GET CAMERON, GET MURDOCH

The BBC led assualt on the Government continues apace this morning. First up we have the screaming headline that Andy Coulson has been arrested and charged with perjury by Scotland’s finest. This is deemed the single most important story in the UK this morning (Oh really?) but I suppose we can all understand WHY the BBC is hyping it…

BBC chief political correspondent Norman Smith said: “Unlike the arrest of Mr Coulson last year by the London Metropolitan Police – which centred on claims about hacking during his time as editor of the News of the World – this arrest relates to a period when Mr Coulson was working as David Cameron’s director of communications.”

Precisely – get Cameron. And the second biggest story in the UK today? Why, Jeremy Hunt is going in front of the Leveson Star Chamber.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to defend his handling of News Corp’s attempt to take over broadcaster BSkyB when he appears at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics later. Mr Hunt has denied the company had influence within his office.

Yes, he may “deny” it but the BBC know better, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!

There is a real Jihad against the Cameron Conservatives, which at one level is utterly disgraceful when compared with the easy ride Labour was afforded over all those years but at another level is understandable given Cameron’s refusal to take on the BBC but rather try to appease them. Same with Hunt. He should have gone on the front foot against the BBC but instead ran around trying to be nice to them. They devour you either way and so I feel little sympathy for Cameron and co as today generates further GRIM  headlines.

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Justin Webb Reveals His Bias And Dishonesty

Justin Webb (Mark Mardell’s predecessor as BBC North America editor) has written a little piece about the current state of the Republican Party. He’s not pleased, of course, which is no surprise to those of us who remember him looking down from on high and declaring that the US had “moved on” from social conservatism. Now that there’s a struggle for control of the Party between – I generalize a bit – the recently ascending Tea Party-inspired small government/fiscal conservatives, and the Santorumite, Republican establishment, who love big government and spending out their ears, and see nothing wrong with legislating personal behavior, ol’ Justin simply does not know where to turn.

And so he sticks his head further up the ivory tower. His goal here is to show you how the Republican Party is simply not ready to lead the country, because they’ve become too extremist.

Right up front, we can see Webb trying to frame the Narrative, eliding facts to create the context he needs. When Henry Olson from the American Enterprise Institute says that the Republican Party is united in its opposition to “government”. He means the current Government’s far-Left policies, as in those of The Obamessiah. Spend a few minutes at AEI.org and decide for yourselves exactly what’s being opposed.

Rick Santorum is still close behind Romney because of all the social conservative/big-government types left trying to take control of the Party back from the Tea Party movement, who gained the momentum in 2010. Santorum is not a fan of personal freedom, yet he’s still getting quite a bit of support from Republicans anyway. Anybody trying to tell you that the whole Party is united against “government” is either lying, or is actually saying something else.

What really angers ol’ Justin is what he perceives to be how the Republican Party is being driven to the extreme right by the “deep south”. And – what a shock – he dishonestly describes the authority to whom he appeals for this.

Political writer Michael Lind left the party because he sees its modern unity as toxic. Too much based on the values of the deep south of the USA – and in particular a visceral and unquenchable dislike of any government by anyone, of anyone.

“The thing that holds together the modern Republican party is opposition to the government,” says Mr Lind.

Lind indeed left the Republican Party: in 1996.  The following year, he published a book entitled, “Up From Conservatism: Why The Right Is Wrong For America”.  In 2002, he published a book about George Bush and the “Southern Takeover of American Politics”. Does this sound like someone who’s talking about “modern unity”?  Yet ol’ Justin is using Lind’s decade-old song to prove that this is a new problem.

Of course, this also denies the fact that Texas is not part of the “deep south”, nor are Arizona and Utah. But I guess that’s beside the point, as he’s probably sort of referring to the fact that the agrarian southern Colonies were concerned about too much government power back when the US was founded, and that legacy continues to this day. Perhaps I’m giving him too much credit for having a clue about US history.

Even so, Bush’s Republican Party was big-government to the max. That’s why the Tea Party movement went after the incumbents in 2010. They were, and those still left are, social conservatives and not much else. But ol’ Justin hated them for that, and was happy about the “strange death” of that movement in the US. Except, of course, it that movement is very much alive, which is why Rick Santorum is still going.

To further support his argument, ol’ Justin points to Sen. Olympia Snow (R-ME) who has decided not to seek another term. He describes her as “moderate”, which means big-government, Republican establishment, exactly the kind of pol the Tea Party has been trying to get rid of for the last couple years. To those of us who get our news from outside the bubble, it’s no surprise that she’s decided not to accept a challenge for her seat from within her own Party, not because she’s unhappy that the Party has moved too far to the Right for her taste (which is a stupid reason to quit anyway), but because her husband is facing a major corruption lawsuit. Even the far-Left FireDogLake blog knows that Justin’s story is complete and utter BS. Snowe isn’t really facing a serious challenger yet, but has decided to drop out anyway.

So this is pretty much a total lie from Justin Webb.

Next he speaks with Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works, a major organization supporting the Tea Party movement. He really does talk about shutting down a few enormous, bloated government agencies, some of which have nearly the sacred cow status that the NHS has in Britain. Naturally, this frightens Webb, as his visceral inclination is that the State is All.

This is supposed to be the final proof that there’s something seriously wrong with the Republican Party. The thing is, the Party’s move to the right on this issue is a bad thing only if one is on the Left, and views small government as some sort of extremist position. Ol’ Justin is definitely making a value judgment here, and his personal political bias is on full display.

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THOSE IRANIAN "CONSERVATIVES"…

I know we have discussed this previously but I am not prepared to let the BBC run a contrived headline such as “Iran conservatives contest poll for Parliament” without comment. As ever it is their use of the term “conservative” to describe those Mad Mullahs around “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that I object to. There is nothing that is conservative about these Islamic radicals and the BBC know that – but it is such fun to attach the appellation”conservative” to such a hateful barbaric and deranged regime as that headed by Khamenei and so they just can’t resist it.  So, Iranian “conservatives” and British “conservatives” – what’s in a name?

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ADVANCING THE NARRATIVE

I did a recorded interview on BBC5 live last night concerning the issue of Conservative plans to potentially imprison bankers who take what is deemed “excessive risk”. I was more than happy to debate the Conservative MP Matthew Hancock but what irritated me was Stephen Nolan’s dismissal of my suggestion that politicians who create “systemic damage” to our economy be subject to criminal prosecution. That was deemed “unserious”yet creating legislation that criminalises risk-taking in part of the Financial sector is considered serious? That said, I got my say so am not complaining, just pointing out that the Presenter was taking an editorial line that seems in line with the “hang the bankers” meme.

Then, this morning, I had been invited onto Nolan’s BBC NI programme to cover same topic. The item was bumped so I didn’t make it on but I wanted to explain WHY the item was bumped. Last night, Nolan did an interview with a lady suffering from Tourettes. This was in the context of David Cameron’s remark about Ed Balls. Naturally, the Tourettes lady attacked Cameron and it was a nice little character assassination job BUT I cannot find evidence of the BBC affording Abbott’s “divide and rule” tweet the same detailed analysed. This item was then run AGAIN on BBC NI and lots of people phoned in to say how awful Cameron was. I have no time for David Cameron but I though that this was little more than Nolan whipping up mob frenzy against Cameron, and all under the pretext of “caring” about Tourettes.

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ATTACK!

Ed Miliband must be delighted with his pals at the BBC this morning.

They have been leading all their news items this morning with the results of a Labour Party survey which claims to show that the evil Coalition is behind a sharp rise in the cost of council services for elderly and disabled people. Nothing to to with the efficacy of Councils, of course, who are sitting on top of BILLIONS in their reserves, also unreported by the BBC. Quite why a Labour press release justifies being lead story is beyond me but I suppose it conforms to the narrative.

As an extra follow up, we also had the ghost of Geoffrey Howe being asked to explain why he thought that the Government regenerating Liverpool back in 1981 was like making “water flow uphill”. Now, there is little that I found to admire in Chancellor Howe, but it seems to me that his assessment of Liverpool back then was pretty accurate. Of course the Government DID introduce Enterprise Zones and the like but the BBC was more interested in portraying the evil Conservatives led by…gasp..THATCHER…as being detached from the north of England.

From 1981 to the end of 2011, the drumbeat of the BBC is the same.
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DISASTER!

My sources tell me that there is weeping and wailing in BBC newsrooms, black ties may be worn and solemn music should be played…..at this breaking news…..

The UK economy grew by 0.6% between July and September, official figures have shown, faster than previous estimates of 0.5%. The rise was driven by strong performance in the service sector and construction, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

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JUST ANOTHER BIASED MONDAY

Question to start the week. How often can you get the term “Bad for Britain” and the word “isolated” into a news programme? The answer is, lots, based on this morning’s Today programme. Did you catch it? Even by BBC standards, this was visceral hostility towards the Conservative Party. At one point, a trailer for a later story asked “Is the Coalition doomed?”. We had David Miliband on to offer us his wisdom here – lunatic as ever – meanwhile John Humphyrs got stuck into Danny Alexander here….and Nick Robinson joined in the fray. The BBC has rarely been as one-sided as it has been on the coverage of this story since Cameron refused to grovel to Merkozy. I suppose the Euromillions the BBC receives explains some of the visceral hatred towards Cameron and those evil “Eurosceptics.” I have to declare my bias now and say I would love to see this Coalition fall, for there to be an election right now, and for a Conservative/UKIP coalition to replace what we have. Can you IMAGINE the BBC response to that eventuality? The BBC is doing everything possible to triangulate Cameron to ensure he does NOTHING more to placate the “Eurosceptics” and instead embarks on a series of appeasements to the Lib-Dems. This is politics the BBC is playing, not impartially reporting the news. It is agenda setting, pro-Labour and slavishly pro EU.

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ALL ABOUT PRIORITIES…

It’s all about editorial decisions. Confronted with the breaking news that the entire Eurozone Bail-Out has been thrown into chaos thanks to Slovakia rejecting the deal even as the US accuses Iran of planning acts of terrorism on US soil using Mexican killers, it’s only natural that the BBC focuses on the searing issue of the day; Is Liam Fox gay? Pathetic. The BBC’s continued baiting of Fox comes down to nasty little rumours and wink-wink say no more innuendos over his sexuality. I thought the BBC considered being gay to be the highest calling of human behavior so their rank hypocrisy on this matter is stunning. I suggest that most people couldn’t care less about Fox’s sexuality but the Westminster village, and the BBC, is obsessed with it to the exclusion of FAR more important issues.

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GRIMLEY FIENDISH

There’s a report on the BBC News website from reporter Naomi Grimley. As it stands there is only a little bit of bias:

“This party conference must almost feel like a vacation for David Cameron after the last few months of frantic activity which saw not just one but two of his summer holidays interrupted by events. He’d been enjoying the Italian sunshine when rioting broke out in London, Birmingham and Manchester…Just a couple of weeks later Mr Cameron was breaking off a holiday again, this time to deal with the fall of Tripoli.”

Note that she neglects to say where he went for his second holiday. Cornwall wouldn’t make him quite sound so ‘out of touch’, would it Naomi?

This, however, isn’t the original version of the report shown on the News Channel on 5th October. It’s a doctored version, with a new bit on Libya and a much longer bit from the PM’s riot speech. That original report appeared at 8.37am on Wednesday and then vanished, never to be seen again.

The reason, I think, is that she went on, “Critics say David Cameron’s own priveleged upbringing makes him look out of touch with those households currently feeling the pinch.

This was followed by her ‘talking head’, Jonathan Freedland of the ‘Guardian’, saying “his class have governed Britain for centuries.”

“Nevertheless,” Naomi concluded, “when he speaks to the conference goers later the prime minister is bound to repeat the mantra that he feels the pain of ordinary voters.”

Not too subtle, that one! No wonder they removed it sharpish. Did someone complain? Or did a BBC editor panic after watching it being broadcast? Sadly, but for obvious reasons, there’s no link for the original report!

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‘Today’ – A Tale of Two Cities

The BBC’s contrasting coverage of the party conferences seems to have been at its sharpest with ‘Today’. Here’s why I think that’s the case (at somewhat exhausting length!), concentrating on the Labour Party conference in Liverpool and the Conservative Party conference in Manchester:

Setting the agenda
The introductions to each edition of the programme were revealing:
The Labour conference editions
Monday 26/9: Opened with James Naughtie saying “The shadow chancellor Ed Balls will commit Labour to new spending rules in an attempt to bolster the party’s economic credentials. We’ll be talking to Mr Balls live in Liverpool.”
Tuesday 27/9: Opened with James Naughtie saying “Ed Miliband is going to tell the Labour Party at its conference that it’s time to reward people who contribute to society and stop the get-rich-quick culture”.
Wednesday 28/9: James Naughtie says “I’ll be talking to Ed Miliband about his break with the Blair/Brown years, producers and predators and the role of the state in our lives.”
The Conservative conference editions
Monday 3/10: Begins with Sarah Montague saying, “Plans to extend the freeze on council tax in England are to be announced by the chancellor. We’ll be speaking to George Osborne later in the programme and we’ll be asking whether Europe could yet again divide the Tories.”
Tuesday 4/10: After headlines about Amanda Knox, “senior doctors in England are warning that the government’s overhaul of the NHS in England will cause irreparable harm to patients’ services” and “how much control do we have over the world’s financial markets and how much of it is done by computers and fear?”, Sarah Montague says, “here at the Conservative Party conference, we’ll be asking whether the Conservatives hate the police and at ten past eight I’ll be speaking to the prime minister David Cameron.”
Wednesday 5/10: Begins with Sarah Montague saying, “David Cameron will close the Conservative Party conference with a call for people to pay off their credit card debts. Also this morning we’ll be speaking to the foreign secretary William Hague about how Britain should react to the Eurozone crisis and asking whether the North can ever be persuaded to vote Tory.”
So, nothing negative for the Labour Party in any of those James Naughtie introductions but a deeply negative question posed in every one of Sarah Montague’s introductions.
Suggestive of bias surely?

The commentators
Each of the Labour Party Conference editions of the programme ended with a discussion about the conference featuring the following:
26/9: David Blunkett, Labour, & Mehdi Hasan, Labour supporting editor of the ‘New Statesman’ (link)
27/9: Blair speechwriter and Labour Party member Phil Collins of the ‘Times’ & Labour supporter Polly Toynbee of the ‘Guardian’ (link)
28/9: Steve Richards, pro-Labour ‘Independent’ journalist & George Parker of the ‘FT’, the only non-Labour supporter out of six (though he’s no Conservative supporter either from what I’ve heard) (link)

Only one of the Conservative Party conference editions (3/10) ended with such a discussion and this featured pro-Conservative Benedict Brogan of the ‘Telegraph’ and non-Tory supporter Allegra Stratton of the ‘Guardian’ (link). The other discussion (5/10) was given over to an assessment of all three party conferences, but was heavy with criticism of the Conservatives and praise for Ed Miliband. The guests were Iain Martin of the ‘Daily Mail’ from the Right, Mary Ann Sieghart of the ‘Independent’ from the Centre (though she’s frequently described as a Blairite) and Kevin Maguire of the ‘Mirror’ from the Left (link).

So the tally would be (by my reckoning) 7 from the pro-Labour Left, 2 from the Centre and 2 from the pro-Conservative Right.

More strong evidence of bias surely?

Tone
Last week, James Naughtie conducted the programme from the Labour Party conference as if it were a seminar, partly cosy and partly earnest. It felt like an insider’s perspective. Justin Webb’s coverage of the Lib Dem conference and Sarah Montague’s coverage of the Conservative conference, however, were relatively lightweight, often breezy and occasionally snide, and both felt like outsiders’ perspectives (as they should).

James Naughtie
Questions of tone can be dismissed as being in the ear of the beholder, but Naughtie’s interviews with several Labour figures (from Tom Harris to David Miliband) were generally friendly, and his interview with Ed Balls contained such comments as “Indeed, that’s a very interesting answer” and “Well, again, that’s a very interesting answer” (link). Indeed, “interesting” and “intriguing” cropped up again and again in Naughtie’s commentaries, his questions to his colleagues and his interviews. For example, in a discussion with Nick Robinson, he described what he called Ed Miliband’s “straightforwardness” on the issue of the state as “intriguing” (link).

While Sarah Montague asked nothing but pointed questions to the Tories, Naughtie, throughout his Labour conference coverage, kept asking such questions as “What will be the nature of the argument?” or “What will be the character of the conference?” and “How’s the party going to define itself?” (all in the first hour of the 26/9 edition). “Where’s Labour heading?”, he asked Mehdi Hasan. “What direction should Labour take?” and “What culture should Labour seek to create?” he asked David Blunkett (also 26/9 edition). On Tuesday, he was specifically wondering (vaguely) where Ed Miliband wanted to take his party. On and on he went in this vein.

During the discussion with Phil Collins and Polly Toynbee, listen to how many times Jim agrees with Polly and Phil or Polly and Phil agree with Jim (all those ‘That’s true’s) (link). Note also Naughtie wondering aloud about whether Ed Miliband’s moral argument takes things “to a higher plane”. You will hear left-leaning pundits and presenter in full agreement throughout. Very cosy.

On Tuesday’s Labour Conference programme, Naughtie interviewed Labour MP Tom Harris (link). Again, it’s all very friendly. Tom goes “absolutely” to something Jim says. Jim goes “yes, yeah” to something Tom says. Tom goes “Yep absolutely” to something more Jim says, and “I think that’s absolutely spot on” to something else Jim says. Just as cosy.

Sarah Montague
In contrast, Sarah Montague was prone to inappropriate laughter (inappropriate, that is, for an impartial presenter). During a discussion about Osborne’s council freeze plan (first hour, 3/10) with chief political correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, for example, when GO’D said that it would only save families in England £1.50 a week, she burst out laughing. This inescapably gave the impression that she thought it was a piddling amount, a point GO’D picked up on. Then (and showing a very different tone to that between James Naughtie and Labour’s Tom Harris) during an interview with Conservative MP Sir Peter Bone, also on Monday’s edition (3/10), he was making some strongly conservative proposals for boosting the economy when, having earlier contradicted him, Sarah started laughing and told him (through her laughter) that there’s no chance of any of those things happening. (This interview, bizarrely, is not available to listen again on the ‘Today’ website. Why not? Because the tone was wrong?) Finally, on Wednesday morning’s edition (5/10), when Gary O’Donoghue listed some of the adjectives David Cameron was going to use in his speech today to (in his words) “flatter” the British character – “hard-working, pioneering, independent, creative, adaptable, optimistic, can-do spirit” – Sarah Montague burst out laughing again. GO’D got the giggles too as a result. This showed what they thought of Mr Cameron’s choice of words – and it’s unlikely the prime minister would have felt flattered had he heard them!

But…
There were some striking exceptions to this general rule – oddly enough when you’d least expect them. The biggest interviews – the ones with Ed Miliband (link) and David Cameron (link)- were conducted by both James Naughtie and Sarah Montague in a fairly hands-off manner – especially Sarah Montague, who gave David Cameron a surprising amount of leeway. Naughtie wasn’t much tougher on Ed Miliband, though the ‘weird’ question was quite a shock (especially to Miliband). That was as good as it got for both presenters. [Intriguingly, as James Naughtie might say, Sarah Montague used the word ‘weird’ in her interview with George Osborne to mock a Tory standpoint.]

Despite the ‘but’…
James Naughtie’s approach is surely a gift to the Labour Party.

Gary O’Donoghue’s previews with ‘Today’ presenters
Gary O’Donoghue has taken over from Norman Smith as Radio 4’s chief political correspondent and, while he can’t touch Smith for sheer naked bias, he’s not entirely beyond criticism over the last couple of weeks. His discussions with James Naughtie at the Labour Party Conference Labour’s were fine, with little editorialising, either one way or the other. His discussions with Sarah Montague at the Conservative Party conference, however, were less praiseworthy. On 3/10, his anticipation of the council tax freeze announcement was almost entirely negative, emphasising the criticism from the Labour Party. (Sarah Montague plugged away here at Andrew Tyrie’s criticisms like a dog with a bone). On 4/10, Theresa May’s proposed tightening of the immigration rules (due to the abuse of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act) was described by Sarah as “crowd-pleasing” and, later, as “the kind of thing the conference here will love” and GO’D dismissed it as “a pretty standard route for a conference like this”. On 5/10 there was the previously-mentioned talk from GO’D of “flattery of the British character” by David Cameron and the laughter at Cameron’s expense. Worse was the editorialising from GO’D over Cameron’s call for those in debt to pay off their credit card and store bills: “I must say when I saw that it stood out a little and jarred a little because there’s a danger with that sort of thing that you can hear David Cameron saying ‘pay off your credit card and store bills’ and people yelling back at the television ‘With what?'” Is that something an impartial BBC reporter should say?

Still, Norman Smith would have been far, far worse.

The Reports

Labour conference
(a) Presenter reports
(i) 26/9 James Naughtie goes to a Progress Rally to bat about ideas for Labour’s way forward with a few Blairites, chats to David Miliband, and then interviews GMB union leader Paul Kenny, who is still supportive of Ed Miliband (link). Little to trouble the Labour leadership here and no party outsiders.

(ii) 27/9 Naughtie goes to Toxteth ” to assess how the [Labour] party is viewed there”, according to the blurb on the ‘Today’ website, though – beyond the introduction – that is not an accurate description of the report (link). “The Labour Party feels quite at home here in Liverpool…”, he begins, but there are challenges arising from “its legacy in power.” Naughtie seems to credit it with the regeneration of the waterfront (wasn’t the Lib Dem council mostly responsible for that???) but there are still “deep social problems”. That said, Labour’s responsibility soon drops completely out of sight after he mentions the problems caused by Polish immigration. (Any beyond Eastern Europe, Jim?) Labour MP Louise Ellman praises diversity, but talks of local jobs. “Louise Ellman’s right”, says Naughtie, before recalling the Toxteth riots of the 1980s. Thereafter it was the usual Naughtie bid for an award, talking to a couple of locals, and looking for hope, hope and more hope – and finding signs of it in the community’s reaction to the Autumn riots.” The challenge for local and national leaders”, he says, is to harness this, showing that this report wasn’t really much to do with the Labour Party. Little to trouble the Labour leadership here.

(b) BBC reporters’ reports
(i) 26/9 Gary O’Donoghue garners advice for the Labour Party from influential Labour figures (link): Lord Prescott, Liam Byrne, Mark Steers of the IPPR, Andrew Harrop of the Fabian Society, Margaret Beckett and Lord Prescott again. Nothing to trouble the Labour leadership here and no outsiders.

Conservative Conference
(a) Presenter reports
(i) 3/10 Sarah Montague goes ‘Tory Split’-hunting over Europe (link). Europe not on the official agenda “but away from the conference floor many seem desperate to talk about it.” “It was the issue which tore them apart” when they were last in govt. The eurosceptics are “becoming bolder though”. Heather Wheeler MP wants out of Europe and says the country agrees. Sarah counters her point by saying, “As ever though what the public say they want depends on what they’re asked.” Cue Stephan Shakespeare of YouGov, says people “want to be less in Europe but not quite out”, “they want Europe but much less of it,” he continues, “they want to go as far back as you can go without actually leaving the EU”. SM says lots of Conservatives want renegotiation but many are “nervous about reopening old wounds.” George Eustace says “lots of scars from the past”. Sarah says “many of the delegates here sound desperate for a referendum” [that word again]. Some delegates (well two of them) are then heard from, sounding desperate for a referendum. Eustace says times have changed, we need to stay in EU but get powers back, including those over health & safety, employment law, social policy. ConservativeHome found nearly 1/2 of 144 candidates before last election wanted to repatriate powers from Europe, and more than a 1/3 want renegotiation – including rising star Saveej Navid thinks, who we here from…. “So is there a danger that if MPs say they want to overrule European laws on things like maternity and paternity leave they won’t look compassionate? It’s a point I put to George Eustace.” So some agenda-pushing, a bit of negative language about eurosceptics, an outsider countering the eurosceptic point of view and a few things to trouble the Conservative leadership here.

(b) BBC reporters’ reports
(i) 4/10 Gary O’Donoghue wonders whether David Cameron is “a right-wing Tory of the old school or a compassionate Conservative” and goes ‘Tory split’-hunting (link): “Below the surface there’s not always harmony about the party’s direction or indeed about what sort of Conservative David Cameron really is”. Lord Tebbitt thinks one thing but Tim Montgomerie thinks another. “Some elements on the Tory backbenches are becoming a little more restless”. David Davis wants a low tax agenda. This isn’t the only area “where the troops are getting a little uneasy. Europe is always an issue…” Mark Pritchard wants DC to show his true blue colours over it. Some ‘modernisers’, however, are urging DC to resist “ideological enthusiasms”, including Nick Boles. “Most in the party accept”, said GO’D, that in the early days David Cameron had to present a socially liberal, softer kind of conservatism to detoxify the brand, but having failed to win an election on that ground the modernisers are likely to be fighting a rearguard action in the coming years as traditional elements seek to impose a more conventionally conservative agenda on the party.” So more agenda-pushing and quite a few things to trouble the Conservative leadership.

(ii) 4/10 “Home Affairs correspondent Danny Shaw investigates whether the Conservative Party hates the police”, says the ‘Today’ website. Sarah Montague’s introduction began “Now here’s what may seem like an odd question, ‘Do the Conservatives hate the police?'”
Shaw’s report was astonishingly biased (link).
It opened with a voice saying “This government, to put it bluntly, hate the Police Service.” “Sgt John Gibbley summing up the mood of discontent at the Police Federation Conference this year. One senior officer told me that a considerable body of policing agrees with his view. Others say it’s not hatred that’s driving police reform but revenge for what happened almost 20 years ago.” Paul McKeevor of the Police Federation says it’s a backlash for the police’s opposition to the Sheehy Report of the early 1990s. “But other evidence doesn’t support the ‘Payback for Sheehy’ theory, in particular David Cameron’s role in 1993. The prime minister was at that time a special adviser to the then home secretary Michael Howard who dumped most of the plans. In the 1990s Mr Cameron helped build bridges with the police. He didn’t knock them down.” So, Danny Shaw knocks down one conspiracy theory about revenge only to build up his own: “By 2006, however, that had all changed.” [Clip of Cameron speech calling for fundamental shakeup of policing.] “David Cameron, by then Conservative Party leader, took the view that the police were the last great unreformed public service. He called for directly elected politicians to run forces and modern employment contracts to make it easier to sack bad officers. The arrest of the Conservative MP Damien Green simply strengthened the Tories’ conviction that police wings needed clipping. But in a candid assessment of how relations between the police and the Tories worsened, the shadow police minister between 2007 and 2010, David Ruffley, says some of the problems were self-inflicted.” [Mr Ruffley sharply criticises Chris Grayling for comparing our inner cities to ‘The Wire’ and says his comments were “extremely unbalanced and frankly wrong”. I wonder how long the interview with Mr Ruffley was from which this snippet of sustained criticism of the Conservative leadership was taken. Did he say anything nice about his own party, or criticise the police’s role, or Labour’s? We’ll never know]. [Clip of Theresa May talking of the urgent need for radical reform.] “It was inevitable that Theresa May’s programme of cuts and reforms would widen the rift between ministers and the police but the public affairs expert Peter Bingle, who advised the Police Federation during the Sheehy reforms and has been re-hired now, says something more fundamental has happened. The MacPherson Report, raids on MPs’ offices and phone hacking, says Mr Bingle, have caused the relationship between police, politicians and the public to fracture. The Tories are not hateful of the police but more questioning and less trustful.” You cannot be a Conservative if you hate the Police Service, says Mr Bingle. “But there is a perception among police, certainly,” replies Shaw, “that they do.” Lack of communication at the moment between the Police Service and the government is the reason Mr Bingle gives for that. Shaw’s report ends with his words, “I believe that needs to be addressed very quickly because to have a position where any government is seen to be hating the police service is great news for rioters and anarchists.”
Where were the voices defending the Conservatives? Where were the voices arguing that Labour politicised the police? Where were the arguments that the police themselves might bear some responsibility for their current problems? With the Conservative Party conference going on, why wasn’t a Conservative minister interviewed on this?
An axe-grinding report, suspiciously stitched together, by a typical BBC home affairs correspondent.

Case closed?

Interviews with party figures

Labour conference
26/9 – David Miliband & Paul Kenny (link)
26/9 – Ed Balls (link)
26/9 – David Blunkett (link)
27/9 – Tom Harris (link)
27/9 – Yvette Cooper (link)
28/9 – Len McClusky (with Dr Mike Lynch, an outsider) (link)
28/9 – Lord Kinnock (link)
28/9 – Ed Miliband (link)

Conservative Conference
3/10 – Sir Peter Bone (unavailable to ‘listen again’)
3/10 – George Osborne (link)
4/10 – Graeme Archer, blogger (with lobbyist Peter Bingle) (link)
4/10 – David Cameron (link)
5/10 – Cllr David Meikle (Glasgow) & Cllr Ian Lindley (Salford) (link)
5/10 – William Hague (link)

How an interview is framed is a key indicator of bias.

The Labour interviews would all have sat well with Labour Party listeners, except perhaps for parts of James Naughtie’s interview with Ed Miliband (the ‘weird’ question being emphasised by the ‘Today’ website) and the interview with Dr Mike Lynch, who liked the idealism in Ed Milibands ‘predators and producers’ speech but thought it impractical, wondering how you could fashion policy out of the distinction and saying it’s “motherhood and apple pie”. (The ‘Today’ website characterises it as one voicing his support for Mr Miliband and the other merely “considering” whether the distinction holds water). Though the David Miliband/Paul Kenny was predicated on the assumption that Labour had lost credibibity with the voters, the Yvette Cooper interview was merely introduced with by James Naughtie with words about new thinking, the Balls interview with talk of what Balls would call for, the Tom Harris interview with the news that Scottish Labour is seeking more autonomy, the Kinnock interview just as a Labour elder statesman’s reaction to Miliband’s speech. (He loved it!)

On the other hand, of the Conservative interviews, the one with Sir Peter Bone was introduced as being with a Tory backbencher who shared Andrew Tyrie’s concerns (Tory splits). Unfortunately (for the ‘Today’ team), Sir Peter refused to play ball and attack the government and stuck to expounding a free-marketeer’s answer to economic growth. The interview with Mr Archer and Mr Bingle was framed, unfavourably, as “Out of more than 10,000 people attending the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, just 4000 are party members.” An only partly good-natured debate on lobbying ensued. The debate between the councillors was framed by the question, “Is the Conservative brand doomed in Scotland or could they learn from colleagues here in the north of England?” The councillors disagreed. (Tory split!). So, interviews which start from the premise (a) that the Tories are split over the economy, (b) that the Conservative Party is under the unhealthy influence of lobbyists and (c) that the Tories might be doomed in Scotland. How many of these premises would have displeased the Conservative leadership? (The interview with William Hague, incidentally, was framed with reference to “Europe being a divisive issue for the Conservative Party”.)

How can this be considered even-handed?

Other ‘unhelpful news’/items
Of course, not being in government Labour will not be on the end of attacks from interested parties anywhere near so much as a party of government like the Conservatives. That said, during the party conference season the BBC should seek to be careful not to be seen as attacking one party far more than another.

There were no such unhelpful items for Labour. Indeed quite the reverse, for on the final day of the Labour Party conference James Naughtie introduced an item on Yvette Cooper’s new policing review. Remarkably, he only interviewed Dr Tim Brain – one of those who will be undertaking Labour’s policing review (link). Given this, Naughtie’s first question, “Do you think this is a good idea, first of all?”, was positively bizarre. Of course Dr Brain was going to reply, “It’s a very good idea.” No opposing voice was heard from.

In contrast, on the final day of the Tory Party conference, Sarah Montague’s introduction to ‘Yesterday in Parliament’ read “A Labour peer and economist has blamed the dire state of the economy on what he called the government’s own stupid policies. Lord Peston was speaking in the Lords as peers debated how to get Britain growing” and a YouGov poll was quoted suggesting that 42% of people would never vote for the party. The day before – the day of Danny Shaw’s ‘Do the Tories hate the police?’ report – focused on an open letter calling for the government’s new Health Bill to be scrapped from “400 public health experts” (people BBC health reporter Adam Brimelow called “senior”, “serious”, “pedigree”, “international renowned”, “respected” and “people who can’t simply be dismissed”). One of them was invited on to attack the government (link). He was put against the government’s studiously impartial health reviewer, who was deeply unwilling to come off the fence due to his role as a non-partisan figure. Why wasn’t a Conservative health minister asked about the issue? There were doubtless a few at the party conference.

On that same day, BBC Europe correspondent Chris Morris gave a couple of Tory ministers (Hague and Osborne) a telling off that better suited a Labour spokesman. Anticipating an EU foreign ministers’ meeting to discuss the Euro crisis, the ‘impartial’ reporter brought up the anti-euro rhetoric at the Tory party conference and told John Humphrys that some European foreign ministers “won’t appreciate” some of Osborne & Hague’s comments. “I think they need to be a bit careful of their tone frankly”, opined Chris Morris. I think Chris Morris needs to be a bit careful about his!

Surely there’s some evidence of bias here?

Other things that can be said in the programme’s favour
Of course, bias is rarely all-pervasive in so many hours of coverage and, in addition to the comparable gentleness of the interviews with the party leaders (even edged in favour of David Cameron), I can find nothing much wrong with (a) the contributions of Nick Robinson and (b) the paper reviews, which offered plenty of contrasting views of the party conferences from a wide range of papers. Even James Naughtie wasn’t his usual ‘Guardian’-and-‘Independent’-orientated self. I also credit Naughtie with bringing up the Independent/Comres poll showing the Tories one point ahead of Labour and, though repeatedly stressing that the margin of error needed to be borne in mind and that not too much should be made of it, he did also repeatedly suggest that it would ruin Ed Miliband’s breakfast! A rare appearance by political correspondent Robin Brandt (on the Saturday edition before the Labour conference) was also creditable. From what little I’ve heard of Robin Brandt in recent months, it confirm my earlier feeling that he might just be a BBC reporter who values careful, balanced reporting. He’s not on very often though, and only a closer inspection will see whether that’s really the case.

Conclusions
A comparison of the ‘Today’ programme’s coverage of the Labour Party and Conservative Party conferences reveals a significant degree of pro-Labour bias. Though only a few items, such as the Danny Shaw report, screamed ‘bias!’, the cumulative effect of the different moods established by the two respective presenters, the severe skewing of the commentariat towards the Labour Party, the unhelpfulness of the reports towards one party in particular, the presence of other unhelpful items towards that party (in contrast to a helpful one towards the other party), the framing of interviews, and the programme’s initial agenda-setting (always followed through), all adds up to coverage that is much more favourable to one party than to another. I have tried to be as fair as fair can be towards the programme here but there is always the possibility that my own biases are blinding me to flaws in my own study. So, though I think I’m correct in all my judgements, please check the links (to whatever is still accessible on the ‘Today’ website) and see if you think I really am!

Of course, the question ‘Does any of this really matter?’ arises, especially when the Conservative Party itself shows little or no concern about biased BBC reporting. The related question ‘Who cares?’ may also cross your mind. (It crossed mine several times while writing this!) Still, the BBC has an obligation to impartiality and boasts that it is impartial. It it fails on that score, it must be called out.
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ATTACK!

Wearying but predictable to see that the lead story on the BBC NEWS Portal this morning is one undermining the Conservatives. “Conservative Andrew Tyrie questions economic strategy”. That’s the single most important story in the world this morning.  I am sure we can look forward to the BBC bringing more stories of division and conflict during the Conservative Party conference and the only guy that can expect favourable BBC coverage is Nick Boles. I am sure you can work out why.  

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BBC TALKS RUBBISH

Anyone catch this interview between John Humphrys and Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the local government association and leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council? The issue is the Conservative plan to help facilitate weekly bin collections. The SNEERING from Humphrys is quite remarkable. Bias? Yes indeed. Is this a populist approach by Pickles? Yes. Is it desirable? Yes. Why do the BBC go ballistic over something as simple and popular as this?

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The Knives Are Out At The BBC: It’s U.S. Election Time Again

The second-most important election in human history is a mere 445 days away, and the BBC is already focused on informing you how awful the President’s potential opponents are. They’re especially focused on telling you how awful the people are who will vote against Him.

The BBC Narrative picks up right where it left off after the mid-term elections last November: racialism and fear-mongering about Christian Evangelicals.

The first sentence of Jane O’Brien’s report on the poll features her calling the winner, Michelle Bachmann, “the latest darling of the Tea Party”. I’m still waiting for a defender of the indefensible to show me an example of any Beeboid referring to a Labour or Democrat figure as anyone’s “darling”. It’s a pejorative, plain and simple, yet seems to be firmly established in the BBC style guide and is used time and again in this fashion with apparently full approval by the BBC’s editorial policy. And this is what’s used to start a BBC report allegedly intending to impartially inform you about a story.

Bachmann, O’Brien informs us, “narrowly” won the poll. How narrow? We aren’t told. Who came in second? We aren’t told. The next potential opponent of the President O’Brien mentions wasn’t even in the poll: Rick Perry. The only other name mentioned is Mitt Romney, who also didn’t even take part in the Iowa poll. Already the actual agenda is revealed here. This isn’t a report about the Iowa poll at all, or what the results mean: it’s about casting a harsh light on threats to The Obamessiah.

The BBC actually did a whole separate report on Perry already, so what’s the point of bringing him into what’s supposed to be a report about the Iowa scene? Iowa wasn’t the point at all, of course. It’s just an excuse for a BBC editor to tell his correspondent to do a quick report on who might be the potential threat to the President. Which they’re already doing elsewhere, as we’ll see in a moment. In other words, this was a complete waste of time, unless one has a specific agenda.

In fact, Michelle Bachmann won by a mere 152 votes. Congressman Ron Paul came in a close second. Tim Pawlenty came in third, and then dropped out of the race altogether. He never had much of a chance anyway. The three candidates pictured in this HuffingtonPost article aren’t even mentioned by the BBC at all. The actual results, out of a possible 16,892 votes:

1. Rep. Michelle Bachmann: 4,823 (29%)

2. Rep. Ron Paul: 4,671 (28%)

3. Tim Pawlenty: 2,293 (14%)

4. Rick Santorum: 1,657 (1o%)

5. Herman Cain: 1,456 (9%)

6. Write-in votes for Rick Perry, who wasn’t even a candidate yet: 781

7. Write-in votes for Mitt Romney, who skipped Iowa entirely: 567

8. Newt Gingrich: 385

9. Write-in votes for John Hunstman, Jr. who also skipped Iowa: 69

10. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter: 35

Notice who came in 5th, and remember it for later.

So Rep. Paul came in a very close second, barely off the margin of error, and not a single word about him from the BBC. Why? Quite simply because they’ve already written him off. Remember, the Beeboids believe that their mission isn’t really to inform you but to interpret stories for you, so you know what to think about them. You don’t need to know what actually happened at all. Paul has a devoted following. His advocates are very dedicated, hardcore, and like all extremely motivated groups are able to put a good number of bodies on the ground for things like this. That doesn’t mean his result here will translate into equal results on a national scale, but it’s worth telling you that. Imagine if he does rather better for a while than the BBC expects. He’ll be up there as a top contender, and you’ll all be going: “Who the hell is that? I thought Rick Perry came in second in Iowa or something?” Just like, for so many at the BBC, the Tea Party movement “came out of nowhere” (© Emily Maitlis during mid-term election coverage for BBC News on Nov. 2, 2010).

This is the inherent danger of trying to create, as the departed Matt Frei put it, “a rapport” with an entire country, rather than just straight-up reporting. The BBC should have just done a simple news brief on the actual results, with a couple paragraphs about the whos and whys of the top three or five. Job done, public informed, context provided for the larger picture, then move on to the big fish.

As others have already pointed out on the latest Open Thread, the first thing on Jonny Dymond’s agenda (after scoring some drugs, that is) is to tell you that the Iowa Straw Poll attendees are mostly white. Apparently he’s the new North America correspondent to replace Kevin “Teabaggers” Connolly, who has taken his own bias to the Middle East.

The reason to point out their skin color, of course, is simple: to create the impression that, whatever these voters want, it’s not “representative”, as Dymond makes sure to point out, of the rest of the country. Also, ultimately there is a racist subtext here, as we must always remember that racism is of course a primary motivating factor in opponents of the President. But, you may well ask, why didn’t Dymond or any other Beeboid cry “racism” about Herman Cain’s fifth place showing? Well, they don’t like him because he stated in the last debate that he didn’t want Shariah Law to become part of US law, and previously said that he’d want to know if any potential Muslim cabinet member of his supported jihad. You see, the BBC is capable occasionally of seeing past skin color when it suits them. But, as we saw over and over again in the BBC’s reporting on the 2008 Presidential election (the most important election in human history, from the way they covered it), and in their early reporting on the Tea Party movement, when it comes to a black man who holds the approved thoughts, any opponents have racism as at least a partial motivation. Like when Dymond describes the crowd as “white” in the same sentence he says they “really, really want to get rid” of the President. There is no escaping what he’s done here. Racism is clearly a card for them to play at the appropriate time, and their opinion on the matter is based on emotion and not facts.

Although, sometimes the BBC approves of and understands people who vote for their own ethnic group.

As for the demonization of the candidates themselves, note how Dymond and his editor frame their statements. Do the Beeboids ever use the term “red meat” when reporting on Labour or Democrat events? Dymond gets in an early scary code word: “revivalist” as a sort of subliminal set-up for the Narrative. It’s interesting that twice we hear the word “freedom” from the unnamed speaker celebrating Bachmann’s victory, yet the Narrative you’re given from Dymond and the rest of the Beeboids covering this is that religion is the key.

The problem is that the three vox pops featured have nothing to do with race or religion, but talk instead about economic concerns. It’s very clever how the BBC plays this. They give you the vox pops, the actual opinions of the voters, so they can claim impartiality in that they’ve provided the balance of opposing views. But Dymond and his editor bookend these statements with his racialist qualifier and then afterward by saying that Bachmann is popular because she’s a “social conservative”. Did anyone hear that given as a reason in the vox pops? No. It’s almost as if the BBC is telling you not to listen to them. The Beeboids sure as hell don’t, so why should you, eh?

Naturally, the bit of Bachmann’s speech they let you hear is the religious stuff. This is the BBC Narrative in action, making you forget all about the actual statements of the voters. Then he skips the rest of Iowa to talk about the same thing O’Brien did: someone they see as the real potential threat to their beloved Obamessiah, Rick Perry. In case there’s any doubt about the agenda here, the title of Dymond’s piece is about how the Republicans “lash Obama”. Do you need to know what happened? What the voters really want? What the candidates are really about? No. All you need to know is that they’re white, Christian, and are attacking the President. All this silly economics stuff the country has been talking about is by the by. Social Conservatism is the real issue here for the BBC. I guess that means Justin Webb’s book about its “strange death” was a load of BS? Nah, it was that kind of brilliant insight which got him the Today seat.

In case there are any lingering doubts about the BBC’s agenda here, and what they want you to think is the real problem, just read the first words at the top of their piece on Rick Perry:

Perry led 30,000 worshipers at a prayer rally

Yes, of course the excuse here is that the video clip is of Perry at a prayer rally. What about his actual track record as Governor of Texas? Did he turn the state into an Evangelical theocracy or what?

To his supporters, he’s the man who fixed Texas and can answer the country’s economic prayers. Could Rick Perry, who has announced his intention to enter the presidential race, overcome his doubters and end up in the White House?

Oops, the focus is on the economy here. Must switch gears.

The Texas governor ticks many of the boxes on the party’s wishlist. He’s a socially conservative Christian with a record of cutting spending, who can boast that he restored to health the finances of the second largest state in the US, without raising taxes.

There, that’s better. But hey, what’s that about solving the state’s economic problems without raising taxes? The BBC never mentioned this during the whole debt ceiling agreement saga. Curious.

Mr Perry also shares one important quality with his other main Republican rival, Michele Bachmann, who topped a straw poll in the crucial state of Iowa at the weekend. They can both fire up an audience, as he demonstrated a week ago at a prayer rally in Houston which left some of the 30,000 worshippers in tears.

Prayer. And, horrifyingly, he left people in tears over whatever Christian stuff he was talking about. See, it was okay when The Obamessiah went to church. It was okay when He spoke with black church leaders. Did anyone ever see such an emphasis on His Christianity? No. In fact, it had to be played down a bit because of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright problem.

Here’s the thing. I’m not saying that the religion and social conservative thing is a non-issue in the US, or trying to make you think that it’s not at all important to non-Leftoid voters or anything of the sort. What I’m saying is that it’s not the most important issue at all, and that over and over again we hear from the public that the economy is the number one concern which dwarfs all other issues, while the BBC continues to frame things as being the other way round.

Getting back to the piece on Perry, though, it’s amusing to see the BBC suddenly remember that someone was fixing economic problems with the kind of small-government attitude the BBC was denigrating so recently. The problem for the BBC here, though, is that Perry might start looking too good to the reader, so they make sure to bring out the big guns: he’s only “Bush on steroids”. This is enough to strike fear into the heart of any Beeboid, and they expect in your hearts as well. Actually, Bush was barely a small-government kind of President. He let Congress ramp up all kinds of debt under his watch, and was too powerless to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Frank/Dodd to blow up the mortgage bubble which led to all our current woes. But that’s not what the BBC wants you to remember. Just remember how much you hated Bush for being a Christian and a social conservative.

When it comes to Michelle Bachmann, the Beeboids are confused about what to do with her. They’ve already admitted that they can’t play her as a buffoon like they do with Sarah Palin. But they’re clearly scared of her, and it makes their reporting look a little silly at times. Rajesh Mirchandani (how many Beeboids are covering the US scene these days?) opens his report by speaking of her “fiery rhetoric”. And what bit of this rhetoric does the BBC provide for you in the video?

“Barack Obama will be a one-term President!”

Oooh, scary. This is only “fiery rhetoric” if one is a die-hard supporter of the President whom she’s trying to unseat. Surely with all the footage available of her the BBC could have found something a little stronger. That would mean, though, that they think this isn’t strong enough. Clearly they do, and went with it, which is a bit silly.

But hey, at least he only called her a “favorite” of the Tea Party movement and not a “darling”. Then Mirchandani is off to talk about Perry again. Redundancy ‘R’ Us at the BBC. That’s now three Beeboids making the exact same report but with slightly different words. The only thing different is the aegis under which each report is made. The results, though, seem to be exactly the same.

No discussion of the BBC’s coverage of the US (read: coverage of anything which might affect the President) is complete without the BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell. Just back from his hols, Mardell gives us an idea of the impression he’s gotten of the public mood.

The Republican race has moved a little closer to the finishing line while I’ve been taking a few days’ break on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Bad timing, but it reinforced some of my views about next year’s election. More on that in a moment.

Um, has anything not reinforced his views on the US? Ever? Mardell says this about Bachmann and Perry:

They are tailoring their message to the times.

Are they, now?

But for all the Tea Party movement’s insistence that it is about fiscal responsibility and economic conservatism, these two candidates are both evangelical Christians, with a strong line on social conservatism. Perry signed a law that makes a woman about to have an abortion look at an image of her foetus. The stand out question to Bachmann in last week’s debate was whether she still believed, for religious reasons, that a woman should be “submissive” to her husband, and how that would touch the authority of the commander in chief.

Bingo! That’s all three elements on my score card: Evangelical Christian, social conservatism, and abortion. Narrative? What Narrative? What about the economy? Jobs? Small government? Nope, not interested. Scare-mongering against Christians is what works best. Wake me up when a Beeboid takes a similar tone about a Muslim candidate in Britain. But see, Mardell knows all too well what he’s doing, and has a handy riposte:

The right has attacked the media for focusing on such questions. But it is the media’s job to look at weakness, and it may be that social conservatism is not the priority of most Americans right now.

Yes, it may be. But that’s not stopping him as he simply doesn’t care. His opinions have been reinforced, remember. Mardell gives a brief description – in class war terms, naturally – of the area in which he vacationed, and then says this:

We didn’t meet anyone who was following the Republican race. But we did meet plenty of bewilderment at DC politicians and the state of the economy.

Well, thank goodness he didn’t run into any nasty old Republicans to ruin his vacation. And notice how he cleverly makes the problem into a bi-partisan one, shifting blame as always away from the President.

There was a couple running a bar who still seemed slightly surprised they were having their best three business years ever, but worried about what would happen next. There was the woman in the state park depressed and ashamed about the state of America, its education system, and the difficultly of setting up a business.

Whose fault are these oppressive regulations and taxes on small businesses, Mark? It sure ain’t the Republicans, who have been calling for less and less of it. But he still tries to play it as just a generic Washington problem.

There were late night drinks on the balcony of a motel with a Democrat who still had faith in Obama, but shook his head over the state of the economy.

They do seek out their own kind, don’t they? I’m sure Mardell doesn’t even realize what this says about him.

There is huge uncertainty in this country. Wise candidates will focus on that, as well as the more concrete issue of jobs.

Then why the constant focus on Evangelical Christians and social conservatism? Oh, that’s right, since the BBC audience can’t vote in US elections, the real agenda is to demonize the lot of them, and the voters along with them, so you know whom to hate and why when we don’t vote for The Obamessiah.

The stage is now set for future BBC reporting on the 2012 election. All these reports, all these Beeboids working on your dime, one clear Narrative.

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ATTACK!

Anyone catch this verbal assault on Francis Maude this morning? I note that Evan Davies picks up where he left off the other day insisting that it is wrong to say that public sector pension are “unaffordable”. Basically Davies acts as a sounding board for Mark Serwotka and I believe this is a classic beating up of a Conservative. Give it a listen and let me know what you think?

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UK UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS, BBC UNHAPPY

I’m posting this on behalf of “The Aged P”…with thanks to him for nailing this one.

“Probably much consumption of valium at the Beeb this morning as the ONS reported a 36,000 drop in unemployment, the second consecutive quarterly fall. There are now 29.24 million in work against the May 2008 peak of 29.56 million, just before the Blair/Brown regime’s chickens came home to roost (sorry, Mr Balls, before the global banking crisis engineered by those furtive foreigners undermined the Styrofoam foundations of the Brown boom)

Moreover, though earlier today the BBC website told us that youth unemployment was expected to reach one million and had obviously lined up a complete rugby union squad of sorrowful teenagers ready to pin the tail onto the heartless coalition donkey, the latest figures show it flatlining at 935,000.
Imagine the gritting of those BBC molars as they had to include this quote;

“Some observers said the rise in employment was a sign the economic recovery was strengthening. “The strong growth in full-time jobs is especially encouraging, as this is one of the key indicators of a sustainable recovery,” said Ian Brinkley at the Work Foundation.”

That sound? David Dimbleby ripping up predictable Question Time favourite “Tories and their fat cat banking buddies love to grind the unemployed into the dirt” Don’t worry, David, there will be plenty of poverty stricken pizza and beer guzzling students and whingeing public sector workers in the “randomly selected” audience to pour out their sob stories.
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