So, James Naughtie goes to the States to investigate the Tea Party. Here’s the interview. Did you think it fair and balanced? You can see why the BBC views this grass-roots organisation with such hatred, it is the antithesis of everything it believes in. Imagine – someone coming out to damn Socialism! Nice touch at the end – a little banjo music. Oh to be an Islington sophisticate.

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  1. Natsman says:

    And who paid for THIS particular pointless jaunt, one wonders?


  2. Martin says:

    Perhaps Mongnaughtie might like to tell us what the CO2 count was as well.

    What a sneering little prick.


  3. John Anderson says:

    Naughtie seemed determined to give the impression that Tea Partiers are hicks,  from flyover states – I think he said his second interview will be with Democrats.  In New York,  so sophisticates, no doubt.

    But at least the BBC is finally having to report that Obama and the Dems are in a real polling mess.


  4. Rueful Red says:

    It wasn’t just any old flyover state, either, like Michigan or Ohio – it had to be a southern flyover state to get that authentic hickness in the accents.
    Funny thing is, the TP-ers came over as knowing a lot more about things than MacNaughty.  Funny that.


    • Asuka Langley Soryu says:

      Of course they do. And not just because Naughtie is a Beeboid and therefore thick as pig shit.
      Americans are taught the US Constitution in school. They pledge allegiance to the flag. We have a hard time spelling the word constitution, let alone knowing what one is or if we have one. And our national flag is regarded as either a fascist symbol or something waved around by pissed up football hooligans.
      The Gramscians have done this. It was calculated. That’s why we can never have a Tea Party analogue over here. There’s simply not enough people who’re aware of what’s been happening and who has been doing it.


  5. Dr A says:

    Actually, at first I was rather surprised asnd gratified by this report, and especially as it was done by someone as pompous and biased as Naughtie (he is my least favourite Beeboid on Today). 

    But the more I reflected on it, the more it seemed like the usual dreary Beeboid  propaganda.  In particular, I Naughtie  avoided any prominent intellectual voice. Lots of Kentucky folks with Hillbilly music in the background but nothing in the way of  key thinkers of the American Right. And by omitting (censoring) them, what we got was essentially was a Beeboid version of the Tea Party movement – in other words, Hillbllly stupidity. 

    Actually I think the stinking BBC is simply incapable of dealing with this because of its inherent bias.


  6. David vance says:

    Dr A

    Exactly right. It seems ok but once you reflect on it the bias is profound.


  7. deegee says:

    I loved the response. “What if you can’t afford education”? “Get a job”!

    What is it about Naughtie that he doesn’t understand that America is a federation with a division of responsibilities between state and federal governments. There is no enumerated constitutional right to an education. Whether you agree with her or not that the Federal Government should stay out of education, the woman who said Arkansas had the responsibility to educate its children was logically and legally correct.  


    • John Anderson says:

      It was the BBC’s ignorance of the respective rights and responsibilities of states vis-a-vis the Federal Government that led it to get the Katrina account ass-over-tit.

      Plus a smidgeon of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

      The only time the BBC has ever got anywhere near a true account of Katrina was Sue McGregor’s “The Reunion” programme a week ago.  Complete with General Honore putting her straight on all the advance work he had been doing for the states east of the Mississippi.

      Honore’s classic remark to the press about “Don’t Get Stuck on Stupid” fitted the BBC to a T.

      And it fits the thin-skinned but obstinate Obama too.  In spades, if I may use that expression.


  8. dave s says:

    He seemed baffled really. In Britain we are not expected to have views on our country that go beyond the purely economic. That Americans care about their country, culture and their future seemed alien to him.
    Here our betters decide this for us. Not much has changed since Tom Paine left England behind and sought freedom in the New world.


  9. Millie Tant says:

    What’s he doing in America? They have loads of Beeboids there already. That’s what happens when you have an organisation with too much money that it hasn’t had to earn.

    Oh, Lord, they sent someone to America to find out what the Tea Party is about.  Are they fascinated that democracy still exists in America?  People haven’t all fallen into a stupor. How strange, eh?  Is that such an alien phenomenon to the Beeboid? Probably, come to think of it.


  10. 1327 says:

    This is a difficult one for the Beeb really. Barrys unpopularity with the voters has now got so large that they really have to report on it now but at the same time they don’t want to do anything to encourage “that sort of thing” over here. Hence the sneering report we heard this morning.

    To be honest this report and other recent examples have moved beyond bias to the point where the Beeb has just become pathetic joke.

    Come on Dave put this injured animal out of its misery !!


  11. JohnW says:


    Don’t you mean put it out of OUR misery?


  12. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Naughtie’s tone – dramatic, ominous – and use of language – “a threat”, “right-wing shock jocks” have “lit a wildfire”, “unpredicatble forces are on the loose”, “old ways, old sounds” – give away his bias.  It’s clear to the listener which side he’s on, and what one is supposed to make of these crazy extremist haters.

    If nothing else, the BBC’s extreme attacks on people like myself shows just how wrong the Beeboids were about the Tea Party movement last year.  They ignored it for two months, then disparaged it, hinted at dark forces behind it, and insulted the participants with a sexual innuendo.  Then they ignored it again until the reality of political victories forced the BBC to cover it.  With one exception (Katty Kay’s video report from Dec. 2009), their reporting has been heavily biased, negative, usually dishonest in some way, It

    It wasn’t so long ago that Mark Mardell was trying to suggest the Tea Party movement was running out of steam.  If that’s the case, why is the Socialist Pit Bull of Today spewing nasty old CO2 all over my country trying to talk about it?  Yet more evidence of how Mardell’s personal political bias not only prevents him from informing you accurately but also leads him to lie to you.

    Another level of trouble here is that this is the Today Programme now working to disparage the Tea Party movement and anyone who might defeat a Democrat.  This is on Radio 4, which is – allegedly – editorially independent from BBC Worldwide, which is, on paper, Mardell’s department.  This is more proof that there is a clear, politically motivated editorial agenda which runs throughout the BBC, across the spectrum of broadcasting, infecting all departments of the Corporation and its subsidiaries.  Of course they’re all colluding on this, and it shows.

    Now that the BBC’s beloved Obamessiah is in trouble, along with so many Democrats (including ones on the walls of BBC offices, apparently), the Beeboids are in full attack mode.  It’s going to get worse and worse from here.  I’m sure 9/11 will be full of disgusting venom from the BBC about people like me, and they’ll keep doing it until the mid-term election.


    • hippiepooter says:

      DP, how reflective of the TP is it what the couple said about the federal Government only covering defence and should leave education up to the states?

      To the neutral listener I dont think any bias would have been detected, but for people like us subliminal messages could be detected that would influence the unwary at some level, and Naughtie did appear to be selective in who and how he chose to portray the Tea Party.  Will be interesting to contrast is report on ‘the other side’ (ie his side) in the culture war tomorrow.

      Of the ‘hicks’ I got the impression Naughtie made a point of broadcastin the least savoury and articulate of their opinions, and of the conservative intellectuals, all he had them say was basically ‘there is a culture war going on’, no real exposition of what they believe needs doing to make America better.  Seemed odd.  Let’s see what happens tomorrow. ..


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        HP, that’s a good question about Naughtie’s pressing those people on government-funded education.  He was able to press the people past the salient part of the issue of Federal versus States rights to a point where the “get a job” quip was over the top.  I admit that they weren’t the most articulate people around.  But that’s how it goes with vox pops sometimes, and I won’t try to excuse it with charges of deliberate editing or censoring of ten other people who made more sense or whatever.

        But guess what:  this is an intentional will-o’-the-wisp argument.  By focusing on one specific facet of the much, much more general question of Federal control of everythin, Naughtie is able to completely separate this one issue of education from the main idea behind the Tea Party movement.  This classic debating trick enabled him so very easily to frame the issue in the usual class warfare, Aren’t-They-Cruel-And-Uncaring context, which is a no-win situation.  It’s very sneaky and clever, and has nothing to do with the real issues behind the movement, yet by this neat trick Naughtie was able to shut down the entire argument at hand and replace it with one of his own:  the Tea Partiers are nasty Conservatives who don’t care about poor people, to which you can automatically add “especially black folks”.  Remember that Mardell and Connollys Katie and Kevin have already prepared in your minds the image that Tea Partiers are white and middle class, with all the usual negative connotations – a BBC shibboleth two-fer.  By the time you start thinking, “Hey, that doesn’t sound too cool,” you’re already so far off the path of the actual argument that there’s no turning back.

        It’s a good trick, and Naughtie defeated the Tea Party attendees with it. He also successfully distracted you and everyone else from the actual issue at hand:  excessive government taxation and wholesale economic changes that will damage the country. I give full credit to Naughtie as a propaganda artist and member of the college debating team.  But not as a journalist, not for one second.  Because what he did there was dishonest, and a display of his own personal political bias about what the Government is for.

        As for the “culture war” aspect, sure, that’s true.  But it’s been going on since this country was founded.  I could make the case that on some level this has been going on since Alexander Hamilton got his way over other Founders in order to form a central Bank.  This can also be traced as far back as when Davy Crockett (yes, that Davy Crockett) received a good scolding from one of his constituents (well worth a read) about the un-Constitutionality of using Government power to re-distribute wealth on a whim, even if it seems to be for a good cause.

        Having said that, all I can add here is that I hardly qualify as a “conservative intellectual”, yet I think you’ll find that everything I’ve been saying here for the last couple of years matches up pretty exactly with the overall tenets expressed by various Tea Party types all across the country.  And contrary to the BBC, there is no editorial agenda spanning the entire spectrum.  So that kind of puts the lie to Naughties conceit that, while there may be a few elite intellectuals who are cool, most Conservatives and Tea Party attendees are sh!theels.

        This argument is as old as the USA, and it will inevitably come to a head whenever there’s a danger of the entire enterprise being deconstructed and transformed into a Statist/Corporatist (see Robert Peston) or Socialist experiment.  The dopey Beeboids have no idea, of coursem as they have less understanding of US political and social history than anyone here.  Sure, there may be some dim awareness among the older ones who spend enough time around US journalists.  But you’re not getting this explained to you fairly at all by the BBC.

        The only thing about this country’s past the BBC wants you to think about is racism.  The only thing you’ll hear from a Beeboid which even begins to reflect what I’m talking about is the occasional quip from Justin Webb or someone about “self-reliance” or something.  And you’ve already seen how a skilled performer like Naughtie can twist that.


        • Span Ows says:

          Well said David. This should be a blogpost on it’s own and as the comment below highlights the Beeb haven’t even mentioned the whole point of the TP (tax etc…clue is in the name but the BBC seem to want to ignore that) Naughtie is quite simply a slimey, snidey, lefie c+nt


        • hippiepooter says:

          Thanks for that.  As far as ‘look, no hands’ bias goes, it was good.  As for Culture Wars, isn’t it generally thought that the current one was started in the Sixties?


          • David Preiser (USA) says:

            Yes, HP, but that’s only one battle in a different theater of operations (so to speak) in the longer war.  The larger issues from the counter-cultural “revolution” of the ’60s are not concerns of the Tea Party protests.  This is not about social issues.


  13. Guest Who says:

    Blooming Yanks… what can they possibly know of America vs. wise old Aunty!


    • John Anderson says:

      and Janet Daley (who appears far too infrequently on the BBC) wrote her article before the unctious “reports” from James Naughtie.


  14. Craig says:

    As Guest Who says Naughtie’s New York jaunt is now available online, under the headline Tea party movement ‘from another planet’.

    Naughtie mentioned the “planned Islamic centre with a mosque” and set it in the context of the “wider culture-war between President Obama and liberal opinion on the one hand, arguing that America stands for religious freedom, and the conservative Right on the other, saying that a mosque would be provocative, offensive and wrong”.

    That’s how Naughtie framed the debate.

    So the American liberals “on the one hand” believe  that “America stands for religious freedom”. By clear implication this means, “on the other hand”, that the “conservative Right” don’t. Immediately, this casts the liberal (Obama) side as being on the side of the angels, unlike their anti-religious-freedom conservative opponents.

    Shouldn’t Naughtie also have said “the conservative Right on the other, saying that a mosque so close to ground Zero would be provocative, offensive and wrong” – as that is the point of contention?


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I just saw the summary for this segment on the Today “running order” page of clips:

      President Obama has announced new spending plans to try to kick-start the American economy. James Naughtie is in New York to see  how popular the president and his policies are within his own political party.

      We never actually found out about any of that, did we?  It was all about bashing the Tea Party movement and inciting hatred against us.


  15. Craig says:

    Naughtie speaks to left-wing commentator and journalism professor Todd Gitlin (who was not only a JournOLister but also one of the keenest advocates of co-ordinated attacks against John McCain and Sarah Palin).

    He then moves on to a Labor Day rally in a New Jersey town with a long and joyous history of mass immigration. Unlike in yesterday’s report, Naughtie presents the pro-government-intervention/anti-Tea Party views of all the people he meets there in a respectful tone of voice. Nor does he challenge their views in his commentary, or sharply question them – again unlike with the Tea Party people yesterday. He even backs them up with his comments on the new immigrants needing government help) He uses the word “hatred” in connection to the Tea-Party (“their hatred of collectivism”), implying extreme emotionalism rather than reason on their part.

    He also speaks to far fewer ‘hicks’ (and there are no dueling banjos either). Besides the JournOLister, he speaks to Chris Shelton, vice president of the Communications Workers of America union, New York author and academic Sam Lipsyte and Democrat Congressman Bill Pascrell (he’s the one quoted in the Today website headline). The nearest ‘ordinary folk’ get to a look-in is with an elderly couple of peace activists who say that the Tea Partiers are close to being fascist and that “tea is for drinking, not for campaigning against”  (Isn’t that what we Brits might have said before 1776?)


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I’ve just now listened to Naughtie’s New York Democrats segment.  First of all, it’s the Left and people like him who have made the Ground Zero Mosque debate into a proxy war for the larger Left vs. Right battle.  In reality, plenty of victims’ family members are normally Democrats but still wonder why their feelings are disparaged by the BBC and others.      
      And what do you know:  this whole segment is from the Left side of that proxy war.  At the Tea Party protest in Kentucky, people were talking about Tea Party ideals: lower taxes, smaller government, stop taking away our freedoms.  It was only when Naughtie tried to be provocative and distract with his quesitons about the President being a Muslim or whatever, which has nothing to do with His policies of wealth redistribution,that we heard about some less friendly viewpoints.  
      Naughtie has again successfully distracted from the core issues of the Tea Party movement.  All you’re hearing now is about tolerance, Labor Unions, peace and love vs. Tea Partiers causing the country to be “poisoned”.  And he even found some ancient couple to call me a racist, but maybe not quite a fascist.  Yawn.   

      And right at the end, Naughtie lets some far Left writer (of course) tell you that everyone is wondering, “can there be anything but hate” in the Tea Party movement, and that “their presentation lends itself to that”.   100% slander.  Again.  Who is actually doing the hate speech here, BBC?  Who is encouraging their listeners to be intolerant of people like me?  Who is encouraging people to despise me?  Who is indoctrinating anger and inspiring fear and loathing here?    
      Has anyone here actually seen evidence which would make you think this is all hate?  Which presentations is this [email protected]#[email protected]%f#[email protected]#$r talking about?


      • prpw says:

        Exactly as you say, Naughtie and his colleagues fail pathetically (and probably deliberately) at framing the discussion in terms of what the TP is really about: lower taxes, small Government, less Govt interference and regulation etc.

        All Naughtie and his colleagues seem capable of doing is introducing tedious red herrings, because after all that’s what suits the BBC’s pre-determined narrative best. And as you say, it reveals so much more about the BBC than anything else   


  16. Craig says:

    And just to fill up this thread even more…!  
    Here’s an updated list of all the JournOListas quoted/linked to on the BBC website, raising the number from 50 to 60 (out of the presently-known list of 155). Some are new, some are ones I missed first time round!:  
    1.Spencer Ackerman  
    4.Mike Allen  
    5.Eric Alterman  
    6.Marc Ambinder  
    9.Dean Baker
    12.Steven Benen  
    14.Jared Bernstein  
    20.Eric Boehlert  
    26.Jonathan Chait  
    29.Ta-Nehisi Coates
    30.Michael Cohen  
    31.Jonathan Cohn  
    34.David Corn  
    36.David Dayen  
    37.Brad DeLong
    40.Kevin Drum  
    44.James Fallows  
    46.Tim Fernholz  
    47.Dan Froomkin  
    48.Jason Furman
    49.James Galbraith  
    51.Todd Gitlin  
    59.David Greenberg  
    60.Robert Greenwald  
    64.Michael Hirsh
    66.John Judis  
    67.Foster Kamer  
    73.Ezra Klein  
    74.Joe Klein  
    75.Robert Kuttner
    76.Paul Krugman  
    77.Lisa Lerer  
    78.Daniel Levy  
    79.Ralph Luker  
    80.Annie Lowrey
    81.Robert Mackey  
    82.Mike Madden  
    89.Ari Melber  
    93.Gautham Nagesh  
    98.Rick Perlstein
    104.David Roberts  
    106.Michael Roston  
    110.Laura Rozen  
    111.Felix Salmon  
    112.Greg Sargent
    114.Noam Scheiber  
    115.Michael Scherer  
    119.Adam Serwer  
    120.Walter Shapiro  
    121.Kate Sheppard
    123.Nate Silver  
    126.Ben Smith  
    129.Paul Starr  
    132.Sam Stein  
    134.James Surowiecki
    138.Michael Tomasky  
    139.Jeffrey Toobin  
    141.Karen Tumulty  
    144.Dave Weigel  
    152.Matthew Yglesias
    The BBC’s address-book seems to be full of them.  
    On the other hand, neither of the conservative intellectuals featured in Naughtie’s report yesterday, Arthur Brooks and Robert P. George, register on a ‘search’ of the BBC website, unsurprisingly.


  17. John Anderson says:

    A Rasmussen poll in the US has just found that two-thirds of Ameicans want less government and less taxation.

    But bigoted clowns like James Naughtie ( and all the BBC’s US staff) continue to present the Tea Partiers as some kind of kooky fringe.


    • Anthony Mace says:

      To these reds revolutionary heroes don’t try to make a better world ,they murder millions & spread  communism .
      They really can’t understand the mindset of Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin any more than any sane person can understand the reds hatred of our western democracies & their wish to inflict the hell on earth of socialism on the planet.