The BBC has been busy this week trying to carry the President’s water over various incidents. US President editor Mark Mardell has been especially active defending the President and attacking His enemies. And the youngsters at BBC News Online Recdep have been equally busy making sure some things are reported at length, while other things are censored entirely.
Before I continue, though, let me state first that this is not, contrary to what defenders of the indefensible love to claim, about me simply wanting the BBC to say only what I want to hear, or report from a Right-wing slant. This is about the failure of the BBC – specifically its top people in the US – to report not only accurately, but honestly, and give you some semblance of the whole picture. It’s also about how the biased reporting makes the BBC appear to support the President of the US, rather than being an impartial, honest broker of news.
The latest example is the foolish remark by Rep. Akin about rape and pregnancy. Naturally, since it’s been a big deal in the US mainstream media, the BBC is all over it, with no fewer than five features about it. currently at the top of the US & Canada (Who?) page:
(There have probably been at least two more news briefs going up since I’ve been trying to put this together while the site goes up and down). Contrast this with the amount of BBC coverage of two other big recent election stories. The President’s “You didn’t build that” statement (I hesitate to call it a gaffe, because He meant it) was censored entirely by the BBC, except for a single brief mention of it in one Mardell blogpost. Yes, Mardell was defending the remark, trying to explain the context. The other big story, one which has been all over the news was even brought up in the recent surprise Presidential press conference (more on this later), was the falsehood put out by a Democrat Super-PAC that Romney was directly responsible for a woman dying of cancer. The BBC has censored that completely.
These issues harm the President, make Him look bad. So the BBC isn’t interested in covering any of it. Yet this story about one Republican candidate for Senate – not even about Romney, not even connected to his campaign, mind – is a top priority for them. Even Katty Kay got into the game by tweeting that Missouri was an important State for Romney. It continues to be the biggest target for the Democrats this week, but that ought not make it a top news priority. Or do political targets dictate newsgathering now?
Back in January, Mardell managed to defend, sort of, Romney for his quip about how he loved to fire people. Actually, he didn’t defend Romney at all. Rather, he said that it was wrong to call the statement a “gaffe”, because it was really just clumsy and wrong for Romney to say it. Actually, it’s not really a defense at all, just the pretense of one.
A couple of days ago, VP Biden told an audience of African-Americans – descendants of slaves – that Romney and Ryan wanted “to put y’all back in chains”. Mardell defended him. In fact, he starts out by seeming to call any criticism of Biden over this remark “mud-slinging”. He curiously said that the mainstream media played down why the remark caused an uproar – the slavery reference – which is a joke. Everyone knows why it was a bad thing to say, which is why the media went into overdrive to protect Biden from the backlash. What’s much worse, though, is that Mardell had the nerve to suggest that Biden said it “perhaps inadvertently”. No, that’s simply not credible. Of course Biden knew exactly what he was saying, hence the pandering “y’all” thrown into the mix. Otherwise, Mardell is suggesting that Biden is as dim and unqualified to be VP as he thinks Sarah Palin is. I don’t believe that for a moment. Mardell here is basically telling himself – and you – a little white lie.
The defense continues. Suddenly people who saw this as race-baiting and wrong are, according to Mardell, “too sensitive”. Apparently the BBC’s top man in the US is unconcerned that people like Artur Davis (the co-chair of the President’s 2008 election campaign) and Doug Wilder (Democrat former Governor of Virginia) found Biden’s remarks to be deliberate, and offensive. The BBC wouldn’t dare suggest that the Black Coalition of Georgia Republicans are too sensitive to racial issues, would they? What Mardell really means is that white Republicans are making a mountain out of a molehill. He’s thus dismissing the objections of black people out of hand. And it’s not like he has no idea these people exist.
Actually, Biden’s dopey utterings have gotten worse. He opened his remarks in Virginia by saying that the Dems can “win in North Carolina”, and last week asked at a campaign stop, “’Folks, where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th Century in making automobiles?’ Imagine if Sarah Palin had said such a thing. The BBC would have been all over it: Beeboids tweeting ecstatically, two separate online articles, plus a Mardell blogpost. But when Biden does it….nada.
It’s actually worse than you think. Biden’s idiocy has gotten so bad that his staff is actively trying to censor press pool reports and keep reporters from getting too close. This is from Politico, ladies and gentlemen, a favorite read and retweet source for both Katty Kay and Mark Mardell. They know all about this, but don’t want you to know. No, it’s much more important to whip up hysteria over Rep. Akin’s terrible remark about rape and pregnancy.
Let me repeat: I don’t want the BBC to report negatively about Biden, while supporting or sweeping Akin under the rug. I want them to report both accurately and honestly, without trying to defend one or the other. Explaining the potential damage or why one or the other is controversial is fine, but that’s not what you’re getting from the BBC, is it?
Speaking of difficulties with the press, people here may remember three weeks ago when Mardell was grumbling about how Romney wasn’t so friendly with the press during his visit to Poland. Apparently there wasn’t enough access granted, and his press man lost his temper with the pool reporters. Mardell was all over that. In fact, it was so important to him that he whipped up a second negative piece about it. His friends getting censored by Biden’s staff? Radio silence. You don’t need to know about that.
Worse, the President Himself actually didn’t give a press conference at all for eight weeks. No questions taken at all. Instead, He’s been hitting the local media, morning radio DJs, and the like. He’s been doing that instead because they bow to instructions in advance about what He wants to talk about. Where’s Mardell on this? He knows about it, but doesn’t want you to know. Again, I don’t merely want Mardell to attack the President: I just want him for once to report the whole picture, both sides, and not only negatives about one side, while providing the defense for the other.
And this is where the water-carrying becomes really obvious. Remember all those times Mardell was moaning about how things have gotten so negative, so nasty, and blamed the Tea Party or Republicans for it? There was another attack from Team Obamessiah last month, this time accusing Romney of committing a felony while at Bain. They even held a conference call with reporters to push it.
The other day, the President finally did
grant an audience give a press conference where He took questions from reporters. It didn’t go so well for Him because one of them had the audacity to ask Him about the negative, ugly tone of His campaign. This was about both that bogus ad and the felony charge. The President tried to dodge responsibility for it. Previously, His campaign denied knowledge of it. Then they had to admit they knew. At the presser, the President showed that He knew all about it, while trying to claim that He didn’t, and that it was no big deal. Did the BBC report that? No, of course not, because that would mean you’d know about the ugly ad itself, or the bogus felony charge, which makes Him look bad. So they’ve censored this as well, in order to maintain radio silence about the ugliness coming out of the White House.
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya now, BBC? Will you ever be an honest broker of news about US issues? Or is it going to be Pro Obama At All Costs until November 6? (Not Nov. 2, like Michelle Obama just said, at which the Beeboids will not be giggling on air.) It’s not bias to report about the two attack ads. No need to judge them, just report that they exist, and that they’ve caused an outcry. But the BBC can’t even do that anymore. It’s not just Mardell, either. There are other BBC journalists tasked with proper newsgathering in the US. They’re all responsible for this failure.