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.

Today Is Also a Referendum On the Media.

Today, Nov. 2, the US is holding mid-term elections to choose who is going to represent them in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and selected State capitals. Judging from the wild-eyed Katty Kay in the video DB posted below, it’s also clearly the second-most important election in human history.

The main question on so many people’s minds since even before the BBC dared ask it is: Why are all these people motivated against the President and His Plan For Us?

BBC North America editor Mark Mardell believes that this is going to be a verdict on the President. He coyly poses it as a question, of course, but we all know what he’s thinking as this is the line he and all of his colleagues have been pushing for some time now. As we saw from the President’s audience with St. Jon Stewart, they wonder what more He could have done, why don’t we appreciate what He’s done for us, why the masses don’t understand how He’s already saved us. And of course, why do they hate the black man?

While the President should accept the brunt of the criticism (He may have been anointed elected with a mandate for “Change”, but it was obviously taken too far, and at the wrong time, not to mention the endless string of foreign policy errors), the Tea Party movement is as much a rebellion against Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and the mainstream US media and assorted comedians and Hollywood types as it is against the President Himself.

We’ve all been through the economic arguments of why ObamaCare was the wrong massive debt increase at the wrong time, but Pelosi and Reid were more responsible for it than the President was. Contrary to what the BBC and their fellow travelers keep telling you, there are economists besides JournoLista Paul Krugman or David Blanchflower, and hundreds of them believe that both ObamaCare and all the excessive, debt-increasing spending plans of the Democrats are the wrong policy at the worst possible time. They’re also the ones who are going to let the Bush tax cuts expire at exactly the wrong time. So the Democrat-led Congress is on trial today as well.

Not only that, but the Republican Party is also being served notice today. Everyone talks about how the Tea Party movement is attacking the President and Democrats, but we’ve drawn blood from the Republican establishment first. In Alaska and Florida, for example, the incumbent Republicans lost the nomination when the people got fed up, and have unfortunately chosen to run as spoilers against the Tea Party-backed nominee instead. Many of the vox pops we hear from Tea Parties say that the excessive spending and debt began under Bush, and they’re just as sick of the Republican establishment who went along with it.

But in addition to the President and the political parties, there’s another element against which so many people are rebelling: the media. This includes edgy comedians and Hollywood dopes.
Watch this video and mark how much the statements you hear match what comes out of the mouths of Beeboids. Then you’ll know why we’re so angry, and what we’re really voting against today.

When Bill Maher says that we’re too stupid to be governed, he’s got it backwards. In reality, we’re too smart. If enough of us are, today’s election will reflect that.

IMPARCIALIDADE

Lucas Mendes is a New York based Brazilian journalist who writes a weekly column about US current events for a Brazilian audience. His articles often attack the American Right, and in particular the Tea Party movement (which he really hates). He works for the BBC.

Here are the Google translations, Portuguese to English, of some of his recent columns for BBC Brazil. The translations aren’t perfect, of course, but they’re good enough to give a pretty full flavour of his views, all courtesy of Britain’s “impartial” national broadcaster.

October 28, 2010

October 7, 2010
September 23, 2010

The BBC’s English-speaking US correspondents must be envious of Mendes – BBC Brazil doesn’t bother with even the slightest pretence at balance.

(I don’t quite understand why the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation is employing a Brazilian journalist to provide opinion pieces about America for Brazilian consumption.)

It’s The Policies, Stupid.

Now that we’re approaching the mid-term elections in the US, the BBC has been ramping up the rhetoric against those who don’t approve of the President’s policies. In fact, to hear it from the BBC, it’s not His policies at all, but rather evidence of bad attitudes, inadequacies, and racism among His opponents.

In the last few days, BBC North America editor Mark Mardell has told us that it’s not the President’s fault at all, because the unwashed simply can’t relate to His intellectual behavior. When critics say He’s aloof and people don’t feel like He hears them, it’s not that His policies and statements clearly go against what most of the public wants and believes, but that He just hasn’t communicated the message in a dumbed-down enough fashion for the masses to understand.

Mardell has made other posts highlighting the “anger” of people dissatisfied with the current Government’s policies, as has Katie Connolly, which is an easy trick to disqualify those voices from the start. When someone is presented as angry, that context automatically reduces their credibility. The thing is, it was okay for people in the US to be angry when Bush was in charge; the BBC never looked for nefarious forces underlying that anger. Yet they do spend an extraordinary amount of effort trying to make it seem to their audience as if racism and extremism are the only things which would compel someone to oppose the President. It’s never because of His and the Democrat leadership’s policies. It’s just “the economy”, which is of course not His fault as it was inherited from George Bush. Does that sound familiar?

This Narrative is spread across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting, from BBC World News America to Newsnight to HardTalk to The Culture Show (h/t Oliver on the Open Thread).

Of course, it’s only natural that the BBC would take this position, because they can’t understand why anyone would oppose anything He and the Democrats have done. Even Matt Frei is concerned that the Coalition Government in Britain is taking a “gamble” with these austerity measures, as opposed to the spending and debt-increasing policies of the US President.

The problem is that the BBC has focused almost entirely on the vox pops angle. Mardell and other Beeboids have been traveling around the country talking to various people about their personal feelings. The only other views presented are from Washington Post or Time elite (JournoList) media figures, who, unsurprisingly, support the BBC’s Narrative.

So I believe it’s important to inform people about something the BBC has almost completely ignored: the policies themselves.

I’m sure everyone will remember just how much time and effort the BBC spent promoting ObamaCare (called “Health Care Reform” by the White House and the BBC). Can anyone recall the BBC spending so much time on the domestic policy of a foreign country? Yet, now that many of the predictions of its opponents (including myself) are coming true, there’s total silence from the BBC. It was the announcement of the ObamaCare plan which lit the fire under the Tea Party movement well over a year ago, which was played down as racism, even though the same people were opposed to it back when it was called HillaryCare. Was it racism when Clinton was President?

At the time, many of us knew that this wouldn’t work as advertised, and that it would harm the economy. We’re seeing that now. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office even says that ObamaCare “discourages work” because it gives people an incentive to stay unemployed. Does that sound familiar?

ObamaCare is about to hit small businesses with higher costs over health care, so much so that at least one business owner is opting to give all his employees a raise of $3000 pa ($250 a month) instead of taking a bath, because the Affordable Care Act supporters promised us that private insurance was going to be “affordable” at last. Principle Financial, one of the country’s largest providers, is getting out of the business altogether because of costs. Are they racists? That was one of the primary talking points of ObamaCare, about which the BBC spared no effort in reminding you.

Unfortunately, it has actually increased costs already. The BBC chose to censor that news. Is
one of the top health care organizations in the country now run by racists? There’s also the question of whether or not it violates the Constitution by forcing people to purchase a product from specific, government-approved vendors, health insurance in this case. Several states are challenging the law, including Florida. Are they all racists?

And it’s not just ObamaCare. Other things the President has said and done have caused harm, and the citizens have taken notice. For example, just a couple weeks after He was inaugurated, the President scolded companies for having conventions in Las Vegas, and told them not to go there. Earlier this year, he made a similar scolding comment about how it was wrong to go to Vegas when people ought to be paying their bills instead. It’s no surprise that these careless statements have compounded the pressures of a struggling economy on the city, as well as the state of Nevada. Unemployment is over 15%, and the people are not happy. Senator Harry Reid, one of ObamaCare’s chief architects (the President had little input Himself: it was created by Congress and “experts”) is fighting against a newcomer to keep his seat because of it. Is Nevada racist now? In 2008 they weren’t, 55% – 43%.

The other chief architect of ObamaCare, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, is also getting hit. Even Democrats are making campaign ads positioning themselves against her and her policies. Are all these Democrats racist now? Do they not blame the current Administration’s policies for harming the economy and damaging our future?

People are calling for reform and reining in government spending everywhere. Even in New York where, while writing this, I got a robo-call featuring former New York City mayor Ed Koch – a lifelong Democrat – telling me to vote for someone who has signed on to the New York Uprising Reform pledge. The call was paid for by the Republican Party, but if Ed Koch is in on it, things must be bad. He supported The Obamessiah during the election, and called Sarah Palin “scary”. How much more BBC-approved can you get? Is Ed Koch a racist now? Are we all racists now? Or is it about the actual policies?

The BBC wants you to think it’s the former, and not the latter, because they are ideologically biased in favor of His policies, and cannot accept that His Administration has made poor decisions, so they color their reporting accordingly.

Impartiality Gene?

BBC editors were clearly concerned that their coverage of Christine O’Donnell’s youthful activities wasn’t getting the traffic they hoped, and so for much of yesterday and this morning this was the main news story on the BBC.co.uk front page (h/t Cassandra):


The carefully chosen “cackling” photo is a nice touch, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, yesterday evening this story appeared on the BBC’s website:

Eight people, including the mayor and ex-city manager, have been arrested after a probe into excessive local government pay in Bell, California.

There was outrage earlier this summer after it was revealed that the city manager was being paid almost $800,000 (£500,000).

The others arrested were former and current council members.

The investigation has looked into allegations of voter fraud, corruption, and misuse of public funds.

Nowhere in the article does it mention any party affiliation of the elected officials involved. No prizes for guessing why. (Read More…)

In July the Orange County Register apologised to its readers when it too had failed to identify the party ties of those in the scandal:

In the wake of the Bell salary scandal, our readers noticed one part of the story has been left out by virtually all media sources, including our related editorials and columns: the political party affiliations of the five city council members who not only failed to protect city coffers, but participated in what amounts to shameless, if apparently legal, self-dealing.

All five council members are members of the Democratic Party.

In its defence the Register claimed that Bell voters are represented only by Democrats “in every level of government” but conceded that wasn’t a good enough excuse for ignoring the fact. A local paper thinks it’s wrong not to mention that these were Democrats, but for some reason the BBC – with its worldwide audience unaware of the local political scene – thinks differently.

Would the Beeb have neglected to point out Republican Party membership in similar circumstances? Of course not – it would have been the main thrust of the story. But with Democrats involved we have to adopt Pravda-reading strategies to figure out the full picture.

And I haven’t seen anything about this on the BBC yet either:

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, sources said the fund-raiser has told federal authorities.

Nothing to see here, move along, might deal with it after the midterms.

I think the BBC needs a bigger gene pool. Better yet, a disinfectant.

NAUGHTIE MEETS THE TEA PARTY

So, James Naughtie goes to the States to investigate the Tea Party. Here’s the interview. Did you think it fair and balanced? You can see why the BBC views this grass-roots organisation with such hatred, it is the antithesis of everything it believes in. Imagine – someone coming out to damn Socialism! Nice touch at the end – a little banjo music. Oh to be an Islington sophisticate.