Private Eye:Why The BBCs "Democracy Live" Is Liked By MPs…

Private Eye – always a useful source of behind the scenes chatter about the BBC – has an interesting little titbit in the current issue about Democracy Live, the BBC’s answer to TheyWorkForYou.com.

For the last few years TWFY has become the place to visit for information about MPs and members of the House of Lords. This has not always been popular with our parliamentary representatives because it also reveals their attendance and voting record. Nevertheless the not for profit website, created and overseen by registered charity UK Citizens Online Democracy, has proved a useful tool for opening up the political process to public scrutiny.

Ever willing to muscle in where others have already beaten a pioneering path the BBC, fat with our money, launched DL a few months ago. At it’s core it provides live video feed from parliament and national assemblies plus a search function linking video with Hansard.

At its launch DL received the blessing of Speaker Bercow and sundry MPs and appears to be the flavour of the month with the political class, an accolade that has always eluded the grasp of TWFY – and Private eye thinks it know why….

DL, despite being developed by Autonomy and Blinkx (both closely associated with the iconic IT guru Mike Lynch) somehow appears unable to deliver data on MPs attendance and voting records – how convenient….

The Eye also notes that details about the commissioning of DL remain a “closely guarded secret” and the fact that Mike Lynch also happens to be a member of the BBC Board is, of course, a “mere coincidence”

Any suggestion that the fearless BBC, by not including information about voting and attendance, is cosying up to MPs, can clearly be dismissed as totally without foundation…..

BBC Hall Of Shame – Who AreThe Barons Of Bias?

Over at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism Warner Todd Huston has created a mouth watering list of the “Ten Most Left-Biased American Journalists”. To anyone familiar with the US political scene the names are predictable – Paul Krugman, Chuck Todd, Rick Sanchez and sundry other clones of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf – and the list makes more sense if read in conjunction with Breitbart’s own takedown of the US media elite.

However regular readers of Biased BBC will be aware that the UK media contains a whole regiment of left wing hacks. Some of them, to be fair, inhabit the pages of newspapers and magazines that openly exhibit a left wing bias – but at least we are free to buy or not to buy such publications (and we’ re not buying them – hence the blood seeping out of The Guardian, Independent and Mirror)

But the BBC is, supposedly, a politically neutral organisation financed by a compulsory levy of all those who own a television. It should therefore be above reproach. I fancy, though, that my rephrasing of Breitbart would ring many bells on this side of the pond…(my tweeks italicised)

The BBC loves whistleblowers. Just not when the whistle is blown on them.
The BBC loves transparency. As long as they’re not the ones being exposed.
No steadfast journalism rule is unbendable when it comes to justifying and protecting the racket that is modern journalism, specifically, political journalism in the BBC today. The ends justify the means for the BBC. They lie when they claim to be objective. They lie when they claim to be unbiased, because these so called “truth seekers” are guilty of engaging in open political warfare. And when the whistle is blown, they simply double down

So I invite all B-BBC readers (regulars and newbies) to look again at the Beeb Barons of Bias and suggest possible entrants to a BBC Hall of Shame. Just reach under the stone and bring Jeremy Bowen and his sort into the spotlight accompanied, hopefully, by a succinct justification for each choice.
Let’s see which shifty rodents are plucked out of their BBC holes and into the sunlight….

Surprise, Surprise……BBC is MIA over US Black Panther Voter Intimidation

In Philadelphia on Election Day 2008 two members of the radical New Black Panther Party were filmed intimidating voters outside a polling station. Subsequently the US Justice Dept began investigating the case.

Conservatives were unhappy when last year US Attorney General Eric Holder, the Democratic hack who heads the Justice Dept downgraded the case for what Holder’s officials claimed was lack of evidence. But recently a former Justice Dept official claimed Holder and his senior staff had an alternative agenda.

he believed the case had been narrowed because some of his colleagues in the civil rights division were interested in protecting only minorities. “There is no doubt that some people were hostile to this case,” Adams said in a phone interview.

The US media were all over this story….well, some were – others ignored it. The Washington Post claimed it was missed due to staff overload. A CBS ”journalist” who interviewed Holder on his show did not ask about it because he had been on holiday when it all blew up.

…mmmmmm….

…and the BBC, of course, was MIA over this. As far as the Beeb was concerned this was no story at all. However they did have time to bring up the NAACPs accusation that the Tea Partiers were RACIST!!!!!!!!

No double standard in play, of course – nothing to see here, keep moving……
It’s what we do…..

A Jeremy Bowen Moment In Grenoble?

Just another lively night in Grenoble according to the Beeb website….an armed gang robbed the local casino, police chased them, one of the robbers fired back and wounded an officer. The French police, instead of assembling a team of negotiators and counsellors, shot him dead.

Parts of the city then erupted in riots as “protestors” demonstrated against police brutality.

At first sight his sounds a little strange – is Grenoble the headquarters of the French mafia? Is every other local a gangster?

But then the BBC drops a clue. The dead robber’s name was Karim Boudouba who, it seems, has three previous convictions for armed robbery. Naturally he now becomes Mr Bourdouba – and you know the the Beeb is salivating…..

Mr Boudouda, 27, had three previous convictions for armed robbery.
………..
The riot erupted after a memorial service for Mr Boudouda.

JOYFUL BBC – CLIMATE CHANGE IS A BELIEF….

This was regarded as so important that it was on the BBC News website front page

A man has been told he can take his employer to tribunal on the grounds he was unfairly dismissed because of his views on climate change.

Tim Nicholson, 42, of Oxford, was made redundant in 2008 by Grainger Plc in Didcot, as head of sustainability.
He said his beliefs had contributed to his dismissal and in March a judge ruled he could use employment equality laws to claim it was unfair.
But the firm appealed against this as it believed his views were political.

After the hearing on Monday, Mr Nicholson said he was delighted by the judgement for himself and other people who may feel they are discriminated against because of their views on climate change.
His solicitor, Shah Qureshi, said: “Essentially what the judgment says is that a belief in man-made climate change and the alleged resulting moral imperative is capable of being a philosophical belief and is therefore protected by the 2003 religion or belief regulations.”

Naturally the BBC is delighted. For years they have been shilling for the likes of Monbiot and Gore, pushing man made global warming as a political message and doing their best to ignore or demean anyone who questioned the theory. With judges veering towards the classification of the theory as a “belief” it could mean that critics could be identified as “climate change deniers”. From that it would only be a short step to the creation of denial as an offence against the “believers” and – hey presto – more money for Carter-Ruck and Schillings.

Stay tuned for the man made global warming message to become even more fervent as the true believers do their best to ratchet it up to messianic levels. Doubters will be demonised as servants of the great beast Anthropogenor (I’m not making that up – you’ve seen the end of days doomsday prediction that cost £6 million of your money) and cast out into the darkness –or, more likely sacked, fined or jailed.

Normally, of course, the BBC’s heart usually bleeds for people punished by the courts – but there are certain crimes that strike at everything the BBC holds dear so don’t hold your breath for any Newsnight features pimping sympathy for climate change deniers being hit by the full force of m’learned friends…..

WHY "QUESTION TIME" FAILED TO DESTROY THE BNP

James Forsythe, in the Telegraph, hits the nail squarely on the head when he says the the BNP can be dismissed – but their constituency can not. Unfortunately almost all politicians and vast swathes of the media, the BBC above all, have consistently failed to make any serious analysis of why the party has grown in membership and electoral support over the last fifteen years despite the seedy nature of it’s current leadership.

So naturally, as Minette Marrin pointed out in The Times, BBC’s Question Time concentrated on shooting the messenger by setting him up.

What Griffin’s Question Time also showed was, for lack of a better word, the pusillanimous political correctness of the BBC and its lack of moral courage — something not peculiar to it, but characteristic of most public debate today. Deciding to involve a studio audience and then rigging it, to get the sort of response that’s felt to be right, is a form of moral cowardice and it happens all the time.

Initially the BBC and the chattering classes felt Question Time had cracked it. By exposing Griffin as comparatively inarticulate, nervous and unsophisticated they hoped to destroy him and his party. Instead they turned him into a martyr. Also, by completely subsuming concerns about immigration and identity within the concept of “racism” they closed the debate yet again – and gave many of those people who voted BNP a signal that their worst fears had been justified.

Many of the middle ranking, younger cadres in the BNP, unlike Griffin, do not come from the old Tyndall/Webster NF machine with it’s neo nazi fetishism and aryan folk mythology. They will not be able to be baited in the way that Griffin was baited.

What will the BBC do then?

WHITE HOUSE ATTACKS MEDIA – BBC DOESN’T NOTICE…

It’s really not news — it’s pushing a point of view.

When I read that I thought that yet another important political figure had grasped the truth about the BBC. That it was said by Obama’s chief adviser David Axelrod was even better. I know Axelrod is essentially a Daley machine hack from Chicago but he was the mastermind behind Obama’s meteoric rise from obscure non achieving, inexperienced, state senate placeman to Saviour of the World in five years so he must have his finger on the pulse.

But then the penny dropped. He wasn’t talking about the BBC – he was fingering Fox News (or the right wing Fox News as the Guardian likes to call it.)
Apparently the White House feels that Fox, unlike ABC, CBS, NBC and the other cable channels CNN and MSNBC is not being particularly helpful to the President. In fact Axelrod accused Fox of having a “perspective” and I doubt he meant it was leftward.

Now for an administration to come out so openly against a major media outlet is unprecedented – imagine the furore if George W Bush had made a similar remark about MSNBC. Yet the rest of the US media have been strangely muted about the whole affair as has the BBC….I wonder why?

The one honourable exception has been ABC’s Jake Tapper who tackled White House spokesman Robert Gibb. Gibb bumbled away in his usual Oliver Hardy manner – and the rest of the media sat on their hands.

Fact is, of course, that from fairly early in the Democrat primaries the networks and CNN and MSNBC were in the tank for Obama and gave him a very easy ride and continue to do so – for the moment. They invested so much capital in pimping the product that to take him off the shelf so early would destroy the little credibility they might still think they have. Axelrod is irritated by not having a full house hand. Fox is the one channel that has refused to worship at the Obama altar and the administration doesn’t like it.

So – is it just sour grapes? Of course not – Axelrod is an old Chicago hand. You don’t worry about not being liked in the Daley universe – but you do worry about the numbers..and Fox has the numbers, surging far ahead of the other cable channels. Fox has power and therefore needs containment in case the others are tempted to leave the temple and follow a similar path.

Actually there has already been a mild attempt to show a degree of buyer’s remorse on a recent edition of NBC’s Saturday Night Live – yes that SNL where Tina Fey was encouraged to poke fun at Sarah Palin week after week during the 2008 campaign and not only revived her flagging career but won several awards for service to the cause. SNL did a very feeble skit on Obama with a mock report card which appeared to suggest that the man had spoken brilliantly but actually achieved very little.

Axelrod was not best pleased so within hours someone had a quiet word with CNN because they actually presented an item which fact checked the skit and “proved” that SNL were not being fair!

No danger of anything like that over here, thank goodness. As Dan Hannan remarked to Fox’s Glenn Beck (the tearful Glenn Beck as the beautifully balanced Matt Frei calls him) the idea that any right winger would be allowed a permanent slot on the BBC would be laughed out of court…..

MARDELL/BBC LINE ON AFGHANISTAN – QUAGMIRE…

Mark Mardell is, predictably, reverting to type – what a surprise. He is now focussing his laser like mind on Afghanistan and – yes, you guessed it – Viet Nam keeps popping up.

“That’s what Obama will be worried about,” says Gary, adding that if a bad economy destroys presidencies, an unpopular war does the job even more effectively. “Vietnam” is simply shorthand for “quagmire”.

Gary is ABC’s chief pollster, Gary Langer (ABC of course – how did I know that Mardell would not be chatting to anyone from Fox News…)

He naturally delves deeper into the 1960s

This interesting article argues the world would be different if LBJ had listened to writers, not generals, and that Obama should be listening to free thinkers.

By writers he means Norman Mailer and the implication that military men are so blinkered in their thinking that they can only come up with the idea of more troops whereas if LBJ had only listened to Mailer rather than his generals then the US would have got out of Viet Nam in 1965 and everyone would have been much better off.

Mardell’s line is beginning to conform to the general BBC playbook on Afghanistan – it’s a quagmire, like Viet Nam, it can’t be won so let’s get out now and leave the place to the Taliban. As long as the Talib concentrate on executing dissidents and flogging women and closing schools for girls the Beeb will just look the other way – unless they start blowing up Buddhas – then that will be a real tragedy.

This theme was hammered home in a Newsnight piece several days ago when a book called “Lessons in Disaster” by Gordon M Goldstein was described as the current must read in the White House. It is said to describe the LBJ administration in 1965 being marched into an escalating war by a military viewing the conflict too narrowly to see the perils ahead. In other words it conforms to the accepted mythology that the whole venture was doomed from the start and the generals were wrong and Jane Fonda was right – and that, of course, fits fair and square into the BBC student union mindset.

But what Mardell and the BBC don’t mention (I wonder why?) is that, according to the WSJ, another book on Viet Nam is circulating widely in Washington – “A Better War” by Lewis Sorley. Originally published in 1999 it points out that the replacement of Gen. Westmoreland by Gen, Adams in 1968 was a big key turning point in the war.

Gen. Abrams abandoned the “search and destroy” tactics of his predecessor for a policy of protecting villages, and began to push for Vietnamese institutions to take over tasks once run by Americans — just the policies Gen. McChrystal has advocated in Afghanistan.

Sorley’s book on Abrams influenced the thinking of Gen Petraeus, the architect of the Iraq surge. It also argues that the final conquest of South Viet Nam by the communist North was definitely not a foregone conclusion.

By the time of the enemy’s 1972 Easter Offensive virtually all U.S. ground troops had been withdrawn. Supported by American airpower and naval gunfire, South Vietnam’s armed forces gallantly turned back an invasion from the North amounting to the equivalent of some 20 divisions, or about 200,000 troops.
Critics were quick to attribute the successful defense to American airpower. Abrams would have none of it. “The Vietnamese had to stand and fight,” he said. If they hadn’t done that, “ten times the [air] power we’ve got wouldn’t have stopped them.”

However in 1974 the new Democrat controlled Congress refused President Ford’s plea for extra support for South Viet Nam, instead voting for deep cuts in military aid. The North Vietnamese, always concerned about a resumption of US bombing, took this as a green light and launched a massive invasion in 1975. Even in the face of this onslaught some ARVN units stood firm but with the USA’s cut and run the end was inevitable. Sorley’s premise is that with longer term US support South Vietnam might well have been able to resist the Communists and developed into a viable state.

Unfortunately, just as the US military had worked out how to counter the communist insurgency, the politicians in Washington ignored the evidence and gave up the fight.
It’s clear that the BBC had made up its mind about Afghanistan, just as it did about Iraq and the Falklands. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they are as wrong about the first as they were about the other two.

Obama Beat These To The Prize….

From Ace – who else was up for the Nobel Peace Prize?

Chinese Human Rights Activist Hu Jia – imprisoned for campaigning for human rights in the PRC, not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China’s communist system. — not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama. (Not to mention the symbolic value of awarding a Chinese dissident on the 20th Anniversary of the Tianenmen Square Massacre.)

Greg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute has built nearly 80 schools, especially for girls, in remote areas of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past 15 years – not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, a philosophy professor in Jordan who risks his life by advocating interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims, also not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Afghan human rights activist Sima Samar. She currently leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and serves as the U.N. special envoy to Darfur and is apparently also not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

What do all of the above have in common? Courage, dedication and scars on their back…

What do none of them have? A hot line to George Soros and a crease in their pants sharp enough to excite David Brooks…

And, of course, little or no mention at this time from the BBC – too embarrassing?

Actually, to be fair, Kirsty Wark was not overly gushing when she interviewed the Obama mouthpiece on Newsnight – and John Bolton was the perfect antidote to Charles “OBN Obama” Powell….

BBC – Cameron On The Ropes After Irish Vote

On its website the BBC could hardly restrain its glee.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has welcomed the “Yes” vote on the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in the Republic of Ireland referendum.
Mr Brown said the treaty was “good for the UK and good for Europe”.

Accompanied on the websites front page by a picture of a smiling Mr Brown it was if the last few days at Brighton had never existed. But there was also a BBC bonus. Not only had the Irish electorate come to their senses and submitted to the BBC position on the Lisbon Treaty but it spelt out trouble for those divided Tories currently languishing in the polls – and where did the BBC go to for that information? Why, “The Independent”, of course, quoting the helpful findings of a poll of Conservatives activists views of Lisbon conducted by website Conservativehome.

“The findings suggest that the damaging divisions on Europe which destabilised the last Tory government could resurface at the party’s annual conference in Manchester,” the newspaper suggests.

Cue Marr, Crick, Naughty and Robinson – you have your orders….

US Chat Show Host Shocked By Revelations About his Sex Life

Big on the BBC website headlines today was this about 62 year old US talk show host David Letterman

A man has been charged over an alleged plot to blackmail chat show host David Letterman over sexual relationships he had with female staff members.
CBS employee Robert “Joe” Halderman, was arrested after an undercover sting operation, New York authorities said.
Letterman confessed during a recording of his show, broadcast by CBS, that he had had sex with female colleagues.
He said a man had threatened to expose the relationships unless a payment of $2m (£1.2m) was made.

The American people breathed a collective sigh of relief – a clean, decent and always polite media hero is saved from the clutches of a blackmailer. Letterman himself said “This whole thing has been quite scary”

I wish someone had asked him if he had tried to “knock these women up” but no doubt his representative would have said that such crude remarks about a prominent media celebrity were cruel, demeaning and quite uncalled for. However, of course, slutty flight attendants from Alaska and their 14 yr old daughters, would be quite legitimate targets….

Polanski – Another Victim Of Rendition?

Roman Polanski ‘in fighting mood’ says the BBC in a piece heavily larded with comments by people who are shocked – shocked – by the fact that the Swiss authorities should have arrested him and also be considering an American request for extradition.

The Beeb finds a lot of people in the arts world eager to condemn, not just the arrest, but the idea that the US should still be chasing him for something that happened over thirty years ago. The Swiss press is quoted directly

Switzerland let a guest walk into a nasty trap. We should be ashamed,” said tabloid newspaper Blick.
Daily paper Le Temps said Switzerland had “shocked film buffs and friends of the arts with its kindly and efficient co-operation with US justice. It has angered Poland and France”.

It almost smells like Rendition…

Strangely enough, even though Polish and French diplomats are mentioned adding their protests, the BBC fails to complete all the dots – so let’s ask Kate Harding of Salon.com to add the little bit the BBC forgot, the bit that got him convicted…

Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.

Now that makes the whole thing better balanced, doesn’t it?

Just saying…..

Anti Obama Violence Erupting in Kentucky?

Pelosi might be right about those anti Obama wingnuts, according to the BBC

US police are investigating the death of a man who was found hanged from a tree in rural Kentucky with the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest.
Bill Sparkman, 51, had been going door-to-door in Clay County collecting census data.
The FBI is investigating whether Mr Sparkman was victim of anti-government sentiment.

Earlier this morning it was on the front page but has now been moved to “Americas”…maybe because of this?

But the motivation behind the killing — if indeed it was a killing — is not clear at this point.
A spokesman for the Kentucky police told TPMmuckraker last night that police were still looking into death, that an autopsy has been scheduled, and no cause of death has yet been listed.

And notice that the BBC “forgot” this from ABC

Investigators are saying little about the crime, but some people wonder if his death in the remote part of southeastern Kentucky known for its meth labs and hidden marijuana fields had less to do with his job than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And another strange factoid emerges, courtesy of TPM

Late Update: An FBI spokesman, ratcheting back speculation that Sparkman’s death was an act of anti-government violence, tells us that he was found with his feet on the ground, not hanging from a tree as previously reported.

mmmm…that little titbit about anti-government sentiment – was it so tempting that the BBC should couldn’t hold back? And would they have even bothered if it had happened before January 2009?

Just asking…….

BBC Once More Open to Climate Change Doubts…

It was a magical moment and, of course, the BBC captured it.

A 13-year-old Indian school girl has addressed world leaders during the inaugural session at the UN Climate Change Summit in New York.
During her speech, Yugratna Srivastava from Lucknow appealed to the world’s leaders to do more to combat the effects of climate change, asking “is this what we are going to give to our future generations?”

But later the BBC, wishing to be balanced, reported that not all the leaders were impressed…

Czech President Vaclav Klaus sharply criticized a U.N. meeting on climate change on Tuesday at which U.S. President Barack Obama was among the top speakers, describing it as propagandistic and undignified.
“It was sad and it was frustrating,” said Klaus, one of the world’s most vocal skeptics on the topic of global warming.
“It’s a propagandistic exercise where 13-year-old girls from some far-away country perform a pre-rehearsed poem,” he said. “It’s simply not dignified.”
……
Klaus said there were increasing doubts in the scientific community about whether humans are causing changes in the climate or whether the changes are simply naturally occurring phenomena.
But politicians, he said, seem to be moving closer to a consensus on climate change.
“The train can’t be stopped and I consider that a huge mistake,” Klaus said.

Whoops – sorry! That comment from the Czech President came from Reuters…couldn’t find it on the BBC – I wonder why?

The BBC and Afghanistan – Every Little Helps..

• US in Afghanistan failure warning
• Italians mourn Afghanistan dead
• UK army ‘rotten’, Iraq probe told

Full marks for BBC News today – three of the top online headlines fitted neatly into one of the key items on the Corporation’s agenda which appears to be to do everything possible to build up the Taliban as the genuine voice of the Afghan people and to undermine the NATO mission in Afghanistan (and also to remind us of previous problems in Iraq). Remember a few weeks ago when Paxman was haranguing the Afghan ambassador to Britain about electoral “corruption” and a proposed law allowing an Afghan husband to starve his wife to death if she refuses to have sex with him. Paxo forgot to mention that corruption was rife under the rule of the Taliban, that the wife starving law was designed as a political titbit to attract Taliban supporters and that the Taliban are explicitly opposed to elections or, indeed, any form of democratic political structure.

Keep tuned in for many further “failure”, “quagmire”, “probe” headlines unless, of course, the McChrystal/ Petraeus surge starts to work then Afghanistan will disappear from the BBC headlines just as it Iraq did during the Bush surge in 2007/2008 (derided and disdained by every talking head until it started to work…..)