Selective reporting of the news

is the Beeb’s stock in trade. If it’s not in line with their script, forget it. If they can get over their Foleygate giddiness to report that Judge Anna Diggs Taylor’s ruling has been given a unanimous smackdown by a 3 judge panel I’ll be surprised. You may recall that the BBC editorialized that her ruling was a “stinging rebuke” to the Bush administration way back in August. Will the BBC see this decision as newsworthy? If so, will they again fail to mention the flimsy legal argumentation of Judge Taylor which legal eagles from all sides roundly criticized? I’m not gonna mention the embarrassment of her conflict of interest (which the BBC also neglected to report). The BBC knows best.

Update 5-10-06: Call me surprised. B-BBC commenter and BBC employee Nick Reynolds notes that the BBC has reported this ruling. Fair play to the Beeb for at least reporting the bare bones–if not the interesting background of Judge Taylor. I’ll look forward to a fuller account of the political hijinks behind Judge Taylor’s opinion in my dreams. Thanks, Nick, for stopping by.

Breaking News from the BBC Washington Bureau: Apologies aside, the REPUBLICAN Senator is a racist!

Yes, Republican Senator George Allen (likely 2008 presidential candidate) has gotta be a racist (not just stupid), no doubt about it. The BBC has learned from public sources that he put his foot in it the other day during a political event. The BBC has scoured his high school yearbook and discovered more incriminating evidence: George Allen at age 17 wore a Confederate flag pin on his lapel and had the flag on display in his home!

Old News you never got on the BBC: Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat Senator from West Virginia and former Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan, lives on as a legend in his time with nary a mention by the Beeb of anything questionable about his former life. Byrd has repudiated his Klan past but if you rely on the BBC, there was never anything to repudiate.

Interestingly, the above-mentioned Justin Webb piece on Senate filibusters which features Byrd has this quote:

“And so when I filibustered 14 hours and 13 minutes in 1964 I never got off the germaneness of the subject.”

Anyone care to guess what the good Senator’s subject was on that date? Yes, he was filibustering in an attempt to defeat the Civil Rights Act. It was eventually passed through the strong support of Republicans. Byrd also voted against the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now why would the BBC not mention any of this history, a matter of public record? Did I mention that Senator Byrd is one of President Bush’s fiercest critics and is vehemently against the War in Iraq?

The BBC determines what is so. Senator Allen, pro-war, pro-Bush Republican, must be a racist. Senator Byrd, anti-war, anti-Bush Democrat approaches beatification by the day.

Fauxtography courses available on the web!

–brought to you by the Dan Rather Institute in Old Media Studies.

Following up on Ed’s post below, YNetnews, an Israeli site, takes the BBC to task on its imbalanced, disproportionate coverage of the war between the IDF and Hezbollah. With the Beeb, it’s a glaring example.

A BBC photo display entitled “In pictures: Conflict impact,” made up of eight images, uses six out of eight pictures to illustrate damages in Lebanon , but pays scant attention to the human toll and large-scale damage sustained in northern Israel.

The photographs show images of Lebanese civilians and bombed out buildings and Beirut, and carry captions such as: “A woman in Beirut cries amid the destruction.”

After the BBC says fighting is hampering aid deliveries in southern Lebanon, an image of an Israeli soldier praying is shown, covering his ears while an IDF canon goes off in the background. “But ground clashes in the area continue unabated,” the BBC wrote, suggesting through the image that the Israel bore most of the responsible for clashes. There are no photographs of Hizbullah rockets, or Hizbullah members firing rockets at Israel in the series.

Only the seventh photograph in the succession shows an image of an Israeli woman mourning at a funeral, with the caption “Israelis are also counting their losses.”

The last picture in the series is of an Israeli in an air raid shelter, but the person in the photo is made black by shadows, and appears to be a silhouette of a human figure. The person’s age, sex, or any human features are impossible to make out – an odd choice by the BBC considering the large number of available photographs of Israeli children and families in bomb shelters.

The BBC’s website photo editor, Phil Commes, has also taken a neutral line on the faked photographs from Beirut supplied by Reuters, saying: “One man’s color balancing is another man’s grounds for dismissal.”

Memo to Beeb: Fauxtography is just too easy to spot these days. You need extra help to avoid the embarrassment caused by too many knowledgeable people looking over your shoulder, through your viewfinder, snooping around, reading your script, spotting your drift while you’re working hard at reporting the world as you think it should be, keeping it safe from all those “nutters” out there. Read the whole thing.

HT: B-BBC commenters Archduke, DFH, Pounce, Marc, Jack Hughes

HT to Michelle Malkin for the term.

Update: Commenter John_R helpfully notes that Michelle Malkin credits Charles Johnson as coiner.

Cheney miffed, Beeb chuffed.

The BBC reports on the undermining of what it refers to as “the ‘so-called war on terror'” in this story which flowed from this one based on a New York Times Pulitzer-hunting, terrorist-helping sellout. [My opinion on the behavior of the NYT.] What the Beeb fails to point out in either online account is both the firm legal ground and the high degree of success of the SWIFT programme.

Here’s a slippery little paragraph used in both online stories to cast doubt on SWIFT’s legal standing without really having any supporting facts for this novel theory.(See SWIFT’s own statement on the story here and Treasury Secretary John Snow’s statement here.)

From the ‘angry Cheney’ piece:

Although there is no direct connection, the scheme has echoes of a recently revealed US surveillance programme in which millions of international and domestic phone calls and e-mails were monitored, correspondents say.

From the “US defends secret money tracking piece”:

Although there is no direct connection, the programme has echoes of a recently revealed US surveillance programme in which millions of international and domestic phone calls and e-mails were monitored, correspondents say.

They say that although the US government insists it acted on a firm legal footing, this programme is likely to elicit similar charges of enfringement of civil liberties.

We are not given the names of these ‘correspondents’. For all we know, they are 16 year-olds on MySpace. What the BBC could have told us, but didn’t, is that this programme successfully brought about the exposure and apprehension of real terrorists who had committed murder and/or were planning further massacres. Who are they? At least the New York Times reported it.

Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department, “has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities,” Stuart Levey, an undersecretary at the Treasury Department, said in an interview Thursday. The program is grounded in part on the president’s emergency economic powers, Mr. Levey said, and multiple safeguards have been imposed to protect against any unwarranted searches of Americans’ records.

Some specifics on those apprehended:

Among the successes was the capture of a Qaeda operative, Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, believed to be the mastermind of the 2002 bombing of a Bali resort, several officials said. The Swift data identified a previously unknown figure in Southeast Asia who had financial dealings with a person suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda; that link helped locate Hambali in Thailand in 2003, they said.

In the United States, the program has provided financial data in investigations into possible domestic terrorist cells as well as inquiries of Islamic charities with suspected of having links to extremists, the officials said.

The data also helped identify a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges last year, the officials said. The man, Uzair Paracha, who worked at a New York import business, aided a Qaeda operative in Pakistan by agreeing to launder $200,000 through a Karachi bank, prosecutors said.

Heather McDonald reports:

The Wall Street Journal adds that the July 7, 2005, London subway bombings were fruitfully investigated through the Swift initiative and that a facilitator of Iraqi terrorism has been apprehended because of it.

One might think that the UK would be served this bit of information about this matter from its ‘so-called national broadcaster’, but that would be asking a lot.

Hat tip: PowerLine, Hugh Hewitt and RealClearPolitics

“In happier times Americans’ exposure to the BBC

was limited to gems such as Fawlty Towers and Are You being Served?”–so Gerard Baker concludes. As a Yank, I must agree.

To much fanfare, and a fair amount of predictable gushing from its liberal admirers in the US, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the state-owned bureaucracy that bestrides the UK cultural and political landscape like a colossus, launched a 24 hour news channel in America last week.

Billboards in Manhattan bellowed the BBC’s message to passers- by, promising that the corporation would be bringing “news beyond your borders” into Americans’ parochial little lives….

Emboldened, its mangers now clearly think the time is now ripe to enter the US TV news market and offer a distinctive product. A few years ago the former boss of the BBC attacked American television news for too slavishly following the government line. Instead the BBC now says in its publicity, it will offer “both sides of the story”.

Roughly translated this means the BBC thinks that, while the vast majority of Americans are morons who are perfectly content to swallow right-wing rubbish from their political and media masters, there is an educated and sophisticated elite on the coasts that feels somehow its worldview is underrepresented by the current giants of the mainstream media in the US.

This is no surprise to B-BBC visitors. I find it interesting to have a former BBC employee underline the elitist snobbery of the institution. (Yes, lurkers, he’s got to be a right-wing nutcase.)

Speaking of Nazis

, why, oh why is the BBC unable find space on its well-funded website to report this? For a government monopoly, the Beeb ought to be able to cobble together something.

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt.

Update 20th May:
As our B-BBC commentariat observe, there are doubts about this story. Amir Taheri, the Iranian-born scholar whose detailed report of new laws pushing an Islamic dress code has not been disproven, though the story based on Taheri’s report has been removed from the National Post website.

It’s not unheard of in recent memory for non-Muslim minorities to be given yellow ribbons, but I see why the BBC would be careful not to repeat an unsubstantiated report.

Could they not at least report the actual concerns governments have about this issue and others. Could they not at least report the undisputed debate by the Iranian parliament to strongly encourage (if not impose) more strict Islamic dress requirements on the populace?

Like a good nanny, the Beeb seems unwilling to report menacing signs from Iran lest those in her charge become overwhelmed.

Update 25th May: The Knowns: The National Post story has been withdrawn with an apology due to its lack of sourcing. Amir Taheri, a highly respected journalist of Iranian extraction stands by his original column, the basis of the National Post story. A law requiring distinctive dress conforming to Islamic practices AND identification of people by their ethnicity has been drafted and is under consideration. The Iranian Jewish community and the Jewish community at large express thanks for the public outcry against the apparent anti-semitic thrust of this proposal. The reaction to the story, even if the story turns out to be unfounded, is chillingly believable, and newsworthy of its own accord. History gives plenty of warrant for paying attention to this. The BBC is unable or unwilling to report on any of these knowns.

Just because the AP reports it…

doesn’t mean the Beeb will be at all interested, especially if it departs from the “torture” script.

Some Gitmo Prisoners Don’t Want to Go Home

Fearing militants or even their own governments, some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay from China, Saudi Arabia and other nations do not want to go home, according to transcripts of hearings at the U.S. prison in Cuba.

Uzbekistan, Yemen, Algeria and Syria are also among the countries to which detainees do not want to return. The inmates have told military tribunals that they or their families could be tortured or killed if they are sent back.

Could the BBC simply report this very straightforward story? We’ll see.

Just because the AP says it’s news

…doesn’t mean the Beeb has to agree. This “story” is bogus. President Bush, after all, was not slow to declare a state of emergency along the Gulf Coast. Mayor Nagin’s reaction to this “news” is laughable and hypocritical but the Beeb is happy to serve us New Orleans sludge.

Update: DFH, one of our B-BBC commenterati has two very helpful posts here and here. Auntie can’t get away with what she once did.

Justin Webb Reports

Justin Webb reports the White House reaction to Pat Robertson’s latest foot-in-mouth episode and promply manages to fall into the common Beebish tendency to see any nutty statement by a Falwell or Robertsonas a fair representation of Bush’s “right-wing religious base.”

Well, I have it on good authority that Mr Robertson has already experienced a taste of said “wrath” just lately. Mysterious as the Beebocracy may find this, Pat Robertson is not the man of influence they seem to think he is, nor are evangelicals the lock-step coneheads seen at every turn in the land of Beeb.

“When is media going to learn that just because somebody calls himself religious, or even a religious leader, that doesn’t mean he speaks for or leads all the other people who call themselves religious?” —Jeff Jarvis

Thanks to RealClearPolitics and Instapundit.

Why the silence?

Given the resources of the BBC, why do we hear nothing of the upsurge of persecution against Christians in Iran? Could it be that the Beeb has its gaze fixed on things that go pop or pop music? Shall we assume that some brutality is simply not that newsworthy in this jolly season? Or worse?

Here is an unedited email received from a close friend who knows a great deal about this subject. Perhaps the BBC could look into it when time allows. I make no apologies for the Christian content. (Full disclosure: I’m a Christian minister.)

Sent: Monday, December 19, 2005 1:52 PM To: Recipient list suppressed: Subject: falling sparrows

Compare these two events:

1) Dozens of volunteers spent several weeks setting up 4 million dominos in preparation for the Dutch world record domino-toppling attempt. A sparrow flew into the hall and knocked over 23,000 and seemed likely to topple many more. So someone shot it – with an air rifle. There was an immediate outrage – a ‘tribute web site’ was set up by animal rights activists – over 20,000 people visited the site. The world record attempt was due to be televised, but after the ‘murder’ even TV staff started to receive threats. The person who shot the sparrow was charged with shooting an endangered species and fined £100 – read all about it here:

“The bird was kept in a government freezer after its killing became a criminal matter. It will be placed on top of a box of dominoes in an exhibition on sparrows next year.”

2) “Iranian Christians are mourning the death of Ghorban Dordi Tourani, an Iranian believer assassinated two weeks ago by an unnamed group of fanatical Muslims and the first Turkmen in Iran known to have been martyred for his Christian faith.

A house church leader in northeastern Iran, Tourani was arrested from his home in Gonbad-e-Kavus on November 22. A few hours later, the 53-year-old convert to Christianity had been stabbed to death, his beaten, bleeding body thrown in front of his home.

I cannot find any mention of this story on the BBC web site. To my knowledge, no memorial site has been set up, thousands of people have NOT protested, and apart from selected Christian news sites, the wider Church doesn’t seem to know of the renewed persecution in Iran.

The only ultimate consolation is that the same God who is aware of falling sparrows, also said, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints…” (Psalm 116:15)

Do, please, pray for Iran and for the Iranian Church.

Credit: Kairos News

Regardless of the religious views of the persecuted people in question, this should be reported. Why the silence?

No longer hated by the people of Afghanistan

, Yanks (like me) are thankful (but not really surprised) over stories such as this one. Will the Beeb deem it newsworthy? [Note to Beeb lurkers:It’s based an ABCNews poll (PDF) and methodologically sound (PDF). So, why not go ahead and report some good news for a change? I’m still capable of being surprised, even by the Beeb.]

Hat tip: Instapundit

Iraqi official criticizes exaggerations “by political elites…and by Western media and analysts.”

If some adult at the Beeb could provide a straight answer about stage-managed “insurgent” photos, could they also explain the Beeb’s failure to report the results of this poll? It finds that Sunnis are surprisingly supportive of the new Iraqi constitution (even before the latest improvement). However gloomy it looks to BBC reporters, the Iraqis seem ready to prove them wrong.

…But the polling by the Iraqi Center for Development and International Dialogue — a nonprofit organization funded partially by the United Nations — indicated that the referendum was headed for passage regardless of the Sunday parliamentary action. “The part that surprised me was the percentage of supporters for the referendum. I didn’t expect that,” said Mr. Hafedh, who was minister of planning under interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Although support for the constitution was particularly high in the northern Kurdish areas and southern regions dominated by Shi’ites, Mr. Hafedh said it topped 50 percent even in central provinces known as the heartland of Sunni unrest — a sign, he said, that the Sunni-Shi’ite split is not as wide as many fear.

“This is exaggerated by political elites who are seeking power and by Western media and analysts,” Mr. Hafedh said. “If you go down to the streets, you can’t tell who is Sunni and who is Shi’ite. We are all mixed.”

When the Beeb fails to report key aspects of a story which is of critical interest to understanding what is happening on the ground, it is reasonable to conclude malintent.

Via Instapundit and RealClearPolitics

Update: In response to B-BBC commenter “Toad”, I have it on good authority that ‘malintent’ is well on its way to being a particularly good way to describe the BBC’s reporting. After all, Bill Gates can use it to describe the malicious code of hackers

“Now in security, there are some very, very key and obvious solutions. The most important is what’s called isolation. This is making sure that people with malintent can’t arbitrarily send code to all the different systems.”

and the word is now the stuff of legal disclaimers,

“In the absence of any other agreement, despatch shall be at the expense and at the risk of the buyer. The supplier shall be free to choose the route and the mode of transport. This choice must be made with the diligence of a prudent businessman, whereby the supplier and his agents shall be liable for lack of diligence only in the event of malintent or gross negligence.”

…I am more than happy to use this word as a descriptor for the Beeb!

On a more helpful note, B-BBC commenter Frank P mentions Melanie Phillip’s Diary as another case of the BBC’s “abandonment of fair journalism”. Read it all.