Parallels

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

NPR to shed 10% of staff amid budget shortfall

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

The BBC tells you this about NPR’s funding:

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

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

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

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

What the BBC doesn’t want you to know:

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

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

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

NPR terminates contract with Juan Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schiller’s fall puts NPR funds at risk

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

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

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

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

Emphases mine. Sounds eerily familiar, no?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NPR: mostly white audience produces mostly white teen novels list

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

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

How did this happen, you ask?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBC Bias And Wisconsin – Again

So the Union-led petition to force a recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker has gathered 1 million signatures. That’s nearly twice what’s required to force the recall. Of course, that’s only if the signatures are valid. If you get your information on this story from the BBC, you’d have no idea there’s even a hint of impropriety. The BBC news brief sanitizes the whole thing, spins it to make Walker look bad, and even misleads the reader about the result of the recall elections from last summer.

Let’s start with how the BBC spins it to make Walker look bad.

The governor has become a conservative hero and put the Midwest state at the centre of the US labour rights debate.

The BBC News Online sub-editor decided to leave it as an anti-Unions thing, and censor the news that Walker balanced the state budget for the first time in ages. That’s actually what has earned Walker respect from conservatives. Curbing public sector union powers helped him do that, sure. But it’s about fixing the state economy, not just attacking unions. The BBC leaves out how this is about fixing the economy, leaving Walker looking like a villain. They do it again a couple sentences later:

The governor’s opponents are also angry at the $800m (£521m) in budget cuts to schools passed under him.

 But they leave out the fact that this actually improved things. Of course, the BBC has form on censoring news about this issue in Wisconsin. What the BBC didn’t want you to know at the time is that schools have saved well over $100 million since Walker cut down union power and passed his budget. In fact, one school district went from a major deficit to a budget surplus thanks to Walker’s plan. Instead, the BBC spins it so you think he hurt the schools. Does that sound familiar?
The BBC says this about the previous round of recalls:

Two Republican state senators were recalled in earlier elections.

What the BBC censors because it hurts the Narrative is that the other five Republicans kept their seats, and the Republicans kept their majority – albeit just barely – in the legislature. But that fact won’t help lead you to think that this new petition means the people of Wisconsin want the Republicans out, so the BBC leaves it out.

One last bit of anti-Walker spin is where the article mentions that he’s raised over $5 million for the fight, taking care to point out that half of it is from out of state. What the BBC doesn’t want you to know is that out-of-state Unions and other partisan PACs are pouring money into it for the Democrat cause. In last summer’s recall elections, Democrat-supporting groups from out of state even outspent Republican groups from out of state, to the tune of $23.4 million to $20.5 million. Does anyone think this time will be any different? So it’s grossly dishonest for the BBC to mention only Walker’s out-of-state money. But that helps the Narrative of “the hard-working innocent lambs against nasty Republicans and their moneymen”.

Now let’s look at the worst part of all this: the 1 million signatures. What the BBC doesn’t want you to know is that there’s most likely a massive amount of fraud going on.  The state board overseeing the whole thing has already admitted there’s going to be a problem with duplicate signatures. It sure doesn’t help matters that the far-Left group, One Wisconsin Now, actually encouraged people to sign multiple petitions, knowing that they won’t all be caught. One guy has even proudly claimed to have signed 80 times. Not a word about this from the BBC.

Then there’s the fact that the Government Accountability Board (GAB) is admitting they won’t be trying to dismiss all those Adolf Hitler and Mickey Mouse signatures if they have Wisconsin addresses and are dated properly. So there’s voter fraud built into the system, to help Democrats. But remember, kids, according to the BBC, only Republicans engage in voter fraud.  In fact, things are so bad that the GAB is hiring a bunch of temporary staff to sort through all this crap. The GAB, however, is an independent group. So when the BBC reports this:

Supporters of the governor are being trained to spot any duplicate or falsified signatures.

You have to say they’re lying. Only supporters of the governor are being trained? No, BBC, it’s the staff of the independent GAB. This is meant to create the suspicion in your mind that it’s only a Republican plot to disenfranchise honest Democrats, nothing to do with massive Democrat fraud. There isn’t even a hint of suspicion raised here, not a single eyebrow raised. Why do you think it’s going to take 60 days to sort this out?

Sure, it’s only an unsigned news brief, no time to mention all the details, right? So why are the details the piece does mention so dishonest? You can read about previous examples of BBC censorship and dishonesty about the goings on in Wisconsin here, here, and here. Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.

HERMAN MONSTERED

Articles appearing on BBC News online about the Herman Cain [R] sexual harassment claims in the 5 days after the story first broke on Politico:

Herman Cain: Sexual harassment claims ‘baseless’
Herman Cain denies sex harassment claims
Herman Cain: A ‘high-tech lynching’?
Herman Cain: When in trouble, switch stories
Herman Cain ‘gradually recalls’ sexual harassment case
Herman Cain sexual harassment accuser ‘wants to speak’
Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, and sexual harassment
Third woman claims inappropriate behaviour from Cain
Herman Cain accuser decides not to speak

Articles appearing on BBC News online about the John Edwards [D] love child in the 5 days after the story was first reported:

Zilch. The first BBC article appeared 18 days after the news first broke.

Articles appearing on BBC News online about the Anthony Weiner [D] pervy Twitter pic in the first 5 days after the story was first reported:

Zilch
. The first BBC article appeared 10 days after the news first broke.

FREI’S TO GO…

… but things will stay the same.

Matt Frei’s final edition of Americana before leaving the BBC gave him the chance to talk – once again – with one of his “favourite Washingtonians”, the Palin-hating conspiracy nut Andrew Sullivan. It was everything you’d expect from a BBC discussion on US affairs – Sullivan asserted (without any contradiction from Frei) that Donald Rumsfeld is a war criminal and that the highly partisan nature of politics in Washington is pretty much all the fault of the Republicans (who really should move to the left like Cameron’s – ahem – Conservatives). Their chat finished with some inevitable mockery of Sarah Palin.

Of course Frei’s departure won’t change a thing at the BBC (I noted in the comments that one of the first tweets sent by new Washington correspondent Adam Blenford after he started his new role was an approving link to Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog). The ongoing crusade against the American Right [cue scary music] continued this morning on the Today programme when Jim Naughtie discussed new BBC hate-figure Michelle Bachmann with Mark Mardell. The BBC’s North America editor, on-message as ever, took the opportunity to mention a three-month old gaffe from the prospective presidential candidate. Isn’t it amazing how these BBC US correspondents seemingly can dredge up every mistake ever made by any Republican of any note and yet never report a single one of the many verbal embarrassments from the mouth of Obama who is, y’know, actually president?  (My favourite recent one – Obama last month describing the “Teutonic shift in the Middle East”. Imagine the fun the BBC would have had with that one if it had been Bachmann or Palin. Instead, nothing.)

Spot The Difference

[Update added]

Two stories involving American politicians who have been embarrassed by photos on the internet. One was a little-known first-time candidate standing for the House of Representatives last year, the other is a prominent, well-known congressman who has been in the House of Representatives for over 12 years and has designs on becoming mayor of New York.

Apart from the fact that the BBC rushed to run the first story as soon as it broke in the States, and has tried desperately to ignore the second story for well over a week, can anyone spot a slight difference in the BBC’s treatment of the two? (I’ve provided some helpful clues.)


UPDATE. Here’s the report on Weinergate from the Today programme this morning. Spot the missing word.

Listen!

Richard Bacon, who is doing his show from New York this week, discussed the story yesterday and again there was no mention of the fact that Weiner is a Democrat.

It almost goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway – if Weiner had been a Republican we’d have heard about this story a week ago and his party affiliation would’ve been central to the BBC’s reporting.

Katty Kay Tweets Her Bias Again

I was having a look at Katty Kay’s Twitter page, wondering if she had said anything about Sarah Palin lately. Not only is Palin on tour (as we know from Mark Mardell’s sneering the other day), but she said something yesterday about Paul Revere which raised a few eyebrows. It turns out Palin was actually correct and, as usual, a few Leftoid media dopes made fools of themselves laughing at her so-called ignorance.

Katty, the most hyper-partisan of all BBC employees working the US beat (yes, she’s worse than Mardell) now that Katie Connolly has done the honest thing and gone to work for a Democrat strategy group, didn’t say anything about Palin’s Revere remark, but still she did not disappoint anyone looking for her to reveal her personal political bias. Tweeting from her iPad, Katty sent her readers two links to hit pieces on Palin, both from the JournoList-infested Politico.

This Politico article is full of adjectives like “cartoon-ish”, “circus”, and “spectacle”. Oh, and the actual title is “Sarah Palin takes the media for a ride”. Katty editorialized that down to a sexist pejorative. Nice one, Katty. Notice also that the response from her reader makes it clear which side she’s on, as nobody would ask such a question if they thought Katty was either impartial or not far Left and a Palin hater. Katty does have form attacking Sarah Palin on air. The other tweet is equally amusing.

This Politico article is about how some in the GOP establishment aren’t pleased. Which is exactly what Palin’s supporters want, but of course Katty thinks it’s a bad sign for her. Partisan blindness. We can see where the Beeboids go to inform their opinions on US issues. The vicious atmosphere of Katty’s Twitter feed and her followers is again revealed in the reply. If Katty wasn’t openly partisan and anti-Palin, her reader wouldn’t feel free to make such a reply.

Further down on her Twitter page, Katty also retweets a Palin attack piece by none other than Andrew Sullivan (not going to give him a link – look him up if you want), notorious for his own version of a “birther” conspiracy (he still thinks Palin faked giving birth to Trig, while her daughter is the real mother). There is no greater hater of Sarah Palin than Sullivan, and Katty not only follows him but thinks his musings are important enough to share on her BBC-labeled Twitter account. This fact alone tells you all you need to know about Katty Kay.

If that’s not enough to get a scolding email from Helen Boaden, Katty also makes a tweet which combines her personal business interest – “Womenomics” – with her BBC profile.

This is clearly a violation of BBC protocol. Yet Katty often uses her position at the BBC as a platform to advocate for her personal pet issues (see here and here), including the women in business angle. It’s also worth reminding everyone that Katty’s partner in Womenomics is Claire Shipman, whose husband is the current White House Press Secretary.

There’s another tweet on the page about an article discussing how women are oppressed in oil-rich Muslim countries. It’s not US news, just something she’s personally interested in, and uses her BBC credentials as a platform to promote it. She even ironically tweets about “women who take a stand” having their morals questioned. That’s pretty rich coming from someone who called Sarah Palin a tease for doing just that.

Another overtly partisan BBC employee in the US who is not fit for purpose.

WISCONSIN

This is an update to earlier blogposts by David Preiser about BBC coverage of the troubled passage of deficit reduction legislation in Wisconsin (see here, here, here).

Media double-standards over Wisconsin have become so blatant that even a left-leaning blogger on Huffington Post, Lee Stranahan, has expressed his distaste:

Why isn’t the mainstream media talking about the death threats against Republican politicians in Wisconsin?

…Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It’s bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it.

Just before writing this article, I did a Google search and it’s stunning to find out that the right wing media really isn’t exaggerating — proven death threats against politicians are being ignored by the supposedly honest media. If you’ve never agreed with a single thing that Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly et al have said about anything, you can’t in any good conscience say that they don’t have a point here. Death threats are wrong and if a story like Wisconsin is national news for days, then so are death threats.

Quite so. If Tea Party followers had made death threats against Democrat politicians, and had gone to their homes to terrify their children, we can be sure that the BBC would’ve been all over it, ramping up the coverage with every fresh act of intimidation. I know this, readers of this blog know it, and BBC journalists, if they’re honest with themselves, must know it too. And we’re talking actual death threats here, not some vague perceived potential for violence of the sort imagined by BBC correspondents when reporting on the Tea Party movement.

The reason for this is simple enough. “It’s bad, biased journalism”, as Stranahan says. The BBC’s highly partisan coverage of American politics reflects the political leanings of its staff. As such, negative stories about Democrats and their supporters are either ignored or downplayed. This is in sharp contrast to the eager reporting of similar or less significant events which are used to bash the American right.

If any BBC journos disagree with my conclusion I’d be happy to read an alternative explanation for their news blackout over the Wisconsin death threats. Comment, email, blog, tweet. Anything.

More BBC Dishonesty About Wisconsin

I’m sorry to keep making posts about this, but this time the BBC has really gone too far in their deceitfulness.

Wisconsin budget cuts: Madison rally attracts thousands

On the fifth day of such protests, opponents of the Republican state Governor, Scott Walker, outnumbered supporters of the bill.

The bill introduced in the Wisconsin congress would cut sharply the wages and benefits of public sector workers, and curtail collective bargaining.

Saturday’s rallies were peaceful despite angry chants on both sides.

“Sharply cut the wages and benefits” is union talking points. Same use of emotional, partisan language, just different choice of words than last time. But that’s not the worst part. Notice the “angry chants” were “on both sides”.

This is where the BBC disgusts me. Their Narrative about the Tea Party movement, as I’ve been reminding everyone for the last few days focused on the “anger”. There was never a raised Beeboid eyebrow at the anger of anti-Bush protests, and until now there hasn’t been a single mention about the anger of these union supporters. Until now, since they can pin blame equally on either side, thus mitigating any damage done to the Left.

But that’s still not even the worst part. This is:

Anti-Walker protester Jim Schneider, 69, waved a sign with “Hosni Mubarak?” written next to a picture of the governor, who has refused to negotiate with the unions.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Hey, Dave, this is actually progress. The BBC is finally reporting on this kind of stuff when the Left does it. Not sure I agree with you here.” But then you’ll read this:

“The Egyptians have been a great example to us,” the retired teacher said. “What happens here is going to be very important to what happens in a lot of other states, just like the thing that happened in Egypt had an effect on a lot of other countries in the Middle East.”

The BBC even provides space to support this kind of behavior. They agree with the sentiment, of course. I’d like to point out, however, that for some reason the BBC decided to censor the image of the actual poster. I don’t know if it’s either of these two (Craig posted the one on the right in a comment to my last Wisconsin post), but I suspect it’s the one on the left:


In which case the BBC forgot to tell you that this guy is calling Walker a dictator. I’m sure that doesn’t help the Narrative that these area all good people, “workers”, salt of the earth, on the side of the angels. And if you missed which side you’re supposed to support, they make sure to mention that the governor “has refused to negotiate with the unions”.

And that’s it. Nothing else from the BBC about any signage or angry rhetoric. No mention of Hitler signs or union supporters comparing Governor Walker with Nazis. Instead, the BBC tries to play it as the anger being equal from both sides.

Not only that, but notice also how the only speaker for the Tea Party group was “Joe the Plumber” (for whom the BBC made sure to spell out his real name, a reminder of the moment when the BBC and Leftoid media tried to smear him as being a fake), but no mention at all of Herman Cain. Cain is an actual pundit and has a very large following. His name is even tossed around in discussions of 2012.

Why censor the news about Mr. Cain, BBC? Is it ’cause he is black?

There’s one more bit of information about these protests that’s been censored by the BBC: apparently a few alleged physicians (some actually med students) are handing out fake sick notes so the protesters can get off work. One of them even gave a sick note to Andrew Breitbart. Needless to say, this is a violation of federal law. But the BBC will keep quiet. Just like they’re keeping shtum about the fact that their beloved Obamessiah has sent His minions (Organizing for America) to help rouse the rabbles.

Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.

UPDATE: BBC Changes The Story From Wisconsin, But Censors Even More

UPDATE to my post yesterday about the union protests in Wisconsin. The BBC has dramatically changed the news brief since I wrote the post. They’ve clearly updated it to reflect the Dems going AWOL. I think that part of the story deserves its own report, but never mind. Unfortunately, NewsSniffer has no trace of this report at all, so no hard proof other than the quotes I pulled yesterday.

Changes made: Headline and lead, as they updated it following story developments. This meant the removal of that emotionally charged language from the intro, which is a good thing. They even give quotes from both the Dems and the Governor, providing actual balance for a change. In addition, the sub-editor inserted the following qualifier into the line I highlighted about the misrepresentation of the bill and bargaining rights: “except for matter of salary”. Not perfect, but definitely an improvement, slightly more of a reflection of the reality I provided. At least the union talking points have been mitigated. That was a main component of my complaint.

Unfortunately, the BBC decided to censor the part about the unions going to the Governor’s home and harassing his family. This is not good. It’s the BBC sanitizing the protesters and hiding the truth about behavior from the Left. They also continue to censor the news of the teachers busing in students, the Hitler/Nazi stuff, and the other violent rhetoric. If this had been a Tea Party protest, the only photos provided by the BBC would be of some idiot with a Hitler poster. That double standard is still entrenched in BBC editorial policy.

One step forward, two steps backwards, I guess.

UPDATE to the UPDATE: Click here to see the BBC’s slideshow of the protests in Wisconsin. Not a swastika in sight. Compare and contrast this to their coverage of protests they don’t like, e.g. Tea Party ones. Where’s the BBC mewling about the “anger” here? Instead, it’s all presented as perfectly justifiable concern. All we ever heard from Mark Mardell and his colleagues about the Tea Party was how angry we were, and how we never liked the President anyway. No mention here of how Democrat unions never liked the Republican Governor anyway. Did any Tea Partiers ever try to storm a government building? How many arrests have been made at Tea Party protests across the country? I forget.

UPDATE II: Now the Wisconsin Education Association Council has published the home addresses of state legislators (link to pdf file is directly below the big red Stop sign). Amusingly, the union supporters in the comments on that page are calling the Republicans “fascists”. Hey, BBC: Did any Tea Party protests harass people and their families in their own homes? Was this ever encouraged by any Tea Party groups, BBC? Who’s angry and dangerous, then? What happened to the President’s wonderful words in Tucson about togetherness? He’s not being very bi-partisan or helping cool down the rhetoric now, is He? BBC Narrative failure.

BBC Bias Favors Unions, Even In The US, And Censors News Of Violent Rhetoric

For the last couple of days, there have been major events in Wisconsin involving state government legislation intended to curtail public sector union entitlements in order to save money. Like several other states, Wisconsin faces a deep economic crisis and needs to save money and cut spending any way it can.

The newly installed Republican Governor, Scott Walker, has said that anyone who didn’t see this huge budget crunch coming must have been in a “coma”. He’s recently set forth a new budget plan with big spending cuts, including what gets spent on public sector unions. Needless to say, the unions are livid, and have taken to the streets.

The BBC reports it this way:

Wisconsin public workers protest over anti-union bill

Wisconsin public employees have crowded into the state capitol to protest the government’s plan to curtail their right to collective bargaining.

Teachers, prison guards and others say a Republican-sponsored bill would severely cut into their incomes.

In case anyone might get suspicious about the obvious trade union talking point here – ‘cut into their incomes’ – all doubts are dispelled immediately:

‘Scariest thing ever’

In Madison, the capital city of the mid-western state, the Republican-led legislature on Thursday was set to pass a bill pushed by Republican Governor Scott Walker that has been described by commentators as the most aggressive anti-union law in the nation.

The bill would eliminate most public workers’ collective bargaining rights and dramatically increase the amount they must contribute to their pensions and health insurance coverage.

“This is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” physics teacher Betsy Barnard told the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper of Mr Walker’s bill. “This is going to change Wisconsin forever.”

“Dramatically increase”? Here’s what the BBC doesn’t want you to know about that:

Currently most state employees pay nothing toward their pensions and only a modest amount for their insurance.

Yeah, I suppose having to pay a little something when you’ve been paying zero might seem “dramatic”. But that’s the union perspective the BBC is presenting, and not an objective fact. The use of emotional language here is advocacy behavior and not journalism. And what about the claim that the bill will “eliminate most” bargaining rights?

It’s also a bit of BS:

Walker, remember, is not removing unions’ fundamental power to bargain for wages. He is demanding that state workers put 5.8% of their wages toward retirement and that they cover 12.6% of their health care premiums, which would still have them paying more than $100 less a month than the average schmoe. He is also proposing that elected officials determine the shape of employee benefits without having to bargain them, and this as much as the added cost has unions crying “unfair.”

More reality can be found here:

Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.

Instead of reporting (or, hell, even copying and pasting from the wire service) objectively, the BBC uses the emotional language of union talking propaganda, quite dramatically misrepresenting reality.

Next the BBC reports on the actual protests:

With teachers – and some students – massing in Madison to protest, dozens of schools were shut on Wednesday and Thursday.

Hundreds of protesters spent Wednesday night in the rotunda of the state capitol building.

Police officers stood guard outside Mr Walker’s office as angry protesters stood outside shouting for his recall from office.

How did the students get there? Aren’t they supposed to be in school? Well, no, because the teachers’ union closed schools for the day and bused the students in for the cause (video proof here).

How angry were the protesters, BBC?

Angry workers also surrounded Mr Walker’s family home this week, the New York Times reported.

How did they find out his address? Simple: the unions gave it out and sent their workers to harass the man’s family. They also went to the home of the Republican Speaker of the House in Wisconsin. Yet the BBC wouldn’t dream of frowning at this behavior in the way they did at the Tea Party protests. Quite a contrast. No suggestion of violence or dark forces behind it all.

Police in Madison, Wisconsin, estimated that 20,000 people rallied at the capital on Wednesday.

And that’s it from the BBC. Here’s a video of these heroic people. Guess to whom they’re comparing the Governor of Wisconsin?

In case that’s not enough, there’s this:

How about it, BBC? Any thoughts? You guys were oh, so critical when the odd Tea Party protester had a similar poster about The Obamessiah. What do you say now? Nothing, of course. Moving on…..

But Republicans, who were handed election victories in November in Wisconsin, say they have a mandate to cut government spending.

They say that despite the protests, voters approve of the cuts, which the Republicans say are needed to balance the state budget and avoid job losses.

Oh, those nasty Republicans, eh? Here’s what else the BBC doesn’t want you to know about what’s going in Wisconsin: a bunch of Democrat State Senators have gone AWOL because they don’t want to vote for it. If they voted against it, they’d show up. But they’re trying to boycott the vote instead. BBC: ZZzzzzzzzz

In sum: Biased in favor of the unions, use of emotional language which favors one side, censoring or misrepresenting of facts which harms the unions’ position. Don’t trust the BBC on US issues, or issues involving unions.

Another Thing The BBC Don’t Report

While the BBC look for the Palin connection, at left American magazine Mother Jones, reporter Nick Baumann interviews an old friend of Jared Loughner, Bryce Tierney :

On Sunday, federal prosecutors charged 22-year-old Loughner with one count of attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, two counts of unlawfully killing a federal employee, and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. Giffords was the target of Loughner’s rampage, prosecutors say, and the sworn affidavit accompanying the charges mentions that Loughner attended a Giffords “Congress in Your Corner” event in 2007. The affidavit also mentions that police searching a safe in Loughner’s home found a letter from Giffords’ office thanking the alleged shooter for attending an August 25, 2007 event.

Tierney, who’s also 22, recalls Loughner complaining about a Giffords event he attended during that period. He’s unsure whether it was the same one mentioned in the charges—Loughner “might have gone to some other rallies,” he says—but Tierney notes it was a significant moment for Loughner: “He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question. The question was, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?'”

“He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question.’ Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”

Giffords’ answer, whatever it was, didn’t satisfy Loughner. “He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question,’ and I told him, ‘Dude, no one’s going to answer that,'” Tierney recalls. “Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”

One gets a distinctly Mark Chapman vibe from that. From his Youtube videos we can deduce that Loughner, to put it charitably, is running on a different mental track from most of us. His ramblings about grammar seem like a bastardized version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
– that language and grammar can determine, or at least influence, thought. It was unfortunate for Ms Gifford – and even more so for the six people murdered, including a nine year old girl – that he chose to ask her his unanswerable question – and resented her inability to answer.

Matt Frei’s Partisan Humor

Matt Frei simply cannot help himself. In his latest blogpost, he reveals his political bias when he says this:

I know John Boehner has the Tea Party Taliban breathing down his neck

Ha, ha, very droll. Just one more bit of slander from a BBC employee. I’m sure Helen Boaden is proud.

Not to mention the fact that Frei’s piece is generally a humorous dressing down of the new Speaker of the House. You know, I don’t recall Frei or any other Beeboid doing something even remotely similar about Nancy Pelosi, or, in fact, any Democrat. No, all their “humor” is reserved for Republicans.

And what a surprise – Nancy Pelosi made a snide remark about the size of Boehner’s gavel, just like Frei and BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell. However, Pelosi made her remark on the floor of the House of Representatives, while in session, as she handed over the gavel to him. Pretty crass, yet the BBC’s humor is reserved for the Republican who exhibited far more class than Pelosi or any Beeboid.

While Frei and Mardell and other partisans focused on superficial personal details of the Republican, they missed an opportunity to inform you of the difference between the outgoing Speaker and the new one. Pelosi gave a little speech before she handed the gavel over, and Boehner gave one after receiving it. Both speeches can be viewed in full here.

Pelosi’s speech was full of self-aggrandizement, celebrating herself. Not only that, but she crowed about the Democrats’ recent accomplishments, the very ones which led to her party getting soundly defeated last November, as if she has no connection to reality.

In contrast, Boehner was more humble, more grounded:

“The American people have humbled us. They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them. That includes this gavel, which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker. After all, this is the people’s House. This is their Congress. It’s about them, not us. What they want is a government that is honest, accountable and responsive to their needs. A government that respects individual liberty, honors our heritage, and bows before the public it serves.”

Yet Matt Frei and his colleagues see fit only to ridicule.

As we’ve seen over the last few days, the Beeboids are deathly afraid of the non-Left’s new-found strength. They view Boehner and the Republican majority in the House as a threat to the President. In fact, they’re so afraid that they seem to be exaggerating reality. Frei’s interview with Tom Cole (video at the bottom of his post) is an example. Here’s his description of the interview:

Today, I spoke to Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma about the party’s plans for their new power.

Power? They control the proceedings in one House of Congress, not both, and certainly don’t control the Presidency. They can’t do all that much without actual bi-partisan cooperation. But the Beeboids are afraid.

Naturally, the first words out of Frei’s mouth are about the size of Boehner’s gavel. His line of questioning begins by assuming that the Republicans will be hyper-partisan. Then Frei sneers at Boehner’s humble speech. Rep. Cole, fortunately, corrects Frei every step of the way. Every single question is an attack, and nearly every answer begins with a variation of “No, actually….”

Matt Frei’s partisanship is clear. This is the man who leads the BBC’s nightly news broadcast targeted directly at the US (BBC World News America), and is a main conduit between the license fee payers and news about US issues. I’d say “caveat emptor”, but as you’re forced to pay for the BBC it’s not appropriate.

The US Constitution Makes A Comeback

On Thursday, when the new Congress is seated and begins work, there will be an historic moment, something that hasn’t happened since the founding of United States: the US Constitution will be read out in the House of Representatives. It’s a statement by the newly-elected and Tea Party-influenced Republican majority that they heard the voters and they’re realigning their priorities.

Naturally, the Left is shocked and outraged. Ezra Klein, founder of the notorious but thankfully defunct JournoList (source of the majority of viewpoints on US issues the BBC fed you for the better part of two years), has gone so far as to say that we shouldn’t pay so much attention to the Constitution as it was written over 100 years ago and thus is too “confusing” and so nobody can understand or relate to it anymore. The BBC correspondents assigned to the US will be aware of this, and some of them at least will be aware of its significance. Yet, they haven’t reported it so far. Possibly, they’re waiting until it happens so they can report on the reaction and portray the Republicans as hyper-partisans intent on forcing their ideology on Congress.

The primary reason the Republicans want to have a public reading of the Constitution can be found in this BBC report about ObamaCare:

US healthcare law: Republicans bid to overturn reform

I think we can guess the angle from which the BBC is going to approach this, no?

What remains to be seen is whether this is simply a symbolic flexing of muscles by the Republicans, or whether it sets the tone for two years of party-political acrimony, our correspondent says.

Excuse me? All of a sudden we’re going to have party-political acrimony now that Republicans want to do something? What do you call what’s been going on for the last two years? This is written from the Democrats’ point of view.

With power in Congress divided, Democrats and Republicans must work together if new laws are to be passed.

Naturally. Just like I’ve been saying for some time now, the BBC wants you to think that bi-partisanship is good: when it involves advancing The Obamessiah’s agenda. When it’s something someone else wants, suddenly the Beeboids hold their noses and cast aspersions.

And what do you know, the President Himself wants us all to work together.

On Tuesday Mr Obama appealed to Republican congressional leaders on to put partisan politics aside to rebuild the US economy.

You see, He wants to fix the economy, while the nasty Republicans are willing to destroy it for ideological purposes. Funny how so many in the business world think He’s the one destroying the economy due to ideology. Not that you’d ever hear that viewpoint allowed through over the BBC airwaves or online.

I feel a statement from the White House coming on….

Speaking on board Air Force One as he travelled back to Washington from a holiday in Hawaii, Mr Obama said: “You know, I think that there’s going to be politics. That’s what happens in Washington – that they [Republicans] are going to play to their base for a certain period of time.

“But I’m pretty confident that they’re going to recognise that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering jobs for the American people and that we’re creating a competitive economy for the 21st Century, not just for this generation but for the next one.”

This from the man who responded to the first Republican who objected to one of His ideas by saying, “I won.”

But the BBC doesn’t want you to know that. They’re intent on maintaining this phony impression in your minds that one side has bad intentions while the President is a force for good.

Any evidence of actual reasons the Republicans have given for wanting to repeal ObamaCare? No, all we get is the equivalent of “critics are critical”. All you need to know is that whoever objects is simply on the other side, and of course it’s only natural that they’d object. It’s a slick way of dismissing the opposing viewpoint altogether.

One amusing thing about this BBC article is that they are at last telling the truth about what ObamaCare actually is: a law (or series of laws) forcing citizens to purchase a particular product from government-approved vendors according to government-enforced rules. Okay, they weren’t quite that honest about it:

The US healthcare reform law was approved in March last year, making it compulsory for Americans to buy medical insurance and illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to customers with pre-existing conditions.

You know, it’s funny, but I remember when the BBC was trying to create the impression that ObamaCare was going to provide health care for all those millions of uninsured for whom we were supposed to have sympathy, and not that it was merely a law to make it compulsory to buy it. But anytime the government tries to make any behavior compulsory, people are going to be understandably concerned (What, you mean it was actually about a policy and not just racism? -ed.). The BBC did quietly report about one challenge from the State of Virginia. Which brings me to the point of this post.

The United States is a Republic made of individual States. When the Founding Fathers created this country and wrote the Constitution, each of them viewed their State as their country. There’s an inherent idea of autonomy, and the rights of States and limits of the Federal Government are entrenched in the Constitution. ObamaCare and other Obamessiah and Pelosi/Reid/far-Left policies (such as allowing the EPA to cross over into another branch of government and control things normally left to the Legislative branch) can be considered un-Constitutional.

For quite some time there has been a growing argument about whether or not the Constitution is a “living document”, to be watered down or ignored on a whim whenever the wind of modern culture changes. Of course, those who advocate such a position suddenly get all protective when it’s nasty Republicans wanting to add an Amendment. In fact, that’s exactly what’s happening over the growing noise about a proposed “Federalist” Amendment to give States the power to declare a Federal law un-Constitutional by each of their legislatures voting on it. Giving power back to the States (or, more accurately, allowing the States to exercise the power they had from Day One but which has been leeched away) is a challenge to the supreme executive power, a challenge to the strong man leader so many on the Left wish we had. Perhaps if this comes to pass Matt Frei will once again pine for a bit of Chinese-style autocracy, and folks like Woody Allen will wish the President could be a supreme dictator, if only for a few years.

This is why the Republicans want to have the Constitution read out to start the new session of Congress. It’s much more than a challenge to ObamaCare. It’s a statement of priorities, of respect for the rule of law, and a stand against the Democrats (and a few old-guard Republican leadership) and their attempts to force their most extreme desires on the country against the wishes of the public. In other words, it’s a statement about what they think the Unites States is all about.

I await the BBC’s reporting on the matter, fully aware that this doesn’t help that particular rapport with the US they want to create for you.

WHO HAS FINLO INVITED TO THE TEA PARTY?

Just as another (very late on parade) epilogue to David P.’s superb coverage of the American midterm elections, BBC Online‘s post-U.S. midterm election coverage featured some ‘analysis’ by Finlo Rohrer, one of the BBC’s Washington contingent. It makes for a largely downbeat reading for both Tea Party supporters and Republicans alike. In partial explanation of that I want to concentrate on the article’s use of ‘independent experts’, typical of the BBC.

Four academics are called on to access the Tea Party’s impact.
Read more..

They are introduced like this:

Prof Wendy Schiller, from Brown University.” (She is the chief analyst, and talks of the need for a good-looking, charismatic leader for the Tea Party. She predicts “conflict within the Republican Party.”)

Jill Lepore, American historian, New Yorker writer and author of The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History.” (A quote from her predicting that the Tea Party could easily become hated is used as a block-quote. She also says the Tea Party movement is likely to be disappointed, however much they “loudly shoot down every measure”.)

Kate Zernike, author of Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America.” (She says the Tea Party movement is “looking for pretty quick answers” and criticises their unwillingness to compromise.)

Prof Jay Barth, of Hendrix College.” He comments on the Tea Party’s relationship with the Republican Party, seeing problems particularly for the latter.

Here’s what Finlo Rohrer of the BBC doesn’t tell his readers about his ‘independent experts’:

Prof Schiller, once of the liberal-leaning Brookings Institute, was an assistant to Senator Daniel P. Moynihan (Democrat) and Governor Mario Cuomo (Democrat).

Jill Lepore is deeply hostile to the Tea Party movement, regarding it as “far-right” – as the blurb from her university website reveals:

This book tells the story of the centuries-long struggle over the meaning of the nation’s founding, including the battle waged by the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and evangelical Christians to “take back America.” Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, offers a wry and bemused look at American history according to the far right. Along the way, she provides rare insight into the eighteenth-century struggle for independence–the real one, that is. Lepore traces the roots of the far right’s reactionary history to the bicentennial in the 1970s, when no one could agree on what story a divided nation should tell about its unruly beginnings. Behind the Tea Party’s Revolution, she argues, lies a nostalgic and even heartbreaking yearning for an imagined past–a time less troubled by ambiguity, strife, and uncertainty–a yearning for an America that never was. The Whites of Their Eyes reveals that the far right has embraced a narrative about America’s founding that is not only a fable but is also, finally, a variety of fundamentalism–anti-intellectual, antihistorical, and dangerously antipluralist.

Kate Zernike of the New York Times is a particular ‘favourite’ of this site’s American equivalent Newsbusters, who justifiably highlight “her obsession with rooting out alleged Tea Party racism”. She is one of the American journalists most hostile to the Tea Party. Finlo Rohrer would surely have known that.

As for Finlo’s final ‘independent expert’, Jay Barth “of Hendrix College”, all Finlo needed to do was pop Jay Barth into an internet service provider to find the first entry titled “Democrat Jay Barth for Senate 2010”. Defenders of the indefensible will surely find it hard to account for a BBC reporter failing to mention that his chosen academic wanted to run for Congress in THIS election for the Democrats (in Arkansas) and yet was his choice to be presented as if he were a non-partisan commentator on Tea Party-Republican Party relations.

So, four ‘experts’, all unfriendly to the Tea Party, as anyone with access to the internet could easily discover, and yet all invited to ‘analyse’ the Tea Party for a single BBC article – without any deeply relevant background information being provided.

Finlo Rohrer is clearly a worthy companion-in-bias for every-JournOLister’s friend Katie Connolly, Obama 2008 campaigner Matt Danzico, ex-Guardian Palin-mocker Daniel Nasaw, Iain MacKenzie and all the rest of the impartiality-adverse BBC Washington crew.