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.

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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.

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“Echo Chambers” – An Alternative To The BBC Feature #2

The first installment with my own mission statement is here. Zurcher’s next topic was inevitable, so here goes. Again, I’m doing this without having read any of it other than the title and the first sentence.

Chris Christie’s Bridge-sized Headache

Somebody has leaked or stolen some emails by the popular and prominent New Jersey Governor detailing and gloating about deliberately blocking traffic on a vital commuter conduit in order to retaliate against a local politician who didn’t endorse Christie in the last election. The deputy chief of staff – whom Christie has now fired – seems to have made no bones about what they were doing, and even expressed pleasure in doing so in emails between her and the the Port Authority official in charge of running the George Washington Bridge, who’s a high school friend of the Governor and was appointed by him. It does have all the appearances of being very cozy.

It’s ugly business, not because it’s a national incident but because it’s a clear case of using government power to harm a political opponent, which is a major issue on its own thanks to the IRS scandal, never mind the negative affect it had on ordinary citizens, apparently simply because most of them voted the wrong way. As this editorial from Investor’s Business Daily says, “What’s infuriating is how this kind of politics is becoming the norm.”

This is a major national story also because Christie has a national profile not only because of his public image as a straight talker and a caring, competent administrator after the devastation of parts of his State from Hurricane Sandy, but because he’s been considered by many in the media and political wonk class to be the front runner for the Republican candidacy for President in 2016. Anything that calls his integrity into question is going to be big. It’s especially going to gain legs regardless of the facts because at the moment he’s the number one obstacle to President-in-waiting Hillary Clinton. So Christie now has the biggest target on his back of anyone in the country.

He’s going to get the vetting that the media never did for the Junior Senator from Illinois in 2008, or even during Obama’s first term as President. It’s no secret that the mainstream media knows they didn’t do their job properly, and that they really did use the power of the press to support him and attack enemies. There’s been a little pushback in the last couple of months, and it was probably always going to be inevitable that they were going to overreact in order to reestablish public trust and prove that they really do want to hold politicians accountable and speak truth to power.

As Paul Bedard points out in the Washington Times:

The Big Three networks, in a frenzy over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s traffic headache dubbed “Bridgegate,” have devoted a whopping 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage to the affair in just the last 24 hours.

By comparison, that’s 17 times the two minutes, eight seconds devoted to President Obama’s IRS scandal in the last six months, according to an analysis by the Media Research Center.

“While routinely burying new stories on the IRS scandal, the media practically fell over themselves to start taking shots at the potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee,” said the conservative media watchdog.

It’s important to keep this background in mind when considering the media coverage now, regardless of the facts as they come out. Opinion on the validity of the IRS scandal can be viewed as a metric. So, naturally there’s noise in both the Left and Right echo chambers. Christie says he didn’t know the truth and was misled by his staff about the whole thing. Naturally, some won’t trust him and are asking “What did he know and when did he know it?”, while others are taking him at his word. While it’s impossible to prove a negative, many are pointing to his known brusk, tough-talking, and at times aggressive behavior as evidence that this attitude was endemic in his administration, and thus he shares blame.

A good example of this comes from the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. Just his blog title says it all:

Chris Christie: ‘I am not a bully’ – LOL

During his 107-minute me-me-mea culpa over the traffic fiasco that plunged his national political fortunes into chaos, Gov. Chris Christie said something that was LOL funny. It came in response to a question from NBC News’s Kelly O’Donnell: “Your critics say this reveals that you are a political bully, that your style is payback,” she asked the New Jersey Republican known for his love of rhetorical fisticuffs and penchant for retribution. “Are you? And does this compromise your ability to serve?

Capehart then cites a couple of instances of Christie making snarky retorts at people asking him challenging questions. Those responses are part of what made independents and people on the Right like him, while it tended to anger those on the Left. To Capehart and those in his echo chamber, it’s proof that Christie is a bully, and proof that he either knew or his style encouraged the corrupt behavior.

At the top of that echo chamber is this editorial from the New York Times:

There are plenty of questions that Mr. Christie and his aides, current and former, need to answer.

First, is it plausible that officials as high up as Ms. Kelly and Mr. Christie’s top appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge, would decide to seek revenge and create this traffic chaos on their own?

Did Mr. Christie know in December, when Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein resigned, that these two members of his inner circle had taken part in the scheme? Did he ever ask them what happened?

Piers Morgan says it’s as big a scandal as Watergate.

The echo chamber from the other side is obviously more willing to give Christie the benefit of the doubt. But they’re certainly not just accepting his side of the story and drawing a line under the incident. Charles Krauthammer is taking a wait-and-see attitude. He even suggests that if Christie’s toughness image comes across after this as “a petty toughness”, he’s “toast”.  That and the IBD sentiment I mentioned above are echoed by Red State’s Eric Erickson (writing for Fox News here):

I’m ambivalent on his run for the presidency . But I don’t see him getting that far for the very reasons underlying this issue — he and his staff operate as divas.I have had congressmen, governors, and the staffers of congressmen and governors tell me horror stories about dealing with Christie’s people.

All of them seem to dread it.

It seems that even if Christie comes out of this with clean(ish) hands, the bully label is going to stick. Of course, nobody in either echo chamber is comparing that to Hillary Clinton’s own horror stories about how she treats people, but it’s only a matter of time if Christie does eventually declare.

So is it going to doom Christie’s presidential hopes? It’s too soon to tell, of course, but there are plenty of guesses out there. Lisa Schiffren in the National Review Online’s “The Corner”, thinks this too shall pass and Christie the (eventual) candidate might even come out of this the better for it. The other echo chamber, here in the form of Jason Linkins of the HuffingtonPost, thinks there’s always the possibility of a “Comeback Kid” story, as the media likes to create these Narratives.

There’s one other facet to this story – particularly the coverage and the opinion-mongering – which goes back to what I said about how opinion of the IRS scandal can be a kind of metric. The same people on the Left who defended the President on that saying he couldn’t possibly have known, and his behavior had no influence on the IRS going after his political enemies, are now certain that Christie’s behavior influenced and led to everything, and of course he probably knew.

Before closing, we must also consider the other, other echo chamber: Twitter.

 

 

It’s too early to know how this will turn out, but the various opinions have been far more revealing of the attitudes and politics of the people making them than about anything in the story itself.

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“Echo Chambers” – An Alternative To The BBC Feature

Last November, the BBC website created the “Echo Chambers” feature, and assigned one of their experienced editors and journalists, Anthony Zurcher to curate it. The mission statement as he originally stated it is this:

Welcome to Echo Chambers, a new blog about opinion and commentary in the United States and around the world.

The purpose of this blog is to discover and present quality opinion journalism wherever it may be – to find value amid the noise. We’ll unearth interesting material and underreported views from the BBC, on the world’s newspaper opinion pages, and in think tank reports, magazines, blog posts and scholarly journals. The venue isn’t important; the content is.

A condensed version of this is permanently in the upper right corner of the Echo Chambers page.

Unscrambling the noise of the global debate, from social media to scholarly journals, Kansas City to Kathmandu.

As has been pointed out many times, I’m not a professional journalist and so cannot understand the arcane arts, but to me, this means that the blog is meant to make some sense of the chatter on both sides of an issue. After all, we’ve been told countless times by journalists and defenders of the indefensible that this blog is just a Right-wing echo chamber, and we often complain that the BBC functions as a Left-wing echo chamber. We all know the drill about Fox News or the Guardian, each often described as an echo chamber for their own side of the political spectrum, and intellectually lazy people who want to stifle debate simply dismiss any point made or evidence offered from either as invalid, simply due to the source, relieving the accuser of the need to address the actual point itself. Media in both the US and UK have become highly politicized, from local newspapers and obscure blogs all the way up to national papers and network and cable news. There’s far more opinion-mongering going on everywhere these days than actual objective newsgathering and reporting. In fact, even the top outlets like the Washington Post and the BBC are moving more and more towards opinion journalism.

One would think it’s a good idea to try and sort through the noise and attempt to distill it down to some semblance of reality, to point out merits or flaws in arguments coming from each side of an issue. The question for the BBC’s Echo Chambers feature, then, is does it meet its remit?

Zurcher’s opening mission statement was that he intends to “find value amid the noise”, and the permanent mission statement is to “unscramble the noise”. In practice, it seems that, with the exception of a weekly list of links about various topics, the installments are  mostly an exercise in Left-wing editorializing. Much of the time, Zurcher is basically presenting stuff from the mainstream Left-wing echo chamber as value in reaction to an issue which seemed to be momentarily gaining traction from the Right. His choices of who writes quality opinion is revealing. One has to give him credit for being one of the more industrious BBC journalists. He sure cranks out a lot of these in a short space of time. A list of links to my analyses of several of his pieces can be found in the comments section of this post about it by Daniel Pycock. Personally, I’m sick to death of opinion journalism, and I think it’s done far more damage to public discourse than help crystalize any ideas. But again, I’m not a professional journalist, so not qualified to judge the priest caste.

With this in mind, I’m going to try a little experiment. For the next five Echo Chambers installments (not including the next simple list of links), rather than do my usual long-winded parsing and complaining, I’m going to attempt an alternative version of what I think it says on the tin. That is to say, I’ll try to actually present a few opinion pieces on whatever topic catches Zurcher’s fancy. I won’t read his piece, just check the title and the opening lines to see what the issue is. I’ll even use his title. Then I’ll curate my own collection of “value”, adding my own brief (I promise) comments so the reader gets the idea of what I think is going on. Each one will include a link to the BBC Echo Chambers piece, and everyone can view them side-by-side and judge for themselves not so much if I’m doing a great job, but whether or not Zurcher is really doing his properly, and just how much of a Left-wing echo chamber he lives in. I may or may not link to the same things he does. Without reading it in advance, I’ll have no idea. If I do, it’s purely coincidental. This whole thing is nothing more than opinion journalism on that level anyway, and anyone who has read two or three of these things will know in which bubble Zurcher lives.

So, below is my first installment. Four more will follow as and when.

*********************

Senator Ted Cruz, still Canadian

One of the most prominent politicians on the Right these days is Ted Cruz, the Republican junior Senator from Texas. He was elected on the strength of Tea Party backing, and in these days of desperation for a fresh face is already being touted as a possible presidential candidate in 2016. Many on the Left see him as a possible threat because he is Hispanic, and identity politics is a very important tool for them. So he’ll most likely get more attention early on than a junior Senator with no experience would otherwise. Sounds familiar, somehow. Cruz is also hated on the Left because of his support for last year’s government shutdown. In other words, there’s a big target on his back.

So it was inevitable that people would start looking for something on Cruz. As it happens, he was born in Canada. His mother was a US citizen at the time of birth, so US law says he’s a citizen at birth, regardless of where he was born, even though his Cuban father was not. Cruz claims he didn’t know because he was told in his youth that he had to make some official affirmation to finalize his Canadian citizenship, and since he never bothered, he forgot all about it. It’s actually automatic, no need for him to do anything. Of course, it’s impossible to prove he’s lying.

The noise first started, really, back in March 2013, after he introduced Sarah Palin as keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). One of her main topics was gun control and the Obama* Administration’s press for more and stricter background checks in the aftermath of the mass murder of children at a school in Newtown, CT. At one point, she made quip about maybe we should have started checking his background first.

You can guess what happened next. Rick Ungar in Forbes saw support for Cruz as “Birther Hypocrisy”.

While Palin’s return to birtherism accomplished the intended laugh from the appreciative crowd, there was someone in the room who was likely not laughing.

That would be Senator Ted Cruz—the man who so glowingly introduced Ms. Palin and a man who clearly views himself as being on a populist track to the White House. He’s not alone in that regard as four percent of the votes registered in the CPAC straw poll were cast in support of Mr. Cruz, the man often referred to as the Republican Barack Obama.

Ironically, there can be little doubt that among those who expressed their support for a Cruz presidency at CPAC were attendees who continue to question the current president’s constitutional right to hold the office.

While there is no legal question about Cruz’s eligibility, it was quickly revealed that he was also a Canadian citizen, which is what happens when one is born there. So there was a call for him to renounce his Canadian citizenship, partially to make a point, and partially because many would consider it a little odd for a President to be a citizen of another country. As Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News explained in August:

What’s a birther to do? After years of haranguing Barack Obama as a non-citizen, what about Ted Cruz, who acknowledges he was born in Canada? He isn’t just a U.S. citizen. He has dual citizenship as both an American and a Canadian. Cruz says he’ll renounce his Canadian citizenship, but it’s not clear whether that’s enough to satisfy the birthers in his party who have long claimed at President Obama was born in Africa and therefore ineligible to be president. Obama was born in Hawaii. But most constitutional scholars agree that even if he had been born in a foreign country, he’s still a natural-born citizen under the terms of the Constitution because he is the child of an American parent.

Slater goes on to say that true Birthers claim – erroneously, of course – that nobody even born in a foreign country can be President. Cruz quickly promised to renounce his Canadian citizenship by the end of the year.

Steven Lubet in the Left-leaning Salon snarkily pointed out that there might be some complications in the process:

Only one of Ted’s parents was a citizen when he was born (his father is a Cuban émigré who did not take U.S. citizenship until 2005), and he therefore falls under a special section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies to “Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent.” Under that provision, Cruz only qualifies for American citizenship if his mother was “physically present” in the United States for 10 years prior to his birth, five of which had to be after she reached the age of 14. The only definitive way to prove Eleanor Cruz’s 10 years of physical presence would be with documents such as leases, school registration, utility bills or tax records.

Of course, we don’t know how rigorous the Canadians are about evidence of citizenship, but we do know that they will not be willing simply to take Ted’s word for it. Their form is very specific about requiring documentary proof, and that might be hard for Ted to come by. Could that be the reason for Cruz’s delayed renunciation? It would be pretty embarrassing to have his Application to Renounce Canadian Citizenship denied on a technicality.

In other words, in order to renounce Canadian citizenship, Cruz first has to go through a laborious record-collecting  process to prove his US citizenship. This was picked up in the Left-wing blogosphere and other outlets, and the Left thought they smelled ironic birther blood.  It’s now the new year, so naturally those who seek to undermine him are going to check up on it. It turns out he hasn’t officially done it yet, hence the noise this week. Why hasn’t he followed up on his promise? It should be a straightforward process. So are the Left-wing birthers on to something? Kelly McPartland from Canada’s National Post seems to think so.

Some immigration experts are wondering why it’s taken Mr. Cruz so long to complete the paperwork for his renunciation. “It’s not complicated at all,” said Stephen Green, an immigration lawyer in Toronto, according to the Associated Press.

Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration attorney, agreed: “Unless there’s a security issue that hasn’t been disclosed, unless there’s a mental health issue that hasn’t been disclosed, there’s no reason for anything other than a lickety-split process to occur.”

Hmmm. Well, something must be holding up the works, which is why Mr. Alexander should seize this opportunity to get involved. Ted Cruz is an American caught in the talons of Canadian citizenship. We need to set him free.

Yes, the Left-wing echo chambers like the Daily Kos are getting excited over this, but I’m having a hard time finding actual opinion pieces on it. Rather than seeing a lot of noise in the echo chambers which must be unscrambled, I’m seeing that almost everyone is pretty much reprinting the same Canadian Press/AP piece over and over, or quoting the relevant bits like McPartland has done. Wayne Slater in the Dallas Morning News is doing the same thing in his opinion piece. Is there anything in the Right-wing echo chamber about this? Not that I can find. I haven’t spent hours searching, and at this point it’s pretty clear that anything will be more speculation or a simple dismissal, repeating what’s already been said.

I suppose one way to look at this is that if the Right is silent, that means they’re afraid of the truth. Alternatively, they could simply feel that it’s already been proven that Cruz meets the definition of a natural born US citizen, especially since nobody is doubting that his mother didn’t live in the US for ten years before he was born, and don’t care about this. In other words, it’s exciting for the Left, who have only speculation to go on, and that’s about it. There’s nothing edifying either way other than the one supposition quoted by the AP. We’ll have to wait and see.

* I’m refraining from my usual formulation of “The Obamessiah” and the quasi-religious capital H in “Him”, etc., because I do that to make fun of the BBC’s reflexive worship and near religious devotion, and it’s not appropriate for what I’m trying to do here.

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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.

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BBC World News America Boss: Fear And Loathe The Tea Party And Republicans

Dick Meyer, executive producer of BBC World News America, has written another heavily biased viewpoint article for the BBC website. This time it’s published under the hilariously ironic rubric, “Echo Chambers”. Meyer’s purpose here is to frighten you in the way parents used to scare children with tales of monsters in the woods and gypsies come to steal them away in the night. His essay is about as rational and respectable as any folk myth.

Reports of Tea Party demise are greatly exaggerated

Who said the Tea Party was dead again? The Left-wing media echo chamber, that’s who. Meyer thinks differently, so perhaps that’s the blurb about this BBC “Echo Chamber” section (upper right corner of the page) is referring to here:

Unscrambling the noise of the global debate, from social media to scholarly journals, Kansas City to Kathmandu.

Unfortunately, Meyer’s diatribe is proof that he and the BBC are still caught squarely in the middle of an echo chamber, with no escape possible.

Meyer’s basing his tale on the results of a few results in the recent elections around the country. Just like his anchor, Katty Kay, Meyer perpetuates the lie that Mike Bloomberg is considered a Republican. Bloomberg is in fact a life-long Democrat who switched parties specifically to ease his run for mayor of New York City. After being certain of re-election, he dropped the “R” and has pretended to be an Independent ever since, all while pushing Left-wing, Nanny State policies. Even this bio piece about him refers to NYC as “Democrat-leaning”, and explains why Bloomberg was elected and re-elected. For Meyer to present the election victory of ex-Marxist De Blasio as some sort of sign of a magic shift to the Left in NYC is a joke. The city is Left-wing by and large, save for the Upper East Side and a few small enclaves in Queens and the like. Rudy Giuliani was an anomaly, elected to clean up the streets and make the city safe again. He stayed in office largely on the strength of his behavior after 9/11. Bloomberg was then elected not because the city had shifted to the Right, but because Bloomberg was thought to be the right guy to fix the city’s economic troubles. The “R” next to his name was a mere convenience, nothing more. Meyer displays either intellectual dishonesty or simple ignorance. My bet is on a combination of both.

The Virginia result is another example of Meyer’s dishonesty. The Democrat victor, Terry McAuliffe, is a well-known Democrat money-man and former Clinton crony. He had huge support from the national Democrat organizations, including a stump appearance from the President Himself. His Republican opponent, on the other hand, got precious little support from the national party, partly because of the internal struggle between the Republican Establishment and the Tea Party movement. The national Republican Party gave plenty of support to Christie, who didn’t really need it, and plenty of support elsewhere. But not for Cuccinelli. Even so, McAuliffe’s victory was a narrow one, about 2.5%. As it happened, a fake Libertarian candidate also ran in Virginia, quietly funded by one of the President’s old money-bundlers. He got more than twice that number of foolish Virginians to vote for him, thus handing McAuliffe the victory.

Meyer is either unaware of this, or thinks it doesn’t matter. Either way, his own personal political bias leads him to misinterpret the result, and misinform you as a consequence. This is the kind of man the BBC puts in charge of an entire daily news program made under the BBC banner. They and he don’t care, though, as they have an agenda to push: Fear and loathing.

Meyer’s casual relationship with the truth is also evident even his mention of the local Alabama race. He describes it with emotive language:

Further south in Alabama, the national business lobby coalesced behind a standard issue Republican running against a fire-breathing Tea Party man in a special House election – and won, reasserting the power of the Regular Republican Party.

“Fire-breathing”. Cute. It was actually so close they had to have a run-off election. And it was more cash from the business lobby – who backed The Obamessiah and are now moving firmly behind Hillary Clinton (where Goldman Sachs goes, so generally does the rest of Wall St. and the banking industry) so not at all a sign of Republican Establishment power – that really gave Bradley Byrne the win. The NY Times describes this as a sign of things to come, a warning that the Tea Party is still a strong force fighting for control of the Republican Party. Meyer understands this, hence this fearmongering article.

Now for the loathing. First, it’s clear that Meyer has no more idea what the recent mixed election results mean than anyone else does. All he knows is that the Tea Party movement is still out there working on elections. But then we come to the point of the piece. Since it’s an article by a BBC producer about the Tea Party movement, you can guess where this is going.

The difference in the black/white vote in all three of the big elections was as stark as can be.

In the exit polls of the Virginia governor’s race, blacks picked the Democrat 90% to 8%; whites voted for the Republican, 56%-36%. In New Jersey, blacks voted for the Democrat 78%-21%; whites for the Republican by the reverse margin, 79%-21%. In the New York mayor’s race, blacks voted for de Blasio (whose wife is black) 96%-3%.

My suspicion is that black voters feel a growing threat or hostility from the Republican Party, or at least from its Tea Party wing.

This would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous and offensive. All of a sudden blacks are trending more Democrat, eh? A “growing threat”? Not even remotely. As nearly everyone here knows, the black voters have backed Democrats for the last several decades. It’s been a monolithic voting bloc for so long that Dem leaders take it for granted. Every time somebody here made a comment that the blacks were voting for skin color in 2008, somebody else points out that previously blacks voted for Al Gore in almost equal numbers. How can this world-class journalist, with decades of experience producing national news broadcasts, get this so horribly, tragically wrong?

Let’s examine just how wrong and dishonest Meyer is being here. Here’s a link to a couple of charts which show that blacks overwhelmingly have voted Democrat for decades. Note that the percentages in many years pretty much matches the new results Meyer claims as proof of a new trend. Here’s another set of data from an academic paper out of Columbia University (NB: pdf file) showing the same very high percentages – the high 80s and low 90s – again disproving Meyer’s claim. Why would African Americans believe that the Tea Party movement is a threat to them? Because partisan fearmongers like Meyer keep telling them so, over and over, in spite of all the evidence before them.

It isn’t at all surprising the racial dimensions of politics have been exacerbated during the administration of America’s first black president. The reverse would be far more surprising.

Especially considering just how much people like Meyer in the mainstream US media kept telling us that we were too racist to elect a black man, and that not voting for Him was proof of racism.

The Tea Party movement from the start has had to defend itself from accusations of racism. They are increasing in volume, however – allegations that can be heard on MSNBC most days.

Yes indeed, because people like Meyer in the mainstream US media and the Left-wing blogosphere kept saying it was a racist movement. That theme has been perpetuated quite happily by the BBC ever since they finally admitted its existence in April 2009 (even then Kevin Connolly insulted hundreds of thousands of participants with a sexual innuendo on air, and it still remains in print on the website).The BBC’s North America editor, Mark Mardell, has been telling that tale over and over ever since he set foot in the country with a preconceived notion. I’ve written at length about this as well, and evidence of Mardell’s vicious and dishonest attacks can be seen here, here, and here, just for starters. Then there’s the evidence of his claim at the BBC College of Journalism that, even though he’s never seen over racism at a Tea Party rally, all opposition to the President’s domestic economic policies is racist. The Tea Partiers aren’t racist, he says, “at least not in a straightforward sense.” It’s not a legitimate policy opposition, he believes, but a racist opposition to redistributing wealth “to people not like them”. Mardell will believe in this crypto-racism to his dying day, that there can be no legitimate opposition to anything the President does. All of it must have some more sinister motivation. His BBC colleagues have pushed this for years as well. In addition to the BBC’s top journalist in the US, correspondents like Jonny Dymond engage in fearmongering as well, with false claims that hate groups are on the rise after the election of the black man, and that the Republican Party is doomed to be the party of old, white males. Meyer clearly agrees.

And certainly the antipathy of a slice of white America to Obama is rabid. But polling, focus groups and anecdotal reporting can’t get at the role of race in the Tea Party ethos very precisely or effectively. It is clear, however, black voters feel it.

Well, the evidence Meyer cites clearly doesn’t back up his assertion at all. Yet he sticks to the Narrative like a child to his security blanket. It’s no wonder that blacks feel a threat when people in charge of national news broadcasts keep telling them to be afraid, very afraid. That’s the power of the media.

Meyer winds up his piece with more blind guesses about what may or may not happen. Naturally we get the “Washington is so toxic these days” Narrative thrown in (mercifully he doesn’t follow other BBC journalists and throw in the obligatory exclusive blame on Republicans), it’s all a mess, we’re in dangerous waters here. In other words, be afraid, very afraid, that the evil, racist Tea Party movement is still out there, waiting to wreak havoc and do harm. In other words, a typical BBC article on the topic.

This isn’t the first time the BBC website has given Meyer a platform for his partisan antics. He’s previously defended the President against critics, dismissing “so-called scandals” that we now know to be very real, and – what a shock – placing blame for the recent government shutdown exclusively on Republicans.

Fortunately, Meyer is no longer in charge of a news broadcast on a major US network, so the damage he can do is fairly minimal. He used to be, and it was during his tenure at CBS that Dan Rather destroyed his own reputation over those fake Bush memos. So there’s form on partisan hackery subverting journalistic integrity. Where was he before taking the reins at BBC WNA? The Left-wing NPR, which cultivates an audience of elite, white liberals. Perhaps not coincidentally, anchor Katty Kay is the regular guest host on NPR’s Diane Rehm show. What was that about echo chambers again? However, Meyer’s BBC World News America is still broadcast every day on a few PBS stations around the country. Worse is the fact that BBC News has been increasing its investment in the US section of the website, hiring more and more staff, producing more and more output, and attracting more and more US eyeballs.

Is this beyond the BBC’s remit? It’s a discussion that needs to be had. Either way, it’s important that people are aware of the hyper-partisan, dishonest journalism at the top.

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

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

Syria crisis raises question of US role in the world

Right away, Mardell spells out his dilemma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, I thought…..

Mardell again:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Six Ways The BBC Gets It Wrong On the President, Congress, and Syria

The title of this post was inspired by BBC Washington correspondent Tom Geoghegan’s new analysis piece for the online Magazine.

Six ways the president will try to convince Congress

Things are so muddled and chaotic these days – from the White House’s confused policies to the BBC’s confused coverage – that it’s hard to say at this point just how much of this is due to BBC bias and how much is due to the absolute mess the President and His minions have presented. So I’ll just go with pointing what Geoghegan and whoever else helped put this together got wrong.  The numbered items are Geoghegan’s.

1. Appeal from the heart

Plain and simple, the appeal to emotion, calling the nation to war because pictures of bombed-out buildings and dead children make us feel bad. But this is supposed to be about convincing Congress, not emotional journalists or the rest of the world. I’m sure the President is not sitting there in meetings passing around pictures of bloody babies coughing up foam to Congressional leaders, going, “Come on, you guys. Think of the children!”. It’s silly to present this as a technique He’s using to persuade Congress. This is for media and public consumption, not Washington insider stuff. But Beeboid emotions have taken over for the moment, it seems, and this is presented as a genuine tactic the President is using to convince Tea Party Republicans.

2. The Oval Office Treatment

Geoghegan suggests that the President’s star power can sway intransigent Republican minds. He wrongly uses two very poor examples to set up his assertion. Speaker Boehner has been open about his skepticism on going after Assad. Even last year, before the 2012 election, he was in the “Not justified at this time” school of thought, siding with Romney and not McCain during the Republican nomination contest. However, Sen. Graham was already in favor of going after Assad even back then. So it’s bogus for Geoghegan to use his support now as evidence of some sort of Damascene conversion due to the personal touch of power.

As for Boehner, only someone completely ignorant of the world of politics and what’s currently going on in Washington can think that somehow the personal star touch got him on side. First of all, consider that Boehner, as Speaker and leader of the Republicans in the House, has a whole lot of other issues to worry about. We’re coming up on yet another budget crisis, a main part of ObamaCare is about to bite us all in the ass, so there’s defunding to discuss, and there are still ongoing investigations into the IRS scandal and Benghazi. Can you say “horse-trading” and “backdoor deals”, boys and girls? I knew you could.

Secondly, Boehner said earlier this year that bombing Syria was “premature”, and that he wouldn’t think about approving war unless there was something like a concrete plan being offered. He sort of drew his own version of a red line there, which we’ve now crossed. Supposedly, the White House has a plan now, or at least a gesture towards one. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see this as a situation where Boehner saw a political opportunity to squeeze a concession on something else from an obviously desperate President, as well as an excuse for him to change his mind on going to war.

Geoghegan addresses none of this (at this point – he at least brings up horse-trading later), and instead presents Boehner and Graham’s support to set up his contention that the President’s personal touch and star power can persuade. Then we get the appeal to authority, citing an academic who says that weaker-minded Congressmen can get all giddy from meeting with a President and come a way with the feeling that “He listened to me”, and having had a personal effect on whatever is going to happen. There’s probably something to this, but powerful figures like Boehner and Graham are not examples of this phenomenon at all. Geoghegan should have found better examples of rank-and-file Congressmen being persuaded just from being given an audience with the President.

That academic authority he sites, by the way, is Larry Sabato, a well-known political analyst who, while often giving reasonable, impartial analysis of political trends and campaigns, tends to be a little over-enthusiastic about The Obamessiah’s magnificence. For example, in 2008, he praised Him for an historically fast setting of His transition team after being elected.

“This is really unprecedented. But it’s an unprecedented situation,” said Larry Sabato, a presidential scholar at the University of Virginia. “Obama is doing what the public and the markets demand be done — and that is to show that the next president is really in charge before he even takes the oath of office.”

How’s that “really in charge” thing going now, Larry? Actually, as the article shows, it was only His minions leaking names, and that was just for a transition team, not the real work the President had to do. And as we know now, the President was historically slow (“too cautious” – does that sound familiar?) in making judicial appointments, not to mention in more important departmental positions. He was ridiculously slow restocking the Cabinet for His second term. I guess it’s not so important to show the President is in charge after being re-elected. And don’t tell met that someone who wrote two books about the awesomeness of His political campaigns and than about how we need to tear up the Constitution and make “fairer” one is anything but Left-wing, and someone who believes this President has more going for Him than reality reflects. In other words, I’m saying that the idea that star power alone will convince a few intransigent Republicans is a bit of stretch and betrays a bit of bias.

3. Let the dogs out

 The vote on Syria will be a free vote and the leadership in both Republican and Democratic parties backs Obama, but there’s still work for the whips.

“The Democrat whips will be whipping for the president,” says Sabato. “The Republican whips will be supplying their leadership with the numbers, because Boehner and Cantor will want more information on who they want to sway.

“They could send certain people [who would vote against a strike] out for coffee during the vote or say, ‘take a walk’.”

That’s not actually a tactic the President will be using, but normal Washington procedure. This is astute political analysis? What Geoghegan left out of what the Democrats will be doing is that their main argument will be that Dems must remain loyal to Him, regardless of their personal feelings about war or questionable intelligence or anything else. When he says “whipping for the president”, he simply means getting them on side. He’s not being honest about what they’ll really be saying. “Let’s go to war for party political reasons and loyalty to a man, not the country” isn’t exactly the rallying cry a BBC journalist can be proud of, so that’s left out.

And we must also remember that the door is still left wide open for the President to act anyway. So why should anyone in Congress take this seriously?

4. Horse trading

Now we get there. This should be combined with #2, and is possibly the biggest tool at His disposal. I’ve already explained why. “Discreet inducements” about easing cuts in military spending or more assurances about action in Syria? Baloney.

5. The president’s on the line

This is a combination of Geoghegan’s #2 and #3. Why stretch this out? Now we get the admission that the appeal is really about Him. “Why emasculate your president?” Shameless, but that’s where we are these days: loyalty to a man is more important than anything else. I don’t remember anything about loyalty to the President in the oath Congressmen have to take when they take their seats. And nobody at the BBC seems to mind, or wonder out loud about how dangerous this is.

I laughed at the inclusion of Sec. Kerry referring to this as a Chamberlain-esque “Munich moment”. Most of us thought that was the President’s Cairo speech back in 2009.

6. Get your lieutenants to present the case

This last one has to be a joke. Geoghegan is clearly writing this after yesterday’s comical hearing with Kerry in front of the Senate committee. He insisted that he defined war as something involving ground troops, and that these piddling little bombing runs the President wanted didn’t count. The President is not asking us to go to war, he claimed. He asked General Dempsey to back him up on this new definition as a fellow soldier who had been to war, and there was audible laughter when the General had the good sense not to. Kerry was clearly not happy, saying, “Right, pull the rug out from under me.” (last 10 seconds of the video)

Like I said above, there’s no assurance that the President will respect a No vote from Congress. Especially since He claims He wants to make a limited strike only, which He has the authority to do without Congressional approval, and has already said as much. Kerry wouldn’t even assure Sen. Paul that this wouldn’t escalate to having boots on the ground at some point. He, Sec. Hagel, and Dempsey were very clear that this resolution didn’t limit US actions to the few missiles the President and his lieutenants insist this will be.

In any case, it’s hardly considered a tactic for the Sec. of State to be called in front of the Senate to explain the case for war. And Mark Mardell was saying last week that it was Kerry the cowboy ramping up the rhetoric which forced the President to call for military action he didn’t really want to take. So it’s all a mess, and nobody at the BBC is getting it straight.

There’s another error here as well. In the inset “What the sceptics say” on the right, half way down the page, the BBC lists this as one objection:

“Threat to the US not clear”

This is completely wrong, and everyone at the BBC knows it. I say they’re lying. There is no threat to the US. That’s what the whole hypocrisy charge is about, something which the BBC has steadfastly refused to address openly and honestly. The Junior Senator from Illinois, and later as Candidate Obamessiah, was very clear in His opposition to the Iraq war because Saddam was not a threat to the US. Now He’s changed His tune to one of being the world’s policeman who enforces humanitarian international law. It’s not that those who oppose the war aren’t clear about what Assad’s threat to the US is: it’s that everyone – including those who support the war, like the President Himself – knows there isn’t any. That’s why His draft resolution (pdf file) seeking Congressional approval is about enforcing international laws about chemical weapons, and includes only vague talking points that Assad is a threat to regional stability and US national security interests. There is no imminent threat, which is what we were told was necessary to go after Sadaam. What the BBC has written here is a lie.

And again, there is no mention that the President decided He didn’t need Congressional approval to do even more against Ghaddafi in Libya than He’s claiming He wants to do now against Assad. The only difference now is there’s more political and public pressure on Him to do it. This is His own fault, not anyone else’s, yet the BBC refuses to call Him on it.

Recall this from His 2008 nomination acceptance speech, and judge for yourselves how much of it is the opposite of what He’s actually accomplished, and how the BBC has presented it to you:

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

His foreign policy is a disaster. He has squandered the legacy so much that the only ally we have at the moment is France. There is no clear mission on Syria, and only loud complaints from all sides forced Him to even act like He might have one. Of course, as Kerry claimed yesterday, no US troops will be put in harm’s way this time, since it’s only a couple of missiles being launched from ships hundreds of miles away, and nothing else will happen. And now He’s asking for military action with no measurable goal, based on what even the BBC has admitted is questionable, secret intelligence.

In 2002, at an early anti-Bush’s war rally in Chicago, State Senator Obamessiah said this:

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

We are now through the looking glass. How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya now, BBC? When are you going to stop shifting blame and spending so much effort to prop up this image of a canny, statesmanlike President? And when are you going to mention His Nobel Prize for Peace in this context?

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Mark Mardell: What’s So Special?

Mark Mardell is having a little freak-out about his beloved Obamessiah’s relentless rush to war (or is it only a rush when Bush does it?), which I’m enjoying immensely. It’s caused him to reveal his ignorance on US politics and scramble to find something that makes sense to him.

UK Syria vote leaves US asking ‘what’s so special?’

That’s Mardell’s concern here: how an intransigent Parliament is hindering the President’s wishes. Forget about the questionable evidence of Assad using chemical weapons, as apparently Susan Rice (who lied to the world about Benghazi, on orders from the President) and John Kerry (who was against intervention before he was for it – or was it the other way round? Depends on who’s President, I think) have presented new evidence about an intercepted phone call from some Syrian officer saying something they did got out of hand. France is all for His Obombing plan, so that will help His cause, according to Mardell.

My guess is that there will be renewed emphasis on the role of the French, the Turks and perhaps others. It will strengthen the hand of those in Congress who argue they should have their own vote.

Yeah, we always look for France’s approval on these things…..

So it’s only an opinion of some Congressmen that they should have a vote on war? I despair of this man’s appalling journalism sometimes, I swear. How many years has he been here now? While the President can order a very limited military strike, any real action requires a vote from Congress. This isn’t some partisan interpretation or something that sprang out of Rush Limbaugh’s fevered imagination. It’s the law. Didn’t we go through this whole charade with Libya? Remember when the President violated the law by doing too much warmongering for too long, after the date passed when Congressional approval was required? Has Mardell forgotten all about that? He sure is aware when Congress has the ability not to grant the President every wish.

Nobody seriously believes that a single round of cruise missiles will be the beginning and end of it. Just like with Libya, military forces will be required to hang around in war-mode for more than 60 days, and any more action than that requires Congressional approval, period. It’s not just politicians’ egos or enemies of the President trying to tear Him down this time, and Mardell would do well to remember that.

Mardell’s expert analysis has been way off on the Syria story. He assured us only last week that the President wasn’t going to rush into anything. What Mardell somehow fails to realize after all these years is that the President is all about Himself and His image, first and foremost. He’s perfectly capable of going to war just to prove a point, to stick a finger in the eye of His detractors. Nobody who’s been seriously paying attention for the last five years would think that this President will just gracefully step back after making such bold statements. The BBC’s US President editor, though, remains convinced that He wants to keep on deliberating and deeply contemplating everything. We saw the same error of judgment in his coverage of Libya.

Also notice how all the discussion is about whether or not the President looks good doing this, and about who’s going to join in. Neither Mardell nor anyone else at the BBC seems to be worried that this might be as illegal as anything George Bush did, even though he had two UN resolutions behind him, while the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate-in-Chief doesn’t need any. He needed only one to engage in regime change in Libya, and I guess even that’s not necessary now. Sure, the President now says He’s not doing regime change this time. But He’s already publicly demanded that Assad step down. Is that a “never mind” now? Mardell doesn’t want you to remember that. In fact, just the other day, he told a little white lie about it, claiming that the President has actually “repeatedly” said that He’s not interested in regime change. Well, maybe He has, but He’s also demanded regime change, so it’s no use pretending that didn’t happen. Can we call it dithering yet?

Since all of His promises seem to have an expiration date, who believes that regime change in Syria isn’t inevitably the goal once the shooting starts? We’re not going to have a repeat of containing Sadaam Hussein for a decade, are we? Who’s Mardell trying to kid here?

Then there’s the whole “poodle” thing.

It may be a different story now that it is clear Britain, so often cast as America’s poodle, won’t take part at all.

So often? How often, really? Back in the heady days of the “rush to war” in Iraq, and the initial invasion of Afghanistan, sure, we heard that a lot. But do people still go around saying that? I don’t recall Britain being called a poodle regarding Libya. And wasn’t it Blair was Bush’s poodle, and not really the way Mardell presents it? What happened to everyone loving this President? Surely nobody would be ashamed to follow Him.

I then laughed out loud when I read this:

It undermines the effort of the president to sell action to his own people, who seem to be deeply unimpressed by his arguments so far (the last opinion poll I saw had just 9% backing intervention).

Only a couple days late on that score, Mark. We all knew about that already. Don’t we always say that if it’s in the WaPo, the Beeboids know about it? Or maybe he just read it on this disgusting website. Skype Emoticons   I hope he’s not going to claim he saw that poll before he wrote that Sec. of State Kerry was “of course right that most people will think as he does” about it being “common sense” that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack, “simply from watching the TV pictures”. Because that would be embarrassing.

Having said that, NBC has done a more recent poll, with more specific and helpful results.

  • Only 26% think we should take military action against Assad in general, aside from the question of chemical weapons
  • 50% are against military action against Assad for using chemical weapons, with 42% approving. Is that a mandate, I wonder?
  • 50% actually approve of a very limited air strikes using cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval ships that were meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks. That’s rather hypothetical, assuming that we know exactly who did it and where, which we of course don’t, and probably won’t even after the UN busybodies get there days after it’s all been cleaned up. But at least it’s a token some can wave around as approval of His Obombing plan. If Mardell gets around to reading the NBC poll, he’ll probably see that as a mandate to act without Congress’s approval.
  • 79% think the President should have Congressional approval before taking military action, and 21% don’t. Argh. Some of us are as dopey as Mardell. But at least the vast majority think Congress is more relevant than he does.

Not coincidentally, more people disapprove of how the President is doing his job, 48% – 44%, and more disapprove of how He’s handling foreign policy, 49% – 41%. Probably all due to crypto-racism, right, Mark? They like going to war, they just don’t like going to war under the direction of a black President.

Worst of all, though, is the continued absence of any mention from the BBC’s top man in the US – an experienced, world-class political analyst – of the President’s Nobel Peace Prize. Sure, dithering over whether to act, drawing a silly red line in the sand, boxing Himself into a corner over going to war, and losing a top ally in the process makes the President look less than the God-like creature so many at the BBC seem to worship. But how ridiculous is it that a Nobel Peace Prize laureate is now talking about starting yet another war against yet another country, this time not even “leading from behind”. This President must have the highest body count of any Nobel laureate, with more to come, yet Mardell doesn’t say a word about it. Hack, failure. I admit it’s refreshing to see him not advocating for one of the President’s policies for a change, but his coverage of this issue is pathetic. Like Justin Webb before him, he’ll probably get promoted for it.

Has anyone at the BBC mentioned His Nobel in this context yet? Anywhere? Has even a favored edgy comedian made a joke about it on the radio?

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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.

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That “Conservative” Supreme Court

In the Monday open thread, I called attention to the BBC’s misrepresentation of the US Supreme Court’s vote to overrule an Appeals Court ruling upholding racial preferences in university admissions. The BBC claimed that the Supreme Court has gotten more conservative since 2003, when the Court originally voted to uphold racial preferences, and on which the present case was based. This was a BBC suggestion as to the cause of the ruling.

I called that assessment into question, not only because the vote was 7-1 (with the very Left-wing Kagan recusing herself, as she supported the case in a previous job), with two liberal Justices joining the majority, but because the Court had in 2003 and still has now a liberal majority, 5-4.

The Justices in 2003:

Chief Justice Rehnquist – conservative
Stevens – liberal
O’Connor – conservative
Scalia – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Souter – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Ginsburg – liberal
Breyer – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today’s Court:

Chief Justice Roberts – conservative
Alito – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Sotomayor – liberal
Ginsburg – liberal
Scalia – conservative
Breyer – liberal
Kagan – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred homosexual couples from having certain benefits and rights that heterosexual couples have. Spot the missing President who originally signed the bill into law. Can you guess which political party he was? Can you guess which leading Presidential candidate for 2016 with a close personal connection to him? Blatant bias by omission there. I do hope they add this relevant bit of information as the story “evolves” (i.e. an editor tells them to stop hiding what they already know). (UPDATE: The story has evolved. The BBC now mentions Clinton, although not his party. But they get points for admitting that it had bi-partisan support in Congress. Mark Mardell would have been pleased with their determination to reach across the aisle to get things done.)

This uncomfortable fact was also censored from the BBC’s Q&A on the issue of homosexual marriage. All you’re told is that the law was “passed by Congress” in 1996. Of course, when The Obamessiah signs a bill into law, it’s all about Him doing it. When it’s a law they don’t like, particularly when it’s one signed by a darling Democrat, there’s no President to be seen.

Also, check out how the Justices voted. Exactly along the labels I gave them above. More conservative still?

What’s funny is that this is now the third major ruling in the last year in which the Supreme Court ruled on the liberal side of an issue. They upheld the key portions of ObamaCare, and struck down the key part of Arizona’s “controversial” law about dealing with illegal immigration. Now with this decision, the Left-wing/Progressive faction has victories in the three biggest issues. Yet the BBC describes the Court as becoming more conservative when it returns a decision to the lower court. Note that no law was struck down or upheld specifically by the racial preferences ruling, but rather rejected a lower court’s decision. The law is still in place, yet the BBC decided to plant the notion that the Court had become more conservative, in spite of the evidence.

Now that there’s yet another Left-wing victory, the BBC is not pointing out the liberal majority on the Court, or even daring to remind you of the political party which originally signed the DoMA into law. Is the Court still trending conservative, BBC?

The BBC should simply shut down the entire US division and replace them all with a shaved orangutan managing a news aggregator. You’d be more and better informed, and tens of millions of pounds would be saved.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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