It’s the double standards that get you.

Obama’s set-piece press conference debut contained three nice little nuggets- Obama referred to former First Lady Nancy Reagan as being into a “seances thing”. He referred to himself as a “mulatto” “mutt”, and he said that people were more interested in his new dog than in his policies. All this was there, accompanied by the anxious looks from the assembled Obama team members, yet the BBC headlined their story “impressive debut” and excerpted for video the deliberate joke that Obama planted about the “serious news” of the family’s planned dog. Have you noticed how quite a few of Obama’s joke moments don’t seem intentional? Just saying. If George Bush had said that his dogs were more interesting than his policies…

But actually the double standards I had in mind wasn’t a comparison with the coverage that has been habitually afforded to GWB’s “gaffes”. It was with the treatment of Sarah Palin whose brisk on the fly conference with the press in Alaska was reduced by the Beeb to comments about the “jerks” who were criticising her. You can get much more video here than the BBC offers. In fact the comments were contextualised in a fairly substantial response to a precise question about anonymous allegations against her. These were not criticsms but allegations which she refuted. The Beeb’s treatment made her look intemperate and peremptory where actually she was thorough and open in her response. But by cut, cut, cutting away at that response, and tacking on another, the BBC shaped and ran with the story about Sarah hitting back at “‘jerk’ critics”.

Update: you might like to check out this audio interview with Palin giving her point of view most completely.

Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to It’s the double standards that get you.

  1. Martin says:

    I commented on this yesterday. On Sky News Michelle Clifford commented on how Obama squired and stuttered through a standard question about Iran.

    Turn to BBC 1 news and we have dickhead Webb wanking on about the new puppy. Not a mention of the son of god not being abl eto bat away a standard question about Iran.

    If Paling had acted like that that fucking arsehole Webb would have been all over her for being a thick red neck.


  2. Umbongo says:

    If I recall correctly, Webb characterised Obama’s hesitant answer as an example of Obama’s signature “considered response”. That’s one way of describing it but I suspect he would not have been so generous with McCain or Palin had they taken 30+ seconds to think up an answer to a straightforward and predictable question.


  3. Kill the Beeb says:

    All these Obama postings are getting tedious. Isn’t there any other bias going on in beeb land right now.


  4. Martin says:

    Well I’m betting that the BBC won’t be bigging up the lastest poll that puts Cyclops 13 points behind in the polls.


  5. disillusioned_german says:

    The biggest criticism of Obama is: Still no substance!

    Will he ever say or do something concrete while he’s President. He’s perfect at talking a lot without saying anything. The same goes for the Beeboids. That’s probably why they like “Barack the Messiah” so much.

    Or maybe they actually seem him as the 12th imam after all.


  6. mikewineliberal says:

    The story in the Palin comments is the “jerk” bit. There’s nothing else in there a journalist could attach a story to. The bbc item quotes her at length, and the video implant gives context. Pretty sympathetic to her i think. I watched most of the press conference and thought it was as impressive as one might expect. Didn’t he say “mutt” rather than “mulatto”? And as i pointed out yesterday, Webb is his item on the conference said that Obama flirted with pomposity. He also mentioned the Reagan comments and said Obama had been forced to apologise.


  7. John Reith spins in his grave says:

    I commented on this yesterday. On Sky News Michelle Clifford commented on how Obama squired and stuttered through a standard question about Iran…..If Paling had acted like that that fucking arsehole Webb would have been all over her for being a thick red neck.
    Martin | 08.11.08 – 10:32 pm | #

    Yeah…I noticed that.

    I tried repeating his stuttered rambling evasion to myself in a GWB Texas accent …. would have kept BBC comics in laughs for months.

    Your BBC – We choose the minorities it’s OK to persecute


  8. Ed says:

    MWL- don’t be a silly billy, of course the journalist could have entitled a story “Palin refutes anonymous aid claims” or any number of ways that decline to take the “Palin is a loudmouth hick” angle. There are many ways to skin the cat- if you bothered to look at other video clips on other stations eg. CNN you would see the fuller picture. Liberals and the BBC just want to say- “there’s no other way of looking at it- Palin is an oik, Obama is an intellectual”. That’s the narrative, that’s the director’s cut. So with Obama it’s “move along, nothing to see here” when he gaffes, whereas when Palin gets the slightest bit irate or outspoken it’s “come, look at this! Whoever heard such a thing! Can’t imagine why she did it, said it, inexplicable, indefensible” snip, snip, snip… snip.


  9. Mailman says:

    Well Obama will be FORCED to make decisions whether he likes it or not over the next 4 years.

    BUT interesting thing, his cheif of staff, who the BBC pronounced as being experienced and respected in Washington (so much for change eh) was a board member of Freddy Mac in 2000 and 2001 during the period the books were being deliberately cooked to over state its profitability.

    The same board that this guy was on was directly criticized by the financial regulator for their lack of oversight…but of course Al Beeb isnt interested in this.

    The thing is all these MSM have been wanking on about the change that will come to Washington, but the more you look at Obama and his goons you are left asking, what exactly are they going to change?

    Obama owes so many favours to his backers that he will not be able to change ANYTHING in the same manner that Palin/McCain would have brought real change to Washington.

    When Obama is confronted with a spending bill by the democratic congress, he will sign it (since he has no record of voting against his own party).

    Lets be honest, Obama is old school, in your pocket, old boys network politics. There is nothing in his very short career that tells you anything else.

    America has fucked up big time by electing this old boy network politician in to the white house.

    Of course you will NEVER read this in the MSM.



  10. GCooper says:

    How many times does WWL need to have it explained to him that what other Left-dominated media outlets do is no justification for the compulsory tax-funded BBC to do the same thing?


  11. ae1 says:

    We all know that big business runs America and that, despite the Beebs naivety, Osama will change nothing.

    However, should he continue the same path as GWB will they attack him or take the usual spineless apologistic route they always do when one of their chosen f**cks up?


  12. GCooper says:

    Oh, and by the way, WWL – we are still waiting for you to come up with a legitimate reason why your hero, Obama, has concealed the public records of his birth.

    I intend to go on reminding you of this until we get an answer. It is no less than you deserve for your miserable defence of the BBC’s refusal to investigate the Obamessiah’s past, because the doubts raised were “bollox”.


  13. Mailman says:

    cooper, its not only the fact he wont release his birth certificate…its also the fact he wont release his medical records, you cannot find the transcript that got him the job as editor of the harvard law review, you cannot find anyone who went to harvard that will talk about him, in fact you cant find anyone who knows this guy that will talk.


    The media already has its excuses, they will blame everything that Obama either fucks up or does nothing about on Bush.



  14. Ed says:

    MWL- GC is correct to say that it is the BBC’s special responsibility to be balanced. I would add however that usually in these cases one finds that the BBC is actually worse in their presentation of the facts.

    In this case these are allegations rather than criticisms, and both Sky and ITN report that Palin actually denied them saying that they were not true. So although they do sensationalise, perhaps more than the Beeb, at least they remember to include the essentials of the story.

    Furthermore, the BBC tied their story in with so-called allegations about clothing, a separate issue, which they report she denied. ITN and Sky do this only in passing, and with a different (and intelligent) angle- that of her alleging sexism in the campaign coverage. In fact Palin didn’t really deny anything re clothing except that lawyers were headed for her family home to reclaim property.

    The reason I am such a critic of the BBC is that they fail from every conceivable perspective- remarkably enough- and the whole rotten edifice is supported by compulsory contributions from the British people.


  15. Ed says:

    Kill the Beeb- I sympathise with your boredom on the US elections, but I do think that these early days of the Obama era (not official ones, but still) will set the tone for the future. This period is one in which alternative media might just have a small impact on the coverage afforded to the Obama Presidency, so it’s reasonable to keep on keeping on where the opportunity presents itself. It would be nice just to MoveOn though, I think 🙂


  16. Tom says:


    I saw the press conference and I’m pretty sure Obama did not refer to himself as ‘a mulatto’.

    If the bit you’re referring to is the answer about the dog, I’m pretty sure he said ‘a mutt, like me’.


  17. David H says:

    That press conference demonstrated nicely just how full of wind and piss Obarmy really is. The Iran question was entirely predictable but he muffed it.
    There was another nugget on the Beeb’s `special’ Newsnight programme on Thursday (I think) A black man from Africa was challenged to rubbish Bush and started to point out that GWB had given vast amounts of aid to Africa, only to be cut short by Pantsman!
    I really do look forward to the intervention of reality into the Obarmy fairytale and to see how the Beeb deals with it.


  18. Ed says:

    Hi Tom. Thanks for that. I have corrected it. I assumed that mutt was short for mulatto but I discover that I was wrong about that.


  19. whitewineliberal says:

    GC – I heard the hawai state dept had confirmed the details of his birth. it’s hard for me to get a copy. But I will endeavour if you pay the airfare.

    ed- so coverage essentially the same.


  20. Ed says:

    MWL- apart from the key fact that she denied the allegation.


  21. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Umbongo | 09.11.08 – 12:31 am |

    If I recall correctly, Webb characterised Obama’s hesitant answer as an example of Obama’s signature “considered response”. That’s one way of describing it but I suspect he would not have been so generous with McCain or Palin had they taken 30+ seconds to think up an answer to a straightforward and predictable question.

    It’s also an old debating trick, which Bill Clinton used all the time. I think all the lawyer-politicians do that to some extent. The superficial media (including ol’ Justin), always watching body language and stagecraft more than the actual words, always lapped it up. Yet another reason we need something like PMQs in the US. Although, Clinton would have been really good at it.

    The Canadian theater critics loved it when a young William Shatner did it in King Lear, too. He was really forgetting his lines, but they thought it was on purpose. Because of that, he did it on purpose all the time, and now everyone makes fun of him for it.

    Clinton always did that in debates, and whenever a reporter threw him a serious question. Of course, he was mentally triangulating his answer the whole time, not just trying to remember his lines.


  22. GCooper says:

    Tom writes: “If the bit you’re referring to is the answer about the dog, I’m pretty sure he said ‘a mutt, like me’.”

    Yes, that is what he said.


  23. GCooper says:

    WWL writesL “GC – I heard the hawai state dept had confirmed the details of his birth. it’s hard for me to get a copy. But I will endeavour if you pay the airfare.”

    Thus evading the question. And you wonder why I consider your a troll?


  24. GCooper says:

    ‘Consider you’, that should be.


  25. David Preiser (USA) says:, a division of the new President’s old favorite, The Annenberg Foundation, has this article with what they claim is an official document showing that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii:

    Born in the U.S.A.

    There are high-resolution photos and everything. However, due to the way they’re presented, the photos aren’t conclusive. That’s because they’re careless, and possibly because the document doesn’t actually have the embossed seal and signature they show in the closeups, one of which is even a different color. If a Republican/McCain associated organization offered similar pics as proof, nobody on the Left would believe them for a moment.

    But before anyone tells me to take off my tin-foil hat, I should point out that they also show a birth announcement from a Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama in a Honolulu newspaper. I suppose this could have been phoned in, but according to whoever dug this up, the info comes directly from the hospital. That should prove it.

    Also, the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health released a statement saying that they had his birth certificate. They’d only have it if he was born there. So unless this is a really, really deep conspiracy, any charges that President-elect Obamessiah wasn’t born in the US should be put to rest.


  26. JohnA says:

    David Preiser

    I agree that the birth issue is a non-event. I don’t think the BBC ever referred to it anyway. Just like they avoided totally – or nearly totally – virtually every question about Obama’s background,

    But Justin Webb managed to slide in the muck about Trig not being Palin’s son.

    But of course there was no bias.

    Ray Snoddy was always a drip. He comes across even more as a drip now, after his ridiculous acceptance of all the Peter Horrocks pat answers going unchallenged.


  27. sawtooth says:

    A “mutt” is an American expression, meaning a mongrel. Obama was just making a joke about his mixed race origins, which are white American and black Kenyan.

    Given the history of Kenya since its independence, one can only hope that the American side prevails.


  28. GCooper says:

    There are two issues here, Mr Preiser. The first is, I have asked WWL to suggest a single convincing reason why Obama has refused to release the original. Simply dismissing the many questions that can be asked about Obama as ‘bollox’ while being unable to explain why, simply isn’t good enough.

    The second, as JonA observes, is that this issue was almost entirely ignored by WWL’s little friends at the BBC, whereas just about every rumour brewed-up by the Daily Kos was enthusiastically pursued by Webb et al .

    No tin foil hats necessary.


  29. GCooper says:

    Actually, sawtooth, ‘mutt’ is by no means solely an Americanism. It’s probably an abbreviation of ‘mutton head’ and is used in both countries (which is why I was surprised several people apeared not to have heard it correctly).

    The difference in usage tends to be that in British English it just means a dog, while in the IS it specifically refers to a mongrel – cleary the sense in which Obama used it.


  30. whitewineliberal says:

    good man david. you’ve saved my sorry arse. I thought the trig stuff was a low point in the smearing of palin. the stuff from gop sources now whifs of pretty unpleasant sexism to me.


  31. GCooper says:

    WWL writes: “good man david. you’ve saved my sorry arse”

    On the contrary, the question still stands. So what is your answer, WWL? And why is it, and every other question surrounding your pal, Obama, ‘bollox’?

    Or is it just what you read on the Daily Kos?


  32. whitewineliberal says:

    my answer is I agree with david: no concealment. or maybe the bilderberg’s have stolen it.

    I don’t read kos. yglesias and huffpo sometimes. but the cornhole too by way of corrective.


  33. mailman says:

    Why read the kos when you can get their stories at Al Beeb 🙂



  34. GCooper says:

    WWL writes: “my answer is I agree with david: no concealment. or ”

    Stop hiding behind David Preisser. The ‘concealment’ is a fact, not an opinion. You cannot brush it aside by pretendng it doesn’t exist.

    You stated that stories about Obama were ‘bollox’ and that the BBC was right to ignore them.

    This is one that most clearly is not ‘bollox’ and the BBC, by ignoring it, was favouring Obama.

    So, I ask you yet again: can you suggest one legitimate reason why the Democrats suppressed the public records surrounding Obama’s birth?

    No more trolling, please. Let’s have a straight answer. For once.


  35. David Preiser (USA) says:

    JohnA and GCooper,

    I completely agree with you about ol’ Justin, the BBC, and the myriad of unsubstantiated smears they were happy to peddle about anyone not a Democrat. I also agree that more is required to defend against charges of BBC bias than to just say “I don’t think so.”

    I was just didn’t want to hear more claims about the birth certificate which have been debunked, at least by Hawaii state officials if not the Annenberg FactCheckers.

    I’m not defending the defender of the indefensible in any way. It just makes us all look less credible to be going on about conspiracy theories.


  36. GCooper says:

    The problem is, I’m not in the least convinced by the soi disant FactCheckers and I’m far from impressed by the state officials’ behaviour, either.

    I have no opinions either way about Obama’s entitlement to run for office but I do think there are perfectly valid questions to be asked about why the man’s past as been deliberately hidden from public scrutiny.

    What possible legitimate motive could there have been for this? And why has the BBC refused to investigate when it was so eager to slander Sarah Palin at every opportunity?

    What I object to (and I really object to it) is the insult to the participants in this blog implied by the cavalier dismissal of perfectly valid questions about BBC bias by posters who behave as if ‘it is so, because I say it’s so’.


  37. David Preiser (USA) says:


    Actually, The Obamessiah’s past wasn’t so much hidden as completely denied. Every time an unsavory element about his past – or present – associations was raised, it was swiftly dismissed without any explanation other than, “Didn’t happen,” or “Nothing to see here.” Sometimes they didn’t even bother to deny the facts, just called them “smears” instead.

    It’s no wonder so many BBC supporters believe that he will govern from the center, has no Socialist tendencies whatsoever, never met Bill Ayers outside of one or two board meetings, nor ever shared any ideology with him, and never heard a single questionable word out Rev. Wright’s mouth, who never said anything wrong anyway. Also, Republicans suppress the votes of blacks and poor people, but all the Democrat groups just register fake voters for no apparent reason whatsoever.

    The BBC didn’t hide anything. They lied to cover it up, which is even worse. As did the US media, but that’s no excuse for an Official State Broadcaster.


  38. whitewineliberal says:

    david – the bbc isn’t the official state broadcaster.


  39. David Preiser (USA) says:

    whitewineliberal | 10.11.08 – 10:57 pm |

    Since when?


  40. whitewineliberal says:

    since never. do you mean it’s controlled by the state? warts and all, it isn’t really


  41. David Preiser (USA) says:

    You know perfectly well I don’t mean that. (Robert Peston’s department may work in collusion with the current government, but that’s as far as I’ll go.)

    Why is all that stuff in The Charter about “representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities”? The Charter isn’t about merely making the BBC a publicly (government) owned Corporation, but about why it is so.

    Of course the BBC is the uniquely the official national broadcaster of the UK. Why else would everyone refer to it as such?