BBC journalist ashamed to own a SodaStream

Scarlett Johansson’s admirable decision to sever ties with Oxfam over its criticism of her adverts for Israeli company SodaStream has led one BBC World Service journalist to declare his shame at owning one of the products:


Update. Tweet deleted. Here’s the screengrab for posterity:


Perhaps Robert Pigott should stay off Twitter a while longer

In his first tweet in over a year BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott seems to think that a parody article about Sarah Palin at the Daily Currant is real:

He’s in good moronic company – Piers Morgan fell for it too (and then pretended he knew all along it was fake).

It’s not the first time a BBC journalist has been duped by a bit of lame satire that fits newsroom groupthink prejudice about US conservatives. BBC Brazil had to apologise when its lefty US correspondent Lucas Mendes wrote an article about a Texan GOP senator without realising the original information was a parody.

And in the all-too-likely event Pigott claims he knew the Palin article was a parody, why choose this as the topic of his first tweet since September 2012?

By Georges – he’s just the man for the Washington job

One of the BBC journalists covering the government shutdown in Washington last night was Marc Georges:

Before he joined the BBC Georges used to make lame nerdy “comedy” videos attacking Republicans. Here are some examples:

So he’s gone from making tedious anti-Republican propaganda to a job at the BBC. No change there then. A natural fit for the BBC Washington bureau.

(See also my comment on the open thread yesterday about another BBC newbie, economics and political journalist Lewis Goodall – formerly of lefty think tank IPPR and prior to that an Oxford University Labour Party activist.)

An emetic…

…courtesy of BBC World Service journalist Stephanie Hegarty:

The leader of a terrorist-exporting theocracy is one thing, but Fox News is something else entirely:

BBC newsroom mindset.

Panorama’s evidence – a 3 second shot of unidentified literature

We’ve already shot Hilary Andersson’s Panorama programme full of holes, but I’d like to drive over the body all the same.

That was it? The BBC’s big song and dance about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and white supremacist literature, which it spent all yesterday gleefully reporting in its bulletins and news programmes, boiled down to roughly 20 seconds from the Panorama programme. Here’s the relevant segment (h/t to Craig from Is the BBC biased? for the transcript. Check out his take on the programme, too.)

“And we found out that Tamerlan’s interests here at home were not just Islamic. He subscribed to publications about government conspiracies, gun rights and white supremacy. He also read about mass shootings. Tamerlan was perhaps not so much the true radical jihadist as a deeply troubled young man who latched onto Islam.”

The actual evidence was on screen for 3 seconds. We weren’t even told what the literature was or how long Tamerlan had subscribed.

Andersson didn’t identify the literature shown but I can confirm that it was, as I said yesterday, the anti-Semitic weekly paper the American Free Press (AFP). Unlike the clip used in Andersson’s news report (which was deliberately blurred out by the BBC) the same footage in Panorama is clearer and the writing can be read.

That page is a book review which can be seen on the American Free Press website. It is dated 24 April, 2013 – 9 days after the Boston bombing and 5 days after Tamerlan’s death. It seems the BBC couldn’t even get hold of hard copies of the editions the older Tsarnaev was supposed to have read. Notice the name and date of the paper are still blurred at the top. [Update - Alan points out in the comments that while the online article Cosnpiracies Are Real is dated 24 April, it did appear in a print version of the AFP in March.]

Here’s the opening couple of sentences of the book review just to prove it’s definitely the AFP she’s looking at:

Conspiracies assume many different forms. In some instances an entire family is cursed, as Kennedy blood and tragedy have seeped across the decades from Dallas (JFK) to L.A. (RFK), Chappaquiddick (Teddy) and Martha’s Vineyard (JFK Jr)

The book is Conspireality by Viktor Thorn who writes regularly for the AFP.

As I mentioned yesterday the American Free Press promotes conspiracies and blames the Jews for just about everything, it sympathises with Muslim grievances, and its contributors appear on Iran’s Press TV to rant about worldwide Jewish control of the media. Who knows, maybe Press TV first turned Tamerlan on to the AFP. And let’s not forget that the AFP thinks the Tsarnaevs were probably framed.

So why didn’t Hilary Andersson point out any of that? Because it would complicate the message. The programme wanted to show that Tamerlan was only “a Muslim of convenience” and it used his apparent interest in unnamed right-wing white supremacist literature as proof of this. Pointing out the similarity in rhetoric of the Jew-hating AFP and jihadi literature would not have been helpful.

Andersson said the programme had been months in the making. How embarrassing.