THAT AFRICAN LAND GRAB!

Oh those BAD capitalists. A Biased BBC reader observes with regard to this item on the BBC ;

Traditionalregurgitation of agitprop press release from “The Oakland Institute”which five seconds googling reveals to be an activist lefty pressure groupdevoted to the usual stuff and established to counter “conservative”influence. All unmentioned in the BBC’s “think tank” description. Thelink from the front page refers to a hedge fund “grab” of”Africa’s land” – ie the land belongs to Africa not to the people whosold it, and it’s a grab not a sale. The “hedge funds” who aregrabbing the land are, en passant, awarded the blame for the 2008 financialcrisis. All capitalists are equal I suppose. To be fair one of the guilty menis allowed to claim he’s innocent, and the commentary mentions that theAfricans get paid better for working on the properties than they get elsewhere,so it’s not uninterrupted propaganda. Just nearly uninterrupted.

A nearly truth one might say, what the BBC does best!

Hate speech here and there

Kenya launches text service to stop hate speech” reports the BBC – utterly uncritically. The report assumes that this move is intended solely to reduce violence. No mention is made of the threat to free speech in Kenya, indeed no mention is made of any criticism of the hotline at all. It’s against “hate speech”, what more do you need to know? The National Cohesion and Integration Commission is quoted as having told the BBC “If hate speech is reported, we will be able to respond within 12 hours,” – but apparently the BBC did not see fit to ask him what that response would be. The BBC does not ask who defines “hate speech” or bring up the potential for abuse of this system by political leaders wishing to crush rivals or members of the public with a grudge against their neighbours.

Contrast this with how the BBC covers schemes in Britain in which the public are encouraged to report potential terrorism. In this story, University heads tackle extremism, the entire focus is on the clash between security and academic freedom. In this one, Anti-terror police seek help from internet cafes, a spokesman is quoted as fearing that an initiative “potentially criminalises people for accessing material that is legal but which expresses religious and political opinions that police officers find unacceptable.” That fear, it seems, is worth covering in Britain, but not in Kenya.

I have also posted about this over at Samizdata.

Nasty Nasty Breeeetish

Or, as the BBC more prosaically put it yesterday, “Lethal landmine legacy from battle of El Alamein“; accompanied by a picture of two blokes, a flock of sheep, several buildings, some power lines with masts and a tree – and captioned “featureless”. So why the sudden interest 68 years down the line?

The battle of El Alamein was a turning point in World War II but the unexploded munitions it left behind continue to kill and maim the local population, as Christian Fraser reports from Egypt.

Right, that’ll be the time we saved all of Europe from the Germans, the Italians and their allies but let’s not worry about that small factoid because we’re about to find out who the real villain of the Second World War is.

…no country is prepared to accept responsibility for owning or laying the unexploded ordnance. Who then is to blame for the maiming of 11-year-old Mawa? 

You’ve found one *just one* person to feature in the story and it’s an injured 11 year old girl who likes football. Brilliant. Her father chips in:

“I used to have sheep but I had to sell them because the children refuse to go to the fields now because they’re too dangerous. 

You’ve had sheep in those fields for 68 years and only now there’s a problem? Could this article be leading somewhere? Enough! Someone must be responsible! Name names, BBC, we demand it!

“Psychologically and economically we have been badly affected. And we’ve had no compensation.” The detonator could have been of Italian or German origin but Abdulaziz blames the British. “It was their battle,” he said. “They brought the war to Egypt.” 

Yay! It’s our fault!Perhaps we could apologise and pay them some…

Now though, a group representing some 660 registered injured is compiling a formal dossier to bolster claims for compensation. 

….damn, they got there before me. So remind us all again, why did we send tanks into North Africa in the early 1940’s? Without drawing breath the article informs us:

The region is rich in natural resources. There is a huge amount of natural gas that lies buried underground and the Egyptian government suggests there could be 4.8bn barrels of oil, potentially doubling the country’s existing reserves. 

Ah yes, Churchill was testing the waters for the whole turn of the century invading-countries-for-oil thingy. And we have “Evil Capitalist Pigs Caught Only Clearing Some Mines Shocker”.

International oil companies that have cleared their own access roads through the mines have already been rewarded with considerable finds.

Christian Fraser has been fed a plea for cash because the Germans and Italians haven’t been daft enough to fall for it. The BBC swallows the whole thing in one gulp. If only the other side in those battles had a self-loathing media as naive as ours then they too could enjoy journalism of this standard.

THE AFRICAN QUEEN…

Did you catch Evan Davies glowing report of Hillary Clinton’s grand tour of Africa? I had to laugh when he declared that Obama is promoting good governance in Africa by stating that “Africa’s future is up to Africans.” Well, that should ensure that there is no good governance given the track record of the collective of thugs and tyrants that hold power across the dark continent! The guy being interviewed, Gibril Faal, did not appear to pick up on all the pro-Obama/Clinton vibes that Davies was giving off so the interview meandered nowhere really – a bit like democracy in Africa.

Graphic illustration

of imbalance

Via a number of blogs, including the excellent Augean Stables, from figures discussed here, the casualty “footprints” of two ongoing conflicts. The BBC is obsessed with one of these conflicts. Can you guess which?

As one blogger says:

“My only hope is that, forty years from now, this scandal will be seen as a problem of the past. As a symptom of the problems of a society -our developed one- that, with time, changed for better. I hope to talk about it to my grandsons in the same way afroamerican grandparents talk nowadays about Rosa Parks. Like talking about an evident problem that finally, one day, one person dared to face. And changed for good.”

DARKNESS IN THE DARK CONTINENT.

In the BBC world-view, what could be more natural than bigging up Libyan thug Col Qaddafi – new chairman of the African Union as well as getting the wretched Mark Malloch Brown on to agree that co-operation with Mugabe “is worth a go.” It always amazes me how the BBC drones on and on about the problems that afflict Africa whilst appearing seemingly disinterested in the ambitions and consequencwa of indulging terrorist thugs like Qaddafi and Mugabe.

This and That

This and that

  • Blognor Regis, writing about the BBC’s “Time Shift 8: How to be a good president”, says he does not go in for hate, but

    …then I take a look at this motley crew, the same old same old rapid response talking head squad, ready to pontificate on anything at anytime, only five minutes from this television studio: Jonathan Freedland is helped by distinguished contributors including James Naughtie, Shirley Williams, Douglas Hurd, Simon Hoggart and Bonnie Greer. Celebrating the diversity of opinion there I don’t think.

 

  • David Friedman wrote about how the BBC reported a story concerning a worldwide improvement in the child mortality statistics:

    …the Lancet reports that, worldwide, the child death rate has fallen by 28% since 1990. Breaking it down by region, “deaths in western and central Africa have fallen by just 18%; in sub-Saharan Africa the figure was 21%, while in eastern and southern Africa it was 26%.”

 

How does BBC headline the story?

Huge split in child death rates

Beneath the headline, in boldface type:

“Progress in cutting the number of deaths among children under five is still ‘grossly insufficient’ in some parts of the world, Unicef has warned.” The picture that accompanies it is of two black children, one crying and one looking grim.

The actual news is that things are getting better. But that is not the impression that the headline, the introduction or the picture is designed to give.

I switched from CNN to BBC as a source of online news in response to CNN’s extraordinarily biased reporting of the FLDS case in Texas. BBC is not as bad—you only have to read to the bottom of the article to get the relevant information.

  • I see that after being cramped for so long by having to pay lip-service that tedious Charter obligation to be impartial, the BBC’s Justin Webb has finally drawn the “Get Out of Impartiality Free” card. Now that he has drawn this card, he, a BBC journalist paid by the BBC to write on the BBC website, can describe one of the American vice-presidential candidates in the terms detailed in David’s earlier post:

    And yet the Palin world-view – essentially ignorant, unable to name a single paper read – is not the view that a nation facing an economic catastrophe, complex and international and baffling to most minds, is likely to choose … to hear Palin screeching on about Reagan must be painful to many Republicans who knew him.

    Or he can described her in the terms detailed in Hugh’s post, namely as:

    the woman rational, educated Americans regard with ever-increasing horror.

    The other name for this card is the “Blog”card.


I am not normally someone who fulminates about the BBC…

writes Daniel Finkelstein.

No, but we’ll listen when he does– thanks also to David Preiser who has highlighted this in the comments sections:

John Simpson hearts Mugabe

I have watched Simpson for a long time and he does seem to have a soft spot for dictators. He was once rather chummy with some of Saddam’s ministers and expressed a “sneaking regard for Saddam“.

Now he has some rather bizarre things to say about the political situation in Zimbabwe, and presents it all more as though Mugabe had won a game of chess than battered his opposition with violence.

Simpson doubtless thinks he’s being rather clever to see Mugabe’s power-politics through the haze of violence, but it comes across as apologism. One of the big things we should keep in mind regarding dictators is the mythology that surrounds them and protects them- it’s that that Mr Simpson is reporting, rather than the squalid reality. He admires Mugabe’s mythmaking, instead of reporting the reality on the ground.

Hat tip to Iain Dale too.

Playing softball

Say you’re an international organisation with a lot of skeletons in the closet. Say you know that your reputation will be damaged when news of these skeletons gradually filters into the public mind, as it must.

I suppose under such circumstances everything would come down to PR- you’d probably admit that bad news was going to come out and so suggest to a friendly party to conduct an “investigation” which would spread the blame nice and thinly, and then release the news through a friendly organ. It would be a little painless bloodletting, and then… back to work. The organ would probably begin its main article something like this:

“Children as young as six are being sexually abused by peacekeepers and aid workers, says a leading UK charity.

Children in post-conflict areas are being abused by the very people drafted into such zones to help look after them, says Save the Children.

After research in Ivory Coast, southern Sudan and Haiti, the charity proposed an international watchdog be set up.”

Sounds like a good idea. A watchdog. Sounds like a job for the UN- they’d be perfectly placed considering their clean hands and incorruptibility.

UNREAL.

The BBC faithfully reports that former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, one of their favourite sons, has urged African leaders to “do more” with regard to Zimbawe and Mugabe’s thuggocracy. One wonders why the BBC does not see fit to ask why Kofi himself did nothing during his years as Secretary -General? Maybe for the same reason that Annan did nothing during the Rwanda genocide and the Darfur genocide? The pious words of this morally bankrupt fool are reported by Al Beeb as if they have real moral and political meaning when in fact it is obvious that they are – unreal.

What they cover, and why

When the US lower House votes on a military funding deadline (a long acknowledged and anticipated event), the BBC has no need, and I would argue, no right, to make that its headline. Yet it does.

It is internal US politicking, and given the primacy of both President and Congress, of little moment.

Meanwhile, to the right on the BBC front page is a totally pointless video entitled “Dubya Dances”. Notwithstanding the inappropriateness of using Bush’s ill-intentioned nickname, it’s simply a clip of Bush dancing at an African anti-malarial meeting. Not only does this have no purpose save to make Bush look ridiculous excerpted from context, it also demeans the seriousness of his program to help Africa with malaria (which, I should add, they do cover, in routine fashion), and would no doubt irritate many US conservatives at a time when the lefty politicians are rooting for US defeat in Iraq.

It tallies quite well with the BBC’s general desire to caricature Bush though, after the fashion of the BushHitler posterthey gave such pride of place to.

Ps. I wonder where they get their “Dubya dancing” fancies from? Not things like this, I hope?

The Whole Story?

Just another report from the Beeb.

“Globorix will only be used in Africa to prevent meningitis at prices that may never cover its research costs.

Experts say it is a sign big companies are changing their business practices, but some critics say it is not enough.”

Ah, those “experts” again. And how “business practises” are a’changing.

Later in the article we find how “Teaming up with people like Bill Gates means vaccines for malaria, TB and eventually Aids may follow.”

Right, Auntie, so is it “changing business practises” , or is it actually CHARITY by another name?

And, whatever the case, it wouldn’t only be business which needed to up the morals- read through this Guardian article about drugs being resold on the black market and you will find that, after all the Guardian’s attempts to pin the problem on Europe, AFRICAN corruption plays a major role in the lack of requisite drugs for Africa’s peoples.

The BBC’s simplistic assumptions massively limit the informational value of its journalism.