The BBC’s US President editor is in New Hampshire to cover the Republican Primary. “It’s the economy, stupid” is the running gag these days about the number one reason why the President might not be re-elected. Among the elite media, anyway. Much of the rest of the country might be worried about His continued assault on gun rights, poor performance on stopping illegal immigration, the constant class war rhetoric, the possibly unconstitutional power grabs and recess appointments, His poor foreign policy record, and His general apparent incompetence to improve anything, but that doesn’t interest Mardell or his fellow travelers. And we never hear about any of that from the BBC anyway, so it may as well not exist for the purposes of this discussion.
As Mitt Romney solidifies his lead over Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, where do you think the BBC’s top man in the US goes to keep his finger on the pulse of the people? A Jon Huntsman gathering. Who?
Yes, Mardell went to a gathering of supporters of the candidate who has been at the bottom of the polls from the beginning. Huntsman is now getting a little play in New Hampshire, because that state is full of Reagan Democrats, who basically were the “independents” who voted for The Obamessiah in 2008. To support his attendance at a Huntsman event, he points to an article by the Left-wing (but not identified as such, contrary to what Jane Bradley said they should do) Daily Beast which says Huntsman had his best debate performance yet. In other words, Democrats like him, so Mardell is on the scene. I’d be more impressed if he had found a non-Left article speaking positively about Huntsman.
Now, you might be saying, “Hey, Dave, Hunstman is suddenly on the rise, so it’s logical that Mardell would check out his gathering to see what’s up.” Well, he didn’t do that for Santorum, who rocketed up from the bottom of the polls in Iowa. He went to a Ron Paul rally after a quick stop at a Romney speech. The BBC instead sent Peter Marshall of Newsnight to laugh at Santorum. Contrary to the tone here, Santorum’s rise was discussed with distaste in BBC reporting.
No, Mardell has liked Huntsman from the beginning. He was mentioning Huntsman when the man was not even a blip on the radar, yet didn’t mention Herman Cain until after the first debate, when he dismissed Cain out of hand. Last September, Mardell told an audience at the BBC College of Journalism that he liked Huntsman as a candidate and especially that Democrats liked him. I think that about sums it up right there. But this is at least as much about defending the President as it is about Huntsman.
For his latest, Mardell is talking to some other Republican voters. What’s especially troubling about this report is that Mardell also seizes an opportunity to defend the President on the economy.
Do Republican attacks on Obama strike a chord?
Actual Republican voters in New Hampshire are more conservative, or at least used to be. Reagan lost a primary to Pat Buchanan, for example. The state has, though, seen a serious increase in Democrat voters in the last few years. The problem is that the state also has this rather lax, same-day voter registration deal, so people can switch parties or independents can sign up for one (one has to be registered for a party to vote in the primary) on the day in order to flood the polls for a given candidate. There are rumors that out-of-state Paul minions are coming in to take advantage of this as well. So the particular circumstances of New Hampshire benefit Huntsman more than just about any other candidate.
But Mardell is there more to defend the President than to push Huntsman. So he talks to some Huntsman supporters about their thoughts on the economy. First, he talks to an actual Republican, a business owner and son of a former Republican governor and White House staffer. Chris Sununu definitely blames the President for the bad economy. Mardell, though, questions him.
I put it to him that is fine as political rhetoric, but question whether Obama’s policies have really hurt his thriving ski resort.
Somebody show me an example of Mardell doing this to an Obamessiah supporter. He let’s Sununu answer the question, but then dismisses it.
Not everyone agrees that the language of the campaign reflects reality.
It’s very clever how he emphasizes that this is “rhetoric”, which devalues the position. In the interest of balance, of course, Mardell then talks to someone who – what a shock – doesn’t like where the Republican Party is going. Donald Byrne is one of those “independents” registering specifically for this primary I was talking about. It would be more informative if he’d found an actual Republican who felt differently, but I guess one right-winger a day is all he can stomach. Tell me if any of the following sounds eerily familiar to everything the BBC has been telling about the Republicans:
He says the language used about Obama is pandering to the base.
“I think the Republican party in the United States has shifted very far to the right,” he says.
“Being a moderate is a negative in this campaign and that’s very unfortunate, because the majority of Americans are moderate and well balanced in their thought process.
“There is too much pandering to these right-wing extreme sides.”
This could have been copied and pasted from any number of BBC reports. Actually, it sounds like a good White House talking point. Wake me up when Mardell finds an “independent” who says that the Democrats have moved too far to the Left, and that it’s bad for the President to pander to Left-wing extremes. No, to Mardell, that’s a good thing, what He should be doing.
One thing Mardell neglected to tell you about Byrne is that he hosted a Huntsman gathering at his own home last month, and that he doesn’t like Romney’s strong talk against China. It’s pretty obvious that a software entrepreneur with a vested business interest in dealing with China is going to like the former Ambassador to China who sucked up to them. The “pandering” to extremists Byrne was talking about was, in fact, about anti-China rhetoric and not, as Mardell wants you think, specifically about the US economy. So a little dishonesty from Mardell there to help his Narrative.
To further defend the President on the economy and convince you that the fiscally conservative position is actually an extremist one, Mardell found a big-government Republican and economist who worked for the first President Bush. You won’t be surprised to learn that he says that the debate between Keynesian and Milton Friedman economics is silly. It’s more between Keynes and Hayek, but Friedman is a big American name, so we’ll accept that. In any case, Mr. Bastani says that neither approach works, and anyways Keynesian economics has become the middle ground. If Mardell asked him if anything the President has done might have harmed the economy, we aren’t told. Did he censor that bit, or did he just not bother to ask at all? Either way, you’re left with a specific Narrative.
That’s the same message you’ve heard over and over again from a number of Beeboids, isn’t it? How many times have we heard “Two Eds” Flanders say it? How many times has the BBC gotten Blanchflower or some other Left-wing pundit to say this? Mardell himself has said (at that now infamous BBC CoJ appearance) that the British public support endless deficit spending, and that the President is “the last Keynesian standing”. He thinks that’s the answer. So he went out and found people to support his own personal position. And we know his own personal position, because he revealed it in front of the BBC CoJ camera.
Both these reports from New Hampshire were written from his own personal viewpoint: Huntsman is the good candidate, Keynesian policies are best (it’s a misunderstood Keynesianism, actually, as the man himself never promoted an endless, infinite deficit), the other Republican candidates are extremist, and that any talk of the President hurting the economy is mere rhetoric.
As a result, you’re not informed about what’s going in New Hampshire, but you do get a message.
UPDATE: In case there’s any doubt about the reality of Huntsman’s supporters, here’s a video of some supporters who think he’s practically a Democrat. Notice how they whine about evangelicals just like Mardell and the other Beeboids do.