The US, the BBC, and Guns: Bias? What Bias? Agenda? What Agenda?

Mardell just can’t help himself. He made a video report from just outside the Washington Navy Yard yesterday, featuring interviews BBC freelancers collected from a couple of the mass murderer’s friends, as well as his own analysis.

Mardell said that mass murder of this kind is now “as American as baseball.” Isn’t that charming? He wouldn’t dare say that child rape or honor killings or beheadings were as Islamic as a prayer rug. The BBC’s editorial double standards are clear.

Most people here will recall the not-so-prescient words of the BBC’s top man in the US the last time there was a mass shooting on a US military base:

The truth is of course cloudy. The alleged murderer was clearly a Muslim, but there is very little to suggest that he adhered to a hard-line interpretation of his religion or that he had political or religious motives.

And he closed with this classic:

Still, searching for patterns and for answers is part of what it is to be human. I loathe cliche, but perhaps, for once, this is a “senseless tragedy”, devoid of deeper meaning.

Mardell wrote these words even after it was known that Maj. Hassan shouted what the BBC has watered down to “an Islamic benediction”, and news of his jihadi leanings was coming out. In other words, his personal belief system – and an agenda to stamp down any possible unapproved thoughts – caused him not only to ignore facts, but to push what he must have known was a questionable Narrative.

This time around, because there’s a different agenda – the anti-gun movement – no way is he suggesting this was a senseless tragedy – even though it clearly was – because he and the BBC want to push it. He admitted he was asked to do this in his previous piece, so we know it’s not just him, and is acceptable practice in the BBC newsroom. It’s almost as if Mardell’s saying, “Don’t blame me for this sickening display: I’m only doing what London asked.” I’m not generous enough to give him the benefit of the doubt, I’m afraid, as he has form. This time around, the tragedy can be used to push an agenda of which he approves, so off he goes.

That’s fine, some may say, because it’s only natural that people will question what some see as the US free-for-all when it comes to weapons of mass murder when this kind of thing keeps happening with the regularity of the phases of the moon. Well, in this case, the leap to push that agenda was based on false reports, even though world-class, experienced professional journalists know all too well that all kinds of crazy stuff gets reported in the early hours of these tragedies. It’s human to speculate wildly, and opinion writers and pundits – as well as titled BBC editors and silly bloggers on obscure websites which nobody reads – can do so as much as they like, since opinion is their job, not reporting of facts. Yet the line is blurred at the BBC. People whose job includes giving opinion also do reporting, and it’s sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. In this case, facts were already decided upon, and the agenda was ordered. (My own local paper, the NY Daily News, is equally guilty of this sickness, and the writer I think I dislike most wrote the idiotic cover article. The steep decline of this paper since a News of the World/NY Post guy took over is a topic for another rant. And it’s not even owned by evil Uncle Rupert. But at least it’s not my official state broadcaster with a legacy of trust and deep cultural connection spanning generations, and I don’t have to pay for it if I don’t want to.)

Now once again Mardell is talking out of his own agenda even after facts are known to render it baseless. By the time this video was finished, news was already coming out that there was no AR-15 involved. It’s pretty hard to shrug this off as the understandable result of the fog of confusion common in the first few hours after this kind of incident. Not only that, but the murderer’s primary weapon was not the shotgun he brought, but guns he took from within the premises. The gun-control argument was rendered irrelevant, yet Mardell pushes it anyway.

Even here he closes with a sigh (my inference, yeah) that this tragedy won’t push the gun-control debate in the desired direction. If he didn’t think it needed changing in a stricter direction, why ask the question he asked? If he was impartial – or the BBC actually cared about impartiality on pet issues – he would have stopped asking about gun control laws once it was known to him that banning assault weapons wouldn’t have prevented this. All Alexis had on him when he walked in the door was a shotgun. Even British subjects are allowed to own shotguns, so nobody can claim cultural superiority here. Anyone insisting that stricter US gun laws would have prevented this must by definition be demanding even more draconian laws than the UK has. Any takers?

Mardell reports the killer had a checkered past that should have raised red flags. How many times have we heard this now? Sandy Hook, Colorado, Ft. Hood, the DC sniper of some years back. One could make the case that most or all the newsworthy multiple murders by AR-15 last year were done by people who would qualify as mentally ill in some way. It’s becoming, as the sage said, as American as baseball.

In spite of this, Mardell is worried about gun control laws which have absolutely nothing to do with this tragedy instead of what he knows is a systemic failure to keep seriously mentally ill people out of trouble. He knows this is the real problem. He brings it up himself in both the published article and this video report. It’s a big, big problem. I dare say it’s hard not to have developed even a tiny bit of pity or sympathy for the poor bastard who seems to have been a decent sort who just went mad. And now yet more families are hurt and diminished, lives cut short, hearts broken, because of a broken system. But not the one with which the BBC is obsessed.

Yet in his text piece he blamed lax gun control laws for the police deciding not to prosecute Alexis for shooting somebody’s tires and for firing a gun into a ceiling. Gun control laws aren’t relevant to those incidents either, but Mardell either doesn’t understand that or doesn’t care to.

The Ft. Hood murders were not a “senseless tragedy”, yet Mardell speculated that they were, because he had an agenda on his mind. This time it really was a senseless tragedy, but he’s not speculating that it was one and instead is finding a reason for it, because he has an agenda on his mind. Gosh, it’s a shame this tragedy can’t be exploited to change the debate, isn’t it? If that’s not on Mardell’s mind when he wrote and said this stuff, why did he keep saying it? Who other than anti-gun people have this perspective?

Mardell says that this tragedy will not change the debate about stricter gun laws, but gives the wrong reason for it. He said in his printed piece that US culture needs to change first. In fact – and he knew this by the time he made this video report – the reason it won’t change the debate is because it’s irrelevant. No assault weapon was involved, and the only weapon the killer brought to the party was one even BBC employees in Salford could own.

There is no other explanation for what he’s done. His judgment is clouded. And it’s not just Mardell.

Parallels

With all the recent fuss about BBC mandarins wasting and trousering public funds, this BBC news brief caught my eye:

NPR to shed 10% of staff amid budget shortfall

The BBC reports that US public radio network NPR is having to cut loose 10% of its staff due to financial difficulties. What the BBC doesn’t want you to know: anchor of BBC World News America, Katty Kay, is the regular guest host for NPR’s Diane Rehm show.

The BBC tells you this about NPR’s funding:

NPR, based in Washington DC, receives about 2% of its annual budget from federal funds, with the rest from grants, licence fees from local affiliates, and listener donations.

Its revenue was projected to be $178m in the upcoming financial year.

There’s no bias here yet; the importance of the information will become apparent in a moment.

The broadcaster has also seen several high-profile firings and turnover in its leadership in recent years, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance payments.

What the BBC doesn’t want you to know:

NPR host’s involvement in Occupy D.C. leads to her firing from another show

A public radio host was fired on Thursday after the conservative political site The Daily Caller exposed her role as a spokeswoman for “October 2011,” the faction of Occupy Wall Street movement occupying Washington’s Freedom Plaza.

Lisa Simeone, the host of the nationally syndicated “World of Opera” show, and former weekend host of “All Things Considered,” is a freelancer working for WDAV, NPR’s Davidson, N.C., affiliate, where “World of Opera” originates. She also was the host for the weekly D.C. show “Soundprint” on NPR’s WAMU affiliate.

NPR terminates contract with Juan Williams

Juan Williams once again got himself into trouble with NPR for comments he made at his other job, at Fox News. And NPR’s has unleashed an unprecedented firestorm of criticism directed not at Williams – but at NPR.

NPR fired Williams Wednesday night after 10 years with the network for comments he made about Muslims on Fox News.

Thursday was a day like none I’ve experienced since coming to NPR in October 2007. Office phone lines rang non-stop like an alarm bell with no off button. We’ve received more than 8,000 emails, a record with nothing a close second.

NPR’s garnered more than 6,800 comments, many supporting Williams and others asking why it took so long to fire him. Here’s Thursday’s .

At noon, the deluge of email crashed NPR’s “Contact Us” form on the web site.

The overwhelming majority are angry, furious, outraged. They want NPR to hire him back immediately. If NPR doesn’t, they want all public funding of public radio to stop. They promise to never donate again. They are as mad as hell, and want everyone to know it. It was daunting to answer the phone and hear so much unrestrained anger.

Schiller’s fall puts NPR funds at risk

News accounts of the sacking of National Public Radio Chief Executive Vivian Schiller are careful to point out that she is not a blood relation to Ron Schiller, who, until Tuesday, had been NPR’s senior vice president for development — before he was caught on tape disparaging Tea Party members and the Republican Party in general.

But, unfortunately for her, she is related to Ron Schiller in the sense that he was one of her first big hires after she took the top NPR job in January 2009. WNYC President Laura Walker referred to the duo as “The Schillers,” because they traveled the country together meeting with donors and local public radio officials attempting to build a fundraising juggernaut that would benefit all of public media, with NPR at the center.

As chief executive, Schiller defined her top priority to be creating a stable funding base for NPR to do its thing, which is a pretty important thing, actually: delivering high-quality journalism in which listeners of all political stripes can hear their issues addressed in a serious manner.

It is tragic that, by hiring Schiller and botching the firing last year of former NPR commentator Juan Williams, a favorite of conservatives, she has placed public radio funding on its most precarious footing in recent memory.

Emphases mine. Sounds eerily familiar, no?

In other words, this is a largely Left-wing network. Why is the aforementioned financial data important? Because the BBC then goes on to say this:

The network is a favourite target of conservatives and Republicans, who see it as biased and an inappropriate recipient of taxpayer funds.

Of course, right-on thinking people are supposed to snicker at this, because these terrible people are making a mountain out of a molehill, raising a fuss over a lousy 2%. I’m not putting up a straw man here. This argument has been going on for ages. And as we can see, there’s clearly something to those charges of bias. It’s bias not to see that, if you know what I mean.

However, I’d suggest that there might be a legitimate concern about giving $3.46 million (2% of $173 million) of taxpayer money to a media outlet catering almost exclusively to wealthy white people:

AIR Director: NPR Serves ‘Liberal, Highly Educated Elite,’ Wonders How to Justify Public Funding

After working in many parts of public radio — both deep inside it and now with one foot inside and one foot outside — I believe there’s an elephant in the room. There is something that I’m very conscious of as we consider this crisis that I’d like to speak to.

We have built an extraordinary franchise. It didn’t happen by accident. It happened because we used a very specific methodology to cultivate and build an audience. For years, in boardrooms, at conferences, with funders, we have talked about our highly educated, influential audience. We pursued David Giovannoni’s methodologies. We all participated. It was his research, his undaunted, clear strategy that we pursued to build the successful news journalism franchise we have today.

What happened as a result is that we unwittingly cultivated a core audience that is predominately white, liberal, highly educated, elite. “Super-serve the core” — that was the mantra, for many, many years. This focus has, in large part, brought us to our success today. It was never anyone’s intention to exclude anyone.

Nor was it ever, by her own admission, anyone’s intention to include anyone else. Then there was this more recently:

NPR: mostly white audience produces mostly white teen novels list

There’s controversy at NPR over the service’s latest 100 best-ever teen novels list. 75,220 NPR listeners voted for their favorite young adult novels. The list quickly drew fire for its lack of diversity.

“Only two—yes, two—books on the list are written about main characters of color,” noted reading and English teacher Shaker Laurie in a blog post, they being Sandra Cisneros’ ‘House on Mango Street’ and Sherman Alexie’s ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’.

How did this happen, you ask?

But NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos contends that the problem wasn’t with the judges:

“The issue with NPR’s audience is that it skews white and mature. As I detailed last year in a report on diversity in NPR, roughly 87 percent of the radio audience was white, compared to 77 of the country’s over-18 population, according to NPR’s Audience, Insight and Research Department. African-Americans and Hispanics are particularly under-represented; Asian Americans are slightly over-represented, but they are a much smaller group.”

“The poll result, in other words, was innocent, normal and natural,” he concluded. “If still sad.”

Why should any tax money go to fund this, when it could be used instead to help the poorest and most vulnerable (who tend not to be so hideously white) or, heaven forbid, not taken from taxpayers in the first place? The BBC wouldn’t dream of such an objection, apparently, or at least can’t be bothered to mention it. Sure, it’s only a news brief, but that shows how they don’t see the big picture behind the story, or choose not to. These own-goals certainly contributed to NPR’s current funding difficulties, and it’s worth discussing.

I ask any lurking journalists who wish to dismiss my point by saying that I simply don’t understand how news works to please spend a moment explaining why it’s not worth discussing. It’s an honest request.

Also, this goes some way to discredit Mark Mardell’s repeated assertion that conservatives and especially the Tea Party movement he loathes has no legitimate objection to wealth redistribution because they really object only to redistributing wealth to people not like them. Even when he admits that there are a few who aren’t racist, he goes on to tell anecdotes about people who are, and concludes that the whole issue is sharpened by redistribution to people who “are not like us”. Well, if the Tea Party movement is supposed to be made up of almost exclusively “white, largely well-off people” who mostly have a racial animus towards the misuse of their taxes, then by his logic they wouldn’t object to around $3.5 million going to NPR.

Of course most Beeboids (aside from Jeremy Paxman, apparently) wouldn’t see anything wrong with forcing all taxpayers to fund this kind of media organization.

Syria Crisis Raises Question of Mark Mardell’s Bias And Accuracy

As the President of the United States continues to fail in drumming up international support for bombing Syria, and the failure to win now-vital Congressional approval looms on the horizon, the BBC’s Mark Mardell is having a crisis of faith in which he reveals personal bias on the US, war, and the President. He also makes serious factual errors which reveal either his incompetence as a journalist or that a deep personal bias has clouded his judgment.

Syria crisis raises question of US role in the world

Right away, Mardell spells out his dilemma.

The president is clearing his desk, going all-out to persuade for a vote that he has said is vital for America’s credibility.

It is also a critical moment for American perception of itself as a power in the world. But in the details of the debate over Syria, the biggest questions and the larger picture are in danger of being lost.

In essence, it’s whether the world needs a super cop. And whether the US should simply assume that role.

I laughed out loud at this point. A little more than two years ago, back when the President was dithering deliberating over whether or not to send some humanitarian missiles at Libya, Mardell was engaged in contemplation of what he believed was the President’s internal personal struggle:

  • The tug between not wanting to be the world’s policeman and being the only guy with the gun and the muscle to stop a murder.

  • The whole-hearted desire to act in concert with other countries, and the realisation that implies going along with stuff they want to do and you don’t. (Being dragged into a war by the French, imagine.)

  • Not wanting to be out front when many world structures are designed in the expectation that like it or not, America will lead.

  • Intellectual appreciation that the ghost of Western colonialism is a powerful spirit never exorcised, and frustration that an untainted liberal interventionism hasn’t grown in other countries.

It took a long time for Mr Obama to decide to take action, and the route he has taken, a genuine commitment to acting with other nations with the US in the lead, has made for the appearance of more muddle. Now it is time for clarity.

How’s that working out now, Mark? Guess who demanded action first, and who’s our only ally now. Remember when Mardell was worried that the President had accidentally painted Himself into a corner with that “red line” business”? Just the other day, the President, like a child being asked who scribbled with crayons on the wall, told the world, “I didn’t didn’t set a red line: the world set a red line.”  Now Mardell seems to have happily forgotten about his original concern and dutifully shifted blame away from Him. Trapped In A World He Never Made.

The BBC’s top analyst of US affairs has been consistent in his anti-war stance, his defense of the President, and in placing blame anywhere except on Him. Most recently, we saw Mardell in Ohio, reporting about a couple of town hall meetings held by a Congressman, where he found a way to blame George Bush, sort of. Hyper-partisan, intransigent Republicans currently in Washington also shared the blame. Any lack of trust in the President Himself seemed non-existent.

Notice that Mardell portrays Rep. Johnson as having been “unimpressed” by the Administration’s secret intelligence briefing simply because neither the President nor Vice President were there. He says that Johnson merely “had to wait a while to find out” about what the situation was with the chemical weapons, and solid evidence of an actual war plan. Mardell plays his skepticism as personal pettiness, not as a perhaps sincere objection based on legitimately reached opinion. In fact, here’s what Johnson actually said in a public statement, which Mardell would have been given:

“Given how important this Congressional briefing was for the President to make his case for taking military action in Syria, I was surprised that neither he, nor the Vice President, nor any cabinet level official was in attendance.  The decision on whether or not to commit American troops and risk American lives when the United States is not directly threatened is a difficult one, and the President has the heavy burden of convincing the Congress and the American people of its merits. I left this afternoon’s briefing with more questions and concerns than I had when I arrived.”

Sure, he was surprised that nobody of any importance was there. But this appears to be a case where the President and His Administration demonstrated the contempt in which they hold Congress. This wasn’t a snub just at Johnson, it was a snub at all of them. And the bit I’ve bolded is rather important, don’t you think? And it’s not just Johnson who came away skeptical. Congress didn’t actually get satisfactory answers, and even top Democrats say so. Why would Mardell censor that piece of information? No wonder the President is now “clearing His desk”, as Mardell put it today.

Back to the Top Cop thing. Mardell goes on to explain what he sees as the two justifications being used for dropping a few bombs on Syria.

The first is national interest. Mr Obama says Syria does not pose an immediate threat to the US, but its willingness to use chemical weapons threatens its allies and bases in the region.

Less frequently his administration has suggested such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists who could use them against America.

It is pretty obvious, the bigger the world power the more its vital interests may be harmed by something happening a long way away. If the whole Middle East is in uproar, it might not make a whole heap of difference to Paraguay or Latvia.

The argument for national interest is pretty clear. The desire to intervene for what you might call ‘moral reasons’, is far more murky.

Much of this is fair enough. It doesn’t take a genius to grasp the concepts. But why are moral reasons more murky? Because China and Russia don’t agree. No, really.

Mr Obama and even more forcefully Secretary of State John Kerry have said that the world can’t stand aside and witness such suffering. Particularly not when it breaches, if not international law, then international norms.

It is noticeable that it is senior politicians in the US, France and the UK who are keen on this argument of liberal interventionism. It is not just Russia that won’t go along with it. China won’t either.

On a recent trip there, I became convinced that this is fairly genuine. Academics and ordinary people find it baffling that America wants to impose its values on the rest of the world.

China forcefully repeats that it wants the denuclearisation of its ally North Korea. But it is reluctant to force the issue.

So we’re supposed to question Western moral values in this case because China is baffled by US imperialism? Oh, my goodness. On what other issues are we now supposed to back off now, Mark? Looks like he’s suffering from a little going native syndrome having spent a few weeks in China working on that documentary of his on how deeply entwined our national interests are and how China’s awesomeness may very well rescue the US economy (coming next Tuedsay on Radio 4 – can’t wait!).

Pardon me as I wipe the tears of laughter and dismay out of my eye. Mardell’s also saying that we could be wrong because we haven’t heard particularly loud demands to stop Assad from Brazil, Nigeria, or Japan, either. Well, Mugabe has been pretty silent, too. That’s me convinced. Are we in the world of adult, serious political discussion, or in the proverbial university bar? Hold that thought for later, actually.

So, we’ve gone from the President “accidentally” boxing Himself into a corner and being forced to act to save face, to Him blaming the world for boxing Him into a corner and being forced to act because of our high moral values, to questioning those moral values because they don’t come from Sweden. No, seriously:

I once put it to Tony Blair that the Iraq war might have been more credible if the call for action had come from Sweden. He made the obvious point: “Well, they couldn’t do it, could they?”

Now here’s where Mardell reveals his true bias on the larger issue:

Which makes me wonder about that old saying, “to a hammer, every problem is a nail”. In this case, you have to wonder why the hammer was forged in the first place.

Mardell’s not really old enough to be a child of the ’60s, but he sure is acting like the dippiest of hippies here. Why is there war, mommy? For heaven’s sake, Mark, why not quit the BBC and go to the nearest military base and start putting flowers in rifle barrels. How can anyone take this man seriously at this point?

Speaking of the ’60s, some people here may remember this little journey down the rabbit hole when Mardell was holding session at the BBC College of Journalism. His first reaction on landing in the US after being assigned to replace Justin Webb was, “What happened to the ’60s”? His real bias is on display here. In an attempt to explain himself, he continues:

The British developed their military to defend a globe-spanning empire. The US developed its military might to intervene in Europe and then to challenge the USSR.

The absence of the original purpose has not eliminated an instinct to intervene.

Maybe the word “imperialism” makes you think of arguments “that it is all about oil” or crude land grabs.

But those Victorian imperialists really did think they were bringing civilisation and Christianity, order and the rule of law to people who couldn’t climb to such dizzying heights on their own.

America’s belief in its own mission is more universal and not driven by racism, but there is a similar zealous enthusiasm to remake the rest of the world in its image.

No, there isn’t. This is pure anti-American drivel. And notice how this is suddenly about “America” again. Seems like every time the President does something Mardell or the BBC doesn’t like, He’s not mentioned, and it’s all about “America” as a whole acting unseemly. Is the President not involved? Wasn’t He elected to cure us of this demon? Nobody ‘s making Him do this. In any case, is that what we were doing when Clinton bombed the Serbs? How about when we removed Manuel Noriega from power? Grenada? Nobody in their right mind thought we were going to make Afghanistan into a modern, Western society. Dumbing down such complex situations and issues is silly, and betrays an ideological bias. Disagreeing with policy isn’t the same thing as demonizing it, but that’s what he’s doing here. Having Mark Mardell report on the US is like having St. Mark report on the Pharisees.

Of course, stopping the horror of chemical weapons is not the same as introducing democracy at the point of a gun.

But it raises the same question of who has the authority to make the judgment that norms have been violated, and who deals out the punishment.

Oh, does it now? I don’t know about people here, but I question the wisdom of listening to Russia and China and Nigeria on the issues of human rights. So, who has the authority?

The UN is meant to be the body that can order global cops into action. But the US says the Security Council is broken, because of the Russian veto.

You mean the Security Council which includes such moral heavyweights as Azerbaijan and Pakistan?  The UN which for a while had Libya as the Chair of their Human Rights Council? With Venezuela and Qatar as members? These people are supposed to set moral standards for us all?

While the Russian action does look cynical, it is a bit like a prosecutor saying the jury system doesn’t work because he didn’t get a conviction.

You mean like so many Beeboids said after the Zimmerman verdict?

Or indeed, if David Cameron said parliament didn’t work because of the “no” vote.

Or indeed, if Mark Mardell said Congress didn’t work because they wouldn’t vote for something the President wanted.

President Obama understands how it looks to the rest of the world if the US goes it alone.

But, I thought…..

Mardell again:

It is why he was so reluctant to take the lead over Libya, why he was so slow to develop a Syria strategy.

No, it isn’t. This is where Mardell reveals not only his bias about the President, but even more of his own personal political beliefs. The President took so long to develop a strategy, and has been flailing around ever since He got caught up in His own smart-ass rhetoric, because He and His advisers actually had one all along – only it turned out to be completely, tragically, absurdly wrong.

Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Syria at the Center for American Progress, Washington D.C.

You all remember Samantha Power, right? She’s the President’s former foreign policy adviser who blamed the Jewish Lobby for criticism about His policies, then had to resign when she called Hillary Clinton “a monster” in an interview. After working for George Soros for a while, she was brought back into the fold and is now our voice at Mardell’s voice of morality, the UN. Here’s what she had to say to the far-Left Center for American Progress recently:

We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country, on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks. Or if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran – itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 – to cast loose a regime that was gassing its people. We expanded and accelerated our assistance to the Syrian opposition.

In other words, the President and his super-smart advisers are, just like Mardell, as naive as your average angry student debating world affairs in the university bar. This is just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And remember that last line about stepping up the help for the rebels for later.

Now we see that Mardell has been accidentally right, but wrong all along. The President wasn’t taking so long to develop a military strategy because He was worried about what the world would think. He was taking so long because He was working on another scheme entirely and never expected to need one. And then He thought He could get away with it, because He usually faces no consequences for anything. Just like He thought He could get away with that “red line” statement. How can Mardell not know this? He’s supposed to have been following the President’s every move closely, considering it all deeply and dutifully, researching, talking with experts, getting insider info. How can he have blown this so badly? Especially since this kind of naive negotiation is exactly the kind of thing he supports.

His bias has been driving his analysis. As I’ve maintained from the beginning, the President doesn’t have much interest or deep understanding of realpolitik and international affairs at this level. His ambitions and concerns have always been about domestic policies, domestic transformation. All these foreign issues are nuisances, distractions, things which should be delegated to various minions and apparatchiks. Where He does have opinions, they don’t seem to be very profound. And so we see here that the people doing it for Him share the most naive, ignorant views possible, and have accomplished precious little.

Why do you think we have less allies now after four years of Hillary Clinton as Sec. of State? And here’s another unasked, never mind unanswered question: If so much of the opposition to this war is due to Iraq fatigue, what about Libya? Why was Libya okay and now suddenly everyone is tired of war? That was even (illegal) regime change, he didn’t use unapproved weapons, and this is supposed to be some “proportional” limited bombing campaign.

What does “proportional” mean, anyway? Mardell isn’t interested. All he cares about is how the President looks now, and how He’ll look next week. It seems that the BBC’s North America editor’s job is not to really inform you properly about US issues, or about how the country works or what’s really going on, but how things affect the President. That’s why I often refer to him as the BBC’s US President editor.

Mardell’s journalism over the last five years has shown that his personal political ideology is very close to that of the President. This war campaign – as well as the one against Libya – is the only issue on which Mardell doesn’t approve. So he works to shift blame away from the President at every opportunity. And now he’s not only trying to analyze the situation around Him, he’s trying to figure out what the President can do to be successful. Is that really what the BBC is paying him to do?

Now about what Amb. Power said about accelerating assistance to the Syrian rebels. It’s really starting to look like this is all smoke and mirrors. As is obvious to everyone except Mardell by now, it’s impossible to think that a limited strike on a few military facilities will be the end of it. The President claims He’s not taking sides in the Syrian civil war here. He’s been very clear that this is about sending a message about killing lots of people in an unapproved method. I bet Ghaddafi’s ghost is wondering why the hell all this Iraq fatigue didn’t set in when it was his turn in the spotlight. But I digress.

Doing any real damage to Assad’s military capability is a de facto game changer in the civil war. It’s simply not credible to say that the military installations supposedly used to launch a rocket with a chemical warhead have no other purpose. I don’t mean specifically the rockets themselves which may already be armed with them, I’m talking about the larger picture. It’s impossible to believe that there can be some sort of surgical strikes so accurate that only the chemical weapons and a couple of rocket launchers will be hit. Any attack will limit Assad’s military capability, period, and it’s outrageous that we’re expected to believe that it won’t, and that any military action the US takes won’t affect – or isn’t meant to affect – the civil war. Of course it will.

Where’s Mardell’s astute analysis about that? He’s still caught up in the emotional world of teenage existential angst to notice. I’m trying not to take a position here about the rights or wrongs about taking sides or stopping Assad or regime change or what we should do next. I have opinions, obviously, but that’s not what this is about. This is about Mardell’s personal opinions coloring all his reporting and analysis in a way that makes his journalism unworthy of trusting or given much credence at all.

He’s not wondering about any of what I’ve just mentioned because he’s still stuck in his belief that The Obamessiah really is concerned only about chemical weapons, and truly doesn’t want to force regime change. We can see from Power’s speech that this simply isn’t true, that the US really is working to increase the chances of his downfall. So the President is essentially lying, Sec. of State Kerry is lying, and any BBC journalist who says the President doesn’t want to is either lying or just seriously deluded.

It’s either that, or the President and His entire Administration are a bunch of idiots and shouldn’t be trusted to run a nursery. Take your pick. In the end, this is a massive failure of BBC journalism. At your expense.

PS: Still no mention of His Nobel Prize for Peace. Come on, Mark, even Sweden has called Him on it.

Six Ways The BBC Gets It Wrong On the President, Congress, and Syria

The title of this post was inspired by BBC Washington correspondent Tom Geoghegan’s new analysis piece for the online Magazine.

Six ways the president will try to convince Congress

Things are so muddled and chaotic these days – from the White House’s confused policies to the BBC’s confused coverage – that it’s hard to say at this point just how much of this is due to BBC bias and how much is due to the absolute mess the President and His minions have presented. So I’ll just go with pointing what Geoghegan and whoever else helped put this together got wrong.  The numbered items are Geoghegan’s.

1. Appeal from the heart

Plain and simple, the appeal to emotion, calling the nation to war because pictures of bombed-out buildings and dead children make us feel bad. But this is supposed to be about convincing Congress, not emotional journalists or the rest of the world. I’m sure the President is not sitting there in meetings passing around pictures of bloody babies coughing up foam to Congressional leaders, going, “Come on, you guys. Think of the children!”. It’s silly to present this as a technique He’s using to persuade Congress. This is for media and public consumption, not Washington insider stuff. But Beeboid emotions have taken over for the moment, it seems, and this is presented as a genuine tactic the President is using to convince Tea Party Republicans.

2. The Oval Office Treatment

Geoghegan suggests that the President’s star power can sway intransigent Republican minds. He wrongly uses two very poor examples to set up his assertion. Speaker Boehner has been open about his skepticism on going after Assad. Even last year, before the 2012 election, he was in the “Not justified at this time” school of thought, siding with Romney and not McCain during the Republican nomination contest. However, Sen. Graham was already in favor of going after Assad even back then. So it’s bogus for Geoghegan to use his support now as evidence of some sort of Damascene conversion due to the personal touch of power.

As for Boehner, only someone completely ignorant of the world of politics and what’s currently going on in Washington can think that somehow the personal star touch got him on side. First of all, consider that Boehner, as Speaker and leader of the Republicans in the House, has a whole lot of other issues to worry about. We’re coming up on yet another budget crisis, a main part of ObamaCare is about to bite us all in the ass, so there’s defunding to discuss, and there are still ongoing investigations into the IRS scandal and Benghazi. Can you say “horse-trading” and “backdoor deals”, boys and girls? I knew you could.

Secondly, Boehner said earlier this year that bombing Syria was “premature”, and that he wouldn’t think about approving war unless there was something like a concrete plan being offered. He sort of drew his own version of a red line there, which we’ve now crossed. Supposedly, the White House has a plan now, or at least a gesture towards one. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see this as a situation where Boehner saw a political opportunity to squeeze a concession on something else from an obviously desperate President, as well as an excuse for him to change his mind on going to war.

Geoghegan addresses none of this (at this point – he at least brings up horse-trading later), and instead presents Boehner and Graham’s support to set up his contention that the President’s personal touch and star power can persuade. Then we get the appeal to authority, citing an academic who says that weaker-minded Congressmen can get all giddy from meeting with a President and come a way with the feeling that “He listened to me”, and having had a personal effect on whatever is going to happen. There’s probably something to this, but powerful figures like Boehner and Graham are not examples of this phenomenon at all. Geoghegan should have found better examples of rank-and-file Congressmen being persuaded just from being given an audience with the President.

That academic authority he sites, by the way, is Larry Sabato, a well-known political analyst who, while often giving reasonable, impartial analysis of political trends and campaigns, tends to be a little over-enthusiastic about The Obamessiah’s magnificence. For example, in 2008, he praised Him for an historically fast setting of His transition team after being elected.

“This is really unprecedented. But it’s an unprecedented situation,” said Larry Sabato, a presidential scholar at the University of Virginia. “Obama is doing what the public and the markets demand be done — and that is to show that the next president is really in charge before he even takes the oath of office.”

How’s that “really in charge” thing going now, Larry? Actually, as the article shows, it was only His minions leaking names, and that was just for a transition team, not the real work the President had to do. And as we know now, the President was historically slow (“too cautious” – does that sound familiar?) in making judicial appointments, not to mention in more important departmental positions. He was ridiculously slow restocking the Cabinet for His second term. I guess it’s not so important to show the President is in charge after being re-elected. And don’t tell met that someone who wrote two books about the awesomeness of His political campaigns and than about how we need to tear up the Constitution and make “fairer” one is anything but Left-wing, and someone who believes this President has more going for Him than reality reflects. In other words, I’m saying that the idea that star power alone will convince a few intransigent Republicans is a bit of stretch and betrays a bit of bias.

3. Let the dogs out

 The vote on Syria will be a free vote and the leadership in both Republican and Democratic parties backs Obama, but there’s still work for the whips.

“The Democrat whips will be whipping for the president,” says Sabato. “The Republican whips will be supplying their leadership with the numbers, because Boehner and Cantor will want more information on who they want to sway.

“They could send certain people [who would vote against a strike] out for coffee during the vote or say, ‘take a walk’.”

That’s not actually a tactic the President will be using, but normal Washington procedure. This is astute political analysis? What Geoghegan left out of what the Democrats will be doing is that their main argument will be that Dems must remain loyal to Him, regardless of their personal feelings about war or questionable intelligence or anything else. When he says “whipping for the president”, he simply means getting them on side. He’s not being honest about what they’ll really be saying. “Let’s go to war for party political reasons and loyalty to a man, not the country” isn’t exactly the rallying cry a BBC journalist can be proud of, so that’s left out.

And we must also remember that the door is still left wide open for the President to act anyway. So why should anyone in Congress take this seriously?

4. Horse trading

Now we get there. This should be combined with #2, and is possibly the biggest tool at His disposal. I’ve already explained why. “Discreet inducements” about easing cuts in military spending or more assurances about action in Syria? Baloney.

5. The president’s on the line

This is a combination of Geoghegan’s #2 and #3. Why stretch this out? Now we get the admission that the appeal is really about Him. “Why emasculate your president?” Shameless, but that’s where we are these days: loyalty to a man is more important than anything else. I don’t remember anything about loyalty to the President in the oath Congressmen have to take when they take their seats. And nobody at the BBC seems to mind, or wonder out loud about how dangerous this is.

I laughed at the inclusion of Sec. Kerry referring to this as a Chamberlain-esque “Munich moment”. Most of us thought that was the President’s Cairo speech back in 2009.

6. Get your lieutenants to present the case

This last one has to be a joke. Geoghegan is clearly writing this after yesterday’s comical hearing with Kerry in front of the Senate committee. He insisted that he defined war as something involving ground troops, and that these piddling little bombing runs the President wanted didn’t count. The President is not asking us to go to war, he claimed. He asked General Dempsey to back him up on this new definition as a fellow soldier who had been to war, and there was audible laughter when the General had the good sense not to. Kerry was clearly not happy, saying, “Right, pull the rug out from under me.” (last 10 seconds of the video)

Like I said above, there’s no assurance that the President will respect a No vote from Congress. Especially since He claims He wants to make a limited strike only, which He has the authority to do without Congressional approval, and has already said as much. Kerry wouldn’t even assure Sen. Paul that this wouldn’t escalate to having boots on the ground at some point. He, Sec. Hagel, and Dempsey were very clear that this resolution didn’t limit US actions to the few missiles the President and his lieutenants insist this will be.

In any case, it’s hardly considered a tactic for the Sec. of State to be called in front of the Senate to explain the case for war. And Mark Mardell was saying last week that it was Kerry the cowboy ramping up the rhetoric which forced the President to call for military action he didn’t really want to take. So it’s all a mess, and nobody at the BBC is getting it straight.

There’s another error here as well. In the inset “What the sceptics say” on the right, half way down the page, the BBC lists this as one objection:

“Threat to the US not clear”

This is completely wrong, and everyone at the BBC knows it. I say they’re lying. There is no threat to the US. That’s what the whole hypocrisy charge is about, something which the BBC has steadfastly refused to address openly and honestly. The Junior Senator from Illinois, and later as Candidate Obamessiah, was very clear in His opposition to the Iraq war because Saddam was not a threat to the US. Now He’s changed His tune to one of being the world’s policeman who enforces humanitarian international law. It’s not that those who oppose the war aren’t clear about what Assad’s threat to the US is: it’s that everyone – including those who support the war, like the President Himself – knows there isn’t any. That’s why His draft resolution (pdf file) seeking Congressional approval is about enforcing international laws about chemical weapons, and includes only vague talking points that Assad is a threat to regional stability and US national security interests. There is no imminent threat, which is what we were told was necessary to go after Sadaam. What the BBC has written here is a lie.

And again, there is no mention that the President decided He didn’t need Congressional approval to do even more against Ghaddafi in Libya than He’s claiming He wants to do now against Assad. The only difference now is there’s more political and public pressure on Him to do it. This is His own fault, not anyone else’s, yet the BBC refuses to call Him on it.

Recall this from His 2008 nomination acceptance speech, and judge for yourselves how much of it is the opposite of what He’s actually accomplished, and how the BBC has presented it to you:

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

His foreign policy is a disaster. He has squandered the legacy so much that the only ally we have at the moment is France. There is no clear mission on Syria, and only loud complaints from all sides forced Him to even act like He might have one. Of course, as Kerry claimed yesterday, no US troops will be put in harm’s way this time, since it’s only a couple of missiles being launched from ships hundreds of miles away, and nothing else will happen. And now He’s asking for military action with no measurable goal, based on what even the BBC has admitted is questionable, secret intelligence.

In 2002, at an early anti-Bush’s war rally in Chicago, State Senator Obamessiah said this:

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

We are now through the looking glass. How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya now, BBC? When are you going to stop shifting blame and spending so much effort to prop up this image of a canny, statesmanlike President? And when are you going to mention His Nobel Prize for Peace in this context?

Mark Mardell: What’s So Special?

Mark Mardell is having a little freak-out about his beloved Obamessiah’s relentless rush to war (or is it only a rush when Bush does it?), which I’m enjoying immensely. It’s caused him to reveal his ignorance on US politics and scramble to find something that makes sense to him.

UK Syria vote leaves US asking ‘what’s so special?’

That’s Mardell’s concern here: how an intransigent Parliament is hindering the President’s wishes. Forget about the questionable evidence of Assad using chemical weapons, as apparently Susan Rice (who lied to the world about Benghazi, on orders from the President) and John Kerry (who was against intervention before he was for it – or was it the other way round? Depends on who’s President, I think) have presented new evidence about an intercepted phone call from some Syrian officer saying something they did got out of hand. France is all for His Obombing plan, so that will help His cause, according to Mardell.

My guess is that there will be renewed emphasis on the role of the French, the Turks and perhaps others. It will strengthen the hand of those in Congress who argue they should have their own vote.

Yeah, we always look for France’s approval on these things…..

So it’s only an opinion of some Congressmen that they should have a vote on war? I despair of this man’s appalling journalism sometimes, I swear. How many years has he been here now? While the President can order a very limited military strike, any real action requires a vote from Congress. This isn’t some partisan interpretation or something that sprang out of Rush Limbaugh’s fevered imagination. It’s the law. Didn’t we go through this whole charade with Libya? Remember when the President violated the law by doing too much warmongering for too long, after the date passed when Congressional approval was required? Has Mardell forgotten all about that? He sure is aware when Congress has the ability not to grant the President every wish.

Nobody seriously believes that a single round of cruise missiles will be the beginning and end of it. Just like with Libya, military forces will be required to hang around in war-mode for more than 60 days, and any more action than that requires Congressional approval, period. It’s not just politicians’ egos or enemies of the President trying to tear Him down this time, and Mardell would do well to remember that.

Mardell’s expert analysis has been way off on the Syria story. He assured us only last week that the President wasn’t going to rush into anything. What Mardell somehow fails to realize after all these years is that the President is all about Himself and His image, first and foremost. He’s perfectly capable of going to war just to prove a point, to stick a finger in the eye of His detractors. Nobody who’s been seriously paying attention for the last five years would think that this President will just gracefully step back after making such bold statements. The BBC’s US President editor, though, remains convinced that He wants to keep on deliberating and deeply contemplating everything. We saw the same error of judgment in his coverage of Libya.

Also notice how all the discussion is about whether or not the President looks good doing this, and about who’s going to join in. Neither Mardell nor anyone else at the BBC seems to be worried that this might be as illegal as anything George Bush did, even though he had two UN resolutions behind him, while the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate-in-Chief doesn’t need any. He needed only one to engage in regime change in Libya, and I guess even that’s not necessary now. Sure, the President now says He’s not doing regime change this time. But He’s already publicly demanded that Assad step down. Is that a “never mind” now? Mardell doesn’t want you to remember that. In fact, just the other day, he told a little white lie about it, claiming that the President has actually “repeatedly” said that He’s not interested in regime change. Well, maybe He has, but He’s also demanded regime change, so it’s no use pretending that didn’t happen. Can we call it dithering yet?

Since all of His promises seem to have an expiration date, who believes that regime change in Syria isn’t inevitably the goal once the shooting starts? We’re not going to have a repeat of containing Sadaam Hussein for a decade, are we? Who’s Mardell trying to kid here?

Then there’s the whole “poodle” thing.

It may be a different story now that it is clear Britain, so often cast as America’s poodle, won’t take part at all.

So often? How often, really? Back in the heady days of the “rush to war” in Iraq, and the initial invasion of Afghanistan, sure, we heard that a lot. But do people still go around saying that? I don’t recall Britain being called a poodle regarding Libya. And wasn’t it Blair was Bush’s poodle, and not really the way Mardell presents it? What happened to everyone loving this President? Surely nobody would be ashamed to follow Him.

I then laughed out loud when I read this:

It undermines the effort of the president to sell action to his own people, who seem to be deeply unimpressed by his arguments so far (the last opinion poll I saw had just 9% backing intervention).

Only a couple days late on that score, Mark. We all knew about that already. Don’t we always say that if it’s in the WaPo, the Beeboids know about it? Or maybe he just read it on this disgusting website. Skype Emoticons   I hope he’s not going to claim he saw that poll before he wrote that Sec. of State Kerry was “of course right that most people will think as he does” about it being “common sense” that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack, “simply from watching the TV pictures”. Because that would be embarrassing.

Having said that, NBC has done a more recent poll, with more specific and helpful results.

  • Only 26% think we should take military action against Assad in general, aside from the question of chemical weapons
  • 50% are against military action against Assad for using chemical weapons, with 42% approving. Is that a mandate, I wonder?
  • 50% actually approve of a very limited air strikes using cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval ships that were meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks. That’s rather hypothetical, assuming that we know exactly who did it and where, which we of course don’t, and probably won’t even after the UN busybodies get there days after it’s all been cleaned up. But at least it’s a token some can wave around as approval of His Obombing plan. If Mardell gets around to reading the NBC poll, he’ll probably see that as a mandate to act without Congress’s approval.
  • 79% think the President should have Congressional approval before taking military action, and 21% don’t. Argh. Some of us are as dopey as Mardell. But at least the vast majority think Congress is more relevant than he does.

Not coincidentally, more people disapprove of how the President is doing his job, 48% – 44%, and more disapprove of how He’s handling foreign policy, 49% – 41%. Probably all due to crypto-racism, right, Mark? They like going to war, they just don’t like going to war under the direction of a black President.

Worst of all, though, is the continued absence of any mention from the BBC’s top man in the US – an experienced, world-class political analyst – of the President’s Nobel Peace Prize. Sure, dithering over whether to act, drawing a silly red line in the sand, boxing Himself into a corner over going to war, and losing a top ally in the process makes the President look less than the God-like creature so many at the BBC seem to worship. But how ridiculous is it that a Nobel Peace Prize laureate is now talking about starting yet another war against yet another country, this time not even “leading from behind”. This President must have the highest body count of any Nobel laureate, with more to come, yet Mardell doesn’t say a word about it. Hack, failure. I admit it’s refreshing to see him not advocating for one of the President’s policies for a change, but his coverage of this issue is pathetic. Like Justin Webb before him, he’ll probably get promoted for it.

Has anyone at the BBC mentioned His Nobel in this context yet? Anywhere? Has even a favored edgy comedian made a joke about it on the radio?

A Toxic Tale Of….Economic Growth?

Remember back in February of this year, when the US government was facing an across-the-board 5% budget cut, known colloquially as the “sequester”, because nasty old Republicans wouldn’t bow down to the Presidents spending desires? At the time, the BBC’s US President editor couldn’t have been more cross, calling it a “toxic tale of cruel dismemberment and government by crisis”. Oh, how we were fed doom and gloom. The emotive language, the hand-wringing, the tales of woe just kept coming. Remember, titled BBC editors somehow don’t have to be impartial at all times. They give “expert analysis”, which is opinion when its at home. Is it bias when all the opinions come from the Left?

In any case, the President wasn’t getting His way, and it looked as if the nasty white Republicans wanted to prevent Him from saving us all. BBC went into full White House propaganda mode. As I wrote in that post, the BBC also lied about how the sequester came to be. It was such a bad idea, they felt, that it couldn’t possibly have come from the President. Yet, it had. And so the BBC pretended it wasn’t true. Mark Mardell repeated the falsehood:

Many Republicans say the idea for the “sequester” budget cuts was President Obama’s in the first place. The White House rejects that.

Whoever came up with the idea, the 2011 law meant failure to agree would cut both cherished Democratic programmes that helped the poor and defence spending beloved of Republicans.

We know who came up with it, and so did Mardell when he pretended to be unsure. The President did, because He believed it would be a threat so great that the Republicans would cave. Of course, only a fool would think that the Republican leadership, under pressure from Tea Partiers and other fiscal conservatives, would see cutting government spending as something to be avoided at all costs. So Rep. Boehner didn’t blink, and we got the cuts.

Either Mardell or a sub editor gave his post the headline: ‘Sequester budget cuts: America’s grim fairy tale ‘. It was a very dark day for the country, apparently.

And how’s that “cruel dismemberment” working out now? Here’s how:

US economic growth revised upwards to 2.5%

Now that is cruel….to anyone who believed that the sequester was going to destroy the recovery. What was the actual fairy tale, then: the real story of the budget negotiations, or the BBC’s tale of “cruel dismemberment”?

The US economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.5% in the second quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said in revised figures.

That was more than double the pace recorded in the previous three months, and above estimates of 2.2%.

The rise, helped by an increase in exports, is a further sign that the economy may be getting back on track.

The government had originally estimated that GDP grew at a 1.7% rate in the second quarter.

Others have noticed that maybe the sequester wasn’t the horror show Mardell and the BBC believed it would be. Sure, the usual water-carriers at the WaPo and HuffPo have said it’s been restricting growth, but who here thinks that growth would be rocketing past 5% or something now if there had been no spending cuts? If the sequester was really killing the economy for two quarters, the BBC would be all over it.

And the BBC analysis about how the sequester wasn’t such a catastrophe after all, and that the President was wrong?

What’s funny is that the Beeboids probably see this latest report as a sign that The Obamessiah is saving us, that His Economic Plan For Us is starting to bear fruit, in spite of Republican intransigence and enemies wanting to destroy Him. So bringing the sequester into the picture isn’t going to help that at all, as they sure can’t make a case that we’d be going like gangbusters without it. The BBC links to other articles they’ve run recently trumpeting signs of economic growth and recovery, and no mention of the sequester anywhere. If it was as bad as the BBC’s top experts warned us it was, how can this be?

I think we can safely ignore any BBC expert analysis on the US economy, budget, or politics.

Biased Editorial Double Standards: US Ideological Violence Edition

Two people from Nevada appeared in court yesterday on charges of plotting to abduct and murder policemen. They are members of the fringe group Sovereign Citizens, a movement of people who have an extreme, quasi-anarchic (in the old school sense), anti-government view. Apparently they were busted after an undercover operation exposed their plans. Nothing new or unusual, really, except that it’s a case of two extremist white people getting arrested for plotting anti-government violence in a week where the public has been overwhelmed with the news of young black men murdering white people (stories which have been used to hype up racial animosity and as a counterweight to the media’s Trayvon Martin Narrative) topped off with two different criminal convictions of military men who espoused political views shared by the Left-wing media. So this minor story must have come as a great relief to the newsroom and editors who are responsible for deciding what gets published every day, a welcome break in what must seem to them as a stream of unfortunate news giving credence to Right-wing views about racial violence, terrorism, and the dangers of the anti-war movement and heroic whistleblowing.

Naturally, the BBC feels it’s worth reporting. It was just a plot thwarted, noting actually happened, nobody even close to being harmed. But it’s newsworthy because of what they represent.

No bias on that score, of course, since the Washington Post, the HuffingtonPost, and CBS all felt it was newsworthy. That’s the lemming-journalism defense we often get: it’s okay for the BBC to report/not report it, because other media outlets are/aren’t. The bias lies in the report itself, as well as the blatant double standard in how they cover incidents of “domestic terrorism”.

First, the quality of reporting. The BBC cites the Southern Poverty Law Center as an authority on the Sovereign Citizens movement. They describe the SPLC as “a non-profit civil rights group”, full stop. Many people here will have seen some of us refer to a “Rule #1” being in effect, and this is a classic example.

In this case, Rule #1 isn’t from the Philosophy Department of the University of Woolamaloo (although I think a BBC version could easily be made with one or two substitutions), but concerns how and when the BBC labels vox pops, guests, and think tanks or organizations they use in appeals to authority. The idea is that the BBC so rarely labels Left-wing, on-message groups or guests that, if they don’t label them, or call them “independent”, one knows which side they’re on. In contrast, those with opposing viewpoints are introduced with the health warning that they’re conservative, or take one side of an issue.

This isn’t just a Biased-BBC fever dream, either. The Center for Policy Studies recently published a report proving it, at least where think tanks and policy organizations are concerned. And here again is another example. The SPLC is independent only in that it isn’t officially owned or run by a political party. It’s hardly non-ideological, though, and the BBC’s use of “independent” is dishonestly meant to lead you to that conclusion. In fact, the SPLC has a long history as a Left-wing activist organization. It’s always been a civil rights and human rights advocacy organization (the “Southern Poverty” part should be a tip-off), more recently going on the attack against numerous non-Left organizations. For example, they labeled the Family Research Council a “hate group”, and featured it on a “hate map” (although they’re clever enough not to use Palin-esque crosshairs), which may have inspired an attempted murder. It’s a joke to present the SPLC as anything other than what it is. In other words, Rule #1 is in effect here, as usual. It doesn’t matter if they do the work of angels, or if you or I agree or disagree with their ideology. It’s a highly ideological organization with very clear political views and activities, and it’s simply wrong to hide that and mislead the reader.

In fact, this isn’t even the first time the BBC has used the SPLC as an authority to support an agenda. Jonny Dymond cited them in his dishonest story about how white supremacist groups have been on the rise since we elected a black President. Dymond presented the SPLC as an organization which tracks “hate groups and other groups on the far right”. In other words, not an impartial organization at all, but one dedicated to an agenda of attacking the Right. Much like some BBC journalists.

It would have been easy enough for the BBC to simply refer to the FBI, or even the Department of Homeland Security (surely not too partisan for the BBC), who have the same concerns about the Sovereign Citizens. Although maybe that would be a case of “they would say that, wouldn’t they?” about an anti-government group. Instead, the BBC went for an ideological fellow traveler, presenting it as an impartial judge.

This leads me to the biased double standard. A little over a year ago, the BBC published a news brief about the arrests of five young men in Ohio who were caught plotting to blow up a bridge. They, too, had known ties to a well-known organization, but for some reason, instead of reporting the connection and going into detail about it, the BBC decided to censor that key detail. I suspected at the time that the reason was that the organization in question was the Occupy movement. Laughably, the BBC managed to think of one possible motivation for the crime, which the FBI dismissed out of hand: the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death. The FBI dismissed that as a motivation because they knew what the BBC refused to tell you: they were Occupiers, and their motivation was to engage in some anti-government (or anti-establishment) ultra-violence. I say the BBC refused to tell you this because it’s impossible to claim that the BBC didn’t know, seeing as how the wire services from which the BBC gleaned this in the first place mentioned the Occupy connection. Outrageously, the BBC even quoted the FBI about ideology being motivation:

“The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views,” said Special Agent Stephen Anthony, of the FBI’s Cleveland division, in a statement.

Which ideological views? Occupy views. It was deliberate censorship, because the BBC was (and still would be if it came back) highly and rather openly supportive of the Occupy movement, and was loathe to draw such an unsavory connection. When it’s a Right-wing group like the Sovereign Citizens movement, though, the BBC has no problem mentioning the defendants’ connection to it and citing its ideology as the motivation behind their plot to commit violence.

A clear double standard, and one unquestionably caused by personal, ideological bias. I wonder if either Daniel Nasaw, the man in charge of deciding what stories get published in the US section of the BBC website, or any lurking professional journalists, will be able to give us any other explanation besides, “Please shut up, you don’t know how things work in a newsroom.” (I paraphrase slightly.)

Detroit Is Bankrupt – So Is BBC Journalism In The US

Detroit has declared bankruptcy at last, and the BBC is on the case. Emily Buchanan, one of the battalion of Beeboids working the US scene, has put together a video report explaining why the once successful city has fallen so far. Her reasons:

White flight, leaving inner city blacks to suffer and find themselves trapped in an urban nightmare

The collapse of the car industry

“Detroit has suffered a vicious cycle of decay, mismanagement, and population decline.”

This last one, a direct quote, is a meaningless statement. It says nothing about how or why it all happened. Who let the urban center decay after the whites fled? Why did the auto industry collapse? Is there a relationship between the crushing burden of pensions and the collapse of either the auto industry or Detroit? There is, but don’t expect the BBC to tell you, because that would tread on sacred union ground. If the population has been dwindling for so long, and the tax base along with it, why did the city spend as if it still had the historically full population and wealthy tax base?

(UPDATE as the story has “evolved”: For some reason, the BBC has removed Buchanan’s video and replaced it with some disaster pr0n by Michelle Fleury.)

Spot the missing political party which has been running Detroit for the last 43 years: Democrats. Every single mayor since 1970 has been a Democrat, and they’ve all been African-American since 1974. Neither Buchanan’s video, nor the accompanying article, nor Jonny Dymond’s inset “analysis” mention either of these key facts. Why the censorship? Because it doesn’t help the Narrative.

The BBC isn’t really interested in discussing the realities behind Detroit’s destruction. No, they’re interested in the emotional impact of the story of evil wealthy white people abandoning a proud industrial city, destroying the lives of the working class and black people, and the city in general. They don’t talk about the corruption, they don’t talk about profligate spending in the face of a declining tax base. They admit that it’s been going on for a long time, but only that it’s “linked to declining industry”. Detroit’s income was largely dependent on a single industry. People in Britain know all too well how this is never a recipe for lasting success. But there’s no Thatcher to blame here, so the Beeboids aren’t really interested in going after the culprits. Although, didn’t the President save the auto industry a few years back? How’s that working out, BBC?

The accompanying article is only marginally better than the video. At least there we learn that public sector pensions have strangled the city coffers. Oh, wait, no we didn’t. We learn instead that two city unions opposed the bankruptcy plan to give creditors – union pension funds included – 10 cents on the dollar. The ones the BBC mentions are for retired workers, in case you hadn’t teared up enough yet. Dymond actually mentions corruption and mismanagement, but leaves it there. Instead we get more sexy details over which to shed tears and feel bad.

But there’s something of a dichotomy between the two quasi-explanations give. Either it was white flight and a declining tax base due to the collapse of the auto industry, or it was corruption and mismanagement. It’s both, of course, and mostly the corruption and mismanagement has been done in the last decade or so. One mayor even went to jail for it. However, there’s no identity politics benefit to be had from going into that issue, so it’s ignored entirely.

The thing is, we’ve seen all this from the BBC before. Two years ago, they sent Ian Pannell to spin a similar tale of woe. Pannell’s story was that the poor urban blacks whom Buchanan now describes as being abandoned and left to rot by wealthy whites were victims of income inequality, thrust upon the city by outside forces. The city was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2005. Eight years later, after much more corruption and fiddling and shuffling the deck chairs, the city was finally allowed to declare it openly. At least Dymond and Buchanan now admit (barely) that there was some local responsibility for the problems. They won’t say whom or how they ruined the city, but at least it’s a tiny improvement. The corruption doesn’t really burn all the money, but it does keep the powers-that-be from doing anything useful. It’s also likely that politicians who are so corrupt were never capable of doing anything useful in the first place, so it’s a no-win scenario no matter how you slice it.

Simply listing unpleasant statistics about empty homes and population decline and murder rates isn’t an explanation of anything. It’s merely a laundry list of indicators. How did it rack up such debt in the first place? What policies led to the city being so burdened by retired workers and public services maintained at a level which hasn’t been sustainable for a decade or more?

Actually, there was a brief period of potential growth after 2001. The city built casinos and sports stadiums, the kind of development which usually brings in a short-term boost. Of course, since the place was already falling apart and the population exodus was underway, it was never going to be sustainable. There’s that word again. The only time the BBC ever seems to understand that word is when discussing so-called “green energy”. When it comes to endless government “investment”, the word “sustainable” vanishes from their dictionary. By the time the next mayor took office and started burning money, the serious financial problems became clear. Here’s a more informative timeline, giving you more insight than anything the BBC can provide. As usual, you’d have been better served by a news aggregator than the millions of pounds spent on all the staff in the US.

The BBC isn’t interested in any of this, or in informing you of anything really useful or important. All they see here is a tear-jerker, and story-tellers love that sort of thing. So that’s what you get from the BBC: a story. Nothing particularly informative or worth your time, but that was never the point. The point is to manipulate your emotions. Plus, it’s an opportunity to continue to spin the myth that this kind of collapse is due largely to those outside, uncontrollable forces Pannell was talking about two years ago. The BBC brings up Stockton, CA, and other cities elsewhere which have declared bankruptcy recently, as if they’re all part of a piece. They are, but not the way the BBC wants you to think.

Here’s an example of how the BBC prioritizes the causes in  Detroit:

The city, once renowned as a manufacturing powerhouse, has struggled with its finances for some time, driven by a number of factors, including a steep population loss.

The murder rate is at a 40-year high and only one third of its ambulances were in service in early 2013.

Declining investment in street lights and emergency services have made it difficult to police the city.

And Detroit’s government has been hit by a string of corruption scandals over the years.

Between 2000-10, the number of residents declined by 250,000 as residents moved away.

Steep population loss, which equals steep tax loss. Less tax revenue means less money for the local government to spend, which in Beebspeak becomes “declining investment”. Murder rates on the rise, which, I suppose, translates into more white flight. Only then do we get to the corruption scandals. This should come first, not last. I say last and not penultimate because the last item is simply a more specific reiteration of the population decline point. Gosh, I wonder why people left in droves over the last decade, BBC? White flight, or cutting losses in a clearly corrupt and financially suicidal regime, with no real industry or commerce developed to replace what the auto industry provided?

All those other bankrupt cities the BBC mentions, except for San Bernardino, were run for a very long time by Democrats and powerful unions as well. And San Bernardino had massive public sector employee debts anyway. As Margaret Thatcher said, it’s fine until you run out of other people’s money. Instead of pointing the finger at the corruption and mismanagement and long-term unsustainable fiscal policy, the BBC blames other people’s money.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the BBC played another Spot the Missing Party game about another city where decades of Democrat, African-American mayors and city mandarins screwed the place up, where the economically deprived African-American urban community suffers most: St. Louis.

UPDATE 2: The BBC does, in fact, mention a political party: The Republican Governor who agreed to the bankruptcy deal (h/t Rufus McDufus). Naturally, the reason they mentioned a political party can be gleaned from the sentences preceding it:

But Ed McNeil, the lead negotiator for a coalition of 33 unions, told Reuters news agency the move was about “busting the unions”.

“This is not about fixing the city’s finances,” he said. “It’s about the governor and his own agenda to take over the city of Detroit.”

In a letter accompanying Thursday’s filing, Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, said he had approved the request for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

“It is clear that the financial emergency in Detroit cannot be successfully addressed outside of such a filing, and it is the only reasonable alternative that is available”.

Could the innate bias be any more obvious?

Don’t bother trusting the BBC on this or any US issue.

BBC Salivating Over Possible Race Riots?

Yes, I know that’s a bit over the top, and I’m deliberately phrasing it as a question because I’m not categorically stating that’s what they’re doing over the possible result of George Zimmerman’s trial. But it sure seems that way. Having said that, let’s all note that this is the first BBC mention of the trial since just before it actually started. They’ve been absolutely silent about the trial the entire time it’s been going on, and it’s not difficult to suspect their silence has something to do with the fact that most of the testimony – from both sides – has discredited the case for the prosecution. BBC reporting on the incident before the trial has been dishonest, misleading, and has censored key facts in order to lead their audience to the approved thought: Zimmerman killed an innocent boy from a distance, in cold blood, due to racism and racial profiling, and Trayvon Martin was murdered simply for what we call “Walking While Black”. Let’s also remember that the BBC tried to stoke racial tensions with their World Have Your Say segment in which they encouraged discussion about how the US is essentially run by white supremacists, with a legal system driven by white supremacists. They did everything in their power to suggest to the audience that Zimmerman remained free initially due to a racist State, again misleading the audience to the desired thought. After five-plus years of Beeboids in the US finding racists under the bed and telling you that opposition to the President has racist underpinnings, the Narrative is all but assured.

Now that it’s pretty much over, bar the closing statements, and a verdict is coming soon, the BBC can resume normal operations. Notice that they continue to use the “undated family photo” of a smiling, angelic, pubescent Martin, instead of the more updated photos Martin himself posted on Facebook. This is a deliberate editorial choice to lead the reader in a specific direction. If they had shown the more recent photos of Martin in a hoodie, with the golden “grill”, the gun, etc., that might prejudice the reader into thinking maybe the lad was a possible troublemaker. What’s particularly galling about this editorial decision – for that’s what it is, the photo didn’t come up randomly – is that the mere fact that Martin had grown into being a bit of a troublemaker, and was all about the gangsta act, absolutely shouldn’t make anyone think he had it coming. Yet the BBC News Online geniuses decided that they didn’t want to portray Martin as anything other than in the best light possible. It’s only natural to wonder if someone with thuggish tendencies would start the fight, which is why the BBC kept all this from you. This is dishonest, and a failure of journalism. Of course, BBC journalism on this story has been a failure from start to finish.

Reminders of the BBC’s failure can be read here, here, and here. Note especially how the BBC has censored the fact of the physical altercation between Martin and Zimmerman from all reporting – except for one article. This physical altercation is the key to the entire case, as Zimmerman’s defense is that Martin was beating the crap out of him and then, when he noticed Zimmerman’s holstered gun, made a reach for it. It was then that Zimmerman grabbed his gun and shot Martin. This should be included in every single report about the case, from start to finish, because it’s the single most important element on which the jury will base their verdict. If one doesn’t know about this very close physical contact – and BBC audiences who blinked and missed the lone mention don’t know about it, as its been deliberately kept from them in nearly all reporting – then the entire case looks dramatically different from reality. Even though the BBC didn’t mention the fight once, I think they got away with it as they’ve never mentioned Zimmerman’s testimony that Martin was reaching for his (Zimmerman’s) gun, which would then make a clear case for self defense. An acquittal would seem like a sham of a travesty of a joke. Which would then mean that BBC audiences would not only be unsurprised at a resulting race riot, but would be inclined to understand and support the outrage. I think that’s the goal of BBC News producers and journalists here: to direct their audience to a specific opinion on the case.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, the BBC has never reported on Zimmerman’s history of fighting against racism, or his efforts in support of blacks. Nor have they every made mention of Martin’s checkered recent past. Can’t have those inconvenient truths interfere with the Narrative.

The  way the BBC opens the report betrays their agenda:

Florida officials have appealed for calm as the trial of a neighbourhood watchman who shot dead an unarmed black teenager enters its final phase.

“Unarmed”. This is “accurate”, but at no time does the report mention the physical altercation between the two. The BBC is once again censoring the most important fact of the case, and it’s important to call them on it. This makes it all the more bizarre for the BBC to then mention further down that both Martin’s and Zimmerman’s mothers said that the screams heard on a recording were their own son’s. Why was anyone screaming? Without the key fact of the fight, this is a non sequitur. Expecting the reader to remember the one mention of the fight from two weeks ago doesn’t work. Just in case anyone might possibly start edging toward an unapproved thought, the BBC makes sure to tell you that Martin’s mother was “absolutely” certain it was Trayvon. Wasn’t Zimmerman’s mother also sure? I guess the BBC thought her opinion was not as relevant because she didn’t qualify it with such a strong word. By elevating one mother over the other, the result is that the BBC guides you once again towards the desired conclusion that Martin was completely innocent, and that Zimmerman was possibly beating the crap out of him before drawing his gun and murdering the lad in cold blood. They reinforce the notion of Zimmerman’s complete guilt by informing everyone that the prosecutor told the jury that Zimmerman killed Martin “because he wanted to”. Again, without the knowledge of the physical contact – especially about Zimmerman’s repeated testimony that Martin was reaching for his (Zimmerman’s) holstered gun – people already inclined to believe the racist Narrative – which the BBC encouraged – will draw the desired conclusion.

It’s entirely possible that the BBC journalists who put this together believe in their hearts that Zimmerman is a racist who killed an innocent boy in cold blood. But that’s no excuse to censor the most important fact of the case, or to emphasize one side’s argument over the other.

In actual fact, the only racist remarks made were by Trayvon Martin to his girlfriend moments before the incident. He referred to  Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker”. This was all over the news after her testimony in the trial, yet the BBC censored it, as they have everything else during the trial. So BBC audiences have no idea about reality, and know only the dishonest Narrative forced on them by BBC journalists. As it became increasingly clear that the racism angle was a non-starter in the trial, Martin’s own family made a public statement that it wasn’t about racism. Yet the BBC kept that from you, and are now wringing their hands over a potential race riot in the event of an acquittal, because, well, that’s been the Narrative from their friends and acquaintances and thought leaders in the US mainstream media, as well as their friends and acquaintances and thought leaders in the far-Left blogosphere.

Just in case anyone doubts where the BBC’s sympathies lie, just look at the one report which mentions the fight. As always, we get the angelic photo of Martin, plus a sympathetic picture of Martin’s mother wiping tears from her eyes. Of course everyone is going to feel sorry for her, feel her pain. It’s still manipulative for the BBC to juxtapose that with the angelic, smiling image instead of the more recent and relevant thug shots. The BBC has also censored the recent news that the judge blocked from the trial a load of texts from Martin about learning to fight, how he could sucker punch somebody, and getting a gun. Again, this might make Martin seem less than angelic, and possibly responsible for his own actions and starting the physical altercation. It might lead the BBC audience to suspect that this wasn’t a cold-blooded racist murder after all, so they left it out. They know about it because even the Guardian made a brief mention.

John Anderson in the open threads has been keeping us apprised of the craziness of this trial, including how even prosecution witnesses end up supporting Zimmerman’s case. A couple of examples here, here. and here. The BBC certainly doesn’t want you to know any of that, and it’s not included in this report, either. So BBC audiences will have absolutely no idea why Zimmerman might be acquitted, if that’s what happens. There’s a reason the prosecution has demanded, and the judge has in one case allowed, that the jury consider lesser charges instead of the one they brought. Their case is a disaster, and they’re desperately trying to get a conviction on something, anything. But BBC audiences don’t know about the reality, so this news of a lesser charge being introduced must seem very curious indeed.

Quite simply, you cannot trust BBC reporting on this story. And it’s because of the personal ideological biases and prejudices of BBC journalists.

That “Conservative” Supreme Court

In the Monday open thread, I called attention to the BBC’s misrepresentation of the US Supreme Court’s vote to overrule an Appeals Court ruling upholding racial preferences in university admissions. The BBC claimed that the Supreme Court has gotten more conservative since 2003, when the Court originally voted to uphold racial preferences, and on which the present case was based. This was a BBC suggestion as to the cause of the ruling.

I called that assessment into question, not only because the vote was 7-1 (with the very Left-wing Kagan recusing herself, as she supported the case in a previous job), with two liberal Justices joining the majority, but because the Court had in 2003 and still has now a liberal majority, 5-4.

The Justices in 2003:

Chief Justice Rehnquist – conservative
Stevens – liberal
O’Connor – conservative
Scalia – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Souter – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Ginsburg – liberal
Breyer – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today’s Court:

Chief Justice Roberts – conservative
Alito – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Sotomayor – liberal
Ginsburg – liberal
Scalia – conservative
Breyer – liberal
Kagan – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred homosexual couples from having certain benefits and rights that heterosexual couples have. Spot the missing President who originally signed the bill into law. Can you guess which political party he was? Can you guess which leading Presidential candidate for 2016 with a close personal connection to him? Blatant bias by omission there. I do hope they add this relevant bit of information as the story “evolves” (i.e. an editor tells them to stop hiding what they already know). (UPDATE: The story has evolved. The BBC now mentions Clinton, although not his party. But they get points for admitting that it had bi-partisan support in Congress. Mark Mardell would have been pleased with their determination to reach across the aisle to get things done.)

This uncomfortable fact was also censored from the BBC’s Q&A on the issue of homosexual marriage. All you’re told is that the law was “passed by Congress” in 1996. Of course, when The Obamessiah signs a bill into law, it’s all about Him doing it. When it’s a law they don’t like, particularly when it’s one signed by a darling Democrat, there’s no President to be seen.

Also, check out how the Justices voted. Exactly along the labels I gave them above. More conservative still?

What’s funny is that this is now the third major ruling in the last year in which the Supreme Court ruled on the liberal side of an issue. They upheld the key portions of ObamaCare, and struck down the key part of Arizona’s “controversial” law about dealing with illegal immigration. Now with this decision, the Left-wing/Progressive faction has victories in the three biggest issues. Yet the BBC describes the Court as becoming more conservative when it returns a decision to the lower court. Note that no law was struck down or upheld specifically by the racial preferences ruling, but rather rejected a lower court’s decision. The law is still in place, yet the BBC decided to plant the notion that the Court had become more conservative, in spite of the evidence.

Now that there’s yet another Left-wing victory, the BBC is not pointing out the liberal majority on the Court, or even daring to remind you of the political party which originally signed the DoMA into law. Is the Court still trending conservative, BBC?

The BBC should simply shut down the entire US division and replace them all with a shaved orangutan managing a news aggregator. You’d be more and better informed, and tens of millions of pounds would be saved.

The BBC And The IRS

The Director of the IRS’s tax-exempt enforcement division, Lois Lerner, has been placed on “administrative leave” after her publicly derided appearance in front of Congress the other day. Reality forces the BBC to report on a story they were quietly avoiding until the story got too big to ignore.

Lois Lerner on administrative leave in US tax scandal

There are some glaring omissions here, as well as the usual partisan bias we’ve come to expect from the BBC’s coverage of US issues. Instead of my usual lengthy and tedious essays parsing every little word, I’m going to try something different. This time I’m simply going to rewrite the piece as if I were an editor, taking the bulk of what’s already been written and adding important things I believe they left out, and making a few changes to remove the partisan bias.

Read the BBC article above, and then read my version. Please compare and contrast, and let me know which version better informs you.
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BBC Omits Most Important Facts About Benghazi And Other Scandals

Last week, the US President had to use a joint press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister to address His domestic troubles regarding the whole Benghazi mess, as well as the growing scandal of political intimidation by the IRS. The BBC helpfully spelled out all the White House talking points while censoring the two most important facts of both stories.

Obama tries to tame political tempests

After briefly outlining the IRS scandal, the BBC says this:

Joseph Grant, who headed the IRS division responsible, announced that he intends to retire next month.

Key detail missing: Grant was promoted to head the division only a couple weeks ago. He was deputy commissioner until then, including while the political intimidation and obstruction was going on. But as far as BBC audiences know, the President has taken decisive action and secured the resignation of a person responsible for the wrongdoing. Why is this an important point? Because the BBC doesn’t want you to know – or simply don’t know themselves, which would be poor journalism – that the person who actually was the head of the tax-exemption division while all this was going on is now in charge of the IRS division which will be enforcing ObamaCare.

Sarah Hall Ingram still has her top job at the IRS, and considering the huge impact ObamaCare is going to have on the country beginning next year, perhaps one of the most important jobs in the country. Her assistant was scapegoated instead, yet the BBC ignores this entirely. As a result, you’re misinformed on two levels. Why is this a big deal? Well, why should we trust someone who oversaw political intimidation and suppression by the IRS to oversee implementation of another policy? The BBC isn’t interested.

After quoting the President’s assurance that He was on the case, the article moves on to Benghazi. Again we get more of the President’s statement, this time the shifting blame to Congress for approving more funding for embassy security, we at least hear a concern raised by Speaker Boehner. Except this isn’t the whole story at all.

What the BBC left out is that the noise about needing more funding for security is irrelevant, a smokescreen. In fact, part of the original fuss was that the State Department had deliberately reduced security there, out of concern for appearances and appeasing local sensitivities about Crusader boots on the ground. Has the BBC forgotten about that? It was brought up during that infamous second presidential debate, when the President took responsibility for it before later passing the buck.

There were State Dept. resignations late last year over their failure to provide adequate security. Nothing whatsoever to do with a lack of funding.

The Benghazi incident appeared likely to tarnish Clinton’s four-year tenure as secretary of state but the report did not fault her specifically and the officials who led the review stopped short of blaming her.

“We did conclude that certain State Department bureau-level senior officials in critical positions of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership and management ability appropriate for senior ranks,” retired Admiral Michael Mullen, one of the leaders of the inquiry, told reporters on Wednesday.

The panel’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said it had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than Clinton’s office.

Yet the BBC leaves all this out and you’re left to focus on the funding issue, which, naturally, shifts blame away from the President and His Administration and makes it into a partisan issue. As usual with the BBC, the President is merely trapped in a world He never made, apparently surrounded by incompetents like a cartoon villain who just can’t get good help these days. If only Congress wasn’t so awful and helped Him fix things, right? Coincidentally, the latest excuse by the IRS is that they weren’t partisan but merely incompetent. But back to the BBC and Benghazi.

The BBC article then goes on to explain what’s probably the biggest aspect of the Benghazi scandal at the moment: the talking points.

The emails show that White House staff requested only minor edits to the so-called talking points about the Benghazi assault, but there were repeated requests from the state department to omit information that might be used to criticise them.

The BBC left out the most important factor of all: there is no mention in any of the versions of the talking points of that stupid video. You know the one: the amateur anti-Mohammed video made by some Egyptian guy living in the US that was initially – dishonestly – blamed for the attack in Benghazi. That’s why everyone is poring over the talking points, not just about how the Administration wanted to suppress information which made their foreign policy look bad.

Here’s the full set of the different versions of the talking points (NB: PDF file). Look for yourselves and see if there’s anything there about the video. The closest anything gets is the original claim that the Benghazi attack was spontaneously inspired by the protests in Cairo, which was only superficially about that video.

I’m sure everyone here remembers that Amb. Susan Rice, Sec. of State Clinton, and the President Himself lied to the public and the victims’ families about the video being the cause. Clinton even assured them at a special gathering that they’d go after the video maker, as if that was all that mattered. No mention of this from the BBC. Their brief mention here is basically the White House version of events, omitting what’s most important.

The BBC then moves on to the third scandal, and possibly the one which actually broke the slavish media defensive wall that has surrounded this President for years, including during His initial candidacy: the Dept. of Justice seizing phone records of journalists at the Associated Press. All this other stuff was generally viewed as mere partisan noise by His enemies, until the gatekeepers themselves got hit.

The BBC gives us the President’s line of defense, that it was a national security issue and of course we shouldn’t spare any effort to keep us all safe. Yet the leak in question was about something that made a statement from the Administration look like a lie, not about classified data that put anyone in harm’s way. No mention of that from the BBC. Oh, and the DoJ also tapped the AP phone line in the press gallery in the House of Representatives, possibly allowing them to gather phone records of conversations with Congressman, which is illegal.

I realize that this was really a BBC summary of the President’s speech, and that they can’t cover everything fully, can’t provide every single detail about each issue. But surely they can mention the most important factors of each, instead of misleading you.

PS: I see the BBC used the photo of the President making a Marine hold an umbrella for Him, as if he was a valet. It’s not the most flattering picture of Him, but there have still been no snarky tweets from Beeboids about how it’s a bad protocol gaffe.

BBC Censorship: The List Just Keeps Growing Edition

Everyone knows by now how the BBC got it wrong on Benghazi. I made a post about how the BBC was censoring news of what really happened on Sept. 13, 2012, two days after the attack. Plenty of people here from then on posted links to stories about it, and we all wondered why the BBC kept ignoring it or simply followed the White House talking points and dismissed those complaining. Now we know why they did this. As Mark Mardell has admitted (h/t DB), he thought it was all just partisan attack nonsense to which he needn’t pay attention.

In the interests of full disclosure I have to say I have not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little.

His very next sentence suggests that he was more convinced by a different spin on the incident, because it came from sources he was more likely to trust.

I remember listening to reports from the BBC and others at the time that did suggest the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a rather puerile anti-Islamic video.

Even though I’m not a journalist, I’ve heard enough from actual Beeboids who used to comment here, as well as from self-proclaimed journalists who’ve made attempts to explain it, not to mention the statements made by Mardell himself and the head of the BBC bureau in the US about how they decide what gets published/broadcast, to know that, no matter how hard everyone tries to be impartial, personal opinion is going to inform decisions on some level, at some point in time. The BBC’s top man in the US has now admitted that his personal opinion of both the sources of the complaints and what he understood of their merits prevented him from taking it seriously. It can’t be much of a stretch to conclude that the BBC in general took the same position. After all, they do tend to follow the lead of their fellow Left-wing journalists in the US.

One has to wonder just how much he knew about the complaints of mistakes regarding embassy security and the cover-up of what the Administration knew and the consequential lies to the victims’ families and the public about it, including lies told by someone at least one Beeboid sees as a global inspiration. Did Mardell simply dismiss it all because it was coming from Republicans, people he’s described on more than one occasion as “enemies” of the President? Not to mention the fact that everyone knew this was going to be a major issue in the campaign to re-elect Him. The BBC doesn’t like to report things which make Him look bad, and are more interested in demonizing opponents than investigating what’s going on. Mardell certainly has form on dismissing any criticism of Him as partisan attacks with little merit.

The day after the attacks, people were posting other news items on the open thread here about what actually happened, and showing what the BBC kept leaving out. It was clear even then that the President and His Administration was not being truthful, pushing the phony story about that video causing it. At the time, Mardell bought it hook, line, and sinker, and even seized on it to take a swipe at Mitt Romney (then the Republican nominee contesting His re-election). The BBC wasn’t interested in reality then, and continued to cover their eyes and ears for months. Defenders of the indefensible love to dismiss things because of the source (Fox News! Fox News!), refusing to even go into the merits of any of it. Yet who’s getting the last laugh now? One has to wonder if Mardell and the BBC similarly dismissed the merits of the stories simply because they didn’t like the source.

The fact that the BBC is only now getting around to admitting all of this and reporting it is revealing of how they prioritize news stories. It was only after the latest round of hearings started and the revelations were spread across the front pages of their preferred news outlets for more than a day that they decided is was newsworthy. The revelations had been out for days before that, and in some cases, weeks and months. Yet the BBC couldn’t be bothered. A simple news aggregator would have kept you better informed, and you could all decide for yourself what had merit and what didn’t. The gatekeepers failed you here.

The BBC has form on censoring deciding stories simply aren’t worth your time, only to be forced by reality to report it much later on, long after everyone here knows all about it. For example:

“Fast & Furious”, where the Administration oversaw guns being sold illegally to people who they knew would sell to Mexican drug cartels, without tracking them, in the hopes of creating a body count on which they could exploit to push for stricter gun laws, and then tried to cover it up.

The President’s mishandling of the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

They censored all kinds of stuff from the Trayvon Martin coverage.

They censored almost all news about the billions sent down the Green Toilet to failed green energy businesses run mostly by Democrat money-bundlers.

They’ve also censored news of all but two gaffes by the President, as it conflicts with the “He’s so suave and cool and far more intelligent than the inarticulate Bush” groupthink. Bush got no such protection, as even the slightest misstep was ridiculed for your benefit.

The BBC even censored a bit out of a speech by the President so it wouldn’t conflict with their Narrative about the budget and one round of debt negotiations.

There’s plenty of other stuff the BBC thought you didn’t need to know. Have a look at this list and judge for yourselves if any of it was newsworthy or not.

The latest major story the BBC has so far kept from you is the admission by the IRS that they’ve been illegally targeting and harassing Tea Party groups and other non-Left organizations. This has apparently been going on for some times, as a top Administration official (at the time) inadvertently mentioned over two years ago that the President’s inner circle had illegal access to tax information of their political opponents. It’s a big deal, but in the interests of keeping this from being yet another of my tediously lengthy posts, I’ll just link to an op-ed from the national newspaper perhaps respected most by the BBC: the Washington Post. Not Fox News, not Breitbart, not Jihadwatch, not Glen Beck. It’s simply not possible for defenders of the indefensible to dismiss this because of the source.

Playing politics with tax records

A BEDROCK principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purpose. The law is blind to political viewpoint, and so are its enforcers, most especially the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Any violation of this principle threatens the trust and the voluntary cooperation of citizens upon which this democracy depends.

So it was appalling to learn Friday that the IRS had improperly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny. It was almost as disturbing that President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew have not personally apologized to the American people and promised a full investigation.

BBC: ZZZZzzzzzzz

With all this in mind, I say again that the BBC has given up being as serious news organization when it comes to US  issues. They may have a titled editor on the scene, and at least 100 employees beavering away at the website and producing those “bespoke” video magazine pieces, but it’s little more than a lightweight content producer these days, with an eye to attracting the MOR and low-information crowd, along with the ad and subscription revenue that comes with their eyeballs. Your license fee hard at work. Sure, most of this is technically paid for by the commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, but there’s plenty of sharing of resources and funding. And after all, this is your official state broadcaster expanding far beyond its original remit.

UPDATE, 5/13: The BBC has now reported it. Because the President spoke out about it, it’s new. He has condemned the actions and promised to deal with it, so all is well.

“I’ve got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it and I will make sure that we find out exactly what happened.”

Like He has with Benghazi, right, BBC?

Questions Begin For Mark Mardell Over Boston

The BBC’s top man in the US, Mark Mardell, has some questions for the FBI in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. And I have some questions for the BBC’s wrongly-titled North America editor.

Questions begin for FBI over Boston

The relief was palpable in a city where 19 April 2013 had been cancelled, paralysed, because of the manhunt for a terrorist.

When the news broke that the second suspect had been caught Boston residents who’d been cooped up under a day-long curfew poured onto the streets whooping with joy.

That raises a question before we even get to Mardell’s questions for the FBI. Why no mention that the only reason the second suspect was found is that the owner of the boat where he was hiding was able to find him only because the lockdown was lifted and he stepped outside for a smoke? Why no question from him as to why the lockdown in the first place? It clearly hindered the goal of finding the suspect, not to mention the ominous overtones of the government forcing citizens to remain indoors not because they were in danger but simply to make things easier for government officials to move around.

Mardell remarked in a previous blog post about how surprising it was to find the entire city shut down like that. But he felt it was necessary, and worried only that people wouldn’t feel safe again until the perpetrator was caught. Not that people got a bad impression from the government ordering them to remain indoors in a situation that wasn’t something immediately threatening to everyone, such as an imminent nuclear attack, but that this made them feel even more scared of the bad guy. The extreme exercise of State power didn’t bother him at all. Why not?

Back to Mardell’s “analysis”:

When President Obama spoke, the normal level of chatter returned and no-one seemed to be paying much attention. But he had something important to say.

Naturally, the President must be brought into the conversation, even if it’s just as a launchpad for the real point Mardell wants to make. Actually, it’s probably more than just his reflexive response to view everything through the prism of Him. Normalcy started to return not when news broke that one suspect had been found and killed while the other was now running scared, but because He spoke to us.

Now, about that point Mardell wants to make. The President asked the rhetorical question of “why did they do it”.

“How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers. The wounded, some of whom now have to learn how to stand and walk and live again, deserve answers.”

The president might be wise to start by asking President Putin. I have no evidence that the “foreign government” asking questions about Tamerlan Tsarnaev was Russia, but that is my strong suspicion.

It’s not His fault, you see. These young men were not radicalized by the Iraq War or Afghanistan, and definitely, no way in hell, never in a million years were they radicalized to murder their neighbors by seeing all those fellow Mohammedans get killed in cold blood – innocent women and children included – by drone bombs under the President’s orders. Nope, they’re Chechens now, not home-grown US terrorists anymore. So of course Putin must bear some responsibility because of that whole Russia/Chechnya scene. I do hope this won’t make any Beeboid start to have second thoughts about the theory that these people are all radicalized by Iraq/Afghanistan/US Foreign policy. To think that there might be some sort of global, pan-Islamist connection regardless of which country is oppressing them is one of the most unapproved thoughts imaginable.

Whoever it was, they warned the FBI that Tamerlan was a strong supporter of radical Islam. The FBI say they investigated, interviewed him, and found no links with terrorism. This is quite remarkable. Let me repeat it. The FBI had been warned that the man who apparently carried out the first terrorist attack on an American city since 9/11 was a strong supporter of radical Islam.

It’s actually not at all remarkable to anyone who follows reality outside the Beltway bubble and far-Left blogosphere. I don’t remember Mardell finding it so remarkable that the US Army knew for some time that Maj. Hasan was going radical and expressing disturbing thoughts. As most people here have known for some time, the FBI purged language about Islamic terrorism from their materials. (Actually, one change to the guidelines made at the same time is right on the money: the bit about how there really is no more international functional Al Qaeda super-group any longer, and it really is a hodge-podge of gangs and cells and freelancers and inspired lone wolves and wannabes.) Aside from that, it shouldn’t be remarkable to anyone who follows reality outside the Beltway bubble and far-Left blogosphere because even the Washington Post reported that Russia told the FBI about Tamerlan.

Why is Mardell being so coy? Why pretend he doesn’t know? Is there some BBC legal eagle keeping him from saying it out loud? Or is he just that far behind the times again? He knows Tamerlan traveled to Russia last year, because his colleagues mention it on the “Chechen links” section of the special feature on the bombers. So it’s silly for him to play this game. Maybe there’s just some legal reason he can’t say it, even though he and his colleagues can speculate all day long about right-wing connections.

People will want to know how far they delved, how hard they tried, how seriously they took the information. Some of the criticism will be unfair, based on hindsight – they must get thousands of such warnings ever year. Or perhaps they are quite rare. That is another question.

No, Mark. The real question is: who gave the order over a year ago to make the FBI turn a blind eye to the specific radical Islam component to these things. And why. One suspects that Mardell won’t be asking any of either his or my questions any time soon. Nor will anyone at the BBC, because that’s not what they do.

One last question for Mardell: Will you and your colleagues finally learn the lesson and not only stop speculating that these attacks are probably from Right-wingers, but also stop speculating that it can’t be connected to radical Islamists? Speculate about everyone or no one.

Double Standards And Leaders

Spot the missing President in this BBC report about the latest violent attacks by Guantanamo Bay inmates on their guards. We hear about the military not being able to decide what to do, as well as Congressional “restrictions” (translation: Congressmen simply don’t want to deal with the ensuing political mess if any of the POWTs are given a civil trial in their constituency), and we hear about how the hunger strike and violence is in protest of the fact that all these people are being held without charge or trial indefinitely. We even learn that one of the reasons the prisoners aren’t being released all over the place is concerns that they might be harmed if they go back home. Isn’t that nice? The other worry, of course, is that many of them go right back to the battlefield, which is the reason POW camps exist in the first place.

But no mention at all of the President of the United States. It’s a glaring omission, not only because He authorized military tribunals to start up again two years ago. After, of course, the fairly messy result of the civilian attempt the year before. Does He bear no responsibility? Another reason this is an unacceptable omission on the BBC’s part is that the President can simply release them all without sending them back to a dangerous homeland (if that is in fact even a real concern for many of them). There is precedent (e.g. the Uighurs, and everyone’s favorite “Briton”, Binyam Mohammed, who was later, after the BBC received complaints from both sides, demoted to “UK/British resident”) and it’s not impossible for someone capable of diplomacy and deal-making.

George Bush actually released, or transferred to custody in other countries, about 500 detainees during the six years he was in office after the establishment of the prison. Human Rights Watch, a trusted source for the BBC, puts the figure at 532. According to this New York Times interactive feature, there were 242 being held when Bush left office. There are currently 166 detainees, which means that the Nobel Peace Laureate-in-Chief, on the other hand, has released or transferred a mere 76 people in five years. His track record is not good, yet the BBC doesn’t even mention Him in the report about them protesting at what is essentially His failure.

Are there serious obstacles to releasing or transferring all of them? Sure. So why can’t the BBC mention that in His defense? It wouldn’t be biased, so long as they didn’t attempt to shift blame away entirely. The article as it stands does that.

Of course, the BBC is well aware of the President’s failure on this issue, which is why they casually put a link in the sidebar to Andrew Marr’s gently critical special report from before the last election. But is that good enough? It is for the BBC.

Barack Obama’s presidency: Why hope shrivelled

Marr covered a lot of ground in his report, but I’ll keep to a couple relevant and timely points. First, the failure on Guantanamo.

Marr did mention that the President’s early promises to shut down the prison failed.

But Obama’s early promises to close Guantanamo Bay and bring about a new era of trust between the US and the Muslim world have turned to dust. He over-promised.

That’s a fair assessment in its own way. Of course, all politicians over-promise on a regular basis, so that’s hardly a scathing critique.  Matt Frei (ex-BBC, former Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America) was still hopeful and positive even a few months after He was elected and it was clear that not everything was going according to plan:

With a flick of a pen he declared the intention to close down Guantanamo Bay. He reached out to staunch enemies like Iran without sounding craven. He began to talk to the Muslim world rather than at it.

Frei and the rest of the BBC just ran with His promise, never questioning whether or not it was possible or wise. Justin Webb even enthused after that video kiss He blew to Iran early on:

The point is that Mr Obama understands that case himself – the case that says: “Come off it, America IS better, and has a decent case to put before the court of world opinion.”

But he also understands that there may be advantages to not making it, indeed to making the opposite case (to the extent that he did in that al Arabiya interview).

In fact, I wonder whether he really disagrees with the Krauthammer position.

George W Bush said what he thought. The new man is capable of sophistry in the matter of confusing his enemies…

(A cynic might ask who really are His enemies….)

At the time, Frei and Webb were the two top Beeboids in the US, the two highly experienced, world-class journalists the BBC expected you to trust. And they got it wrong. But the BBC is aware now. It’s just not really His fault, you see. Which brings me to the timely points which aren’t strictly relevant to the Guantanamo story.

Marr wheels out a couple of major falsehoods in his attempts to shift blame for the President’s failure to achieve absolutely all our dreams. One of them is a canard we hear a lot from the BBC:

It is quite true that in Congress, the Republicans waged a brutal and remorseless campaign to frustrate him.

In actual fact, the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for the first two years of His reign. They rammed through ObamaCare and spending bills without governing by consensus, without reaching across the aisle. The Republicans could do nothing to stop it. Mark Mardell even once referred to that as a “Golden Age”. So it’s absolutely false to claim that Republicans have blocked Him the entire time.Yet it’s so entrenched in the BBC mindset that even the US-born ex-Guardianista Daniel Nasaw peddles the Narrative. No need for a conspiracy or memos or editorial directives for this kind of Corporation-wide groupthink if they all think the same way anyway. The bias occurs naturally. They don’t even realize they’re doing it.

The very next sentence takes it further.

The level of vituperation and abuse Obama took at the hands of insurgent Tea Party activists went far beyond civilised disagreement.

And civilians protesting stopped Him how, exactly? But never mind the how: consider what Marr’s said there. “Far beyond” civilized disagreement? Really? We all know the BBC and the Left-wing media loved to tar the entire movement, millions of people, with the actions of a few. It was all part of the Narrative that there is no legitimate opposition to the President’s policies. In stark contrast, the BBC praised the Occupy Wall St. movement. At no time did they ever focus on the violence and criminal activity, or declare that the movement itself was tainted because of all the vandalism, rapes, deaths (here’s just a small sample, all of which the BBC refused to cover), or even when Occupiers were arrested for trying to blow up a bridge. In fact, the BBC censored the news of the plotters’ Occupy bona fides. None of this even remotely happened with any Tea Party groups or protests. But that clearly hasn’t stopped the BBC from their smear job. Actually, they were doing it from day one. I challenge anyone to demonstrate how the BBC treated the Occupy movement with similar negativity.

In the very first BBC report, Kevin Connolly insulted all of them with a sexual innuendo. Is this civilized, BBC? It hasn’t gotten any better since.

But let’s focus on “civilized disagreement”. Several BBC programmes in fact relish in over-the top stuff. The first incident which comes to mind is Eddie Mair calling Boris Johnson “a nasty piece of work”. Far beyond civilized disagreement, or merely a robust interview? Question Time is usually a good source of ugly statements which go far beyond civilized disagreement. We recently saw a Labour activist call a UKIP candidate a “disgusting” woman. Far worse is the week-long celebration over Margaret Thatcher’s death. Andrew Marr and Mark Mardell and all the rest of the Beeboids can frown and scold and defame the Tea Party movement and its participants, but they have refused to similarly cast the harsh light on opposition to Thatcher. Will the BBC similarly condemn the unions and Labour and apparently the vast majority of Northern England for going far beyond civilized disagreement in their opposition to the Iron Lady? Or is only The Obamessiah deserving of such special protection?

Is making “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead” a chart-topper out of hatred for someone far beyond civilized disagreement? How about if a BBC Digital Media Executive tweets that he’s put it on his playlist? What about burning poppies? What about the violence and vandalism during those “student” protests? What about all the BBC employees who tweeted vicious and vulgar things about Mitt Romney or Republicans or Sarah Palin (see the “In Their Own Tweets” page on this site)? All just the isolated acts of a few, no reason to tar the entire BBC, or all opponents of Thatcher’s policies, or all opponents of UKIP, or all opponents of tuition fees or all opponents of budget cuts? Okay, but then we must also condemn Marr and the rest of the BBC for smearing millions over the acts of a few.

The reason I bring that up is because it’s clear that Marr was trying to shift blame away from the President. While he realized that it was never possible to fulfill all those promises, he doesn’t really blame Him for any of the failures. It’s always someone else’s fault. So even when the BBC links to his report as a subtle way to admit the President has failed on Guantanamo, there’s plenty of blame-shifting to be found both in the Guantanamo article and Marr’s feature.

They just can’t help themselves. But the double standards are clear.