Syria Crisis Raises Question of Mark Mardell’s Bias And Accuracy

As the President of the United States continues to fail in drumming up international support for bombing Syria, and the failure to win now-vital Congressional approval looms on the horizon, the BBC’s Mark Mardell is having a crisis of faith in which he reveals personal bias on the US, war, and the President. He also makes serious factual errors which reveal either his incompetence as a journalist or that a deep personal bias has clouded his judgment.

Syria crisis raises question of US role in the world

Right away, Mardell spells out his dilemma.

The president is clearing his desk, going all-out to persuade for a vote that he has said is vital for America’s credibility.

It is also a critical moment for American perception of itself as a power in the world. But in the details of the debate over Syria, the biggest questions and the larger picture are in danger of being lost.

In essence, it’s whether the world needs a super cop. And whether the US should simply assume that role.

I laughed out loud at this point. A little more than two years ago, back when the President was dithering deliberating over whether or not to send some humanitarian missiles at Libya, Mardell was engaged in contemplation of what he believed was the President’s internal personal struggle:

  • The tug between not wanting to be the world’s policeman and being the only guy with the gun and the muscle to stop a murder.

  • The whole-hearted desire to act in concert with other countries, and the realisation that implies going along with stuff they want to do and you don’t. (Being dragged into a war by the French, imagine.)

  • Not wanting to be out front when many world structures are designed in the expectation that like it or not, America will lead.

  • Intellectual appreciation that the ghost of Western colonialism is a powerful spirit never exorcised, and frustration that an untainted liberal interventionism hasn’t grown in other countries.

It took a long time for Mr Obama to decide to take action, and the route he has taken, a genuine commitment to acting with other nations with the US in the lead, has made for the appearance of more muddle. Now it is time for clarity.

How’s that working out now, Mark? Guess who demanded action first, and who’s our only ally now. Remember when Mardell was worried that the President had accidentally painted Himself into a corner with that “red line” business”? Just the other day, the President, like a child being asked who scribbled with crayons on the wall, told the world, “I didn’t didn’t set a red line: the world set a red line.”  Now Mardell seems to have happily forgotten about his original concern and dutifully shifted blame away from Him. Trapped In A World He Never Made.

The BBC’s top analyst of US affairs has been consistent in his anti-war stance, his defense of the President, and in placing blame anywhere except on Him. Most recently, we saw Mardell in Ohio, reporting about a couple of town hall meetings held by a Congressman, where he found a way to blame George Bush, sort of. Hyper-partisan, intransigent Republicans currently in Washington also shared the blame. Any lack of trust in the President Himself seemed non-existent.

Notice that Mardell portrays Rep. Johnson as having been “unimpressed” by the Administration’s secret intelligence briefing simply because neither the President nor Vice President were there. He says that Johnson merely “had to wait a while to find out” about what the situation was with the chemical weapons, and solid evidence of an actual war plan. Mardell plays his skepticism as personal pettiness, not as a perhaps sincere objection based on legitimately reached opinion. In fact, here’s what Johnson actually said in a public statement, which Mardell would have been given:

“Given how important this Congressional briefing was for the President to make his case for taking military action in Syria, I was surprised that neither he, nor the Vice President, nor any cabinet level official was in attendance.  The decision on whether or not to commit American troops and risk American lives when the United States is not directly threatened is a difficult one, and the President has the heavy burden of convincing the Congress and the American people of its merits. I left this afternoon’s briefing with more questions and concerns than I had when I arrived.”

Sure, he was surprised that nobody of any importance was there. But this appears to be a case where the President and His Administration demonstrated the contempt in which they hold Congress. This wasn’t a snub just at Johnson, it was a snub at all of them. And the bit I’ve bolded is rather important, don’t you think? And it’s not just Johnson who came away skeptical. Congress didn’t actually get satisfactory answers, and even top Democrats say so. Why would Mardell censor that piece of information? No wonder the President is now “clearing His desk”, as Mardell put it today.

Back to the Top Cop thing. Mardell goes on to explain what he sees as the two justifications being used for dropping a few bombs on Syria.

The first is national interest. Mr Obama says Syria does not pose an immediate threat to the US, but its willingness to use chemical weapons threatens its allies and bases in the region.

Less frequently his administration has suggested such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists who could use them against America.

It is pretty obvious, the bigger the world power the more its vital interests may be harmed by something happening a long way away. If the whole Middle East is in uproar, it might not make a whole heap of difference to Paraguay or Latvia.

The argument for national interest is pretty clear. The desire to intervene for what you might call ‘moral reasons’, is far more murky.

Much of this is fair enough. It doesn’t take a genius to grasp the concepts. But why are moral reasons more murky? Because China and Russia don’t agree. No, really.

Mr Obama and even more forcefully Secretary of State John Kerry have said that the world can’t stand aside and witness such suffering. Particularly not when it breaches, if not international law, then international norms.

It is noticeable that it is senior politicians in the US, France and the UK who are keen on this argument of liberal interventionism. It is not just Russia that won’t go along with it. China won’t either.

On a recent trip there, I became convinced that this is fairly genuine. Academics and ordinary people find it baffling that America wants to impose its values on the rest of the world.

China forcefully repeats that it wants the denuclearisation of its ally North Korea. But it is reluctant to force the issue.

So we’re supposed to question Western moral values in this case because China is baffled by US imperialism? Oh, my goodness. On what other issues are we now supposed to back off now, Mark? Looks like he’s suffering from a little going native syndrome having spent a few weeks in China working on that documentary of his on how deeply entwined our national interests are and how China’s awesomeness may very well rescue the US economy (coming next Tuedsay on Radio 4 – can’t wait!).

Pardon me as I wipe the tears of laughter and dismay out of my eye. Mardell’s also saying that we could be wrong because we haven’t heard particularly loud demands to stop Assad from Brazil, Nigeria, or Japan, either. Well, Mugabe has been pretty silent, too. That’s me convinced. Are we in the world of adult, serious political discussion, or in the proverbial university bar? Hold that thought for later, actually.

So, we’ve gone from the President “accidentally” boxing Himself into a corner and being forced to act to save face, to Him blaming the world for boxing Him into a corner and being forced to act because of our high moral values, to questioning those moral values because they don’t come from Sweden. No, seriously:

I once put it to Tony Blair that the Iraq war might have been more credible if the call for action had come from Sweden. He made the obvious point: “Well, they couldn’t do it, could they?”

Now here’s where Mardell reveals his true bias on the larger issue:

Which makes me wonder about that old saying, “to a hammer, every problem is a nail”. In this case, you have to wonder why the hammer was forged in the first place.

Mardell’s not really old enough to be a child of the ’60s, but he sure is acting like the dippiest of hippies here. Why is there war, mommy? For heaven’s sake, Mark, why not quit the BBC and go to the nearest military base and start putting flowers in rifle barrels. How can anyone take this man seriously at this point?

Speaking of the ’60s, some people here may remember this little journey down the rabbit hole when Mardell was holding session at the BBC College of Journalism. His first reaction on landing in the US after being assigned to replace Justin Webb was, “What happened to the ’60s”? His real bias is on display here. In an attempt to explain himself, he continues:

The British developed their military to defend a globe-spanning empire. The US developed its military might to intervene in Europe and then to challenge the USSR.

The absence of the original purpose has not eliminated an instinct to intervene.

Maybe the word “imperialism” makes you think of arguments “that it is all about oil” or crude land grabs.

But those Victorian imperialists really did think they were bringing civilisation and Christianity, order and the rule of law to people who couldn’t climb to such dizzying heights on their own.

America’s belief in its own mission is more universal and not driven by racism, but there is a similar zealous enthusiasm to remake the rest of the world in its image.

No, there isn’t. This is pure anti-American drivel. And notice how this is suddenly about “America” again. Seems like every time the President does something Mardell or the BBC doesn’t like, He’s not mentioned, and it’s all about “America” as a whole acting unseemly. Is the President not involved? Wasn’t He elected to cure us of this demon? Nobody ‘s making Him do this. In any case, is that what we were doing when Clinton bombed the Serbs? How about when we removed Manuel Noriega from power? Grenada? Nobody in their right mind thought we were going to make Afghanistan into a modern, Western society. Dumbing down such complex situations and issues is silly, and betrays an ideological bias. Disagreeing with policy isn’t the same thing as demonizing it, but that’s what he’s doing here. Having Mark Mardell report on the US is like having St. Mark report on the Pharisees.

Of course, stopping the horror of chemical weapons is not the same as introducing democracy at the point of a gun.

But it raises the same question of who has the authority to make the judgment that norms have been violated, and who deals out the punishment.

Oh, does it now? I don’t know about people here, but I question the wisdom of listening to Russia and China and Nigeria on the issues of human rights. So, who has the authority?

The UN is meant to be the body that can order global cops into action. But the US says the Security Council is broken, because of the Russian veto.

You mean the Security Council which includes such moral heavyweights as Azerbaijan and Pakistan?  The UN which for a while had Libya as the Chair of their Human Rights Council? With Venezuela and Qatar as members? These people are supposed to set moral standards for us all?

While the Russian action does look cynical, it is a bit like a prosecutor saying the jury system doesn’t work because he didn’t get a conviction.

You mean like so many Beeboids said after the Zimmerman verdict?

Or indeed, if David Cameron said parliament didn’t work because of the “no” vote.

Or indeed, if Mark Mardell said Congress didn’t work because they wouldn’t vote for something the President wanted.

President Obama understands how it looks to the rest of the world if the US goes it alone.

But, I thought…..

Mardell again:

It is why he was so reluctant to take the lead over Libya, why he was so slow to develop a Syria strategy.

No, it isn’t. This is where Mardell reveals not only his bias about the President, but even more of his own personal political beliefs. The President took so long to develop a strategy, and has been flailing around ever since He got caught up in His own smart-ass rhetoric, because He and His advisers actually had one all along – only it turned out to be completely, tragically, absurdly wrong.

Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Syria at the Center for American Progress, Washington D.C.

You all remember Samantha Power, right? She’s the President’s former foreign policy adviser who blamed the Jewish Lobby for criticism about His policies, then had to resign when she called Hillary Clinton “a monster” in an interview. After working for George Soros for a while, she was brought back into the fold and is now our voice at Mardell’s voice of morality, the UN. Here’s what she had to say to the far-Left Center for American Progress recently:

We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country, on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks. Or if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran – itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 – to cast loose a regime that was gassing its people. We expanded and accelerated our assistance to the Syrian opposition.

In other words, the President and his super-smart advisers are, just like Mardell, as naive as your average angry student debating world affairs in the university bar. This is just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And remember that last line about stepping up the help for the rebels for later.

Now we see that Mardell has been accidentally right, but wrong all along. The President wasn’t taking so long to develop a military strategy because He was worried about what the world would think. He was taking so long because He was working on another scheme entirely and never expected to need one. And then He thought He could get away with it, because He usually faces no consequences for anything. Just like He thought He could get away with that “red line” statement. How can Mardell not know this? He’s supposed to have been following the President’s every move closely, considering it all deeply and dutifully, researching, talking with experts, getting insider info. How can he have blown this so badly? Especially since this kind of naive negotiation is exactly the kind of thing he supports.

His bias has been driving his analysis. As I’ve maintained from the beginning, the President doesn’t have much interest or deep understanding of realpolitik and international affairs at this level. His ambitions and concerns have always been about domestic policies, domestic transformation. All these foreign issues are nuisances, distractions, things which should be delegated to various minions and apparatchiks. Where He does have opinions, they don’t seem to be very profound. And so we see here that the people doing it for Him share the most naive, ignorant views possible, and have accomplished precious little.

Why do you think we have less allies now after four years of Hillary Clinton as Sec. of State? And here’s another unasked, never mind unanswered question: If so much of the opposition to this war is due to Iraq fatigue, what about Libya? Why was Libya okay and now suddenly everyone is tired of war? That was even (illegal) regime change, he didn’t use unapproved weapons, and this is supposed to be some “proportional” limited bombing campaign.

What does “proportional” mean, anyway? Mardell isn’t interested. All he cares about is how the President looks now, and how He’ll look next week. It seems that the BBC’s North America editor’s job is not to really inform you properly about US issues, or about how the country works or what’s really going on, but how things affect the President. That’s why I often refer to him as the BBC’s US President editor.

Mardell’s journalism over the last five years has shown that his personal political ideology is very close to that of the President. This war campaign – as well as the one against Libya – is the only issue on which Mardell doesn’t approve. So he works to shift blame away from the President at every opportunity. And now he’s not only trying to analyze the situation around Him, he’s trying to figure out what the President can do to be successful. Is that really what the BBC is paying him to do?

Now about what Amb. Power said about accelerating assistance to the Syrian rebels. It’s really starting to look like this is all smoke and mirrors. As is obvious to everyone except Mardell by now, it’s impossible to think that a limited strike on a few military facilities will be the end of it. The President claims He’s not taking sides in the Syrian civil war here. He’s been very clear that this is about sending a message about killing lots of people in an unapproved method. I bet Ghaddafi’s ghost is wondering why the hell all this Iraq fatigue didn’t set in when it was his turn in the spotlight. But I digress.

Doing any real damage to Assad’s military capability is a de facto game changer in the civil war. It’s simply not credible to say that the military installations supposedly used to launch a rocket with a chemical warhead have no other purpose. I don’t mean specifically the rockets themselves which may already be armed with them, I’m talking about the larger picture. It’s impossible to believe that there can be some sort of surgical strikes so accurate that only the chemical weapons and a couple of rocket launchers will be hit. Any attack will limit Assad’s military capability, period, and it’s outrageous that we’re expected to believe that it won’t, and that any military action the US takes won’t affect – or isn’t meant to affect – the civil war. Of course it will.

Where’s Mardell’s astute analysis about that? He’s still caught up in the emotional world of teenage existential angst to notice. I’m trying not to take a position here about the rights or wrongs about taking sides or stopping Assad or regime change or what we should do next. I have opinions, obviously, but that’s not what this is about. This is about Mardell’s personal opinions coloring all his reporting and analysis in a way that makes his journalism unworthy of trusting or given much credence at all.

He’s not wondering about any of what I’ve just mentioned because he’s still stuck in his belief that The Obamessiah really is concerned only about chemical weapons, and truly doesn’t want to force regime change. We can see from Power’s speech that this simply isn’t true, that the US really is working to increase the chances of his downfall. So the President is essentially lying, Sec. of State Kerry is lying, and any BBC journalist who says the President doesn’t want to is either lying or just seriously deluded.

It’s either that, or the President and His entire Administration are a bunch of idiots and shouldn’t be trusted to run a nursery. Take your pick. In the end, this is a massive failure of BBC journalism. At your expense.

PS: Still no mention of His Nobel Prize for Peace. Come on, Mark, even Sweden has called Him on it.

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ALL IN THE FAMILY

A Biased BBC reader notes;

“I heard this story onRadio 1’s Newsbeat last night, they were trying to claim that in the US 1 in 10young people have been physically attacked in a relationship but then foundsomeone to better the statistic and claim 50% of young people in relationshipshad been subjected to physical violence (I wonder if that means the other 50%of people questioned were the abusers?) Utter rubbish either way and of all the news generated from America, an oddthing to be mentioned (unless you hate the States…)

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TAKING THE PROVERBIAL..

The BBC leads its news this morning with the news that the Taliban are “furious” about the video of some US soldiers urinating over the dead bodies of some Taliban terrorists. Sorry, I mean fighters. Have to say I couldn’t care less about what happens to these savages who chose to pick a fight with the US military but the BBC certainly seems vexed about it. Could someone please explain that the Queensbury Rules don’t apply in war. I wonder if the Taliban have the BBC on speed dial?

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9/11 BBC Question Time Video

Many of us watched the Question Time Special immediately following the 9/11 atrocity in utter disbelief as it took a rabid and disgusting anti-American line.

The former US ambassador to Britain, Philip Lader, was almost reduced to tears on the panel as the audience shouted him down and hurled abuse. It was a shameful night for the BBC and prompted thousands of complaints. The BBC underplayed the aftermath here.

Recordings of that particular programme are particularly hard to find anywhere (odd, eh?) but regular contributor here TooTrue remembered that a fellow Biased-BBCer had mentioned having a version. So after a bit of tech stuff, here it is. Our grateful thanks go to both of them.

It’s now hosted on EyeTube – my censorship-free video hosting site.

It is disgusting. Don’t watch with sharp objects nearby.

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MULLAHLOVE!


The BBC has instantly knee-jerked into the natural default mode of disbelieving anything the US government says. Sarah Montague was quite visceral in raising her skepticism about US allegations that Iran has been plotting to carry out an act of terror on US soil. In fairness, both of her guests during the 7.50am interview on Today rather agreed that when it comes to the rogue regime of Iran, anything was possible. But what gets me is the line Montague was taking which distills down to the simple proposition that Iran would never do anything as silly as using Mexican killers to carry out the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the US. Iran has a good friend in the UK State Broadcaster which is more inclined to swallow the tripe from Tehran than anything from Washington.

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Mark Mardell Sneers At The US Again

As`part of the BBC’s sensational run-up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Mark Mardell speaks to a CIA officer about the use of torture, and whether or not it can ever be justified.

The ideas discussed in the full piece may or may not be of interest to you. I don’t know, and frankly don’t care. What I want to draw your attention to is this statement by Mardell, with which he ends the piece:

Such discussions are the meat and drink of adolescent debating societies, rather than mature democracies – where it is more normal to assume it is very wrong, while very occasionally turning a blind eye if it happens.

It has always intrigued me that when Britain really stood in peril of foreign conquest, when the blitz was killing more people than died on 9/11 night after night, it seems torture was not used.

Perhaps they simply never captured a Nazi senior enough to be worth putting to the question. What is the tipping point?

This is the BBC North America editor giving you his personal opinion that, not only is the US inferior to Britain, but we’re no better than adolescents. This is opinion, not journalsim, and sure as hell not impartiality.

Will any of you trust someone about US issues who so candidly sneers at us?

UPDATE: My thanks to all who have pointed out that Mardell is not only biased and arrogant, but ignorant of his own country’s history as well. His statement, on which his entire case for US inferiority seems to rest, is patently false. A full complaint to the BBC is on the way.

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Your License Fee Hard At Work: BBC Arabic and Persian Edition

Here’s one for you:

Proud to be American

With a sister who wears the hijab and a cowboymad Muslim father who dresses like John Wayne, Seema Jilani enjoys a diverse family life. The Texas-based paediatrician, who has worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan and written extensively on health and social issues, is an engaging contributor to a new BBC documentary, American Muslim: Freedom, Faith and Fear.

Sure, why not? The whole family is Muslim, but their clothing is diverse, so that counts as “a diverse family life” when seen through the agenda-tinted glasses.

Other participants include a fashion designer, an imam, a comedian, a Marine, a Republican congressman and a forthright newspaper columnist – all with something to say about Muslims who live in the Land of the Free. The illuminating 60 minute tv programme, to be accompanied by a World Service radio documentary, emerged from a competition that invited proposals for a collaborative project between BBC Arabic and BBC Persian.

Which means it’s meant to be targeted at Mohammedans in those regions, and not for your consumption. It’s nice, though, that the BBC is actually presenting these people with a positive image of the US, for a change.

‘The original idea was to concentrate on the Bible Belt where there are fascinating similarities between devout Christians and devout Muslims,’ explains BBC Persian reporter Karen Zarindast.

You mean like how they think of women as childbearers first and foremost, subject to the absolute rule of the husband, and their feelings about homosexuality, for example? I won’t hold my breath.



The remit later broadened out and the resulting programme, commissioned by Global News, will be shown on BBC World News, BBC Arabic and BBC Persian in the run-up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

I bet it did. But we’re not at the ‘fear’ part yet. The BBC Persian reporter involved says this:

Originally from Lebanon, he went to university in the US in the mid-80s and this was his first trip back. ‘It was interesting to return after so many years, and I have to say that I fell in love with the country all over again.’

Again, nice to see a positive image about the US from the BBC, for a change.

It’s a familiar sentiment. ‘Everyone we met, from the most recent Muslim arrivals to the surgeon who left Pakistan 30 years ago, told us how much they loved America,’ says Farah. Zarindast, who moved to the UK from Iran 15 years ago, and travels regularly to the US, where her mother and brother now live, was also struck by Muslims’ loyalty to their adopted land.

What shock, eh? People move here on purpose to escape the sh!thole Mulsim countries they live in, and don’t hate it as much as certain Beeboids do.

‘Muslims in America are better integrated than in Britain,’ Darius Bazargan notes. ‘The country is more of a melting pot where people go to escape repression and really value their freedom.’

Shall we examine why that is, BBC? Any future documentaries about what’s preventing Mohammedans from becoming better integrated in Britain? Or have you already decided that it’s down to the inherent racism of the indigenous population, full stop?

Not that Muslims’ love of the States means they are always loved equally in return, he points out. ‘There seems to be more Islamophobia now than immediately after the 9/11 attacks.

Do you think it might have to do with the fact that there have been a few more attempted terrorist attacks by Muslims since then, not to mention Maj. Jihadi Nassan at Ft. Hood? Nah: it’s the inherent racism of the indigenous population:

‘Attitudes have hardened since the election of President Obama. People know they can’t express anti-black opinions but think it acceptable to be anti-Muslim. In fact, [in the case of politicians] their ratings can go up if they appear to be anti-Muslim.’

There you have it: we’re still bloody racists, only we keep quiet about the blacks now. And just like Baroness Warsi said, it’s acceptable to hate Muslims at dinner parties instead. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that not a single second of this is spent discussing any attempted terrorist attacks, or any incident which might even remotely have caused concern about Mohammedans wanting Shariah Law to take precedence over domestic US law in certain cases, or Mohammedan cab drivers in Minnesota refusing to pick up fares at the ariport if they have alcohol on them, or jihadi imams who are forced to leave. Nope, it’s all just racism.

And of course, the best bit:

In another side of the story, the documentary features white Americans who have converted to Islam as a reaction against Western materialism and the constant pressure to look slim and attractive. They include a woman who used to make her living photographing people in nightclubs and is now a devout Muslim.

You couldn’t make it up. It’s White Girl all over again. Remember, this is specifically meant for Muslim audiences in the Muslim World.

What you might call a step change…

What you might call pandering….

A positive message about Islam and Muslims, with a qualified mixed message about the US, and not even meant for you to see or even know about. All at your expense.

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Mark Mardell’s Crisis of Faith, Part III

BBC North America editor Mark Mardell has posted his summary and analysis of the President’s visitation to Ireland and England (not the UK, but England, as we’ll see in a moment). Poor Mardell has been questioning his faith in The Obamessiah for a few weeks now, ever since He decided to listen to reason become a reluctant warrior and finally get on board lead the attack on Libya from behind. Mardell was pretty open about his opinion of military action in previous posts, and is equally revealing here. But his ultimate disappointment is betrayed by the headline:

Obama’s historic speech fails to soar

Aw, poor dear. This isn’t objective analysis, but the expression of a disappointed fan when the latest project by his hero fails to live up to expectations. Mardell shows just how twisted his world view is, and his personal biases are as clear as ever. He certainly didn’t mention the bumbling errors the President made, like writing 2008 in the guest book or screwing up the toast to the Queen or acting like His Irish ancestor meant that He shared the British heritage. Or that He kept saying “England”, when it’s supposed to be Britain or the UK. Imagine if Bush had kept saying England like that, or done any of these things. The Beeboids would have led every programme with a laugh, across the spectrum of broadcasting.

Before getting into what disappointed him, though, Mardell spoke sympathetically about a colleague’s desire to share in this historic event:

I was talking to a colleague beforehand about the eternal tension for broadcast journalists, whether to watch such a speech from an edit suite – which can make practical sense when time is short – or live, which we would all prefer.

He complained: “I’m not going to tell my grandchildren I watched Obama from a cutting room!”

Surely this colleague is a Beeboid, or Mardell would have said he wasn’t, as this is so blatantly impartial. Sadly for the North America editor, the speech didn’t live up to his expectations, but I thought the “historic” bit was that it was The Obamessiah, and the first time a US President spoke at Westminster and not about the content of the speech. But Mardell shares in this worship, and sees nothing biased about his colleague’s attitude or in telling you about it.

So what did Mardell find wrong? Essentially, he felt that the President was too American for his tastes. Sure, he tried to make it sound as if the speech was incoherent, the logic poorly constructed. Have we ever heard Mardell say such a thing about His oration? Only when it’s a message he doesn’t like, like bombing Libya. Mardell does just what defenders of the indefensible accuse us of doing on this blog: complaining when the BBC reports something we don’t like, instead of making an objective case for what they did wrong. Read this bit, and then consider whether or not Mardell says anything further to support the statement:

But it didn’t quite work. It was flat and lacked soaring passion. That is part of the Obama conundrum. Sometimes this tremendous orator doesn’t pull it off. It is often when the argument is over-constructed and the raw emotion can’t burst through the stretched logic.

Nowhere does Mardell explain how the speech didn’t hold together, where the ideas expressed failed to connect into the wonderful whole he was looking for. Instead he complains about certain things the President said, and then reveals his own world view.

For example, the whole middle section of Mardell’s piece is simply laying out various central ideas of the speech. He points out how the President spoke of the historical foundations of the Magna Carta through to how the US and UK still stand for freedom of the individual without state oppression. The rights of liberty espoused by the US and the UK are, the President said, universal rights. This sounds suspiciously like the Bush Doctrine, and so it’s here where Mardell gets upset.

“The future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people’s children and grandchildren are more prosperous and more free – from the beaches of Normandy to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interests and our ideals. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place, and what kind of world would we pass on?”

Think about this statement for a moment. This is the kind of American exceptionalism that the BBC hates, the kind that the anti-Bush Leftoids in the US hate, but what most people in the US wanted to hear at last from the first post-American President. It also sounds pretty reasonable. But not to Mark Mardell.

That to me is the key sentence: “Who would take our place?”

He doesn’t spell it out, but it is a reminder many of the rising powers don’t value democracy and human rights. Those that do may not have the desire to promote them in the muscular way that Britain and America can and do – at the point of a gun.

There are two unbelievably biased and wrong-headed things in that last sentence. First of all, I’d like to ask Mardell which “rising powers” are going to promote democracy and human rights at all? I don’t mean which countries are trying to get it right at home, but which ones are, as the term “promote” implies, trying to spread it around and encourage it elsewhere in the world? It’s a fantasy, yet Mardell is ideologically wedded to pacifist isolationism, otherwise known as sticking your head in the sand and keeping it there while someone kicks you in the ass.

Second, and the most biased bit, is Mardell’s lazy sneer: “at the point of a gun”. He’s said it before, and used similar pejorative phrases, about military actions of which he doesn’t approve, and it’s a personal political view. He’s entitled to his opinion, but he is not, as the BBC North America editor, entitled to tell you what foreign policy is correct or not. Yet he does it over and over again.

Where’s the logic failure of the speech, then? How do the President’s points not cohere? Mardell is being dishonest here, either with himself or with his readers. It’s just that he doesn’t like it when his beloved Obamessiah displays attitudes which he finds distasteful: basic US attitudes.

Looking back on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, some won’t think that such a bad thing.

Some won’t, no. But he does anyway. And then we see Mardell’s heart close to breaking.

But here Mr Obama is nearer to a neo-con than the anti-war movement.

Shed a tear. My God, how can this be? I guess Mardell has been in denial for the past two years as the President ramped up two wars, expanded one of them into Pakistan while killing more people via drones than Bush ever dreamed of, and joined in a third war.

Mr Obama, who went on to talk about the strength of the UK and USA’s “patchwork heritage”, two nations based on values not ethnicity, can get away with this. From an old white man it would have sounded like colonial arrogance.

You know, perhaps it’s just me, but when I look at the President, I don’t see a black man first and foremost. I see a man. The color of His skin is about as relevant as His height or the fact that He’s left-handed. Meaning it’s not relevant at all here. It’s irrelevant to the content of His character or, in this case, His speech. Yet Mardell sees a black man first, and hears the words through that filter. Who’s the real racist here, Mark? Rev. Martin Luther King would be very disappointed.

Aside from that, why on earth would it sound like colonial arrogance to say that our shared values and strength are color-blind and universal? Well, here Mardell is extrapolating from that to the idea of bringing democracy to Libya “at the point of a gun”. When whites do it, I suppose, it’s colonialism. When a black man does it, it’s still wrong, according to Mardell, but not quite as wrong. Again, this is just Mardell’s personal bias against the military action against Libya. He’s entitled his personal opinion, but is not entitled to tell you how to think.

Mardell closes by repeating his earlier assertion that the speech didn’t work.

He got near to the heart of the argument about the way the USA and its allies behave in the world, but he didn’t quite make it all the way.

Which argument, Mark? The one the President was actually trying to make, or the one you wanted Him to? It sounded to me like the President was pretty clear about it all. It’s only unclear if one wanted to hear a totally different attitude.

This felt like an attempt to mix too many elements. Flattering Britain, promoting the essential relationship, American exceptionalism, Britain’s role in creating it, universal values.

So Mardell’s bias is pretty obvious. He just doesn’t like any of these things.

They were all there, but like oil and water stayed stubbornly apart.

Really, how so? What didn’t work? How? Mardell doesn’t ever bother to say. He just claims up front it didn’t work, and then repeats the claim at the end, with no substance offered in between to back it up.

It is perhaps the most important argument in the world today. I want to hear more.

No, Mark. You wanted to hear something else entirely.

One other thing wrong with all of Mardell’s reporting on the President’s visit – as well as that of the entire BBC staff, both on air and online – is that nobody dared express a concern about how inappropriate this campaign trip to an adoring audience of non-voters (for that’s what this was, if we’re honest) was while the Midwest has been battered by floods and tornadoes, with entire towns wiped off the face of the earth, with hundreds dead and hundreds more missing. Never mind the economic troubles He’s running from. Not a single Beeboid raised an eyebrow at this all week long. All out of blind worship of The Obamessiah come among them.

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Mark Mardell’s Crisis of Faith

The President ordered Osama Bin Laden killed without trial, without due process of law, and the BBC North America editor is crestfallen. Mardell really doesn’t know what to do. He has his own opinions, his own moral code to follow, yet cannot bring himself to actually blame the President for it. Instead, he works to shift blame onto the ugly United Statesians he’s found distasteful for so long.

On the scene in New York, Mardell explains what the President will be doing, and why. Well, actually, no he doesn’t. He mostly quotes the White House spokesman, who is the husband of Katty Kay’s personal friend and business partner. Mardell also quotes the President and mentions what Sarah Palin said as well. Why the British public should give a damn about what Sarah Palin says instead of an actual politician or even Presidential candidate is a mystery to me, but we know that the BBC cares very, very deeply.

When the President lays that wreath this evening, I hope he’s a bit more considerate than He was when He casually tossed a rose on the pile in 2008. His lack of consideration and sympathy was evident then. Funny how He never visited Ground Zero on the actual anniversary in 2009 or 2010, but is coming to do it now? If this had been George Bush, the BBC would be screaming about how it’s a victory lap. Instead, they’re full of respect and telling you exactly what the White House wants you to think.

But Mardell revealed his true feelings about the whole sorry affair on his blog yesterday. All impartial journalism goes out the window now. This is Mardell’s personal opinion, and shows how crushed he is that his beloved Obamessiah has ordered someone killed without trial. Of course, I don’t expect Mardell to actually criticize the President or His management skills for all the screwed up facts they spewed out after the event. Fog of war and all that, I’m sure. Nothing to do with amateurs running the show.

In any case, here’s Mardell’s own opinion:

The president’s press secretary Jay Carney suggested this was the result of trying to provide a great deal of information in a great deal of haste.

I can largely accept that. There is no mileage in misleading people and then correcting yourself. But the president’s assistant national security advisor John Brennan had used the facts he was giving out to add a moral message – this was the sort of man Bin Laden was, cowering behind his wife, using her as a shield. Nice narrative. Not true. In fact, according to Carney this unarmed woman tried to attack the heavily armed Navy Seal. In another circumstance that might even be described as brave.

Well, sure, but what’s the point of saying such a thing about bravery, if not to direct the audience in a certain direction? Just state the facts and let the audience decide. No need for editorializing like this.

For those involved an operation like this, time must go past in a confused and noisy instant, and they aren’t taking notes. Confusion is very understandable. But you start to wonder how much the facts are being massaged now, to gloss over the less appealing parts of the operation.

Oh, dear. Mardell is starting to question his undying trust of the President? We’ll see in a moment.

And of course there is the suspicion that the US never wanted to take Bin Laden alive. Here at least many see a trial as inconvenient, awkward – a chance for terrorists to grandstand. Look at all the fuss about the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The bit I’ve put in bold is where Mardell begins to shift blame. It’s extremely wrong to say that people see the trials as “inconvenient”. It’s just that many politicians don’t want the circus in their home towns, and – more importantly – there are legal ramifications of having a civilian criminal case, which may harm the outcome. I don’t expect the BBC to tell you that, though, because they don’t agree with it.

In the confusion of a raid it’s hard to see how the Seals could be sure that Bin Laden wasn’t armed, didn’t have his finger on the trigger of a bomb, wasn’t about to pull a nasty surprise. If he had his hands in the air shouting “don’t shoot” he might have lived, but anything short of that seems to have ensured his death.

Now Mardell is the one doing the backtracking. He’s just said that he is doubtful about the whole thing, but now allows it’s “hard to be sure”, etc. Then he places the blame for this squarely where he believes it to be:

I suspect there will be more worry about this in Britain and Europe than in the US. That doesn’t mean we are right or wrong. It is a cultural difference. We are less comfortable about frontier justice, less forgiving about even police shooting people who turn out to be unarmed, perhaps less inculcated with the Dirty Harry message that arresting villains is for wimps, and real justice grows from the barrel of a gun. Many in America won’t be in the slightest bit bothered that a mass murderer got what was coming to him swiftly, whether he was trying to kill anyone in that instant or not.

And there we have the anti-American bias of the BBC’s North America editor, the man the BBC says you are supposed to trust to help you understand the US. Mardell’s weak gesture towards cultural relativism is lost when he uses derogatory terms like “frontier justice”, and implies that we in the US don’t care as much when the police shoot unarmed people (slander), “Dirty Harry message”, and that hoary old chestnut, “real justice grows from the barrel of a gun”.

This is Mark Mardell telling you his personal opinion of what he perceives to be the mentality of the US. It’s not reporting, it’s not impartial, it’s not anything other than the BBC telling you that we are inferior. Worse, this is also Mardell’s way of telling you that the cold-blooded killing without due process of law is not the President’s fault. No, He was forced to do this by the ugly US public, because that’s what we want. Is this really the purpose of BBC editors’ blogs, to spout personal opinion and venom?

In all of Mardell’s reporting, and indeed in all of the BBC’s coverage of the event, there is no criticism at all of the President Himself. All blame is placed elsewhere, and in fact the President is portrayed as the only adult in the room, above it all. Jeremy Paxman said on Newsnight that the White House “dithered”, but I think he got away with it. Otherwise, Mardell has previously made very effort to tell you that the President considers every issue nearly as carefully as Deep Thought took to work out the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

So in the end, Mardell has to find someone else to blame when the President does something he doesn’t like. Sad, really, and the public is led away from the facts and into opinion.

Side note: The BBC is still leaving the door ajar for Truther conspiracy theories with this line:

Bin Laden was believed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and many others.

Have they learned nothing? He confessed on video which has been broadcast by the BBC, wrote about it, talked about it. It’s a fact that Bin Laden was behind it, not supposition.

As the President does His victory lap at Ground Zero today, the BBC is giving full coverage. And by “coverage”, I mean covering for Him. Barbara Plett is on the scene on the News Channel this morning telling us what will happen.

He’s “paying homage”, and “showing respect” to the families of the victims. Nobody wants to accuse the President of making this a political event, Plett assures us. The BBC has the White House talking points from Jay Carney, and they are dutifully following it.

“He wants to meet with them and share with them this important and significant moment, a bitter-sweet moment, I think, for many families of the victims,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Well, He’s meeting with some families, anyway. Some haven’t been invited, and one family at least has declined to give Him the photo op. But what’s a little white lie amongst friends, eh? As long as they’re reporting White House talking points, they’re doing their job. He’s not using this for political purposes, no, no, no. Some people may think that, the Beeboids allow, but that’s not what He’s about. Heavens no. Even today’s coverage on the News Channel says the same thing.

Isn’t this visit to Ground Zero a bit sudden, not planned until just now to take advantage of the event, asks the newsreader in the studio? Oh, no, says Plett, stammering as she’s caught off guard. He’s just paying respects to the families now. Pro Obama at all costs, indeed.

The BBC continues to be the foreign branch of the White House press office, but He’s made it very difficult for them this week!

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US TO BLAME FOR EGYPT

Well,  this one was coming. On Today this morning. John Humphyrs coldly asked US official Michele Dunne just how much GUILT did the US have on its hands for what is happening in Egypt. Yes, the USA is to blame. Tomorrow, can we look forward to the BBC blaming Sarah Palin, or Israel…? I’ll post the link once they publish it.

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MINING THE BIAS….

I’ve had several emails on the subject of BBC bias by omission concerning their coverage of the Chilean miners reascue. In essence, it comes down to one thing – a visceral BBC loathing of admitting the formidable contribution the US has made in bringing the trapped men out. Biased BBC contributor Jon Hunt spells it out in clear terms…

“Thereal heroes are American, not that you would know that fromany British news organisation (and we’re supposed to be America’s greatestally).  For example, the company whom the Chilean government contactedto rescue the miners is a certain Chilean-U.S. outfit called Geotec Boyles Bros. SA .  Theyimmediately contacted associate company LayneChristensen of Pennsylvania.

Itwas Layne Christensen who provided:

a)the mobile drilling rig built by a fellow Pennsylvanian company by the name of Schramm Inc. 

b) thespecial drill bits, manufactured by fellow Pennsylvanian company CenterRock

c) the drillersJeffHart and Matt Staffel – the real heroes of the operation, whom they flew infrom Afghanistan

Withoutthese guys and their specialist equipment the miners would still be down theretoday.

 So,how did the UK media cover this amazing side of the story – how the rescuedepended almost entirely on American equipment and personnel?

 AGoogle news search shows that JeffHart & Matt Staffel’s joint roles are widely reported throughout theU.S., South America, Germany, and Spain – but not by any UKnews organisation. 

 Overthe last month alone the BBC has produced ajaw-dropping 130,000 web pages reporting the Chilean mine rescue.  Andyet, theonly one that reports Jeff Hart’s pivotal role appears in theCorporation’s Spanish-language site – suggesting that the BBC’sSpanish staff are not as imbued with the same anti-Americanism as itsGuardianista UK staff – while there is no mention anywhere of Jeff Hart’scolleague Matt Staffel. 

Norhas the BBC reported the role of the U.S. companies involved:  Searchesfor LayneChristensen and CenterRock turn up zilch. 

Asearch for Schrammthrows up several reports which name it as the manufacturer of thedrilling rig, but only one mentions that it is a U.S. company. Meanwhile, a search for GeotecBoyles, to whom Layne Christensen reported, also produces nothing, but asearch for Geotec producesa BBC bulletin describing the company as “Chilean” andimplying accordingly that it was Chileans who were the key personnelinvolved in the rescue.  The BBC reports:

MrButtazzoni, the head of the Chilean mining company Geotec, said his drill hadalready cut through 464m (1,500ft) of rock. He said his team expected to breakthrough to the area where the miners are sheltering in 3-4 days.

- acomplete and utter mis-portrayal through omission.”

In the BBC world-view, American corporations are always evil so best ensure they get NO credit even when they help save lives.
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THEY DON’T GET IT…

This was sent to me by a B-BBC reader and you should give it a read if you have a spare moment. From the image used to illustrate the story through the commentary, the BBC just cannot understand how it might be that Americans reject Obamacare. If only Town Hall meetings were attended by the sort of sophisticates the BBC uses to pack their Question Time audience, all would be well!

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Victim or Villain?

Did anyone hear Saturday Live R4 yesterday? The bit about Uday Hussein’s body-double, Latif Yahia. The poor fellow was forced, on pain of death to him and his family, to impersonate the evil Uday.

Fi “How did that make you feel” Glover was sympathetic, as you would be. But hang on. When Uday himself decided to take a potshot at poor Latif, all obstacles must have evaporated because he somehow managed to escape and get himself the hell outta there, and henceforth to Ireland where he married an Irish girl and lived happily ever after.

Near the end of the programme, someone emailed to ask why Fi had been so sympathetic and had treated him as a victim, when he had witnessed and possibly carried out some of the more unpleasant things in in the course of his impersonating duties. She wasn’t having any. She sternly reminded us that Latif was terrified and intimidated and had no choice but to comply (on pain of death to him and his family.) We were never told how , when push came to shove, he was able to get away, nor were we told what became of his family.

I wasn’t sure what to make of that yesterday. But just now I clicked on a link and it seems there’s more to Fi’s sob story than meets the eye.

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