walks of life (except public sector unions and far-Left ideologues), many of whom will be affected by spending cuts no matter what Webb claims. He’s really parroting the union talking points you’ve been hearing from Bob Crow and Ed Miliband. No surprise, really.

Finally, ol’ Justin’s solution: more taxes, especially on the rich. He says that it’s Sach’s view the politicians are too scared to raise taxes because the evil rich don’t like it.

America’s two main political parties are so desperate to raise money for the nation’s constant elections – remember the House of Representatives is elected every two years – that they can do nothing that upsets wealthy people and wealthy companies.

So they cannot touch taxes.

Actually, they can: they can cut them. But that’s not part of ol’ Justin’s agenda here. So he closes with a little more dishonesty.

In all honesty, I am torn about the conclusions to be drawn. I find it difficult to believe that a nation historically so nimble and clever and open could succumb to disaster in this way.

Yeah, right. He has an opinion, which is why he’s trying to push the lie that nobody has a budget plan. The Democrats don’t have one that will fix the deficit, but the Republicans do. He just doesn’t like it so wants you to think nobody has one.

But America, as well as being a place of hard work and ingenuity, is also no stranger to eating competitions in which gluttony is celebrated, and wilful ignorance, for instance regarding (as many Americans do) evolution as controversial.

Ah, yes, the classic Justin Webb attack on the religious beliefs of non-Muslims. Except one’s views on evolution have nothing whatsoever to do with economics. It’s just something ol’ Justin threw in to belittle us, a non sequitur, as if he thinks one negative plus another negative equals more negatives, and that’s all there is to proving a point.

The debt crisis is a fascinating crisis because it is about so much more than money. It is a test of a culture.

Yes it is. But I don’t think it’s what Justin wants it to be. But his last line reveals his ignorance in a major way, and pretty much discredits his entire missive.

It is about waking up, as the Americans say, and smelling the coffee. And – I am thinking Texas here – saddling up too, and riding out with purpose.

Careful, Justin, you might just get what you wish for. Texas, you see, is the one state where they’re adding jobs and the economy is growing. In fact, 45% of jobs created in the last two years (i.e. during The Obamessiah Administration) have been in Texas. Because they’re doing it from a low-tax, help business, clean out draconian regulation, fiscally conservative position. Oops.

I think ol’ Justin has no idea about this at all, and was just trying to sound folksy, using an Americanism to add authenticity to his viewpoint. Fail.

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BBC Thinks Roads Are Only For BBC Elite – Not For US

Our friends at the BBC (you know, the ones who we pay for out of money extracted by force from our pockets and purses) do love to travel in style at our expense but they are not so keen on we ordinary mortals doing the same, especially by road.
Hence the doom laden announcement on the BBC website about the opening of the M74 extension in Glasgow.
True there were positive quotes from the Scottish Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil and Glasgow City Council leader, Councillor Gordon Matheson but you can always tell where the BBC love really resides when you see the quotes signing off at the end of any website article.

“A fraction of this vast sum (£692m) could have delivered major public transport improvements, and to make the city easier to cycle and walk around.”

That from Glasgow Green MSP Patrick Harvie plus an equally funereal warble from Stan Blackley described as chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland (yes, you’ve got it, FoE, the organisation that’s generously funded by EU taxpayers)
So, Stan, you won’t be driving your VW Campervan along the M74 any time yet?
As someone who regularly drives westward I have often reflected that, if we were in France, there would be a dual carriageway A303 all the way to Exeter and an M30 threading through Devon and Cornwall (one of the poorest counties in England)…..but, being a realist, I just know that the Stan Blackleys of the world would have a hotline to the BBC and, within seconds, there would be the second coming of Swampy ordering us all to get on yer bike..

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HELLO!

Hi folks! Just to let you know I am back from holidays, suitably refreshed and ready for battle (Oops, is that the wrong sort of language to use, oh well…)

Managed to completely avoid the BBC during the past week or so and that was a small but merciful relief. That said, I did watch Sky 24hr News which was almost as bad as the BBC. It carries the same smug left of centre analysis of that typifies the BBC – and was cloying about Michele Obama’s recent electioneering pilgrimage to meet Saint Nelson in South Africa. Lord knows what the BBC coverage was like but I found Sky presenters lost all objectivity on the issue, hailing her as some sort of modern icon and role-model.

Of course the BIG difference is that I have a choice when it comes to Sky. I can choose not to pay for it. Alas the Biased BBC offers me no such freedom, demanding that I pay for the bias it churns out with such monotonous regularity.

The point of this blog is not just exposing the hypocritical unprofessional bias that pervades the State Broadcaster – though that is in itself a very useful service. We also exist to help raise awareness that it is WRONG to have a State Broadcaster extort cash from us in order that it can propagandise in ways that many of believe to be utterly wrong. Bias is not the only problem, making us fund it is even worse.

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First Cuckoo

Just like the first cuckoo of spring, the first cuckoo has been heard chirruping its approval of the latest flotilla.
Yes it’s our old friend Ken Loach, proponent of fighting fascism, supporter of those who fought in the Spanish Civil War and gallant opponent of Mosley’s blackshirts, flaunting his and others’ gullibility in supporting the ridiculous publicity-stunt flotilla, aimed at breaking Israel’s blockade on the importation of weapons for the Islamic extremists in Gaza to use against Israeli civilians.

Brace yourselves, because this will probably be the first of many sightings of this brainless creature.

He’s already famous for getting it spectacularly wrong, so the Today producers might have known that Mr. Loach was likely to squeeze in an advert for those ‘brave’ flotilla freedom fighters a nanosecond before the pips went.
Why did they let him?

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Good News

Because of my writings on this blog I am honoured to receive a regular email newsletter called ‘Good news From Israel’ . It’s compiled by Michael Ordman who is now a contributor to JPost.
Israel’s acheivements and innovations are too numerous to mention, and far more newsworthy that the Israel-related stories that have to be negative to qualify for a mention on the BBC.
So here is a link, and here is another. Check them out, BBC. You might learn something.

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QUITE INTERESTING

Here’s John Lloyd, producer of BBC quiz show QI, at a recent sustainable energy awards ceremony. He begins with a couple of gags before giving his audience what it really wants to hear – some classic end-of-civilisation eco-bullshit hyperbole:

“Unless ideas like these get heard, by the twenty-second century there isn’t going to be any one here to hear about them. All these tsunamis and twisters we’re seeing, these volcanoes and floods and earthquakes, they’re not a kind of giant snooze alarm suggesting that it’s nearly time to get up and do something about it. They’re a fire alarm, and it’s not a test.”

So, mankind must adopt sustainable energy to prevent its annihilation due to tsunamis, twisters, volcanoes, floods and earthquakes.

OK, I know the eco-zealots have already made tenuous claim to tornadoes and floods for their cause, but is it the case that tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes have now been declared acceptable in the realm of mainstream climate change propaganda? Lloyd is after all the producer of a show based around the theme of obscure facts, so maybe he knows something the rest of us don’t.

Perhaps we really do have to turn off our kettles to prevent tsunamis.

Or perhaps Mr Lloyd has spent far too long interacting with smug like-minded luvvies in the media bubble (eg Richard Curtis) to realise when he’s talking crap.

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