I apologize in advance for any unpleasant images that title may have evoked. As most people here will know, I’m wont to complain about how Mardell is little more than a British mouthpiece for the White House Press Office. I’ve written at length about how this or that report or blogpost from him is supporting the President’s cause, spouting White House talking points, etc.
This time, though, it’s Mardell himself explaining what the White House talking points are. And it doesn’t take much to see how he and his BBC colleagues are in lock-step with the White House propaganda machine.
One has to feel a little sorry for the BBC’s US President, though. He was supposed to be wallowing in a political event, reporting on Romney accepting the nomination and whatever negative stuff he can imagine. But the Republican convention has been delayed because of the storm, so is stuck having to make something up instead. He’s got copy to file one way or the other, so I suppose the White House talking points have to get in there somehow. However, in casually laying these point out, Mardell inadvertently reveals himself and his colleagues for the White House shills that they are.
First, Mardell cleverly tries to use the storm as a metaphor for the impending doom he wants you think Romney’s campaign senses. They’ve been battered and put off message recently, he explains, and Romney is going to face a tough crowd. No, really.
The house band blast out a sound check, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer rehearses a walk and talk for his show. Everything in the vast auditorium is bathed in blue and red lights, atmospheric, but curiously reminiscent of emergency vehicles at a crash scene.
Yeah, it’s a bit ham-fisted, I know. But it’s not easy churning this stuff out on demand, you know. In any case, this is a not so subtle introduction to the White House talking points. In fact, it’s one of them: Romney is in trouble already.
Still, Republicans are crossing their fingers that there’ll be no accidents this week. They hope that Isaac will miss and Mitt will be a hit.
Who at this point – outside the Beltway and the HuffingtonPost, anyway – still thinks the Republican Party is going to turn on Romney and they won’t rally around him for the goal of unseating the President? This is a mentality from six months ago. Sure, Mardell was right all along that most of the Republican Party and sympathetic conservatives and independents wanted just about anyone but Romney. But that was then and this is now. There’s no way that lingering animosity towards him outweighs the desire to prevent the resurrection of The Obamessiah.
Now for the talking points. I’ll let the BBC’s US President editor explain:
He may not applaud all the statements coming from the floor when the convention does kick off. He has a tricky path to walk.
He might want to convince the conservative base that he really is one of them. But he doesn’t want to play into the hands of the Democrats who are determined to depict him as a scary reactionary in thrall to nutters and cranks.
Nobody is going to depict Romney as a reactionary. Mardell is straining here. But “nutters and cranks”? That’s pretty much how most Beeboids describe the Tea Party movement. But now that Mardell has laid it out there for you, pay attention from now on to how many of the usual BBC suspects start saying that on air.
President Obama, apparently determined to distract attention from the economy, said in an interview this weekend that Romney had “signed up for extreme positions”.
You mean like how BBC economics editor tweeted that Romney had gone “so extreme” by picking Paul Ryan as running mate?
The Obama campaign team pulled out all the stops to link Romney’s name to that of the once obscure congressman Todd Akin, who coined the ugly phrase “legitimate rape”.
You mean like how you and your colleagues pulled out all the stops to spread the story all over the place and link Romney inextricably with Akin? In a way, I should point out, that you don’t do with things that might make the President look bad.
By the time they were through, the uninformed might think Todd Akin was the third name on the ticket.
So would BBC audiences. He’s really writing my jokes for me.
The president’s campaign went into overdrive to highlight an awkward joke Mr Romney made about his birth certificate, suggesting he had strayed into “birther” territory.
You mean like how BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America tweeted that Romney’s joke was “dangerous”?
But they’ve already been buffeted off message in the last week by Mr Obama’s accusations.
Really? Is that why polls now have Romney as tied with or even slightly ahead of the President? So where is Mardell telling you that the President is equally in trouble, campaign on the back foot, after all the missteps like “You didn’t build that”, or the harshly criticized bogus ad accusing Romney of being responsible for a woman dying of cancer, or the Democrat mouthpiece who accused Romney of committing a felony – both of which the President Himself had to
dance around deal with a question about it at His recent press conference? Don’t make me laugh. The BBC censored all news of it save for one brief mention by Mardell in a blog post. Which he, naturally, defended.
See, it’s not just me saying this or that is a White House talking point. This is the BBC’s top man in the US, a life-long political junkie, highly trained and an experienced journalist with close contacts in the White House, who regularly receives press releases and emails and all the relevant information, telling you that these are White House talking points. Which he and his colleagues then dutifully support.
Oh, and the whole idea that Romney is in trouble and needs to get his game going for this convention? Don’t take my word for it that it’s a White House talking point: read it on the White House website.