Anti-Semitism Discovered In the Muslim Community: Shocker!

Douglas Murray’s blog post in the Spectator caught my eye yesterday, in which he points out a must-read article in the HuffingtonPost by Mehdi Hasan. No, really:

The Sorry Truth Is That the Virus of Anti-Semitism Has Infected the British Muslim Community

Hasan felt compelled for some reason to speak out against Lord Ahmed’s rant about how a Jewish conspiracy caused his conviction for killing someone while driving and texting at the same time.

To claim that your jail sentence for dangerous driving is the result of a Jewish plot is bigoted and stupid. The peer has since been suspended from the Labour Party and forced to stand down as a trustee of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation. I’m not sure how many “Jewish friends” he has left – if, that is, he had any to begin with.

Full disclosure: I know Lord Ahmed and have defended him in the past. In 2007, he flew out to Sudan to help free the schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons from the clutches of the odious Islamist regime in Khartoum. In 2009, an Appeal Court judge noted how the peer had “risked his life trying to flag down other vehicles to stop them colliding with… his car”. He is not a latter-day Goebbels. But herein lies the problem. There are thousands of Lord Ahmeds out there: mild-mannered and well-integrated British Muslims who nevertheless harbour deeply anti-Semitic views.

No kidding.

The truth is that the virus of anti-Semitism has infected members of the British Muslim community, both young and old. No, the on-going Israel-Palestine conflict hasn’t helped matters. But this goes beyond the Middle East. How else to explain why British Pakistanis are so often the most ardent advocates of anti-Semitic conspiracies, even though there are so few Jews living in Pakistan?

The fact that a visceral hatred of Jews and conspiracy-mongering is rife within the Mohammedan communities around the world is old news to people here, and surely it’s not a stunning revelation to Hasan, either. The real question is, what will the BBC do about this?

To be honest, I’ve always been reluctant to write a column such as this. To accuse my fellow Muslims of being soft on the scourge of anti-Semitism isn’t easy; I feel as if I am ‘dobbing in’ the community, telling tales to the non-Muslim teacher. Nor do I particularly want to assist the English Defence League in its relentless campaign to demonise all Muslims, everywhere, as extremists and bigots.

We aren’t. And we’re not all anti-Semites. But, as a community, we do have a ‘Jewish problem’. There is no point pretending otherwise.

So it’s not news to Hasan after all. He’s been aware of it for a very long time. How about the BBC? We all remember how they leapt to support Baroness Warsi when she lamented that Islamophobia had “passed the dinner table test” in Britain. They made sure to do a Have Your Say on it. The World Service audience got their own Have Your Say, asking who was responsible for Islamophobia. I don’t need to reel out a laundry list of all the news reports, radio shows, and drama programming the BBC has produced in the last few years trying to encourage people to accept Islam, and even welcome it. More recently, in keeping with the BBC’s remit to foster social cohesion, they promoted the national “Wear a Hijab Day”, to encourage girls of all races and religions to spend the day embracing this aspect of Mohammedan culture, to learn how “the other” lives and so bring communities closer together. Some of us joked at the time that we wouldn’t be holding our breath for the BBC to do a “Wear a Yarmulke” day. But now it seems like this would be the perfect opportunity for them to use the special, unique powers and influence of the BBC to take a stand against the anti-Jewish sentiment that has equally passed the dinner table test in Britain. And it’s not just at the dinner parties Mehdi Hasan goes to, either.

Hasan seems to be aware that the Palestinian situation is not necessarily the sole reason for the hatred of Jews amongst his co-religionists. He may not know just how far back it goes (before the creation of Israel, in fact), and one has to equally wonder if anyone at the BBC shares his awareness. Only time will tell. I don’t think Hasan’s purpose here is to delve into the history of anti-Semitism in the Muslim World or anything like that, so there’s no problem with him not going into it. However, the BBC does do history and background, when it suits them, so there’s no excuse for them not to get into it in detail.

If the BBC doesn’t respond to this with even a fraction of the energy with which they’ve attacked the problem of Islamophobia, it will be a clear failure of their Charter-bound duty. Whether or not it’s evidence of a similar epidemic of anti-Jewish sentiment at the BBC remains to be seen.

Kim Ghattas Book Reveals Personal Misgivings About US Power

The BBC’s State Department correspondent, Kim Ghattas, has a new book out about Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. A review of it is in the Murdoch-owned (but not tarnished by it) Wall Street Journal, written by their assistant books editor, Sohrab Ahmari. Ahmari came to the WSJ with a legal background, and has co-edited a book of essays from Middle Eastern dissidents entitled “Arab Spring Dreams”. So, much like Ms. Ghattas, he’s sympathetic to the plight of Arabs living under lousy rulers, although he clearly comes from a different direction than Ghattas.

Nowhere Left to Fly To

Hillary Clinton circled the globe 40 times in four years as secretary of state. But what did all this on-the-go diplomacy accomplish?

Clearly Ahmari comes with a not-very-positive perspective on Clinton’s accomplishments as Sec. of State, and was looking for something in Ghattas’ book. But my concern here is what his review says about Ghattas, and what she says about herself.

The material has world-historical heft, yet the treatment rarely carries weight.

Not a good start.

Ghattas clearly enjoys the access that her job entails and deems no detail of life in the State Department press corps too insignificant to share. There are seemingly endless anecdotes about the “chewy chocolate chip cookies” at the air bases that service the secretary of state’s plane; the chicken-salad dinners aboard the plane; the press packets handed out by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing; the “Bulgari hand fresheners” inside the Saudi king’s tent. Did you know that one time Mrs. Clinton’s plane almost took off without “Arshad Mohammed from Reuters, who had overslept”?

Unfortunately rather shallow, it seems, and more about Ghattas’ job than about Clinton’s. But this comes as no surprise at all to those who have been watching her output for the BBC since 2008. Ghattas never hesitated to gush over Michelle Obama’s dresses or fawn over other superficial things. But that’s not the important bit. It begins here:

Ms. Ghattas adds to this banal reportage her reflections on the meaning and purpose of America’s superpower status.

As a globetrotting, experienced professional journalist, her insights here might be of value, no? Well….

The author, who is of Dutch-Lebanese origin and who grew up in Beirut in the 1980s during Lebanon’s civil war, says that she wrote the book in part to “come to terms with my personal misgivings about American power.”

Personal misgivings?

Her pro-Western family was dismayed when, in 1984, the Reagan administration, having resolved to stop Lebanon’s sectarian bloodletting, withdrew American forces in the wake of Hezbollah’s terror campaign against peacekeepers. Her own political awakening came as a teenager in 1990, when President George H.W. Bush greenlighted Syrian domination of Lebanon in return for Hafez al-Assad’s participation in the first Gulf War against Iraq.

In other words, the BBC chose somebody with a personal grudge against the very country she’s supposed to report on impartially. Just like they keep Jeremy Bowen, who has a personal grudge against Israel, as their Middle East editor, and sent someone full of hope and enthusiasm and the starry-eyed wonder of a small child to become the North America editor – Mark Mardell – to report on their beloved Obamessiah (even the jaded pros at DigitalSpy saw his worship for what it was early on). Or just like how they hired an Obamessiah campaigner to produce digital media material and other reports on the US, based in part on the strength of the video he made about his cross-country trip to get the vote out for Him (Matt Danzico, who continued to run a website for a while to “keep tabs” on the President from a Left-wing perspective, while working for the BBC). Or how they have an extreme Left-wing ideologue as the economics editor for Newsnight. Or, well, you get the idea.

Is Ghattas entitled to her opinion? Of course. Are her concerns about how the US uses its power valid? Irrelevant, even if these are issues genuinely worth examining and debating, because it clearly affects how she approaches her job either way. Is it right to have someone who is wrestling with what is really a personal animosity towards a country as the reporter for that country’s foreign policy activities? No.

Before any defenders of the indefensible get itchy fingers and start telling me I just want somebody who is partisan the other way, and will report only things I want to hear, let me just say that I actually want someone who does not come in with a connection or visceral bias one way or the other. Surely there must be someone the BBC could have brought in that doesn’t have such a deep personal issue like this.

The WSJ review also wonders about Ghattas’ usefulness, but from a different angle.

The lesson of these experiences—that America’s friends pay a steep price when the indispensable nation fails to engage morally—isn’t lost on Ms. Ghattas.

I bet it isn’t. All the  more reason why somebody with such an intimate issue shouldn’t be given the job.

Yet it rarely impels her to question Mrs. Clinton’s lukewarm, often cynical, responses to the plight of dissidents and democrats from Iran to Russia to East Asia.

Yes, Ahmari is not a fan of Hillary, and was hoping for at least some criticism of her performance from a supposedly impartial, highly-experienced professional journalist.

Ms. Ghattas takes it for granted that “the world had become allergic to U.S. leadership by the end of the Bush administration” and that, therefore, Mrs. Clinton’s job was to “restore America’s lost face in the world.” Such assumptions lead her to frame age-old wisdom as the revolutionary innovations of the Obama administration. “In the twenty-first century America could no longer walk into a room and make demands; it had to build connections first,” she writes at one point—as if the notion would have shocked, say, Dean Acheson or Thomas Jefferson.

And there you have it. Ghattas came to the job with negative opinions. So even somebody on Ghattas’ side about how the US had negatively affected her fellow Arabs sees the blind worship of The Obamessiah for what it is.

Yet Ghattas has been the voice the BBC expects you to trust most about US foreign policy. Your license fee hard at work, paying people with personal grudges and emotion-based opinions to tell you what’s going on in the world.

 

 

The BBC’s Little White Lie For Palestinians

On the heels of Turkish PM Erdogan’s remark that Zionism is a crime against humanity, the BBC felt the need to briefly explain what Zionism is.

Zionism is an ideology or movement that asserts that the Jewish people have a right to a national home or state in what was the Biblical “Land of Israel”. There is no consensus among Zionists where the borders of the state should be. For Palestinians, the success of Zionism has meant the frustration of their national aspirations and life under occupation.

Except for one thing: there was no such thing as Palestinians or their national aspirations until after the Arabs failed twice to destroy Israel. Only then was there any movement to create the concept of Palestinians and a national identity, leading to the founding of the PLO in 1964. Only after Israel occupied territory ceded by Jordan and Egypt after yet another failed war to destroy the Jews was there even a concept of Palestinian territory. Until then, Israel’s enemies saw them as Jewish usurpers in Muslim Arab land, full stop. There was no such thing as Palestinian nationalism. Rather, the identity group was encouraged as a buffer and cannon fodder for the Arabs’ continued war against the Jews. As always, the BBC rewrites history so that 1967 is Year Zero. There was no “occupation” before that, unless one feels that the entire State of Israel has been an occupying force since 1948. That’s the impression given by this BBC article, though.

For other examples of this kind of BBC revisionism, see here, here, and here.

There was no movement for a Palestinian homeland when it was part of Jordan, or under the British Mandate, or under the Ottoman Empire or anything else. It’s a modern concept, created long after the creation of Israel. Of course, by “the success of Zionism”, one assumes that the BBC journalist who wrote this means that Israel hasn’t been destroyed yet. After all, the Palestinians’ true goal is not self-governance in Gaza and the West Bank (which they already have), but the removal of the Zionist Entity entirely. Every once and a while, the BBC admits this, but for some reason fail to mention it here. Nor do they ever mention that a Palestinian State will be Judenrein. If, hypothetically, there was a sort-of contiguous Palestinian State existing side-by-side with the Jewish State, does anyone seriously believe the Palestinians and the Arabs (and Iranians) would accept that the occupation of Arab/Muslim land had ended? Of course not. The very existence of Israel is the “success of Zionism”. That’s what the Beeboid meant here. The only logical conclusion is that, so long as Israel exists, Palestinian national aspirations will remain stunted.

(UPDATE: On further reflection, I’m now wondering if perhaps by “the success of Zionism”, the Beeboid meant not merely maintaining Israel’s existence but the conquest/occupation of Arab land. That’s more Palestinian/anti-Israel propaganda, as if 1967 was all about Israeli conquest and precious little to do with the attempts to destroy it. Can someone else find a better explanation? Or is this code for the evil Settlements?)

Whatever one thinks about the right of people who now call themselves Palestinians to their own self-governed territory, or the Jews’ right for same, the BBC is spreading a false version of history. This goes beyond mere criticism of Israel and strays into demonization territory. It’s impossible to have an honest discussion of the situation when the BBC taints the scene in this way.

Please don’t anyone try to start arguing about whether or not Israel is right or wrong, or give me any BS about how I think Israel can do no wrong or any other nonsense. This is about the BBC distorting reality in way that favors one side and demonizes the other.

 

 

Mardell Tells A White House Lie

Yes, I say “lie”. Mark Mardell is lying. I say he’s lying and not merely reporting something when he’s misinformed, or making a claim based on false information for which he’s not responsible. I’m saying Mardell is lying because he knows what he’s saying is not true.

The BBC’s US President editor continues pushing the White House talking points about the “Sequester” budget cuts on Today, and here’s a link to the printed version.

Sequester budget cuts: America’s grim fairy tale

It’s more or less the same biased stuff he produced the other day, which I wrote about here. This time, though, instead of avoiding telling you who really came up with the Sequester plan, Mardell just openly lies about it.

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.

There’s even a bit of bias in the last line there, which I’ll get to in a moment. First, to expose the lie.

It’s not just Republicans saying it. By phrasing it that way, Mardell leads you to believe that it’s a matter of opinion. In fact, as I showed in my previous post on Mardell’s spin, the White House has admitted that it was the President’s offer. I’ll just reprint the quote from CNBC (not Fox News, not Breitbart) about it, to save defenders of the indefensible the pain of having to read another post of mine:

Woodward documents in his 2012 book The Price of Politics that team Obama first proposed the idea of the sequester. Expanding on his work in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, he noted—as he has before—that both President Obama and his would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew lied on the campaign trail by saying the sequester originated with House Republicans. The White House has now ceded that fact.

“Fact”. Not good enough for you? Forbes says it was His idea. The Washington Post, which Mardell reads regularly, gives His claim Four Pinocchios, and provides evidence to back up the fact that it was His idea. Even Politifact rates the President’s claim that the cuts was Congress’s idea as “mostly false”Politico, which Mardell reads regularly, almost admitted it, but they couldn’t quite bring themselves to hurt Him and so framed it in an amusingly contorted bit of spin that would make Helen Boaden proud:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to give Obama the authority…

Then there’s this bit from a different Washington Post article (not Fox News, not Breitbart):

Last year, the House passed two bills that would have stopped the sequester and replaced some of the spending cuts with others. But the White House said the magnitude of the cuts was unacceptable and would imperil critical government programs.

Anyone who gets their information on US issues from the BBC will be very aware of which Party runs the House. The President could have prevented this, but chose not to. Curiously, Mardell chose not to tell you about it.

If none of this is good enough for you, here’s White House spokesman Jay Carney, personal friend of BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America Katty Kay, saying, “the sequester was one of the ideas yes put forward, yes, by the president’s team.”

In other words, Mardell knows exactly who started this, exactly whose idea the sequestered cuts are, and exactly what he’s doing when he misleads you. Blame must always be shifted from The Obamessiah. Trapped in a world He never made, it’s not His fault, you see.

Almost forgot about the bias in that sentence about which cuts supposedly hurt whom. Consider the pantomime caricatures Mardell uses: the Democrats want to help the poor, while it’s the war machine that’s so beloved by the Republicans. Can you tell where you’re meant to boo and hiss, and where you’re meant to cheer? I guess that makes Mardell the pantomime dame, although that’s probably an insult to the integrity of pantomime dames everywhere.

In case you didn’t come away from all this “journalism” with the idea that the cuts supposedly forced on Him by evil Republicans would be a catastrophe for the country (another White House talking point which is going to turn out not so true) and, by extension, the UK and the world (which is why it gets promoted on Today), the BBC’s US President editor ends with this bit of dramatic prose:

There is seemingly no end to this toxic tale of cruel dismemberment and government by crisis.

Emotive terms, value judgment, full stop. Notice whom he’s criticizing, and who gets a free pass. This is an editorial, an opinion piece, not journalism. Don’t trust him or the BBC on US issues.This is your license fee hard at work.

PS: I realize most people here don’t really care much about the US or much foreign stuff at all, and are mostly – and quite rightly – concerned with the BBC’s bias on domestic issues. All I can say is that you should be concerned that the BBC spreads poison elsewhere at your expense, and that they’ve clearly gone far beyond their remit of providing public service broadcasting and are actually dedicated to expanding the BBC’s tentacles across the globe purely because they can. The BBC exists now for itself, and not for you. It’s also a relentless drive for more revenue, something else that’s not supposed to be part of the BBC’s reason for existence. The BBC does this stuff in your name, and the BBC bias is everywhere, across the spectrum of broadcasting, all over the world.

BBC Spins For The White House Again

I’m sure by now everyone knows about the looming swinging budget cuts that will happen automatically if no new budget deal is reached between the Republicans and the President. This is known as the “sequester”, and is the result of them kicking the can down the road a while back.

The BBC reports that the President doesn’t want this to happen, thinks it’s a bad idea, and has called on Democrat Governors to try and influence the elected Representatives and/or Senators in their States to cave compromise.

He warned the $85bn (£56bn) cuts would put thousands of teachers out of work and bring economic uncertainty.

The president has called on Congress to pass revenue rises and narrow budget cuts to avoid the automatic reductions.

The Democratic president will travel to Virginia on Tuesday to discuss the cuts’ impact on the defence industry.

“These cuts do not have to happen,” Mr Obama told a bipartisan assembly of governors at the White House on Monday. “Congress can turn them off any time with just a little bit of compromise.”

“Revenue rises”. Typical partisan language there. The Republicans refer to it as “tax rises”, of course, and the BBC uses instead the Left-wing terminology. Is the President offering to compromise as well? Don’t be silly. He doesn’t, and shouldn’t have to. According to Mark Mardell, when Congress is controlled by Democrats who don’t need to negotiate with Republicans to pass His plans, it’s a Golden Age.

Unsurprisingly, there’s another point of view that these cuts won’t really do much damage at all. In fact, spending will actually continue to rise and rise. The “cuts” just mean that the spending will rise slightly less than it would have otherwise. Does that sound familiar? Even Forbes admits this. Equally unsurprising is the fact that, not only does the BBC refuse to acknowledge this, but they even manage to quote a cuddly Republican, Sen. McCain, who says he doesn’t totally blame the President and is hoping for a compromise to protect the defense industry.

The BBC dutifully informs you that both sides of the aisle will try to blame each other. So, whose fault is this, really? The BBC reports it this way:

The budget cuts, known in Washington DC as the sequester, were devised in 2011 as an intentionally painful cudgel to encourage Democrats and Republicans in Congress to strike a deal to reduce the US budget deficit.

Note the passive voice, as if the cuts materialized out of thin air during some bi-partisan discussions. In actual fact, it was the President’s idea. He and the White House have been lying about it, and the BBC plays along like the good little propaganda organ it is.

Even the sainted Bob Woodward says so.

Woodward documents in his 2012 book The Price of Politics that team Obama first proposed the idea of the sequester. Expanding on his work in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, he noted—as he has before—that both President Obama and his would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew lied on the campaign trail by saying the sequester originated with House Republicans. The White House has now ceded that fact.

The BBC doesn’t want you to know this, so they spin for the White House and deliberately mislead you. Defenders of the indefensible cannot impugn Woodward here. After all, not only is the above not from Fox News or Breitbart, but a previous book on the President by Woodward was lauded by the former BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America, Matt Frei. A diehard Obamessiah worshiper himself, Frei’s only concern then was that all the fascinating issues in the book might get in the way of the reader appreciating “the nuance of his finely-tuned brain”.

The cuts probably won’t be a big deal at all, and in fact will be considered a good start in some circles. The possibility of this is so great that Democrats and their lobbyists are worried about what might happen if there is no disaster. That’s in the Washington Post, not Fox News, not Breitbart. So the President has to do as much fear-mongering as possible, and work behind the scenes (i.e. get the Democrat Governors to do political cuts in the manner of Labour councils in Britain) to ensure as bad an outcome as possible. Is the BBC providing any analysis from this angle? Of course not. He can do no wrong. It’s not His fault, you see. And in any case, cutting government spending is a sin.

Your license fee hard at work, providing a propaganda outlet for the leader of a foreign country.

Spinning For Syria

Typical BBC spinning history to make Israel look like the villain in this Q&A article about the recent Israeli airstrike on Hezbollah weapons and a related facility in Syria. The only real background context to the conflict you get is this:

Syria and Israel have been technically in a state of war since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. The main grievance is over Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights in 1967. Syria has been demanding the area back as part of any peace deal. But the border area has been quiet and Damascus has never retaliated to Israeli attacks.

Let’s just break this propaganda down line by line.

Syria and Israel have been technically in a state of war since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Well, that’s “accurate”, anyway. Any reason why Syria would be at war with Israel since then, BBC?

The main grievance is over Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights in 1967.

Oh. So let’s just forget about why Syria would be at war with Israel since 1948. As always, the BBC rewrites history so that 1967 is Year Zero. And Israel now becomes the villain of the piece over its “occupation”. Why is Israel there, BBC? Why did it happen, BBC? Without this important bit of background info, Israel is made to look like the aggressor. It’s a main grievance now, sure. But it’s “a” main grievance, not “the” main grievance, which is key. I’m pretty sure an astute News Online editor carefully chose the indefinite article there, which is nice. But it doesn’t make up for the lack of context.

Syria has been demanding the area back as part of any peace deal.

Has it now? That’s nice, but pretty pointless in the face of Syria’s real goal of eliminating Israel, which has been censored here. Since you aren’t told why Israel is “occupying” the Golan, this line lends support to making Israel appear as the villain, full stop. Oh, if only those vile Jews would hand back land they stole, all would be well, eh? That sounds familiar, somehow. Yes, the article itself makes no bones about Syria arming Hezbollah, but at no point are we told why or given any other context in which to view this. Of course, even that bit of honesty is watered down a bit by it all being qualified as “Israel believes”, etc. No other authority we can appeal to has an opinion, BBC? I guess we can’t go to the US for confirmation because, as Katty Kay told us, they’re under pressure from the Jewish Lobby.

But the border area has been quiet and Damascus has never retaliated to Israeli attacks.

Other than arming Hezbollah in a couple of different wars against Israel – and obviously continuing to arm them now – and trying to control Lebanon and doing everything it possibly can to aid violence against Israel, yeah, Syria has never retaliated. Sure, the Syrian military has never officially done anything overtly, but please, let’s not pretend that Syria is always doing the good Christian thing of turning the other cheek. Even something as simple as “Damascus has never officially retaliated” would have helped immensely. Plus, anyone already sympathetic to Syria – or just already anti-Israel – will read the bits about Syria being unable to deal with Israel directly due to their own internal problems will see only Israeli aggression, adding fuel to what any observer of comments on BBC output will know is an already raging fire of anti-Jewish sentiment in their readers.

We’re also told further down that Hezbollah and Israel both expect another war between them, only adding to the long-term BBC Narrative that Hezbollah is a legitimate defense force against Israeli aggression. The takeaway impression is that Israel is the villain, full stop. This goes beyond criticizing Israel and strays into demonization.

 

 

Playing Games With Guns

The BBC rushed to report the other day about the newly-released video game from the NRA, which encourages children to learn about target shooting.

National Rifle Association launches shooting game for mobiles

One can tell the perspective of the Beeboid who wrote this up right away from the opening lines. They tell you that the game has been approved for children as young as four right up front, as opposed to mentioning it later on after explaining what the game actually is, and the NRA’s goals for it, figuring this provides maximum shock value. It’s more important, apparently, than the fact that the NRA joined the chorus of those condemning violent video games. Which the BBC censored from the report even though they spent nearly half of it discussing the issue of violent video games. It’s the whole reason the NRA created the game in the first place. I mean, the BBC could have at least used this as an opportunity for an irony alert, right?

Oh, and this isn’t actually a new game rushed out in response to the tragedy of Sandy Hook, either. This is only a mobile/tablet app game, and is basically another version of a game the NRA put out for consoles and PC in 2006. I won’t say the BBC censored this information because I’m pretty sure they didn’t even know about it, and didn’t bother to do any research other than reading the Left-wing blogs and news reports where they usually get their ideas on how to report US issues.

The promotional blurb for the original game pretty much sums up the NRA’s reasoning for the new version:

Join the National Rifle Association for a different take on the first-person shooter. Members of the NRA gun club will wield more than 100 firearms, ranging from consumer guns to specialty and military firearms. But the difference is they’ll use ’em without any blood or violence.

The BBC left out the part where the whole point of this is to separate violence and killing from learning respect for the tools. That’s because the BBC sees this as a horrible brainwashing technique to encourage children to love guns. Two different perspectives, you say? Well, yes. That’s the point. The BBC is reporting from one perspective, and doesn’t allow other viewpoints to interfere with their angle. They even leave out key context which may distract from the story they want to tell. The fact that I don’t like the perspective they’re reporting is beside the point if they don’t provide balance. I want them to feature both sides, not just one. It’s a point lost on defenders of the indefensible (or they simply refuse to accept it), but I’m stating it nevertheless.

Interesting side note: the original game was rated “E-10” (everyone over age 10) by the industry’s rating board, while the current game was given the “4+” rating – by Apple. It’s an Apple app at the moment, not a regular video game release, so the ESRB isn’t involved. The BBC’s darling Apple says this is good for the kiddies, not the NRA. Instead of directing your hatred towards the NRA, you might instead want to condemn Apple for selling such a thing. The BBC doesn’t want to distract you from their agenda, though, so they leave out more key background context.

Personally, I don’t accept that games cause violence. There have been plenty of studies done over the years, and as a long-time gamer myself, I’ve never seen any evidence of it, either. Other than WWII games where there’s no choice, I prefer my violent video games to involve killing aliens, mutants, or zombies, but that’s just me. The NRA is just trying to find another excuse besides blaming guns for these mass murderers. But that doesn’t make it right for the BBC to censor key context, nor does it mean it’s okay for the BBC to report from only a single perspective. It may very well be mainstream British opinion on gun control, but then it’s biased reporting. If you want your opinion reflected in the BBC’s reporting, then fine. Just don’t claim the BBC is impartial and balanced.

Half the news brief is taken up with the defense of video games in general. One might interpret this as defending the NRA’s game. It’s really just part of the whole debate about government control over people’s behavior. VP Biden tried to put pressure on the video game industry, so the voices the BBC provides in defense of the industry concern that part of the story, and are not meant to be interpreted as the BBC providing a line of defense for the NRA’s game. In fact, the inclusion of the debate about violent video games can actually be seen as more evidence of opposition to it.

Both the original game and this new app are non-violent. No living thing is harmed, or even remotely threatened. It’s all target shooting – inanimate objects. The whole deal of violent video games is about actual physical violence against other living (or undead) things, not sterile target practice. I mean, as far as I can tell, the NRA game doesn’t even have human-shaped targets like some real-life ranges do. It’s no more violent than the archery target-shooting game in the Wii Sports package that little kids play. By following the brief, not quite whole, story of the game’s release with the noise about violent video games, the BBC is framing the game in the context of violence. The Beeboid who wrote this up sees it as violence. Again, that’s a perspective informed by their personal opinion on guns.

This is just one in a series of BBC reports on the gun control issue, and the bias is only going to get worse from here.

Katty Kay’s Hypocrisy and Dedication to the President

This is too good to pass up. In the open thread, I called attention to a tweet from the anchor of BBC World News America, Katty Kay, where she actually criticized the President for having too many white men in His cabinet.

 

That was yesterday. Today, Katty was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, co-hosted by former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough (who went native after a while, sort of like Nick Robinson, but has been straying off the reservation for some time now) and Leftoid hack Mika Brzezinski. Now that she’s on national television, the highest- profile Beeboid in the US is dutifully defending the President against charges of sexism. Her contribution is right at the start of this video clip, then she rejoins the discussion after about 5:30 in. Notice the anger she displays. (Here’s a link in case the embedded clip doesn’t work for you.) Impartial or what?

Sure, the Morning Joe producers obviously asked Katty to speak up for the President in the debate, just like any producer would be trying to get a guest to take a stance on the issue of the day. That’s why she was brought in: to give an opinion. But what a joke. Yesterday, she was criticizing the President, today she defends Him. And what a defense: Last term, the President had women in high places, so it doesn’t matter if it’s back to an old boys’ network now. Classic.

Katty Kay: hypocrite, partisan hack, your national broadcaster’s representative in the US. Is she in violation of the BBC guidelines? Judge for yourselves (NB: Katty is technically one of those pay-my-corporation “freelancers”):

Public Speaking and Other Public Appearances

15.4.13

It is important that no public speaking commitments or other public appearances are seen to undermine the objectivity or integrity of the BBC or its content, or suggest BBC endorsement of a third party organisation, product, service or campaign.

Although freelance presenters of BBC programmes may gain a proportion of their non-BBC income from off-air public appearances, they must guard against appearances which undermine their on-air role. They should not allow the use of the BBC’s name or brands in connection with advertising for a public appearance. There should be no suggestion of a BBC connection or endorsement of the third party event or organisation, unless it is editorially appropriate and has been approved by the relevant head of department.

News and Current Affairs Staff, Global News and News Staff in the Nations

15.4.15

BBC News and Current affairs staff, BBC correspondents on non-staff contracts and freelances known primarily as presenters or reporters on BBC news and current affairs programmes, must remain impartial when speaking publicly or taking part in similar events, such as a public discussion or debate. They must not promote any political party, campaigning organisation or lobby group. They should not chair conferences which are a promotional exercise for a commercial company, that supports any political parties, or is one-sided on a matter of public policy, political or industrial controversy or any other ‘controversial subject’.

And Now For Your Moment Of Schadenfreude

Posted without comment, because, well, just click on the link and watch the video.

Video: Secret gun-rights provision in ObamaCare?

Yes, the link is to the Right-wing Hot Air, but the actual video is from CNN. Not Fox News, not Breitbart.

(Link fixed now, sorry.)

Ed Morrisey explains:

By golly, Nancy Pelosi was right — they didn’t know what was in ObamaCare until it passed! Of course, in this case all she needed to do was ask her buddy Harry Reid, who apparently sandbagged his party’s gun-control wing by inserting an interesting clause in the 2800-page bill that no one in Congress bothered to read before voting on it. CNN’s Jim Acosta reveals the restriction on firearms-registration data collection built into the 2010 law.

The reason Reid inserted this clause, CNN reports without ever having actually talked to Reid (he declined comment), was to make the NRA “benign” in the ObamaCare fight — and to push back against “conspiracy theorists” who claimed that the bill would allow Barack Obama to start grabbing guns. Hey, that would never happen, right? Sure.

Oops. Please post comments about anything you see or hear from the BBC on this story.

More Guns or More Propaganda?

This latest “bespoke” video magazine feature in the BBC’s “Altered States”* series really appears on the surface to be not only a balanced presentation on gun rights and laws, but could actually be interpreted by people not paying attention as being biased in favor of gun advocates. It isn’t, but it’s very cleverly disguised.

Would more guns save more American lives?

Remember the choice of “more” and “more” in this title for later. First, let me point out that this video piece was put together without BBC influence or prompting. It was made by Charles Ledford, who recently became Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He seems to be a recent hire, as he only finished his MA less than two years ago. From what I’ve been able to find online, Ledford is into exactly the kind of new digital media journalism that the BBC has been pushing for the last couple of years, and which many see as the future of journalism, full stop. No problem there, I’m just pointing out why the BBC looked to him for content. It makes perfect sense from a newsgathering standpoint.

(UPDATE: John Boch, from Guns Save Life has posted a comment below.)

Now for the bias. If we judge this piece simply on the basis of how much time is given to each side of the debate, then gun advocates win handily. More time is definitely given to their side. However, Ledford very cleverly undermines all of it.

Ledford was, for reasons unknown (not necessarily devious, just literally unknown to me, and the BBC doesn’t reveal any), doing some video journalism on the issue of gun rights for some time before the Newtown mass murder happened. So this piece was clearly not created with that particular agenda in mind. Was there an agenda anyway? I think so.

The first segment features gun advocates from the Guns Save Life group in Illinois. One of the Directors, John Naese, who seems to be acting as spokesman here, is given uninterrupted air time to explain the group’s positions on gun ownership laws.

The blurb accompanying the video on the BBC website says that Guns Save Life “are arguing for more permissive gun laws”. But are they? Considering that politicians in Illinois and in other parts of the country are always trying to enact ever more restrictive gun laws, one could just as easily say that the group is arguing to protect existing gun rights. But that would be speaking from their side of the argument. The opposite side of the argument is that they want more permissive gun laws. This bias is inherent in Ledford’s production and in the headline provided by the BBC sub editor. “More guns”. Gun advocates don’t necessarily want more guns, they just want to be allowed to keep what they own, and for citizens to keep the rights they already have. That’s not “more”.

The blurb also claims that Ledford’s video provides “an insight into the strongly held beliefs that influence discussion on this topic”. It doesn’t. What it really does is show you one perspective on the people who strongly hold certain beliefs about gun rights. Which is actually the goal of the piece. Naese pretty much just spells out the position on gun rights. There is no insight offered into the beliefs themselves. Nothing new is offered. But to people like Leford and the BBC editor who thought this was great stuff, the key is that they look down on the people who hold those beliefs.

The clever bit, though, comes after the segment featuring the Guns Save Life meeting. At the meeting, we’re treated to a scene of members reading out humorous rhymes about self defense. We then segue to the mother of a victim of some mass murder. Naturally, she is going to hold absolute moral authority, and actually claims it herself.

The first words out of the mother’s mouth are: “I don’t have a sense of humor about deadly force”.

Ooh, cuts you right to the quick, doesn’t it? Just look at those fat, hirsute, rednecks laughin’ about killin’. Pretty much destroys their argument, no? Well, no. The light-hearted scene has nothing whatsoever to do with the real attitude about gun rights, the right to bear arms, the right to self-defense. But that’s the “insight” Ledford wants to show you, and the brilliant point the BBC editor who selected this for publication saw and felt you needed to see. It’s fairly obvious that Ledford (or a student he sent over to do the interview) showed the woman footage of the fat old rednecks reading their little jokes, and asked something like, “So, what do you think of these assholes?”

Then the mother claims absolute moral authority by stating that the joking gun owners don’t know what it’s like to to lose a loved one.

If one goes by the stopwatch or word count, sure, the gun advocates get the lion’s share of the piece. But it’s very obvious where the weight of the feature lies: with the absolute moral authority of the mother who lost her only child. It doesn’t get more tear-jerking than that. The gun advocates are even given the last word, but it’s just more boilerplate, more simple spelling out of their position: banning guns doesn’t help. There’s no insight, no actual argument being made.

This, to the BBC, is the entire argument about gun rights in a nutshell: stupid rednecks who have no clue love their guns, while the reality is that innocents are killed and it hurts all of us. At no point are we given any actual insight into the gun owners’ beliefs, but we are given insight into why some people are against gun ownership. One side is portrayed as serious, based on morality and compassion, while the other side is portrayed as a figure of fun. It’s a biased piece, intended to denigrate gun rights advocates while elevating those on the other side of the argument.

Again, Ledford did this on his own. Or, at least, did part of it on his own and then got a  follow-up quote or two from the Guns Save Life folks after the Newtown tragedy at the BBC’s behest. Either way, the goal is clear, which is why the BBC selected it for publication.

*I hate the BBC’s title “Altered States”. It has negative connotations, implies things have changed, and not necessarily for the better. It’s been a running theme in BBC reporting since we elected a black man as President that the country has become more divisive, more messed up, more racist. This title emphasizes that perspective. Yes, I know it’s a reference to the rather entertaining little sci-fi movie starring William Hurt about a scientist who manages to regress himself back to a primitive state of evolution. It just supports my point.

Mark Mardell and the Crypto-Racism of the US

This post was inspired by a recent comment from Jim Dandy, one of our defenders of the indefensible. He said that he wanted opinion in his journalism. I expressed my disappointment that he wanted “opinionated” journalism, and he objected to what he thought was my deliberate twisting of his words.

You do know what opinionated means don’t you? It does not mean the condition of having an opinion. Or perhaps you are deliberately twisting my words.

Impartiality allows for opinion to be expressed.

I was confused by this, and asked for an explanation, which I got:

Opinionated is a perjorative term suggesting the person unduly, aggressively and dogmatically holds by their opinions.

It might be different in the US.

Still confused, I tried a different tack, and asked Jim if he felt that the BBC’s North America editor, Mark Mardell was the embodiment of his definition, to which he said, simply, “No.”

This led me to compile this collection of Mardell’s journalism to provide evidence that he does, in fact, unduly, aggressively and dogmatically hold by his opinion. Specifically his opinion that the Tea Party movement and, essentially, all opposition to the President is based on racism.

Read the following, and decide for yourselves whether or not Mardell allows his personal opinion to inform his reporting, and whether or not he has dogmatically stuck to his guns in spite of the evidence before him.

September 15, 2009, when Mardell was barely a month into his new job:

Is race a factor in Obama protests?

So I am describing and inviting debate, not passing comment. The relationship between black and white has been such an important driving factor in American political history that it would be strange if it now mattered not a jot. The allegation is that many of those who are calling their president “un-American” mean he is not white.

Democratic propaganda, over-sensitivity or truth? Tell me…

He says he’s not passing comment, then gives his opinion anyway. This is after he gives you a link to only one point of view from the vaunted NY Times: yes, opposition to the President is based on racism. Mardell came to the US knowing for a fact that this is a racist country. Let’s see if he learns anything in the coming years.

Just a couple of weeks later, Mardell eagerly reported that Jimmy Carter said that opposition to the President was due to racism. He then went out to try and find people to support that, but came away with only the suggestion that the African-American community thinks it’s all down to racism. To Mardell, this is proof enough. The President Himself said that He doesn’t think that’s the case, but Mardell believes He’s lying.

Just outside his restaurant, I chat to some African-American women and mention what we are doing.

“Woah woah for Carter,” one says, raising her hands above her head. “He tells it like it is.”

She cannot peer into the soul of the protesters, any more than President Carter can.

But many African-Americans may feel as though a subterranean stream has burst above ground, even if the president would rather not get caught in the spray.

This woman may not be able to peer into people’s souls, but obviously Mardell can. And he does, over and over.

January 26, 2010:

Tea Party seek purity and victory

Mardell and the sub editor who wrote the title are actually referring to what they see as ideological purity regarding taxation and small government, but nobody with any intellectual honesty can claim that they don’t realize the not-so-subtle reference to the idea of racial purity espoused by actual white supremacists. Mardell chose the word very carefully. After talking about policy stuff, he said this near the end of the post:

There is no display of the visceral hatred that dripped from the cable networks last summer, and little of the sense that Obama’s government is some how illegitimate, rather than just plain wrong. There is a feeling that the president promised to govern from the centre and he hasn’t. But I have to ask, is this movement really of the people, or of largely white, largely well-off people?

They’re white, so there must be an underlying reason behind their objection to expanding government and raising taxes and increasing our debt and leading us to government-provided health care. Never mind what they say out loud: Mardell is looking into their souls. This is journalism?

Curiously, when reports came out about Sen. Harry Reid’s unfortunate statements about The Obamessiah back in 2008, Mardell defended him against charges of racism.

Indeed is what he said racist, or in any other way reprehensible? Liz Cheney thinks it is racist. The Kansas Star calls the remarks “stinking racist comments”. A left wing blogger Field Negro says it is “ignorant stereotyping”. Mr Reid himself refers to the comments as “improper”.

But what has irritated me about the flood of articles is that there has been a lot of nudging and winking but few have come out and said what they find offensive.

Imagine that. The man who has no trouble declaring racism without pointing to specifics which he finds offensive is irritated by what he sees as vague hints by other people.

So let’s have a look at what he actually said. The comments come from a book out this week, Game Changes .The authors say Reid “was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama – a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’ as he later put it privately.”

Mardell then actually defends Reid by saying he’s just “old-fashioned”. Nothing to see here, move along. Why is this not racist, but someone who objects to wealth re-distribution, full stop, without a word about anyone’s dialect or skin color, is racist? Of course, Harry Reid is a Democrat. He holds approved thoughts, so cannot be racist. However, if one holds an unapproved thought about an economic or political issue, there must be something inherently wrong with one’s character, an underlying reason for disapproving of, say, the NHS. Reid gets a pass, but as we all saw recently with Mardell’s and the BBC’s coverage of Mitt Romney, a Republican is by definition flawed for making a much less dangerous gaffe (e.g. “binders of women”).

In closing, Mardell’s defense of Reid reached new heights of hilarity:

But the guts of what Reid was saying was that many American voters were still pretty racist but some wouldn’t see Obama as “really” black. He thought Obama was acceptable to the electorate because he was light-skinned and didn’t have a voice that identified him as black. That seems to be Reid’s attempt to describe a state of affairs that may be unpleasant, but may be true. He was explaining the lie of the land as he saw it, not endorsing the views he outlined. If you can’t do that you are no good as a strategist.

You read that right: Reid was making a racist statement to highlight the racism of other people. How clever of him. Mardell really does have a magical gift for peering into people’s souls, doesn’t he? Naturally, this supports his opinion that opposition to the President is based on racism.

Later that year, October 9, 2010:

Why is the Tea Party boiling?

So here there is a great paradox: a movement that boasts its theoretical love of America and democracy but which hates its real life institutions. It’s not their fairly mainstream economic theories I strain to understand, but the passion; a passion which means that political discourse has become increasingly uncivil, filled with vitriol and abuse.

It’s nice that Mardell admits his condescension, but this is where we depart the realm of journalism and enter the land of opinion. That’s the whole point of BBC editors, of course, which causes endless problems. Notice how remarkably different his reaction to the Tea Party movement was to his opinion of the Occupiers. He loved their passion. I wonder what the key difference is?

So why is the Tea Party boiling?

Some say it’s racism. Those I’ve met are not racist but I do wonder if for some there’s a sense of lost superiority. For all their lives there’s been a white man in the White House. It’s not just that Obama isn’t in this image, he does not fit any stereotype of a black person that they know. Cool, cosmopolitan, calm and aloof. There is a sense of disconnect for what ought to be their view of the natural order.

“Some say…” He says straight out he hasn’t met any racists yet, but refuses to let go of his suspicions. He’d been in the US for over a year by that point, gone to several Tea Party gatherings, spoken with lots of politicians. Yet it hadn’t changed his opinion one iota. Is he lying that he didn’t meet any racists? Or does he just think he hasn’t worked hard enough to find them under the bed? You can almost feel Mardell straining to justify his opinion in spite of what he sees in front of him.

A woman who told me that Obama was a socialist and her country was sliding into Marxism said when he was elected president she drew the curtains for three weeks and couldn’t answer the telephone. Only the Tea Party saved her.

America is changing fast and some in the Tea Party people don’t like the loss of the assumption that white, European, 1950s America is the norm, the benchmark.

He hasn’t met any racists, but is still confident enough to tell you that some in the Tea Party are concerned about race. Not only is no evidence provided to back this up, but he even says he’s never met any actual racists. How can he get away with this?

Just a couple weeks later, October 30, 2010:

Tea Party not so mad

The main speaker said: “Our name is being dragged through the mud, that we’re violent racists.” The all-white crowd cheer or just nod. I have never seen any overt racism at a Tea Party rally and don’t today.

No “overt racism”, eh? Then why bother pointing out the “all-white crowd”? A rhetorical question, I know. When people don’t hold approved thoughts, there must be something wrong with them. Having given up the struggle to justify his opinion that it’s based on racism in the face of no evidence, he’s moved on to qualifying his statements that he hasn’t found any evidence. He doesn’t have to provide any now.

Over the past year I have spoken to many supporters of the Tea Party and been to lots of rallies. I have spoken to people whose characterisation of Mr Obama and his aims seems to me way off beam, a cartoon enemy conjured from some 1950s nightmare. Some believe the constitution tightly constrains the sort of economy America must have, and that only they can define what is properly American.

Now he’s giving his opinion on Constitutional law and economics. This isn’t journalism at all. This is an op-ed piece. Like I said, this the inherent problem in the very concept of BBC (titled) editors.

There is a wide-eyed enthusiasm that is easy to mock.

Yes, very easy to mock. In fact, it’s so easy, that Mardell happily mocked one of them during an appearance at the BBC College of Journalism. First, of course, he has to give the disclaimer that he’s never seen any overt racism. The relevant bit begins at around 54:45 in, where a young Beeboid asks Mardell about the “visceral hatred” of the President.

We’re not racist, he says, “At least not in a straight-forward sense”. Oh, really? He says that underlying the concern about government spending our money, it’s really about not wanting the government to “spend money on people not like them”. No real evidence, but he remains as convinced of it as he was the day he arrived. Even if we don’t come out and wear the pointy white hoods and carry our lynchin’ ropes around, we’re still racist under the skin. And he happily mocks a woman with a Southern accent. “You knew exactly what it was.”  Oh, how they all laughed, eh? To Mardell, the Tea Party is driven by crypto-racism. This is what they really think of us, and it informs all BBC reporting on US issues.

(Full analysis of the BBC’s CoJ audience with Mardell can be read here.)

Right before the election last November, Mardell laid it all out:

A lot of time in my first two years was spent trying to understand what lay behind the anger that I had seen on TV.

As we’ve seen, he had a pre-conceived notion of what lay behind that anger: racism. So what has he learned in the intervening years?

Beyond a fairly conventional conservative concern about taxation and debt, there is an inchoate angst that their country is going in the wrong direction, that they need to “take it back”.

Some think this is code for “take it back from the black man in the White House”.

After all the evidence of his reporting on the subject, it’s quite clear that Mardell is using the standard hack trick of “Some say…” to present his own opinion. We know he’s being disingenuous here. He’s said quite openly a number of times that he thinks it’s all about race. Using this dodge is a big phony act.

It is not that simple. Nearly all of the people I met were white and most middle-aged or older. But few were racist in the conventional sense.

The only time I have seen that in the raw, I was off duty, at a dinner party. A woman growing increasingly passionate as the wine flowed called Obama a “monkey” and said “he’s trying to give OUR money to THEM”.

Not the poor, not the shiftless, “them”.

Since the woman Mardell mocked earlier was a crypto-racist and didn’t openly make any racist statements, we have to assume that this is now two clear incidents – to him – of racism, out of the hundreds of thousands or people Mardell’s seen at Tea Party rallies and whatever political gatherings he visits. Yet on the strength of this he still demonizes the entire movement, still convinced that tens of millions of people are driven by racism and not legitimate policy concerns.

“They” are part of a different America, with a different history who want a different path for their country.

A millionaire in a designer chair in his plush Chicago home, surrounded by modern art, makes the same point as the broken-toothed men perched on smashed-up office furniture outside a beat-up shotgun house in Texas.

Next to me in the pew of a Florida church, the man with a trim grey beard and a “veterans for Obama badge” tells me the same thing.

These very different people all had one thing in common. They’re black. And that means they share a history and often they also share a perception of the present.

Black Americans up and down this huge country tell me Mr Obama didn’t create this mess, and he needs time to clear it up.

They know all about patience. They know all about clearing up other people’s mess. They know about being shut out of this country’s narrative.

There’s a black history month. It rather implies that for the other 11 months, it is white history that will have its way. With Mr Obama they feel that has changed, just a little.

And with that, Mardell moves from demonizing the opposition for caring only about the color of a man’s skin to declaring that we must re-elect a President simply because of the color of the man’s skin. It means a lot to black people to see one of their own as President, so we must dismiss all other concerns. He was only recently pushing that Narrative, in September 2012. (Even then he was still declaring that opposition to the President’s  policies is really only objecting to redistributing wealth “to people not like us.”) This is racialist thinking at its finest. Anyone who watched the full video of Mardell’s appearance at the BBC CoJ will also have seen him admit that the President actually isn’t quite up to the job. In other words, we must keep a poor performer on simply because of the color of his skin. He’s not that competent, but it’s okay cos He is black. The soft racism of lowered expectations lives on at the BBC.

In the end, Mardell has learned nothing. He came here with a pre-conceived opinion, and steadfastly refused to let the evidence before him change his mind. His personal opinion remains unchanged, and informs all of his reporting. Since he’s the “North America editor”, his opinion also informs other aspects of BBC reporting on US issues.

Next, we can have a debate about what it means to have opinion in journalism, and how impartiality allows for it.

AK-47s and AR-15s and Rocket Launchers – Oh, My!

I’m a couple days late on this, but it’s still worth a laugh. The BBC sent one of the legion of Beeboids they have making video magazine reports in the US to Los Angeles to cover the special holiday edition of the city’s “Guns for Groceries” buy-back plan. Usually it’s useful for getting illegal guns out of the hands of the gang-bangers, allowing the politicians to wave some trophies in front of the cameras and scare the community a little bit. The gang-bangers like it because they can unload old weapons or ones they’ve used in crimes (these are no-questions-asked exchanges, remember) for some quick cash to buy more illegal guns. It’s win-win.

We’re told that, while “many Americans believe” that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to bear arms, the mayor thinks there can be more controls. The annual buy-back program, we learn, is proof positive that there are too many guns out there, too easy to access.

The crowning example comes at the end, starting at around 1:10 in, where the police rep says that people were turning in AK-47s and “parts for AR-15s”. The BBC’s John McManus then says:

“If that sounds extreme, well, last year’s haul of 1700 weapons included an anti-tank rocket launcher.”

First of all, it’s opinion that having these weapons available is “extreme”. There’s no mention of whether or not any of them were legal or illegal or what. Their very existence is, apparently, extreme. The Beeboid is projecting opinion – what may very well be mainstream British opinion – onto a report about domestic affairs in a foreign country. And for all we know, the AK-47s came from Mexican drug gangs courtesy of the President’s “Fast & Furious” scheme.

But the really funny part is the freak-out about the anti-tank weapon. This may come as a complete surprise to parochial, close-minded media luvvies living in a bubble, but one can buy these online and at shows and other places. They’re military surplus, rendered inert before sale.

In fact, this year’s scheme brought in two of them. If the intrepid, impartial journalists at the BBC ever bother to read the NY Daily News, they’ll know that, and know that the weapons were already rendered useless. Not that it stopped the nannies from waving it in front of the cameras. You can bet there won’t be a correction coming from the BBC. That would detract from the agenda.

The scary rocket launcher is, in fact, quite harmless, but presented here to wind you up. A propaganda piece, advocacy plain and simple. Are lots of other media outlets singing from the same hymn sheet and getting it wrong? Sure they are. Does that make it okay for the BBC to do it? Remember, they sent at least one Beeboid to LA to film and investigate, so there’s no excuse for lemming journalism here.

I bet the dopey Beeboid doesn’t even know any of this. I’m sure he and his editor completely believe the angle he’s reported. Their bias on this issue prevents them from reporting honestly and accurately. If they do know that the rocket launcher was non-functional, then McManus is telling a lie the way he reported it. Either way this is a journalistic failure.

It’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t about the rights and wrongs of gun ownership, or anyone’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, nor is it about your opinion or mine of gun control laws. This is about a biased, misleading report from the BBC on a specific issue, where ideology informs and corrupts reporting. Even if you agree with the BBC’s position on gun control, you should still be displeased with them taking sides on any issue.

Bonus giggle: If I bought a nice Browning 1917A1 .50 cal machine gun and wanted to take it out the range, and I needed another can to carry my extra ammo, I could pick up a cheap one from the BBC-owned Lonely Planet website.