Mardell On Message

At last, someone at the BBC has mentioned the President’s “You didn’t build that” gaffe, which has haunted His campaign for a couple of weeks at least. The revealing Collectivist statement has inspired a series of mocking responses from small businesses and ads from the Romney campaign. It was in all the major US media outlets – they had to come to His defense, after all – yet the BBC censored all news of it: until now. The BBC’s US President editor mentioned it in his latest online article, and yes – what a shock – he comes to the President’s defense. But first, the bias in Mardell’s editoria before we get to that part:

Mitt Romney’s economic open goal

The opening paras are more or less simple statements of positions, not a big deal. However, Mardell immediately starts providing support for the President’s side.

Alan Krueger, chairman of the council of economic advisers, issued a statement saying “today’s employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression”.

The CEA existed originally to provide objective economic analysis to the President. The problem with that scenario, though, is that the President appoints the three members, who are then approved by the Senate. These are policy advisers, not statesmen or people in charge of anything, so there’s not much danger of them not being approved for the job.

In this case, though, Krueger is the third chairman in three years for the President. Although he’s ranked among the top 50 economists in the world, he’s Left-leaning, known as a “labor economist”. Krueger is one of Leftoid dreamboat Paul Krugman’s colleagues at Princeton, with a focus on trying to prove that we must raise the minimum wage, and other Leftoid shibboleths, like “inequality”.

The second member, Katherine Abrahams, wrote her doctoral dissertation on….wait for it…”Vacancies, unemployment and wage growth”. Anyone sensing a pattern here? While her main focus in recent years has been about time management, she also, according to her bio, has maintained an interest in labor market, as well as how government grants increase college enrollment. Shocking, I know.

The third member of the CEA, Carl Shapiro, was an academic at Berkeley, and was promoted from within the Administration, where he was advising the DOJ on how to go after businesses engaged in anti-competitive practices. Not necessarily hard Left, but since the current DOJ is one of the most politicized in history, it’s not hard to guess which side his recommendations will favor.

In short, the CEA is not exactly the most objective group going these days. When Krueger says that we’re clearly on the right path, one must take it with a very large grain of salt and assume that this is a statement coming from the Administration, and not from an objective third party. Yet Mardell doesn’t qualify that at all, and expects you to accept it as such. So already you’re being led to believe one side versus the other.

After that, every negative is qualified, “balance” obligingly provided.

The figures are in fact a mixed bag. Unemployment is up to 8.3% from 8.2% But 163,000 jobs were added, more than expected.

First the negative, but then the “unexpected” positive. Not the other way around, which wouldn’t be as supportive.

So the familiar political battle for interpretations is sharper than usual.

But it is not hard to stand back. It is pretty clear that the shaky recovery is continuing to move in the right direction, but that unemployment is a stubborn, serious and long-term problem.

No, it’s not so clear to those outside the bubble. If it was pretty clear, the President’s job approval would be a bit better, and those jobs added wouldn’t be so “unexpected”. Perhaps this is just another case of that typical mindset of our betters: if we don’t agree with them, it’s just because we don’t understand, or the message hasn’t been disseminated well enough. Mardell, though, obviously firmly believes things are on the right track. But just in case:

A shock from Europe or the Persian Gulf could crush the shell of this recovery’s snail-like progress.

It’s not His fault, you see.

When President Obama was elected he never dreamt the economy would be in such a poor state by this time in the election cycle.

Really? Do tell. This can be interpreted in two ways. One could accept that He had no idea how bad things would be because it’s all out of His control, He could never have known that even His best efforts couldn’t save us all. Alternatively, one could accept that He had no idea how bad things would be because of His poor grasp of economics, His far-Left ideology, and that His policies would fail and fail again. We know which perspective Mardell is coming from.

It is only in the last few months that his team seems to have understood that he is fighting for his political life against a strong “feel-bad” factor.

“His team”? What about Him? What happened to that amazing genius who strode among us like a giant, who ran the most perfect election campaign ever, ever, ever? Are we supposed to believe He had no idea? This is either evidence that He’s supremely arrogant and clueless, or that someone is shifting blame. It’s not His fault, you see.

Now Mardell must be the good proselytizer and give you the Gospel:

President Obama’s basic argument is simple. Without his actions, including spending to stimulate and save industries, the economy would have gone down the drain.

The president claims what is needed is more Obama – notably “an extension of middle-class tax cuts” and a Congress that will pass his American Jobs Act, to help public-sector hiring.

Ah, borrowing and spending, and public-sector hiring.

It is not my job to judge competing economic policies, but even if he is absolutely right, as a campaigning position it is pretty lame.

No, but we know your judgment anyway, don’t we? It’s not his job to judge, “but…”, which means we’re going to get his opinion. We know Mardell thinks the President most definitely is “absolutely right” (an editorial emphasis) because he told the BBC College of Journalism just that (beginning @5:51 in). But even he knows this isn’t the most inspiring message. We’ve seen before how Mardell can mope when the President fails to inspire him. And it’s killing Him now.

“It could have been worse” is not a great rallying cry.
While blaming Congress may be popular, it is peculiar as an argument for re-election.

Mardell is little more than a campaign junkie, and spends most of his time on election issues. Is this worthy of the title “North America editor”? He knows there’s an open goal for Romney here, and just can’t help himself but play defense.

If Obama wins he is likely to face an even more intransigent bunch on the Hill.

“Intransigent”? Because they don’t let Him get His way anymore. We’ve heard that term time and time again since the 2010 mid-terms. Yet we never heard Mardell – or any other Beeboid, for that matter – refer to Congress as a “lapdog” or “rubber stamp” back when both Houses were easily controlled by the Democrats and they were able to ram through ObamaCare and other laws without needing a single Republican vote. Congress doesn’t exist simply to grease the skids for a President’s every desire. Did the BBC refer to the Democrat-controlled Congress under Bush as intransigent when they didn’t let him get his way? I forget.

The thing is, only the House of Representatives has a Republican majority and Speaker. The Senate is still controlled by Democrats. It’s rather dishonest to lump both houses of Congress together in this way. Especially since quite a few Democrats have sided with the Republicans on things like the Budget and

Actually, when Mardell writes that warning about the President facing that awful obstacle in a second term, he’s continuing to write from writing from the perspective that His Plan is “absolutely right”, but He might not get His way and save the country.

After all this, we at last get to the first mention by the BBC of the “You didn’t build that” gaffe. Naturally, since it makes the President look bad, what has been a major story in the US media doesn’t merit its own report, and Mardell dutifully provides the balance by first gently sneering at Romney’s recent ruffling of a few British and Palestinian feathers.

The Romney team has focused its recent campaign around Mr Obama’s contention that “if you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen”.

Their previous onslaught targeted his remark after the June unemployment figures that “the private sector is doing just fine”.

The often-quoted remark, that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, is nearly right.

In these cases it is when the president reveals his underlying contempt for his opponents.

What? Contempt for His opponents? No. It’s contempt for private enterprise, for economic freedom, for individuality. It’s contempt for anyone who doesn’t believe as He does, that the State is all. The President revealed what worried many of us back in 2008: He’s a Collectivist at heart. If we take Mardell at his word, though, it means that private enterprise, free market proponents, and independent businessmen are the President’s opponents. This is not a good recipe. It also highlights the President’s far-Left political beliefs.

Slavishly, the BBC’s US President editor then defends Him, reading out the White House explanation:

Mr Obama’s point was that even entrepreneurs rely on the government many Republicans so despise: they are educated using taxpayers’ money, travel to work on federally funded roads and so on.

No, those who were allowed to hear the full speech – which the BBC has censored entirely – know all too well that He went much further than that. It was much more revealing than Mardell and His supporters in the mainstream media want to let on, hence the mad scrambling to explain it away, walk it back, and attack Romney over his recent trip.

His remark about the private sector is an unwise dig at the demand for deeper cuts in government spending – in June and July unemployment figures are higher because the government is shedding workers – 9,000 in the latest figures.

Both comments suggest Mr Obama’s irritation with his opponents’ strident anti-government message.

The lurid characterisation of his politics by some of them (my inbox this morning contained a warning of his “Marxist agenda”) obscures the fact that he probably is to the left of most America voters.

He does, in a rather centrist European social democratic way, believe in government as an enabler. Many Americans instinctively don’t.

“Lurid”. “Despise”. “Strident”. No emotive terms, no editorializing there, then. Yeah. But what a giveaway. Someone at the BBC at last admits, after years of claiming that He’s a moderate, a centrist, that the President is pretty far to the Left. When Mardell says “centrist European social democratic”, it betrays his own perspective that the US is wrong for being to the Right of Him. He’s a centrist in Mardell’s mind, and you’re getting analysis from that perspective. This is not impartial, not objective reporting. Nor do we expect that from Mardell at this point in the game.

At last we get to Romney’s policies. Sort of. In case there are any lingering doubts in his readers minds, Mardell starts off by saying that there are “questions” about Romney’s policies, and that the situation in the UK proves that they’re wrong anyway.

There are questions about his policies. And as the British government has found out, even if tax cutting, spending cutting, red-tape scrapping is the right way ahead, it takes a painfully long time to work.

Note that Mardell doesn’t write “even if…..is absolutely the right way ahead.” Nope, that was reserved for the President’s Plan For Us. Does the President’s big-government, Statist Plan take a “painfully long time to work”? We aren’t told. Mardell doesn’t dare speculate there, does he? I wonder why.

Mr Obama’s charge is that these are the very policies that led America into the current mess.

Again we get a White House talking point, and have yet to see a single one from the Romney campaign. I don’t think Mardell even realizes he’s doing it. It’s reflexive, what he does naturally, and what’s expected of him at – and clearly approved by – the BBC. And anyways, the last few Bush years certainly were not full of “austerity” measures. Bush ramped up the spending, increased our debt. Either Mardell isn’t aware of this because he was busy as the BBC’s Socialist Europe editor at the time and had no idea, or – more likely – he doesn’t want you to know so doesn’t point out that the President might possibly be wrong about it. If this was supposed to be a piece about the President’s weakness and a way in for Romney, there sure is an awful lot of defending the President against that weakness and only a brief mention of what that weakness actually means.

Some readers may at this point still be worried that the President won’t come out on top in the end. Fortunately, Mardell provides that ray of hope:

Opinion polls show them level pegging, but in the really important swing states Mr Obama is ahead.

I’ve long said that this election will be about two very different visions of America. I still think I am right. But character may be just as critical.

Many polls suggest a majority don’t like Mr Obama’s handling of the economy and think Mr Romney would be better on the issue, but give the president higher scores when it comes down to what they call “likeability”.

Even though Mardell still has to admit now that there’s trouble ahead, he provides that last bit of optimism.

This election really is wide open.

America may feel let down by Mr Obama. It has yet to be convinced by Mr Romney.

Whew! That’s a relief.

That open goal has plenty of blocking from Mardell, anyway.

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6 Responses to Mardell On Message

  1. Pounce says:

    Hi, off topic and for that I can only apologise but:
    1) Is there a reason the blog has been off air?
    2) Can we have a new comments board.

       0 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I have no idea what the problem is, but the site seems to go offline when someone (me, for the last three hours) is trying to create a post. Can’t find any issues so far. The only answer I’ve found is to disable an AdBlock plugin, which I don’t even use.

         0 likes

      • Steve says:

        Are you using Dreamhost by any chance?

        If so, I had a similar problem and resolved by disabling the “extra web security” option from within my Dreamhost hosting control panel.

        Extra security is always welcome, but in this case it was causing so many “503 – service unavailable” errors that I simply had to disable it.

           0 likes

  2. Umbongo says:

    Another superb post DP: I wish I could disagree with you and find it difficult to recognise your picture of how disgraceful the BBC has become and how low its North American (and most other) coverage has stooped since the days of Alistair Cooke. Unfortunately, you paint an all too recognisable picture of Mardell’s bias laced with incompetence (or should that be the other way round?)
    Your most worrying thought is that you “don’t think Mardell even realizes he’s doing it. It’s reflexive, what he does naturally, and what’s expected of him at – and clearly approved by – the BBC” which repeats – if it bears repeating – Jeff Randall’s words at the top of this page concerning the BBC’s biased take on, well, everything “It’s not a conspiracy. It’s visceral

       3 likes

  3. Louis Robinson says:

    Goal! Well done, Preiser.
    I can hardly wait: in a few days Mardell will tell us that Romney’s pick for VP (whoever it is) is a disaster.

       3 likes

  4. Sir Arthur Strebe-Grebling says:

    Brilliant deconstruction!
    I wonder what answer you get when you point this out to the BBC. ‘We got it about right’?

       2 likes