: with the partial (in both senses of that word) exception of Matt Frei (the BBC’s Washington corespondent, already often featured on this blog), and within the usual limitations of their analysis, the BBC 10’o’clock news handled Bush’s reelection more calmly than his doings in Iraq. I think this is because elections are a part of the world that the BBC accepts; somehow the concept of impartiality in reporting an election is not as alien to them as in reporting a war.
“America keeps faith with George Bush … He won more votes than any president in history … George Bush has won a convincing victory …”
The tone was very sober but you could not complain the chosen words betrayed any bias.
“If Kerry had won, Tony Blair would have been the last war leader left standing”
was a silly remark (Australia’s recent election obviously doesn’t count, or for that matter the other countries where leaders who supported Bush are still in place), but to be fair the same man who said it (Mark, standing outside Westminster), went on to say that:
“Many labour MPs think that only a few weeks ago Tony Blair moved British troops to help Bush’s campaign. I’ve never believed that, I don’t believe that at all but they believe it …”
so he isn’t swallowing every left-wing statement. Even Matt Frei mentioned something he could have omitted. As Bush was declared the next president:
“Sweet words (pause) again and after this election vistory they must sound so much sweeter (pause) to him and to them. [tone makes clear, not to Matt] … George Bush now has a very clear mandate. The question is will he use it to unite (significant pause) or to divide.”
but further on Matt gave us, even if incredulously, an interesting fact:
“There is a curious irony. The Republicans did what the Democrats used to do so well, organising the party from the grass roots. They spent less than the Democrats, can you believe it !!!”
Matt spoke of republican success in reaching out to the blue collar vote
“although Kerry said again and again [emphasis as Matt’s impatience broke through] ‘no tax cuts for the rich, we must help the poor.”
The tone betrayed his incomprehension of those stupid blue collar voters who don’t understand their own interests as well as Matt does, but the facts were welcome. Kerry and Kerry supporters got the lion’s share of the time but perhaps that is not so unfair; we’ll be hearing lots about Bush hereafter. The BBC’s general analysis was of course unable to step outside their worldview. There were many remarks along the lines of:
“… middle America that, just as Matt has been saying, surrounds itself with the flag …”
and much talk of Bush’s ‘radical’ view (implicitly contrasted to Kerry’s, or the BBC’s, moderate one), plus the
usual talk on Israel and on Europe
“… no doubting the interational pressure on George Bush to adjust his tone and tactics …”
However John Simpson’s discussion was, as often, rational and not marked by one-sided bias;
“… they (France and Germany) would have had a much harder time if Kerry had won; then they would have to help out in Iraq …”
John explained that instead they could now continue to do nothing. They had managed without close ties with the U.S. over the last few years and would continue to get along O.K. without such ties. The U.S. equally would manage to do without them. By the time he had finished talking, the divisions that had been much mentioned in the rest of the programme sounded hopeless, but not serious.