Double Standards And Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

Barack Obama’s presidency: Why hope shrivelled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The very next sentence takes it further.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARRED

Andrew Mitchell, he who thinks we should aspire to be an “overseas aid super power”, is the kind of Conservative that the BBC likes. He got an easy ride on the Sunday morning horror that is the Andrew Marr show. Dripping wet, he is a C.I.N.O. in the proud tradition of Clarke and Patten, and the BBC love him for it. He was on Question Time earlier this week and up he pops again, much in demand. I also caught an odd interview with Simon Callow who was allowed to blabber on about the life of Shakespeare, claiming we know all the key details of his life. We don’t but Callow is another luvvie much favoured by the Beeb. Former Aussie PM Kevin Rudd was on and to be fair he didn’t quite give the answers that Marr was looking, which was quite entertaining.

MARR ON A SUNDAY

It’s just one big leftie love-in with no pretence to balance views! I refer to Andrew Marr’s programme this morning. We have – in the studio – Charles Kennedy (lefty),  Rory Bremner (luvvie lefty), Suzanna Reid (Gorgeous and pouting lefty), plus Neil Kinnock (Has-been lefty) and Vince Cable.(Once much loved lefty but now hated since he joined the evil coalition) My, all that’s missing is Julian Assange and Moazzem Beggs and it’s the perfect balanced programme!.

A TALE OF TWO INTERVIEWS

B-BBC favourite Andrew Marr gave his fellow BBC interviewers a masterclass this morning in how to be biased.

He interviewed both the chancellor George Osborne and the new shadow chancellor Alan Johnson. Compare the introductions to each each interview and you will get a very good idea of what the actual interviews were like:

Johnson:

“Well from one legendary rocker to another. No, not quite. But though the new shadow chancellor is a rock n’ roll enthusiast from his early
days and he’s said from time to time that politics is just a sideline, he’s risen pretty fast. Alan Johnson came through the trades union movement, declined to go for the Labour leadership and he was Ed Miliband’s surprise choice for the top economics job. He said he was rushing off to get his economics primer. Anyway, he’s read the economics primer now and he’s with me now. Welcome!”

Osborne (following straight on from the Johnson interview):

“So that is the case for the prosecution – that the cuts are too drastic, that they’re irresponsible, they’ll damage the recovery, and that they’re unfair on the poorest I suppose as well, erm..driven by ideological zeal even. Well, there is another line of attack emerging which says that they’re simply too ambitious and in practise they won’t achieve the kind of money that they’re intended too, that all the tough talk from John..George Osborne is indeed just talk. Well, the chancellor of the exchequer is here to respond to all of those things now. Welcome!”

You won’t be surprised that Andrew Marr was laughing and Alan Johnson grinning broadly at the former and that George Osborne wore a very strained expression as he listened to the latter (though he didn’t protest about it).

How the interviews ended is similarly revealing:

Johnson: “All right, for now, Alan Johnson. Thank you very much.”

Osborne: “Politicians always talk about what they’re going to spend money on, not what they’re going to cut! But thank you very much indeed chancellor. Over to Louise for the news headlines.”

Yes, the Johnson interview ended with smiles all round but the Osborne interview ended with Marr telling Osborne off and giving him no chance to respond.

The Alan Johnson interview as a whole was very soft, with just 6 interruptions, passing quickly over his lack of economic expertise. The George Osborne interview, however, was a tough one with 28 interruptions.

When Alan Johnson talked of this seeming to be an L-shaped recession with the economy dragging along the bottom, adding that we could face a Japanese-style ‘lost decade’, Marr chipped in supportively, “That’s the danger!”

The main danger for the Conservatives is that that keep allowing partisan BBC hacks like Andrew Marr to keep skewing the news agenda against them.

SO NOW WE REALLY KNOW…


Andrew Marr’s show on the BBC symbolises all that is wrong with the corporation. It has consistently been simpering and supine to Labour, and he makes David Frost, whom he replaced, look like a model of journalistic propriety. And now he has confirmed what an elitist, condescending piece of work he is. This is what he thinks of the blogsphere:

British journalist Andrew Marr has angered bloggers by suggesting they are “inadequate, pimpled and single.” Marr, was formerly the BBC’s political editor, also said that citizen journalism is “spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night”. He made the comments at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, saying: “A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people.”

Sadly, Mr Marr’s outlook is patently shared by the entire £1bn leftist, moral relativist, elitist, eco-nut, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, pro-Islam, pro-EU journalistic cadre at the BBC. It shows in the way they brook no dissent to their views and in how they so haughtily dismiss all those who dare to question them.

This is the organisation that has today also astonishingly and disgracefully handed a leaving package worth £4.7m to Mark Byford, the soon-to-be-redundant deputy director general. Everyone who has met Mark will – I am sure – share with me the sense of sheer amazement that such a without-talent individual should be worth so much of our money. But then, nothing is surprising in the Mickey Mouse world of BBCland.

BLAIR’S FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER

This is a guest post by Hippiepooter.

One cannot be without sympathy for the upset Alastair Campbell suffered in his interview with Andrew Marr today, both on a human level and as a staunch supporter of the Iraq war myself, but as a committed democrat one does feel the need to state that he and Tony Blair dragged British politics through the mud in coopting the already biased BBC as a propaganda weapon and are now victims of the monster they created.

As a youthful Tribunite member of the Labour Party in the late 70’s it was clear to me that the only real bias at the BBC was towards the Left, and I was against it as it was bad for democracy. When Tony Blair assumed leadership of the Labour Party, this bias went into overdrive. It was patently evident to anyone semi-politically literate that pre ’97 Tony Blair’s office was running an anti-Tory smear campaign in concert with the BBC to get elected, and once elected proceeded to govern with the same appalling contempt for democracy. Mr Campbell certainly wasn’t complaining when Mr Marr in both his Observer and BBC incarnations was doing New Labour’s dirty work traducing the integrity of the Conservative Party in the same manner that he has traduced his own and Mr Blair’s over Iraq.

What our former Prime Minister Mr Blair showed, to me at least, over the Iraq War, is that his heart was in the right place all along. He is, despite all his manifest shortcomings in attaining and retaining power, a personal hero. The Iraq War was just that critical. But if one’s ego is large enough to believe that the means he used via Mr Campbell to attain power were justified, sympathy for their vilification over Iraq has to be qualified. As it is, many of the moral bankrupts who he’d previously exploited to his advantage and who are now vilifying him would be calling for Mr Blair to be strung up for not going to war if we had to suffer the consequences of that today. Saddam could restart his WMD programme at any moment of his choosing. He had given Al Qa’eda leader Al Zarqawi refuge after fleeing Afghanistan. Had we stood down from the threat of war to enforce compliance of UN arms inspection, the marriage between WMD’s and terrorists that Blair feared would have become a reality, with all the apocalyptic consequences that carries.

We dont need another Iraq inquiry into Tony Blair’s decision making. What we need is an Iraq Inquiry into how the BBC acts as a propaganda weapon for the enemy at time of war.

Fear and loathing on a Marred Sunday morning

I wasn’t one of those impressed by Andrew Marr’s question about Gordon and drugs last week. The tone was gentle, and when Gordon replied incoherently “neagh” to the question, and went on immediately to talk about his eyesight instead, Marr did not bring him back to the point.

Cameron, meanwhile, was continually attacked by Marr in the segments of today’s interview that I have seen. Cameron was accused of misleading people even when he began to itemize his assets and their relative worth to him. This was Marr’s “personal question”, and contra his attitude to Brown he was a rottweiller who wasn’t giving up his locked jaws around Cameron’s ankle.

Worse though was Marr’s haranguing over the potential cuts the Tories might make in Government. He utterly ignored the imperative question of the deficit. He hemmed the question in to the narrow one of which of his statist fellows Cameron was going to sack. He didn’t even admit the question of the jobs that would be lost by higher interest rates, raised taxes or the other ills that may follow from failure to rein in the deficit caused by out of control public spending. “but you can’t!”, exploded Marr, “you can’t possibly avoid job losses!!!” Marr almost combusted.

Then there was Europe, where Marr quite brazenly affected not to understand the Cameron positon. It’s quite clear if you bother to inform yourself about the unfinished business in the Czech Republic and Poland. It’s also clear that we, the UK, have ratified the treaty, thanks to the broken promise of the Labour Government. When it becomes law throughout the EU it becomes law here. That will be a different position to work from, should it happen. Marr made out that it was inevitable, to create a straw man argument with which to make Cameron look evasive. It’s far from inevitable as Vaclav Klaus basically will have the last say, and st. Vaclav is a sceptic.

But the BBC have been busy bunnies, for those who assume that the Treaty is all but passed- they are trying to imply double standards from Cameron as he is said to have written to Klaus to make clear that he favours a UK referendum. The BBC have been beavering around trying to find dissonant voices on the eve of the Conservative conference. It’s a hatchet job alright- it’s absolutely clear the BBC have been using their media muscle to winkle out as much scandal as they can with which to spoil the coming conference.

As for Marr- the browbeating he delivered against Cameron was extraordinary. Again and again, right to the end, Marr swung ironic swipes at Cameron’s latest pledge to be direct with the public. Do you recall anything like that concerning Tony Blair’s infamous (because monumentally, historically provably hollow) “pretty straight sort of guy”? Me neither. There is clearly a kind of loathing in Marr’s heart against the Conservatives. He is a shocking ideological roadblock on the Sunday morning BBC schedule.

GORDON BROWN IS UNWELL..

I did not see Andrew Marr ask McDoom if he was one of those people who took prescription drugs to “help get them through.” Did you? Is this, as some dear souls allege, evidence that the BBC is now anti-Labour? I see NO reason why Marr should not have and asked Brown whatever he wanted, is PM Brown some sort of special case? More of a basket-case if you ask me. I have no idea if Brown is on some sort of pillfest, but if he is, the drugs aren’t working…

DARLING AND MARR

Anyone catch Andrew Marr “interviewing” out lamentable Chancellor Darling this morning? I think the thing that most struck me was the gentle treatment Marr afforded this wretch whose period of tenure in his role has been characterised by serial disaster and poor judgement. (Albeit overseen by McDoom) Darling even got to claim that he thought Labour “could” win the next election without Marr expressing much surprise! Yes, and Darling also sees green shoots of recovery wherever he goes!

The main point here is that the BBC must know Labour is a busted flush and that it will be excised from power next June. So like good little comrades they go through the motions for McDoom and his followers but the strategic point for the BBC must be to box in Cameron in order that all our ever so vital public services – like the BBC – continue to escape the cold chill of economic recession and public accountability. Perhaps Cameron knows this since he wiggles around the subject, as in the interview Marr also carried out with him this morning. This worries me. Either Cameron is afraid of the BBC, or he is afraid to admit that the axe will have to be taken to the grotesque state sector, or he plans no such thing.

It’s always there.

The bias I mean. I’ve just watched Andrew Marr’s interview with David Cameron for his regular Sunday mornng show. The first minute or two of Cameron’s performance were used in correcting Marr’s premise that the Conservative position was just to let the recession “take its course”. Isn’t this so typical? The Conservative always placed on the defensive by the casual distrust of the BBC man? If you listen or watch carefully (painful I know) it’s always there.

Earlier on I heard the news report say that Icelanders were rioting over the handling af the credit crisis. This is an interpretation that the BBC prefers. Surely demonstrators are protesting at the occurrence of the crisis itself, and the economic management which brought it about? Cameron was under fire from Marr for not ‘getting the scale’ of things. No mention of Gordon’s not getting the entire economic management “thing” which could have mitigated or averted it. I would say that- given British banking’s swollen role compared with the British economy- Gordon’s management of gold, regulation, taxation and interest rates should very much be on the table as a cause of the world’s crisis. Instead we have Marr lamenting the lack of a positive Conservative response. Where’s the room for positive responses? It’s only damage limitation thanks to Gordon.

The last part of the interview, patiently fielded by Cameron, was Marr’s questioning of Osborne’s position. Prior to that we had “Business Secretary” Peter Mandelson spinning the economy for Gordon. No questioning of his suspicious reintroduction into UK politics, or his ability to take the flak that Darling or Brown should be facing.

It makes me sick listening to the skewed BBC coverage. But whether I listen or not, it’s always there.

Get Osborne! (save Brown)

Looking at the many valuable comments in the latest open thread, it’s amazing how many ways the BBC have found to get at George Osborne in recent days. Speaking from what I have seen, it was noticeable how Marr stacked his progamme this morning with better-then-average lefties like Doug Alexander and Dr John Reid (plus Jarvis Cocker for leftist chic), to foreground a lengthy interview with Osborne which began with the line from Marr: “Do you think your job is on the line this weekend?”

Sums it all up really- not the reality, that is, but the BBC’s preferred narrative. Alexander- the Secretary of State for International Development- was there to demonstrate how (in accordance with the Brown narrative) the crisis is global, first, and we are the victims, second, while John Reid was there to show how he was burying the hatchet and uniting behind Brown and to blame Osborne for not doing the same.

In fact Osborne performed superbly on the Marr programme, so despite Marr’s repeated attempts to bring up the world crisis in defending Brown, Osborne swept past him. Yet is he actually winning this argument? Difficult to say, because the BBC has so relentlessly depicted him as on the defensive, the “George Osborne under attack” meme. This has been partly justified by bringing up a so-called convention regarding commenting on Sterling which, as the commenters at B-BBC have noted, is bogus. Meanwhile David in the comments points to this article as a related note, where Brown “regrets” Osborne’s comments highlighting the risk to the pound. Surely in fact Brown regrets that his economic incompetence is being exposed? It is no good his shaking his head over that unpublic-spirited Osborne- it is Brown who has been frantically trying to look competent in situations he has been instrumental in creating. So far he has done only the most obvious things, like bail out faltering banks, huddle with world leaders and pronounce “routemaps” as he poses for photos.

Earlier I saw an BBC online article where Gordon was shown in a decidedly odd picture (actually used above) at the G20 meeting towering over the Russian President, the Russian’s eyes upraised to meet Gordon’s (ie. where on earth was Gordon standing in relation to Medvedev? [Update: apparently Medvedev is unusually small. This does not explain the particular photo with Gordon facing the camera and Medvedev looking up to his eyes, or indeed the very choice of this photo- why these two men and only them? Generally I think the BBC’s photo-story-telling is abysmal]). In a more sensible world Brown wouldn’t even have been able to take the reins of the Government a year and a half ago because his incompetence over boom and bust would have already been made apparent by a sentient fourth estate (Labour’s favourite bank Northern Rock was melting away as they feted Gordon). Instead, those who have the temerity to question the inevitably compromised economic wisdom of Gordon Brown are put in the media dock by the BBC-led media.

Meanwhile, Guido points to yet another angleof BBC bias in favour of Brown.