Katty Kay Answers Your Questions With Pure Partisan Bias

The BBC’s highest-profile talent in the US, Katty Kay, held an audience Q&A session on Twitter this morning. Once the BBC publishes the transcript on their website, I’ll update this post with a link. She didn’t say anything that would get her in trouble like last time, but she did answer at least one question with pure, unadulterated, partisan bias:

This is one of Katty’s pet issues. She’s on record already advocating for it. Her reply:

And there you have it. The President’s  policies are correct, and the only thing preventing Him from saving us is Republican intransigence. Notice also Katty’s  belief that taxes and government spending will be at least part of the solution. This is pure Left-wing ideology, and the anchor of a BBC News broadcast produced in the US and aimed directly at the US audience is espousing it without  reservation or qualification. Whether or not you or I agree with her politics is irrelevant. The fact is that she is biased and displays it here. Here’s another one on essentially the same issue:

Katty’s reply:

Is she correct? The Wall Street Journal said no in 2009.

Yesterday’s September labor market report was lousy by any measure, with 263,000 lost jobs and the jobless rate climbing to 9.8%. But for one group of Americans it was especially awful: the least skilled, especially young workers. Washington will deny the reality, and the media won’t make the connection, but one reason for these job losses is the rising minimum wage.

Earlier this year, economist David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, wrote on these pages that the 70-cent-an-hour increase in the minimum wage would cost some 300,000 jobs. Sure enough, the mandated increase to $7.25 took effect in July, and right on cue the August and September jobless numbers confirm the rapid disappearance of jobs for teenagers.

But wait, there’s more:

As the minimum wage has risen, the gap between the overall unemployment rate and the teen rate has widened, as it did again last month. (See nearby chart.) The current Congress has spent billions of dollars—including $1.5 billion in the stimulus bill—on summer youth employment programs and job training. Yet the jobless numbers suggest that the minimum wage destroyed far more jobs than the government programs helped to create.

Congress and the Obama Administration simply ignore the economic consensus that has long linked higher minimum wages with higher unemployment.

Katty Kay is an opponent of the consensus.

We can debate this issue of the effects of minimum wage laws until the cows come home, but the point here is that she stated this uncategorically as fact. The WSJ, on the other hand has a different opinion. If the WSJ is nominally right of center, then the opposite position must be on the Left. Katty Kay’s ideology is Left-wing. Her tweets (see her listing on the “In Their Own Tweets” page) and pundit appearances on MSNBC reveal her personal Left-wing ideology, and the same bias in on display when she acts in her official capacity as a BBC journalist. There is no question here about personal ideology directly affecting and being evident in her BBC journalism. This is just the latest example. Many more can be seen here, here, here, here, here, and here. And that just for starters.

Fixing the management structure and adding layers of accountability on internal spending will not fix this problem.

We Must Obey The Obamessiah, Rather Than Human Beings

The President of the US will give His latest State of the Union address this evening, and the BBC has published the press release with key talking points.

Obama State of the Union speech to act on income inequality

Sound promising, no? Just by His words, He can move mountains. What they mean is that the President will announce one of His latest executive orders to help the poorest and most vulnerable and strike a blow against what Katty Kay has described as a social injustice which causes economic problems. There can’t be any doubt that she’s writing her from her personal beliefs. But is that really what He will be doing?

The White House said Mr Obama would unveil an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 (£6.10) an hour for new federal contract workers.

Oh. So He’s just spending more money that we don’t have, increasing our debt, as an ideological gesture. Not really doing anything to help the working poor in my neighborhood, then. The BBC wants to make sure you get the desired impression, though, so they add key details about who those public sector workers will be:

To sidestep lawmakers, Mr Obama will issue an executive order raising the hourly rate of federal workers with new contracts, such as janitors and construction workers. However, that measure is only expected to benefit a few hundred thousand employees.

Yeah, it’s only going to add a few hundred million dollars to the debt, but at least you know it’s going to noble blue-collar jobs. Now, what’s this about sidestepping lawmakers, you ask? After almost five years of this, we should all know the BBC’s Narrative by heart:

Just over a year after his re-election, Mr Obama must contend with determined opposition from the Republican Party, which controls the House of Representatives and has the numbers in the Senate to block his agenda.

Time is running short before Washington DC turns its attention to the 2016 race to elect his successor, threatening to render him irrelevant even with three years remaining in office.

In the face of a divided Congress, Mr Obama has pledged to use executive action to bypass Congress, and the White House says he will flesh out some of his plans in the State of the Union speech.

As always, the problem is an intransigent Congress, blocking His every move. Screw the separation of powers. Never mind that during the two years where He had super-majorities in both houses of Congress we got the disaster of ObamaCare and a failed Stimulus. It’s His Plans For Us that must be passed, regardless. As the BBC’s friends in the US Left-wing media and the Administration have been saying, the President has been acting too much like a Prime Minister and not seizing power like He should.

“The problem for us is that the test of our success became what we passed in Congress, and even in the best case — if the fever had broken and the clouds had parted — we still would have only gotten maybe 40 percent of what we wanted,” one senior White House official told the Post.

“The political discussion, the press, the politicians want to pull the president into the role of prime minister,” added the official, whom the Post did not name. “So you have to swerve really hard to the executive powers at a time like this.”

According to the report, an internal review of Obama’s failures last year — from Obamacare to sequestration to Iran to the 16-day government shutdown that cost American taxpayers $1.4 billion — led the White House to conclude that the president “too often governed more like a prime minister than a president.

“In a parliamentary system, a prime minister is elected by lawmakers and thus beholden to them in ways a president is not,” the report noted.

Obama will kick off his new agenda in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Funny how the BBC decided not to include that bit of information. And they certainly won’t be reminding you that the Junior Senator from Illinois criticized President Bush for doing this.

No. The thing is, the BBC is all for it because they support the President’s policies and report as if His Plans are correct and all opposition is wrong. What the BBC is doing here is more than reporting and analysis: they’re presenting this as if the President’s way is correct and Congress is wrong for not cooperating.

The worst part is Katty Kay’s inset “Analysis”:

Washington can be a cold, cruel city, as anyone who is living here this freezing January is well aware. And as he heads into his sixth State of the Union address, no-one is feeling the chill more than Barack Obama.

In last year’s address to the nation, Obama promised action on three important issues: immigration, guns and the environment. As of today, there has been no legislation on any of those. A gridlocked Congress has thwarted his every attempt to pass laws that would make it possible for undocumented immigrants to stay here legally or increase background checks on gun sales or expand environmental controls.

The president has three years left in the White House, but already everyone here is focused on who replaces him in 2016 and who will win the midterm elections in 2014. With time moving on, chances are slim that he can get anything major done in what remains of his presidency.

No questioning whether or not what He’s doing is entirely legal, no wondering about whether or not the policies He wants are correct, no asking if maybe Congress didn’t pass the legislation He wanted because maybe the majority of the public they’re elected to represent didn’t want it. No, to Katty Kay and the BBC, His Plans are correct, and inaction on them is wrong.

“As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?”

2 Samuel 22:30-32

Katty’s full editorial piece is more or less a pity party for Her beloved Obamessiah. Read the whole thing if you must, but have a sick back ready. While she points out that there have been some relationship problems for the President, none of it is apparently His fault. He has “an aversion to schmoozing”, but all that means is that He’s above the ugliness of political logrolling. It’s not meant as a criticism at all. Aside from an admission that He mishandled the discussion of attacking Syria, even the ObamaCare website disaster is presented as something that affected His political capital, and no mention of the damage the law itself has done and is doing.

Now is the time where a BBC journalist bashes and mischaracterizes Republicans and their policies:

His saving grace is that Republicans are in an even weaker position than he is. The party’s approval ratings are lower than the president’s. They are failing to reach out to women, young people, Hispanics and African Americans – all important voting groups. And on the signature issue of income inequality – something Obama intends to spend a lot of time on this year – Republicans are struggling to come up with any ideas that don’t smack of “let’s just cut taxes.”

This is an editorial remark, Katty’s opinion of her political opponents. Notice that cutting taxes is treated as an anathema. Also notice Katty’s ignorance on young people. They are in fact turning away from Him because of His policy failures. But Katty lives in the bubble, so isn’t aware of it. Now turn back to your hymnal:

This buys the president a little bit of time. He can still use that to get things done over the next six months, which is really all he has before mid-term fever makes legislative action totally impossible.

The smart money in Washington thinks two things could get done this year. First, we could see some form of immigration reform: not a big comprehensive bill, but something smaller. And, Mr Obama may be able to use his Presidential powers to bypass Congress and get something done to raise the minimum wage. That could help narrow the gap between rich and poor.

It is a far cry from the lofty, change-the-world approach of the first term. But six years have beaten the idealism out of Barack Obama. The man who goes to address Congress on Tuesday is more pragmatic. Forget changing the way government works here.

Here’s another way of saying it:

“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Luke 4:24-30

Everyone else is the problem, not Him, not His policies. The policies, as we learn from the personal friend of the White House spokesman, are good and just. So everything He does now will be correct in the eyes of the BBC. Can’t wait to hear the rejoicing in His word from the BBC tonight, and the scorn heaped upon Republican rebuttals.

PS: Post title is from Acts 5:29 with one alteration.

 UPDATE 1/29: The BBC has completely replaced the preliminary article I linked to and discussed at the top of this post with what seems mostly to be Katty Kay’s pronouncements on the speech. Not even News Sniffer has the original, so it’s down the memory hole.

Mark Mardell Lies About Health Care

Mark Mardell, the BBC’s US President editor, has published his first post of the new year, and it’s as awful as we’ve come to expect. Doesn’t anyone read this stuff for him before he published it? (H/T George R in the open thread)

A big year for Obama and the Democrats

First he says that making everyone purchase health insurance is the President’s greatest achievement.

The plan to make all Americans take out health insurance is Mr Obama’s main achievement in office, and it is the biggest change he has made to American society.

Actually, the President’s main achievement has been to divide the country and fan the flames of political and ideological hatred. But Mardell and the BBC have always blamed the Tea Party movement and anyone he can think of on the Right for that, so never mind.

He sets up his explanation with this bit of ideological and class war talking points:

At the end of last year I saw the Obamacare sign-up in action in two very different states, Mississippi and Kentucky.

They are both in the South and both of a conservative disposition. But in Mississippi the Republican governor will have nothing to do with the plan, whereas the Democratic governor in Kentucky has embraced its possibilities.

I hope I will get the chance this year to look at other examples but these trips have left me with the strong feeling the healthcare changes will play very differently in different states – and within social classes.

He went to Mississippi, of course, to hoe his usual race row. Helping poor black people is the legacy of ObamaCare, and anyone who objects to the plan is racist. He doesn’t say it out loud, but that’s been his theme since 2009: those who object to ObamaCare as wealth redistribution are really objecting to redistributing wealth to people not like them. He’s said that over and over again.

Then Mardell explains how ObamaCare is playing out in different States. The Democrats, he says, believe all will be mostly well once the website is fixed.

That may well be true in some places – those states which have chosen to embrace expanding Medicaid, a US healthcare programme for the poor, and run their own exchange websites.

Er, if the State is running its own exchange website, that has nothing to do with the ObamaCare national website being fixed. Hello? Ideology has clearly muddled his thinking here.

Note to Mardell and the BBC: Going on Medicaid IS NOT purchasing health insurance.

Like all intellectually honest people have been saying from the very beginning, the goal of ObamaCare is to pave the way towards Socialist, government-provided health care for all. I’ve only been saying it for more than three years. If a political junkie like Mardell can’t tell the difference between buying health insurance and being a ward of the State, he has no business being a journalist.

And then he blames evil Republicans for the reason why insurance premiums are much higher in the ObamaCare exchanges.

But in Republican states where they do neither (and so people have to rely on the glitchy federal website), it could end up being very expensive for individuals and firms, and have a very low take-up.

This is, of course, a total lie. Okay, a partial lie. Yes, expenses for the insurance companies will go up if they don’t get enough young people and middle class and wealthy people to pay into the system. That’s why some insurance companies are already preparing to line up for a bailout. Actually, a bailout was sneakily written into the damn law in the first place, and a bill has been introduced to stop it. They knew all along that this wouldn’t be sustainable, and wrote themselves some taxpayer cash handouts. Did the BBC ever tell you that?

However – and here’s where the lie comes in – the premiums are higher for people who are paying for it because the whole purpose is to get them to subsidize and cover costs of insurance companies being forced to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions who would otherwise be paying a lot more, as well as being forced to pay for birth control pills and maternity care for everyone, men included. Plus taxes are being stuck on top of it. In short, the premiums will in general be higher anyway, regardless of how many people sign up in a world where the website was launched without a hitch. In fact, premiums are already higher. Insurance companies didn’t start out with high prices and will lower them once more people sign up. They’re higher because that’s what it’s going to cost even if everybody signs up, and they will remain so. What he’s saying simply isn’t true.

Here’s a good explanation from Forbes (not Fox News, not Breitbart, not the Right-wing echo chamber), which was written 10 months before we found out that the website was screwed up. No blame on a glitchy website preventing it from working was possible. The actual premium figures still remain to be seen, but there’s no denying the underlying mess. Well, Mardell is denying it, but he’s wrong, and has to be dishonest in order to do it.

Even when people in the US are trying to defend against this charge, it’s framed as “Why the premiums are lower than expected”, which is clever way to say they’re higher but it’s not as bad as the doomsayers said. Not much of a defense. And this is from California, one of those Democrat States running its own exchange that Mardell claims would work out well. The reason the premiums aren’t as high as expected? Some of the biggest insurance companies are staying out. They know keeping costs down isn’t going to happen, and they’ll be screwed. There’s a whole other cluster@#$% waiting to happen there with limited provider networks and limited options for care, but that’s for another time. In any case, notice that even someone defending against the charge that ObamaCare is making premiums higher isn’t actually showing that they’re lower than they would have been if it didn’t happen.

The system is mathematically unsustainable, and was never intended to be otherwise. Think it’s just me? Think I’m simply echoing red meat falsehoods tossed to me by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh? Think again. Even Mardell’s fellow far-Left Progressives are admitting it.

How Obamacare Actually Paves the Way Toward Single Payer

Last week the liberal documentary-maker Michael Moore prompted indigestion across the progressive wonk community by pronouncing Obamacare “awful.” In a New York Times op-ed, he bemoaned the way the president’s law preserved the health insurance industry rather than replacing it with a Medicare-for-all style single-payer system. The good news, Moore conceded, is that the previously uninsured (and often previously uninsurable) can get finally get coverage. The bad news is that their coverage will often be lousy and pose an enormous financial burden. He ended by calling for activists to lean on state politicians in an effort to beef the law up.

********

And yet I’m still much more sympathetic to Obamacare than Moore. He thinks it’s awful. I consider it a deceptively sneaky way to get the health care system both of us really want.

Mark Mardell is a liar, for purely ideological purposes. He’s made it very clear in the past that he thinks government-provided health care is analogous to the government providing police and fire departments. At the same time he made it obvious that he sees no difference between the government requiring people to buy health insurance and requiring people to buy car insurance. His personal ideology colors his thinking and his reporting, in this case to the point of dishonesty and misleading his readers.

My opinion of ObamaCare is irrelevant here. I’m not demanding that Mardell reflect my opinion instead of the one that ObamaCare is correct. These are facts. It’s not ideology to say that going on Medicaid is not the same thing as buying insurance. It’s not ideology to point out the actual reasons why premiums are high. Mardell is not impartial: he is biased. That’s the whole point of his job as a titled BBC “editor”, and I think it’s wrong.

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.

A Toxic Tale Of….Economic Growth?

Remember back in February of this year, when the US government was facing an across-the-board 5% budget cut, known colloquially as the “sequester”, because nasty old Republicans wouldn’t bow down to the Presidents spending desires? At the time, the BBC’s US President editor couldn’t have been more cross, calling it a “toxic tale of cruel dismemberment and government by crisis”. Oh, how we were fed doom and gloom. The emotive language, the hand-wringing, the tales of woe just kept coming. Remember, titled BBC editors somehow don’t have to be impartial at all times. They give “expert analysis”, which is opinion when its at home. Is it bias when all the opinions come from the Left?

In any case, the President wasn’t getting His way, and it looked as if the nasty white Republicans wanted to prevent Him from saving us all. BBC went into full White House propaganda mode. As I wrote in that post, the BBC also lied about how the sequester came to be. It was such a bad idea, they felt, that it couldn’t possibly have come from the President. Yet, it had. And so the BBC pretended it wasn’t true. Mark Mardell repeated the falsehood:

Many Republicans say the idea for the “sequester” budget cuts was President Obama’s in the first place. The White House rejects that.

Whoever came up with the idea, the 2011 law meant failure to agree would cut both cherished Democratic programmes that helped the poor and defence spending beloved of Republicans.

We know who came up with it, and so did Mardell when he pretended to be unsure. The President did, because He believed it would be a threat so great that the Republicans would cave. Of course, only a fool would think that the Republican leadership, under pressure from Tea Partiers and other fiscal conservatives, would see cutting government spending as something to be avoided at all costs. So Rep. Boehner didn’t blink, and we got the cuts.

Either Mardell or a sub editor gave his post the headline: ‘Sequester budget cuts: America’s grim fairy tale ‘. It was a very dark day for the country, apparently.

And how’s that “cruel dismemberment” working out now? Here’s how:

US economic growth revised upwards to 2.5%

Now that is cruel….to anyone who believed that the sequester was going to destroy the recovery. What was the actual fairy tale, then: the real story of the budget negotiations, or the BBC’s tale of “cruel dismemberment”?

The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.5% in the second quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said in revised figures.

That was more than double the pace recorded in the previous three months, and above estimates of 2.2%.

The rise, helped by an increase in exports, is a further sign that the economy may be getting back on track.

The government had originally estimated that GDP grew at a 1.7% rate in the second quarter.

Others have noticed that maybe the sequester wasn’t the horror show Mardell and the BBC believed it would be. Sure, the usual water-carriers at the WaPo and HuffPo have said it’s been restricting growth, but who here thinks that growth would be rocketing past 5% or something now if there had been no spending cuts? If the sequester was really killing the economy for two quarters, the BBC would be all over it.

And the BBC analysis about how the sequester wasn’t such a catastrophe after all, and that the President was wrong?

What’s funny is that the Beeboids probably see this latest report as a sign that The Obamessiah is saving us, that His Economic Plan For Us is starting to bear fruit, in spite of Republican intransigence and enemies wanting to destroy Him. So bringing the sequester into the picture isn’t going to help that at all, as they sure can’t make a case that we’d be going like gangbusters without it. The BBC links to other articles they’ve run recently trumpeting signs of economic growth and recovery, and no mention of the sequester anywhere. If it was as bad as the BBC’s top experts warned us it was, how can this be?

I think we can safely ignore any BBC expert analysis on the US economy, budget, or politics.

The BBC And The IRS

The Director of the IRS’s tax-exempt enforcement division, Lois Lerner, has been placed on “administrative leave” after her publicly derided appearance in front of Congress the other day. Reality forces the BBC to report on a story they were quietly avoiding until the story got too big to ignore.

Lois Lerner on administrative leave in US tax scandal

There are some glaring omissions here, as well as the usual partisan bias we’ve come to expect from the BBC’s coverage of US issues. Instead of my usual lengthy and tedious essays parsing every little word, I’m going to try something different. This time I’m simply going to rewrite the piece as if I were an editor, taking the bulk of what’s already been written and adding important things I believe they left out, and making a few changes to remove the partisan bias.

Read the BBC article above, and then read my version. Please compare and contrast, and let me know which version better informs you.
(more…)

BBC Omits Most Important Facts About Benghazi And Other Scandals

Last week, the US President had to use a joint press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister to address His domestic troubles regarding the whole Benghazi mess, as well as the growing scandal of political intimidation by the IRS. The BBC helpfully spelled out all the White House talking points while censoring the two most important facts of both stories.

Obama tries to tame political tempests

After briefly outlining the IRS scandal, the BBC says this:

Joseph Grant, who headed the IRS division responsible, announced that he intends to retire next month.

Key detail missing: Grant was promoted to head the division only a couple weeks ago. He was deputy commissioner until then, including while the political intimidation and obstruction was going on. But as far as BBC audiences know, the President has taken decisive action and secured the resignation of a person responsible for the wrongdoing. Why is this an important point? Because the BBC doesn’t want you to know – or simply don’t know themselves, which would be poor journalism – that the person who actually was the head of the tax-exemption division while all this was going on is now in charge of the IRS division which will be enforcing ObamaCare.

Sarah Hall Ingram still has her top job at the IRS, and considering the huge impact ObamaCare is going to have on the country beginning next year, perhaps one of the most important jobs in the country. Her assistant was scapegoated instead, yet the BBC ignores this entirely. As a result, you’re misinformed on two levels. Why is this a big deal? Well, why should we trust someone who oversaw political intimidation and suppression by the IRS to oversee implementation of another policy? The BBC isn’t interested.

After quoting the President’s assurance that He was on the case, the article moves on to Benghazi. Again we get more of the President’s statement, this time the shifting blame to Congress for approving more funding for embassy security, we at least hear a concern raised by Speaker Boehner. Except this isn’t the whole story at all.

What the BBC left out is that the noise about needing more funding for security is irrelevant, a smokescreen. In fact, part of the original fuss was that the State Department had deliberately reduced security there, out of concern for appearances and appeasing local sensitivities about Crusader boots on the ground. Has the BBC forgotten about that? It was brought up during that infamous second presidential debate, when the President took responsibility for it before later passing the buck.

There were State Dept. resignations late last year over their failure to provide adequate security. Nothing whatsoever to do with a lack of funding.

The Benghazi incident appeared likely to tarnish Clinton’s four-year tenure as secretary of state but the report did not fault her specifically and the officials who led the review stopped short of blaming her.

“We did conclude that certain State Department bureau-level senior officials in critical positions of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership and management ability appropriate for senior ranks,” retired Admiral Michael Mullen, one of the leaders of the inquiry, told reporters on Wednesday.

The panel’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said it had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than Clinton’s office.

Yet the BBC leaves all this out and you’re left to focus on the funding issue, which, naturally, shifts blame away from the President and His Administration and makes it into a partisan issue. As usual with the BBC, the President is merely trapped in a world He never made, apparently surrounded by incompetents like a cartoon villain who just can’t get good help these days. If only Congress wasn’t so awful and helped Him fix things, right? Coincidentally, the latest excuse by the IRS is that they weren’t partisan but merely incompetent. But back to the BBC and Benghazi.

The BBC article then goes on to explain what’s probably the biggest aspect of the Benghazi scandal at the moment: the talking points.

The emails show that White House staff requested only minor edits to the so-called talking points about the Benghazi assault, but there were repeated requests from the state department to omit information that might be used to criticise them.

The BBC left out the most important factor of all: there is no mention in any of the versions of the talking points of that stupid video. You know the one: the amateur anti-Mohammed video made by some Egyptian guy living in the US that was initially – dishonestly – blamed for the attack in Benghazi. That’s why everyone is poring over the talking points, not just about how the Administration wanted to suppress information which made their foreign policy look bad.

Here’s the full set of the different versions of the talking points (NB: PDF file). Look for yourselves and see if there’s anything there about the video. The closest anything gets is the original claim that the Benghazi attack was spontaneously inspired by the protests in Cairo, which was only superficially about that video.

I’m sure everyone here remembers that Amb. Susan Rice, Sec. of State Clinton, and the President Himself lied to the public and the victims’ families about the video being the cause. Clinton even assured them at a special gathering that they’d go after the video maker, as if that was all that mattered. No mention of this from the BBC. Their brief mention here is basically the White House version of events, omitting what’s most important.

The BBC then moves on to the third scandal, and possibly the one which actually broke the slavish media defensive wall that has surrounded this President for years, including during His initial candidacy: the Dept. of Justice seizing phone records of journalists at the Associated Press. All this other stuff was generally viewed as mere partisan noise by His enemies, until the gatekeepers themselves got hit.

The BBC gives us the President’s line of defense, that it was a national security issue and of course we shouldn’t spare any effort to keep us all safe. Yet the leak in question was about something that made a statement from the Administration look like a lie, not about classified data that put anyone in harm’s way. No mention of that from the BBC. Oh, and the DoJ also tapped the AP phone line in the press gallery in the House of Representatives, possibly allowing them to gather phone records of conversations with Congressman, which is illegal.

I realize that this was really a BBC summary of the President’s speech, and that they can’t cover everything fully, can’t provide every single detail about each issue. But surely they can mention the most important factors of each, instead of misleading you.

PS: I see the BBC used the photo of the President making a Marine hold an umbrella for Him, as if he was a valet. It’s not the most flattering picture of Him, but there have still been no snarky tweets from Beeboids about how it’s a bad protocol gaffe.

BBC Censorship: The List Just Keeps Growing Edition

Everyone knows by now how the BBC got it wrong on Benghazi. I made a post about how the BBC was censoring news of what really happened on Sept. 13, 2012, two days after the attack. Plenty of people here from then on posted links to stories about it, and we all wondered why the BBC kept ignoring it or simply followed the White House talking points and dismissed those complaining. Now we know why they did this. As Mark Mardell has admitted (h/t DB), he thought it was all just partisan attack nonsense to which he needn’t pay attention.

In the interests of full disclosure I have to say I have not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little.

His very next sentence suggests that he was more convinced by a different spin on the incident, because it came from sources he was more likely to trust.

I remember listening to reports from the BBC and others at the time that did suggest the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a rather puerile anti-Islamic video.

Even though I’m not a journalist, I’ve heard enough from actual Beeboids who used to comment here, as well as from self-proclaimed journalists who’ve made attempts to explain it, not to mention the statements made by Mardell himself and the head of the BBC bureau in the US about how they decide what gets published/broadcast, to know that, no matter how hard everyone tries to be impartial, personal opinion is going to inform decisions on some level, at some point in time. The BBC’s top man in the US has now admitted that his personal opinion of both the sources of the complaints and what he understood of their merits prevented him from taking it seriously. It can’t be much of a stretch to conclude that the BBC in general took the same position. After all, they do tend to follow the lead of their fellow Left-wing journalists in the US.

One has to wonder just how much he knew about the complaints of mistakes regarding embassy security and the cover-up of what the Administration knew and the consequential lies to the victims’ families and the public about it, including lies told by someone at least one Beeboid sees as a global inspiration. Did Mardell simply dismiss it all because it was coming from Republicans, people he’s described on more than one occasion as “enemies” of the President? Not to mention the fact that everyone knew this was going to be a major issue in the campaign to re-elect Him. The BBC doesn’t like to report things which make Him look bad, and are more interested in demonizing opponents than investigating what’s going on. Mardell certainly has form on dismissing any criticism of Him as partisan attacks with little merit.

The day after the attacks, people were posting other news items on the open thread here about what actually happened, and showing what the BBC kept leaving out. It was clear even then that the President and His Administration was not being truthful, pushing the phony story about that video causing it. At the time, Mardell bought it hook, line, and sinker, and even seized on it to take a swipe at Mitt Romney (then the Republican nominee contesting His re-election). The BBC wasn’t interested in reality then, and continued to cover their eyes and ears for months. Defenders of the indefensible love to dismiss things because of the source (Fox News! Fox News!), refusing to even go into the merits of any of it. Yet who’s getting the last laugh now? One has to wonder if Mardell and the BBC similarly dismissed the merits of the stories simply because they didn’t like the source.

The fact that the BBC is only now getting around to admitting all of this and reporting it is revealing of how they prioritize news stories. It was only after the latest round of hearings started and the revelations were spread across the front pages of their preferred news outlets for more than a day that they decided is was newsworthy. The revelations had been out for days before that, and in some cases, weeks and months. Yet the BBC couldn’t be bothered. A simple news aggregator would have kept you better informed, and you could all decide for yourself what had merit and what didn’t. The gatekeepers failed you here.

The BBC has form on censoring deciding stories simply aren’t worth your time, only to be forced by reality to report it much later on, long after everyone here knows all about it. For example:

“Fast & Furious”, where the Administration oversaw guns being sold illegally to people who they knew would sell to Mexican drug cartels, without tracking them, in the hopes of creating a body count on which they could exploit to push for stricter gun laws, and then tried to cover it up.

The President’s mishandling of the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

They censored all kinds of stuff from the Trayvon Martin coverage.

They censored almost all news about the billions sent down the Green Toilet to failed green energy businesses run mostly by Democrat money-bundlers.

They’ve also censored news of all but two gaffes by the President, as it conflicts with the “He’s so suave and cool and far more intelligent than the inarticulate Bush” groupthink. Bush got no such protection, as even the slightest misstep was ridiculed for your benefit.

The BBC even censored a bit out of a speech by the President so it wouldn’t conflict with their Narrative about the budget and one round of debt negotiations.

There’s plenty of other stuff the BBC thought you didn’t need to know. Have a look at this list and judge for yourselves if any of it was newsworthy or not.

The latest major story the BBC has so far kept from you is the admission by the IRS that they’ve been illegally targeting and harassing Tea Party groups and other non-Left organizations. This has apparently been going on for some times, as a top Administration official (at the time) inadvertently mentioned over two years ago that the President’s inner circle had illegal access to tax information of their political opponents. It’s a big deal, but in the interests of keeping this from being yet another of my tediously lengthy posts, I’ll just link to an op-ed from the national newspaper perhaps respected most by the BBC: the Washington Post. Not Fox News, not Breitbart, not Jihadwatch, not Glen Beck. It’s simply not possible for defenders of the indefensible to dismiss this because of the source.

Playing politics with tax records

A BEDROCK principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purpose. The law is blind to political viewpoint, and so are its enforcers, most especially the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Any violation of this principle threatens the trust and the voluntary cooperation of citizens upon which this democracy depends.

So it was appalling to learn Friday that the IRS had improperly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny. It was almost as disturbing that President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew have not personally apologized to the American people and promised a full investigation.

BBC: ZZZZzzzzzzz

With all this in mind, I say again that the BBC has given up being as serious news organization when it comes to US  issues. They may have a titled editor on the scene, and at least 100 employees beavering away at the website and producing those “bespoke” video magazine pieces, but it’s little more than a lightweight content producer these days, with an eye to attracting the MOR and low-information crowd, along with the ad and subscription revenue that comes with their eyeballs. Your license fee hard at work. Sure, most of this is technically paid for by the commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, but there’s plenty of sharing of resources and funding. And after all, this is your official state broadcaster expanding far beyond its original remit.

UPDATE, 5/13: The BBC has now reported it. Because the President spoke out about it, it’s new. He has condemned the actions and promised to deal with it, so all is well.

“I’ve got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it and I will make sure that we find out exactly what happened.”

Like He has with Benghazi, right, BBC?

Kim Ghattas Book Reveals Personal Misgivings About US Power

The BBC’s State Department correspondent, Kim Ghattas, has a new book out about Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. A review of it is in the Murdoch-owned (but not tarnished by it) Wall Street Journal, written by their assistant books editor, Sohrab Ahmari. Ahmari came to the WSJ with a legal background, and has co-edited a book of essays from Middle Eastern dissidents entitled “Arab Spring Dreams”. So, much like Ms. Ghattas, he’s sympathetic to the plight of Arabs living under lousy rulers, although he clearly comes from a different direction than Ghattas.

Nowhere Left to Fly To

Hillary Clinton circled the globe 40 times in four years as secretary of state. But what did all this on-the-go diplomacy accomplish?

Clearly Ahmari comes with a not-very-positive perspective on Clinton’s accomplishments as Sec. of State, and was looking for something in Ghattas’ book. But my concern here is what his review says about Ghattas, and what she says about herself.

The material has world-historical heft, yet the treatment rarely carries weight.

Not a good start.

Ghattas clearly enjoys the access that her job entails and deems no detail of life in the State Department press corps too insignificant to share. There are seemingly endless anecdotes about the “chewy chocolate chip cookies” at the air bases that service the secretary of state’s plane; the chicken-salad dinners aboard the plane; the press packets handed out by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing; the “Bulgari hand fresheners” inside the Saudi king’s tent. Did you know that one time Mrs. Clinton’s plane almost took off without “Arshad Mohammed from Reuters, who had overslept”?

Unfortunately rather shallow, it seems, and more about Ghattas’ job than about Clinton’s. But this comes as no surprise at all to those who have been watching her output for the BBC since 2008. Ghattas never hesitated to gush over Michelle Obama’s dresses or fawn over other superficial things. But that’s not the important bit. It begins here:

Ms. Ghattas adds to this banal reportage her reflections on the meaning and purpose of America’s superpower status.

As a globetrotting, experienced professional journalist, her insights here might be of value, no? Well….

The author, who is of Dutch-Lebanese origin and who grew up in Beirut in the 1980s during Lebanon’s civil war, says that she wrote the book in part to “come to terms with my personal misgivings about American power.”

Personal misgivings?

Her pro-Western family was dismayed when, in 1984, the Reagan administration, having resolved to stop Lebanon’s sectarian bloodletting, withdrew American forces in the wake of Hezbollah’s terror campaign against peacekeepers. Her own political awakening came as a teenager in 1990, when President George H.W. Bush greenlighted Syrian domination of Lebanon in return for Hafez al-Assad’s participation in the first Gulf War against Iraq.

In other words, the BBC chose somebody with a personal grudge against the very country she’s supposed to report on impartially. Just like they keep Jeremy Bowen, who has a personal grudge against Israel, as their Middle East editor, and sent someone full of hope and enthusiasm and the starry-eyed wonder of a small child to become the North America editor – Mark Mardell – to report on their beloved Obamessiah (even the jaded pros at DigitalSpy saw his worship for what it was early on). Or just like how they hired an Obamessiah campaigner to produce digital media material and other reports on the US, based in part on the strength of the video he made about his cross-country trip to get the vote out for Him (Matt Danzico, who continued to run a website for a while to “keep tabs” on the President from a Left-wing perspective, while working for the BBC). Or how they have an extreme Left-wing ideologue as the economics editor for Newsnight. Or, well, you get the idea.

Is Ghattas entitled to her opinion? Of course. Are her concerns about how the US uses its power valid? Irrelevant, even if these are issues genuinely worth examining and debating, because it clearly affects how she approaches her job either way. Is it right to have someone who is wrestling with what is really a personal animosity towards a country as the reporter for that country’s foreign policy activities? No.

Before any defenders of the indefensible get itchy fingers and start telling me I just want somebody who is partisan the other way, and will report only things I want to hear, let me just say that I actually want someone who does not come in with a connection or visceral bias one way or the other. Surely there must be someone the BBC could have brought in that doesn’t have such a deep personal issue like this.

The WSJ review also wonders about Ghattas’ usefulness, but from a different angle.

The lesson of these experiences—that America’s friends pay a steep price when the indispensable nation fails to engage morally—isn’t lost on Ms. Ghattas.

I bet it isn’t. All the  more reason why somebody with such an intimate issue shouldn’t be given the job.

Yet it rarely impels her to question Mrs. Clinton’s lukewarm, often cynical, responses to the plight of dissidents and democrats from Iran to Russia to East Asia.

Yes, Ahmari is not a fan of Hillary, and was hoping for at least some criticism of her performance from a supposedly impartial, highly-experienced professional journalist.

Ms. Ghattas takes it for granted that “the world had become allergic to U.S. leadership by the end of the Bush administration” and that, therefore, Mrs. Clinton’s job was to “restore America’s lost face in the world.” Such assumptions lead her to frame age-old wisdom as the revolutionary innovations of the Obama administration. “In the twenty-first century America could no longer walk into a room and make demands; it had to build connections first,” she writes at one point—as if the notion would have shocked, say, Dean Acheson or Thomas Jefferson.

And there you have it. Ghattas came to the job with negative opinions. So even somebody on Ghattas’ side about how the US had negatively affected her fellow Arabs sees the blind worship of The Obamessiah for what it is.

Yet Ghattas has been the voice the BBC expects you to trust most about US foreign policy. Your license fee hard at work, paying people with personal grudges and emotion-based opinions to tell you what’s going on in the world.

 

 

Mardell Tells A White House Lie

Yes, I say “lie”. Mark Mardell is lying. I say he’s lying and not merely reporting something when he’s misinformed, or making a claim based on false information for which he’s not responsible. I’m saying Mardell is lying because he knows what he’s saying is not true.

The BBC’s US President editor continues pushing the White House talking points about the “Sequester” budget cuts on Today, and here’s a link to the printed version.

Sequester budget cuts: America’s grim fairy tale

It’s more or less the same biased stuff he produced the other day, which I wrote about here. This time, though, instead of avoiding telling you who really came up with the Sequester plan, Mardell just openly lies about it.

Many Republicans say the idea for the “sequester” budget cuts was President Obama’s in the first place. The White House rejects that.

Whoever came up with the idea, the 2011 law meant failure to agree would cut both cherished Democratic programmes that helped the poor and defence spending beloved of Republicans.

There’s even a bit of bias in the last line there, which I’ll get to in a moment. First, to expose the lie.

It’s not just Republicans saying it. By phrasing it that way, Mardell leads you to believe that it’s a matter of opinion. In fact, as I showed in my previous post on Mardell’s spin, the White House has admitted that it was the President’s offer. I’ll just reprint the quote from CNBC (not Fox News, not Breitbart) about it, to save defenders of the indefensible the pain of having to read another post of mine:

Woodward documents in his 2012 book The Price of Politics that team Obama first proposed the idea of the sequester. Expanding on his work in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, he noted—as he has before—that both President Obama and his would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew lied on the campaign trail by saying the sequester originated with House Republicans. The White House has now ceded that fact.

“Fact”. Not good enough for you? Forbes says it was His idea. The Washington Post, which Mardell reads regularly, gives His claim Four Pinocchios, and provides evidence to back up the fact that it was His idea. Even Politifact rates the President’s claim that the cuts was Congress’s idea as “mostly false”Politico, which Mardell reads regularly, almost admitted it, but they couldn’t quite bring themselves to hurt Him and so framed it in an amusingly contorted bit of spin that would make Helen Boaden proud:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to give Obama the authority…

Then there’s this bit from a different Washington Post article (not Fox News, not Breitbart):

Last year, the House passed two bills that would have stopped the sequester and replaced some of the spending cuts with others. But the White House said the magnitude of the cuts was unacceptable and would imperil critical government programs.

Anyone who gets their information on US issues from the BBC will be very aware of which Party runs the House. The President could have prevented this, but chose not to. Curiously, Mardell chose not to tell you about it.

If none of this is good enough for you, here’s White House spokesman Jay Carney, personal friend of BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America Katty Kay, saying, “the sequester was one of the ideas yes put forward, yes, by the president’s team.”

In other words, Mardell knows exactly who started this, exactly whose idea the sequestered cuts are, and exactly what he’s doing when he misleads you. Blame must always be shifted from The Obamessiah. Trapped in a world He never made, it’s not His fault, you see.

Almost forgot about the bias in that sentence about which cuts supposedly hurt whom. Consider the pantomime caricatures Mardell uses: the Democrats want to help the poor, while it’s the war machine that’s so beloved by the Republicans. Can you tell where you’re meant to boo and hiss, and where you’re meant to cheer? I guess that makes Mardell the pantomime dame, although that’s probably an insult to the integrity of pantomime dames everywhere.

In case you didn’t come away from all this “journalism” with the idea that the cuts supposedly forced on Him by evil Republicans would be a catastrophe for the country (another White House talking point which is going to turn out not so true) and, by extension, the UK and the world (which is why it gets promoted on Today), the BBC’s US President editor ends with this bit of dramatic prose:

There is seemingly no end to this toxic tale of cruel dismemberment and government by crisis.

Emotive terms, value judgment, full stop. Notice whom he’s criticizing, and who gets a free pass. This is an editorial, an opinion piece, not journalism. Don’t trust him or the BBC on US issues.This is your license fee hard at work.

PS: I realize most people here don’t really care much about the US or much foreign stuff at all, and are mostly – and quite rightly – concerned with the BBC’s bias on domestic issues. All I can say is that you should be concerned that the BBC spreads poison elsewhere at your expense, and that they’ve clearly gone far beyond their remit of providing public service broadcasting and are actually dedicated to expanding the BBC’s tentacles across the globe purely because they can. The BBC exists now for itself, and not for you. It’s also a relentless drive for more revenue, something else that’s not supposed to be part of the BBC’s reason for existence. The BBC does this stuff in your name, and the BBC bias is everywhere, across the spectrum of broadcasting, all over the world.

BBC Spins For The White House Again

I’m sure by now everyone knows about the looming swinging budget cuts that will happen automatically if no new budget deal is reached between the Republicans and the President. This is known as the “sequester”, and is the result of them kicking the can down the road a while back.

The BBC reports that the President doesn’t want this to happen, thinks it’s a bad idea, and has called on Democrat Governors to try and influence the elected Representatives and/or Senators in their States to cave compromise.

He warned the $85bn (£56bn) cuts would put thousands of teachers out of work and bring economic uncertainty.

The president has called on Congress to pass revenue rises and narrow budget cuts to avoid the automatic reductions.

The Democratic president will travel to Virginia on Tuesday to discuss the cuts’ impact on the defence industry.

“These cuts do not have to happen,” Mr Obama told a bipartisan assembly of governors at the White House on Monday. “Congress can turn them off any time with just a little bit of compromise.”

“Revenue rises”. Typical partisan language there. The Republicans refer to it as “tax rises”, of course, and the BBC uses instead the Left-wing terminology. Is the President offering to compromise as well? Don’t be silly. He doesn’t, and shouldn’t have to. According to Mark Mardell, when Congress is controlled by Democrats who don’t need to negotiate with Republicans to pass His plans, it’s a Golden Age.

Unsurprisingly, there’s another point of view that these cuts won’t really do much damage at all. In fact, spending will actually continue to rise and rise. The “cuts” just mean that the spending will rise slightly less than it would have otherwise. Does that sound familiar? Even Forbes admits this. Equally unsurprising is the fact that, not only does the BBC refuse to acknowledge this, but they even manage to quote a cuddly Republican, Sen. McCain, who says he doesn’t totally blame the President and is hoping for a compromise to protect the defense industry.

The BBC dutifully informs you that both sides of the aisle will try to blame each other. So, whose fault is this, really? The BBC reports it this way:

The budget cuts, known in Washington DC as the sequester, were devised in 2011 as an intentionally painful cudgel to encourage Democrats and Republicans in Congress to strike a deal to reduce the US budget deficit.

Note the passive voice, as if the cuts materialized out of thin air during some bi-partisan discussions. In actual fact, it was the President’s idea. He and the White House have been lying about it, and the BBC plays along like the good little propaganda organ it is.

Even the sainted Bob Woodward says so.

Woodward documents in his 2012 book The Price of Politics that team Obama first proposed the idea of the sequester. Expanding on his work in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, he noted—as he has before—that both President Obama and his would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew lied on the campaign trail by saying the sequester originated with House Republicans. The White House has now ceded that fact.

The BBC doesn’t want you to know this, so they spin for the White House and deliberately mislead you. Defenders of the indefensible cannot impugn Woodward here. After all, not only is the above not from Fox News or Breitbart, but a previous book on the President by Woodward was lauded by the former BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America, Matt Frei. A diehard Obamessiah worshiper himself, Frei’s only concern then was that all the fascinating issues in the book might get in the way of the reader appreciating “the nuance of his finely-tuned brain”.

The cuts probably won’t be a big deal at all, and in fact will be considered a good start in some circles. The possibility of this is so great that Democrats and their lobbyists are worried about what might happen if there is no disaster. That’s in the Washington Post, not Fox News, not Breitbart. So the President has to do as much fear-mongering as possible, and work behind the scenes (i.e. get the Democrat Governors to do political cuts in the manner of Labour councils in Britain) to ensure as bad an outcome as possible. Is the BBC providing any analysis from this angle? Of course not. He can do no wrong. It’s not His fault, you see. And in any case, cutting government spending is a sin.

Your license fee hard at work, providing a propaganda outlet for the leader of a foreign country.

Katty Kay’s Hypocrisy and Dedication to the President

This is too good to pass up. In the open thread, I called attention to a tweet from the anchor of BBC World News America, Katty Kay, where she actually criticized the President for having too many white men in His cabinet.

 

That was yesterday. Today, Katty was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, co-hosted by former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough (who went native after a while, sort of like Nick Robinson, but has been straying off the reservation for some time now) and Leftoid hack Mika Brzezinski. Now that she’s on national television, the highest- profile Beeboid in the US is dutifully defending the President against charges of sexism. Her contribution is right at the start of this video clip, then she rejoins the discussion after about 5:30 in. Notice the anger she displays. (Here’s a link in case the embedded clip doesn’t work for you.) Impartial or what?

Sure, the Morning Joe producers obviously asked Katty to speak up for the President in the debate, just like any producer would be trying to get a guest to take a stance on the issue of the day. That’s why she was brought in: to give an opinion. But what a joke. Yesterday, she was criticizing the President, today she defends Him. And what a defense: Last term, the President had women in high places, so it doesn’t matter if it’s back to an old boys’ network now. Classic.

Katty Kay: hypocrite, partisan hack, your national broadcaster’s representative in the US. Is she in violation of the BBC guidelines? Judge for yourselves (NB: Katty is technically one of those pay-my-corporation “freelancers”):

Public Speaking and Other Public Appearances

15.4.13

It is important that no public speaking commitments or other public appearances are seen to undermine the objectivity or integrity of the BBC or its content, or suggest BBC endorsement of a third party organisation, product, service or campaign.

Although freelance presenters of BBC programmes may gain a proportion of their non-BBC income from off-air public appearances, they must guard against appearances which undermine their on-air role. They should not allow the use of the BBC’s name or brands in connection with advertising for a public appearance. There should be no suggestion of a BBC connection or endorsement of the third party event or organisation, unless it is editorially appropriate and has been approved by the relevant head of department.

News and Current Affairs Staff, Global News and News Staff in the Nations

15.4.15

BBC News and Current affairs staff, BBC correspondents on non-staff contracts and freelances known primarily as presenters or reporters on BBC news and current affairs programmes, must remain impartial when speaking publicly or taking part in similar events, such as a public discussion or debate. They must not promote any political party, campaigning organisation or lobby group. They should not chair conferences which are a promotional exercise for a commercial company, that supports any political parties, or is one-sided on a matter of public policy, political or industrial controversy or any other ‘controversial subject’.

Evil Republicans Want To Harm The Elderly And The Poor

Or so says the BBC’s US President editor (the title “North America editor” bears no resemblance to the job he actually does: at best, his job title should be something like “political editor”, which he was for Newsnight a few years ago) when giving you White House propaganda disguised as analysis.

Fiscal cliff: What would Mrs Lincoln say to John Boehner?

You can already guess where this is going, no?

The Republicans’ rather huffy letter to US President Barack Obama made me think of a glorious moment in Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln.

The letter, signed by House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, among others, says there has been a “status quo” election “in which both you and the Republican majority in the House were re-elected”.

They are claiming that this means the American people expect both the victors of the recent election to “come together on a fair middle ground”.

What a curious concept, eh? The House of Representatives and representational voting actually mean something? LOL.

It is reasonable to assume the White House see things rather more like Mrs Lincoln.

Her moment occurs at a White House reception when the president’s wife holds up a long reception line to give Thaddeus Stephens, a Republican leader in the House of Representatives, an almighty ear-bashing.

I cannot remember the exact words, but the gist of it is: “My husband is loved by the people, known to the people, he’s just been re-elected, and you are nobody – now just back off.”

Yes, just like our defenders of the indefensible implied after the election, l’état, c’est Lui. Votes for anyone but the President are worthless, and anyone who voted for their Representative to Congress should simply ignore the meaning of the term “representative”. In other words, screw you if you did not vote for Him and still think you voted for anything that matters. This is no longer a Constitutional Republic but is now a kingdom. I make no comment on how Mardell’s behavior resembles that of a wife defending her husband.

Mr Obama is betting that most Americans will feel the re-election of the president carries more moral weight than the re-election of the House.

Most, or just the small majority He won? Semantics mavens can parse this to the end of time, but the fact remains that the President won with less votes than in 2008.

He has been on Twitter repeating his demand for tax rises for the rich, opposition to deep cuts in education budgets, and so on.

Everything he has done has been about political positioning, not serious negotiating.

I’m glad Mardell has admitted this. The question is, why doesn’t He have to negotiate? Bill Clinton had to reach across the aisle after winning his second term. Why is this President exempt? What happened to all that desire for bi-partisanship and working together he’s been telling us for the last two years that the country really wants? I know, I know: we should work together so He gets His way. That’s why Mardell views the first two years of The Obamessiah Administration with its Democrat super-majority where they rammed legislation through without a single Republican vote as “a golden age”.

That has further outraged the prickly Republicans, who write of their shock that when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner went to see them he proposed a plan that was in their view “neither balanced nor realistic”.

“Huffy”. “Prickly”. The Republicans earn Mardell’s scorn, but the equally stubborn and angry President doesn’t get labeled. Even though Mardell knows exactly what He’s doing, as he will reveal later on.

So, they have countered by backing a plan – already passed by the House – to cut healthcare for the future elderly and food stamps for the poor.

Oh, no! Hurting grannies and the sainted poor! Is that it, though? Is that really all there is to the evil Republicans’ plans? Mardell seems to think that’s a fair summation. Of course, it’s pure spin and not fair at all, but that’s irrelevant to the foreign bureau of the White House press office.

Here’s some reality. By the way, the President’s Plan For Us also cuts $400 billion in Medicare – “healthcare for the future elderly” – over 10 years, and the President’s refusal to address trimming entitlements of any kind – Social Security, “food stamps for the poor”, etc. – is really just kicking the can down the road. Again. The Republicans plan (an earlier incarnation of which Mardell described as “hardline”) is not so far off from proposals from the Simpson-Bowles Commission, which was ordered by the President Himself. Which He then blew off because He really had no intention of doing anything other than continue to spend. The Republicans’ plan, on the other hand, intends to cut $600 billion from Medicare, but partly by raising the age at which people enroll. Not exactly how Mardell portrays it. Cutting other entitlements will actually amount to linking it to a metric which will keep costs from rising so much. Once again, the BBC defines a freeze or a lower increase as a “cut”. It’s dishonest, partisan language, but that’s the BBC’s US President editor for you.

There’s a lot more to it than simply cutting support for the poorest and most vulnerable Yet that’s all Mardell sees, all he wants you to know.

And never mind the $700+ billion that ObamaCare is going to take from Medicare and Medicaid to pay for all the new bureaucracy, exchanges, new anti-depression programs, and the like. Forbes has analyzed it as having a 15 -1 cuts to new benefits ratio, which shows just how dishonest Mardell is being here. That’s already a done deal, so we can actually say that the President Himself is going to take $1.1 billion and more away from the poorest and most vulnerable, whereas if Romney had won, thus assuming ObamaCare gets repealed (or watered way down), and the Republicans’ budget more or less gets passed, the damage done to the poorest and most vulnerable would be reduced by two thirds. But never mind all that, as you’re meant to think that only nasty Republicans want to harm the poorest and most vulnerable for the ideological reason that the government shouldn’t do anything for anyone (see here and here).

I’m not here to debate which side is right or wrong. I’m illustrating how dishonest and partisan Mardell is being.

 They demand a response and serious negotiation. Mr Obama, a more aggressive president than in his first term, is manoeuvring them where he wants them, by getting under their skin.

This is nothing short of an outright lie. In fact, the President Himself said He would not release a plan until the Republicans did first. Which is rather bizarre considering that they passed a budget in the House twice in the last two years, whereas He’s never gotten one out of the gate (the Stimulus spending spree doesn’t count). Now that they’ve done so, it’s the height of dishonesty to claim that they “demand a response”. They’re only asking for what He promised. Mardell is simply presenting a false representation of the facts. It’s also very curious that the man the BBC expects you to trust most on US issues doesn’t see anything odd in the President refusing to offer a budget when we’ve all know for two years what the Republicans want.

He is claiming the public label of the man who wants tax cuts for everybody, forcing them to champion deep spending cuts. This is not yet about doing a deal – it is about defining how a deal is seen, when it is done.

In other words, the President’s true goal is not to fix the economy but to destroy the Republican Party. And Mardell has no criticism to offer, not even the slightest frown in His direction. All his scorn is reserved for his beloved Obamessiah’s enemies.

Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.

The Simpson-Bowles (C)Omission

Jonny Dymond has a piece out pretending to analyze the recent joint-statement from Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. They’re understandably “gloomy” about Congress’s chances of making any kind of useful deal to avoid the US heading over the fiscal cliff after the ill-begotten debt agreement from last year expires. I say Dymond is pretending to analyze it because what he’s really doing is laying out a few White House talking points.

Fiscal cliff: Simpson and Bowles gloomy on deal chances

Dymond explains that everyone is really worried about what might happen if the intransigent Republicans don’t cooperate. Okay, he doesn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s the main point of his article. The worst problem with this piece is where he mentions that these guys were the head of the President’s Simpson-Bowles Commission in 2010, which came up with a plan (actually more like one with a set of options) to reduce the deficit and avoid having to go to the wall on the debt ceiling, as it were.

It wasn’t a bad plan, plenty of good things in there but, as Dymond says, it was never adopted. Except he doesn’t say why not. If it was so great that everyone is now hanging on their every word, why wasn’t it adopted? All you really learn from the Beeboid is that “disagreement” is bad, m’kay. So long as Congress (read: nasty Republicans, even though the Democrats controlled both houses for two years and the Senate for all four) doesn’t come to some agreement, we know whom to blame. In case anyone misses the point, Dymond closes with a quote from Bowles (Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff):

But from Mr Bowles comes a cold dose of Washington realism, and what seems to be the prime driver of his pessimism.

“There’s been no punishment,” he says, “for intransigence in this town.”

If I had a nickel for every time I saw that word used in this context…..

So why was this plan never passed? Because the President blew them off for purely ideological reasons. Dymond either doesn’t know that, or doesn’t think it’s important enough to mention. This is very curious as it’s the entire reason the two men made the press conference, and the entire reason Dymond was sent to do the report. But because mentioning that would make The Obamessiah look bad, or even remotely responsible for any problem, Dymond doesn’t mention it.

Six Impossible Things

As the US at last gets to vote on the most important election in human history (it must be, to judge from the legion of BBC staff running around over here to cover it), the BBC’s coverage of the whole scene has been making me think of the following from Through the Looking Glass:

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’

The BBC definitely wants you to believe some impossible things when it comes to the President and the current situation in the US. You’ll most likely hear some of these at some point today during the BBC’s wall-to-wall coverage.

(NOW UPDATED TO INCLUDE LINKS, because defenders of the indefensible have decided to be intellectually dishonest today and pretend they’ve never read anything on this blog. I’ll add more later today and this evening when I have more time. Everyone is welcome to post examples in the comments.)

1. Tea Party-led Republican intransigence has blocked His every move for the last two years, but the President has saved the economy, and we’re on the road to recovery.

2. The country is more divided and polarized than it has ever been before due to Tea Party and Right-wing media rhetoric, while at the same time you’re expected to believe that the President did not begin His term in office by sitting down to the negotiating table and telling Republicans, “I won”, and that He has not said or done anything divisive, ever.

3. The Democrat super-majority in Congress – absolute control of both houses – for His first two years which let Him do whatever He liked (except pass a budget, which even the Dems in the Senate weren’t stupid enough to vote for) without bothering to get a single Republican vote, was a Golden Age of Congress getting things done.

4. The only real reason people are voting against the President is racism, or crypto-racism, even though nobody complained when George Bush had a black man and then a black woman as the second-most powerful person in his Administration, and the Tea Party movement was ready to support Herman Cain. All those people who voted for The Obamessiah in 2008 and are not voting for Him today have suddenly reverted to being racist.

5. It’s perfectly natural for Hispanics to vote for their own kind, and want more of their own kind to come to the US. Any laws which impede that are immoral, and the only reason to oppose this kind of racialist thinking is racism.

6. Romney, like George Bush, is a walking gaffe machine, and the President has made only two minor missteps in five years (including the 2008 campaign).

No, thank you. I’m off to vote as soon as I finish my breakfast.