Stop the War!

George Galloway is currently being fawned over by BBC Radio Scotland, on of all things football programme ‘Off the Ball’.

‘…It’s a pleasure and a privilege…’

‘…You showed them…’


‘…Americans are thickies, just look at the president!…’

UPDATE ADDED 29 MAY: USS Neverdock saw this post and expanded on it, including an audio clip.

According to the BBC, capitalism is causing famine in North Korea

Over at Samizdatathey have an interesting post about how, according to the BBC, capitalism is causing famine in North Korea (as opposed to Stalinist communism being the root cause of that country’s ills).

I particularly liked “Market reforms introduced in North Korea in recent years mean most people only get about half the food they need through the state and have to buy the rest themselves.”

Nasty right-wingers

A leader from today’s Telegraph:

…in the BBC’s world, being called Right-wing is every bit as injurious to your good name as being thought to be a genocidal monster…”

Click here for full article (registration may be required)

A subject previously covered on this very blog, good to see mainstream media catching up.

Not biased, just dumbed down

Discussing the arrest of seven people and recovery of £2.3M by the Irish police, which is almost certainly linked to the IRA robbery at Northern Bank, BBC Radio Scotland news ‘anchorman’ Andrew Cassell in discussion with a fellow BBC hack came out with the following gem:

“So they [the IRA] must be bricking it

For the uninitiated, bricking it means to have, er, loose bowels.

Americans are thick – Bush to blame

This morning, impartial and objective BBC Radio Scotland decided to discuss the death penalty as practiced in the United States.

So who did the BBC choose to join presenter Gary Robertson for this impartial and objective discussion? None other than Sister Helen Prejean, long time campaigner against the death penalty.

The discussion then proceeded along the lines of ‘how could something so awful still be part of the US legal system?’ with both Helen Prejean and Robertson offering nothing but criticism.

Here’s the reasons why:

  • Americans are thick
  • Americans lack the sophistication of older more mature European societies
  • Religious nutcases
  • The Bushes both support the death penalty

Of course, Bill Clinton’s endorsement of the death penalty whilst in office both in the Whitehouse and Arkansas went unmentioned, as did his reasons for doing so.

I’d also point out the opinion polls here in the UK frequently show considerable support for the death penalty for certain crimes, for all our ‘sophistication’ and ‘maturity’.

Personally I don’t support the death penalty, but if the subject is to be covered it should not be covered in such an openly partisan way.

It seems to me as a listener that anti-Americanism is ingrained as an acceptable bigotry within the BBC.

You and Yours, and racism in the countryside of England

Of all the BBC programmes on a poor (cheap) Radio 4 daytime schedule, You and Yours is the most openly and regularly biased. It expresses its BBC soft left bias in a number of ways – in the way it approaches subjects, and the subjects that it chooses to cover. Here is You and Yours in a nutshell:

– People are never responsible for their own actions, people are various types of victim

– Companies are bad

– Government intervention is always good

– ‘Something must be done’

Today’s programme was a classic.

‘Why don’t black and ethnic minority people visit rural places like the Peak District?’

First of all, let me tell you about visiting the Peak District – I did this on a weekly basis not so long ago.

1. Get up at 6:00 am

2. Buy train ticket to Matlock, Derbyshire

3. Take train to Matlock

4. Exit station

5. Start walking, ideally in a north or north-west direction

6. Avoid fields with bulls in them

7. Return when tired, wet or sunburnt (or all three together on some days)

8. Er, that’s it

Now, back to racism in the countryside.

Cue a lunatic from the ‘Black Environment Network’. Non-whites don’t access the countryside due to ‘blatant racism’. Apparently some lunatics are holding a conference somewhere on this subject.

Cue black BBC reporter sent to Hathersage. Hathersage is a pretty little village by the Derwent on the Manchester/Sheffield train line. Our reporter laments a ‘lack of black faces’, but admires the view and buys a cake from a cheerful young woman. I’ve obviously missed this, but I didn’t think that black people were now compulsory in every location – but evidently they are.

To be fair to the hapless reporter, I think he was rather embarrassed about this assignment. Even he said the reason he was not a regular rural visitor was because he preferred cities – ‘I prefer cinemas’.

Cue more lunatics, explaining it’s all about racism. The You and Yours presenter laps this up.

I’ve got news for You and Yours. Just because some nutters are holding a conference, it doesn’t mean you need to take them seriously, or devote 15 minutes of airtime. So long as people are free, and not impeded from spending their time as they choose, what is the problem? Although the BBC indoctrinates its staff to believe that race is the root of all evil, sometimes it just might not be true.

The BBC Missionary Position

– it’s like the normal missionary position, except you approach it from the left.

When the corporation that spent a reported £2M on Popetown (an everyday story about corrupt Catholic cardinals and a mad Pope ) and the presenter Gavin Esler (author and presenter of The New Jerusalem, a hymn to the welfare state in Britain) decide to discuss the subject of Christian missionaries, the outcome is decidedly predictable.

So it was during yesterdays edition of ‘Four Corners’ on Radio 4 (sadly not available online) – one of a large number of cheap ‘talking head’ programmes that typify the Radio 4 schedule. Hosted by Esler, one of the subjects was the decline of Christian belief in Britain contrasting with the strength of Christian belief overseas. This is a subject worthy of discussion.

The focus of discussion was primarily on the work of Christian missionaries overseas, where Christianity is a growing religion. To discuss this with Esler, they had a researcher and a Muslim cleric (I’m sorry I did not get the names – no pen to hand at the time). Needless to say, Christian missionaries are generally a Bad Thing because…

– They sell Christian beliefs on the basis of ‘this religion gets you a better job, and a nicer car’

– You can be as greedy as you want with these Christian beliefs

– They don’t respect local customs

– Christianity is the religion of computers and progress (presumably opposed to Islam)

The researcher and cleric did not bring differing points of view – just the opposite, they kept falling over themselves to say ‘how right you are with that point’.

So, what was wrong with this programme? Simply this – it’s one-sidedness. It would have been nice to hear from some of the recently converted – maybe from Africa or China. Many Africans I’ve met have had a compelling Christian belief. It would have been nice to hear from organisations involved in missionary work, such as the Catholic church. Most importantly, just some other point of view other than the BBC view – this was a good example of an inward-looking BBC talking to itself.

“See me, not the disability”

The BBC has a ‘Disability Champion’ – none other than Mark Byford, arch lefty from the World Service. I’m sure he could give you a lecture about the importance of seeing through a person’s disability to their true capabilities.

Alas, Newsweek Scotland (BBC Radio Scotland) hasn’t been to any of Byford’s seminars.

The show today carried a long article about the killing of Sheikh Yassin, which commenced with

This week Israel used all it’s technology to kill a blind man in a wheelchair

Whilst this is strictly true, the subtext here is that ‘this was a Bad Thing’, and in no way was impartial or unbiased. It is a good example of how you can be both truthful and biased. The presenter, the hopeless John Milne, wanted listeners to be outraged – after all, it isn’t nice to kill blind men in wheelchairs.

That the Sheikh was (according to the BBC) ‘the inspiration behind suicide bombing’ is neither here nor there, but I’d ask the BBC to see through the disability to the man inside.

As a footnote, I’d compare this with the recent BBC coverage of the murder of Leon Klinghoffer (as detailed on this and other blogs) who was also in a wheelchair, but according to the BBC ‘died’ during the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, much like he’d forgotten to take his medicine, rather than ‘shot twice in the head and thrown overboard’.

BBC Reporting by numbers#2:

If saying anything remotely critical of Islam, criticise another religion first.

As reported by 21st March World at One on BBC Radio 4, al-Qa’eda issued a statement after the Madrid bombing, part of which said

You [the West] love life, we [al-Qa’eda] love death

World at One decided this was worthy of discussion, which I though was surprising. The BBC tells us constantly how ‘peace-loving’ Islam is.

So how does this discussion continue and progress – by talking about Christian martyrs of course, and the willingness of early Christians to kill freely, and be killed. So, that’s all right then – it’s nothing new, nothing to get excited about.

Except this. It’s much less of interest to me when people did 1500, 1000 or 500 years ago – many religions seem to have turbulent pasts. What matters to me is what people do and think now. World at One is a news programme, not a history programme.

It should have been the here and now that was the focus of the discussion, not some equivalence-seeking PC nonsense. Needless to say the Islamic cult of death as exhibited by al-Qa’eda, and supported by many, and it’s roots in scripture, were not examined. It’s simply too hot a subject for the BBC.

BBC Reporting by numbers #1

(it’s like painting by numbers, but less intelligent): If an Islamic group commits a terrorist attack, run a story about how the particular ethnic group is ‘oppressed’.

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (20th March) carried a story from their Spanish ‘correspondent’ about the plight of the Moroccan community in Spain.

Let’s start with a Moroccan restaurateur. We are informed about a feeling of suspicion, and

business after the Madrid bombings was down on the Sunday, with fewer customers than usual.

The implication was that the Spanish are boycotting the restaurant out of pique, or are afraid to go anywhere near a Moroccan. We are not reminded that the Sunday in question was election day in Spain, and was three days after the Madrid bombings. These things may have had some affect on restaurant business generally.

So much for the Spanish people, time for the police, who are

inspecting the papers of immigrants in the main square

The police aren’t rounding people up and locking them in cells, just inspecting papers. If felt listening to this that I was meant to see this as oppressive, or sinister, or both. I just saw it as sensible – 200+ people dead, I expect Spain to be in a state of heightened security.

Repeat after me : Right-wingers are the root of all evil.

Tonight’s hourly Radio 4 news summaries are carrying a story from Iran about how a few hundred political candidates have been stopped from electoral participation by Iran’s Guardian Council. This Guardian Council is a part of the theocratic political system in Iran.

Fair enough. Except that the newsreader adds

“…the Guardian Council is dominated by right-wingers”.

So the Guardian Council believe in individual liberty and responsibility, free markets, and a smaller state? Somehow I don’t think so. I would advise the BBC that applying the terms left-wing and right-wing to the complex political system in Iran is misleading.

While I’m on this subject, BBC2 has recently run a tedious series starring arch-lefty Stephen Fry called ‘Absolute Power’. One of the episodes featured another bunch of ‘right-wingers’ – a group of Countryside Alliance types who wanted to start their own political party.

Within two seconds of them appearing on screen, I turned to my wife & said ‘they’ll either be Nazis or repressed homosexuals – or both’. Sure enough, it transpires they really are Nazis, complete with swastikas.

Thanks BBC as always for your sensitive portrayal of non-left views.

Good Morning Scotland

is BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship morning news programme.

During the 11th November edition from 6:00am onwards, BBC Radio Scotland ran the following in their half-hourly news summary very prominently

“Over 2 million people in Britain are malnourished. The elderly, poor, socially isolated and chronically sick are particularly vulnerable”

Sounds like a case for higher welfare payments and ‘social inclusion’ – right? Presenter Maihri Stuart interviewed one of the authors of the report that prompted this headline at around 7:50am, clearly of the opinion that this was a poverty issue, and possibly connected with Scotland’s notoriously poor diet.

Oops! As the author of the report pointed out “I should say we are really talking here about the very sick – for those in hospital and in poor health one of the first things that can suffer is a person’s appetite”. The report is a warning to healthcare professionals to watch the diet of their patients, and to watch for sudden weight loss.

Not surprisingly, by the 8:30am news summary the item had disappeared without trace. However, anyone listening between 6:00am and 8:00am will have been misinformed.

For me this was an interesting item because I’ve often suspected BBC journalists take press releases from the fax machine, and never read beyond the first paragraph. Is it bias? Only in as much as shows the instinctive, almost knee jerk reaction to any story, and the angle they use to present it.

BBC Bias takes many forms

. It can be expressed in the approach and assumptions made about a subject. It can also be much more subtle, such as in the choice of subjects it gives airtime to, or those that receive no airtime at all. One of the more subtle forms of bias is the ‘wrongly imprisoned’ articles which crop up frequently on BBC radio networks. The ‘wrongly imprisoned’ are always concerning subjects close to the BBC’s heart, and are usually treated with undue respect.

So it was on Radio 4’s Today programme on 6th November. Ed Stourton introduced an item about an ‘anti-capitalist protestor’ arrested in Greece called Simon Chapman. I do not know (and neither does Stourton) if he was going to commit or committed acts of violence – what I do know is that this man travelled to protest at Thessaloniki where the usual groups of violent hooligans were congregating to destroy other peoples property and fight running battles with the police. Chapman has been on hunger strike for four weeks.

The Greeks allege he was arrested with a bag containing molotov cocktails, an axe and a hammer, and is now charged with ‘rebellion’ and G.B.H. Liberal MEP Sarah Ludford has taken up Chapman’s case.

Stourtons first question was real hardball – ‘So you think these charges are dodgy then?

Ludford is then allowed to complain that Chapman has not been given bail, and that ‘it does seem that he has been fitted up’. Stourton does not interject anything here, or point out that anyone likely to abscond bail like a foreign national (especially on such serious charges) has a poor likelihood of bail. The assertion of ‘fitting up’ is not challenged either. I’d rather like to see the evidence for this myself.

The Greek justice system is then trashed by Ludford, and the Greek police accused of ‘beatings’. The item then ends abruptly.

It’s hard to imagine a more one sided account, and I am at a loss to see why this was included at all on a news programme, but I would contrast this with how a far-right thug in the same situation would be treated by the BBC. I’d have like to known for instance if Chapman travelled alone, or as part of a group. Has he any previous convictions for violent protest? I don’t know – I simply was not informed. It was really a soapbox piece presented as news, with one leftie (Stourton) chatting to another (Ludford).

Good Morning Scotland

is Radio Scotland’s flagship morning news programme.

Yesterday, the US Government passed a USD87 billion programme for operations in Iraq – of which is USD18.6 billion is for genuine civil and economic reconstruction. This money is paid as grants (not loans), so does not need to be repaid.

To discuss this significant event with the BBC’s Derek Bateman, the BBC wheeled out Martin Lewis, announced as a ‘US-based political commentator’. They could have announced him as ‘arch self publicist and Beatles historian.’ Read more here .

A few things stood out from the bizarre discourse that followed. Firstly, the tone is always to attack the US government for everything, as Bateman says

“The [US] government is spending more on Iraqi healthcare than American healthcare”

This may be true, but an alternative way of looking at this is it shows the commitment of the US to the country it now occupies.

Lewis chips in with

“the package was passed by voice acclamation, without a proper, formal vote…”

which went unchallenged by the BBC’s Bateman. For me, this was a nice little smear, implying a stitch-up in the Sentate to its Scottish listeners. American readers of this blog will be able to explain better than I that there is nothing sinister about this procedure.

And then comes the following from Lewis, again unchallenged

“During the election in 2000, George Bush said he didn’t believe in nation building abroad…yet here he is investing a huge amount at a very time when the American economy is fragile”

I seem to recall four hijacked airliners, around 3,000 dead people, and the most grievous attack on American civilians in living memory. Maybe, just maybe, this caused a total rethink of American diplomatic and defence policy. Also, although the US is building a very large budget deficit, the US economy is reporting very strong rises in GDP and confidence at the moment.

The question is this : is this bias? Possibly, in that the correct angle to approach any story is that US policy is wrong or corrupt (if you work for the BBC). It is certainly lazy journalism, and does not inform or serve it’s listeners well.