BIG QUESTIONS FOR A SUNDAY…

Nicky Campbell’s Big Question programme looks to be a rich treat this morning; Up for discussion “Is it time to squeeze the rich?” (Does that include BBC presenters, Nicky?) Lots of clerics on to attack the banks.
Then, “Should creationism ever be taught in schools” (There’s a Church of England cleric who thinks it is akin to child abuse to do so and a Muslim who home-schools to be able to teach creationism, nice bit of BBC positioning there) Finally “Should you only tick the box about religion if you go to church” in the Census?

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The BBC And The Thoroughly "Moderate" Muslim Brotherhood

I’m sure everyone here will remember the BBC’s official position during the Egyptian democracy protests, before Mubarak (to his eternal credit, in my view) stepped down, which was that the Muslim Brotherhood is, in fact, “moderate”. Frank Gardener was on air several times saying that the group was “moderate”, and Jeremy Bowen even wrote online that the group was both “conservative” and “moderate”, until he got caught and stealth-edited out the “moderate” bit. (I saw the original myself, and made a comment here at the time, but unfortunately did not take a screen shot.)

A reminder of the BBC’s Narrative on the Muslim Brotherhood:

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood promotes moderate path

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood launches ‘Islamic Facebook’

Egypt’s opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has launched its own Facebook-style social networking site.

A senior member of the banned Islamist group says the aim is to spread awareness of moderate Islamic values.

Website takes on Muslim Brotherhood critics

Exposing hatred

Through the Ikhwanophobia website, the Brotherhood’s sympathisers aggressively attempt to refute criticisms of the group and to show the world what they consider to be “the true face of moderate Islamists”.

Competing Muslim Brotherhood visions for Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood is vying to become an official party in post-Mubarak Egypt. The conservative Islamist views of some of the group’s members scare many in Egypt and the West, but, as Tim Whewell has been finding out, many members, particularly young activists, are much more moderate.

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that the BBC is not mentioning the Muslim Brotherhood or fundamentalist Islam or their influence on the military in things which detract from the Narrative. I didn’t notice the MB complaining about the following incident. I thought they were advocates of freedom and democracy. Or does the BBC consider this kind of thing to be “moderate”, too?

Egyptian women protesters forced to take ‘virginity tests’

A leading rights group says the Egyptian army arrested, tortured and forced women to take “virginity tests” during protests earlier this month.

Notice that, while the Egyptian Army has been known during the Mubarak regime to crack down on anti-Government agitators, this is entirely different. The BBC, naturally, is placing blame exclusively on the army, and pointing out problems in the past to spin it away, nothing to do with the new changes in attitude. Granted, the sub-editor is essentially copying and pasting from Amnesty’s own website, but that’s no excuse. It’s not Amnesty’s job to inform people about the larger context, but it is – in theory – the BBC’s.

This happened after Mubarak stepped down, not before. It’s a different type of crackdown entirely. Making sure that protesters are virgins is not the same thing as cracking down on protests. This didn’t happen during the anti-Mubarak protests, but only after Egypt’s top brass asked a member of the Muslim Brotherhood to rewrite the country’s laws on personal freedom. Or does the BBC think this is “moderate” behavior as well?

Hey, BBC:

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MARCHING AGAINST REALITY…

I know that you are talking about this on the Open Thread but I spent a few minutes suffering the BBC coverage of the Denialists parade through our Capital city. Talks about bias! The BBC is openly doing everything possible to hype this up, whoring themselves to the comrades in the Trade Unions. Perhaps you might like to post your thoughts on the rolling coverage here? The BBC reporters appear ENTHUSED as they facilitate the Tory-bashing assembled leftist masses. Heard Ed Balls been given unfettered time to attack the Conservatives and re-write Labour’s central role in helping bring about the deficit that these assembled fools deny.

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JENNI MURRAY – VICTIM OF THE VRWC

Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray was on Radio 4’s Feedback today (approx 7 mins in) defending herself against feminist anger over a recent stand-up routine she did as part of Comic Relief. It seems Murray used the word “bitches” and had committed the unforgivable crime (in feminist circles) of calling herself a “girl”. She pointed out that she was trying to be funny (the use of “bitches”, for example, was part of a mock urban slang bit of the sort heard with tiresome regularity from “real” Radio 4 comedians such as Mark Steel, her mentor for the Comic Relief exercise).

Before explaining the “ironic” nature of her comedy routine, Murray treated us to a brief history of the phrase “political correctness”. Referring to herself in the third person, she reminded right-on listeners everywhere about the real enemy:

“Who would’ve thought that Jenni Murray, queen of all things politically correct, would’ve landed herself in trouble accused of using unacceptable language? Well let’s deal first of all with those words “politically correct”, the ubiquitous “PC”. I never use them. It was an expression promoted by advisers to George Bush Sr during his presidency and was a plot by the extreme right wing in America to put down people like me.”

A pillar of the BBC possessing a deranged antipathy towards an imagined “extreme right wing in America”. Who’d have guessed, eh?

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The BBC and The Obamessiah: The Veil Lifts Ever So Slightly

Something very interesting happened the other day: BBC News Online allowed through an article that was slightly critical of the President, and even pointed out His escalation of Bush’s war policies. Because the BBC is generally relentless in their positive coverage, support, and plain old propaganda on behalf of the White House, I thought it was important to give credit where it’s due, even if there are a couple of problems with the piece. If it wasn’t such a rare event, it wouldn’t seem so remarkable. But it is.

Andrew North is actually allowed to frown, if only gently, at the fact that a Noble Peace Prize winner was the deciding vote in starting yet another war. Even the sub-editor tasked with writing the headline gets into the act.

Libya: Barack Obama’s step from Nobel winner to warrior

Why it took Andrew North to do this and not the BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell, I have no idea. Mardell is the one who is supposed to be giving his insight on these things, explaining the issues to us, helping create that rapport with the US the BBC wants you to have.

North begins by outlining the current wars He’s running:

It probably wasn’t what the Nobel committee had in mind when it awarded the Peace Prize to President Barack Obama two years ago.

Two months later he ramped up the war in Afghanistan, sending in 30,000 extra US troops.

Now he has ordered massive air strikes on Libya – with United Nations backing, but still with the United States in the lead.

Judged by his actions, this supposedly anti-war president looks almost as warlike as President George W Bush.

If you include Mr Obama’s increased use of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, he’s got the US involved in more conflicts than his much-criticised predecessor.

I have to say I’m impressed. This is the first time I’ve seen this presented in a BBC report. There have been others mentioning various elements individually, but no one has put it together like this and actually point the finger at the Nobel laureate this way. Of course, it’s a bit silly to say that the current President is “almost as warlike” as His predecessor when the very next sentence contradicts it by saying that He is involved in even more conflicts, but I’ll let that slide. After all, one can’t expect a believer to abandon his faith all in one go.

Then we get the obligatory defense:

Judged by Mr Obama’s words though, he is in plenty of internal conflict over his decisions.

Far from beating the drums of war, he keeps highlighting the risks and promising US action on Libya will last “days not weeks”.

He is conflicted, alright. He ran on a platform of shrinking the US’s position in the world (whether one likes it or not, that’s what it amounts to), and allowed the media to define His foreign policy goals as being dialogue and smart diplomacy above all else. President Teddy Roosevelt used to say that a good policy was to “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” (He didn’t originally use it in regards to military action, but it came to be used that way later.) The current President, however, wanted to speak softly and carry not a stick but a big carrot.

One can imagine how difficult it must have been for Him, then, when the world asked Him to bring out the big stick of US military force. He must hate it. North’s analysis of the hows and whys, though, seems to misunderstand what’s really going on.

Take a glance at the opinion polls and you can see why.

Less than a week since the first cruise missiles were launched, the clock is already ticking on how long Americans will back him.

Polls by Gallup, CBS and CNN since the attack show Mr Obama’s approval ratings hovering around 50%.

Now, I can find a couple of other polls which show His approval ratings even lower, but it’s only a few percentage points, and not not worth splitting hairs over. We all know this is more or less where His ratings have been for some time, even dipping a couple points below 50% here and there, which is key to North’s goal here. What he’s trying to do is point out how odd it is that His approval ratings are still so low.

Hardly encouraging, when the start of a military campaign is usually the high point of public support.

This is where North’s analysis goes off the rails. The public isn’t displeased with the fact that He’s started a military campaign, per se, but with the way he dithered deliberated for weeks while the rest of the world (including the Secretary of State and other officials) was wondering if there was anyone at home. North then makes an astonishing comparison:

Surveys gave President Bush 90% approval ratings when he went into Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.

Even for the early stages of the 2003 Iraq invasion, his ratings were over 60%. They went downhill from then on.

Now, I don’t believe that North thinks that we United Statesians are such warmongers, always calling for what Mardell described as an “unapologetically aggressive America storming ahead”, full stop, regardless of the circumstances. So when the President starts yet another war, North doesn’t expect us to foam at the mouth and wave the flag and worship our leader, just because we’re happy for another bit of the old ultra-violence. It’s very clumsy, but North is setting up the reader to understand that, while the public had a reason to be overwhelmingly in favor of invading Afghanistan, there is no such motivation this time.

Alternatively, it might be that many in the country have been unhappy with the way He’s acted for the last month and more. Contrary to Mardell’s belief that we’re mostly a bunch of knuckle-dragging warmongers, “obsessed with the notion of American decline”, many of us wanted the President to lead when asked to do so by the Libyans themselves, as well as by the UN. As I’ve said before, it seems a bit silly to claim that only extremists want their country to have a strong international position (which, please, let’s not define as merely blowing up and occupying whatever we want, whenever we want, but rather something more prosaic and diplomatic). Standing with Muslims hoping for freedom is exactly the kind of thing He promised in that infamous Cairo speech, and of course He never expected to have to actually do it.

But that would only explain part of why His approval numbers are not in the stratosphere. North invites us to “dig deeper”, and notice that only 47% of the public actually approve of the military action against Libya.

North earns more points in my book by actually pointing out the hypocrisy contradiction between the words of Candidate Obamessiah and His incarnation as President:

“We need better judgment when we decide to send our young men and women into war,” said one of the candidates in the 2008 White House race.

He listed three key benchmarks: “an imminent threat”, protecting “American interests” and a “plan to succeed and to exit”.

That candidate of course was Barack Obama. Does President Obama meet his own benchmarks in going into Libya?

North goes on to point out that only 40% of us think Libya is important in this way, and many more are unsure. It’s fair to say that this is a bipartisan thing. Lots of people on both sides of the political spectrum don’t think it’s necessarily a priority for us. Militarily, strategically, it really isn’t. But there’s more to geopolitical strategy than where one puts the troops. There is also the notion that the US could have put our money where our mouth is and taken the lead – like everyone was asking us to – in helping Muslims gain the freedom and independence they were asking for. If we had started this no-fly zone stuff a month ago, things would be very different now. Ghaddafi wouldn’t have been emboldened so much, wouldn’t have had time to strengthen his military position, wouldn’t have watched us blink and felt like he could go the distance. The US military could have done the exact same thing they’ve done in the last few days, and then backed off and handed the reins over to NATO or Cowboy Dave or whomever, and the President would have looked like a star.

But that’s not what happened at all. Instead, the President made us look weak, and made Himself look feckless. To everyone except Mark Mardell, of course, who was recently trying to tell us He was a genius and the only reason the stupid United Statesians were upset is because He made the UN relevant again. He’s still defending the President on his blog now, but that’s a matter for another time. Back to Andrew North:

Leading that charge is the Republican House Speaker John Boehner, but rumblings of discontent are being heard from the Democratic side too.

Rumblings, eh? Too bad North didn’t find space to mention all those Democrat Congressmen calling for His impeachment, or the anger of Michael Moore, or – *gasp* – St. Jon Stewart.

The President is not looking good to very many people these days. And it’s not just because He’s doing something some people don’t like. It’s because of a total lack of leadership, communication, and capability in this situation. People on both sides have seen it and commented on it, yet North only focuses on the fact that many people don’t think we should be going after Ghaddafi as the reason why His approval numbers aren’t up. That’s only part of the story, and certainly not the real lesson to be learned here.

Still, though, I want to give Andrew North and his boss credit for even daring to point out that the President has escalated Bush’s wars, killed more people with drones, and started yet another military action, all in the face of the Nobel prize.

And to his credit, North even emailed the Nobel committee asking for comment. No surprise that they didn’t respond.

So, is this a sign that the veil is being lifted ever so slightly? Is it dawning on the Beeboids that He isn’t everything they thought He was? I’m not sure, as this piece is mostly about how the public simply don’t approve of the war on Libya, and not about how He handled the situation for the previous six weeks or so. But it’s pretty clear that there’s a separation between what North is saying here and the Narrative we keep hearing from Mardell and others. The agenda has not been forced all the way through. So there may yet be hope.

It’s a rare occasion, so I think it’s worth noting.

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Being Had by Has-beens

Hilarious edition of The Reunion radio 4 just now on the Brixton riots.
Discussion between some self-hating policemen, reformed rioters-done-good and Darcus Howe.
Nostalgia for the days when institutionally racist rozzers were outwitted by dem oppressed unemployed rastas, cruelly forced to smoke dope and have loud parties because of hopelessness, uselessness, and being targeted under racist stop’n’search. “Not because street crime was mainly perpetrated by blacks?” asked Sue MacGreg feebly. “We needed to be left alone/provided with jobs ” was the conclusion.
BBC blast-from-the-past Darcus Howe, spokesman for oppressed black communities, kept on and on about his fambley. As if we’ve forgotten all about his notorious spat with Joan Rivers over racism and his abandoned son.

Multiculturalism. Appease it or lookout.

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INDIFFERENCE?

As regards the slaughter of the Fogel family by Palestinian savages ( and I chose that word very carefully), I commend this piece to you. It doesn’t single out the BBC in particular, but then again, it doesn’t have to. Sue covers Louise Bagshaw’s article below. The one bit in Bagshaw’s article that surprised me was this….

“Like many of us, I consider the BBC to be a national treasure. I am not a BBC basher; I have never before complained. I do not support nor do I condone the Israeli settlement building…..”

You are spectacularly uninformed, Louise.
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Question Time LiveBlog 24th March 2011


Question Time tonight comes from London.

On the panel we have ex-spook and future Foreign Secretary Rory Stewart MP, the “ginger rodentDanny Alexander MP, newt-loving nutter Ken Livingstone, rocker-druggie Mick’s ex-wife Bianca Jagger and historian Niall Ferguson.

Red Ken on tonight, eh? Doubtless Boris will be on next week for Mayoral election balance? No, thought not. On a positive note, though, QT will follow a Party Budget Broadcast by Red Ed which should cost him a couple of points in the polls.

The LiveBlog will also cover the insane This Week, with Andrew Neil, Michael Portillo, a random lefty politician and a veritable smorgasbord of hangers-on. Let’s see if they can top the owl-eyed and off-her-face fashion designer from last week who mumbled some disconnected views about nuclear power.

TheEye and David Mosque will be cutting fuel tax here from 10:30pm.

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Twitter To Replace BBC?

As Melanie Phillips says, Louise Bagshawe’s piece in the Telegraph is startling, but for reasons beyond the BBC’s insultingly cursory and misleading coverage of the atrocity in Itamar.

Although Louise Bagshawe’s article was like a breath of fresh air, it’s astonishing that anyone, let alone an MP, had to write it.

It was slightly disturbing that Ms Bagshawe was surprised it wasn’t reported prominently on the BBC and that she had to find out about it on Twitter, which surely implies that MPs normally rely on the BBC. Indeed we should all be able to count on the BBC’s ability to impart news and current affairs impartially and fully, but as it is we must just hope and trust that any MP worth his salt will be aware that if they want to know the whole truth – so help me God – they need to look beyond the Beeb.

It is startling that Tweeting on Twitter is the only way one can get a response from the BBC, and astonishing that the response took the shape of an offhand brush-off.

If MPs are going to involve themselves in foreign affairs, and they all have to vote on such things from time to time, it’s their responsibility to familiarise themselves with both the history and the current situation. Being shown round Gaza by CAABU or watching The Promise on Channel 4 is not enough. MPs should also be smart enough to recognise when and how the BBC’s coverage is slanted against Israel. They should understand that bias has been practised obsessively and continuously for decades and explains the mass ignorance facing us now.

The comments below any article relating to Israel, anywhere, reveal the depth of hatred for Israel and Jews that the BBC has bestowed upon the public.
Commenters frequently set out a string of falsehoods before launching into torrents of abuse.
People believe that Jews somehow manipulated Britain into permitting them, illegally, to drive Arabs out of their homes at gunpoint, and from then on to oppress and murder the indigenous Palestinians willy-nilly.
When the BBC bombards us with one-sided emotive and misleading reporting and omits everything that would let people reach a sensible and balanced conclusion, no wonder nearly everyone including Chris Patten hates Israel.

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A LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU

Have to laugh at the BBC’s unremittingly bleak coverage of the Budget. The sneering tone ran across all their media formats. I caught Osborne being interviewed on Today (8.10am) and I thought he did rather well. He was quick to correct Naughie when he tried to mischaracterise what had been clearly said. And rightly so. Somehow, when Osborne said GROWTH, A MILLION JOBS – the BBC heard GLOOM, MISERY. You can see the BBC wincing that it is not Brown and Darling coming forth to talk their drivel each year at this time.

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BUDGET SUICIDE

As Richard North sagely notes this morning, the most important priority with budgets is to watch what the chancellor is doing with his other hand or behind his back. Wee Georgie slipped in the news that the government was chillingly pressing ahead with plans to triple investment (to £3bn) in the Green Investment Bank, and also to put an insane floor on the cost of UK CO2 emissions. So the 1p fuel duty “relief” has to be seen in the context of intensifying plans to create more fuel poverty, ratchet up domestic fuel tariffs and to add more layers to the bureaucratic straitjacket that is crippling British enterprise and innovation. Richard Black, of course, is worried that this is not enough. He goes for his hectoring quotes first to an outfit called Transform UK, which is a predictable alliance of green fascists on the make. Next stop is EDF energy, one of the companies that is at the forefront of conning us about so-called green energy investment. And finally, of course, he brings in John Sauven, of Greenpeace UK, to warn that – despite Mr Osborne’s craven acceptance of the need for spending billions more on green lunacy – his tactics amount to suicide and a failure to meet green policy promises. Anything that attacks a Tory chancellor will do.

As usual, Mr Black ignores any opinion that might suggest alternatives, and funnily enough, I especially don’t see a quote there from groups representing those such as pensioners and the poor who are facing continuing needless hardship as a result of all this idiocy and profligacy.

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WHAT THEY DON’T REPORT…

Anyone spotted this on the BBC yet? It’s over on Harry’s Place but the State Broadcaster with it’s multi-billion resources seems to have overlooked it;

Press Release: British Muslims for Israel condemns Jerusalem Bomb Plot

British Muslims for Israel condemns the terrorist attack in Jerusalem today.Such acts of indiscriminate violence are never justified, hurt the cause ofPalestinians and harden public opinion in Israel. Hasan Afzal, a spokesperson for British Muslims for Israel says “Today’sattacks seem to be of a piece with the extreme violence perpetrated againstIsraelis in the last few weeks. First we had the Itamar massacre, then abarrage of rocket attacks from Palestine into Israel and now the attack inJerusalem. These attacks hurt all sides, and help no one.”

Afzal added “Recent events have shown that groups such as Hamas and the Al-AqsaMartyrs’ Brigade are determined to kill indiscriminately and use ordinaryPalestinians as hostages to their cause. We urge all British Muslims to condemnthese senseless attacks which block any attempts for peace and ruin the livesof both Israelis and Palestinians”.

For further information, please call (+44) 7590 67 66 91 or email [email protected]

Meanwhile….


There is a web report of the killing of 6 people by Syrian security forcesoutside a mosque….but not on the Radio….but the bomb in Jerusalem bypersons unknown does make it in….the BBC manage to avoid mentioning thesecurity wall that has stopped nearly all such attacks so far….the BBCphrases things so that we are lead to believe the lack of bombs is down toPalestinian goodwill and peaceful intent….’Jerusalem suffered a spate of busbombings between 2000 and 2004 but attacks had stopped in recent years.’

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NO INTEREST IN HIGH INTEREST

It’s odd the things that Stephanie Flanders overlooks; A B-BBC reader observes;
“Distinct lack of interest from the BBC economic reporters on the record borrowing for February. This gives the lie to Labour’s, and Balls’ claim of ‘cutting too far too fast’.

Shame the BBC cannot bring itself to delve into the figures and shed some light on Balls’ claims…though John Humphrys let slip a non-Party line this morning in a reaction to the debt figures…’Presumably we’ve got to do something about that pretty sharply!’ …presumably not too sharply nor too soon.

If we had record borrowing in February at a time when, as John Humphrys categorises them, we are having ‘enormous cuts’ I imagine if we weren’t cutting we would be borrowing even more.

Remarkably uncommented on by the BBC.

Remarkable as the interest payments on the present debt is nearly £50bn…more than spent on defense or education….borrow more and that interest payment would go up even more…too fast and too far?

Every household pays £1900 per year just to pay off that interest, the full debt burden on every single person in the UK is £14,814 each.

Thanks Gordon, thanks Ed Balls, thanks Ed Miliband….all with their fingerprints on Labours ‘Golden Years’.

Apparently Balls is riding high in the opinion polls….he must have a very good PR team.”

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