This is why I call Mardell the BBC’s US President editor instead of his official title, BBC North America editor. Mardell’s report about Romney’s trip to Israel leaves out the most important thing he said, and the second half of it is devoted to defending the President on the domestic economy issue.
In the accompanying blurb, the BBC mentions that Romney said that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Yet Mardell strangely left that out. Why? He instead says that Romney’s show of support for Israel and strong stance against Iran is less about appeasing US Jews and more about portraying him as being stronger on foreign policy than the President. This is actually correct, and I’m left wondering why Mardell strayed off the BBC reservation here. He’s previously fretted over the Jewish Lobby, so it’s interesting that he doesn’t see them as the main factor here.
First, though, let me whine for a moment about Mardell’s offensive use of the term “Wailing Wall”. While I don’t expect him or any Beeboid to use the Hebrew, ha Kotel (literally, “the Wall”), as showing that much respect is reserved for Muslim holy sites, I do expect him to use the correct English term, “Western Wall”. The “Wailing Wall” is an outmoded stereotype, which comes from non-Jews observing the orthodox Jews’ style of praying. To the uninformed, it was said to sound like wailing. Plus, there’s the historical emotional connotation of this being the only part left standing of the Holy Temple, the only actual holy site in all of Judaism. This is also the only part of the Temple Mount at which Jews are allowed to pray, or even wear religious garb. Mardell should show more respect, and the BBC ought to educate it’s staff better, the way they do for Muslim issues. To many Jews today, the term “Wailing Wall” is offensive. The New York Times (admittedly with more concern for its Jewish audience than the BBC ever could have) uses the term “Western Wall”, and Mardell has no problem taking a page from their playbook when he refers to Bibi Netanyahu as Romeny’s “old friend”, so one would have thought he’d at least get that right as well. But no, he uses an outmoded stereotype temr instead. Whine ends.
It’s especially curious because he fails to mention Romney’s statement about Jerusalem, which is meant to speak to Jews everywhere, and specifically US Jews who are worried about the President’s increasing betrayal of our ally on this issue. Did I say “betrayal”? Yes I did. Has the BBC reported this? Of course not.
We all know by know that Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not approved by the BBC’s editorial policy. Several people here have shown how they refuse to show it on, for example, the Olympics page for Israel. Yes, everyone knows it’s “controversial” because the Palestinians don’t accept it, and that the Muslim World hates it and wants Jerusalem to be Judenrein, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Knesset is in Jerusalem and it’s the functioning capital of the country. Outside factors do not decide the capital for any country. The BBC, of course, bows to the Muslim position here, and decides not to acknowledge Israel’s sovereignty on the matter.
Fortunately, the BBC has reported elsewhere that Romney said that about Jerusalem, and used the dodge of reporting other press reports about it as a means of showing how awful it was without having to make any messy editorial decisions themselves. Yes, the Muslim press is all about anger at appeasing the Jewish Lobby. So why does Mardell omit what many see as the most important statement Romney made? Could it be because he knows this will highlight the President’s increasing betrayal of a US ally on this issue?
I say betrayal because that’s exactly what it is. In 2008, when running for President, Candidate Obamessiah said Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. Now, He’s been distancing Himself increasingly from that position. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that His press secretary (personal friend of BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News Ameirca, Katty Kay, and husband of her friend and business partner) refused to answer reporters questions about it. Watch the video below:
Yes, you saw that bit at the end right: the President now says that Jerusalem is up for grabs, going back on His word. No wonder the BBC’s US President editor didn’t want to admit what Romney said. If any defenders of the indefensible want to say that doesn’t matter because it’s in the blurb or on that other website page featuring Muslim anger about it, remember that most people will see only Mardell’s video report and not the website text, and so most will remain blissfully unaware of it. And for those wishing to play the source and not the ball, attempting to dismiss this because of who made that video, dispute this quote if you can, and dispute the video evidence above of the President’s original statements and Carney’s sad display.
In reality, Romney’s trip to Israel was meant to show everyone in the US who cares – remember, we hear about how evil Evangelical Christians are equally concerned about Israel’s safety just like the nasty old dual-loyalty Jews are – that he will not betray Israel like the President has been doing. Regardless of which side of the issue one is on, the facts of both candidates’ positions and behavior are there. Mardell spun all that away very nicely.
But that was only a fraction more than half of Mardell’s report. The rest was spent defending the President against the charges that He can’t handle the economy. In fact, Mardell merely states a few words of Romney’s criticism – the only acknowledgment by the BBC anywhere of that “You didn’t build that” gaffe!!! – then plays about ten seconds of the President’s own campaign video rebuttal, complete with the President Himself smiling and speaking to the camera. This is the BBC’s tacit admission that it was a big deal after all. Mardell then closes his report by saying what he thinks Romney’s stop in Poland will cover.
Basically, the President gets a chance to speak for Himself in a report about Romney, while Romney’s campaign gets only Mardell uttering one sentence from their side. In the end, Mardell spins away Romney’s trip to Israel, refusing to mention the most important issue from it.
UPDATE: Oh, dear, it seems I’m 100% wrong on this one. As we know, the standard line on things like this from defenders of the indefensible is that the BBC can’t be biased because other media outlets are reporting the same way. The killer line:
Instead of sending political reporters who report on politics, the foreign affairs reporters might have given us serious reporting on the international issues raised when the Republican nominee for president traveled abroad.
While Romney was in Israel, for example, he proposed a U.S. policy fundamentally different from the one President Obama has given us. Most of the political reporters on the trip missed the significance of the announcement.
Missed, or censored? So either Mardell is a useless tool who just follows along with what his DC Beltway colleagues say, he deliberately censored the key bit out to protect the President, or he’s just a poor political analyst and doesn’t deserve his job. But the BBC expects you to trust him anyway.