The clash of political correctness(es)

What do you do when you have a female racial minority employee with a great employment record at the BBC? You sack her, because she sounds ‘posh’.

This highlights the folly of the left’s ardent desire to groupthink (whatever happened to ‘I have a dream‘?). Black people are OK so long as they are left wing, but if they are somehow not proles (or lefties) then the left hates them.

This is racism (what would happen if a black person was sacked for sounding too ‘black’?).

I hope Ms Ahmed sues (not under silly discrimination legislation which would not apply here, presumably because it is OK to discriminate against posh people, but for the breach of an implied term of fair treatment) and makes a packet.

There was a case last year or the year before where the BBC was found liable for discrimination when its Scottish division refused to hire an English person solely on grounds of that person’s Englishness.

The BBC should be abolished.

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No Questions for ANSWER?

Where are those highly-skilled investigative Beebots when there is news? Sleeping it seems. First, this postwar anti-war demo was a mere sliver of pre-war and mid-war moonbat confabs. That should be reported, not spun.

The march was thought to be smaller than the mass demonstrations before and during the war. But the BBC’s Jon Leyne, who was at the Washington rally, said it was probably more in tune with the mood of Americans, who are increasingly concerned at the president’s policy in Iraq. (Emphasis added)

Secondly, the sponsoring organisation, International ANSWER, is Stalinofascist to the core. The Beeb cannot resist the urge to describe a counter demonstration as having been sponsored by “the conservative Washington chapter of Free Republic.” Why is there NO curiosity about International ANSWER? Why no simple description of its left-leaning (nearly horizontal) position? I can only conclude that the BBC will put no questions to ANSWER. How else, then, could it remain in the most favourable light?

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The BBC is obstructing the inquiry

The BBC is obstructing the inquiry (sound familiar?) into the exorbitant cost of the new Scottish Parliament building, which has increased from an estimated 40 million to 400million (est) since its inception. Alan Cochrane gets angry and Iain Murray reflects that the BBC is becoming a law to itself (scroll down) in a post entitled ‘Contempt for Democracy’.

The Beeb meanwhile, or at least in collusion with Kirsty Wark whose ‘private’ company is involved, says that it must protect its contacts because that’s what wins it public respect. Sounds a funny defence to me, because the public knows little (by the Beeb’s own definition) about the BBC’s ‘contacts’, and would probably be disillusioned if it did. Besides, we all know how Gilligan, who still works for the Beeb, cared for Mr Kelly, or we ought to if Mr Hutton gets to tell us. Iain Murray considers the legal position.

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Headlining Tragedy

In one of the threads below PJF comments that CNN is a left of centre broadcaster. That may be true, but it’s never worried me too much because I’ve always felt, having ‘watched’ Kosovo on CNN, that there is some sanity there and a sense of perspective. Subjective I know, but there it is. Today I read of the terrible news of deaths in Baghdad- after a week of relative (yes, relative) peace. The difference between the headline sequence on CNN and BBC is stark.

Here is the BBC approach at 8.40 UK time:

‘Bombs rock central Baghdad’

‘At least 18 people are reported killed as the Red Cross headquarters and other buildings come under attack.’

Here is the CNN at the same time:

‘Explosions rock Baghdad’

‘At least 10 people have been killed and several injured following three explosions in the space of an hour in the Iraqi capital.

The first blast, believed caused by a suicide car bomb, struck early in the morning outside the Red Cross headquarters in the city leaving several vehicles ablaze and huge plumes of smoke rising into the air.’

Can anyone apart from me see hysteria in the one and sanity in the other, even if, as I suspect, the BBC usually gets casualty figures right? Meantime, the BBC runs two articles by two of my ‘favourite’ (yeah, right) journalists, Martin Asser and Jon Leyne. One talks of civil war in Iraq (that is how it is advertised in the link), the other pursues the nuclear no-show situation via Leyne’s Washington Post angle. I think the terrorists would be satisfied with their weekend’s work merely by seeing these twin approaches taken by the BBC, allied to the ‘crisis’ style headlines.

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The Radio 4 Friday 18:30 ‘Comedy’ Slot

The BBC have a ‘Comedy’ slot on a Friday. I would contend it is for left-wing metropolitan ‘comics’ only.

The October 24th edition of ‘The Now Show’ contained its usual blend of both hard and soft left polemics. The show started with a soapbox style rant about the police from armchair SWP member Mitch Benn. This was so unfunny that the audience (composed of BBC staffers and like-minded people) simply did not laugh – this is not surprising though, the script was not meant to be funny, just political.

Could you imagine a speaker from the right of politics being given so much air time on the BBC – I for one cannot.

Mitch Benn then gives way to Punt and Dennis – a pair of what I can only describe as the smuggest Cambridge Lefties you will ever come across outside a sixth-form debating chamber. Week by week, they prod Blair from the left because the government is not left-wing enough for them. Yesterday, they had a long and tedious item about the conservatives.

Fair comment you might say, except that it got me thinking about other shows on this slot.

‘The Now Show’ alternates with ‘The News Quiz’. Two of the regulars on this show are also armchair SWP members – Jeremy Hardy and Linda Smith. Even I admit Linda Smith can be very funny when she leaves politics alone, but the same cannot be said of Jeremy Hardy. Like Mitch Benn, he uses the show to launch furious left-wing rants which strangely never seem to be edited out. No speaker from the right would be allowed as much latitude as Hardy, who is like a bore at an office party who has trapped you between the water cooler and a filing cabinet. A facade of ‘balance’ is achieved by the presence of the Francis Wheen, who I would call an ‘apologetic Tory’.

‘The News Quiz’ also sometimes alternates with ‘The Mark Steel Lecture’, which is a soapbox programme for…an overtly left wing comic. Mark Steel is a darling of the BBC producers, so expect to see him back soon. During one of his last lectures (about a year after the attack on the WTC and Pentagon) he likened Osama Bin Laden to Hanibal, the great Carthaginian general and scourge of Rome, wishing that the Americans could be as respectful to Osama as Rome was to Hanibal. Except, of course, that Hanibal challenged Rome openly on the field of battle, not as a terrorist, in a time when military power was regarded differently. Like all BBC types, Steel parades his contempt of America openly and with pride.

The only exception in the Friday 18:30 left-wing slot is the marvellous Deadringers, which has short and all too infrequent runs.

The BBC response to criticism like this is ‘well, do you want right-wing comics?’ – but I think this misses the point totally. The 18:30 left-wing slot shows how BBC bias operates – giving airtime to views with which it has some sympathy over and over again. An answer would be to be careful not to choose such smug, overtly political performers and to find other voices.

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A clear attempt by the Republicans to shift blame from the White House and on to the intelligence community

As a Congress committee allegedly prepares to criticise the CIA over WMDs in Iraq,

‘BBC state department correspondent Jon Leyne says the committee report is a clear attempt by the Republicans to shift blame from the White House and on to the intelligence community. ‘

The BBC rolls out a correspondent and shows a certainty that I’ve rarely come across in one of its reports. Where were they when Mahathir was mouthing off?

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From BBConline:


Bush signs $15bn anti-aids plan

Coincidental headlines/ subheadlines to put up the same morning?

Interesting contrast? If you read the articles, one casts doubt on the other

[Maybe I should clarify. What’s interesting is the way Bob Geldolf’s contrast between Clinton and Bush is undermined. Now, Geldof is anti-Euro, pro- Neo-Conservative, according to his recorded comments, which is rather unlike the BBC. This morning’s juxtaposition of articles makes the influential Geldof look a lot less cool. Also, I’m suspicious of how much Clinton has actually done, as opposed to claimed the credit for.]

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Good Morning Scotland

is BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship morning news programme.

The Friday 24th October edition carried an article about how Network Rail is to assume control of routine maintenance contracts from private contractors. During the article, which was a conversation between the news ‘anchor’ Alex Bell and the BBC Transport Correspondent Tom Simons, the BBC got a chance to show it’s economic illiteracy.

BELL: “I suppose that costs will be reduced because they [Network Rail] will no longer have to pay the profit margin?”

SIMONS: “Yes, but the savings from that may not be that great…the contracts were being negotiated down anyway”

I enjoyed this exchange because it shows the marvellous ignorance from commerce which is key to success as a BBC journalist. That a private company might be capable of operating more efficiently, or with some degree of innovation even in an area like rail maintenance, simply does not come into it. On this basis you have a good argument for the nationalisation of the whole economy, so that you would not need to pay the ‘profit margin’ to companies like Easyjet, Tesco, BP and so on.

Equally strange to me was the fact that any sane person could use the terms ‘cost reductions’ and ‘Network Rail’ in the same sentence not as an obvious oxymoron. Network Rail has overseen truly breathtaking rises in costs (costs guaranteed by the taxpayer), and only a few days ago was censured by the regulator Tom Winsor for it’s wasteful performance – but that’s OK this time as we won’t be paying a profit margin. As you would expect, this point was not made during the article.

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Israel denies targeting Gaza civilians

Thanks to Dan’s vigorous comments on a recent thread, I’ve focussed on this report by James Reynolds on Israel’s recent air strike on a car in the Nusseirat refugee camp.

‘Israel denies targeting Gaza civilians’

This misrepresents the case: whether Israel struck regardless of a crowd of civilians. Few, including witness accounts, doubt that Israel attacked a car (containing terrorists, the Israelis say) rather than a crowd. Note though that “a group of terrorists” is ‘scare-quoted’.

Reynolds distorts the charge when he says that Israel ‘has come under great criticism for its attack on the Nusseirat camp’ (italics added). He recycles the allegation as though it were fact, without informing us who the “critics” are.

Israel ‘released footage of what it says is its air strike on Monday night into a refugee camp in the Gaza strip’ (italics added). Surely a correspondent’s reporting could confirm it by analysing the site (or explain why he couldn’t)? To suggest casually that Israel fabricated the film is somewhat absurd.

‘At this stage from Israel’s fuzzy pictures no bystanders are immediately visible…the road looks empty’ (italics added)- why cast such doubt (reiterating the ‘poor pictures’ jibe) when cars and buildings are clearly visible? BTW, if they are ‘bystanders’ how can they be ‘targets’?

Reynolds leaves us with the Palestinians’ challenge– why so many casualties if civilians weren’t the targets? Note that Reynolds uses no inverted commas for ‘witnesses’, who are presumed genuine unlike the footage or Israeli intentions.

Some ideas from a distance. In areas of low car ownership, passenger numbers are high. This might explain many deaths and many injuries, especially to children. Were people hit when the car veered off the road? What damage was caused by the blast force and could flying glass etc have caused casualties? Were all the claimed casualties clearly from that incident, or could there be some inflation by the Palestinians? Do people usually run instantly in the direction of a blast? James Reynolds doesn’t begin to ask those questions. That is where journalism should begin, not end.

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Bandwagon Alert Extra

Never let it be said that the BBC failed to start or join an unhealthy media bandwagon. Via Andrew Sullivan.

latest offering from soon-to-retire-but-still-influential-and-dangerous-for-God’s-sake- Mahathir, courtesy of the BBC.

Bandwagon Alert Extra

See how they paved the way for another bandwagon with an article scrutinised by Natalie Solent and Kerry Buttram on BBBC around the 22nd September this year. (scroll down)

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More Mahathir- Courtesy from the Beeb

‘Moonbat’ Mahathir is still lurking at BBConline. His nickname, mind you, goes unreported. Earlier I criticised the lack of editorial comment on Mahathir’s recent comments. This case remains. The fact is that over several days, in several reports, the BBC has not devoted one of its ‘experts’ to examining let alone condemning the racism and militarism of this man. It has not slipped in a correspondent to talk of possible senility in a 78 year old, or described his outburst as ‘schoolboyish’, ‘or ‘feisty’ or any of the other epithets used by the BBC on George W Bush or Donald Rumsfeld. One would have thought a sly comment like, ‘Mahathir Mohamed, known playfully to some of his critics as ‘Moonbat’ Mohamed’, might have been heaven sent to the BBC to discount some of the force of Mahathir’s views. The BBC has been determinedly straight in describing old Moonbat.

Some might say, ‘let’s hear what he’s got to say’. Others might say that Mahathir’s comments are rather mild by some Islamic standards. A cynic might say that since Mahathir was chosen by the Beeb as an expert for one of its discussions, they are reluctant to consign him to the loony bin. From the BBC’s ‘profile’, it is clear he is viewed as a champion of the third or at least second world in an era of globalisation. He is a man who has helped his country to develop despite the ‘selfishness of the west’ (my phrase- their attitude). Unfortunately these value judgements are obscuring the real issues.

This man indicates just what is wrong with the current thrust of Islamic leadership. His ideas give primacy to the struggle that Muslims perceive they have with the West. His notion of development is to give them the means to overcome the West. His aim is primarily and ultimately to militarise to confront the ‘Jewish dominated colonialists’. It is a vision as articulate, sweeping and ignorant as that of Adolf Hitler. Ok, this old man is never going to achieve the horrors of Hitler, and thus gets away with it, but he might inspire someone and something else; in fact that’s what his remarks obviously intend to do. As far as I am concerned, BBC, print the whole thing- but critique it, editorialise, roll out the experts and the correspondents, if, that is, you have the guts, knowledge or brains.

BTW, I saved two versions of the latest article. The first was entitled ‘Mahathir repeats Jewish ‘Jibe’’. To me this implied that Mahathir has made a joke about the Jews, rather than the carefully worded argument for a unified, sophisticated Jihad that he did in fact make. Later on, the headline was changed and a more profound note struck, ‘Mahathir unrepentant on Jews’. Still though, Mahathir’s monologue was interrupted only by GW Bush and Ariel Sharon, who for the BBC’s ideally groomed reader would count for roughly nothing.

Also BTW, BBC online have put up an article entitled ‘Mahathir calls for a peaceful Islam’ that has all the news and scrutiny value of being savaged by a dead sheep. What it does demonstrate though, is that the BBC’s relationship with Mahathir is too close for them to report him objectively.

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War coverage

This article states that 25% of people surveyed by the ITC thought that, among others, BBC1 was biased towards the US/UK. Funnily enough, page 27 of the report seems to imply that 21% thought the BBC was biased against the UK/US and biased towards the anti-war lobby (total – for some reason the pro-US camp is a single answer whereas the anti-US camp for want of a better word is broken up into ‘specialties’). I have not really looked at the maths in detail but it seems to add up to more than 100%. I do note that the BBC has spun this report to its own benefit. Readers may find the answer to the funny maths in the report so please comment.

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Wishful thinking?

Does Rob Watson have insider knowledge on how the next US presidential election will turn out for Bush? In his giddy report of President Bush’s meeting with the California governor-elect Watson states the following:

Apparently, in his Terminator days, Mr Schwarzenegger had campaigned for the president’s father – also of course a one-time president (emphasis added).

Watson also seems a little confused on Bush’s current state of being.

There was even a little appeal from the actor-turned-governor for any useful advice from the president on how to run a big state – remember Mr Bush was himself a former governor of Texas (emphasis added).

I think he still is.

UPDATE: As one of our excellent commentators notes, a stealth edit has been performed on the first item. It now reads:

Apparently, in his Terminator days, Mr Schwarzenegger had campaigned for the president’s father – himself once a president, of course.

Getting rid of the license fee would put quite a few stealth editors on the street it would seem.

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Giving Us the Leftovers

[an altered headline]

They’re at it again. Today’s dish of the day is lightly boiled American General with a garnish of Rumsfeld. There’s also a touch of sauce, rendered piquant by irony. They hope you’ll enjoy the dish, which has been placed initially on the main menu to ensure that plenty of customers get to try it.

The irony? Ah, bien sur! It’s a secret blend of bitterness that yesterday they had to change their article about Mahathir so ignominiously. Now we find the Malaysians (being given the floor by the BBC) saying that we misunderstood. We did not. Incidentally, this is the same article they posted yesterday, just ‘updated’. Bon chance then that the BBC had a “comparable” fresh titbit about an American general to offset the ‘bigot’ accusations that no doubt have flown at them.

Notice the artistic arrangement of the dish though- our eyes do influence our taste buds you know. ‘Donald Rumsfeld has declined to criticise’. Never mind that this was a General off duty in a private (churches are self-selecting) gathering, caught on poor quality video tape using the language of religion in an arena where the nuances are respected and understood, where ‘Satan’s kingdom’ is a theological concept. The implied parallel with Mahathir speaking at a international forum, addressing the 1 billion plus Muslim world and heads of state, with the watching world, and trying to make a coherent case for racial genocide, is absolutely risible. The General’s comments should not have reached the news at all. Mahathir’s should have been front page at the top- and slated comprehensively. (BTW- forgive the use of French- no offence to them is intentional).

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