Delingpole Gets It

Hacking into voicemails is not so different from scrabbling around in dustbins searching for something to whip up into a scandal; well, perhaps one step further. The press may well be reflecting our appetite for tittle-tattle, but they created it in the first place and exploited it cynically and self-servingly ever since. Hacking into Milly Dowler’s voicemail when they knew she had probably been murdered, or interfering with serious police investigations was undoubtedly a step too far, but don’t let them pretend that the steps leading up to the extreme, grotesque intrusion we have now weren’t leading in exactly the same direction all along.

I’m sure this whole business is getting on everyone’s nerves. We’re all fed up with watching hacks, celebrities and broadcasters precariously balancing on their moral high horses. They’re blinded by the sanctimonious superiority they’ve suddenly adopted, so they don’t understand that their self-appointed mandate to moralise on behalf of the ‘victims’ makes you want to punch them in the face.
As soon as the media filters the news through its intrinsic limitations, in terms of education and attitude, there’s a danger of distortion, be it deliberate or not. So we need choice. If the BBC is campaigning for its own monopoly, that’s very wrong.

James Delingpole (H/T George R, thread on similar topic, below) sums it all up really well.

The BBC is at Least a Thousand Times More Evil and Dangerous than Rupert Murdoch

“And of course, the house leftists at the BBC (most of them recruited through the pages of the left-wing Guardian newspaper, which BBC employees tend to believe is also the ONLY newspaper) want to keep it that way. That’s why they have been pushing the “scandalous” Murdoch revelations so hard; that’s why Labour leader Ed Miliband and Tony Blair’s ex-enforcer Alastair Campbell and socialist ex-Prime-Minister Gordon Brown and the pathologically left-wing Twittersphere and, yes, the Guardian newspaper have been so eager to join in the fray. Sure they hate Murdoch, that’s a given. But what they hate far, far more – because they fear it – is the possibility that British audiences should be exposed as US audiences are to dangerously conservative concepts like freedom and small government.”

Please do read it all.

Those Oh So Sensitive BBC Editors…..

It’s a tough job, trundling through BBC’s Editors Blog (did Goebbels have something similar at his Propaganda Ministry?) but two items are worthy of note.

Firstly a tear stained piece from Jeremy Hillman, editor of the BBC News business and economics unit. Jeremy was soooooo upset about George Osborne suggesting

the BBC’s approach to reporting the economy was relentlessly to focus on the bad news and the most gloomy statistics.

Hillman went on to produce a fistful of examples in an attempt to derail Osborne’s case, par for the course for any BBC suit when faced with accusations of bias. Then he sits back smugly thinking he has proved his point.

Actually Sarah Montague, despite Hillman’s spin about consciously downplaying Padoan, did indeed home in on the Padoan remarks so obviously she didn’t get the memo.

But we all know what Osborne was really getting at – not that they ignored positive items about the economy from third parties but the whole question of tone and emphasis which is why he used the word “relentlessly”. Ever since the Coalition took office the BBC’s overarching leitmotif has been CUTS rather than savings and one only has to watch any QT audience to see how successful that campaign has been.

However the good news is that Osborne’s comment touched a nerve. I guess that this issue has been raised at several North London dinner parties recently because Hillman and his pals realise that Charter Renewal is beginning to appear on the horizon and they cannot afford to upset a senior cabinet figure. Let’s hope that other government big cheeses start getting under sensitive BBC skins on a regular basis.

Then this abject apology re the Israeli Dog Stoning story from Nathalie Malinarich, world editor of the BBC News website

We failed to make the right checks. We should never have written the article and apologise for any offence caused.

Don’t worry, luv – we know why you failed to make the right checks…..while you were all busy filling in your expenses forms a breathless young graduate trainee rushed in and blurted out “those crazy religious bigoted Jews – as well as murdering helpless innocent Palestinians they are now going after helpless dogs…”

It fitted into the BBC’s anti Israeli narrative so perfectly you just couldn’t resist it…c’mon, Nathalie…is the Pope catholic? Those Jews aren’t they evil?

The Dishonesty And Political Advocacy Of Justin Webb

The latest BBC article about the US economic situation is by that well-known economics and business expert, Justin Webb. Yes, he went to the LSE, so must surely be qualified to prescribe a cure for what ails the US.

But first, his dishonesty:

I should make it clear that my reporting of the United States, in the years I was based there for the BBC, was governed by a sense that too much foreign media coverage of America is negative and jaundiced.

Too much foreign media coverage, eh, Justin? You mean like this?

America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge.
I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture, and that picture is in many respects a true one.

Who said that? Justin Webb in a ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ piece for the BBC. So who said this:

Some Tea Party folk hate Obama, but the movement is a symptom of something much deeper and more worrying for all Americans: they kinda hate themselves.

Justin Webb, in the Mirror (h/t David Vance of this parish). That was back when Webb and the BBC were pushing the lie that the mass murderer who attempted to kill Rep. Giffords in Tucson was a right-winger whose actions were inspired by the Tea Party.

And then there’s this gem:

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to ‘correct’, it in his reports. Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it ‘no moral weight’.

Foreign media, indeed.

Now on to the main point, ol’ Justin’s political advocacy masquerading as expert analysis.

This is a story of debt, delusion and – potentially – disaster. For America and, if you happen to think that American influence is broadly a good thing, for the world.

The debt and the delusion are both all-American: $14 trillion (£8.75tn) of debt has been amassed and there is no cogent plan to reduce it.

Denial? No cogent plan? He’s talking about the Democrats, most especially the President, who initially refused to cut any spending at all. Only that’s not what ol’ Justin wants you think. No, so long as he can convince you that it’s a bi-partisan denial, he can get away with the dishonesty.

In fact, Paul Ryan has had a cogent plan out for a while now. It’s only that Justin doesn’t like it because his personal political beliefs lead him elsewhere. To claim that nobody has one is simply a lie.

Webb’s first expert source is Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia’s Earth Institute. Even without guessing the political leanings of an organization with such a name, we can figure it out because Sachs himself says that Keynes was the “greatest political economist of the 20th century”. How convenient that it matches up with Webb’s LSE schooling.

Sachs says that the debt simply must be brought under control. Seriously, that’s it. No cogent plans offered. It’s as if Webb thinks that many people don’t realize this and need experts to tell us. What the hell does he think the Tea Party movement has been about? Oh, that’s right, I forgot: racism.

Next expert up is someone whom Webb describes only as an “author and economist”, Diane Coyle. What ol’ Justin doesn’t want you to know is that she’s also the Vice Chair of the BBC Trust and is married to BBC technology maven Rory Cellan-Jones (who was it here that coined the phrase “incest interview”?). Sure, she was an adviser to the Treasury during Thatcher’s Government, but did mostly foreign policy analyses and predictions, so not much of a Conservative. Her own website shows her involvement in Left-leaning philosophies. Her new book, “The Economics of Enough”, is all about countries living above their means and how over-spending and too much entitlement expense is not a good recipe for a secure future. Obviously ol’ Justin knows all about her book and its viewpoint, or he wouldn’t have brought her into the discussion. Coyle also offers no answers, only an explanation of one part of the problem and an emphasis that it’s really, really scary. Again, nothing new here, nothing added to the discussion of what to do, and certainly no proof that we’re all in denial, as Webb claims.

The third expert voice is just someone from the Council on Foreign Relations quoted to reinforce Webb’s contention that what happens to the US affects the whole world. Again, this assumes that the reader has no idea and Webb thinks you need an expert opinion to convince you that he’s right. Talk about underestimating the intelligence of the audience.

The only person identified by his political association is….wait for it….Republican David Frum. He’s a favorite of the BBC because he has shifted Leftwards and criticized George Bush. Webb quotes him as an example of stupid Republicans (read: Tea Party denialists and other enemies of the President) who are in denial of the problem.

This is, of course, a lie. Everyone knows there is a problem, which is why there’s such a huge budget battle on Capitol Hill right now. Who does Webb think he’s kidding here? Frum, in fact, is the only one of the voices Webb brings in who actually offers some kind of solution. Only he doesn’t like it, so dismisses it as denial. If there’s a simple solution, it must be no good because the problem is so complex and horrible. According to Justin, anyway.

So what’s this all about? A bit of scare-mongering. But before Webb gives us the answer, he first has a little attack on Alaska. What he says about the state being over-subsidized is true, even if Sarah Palin never existed, so I won’t say he’s focusing on Alaska only as a dig at her. What he is doing, though, is trying to use Alaska as a cudgel with which to beat the non-Left citizens and politicians of the US. He calls us hypocrites because Alaska exists as it does, and is mostly politically conservative. This is not a logical argument, but that’s what he’s saying. At no point does Webb show a Republican or Tea Party voice saying that we must keep federal subsidies at all cost while cutting spending on the poor. It’s just something he made up. Oh, and of course because he can’t resist it, he gets in a little ad hominem at the Tea Party:

The Tea Party movement talks of cuts in spending but when it comes to it, Americans always seem to be talking about cuts in spending that affect someone else, not them – and taxes that are levied on others too.

Yet another lie. The Tea Party movement is made up of people from all walks of life (except public sector unions and far-Left ideologues), many of whom will be affected by spending cuts no matter what Webb claims. He’s really parroting the union talking points you’ve been hearing from Bob Crow and Ed Miliband. No surprise, really.

Finally, ol’ Justin’s solution: more taxes, especially on the rich. He says that it’s Sach’s view the politicians are too scared to raise taxes because the evil rich don’t like it.

America’s two main political parties are so desperate to raise money for the nation’s constant elections – remember the House of Representatives is elected every two years – that they can do nothing that upsets wealthy people and wealthy companies.

So they cannot touch taxes.

Actually, they can: they can cut them. But that’s not part of ol’ Justin’s agenda here. So he closes with a little more dishonesty.

In all honesty, I am torn about the conclusions to be drawn. I find it difficult to believe that a nation historically so nimble and clever and open could succumb to disaster in this way.

Yeah, right. He has an opinion, which is why he’s trying to push the lie that nobody has a budget plan. The Democrats don’t have one that will fix the deficit, but the Republicans do. He just doesn’t like it so wants you to think nobody has one.

But America, as well as being a place of hard work and ingenuity, is also no stranger to eating competitions in which gluttony is celebrated, and wilful ignorance, for instance regarding (as many Americans do) evolution as controversial.

Ah, yes, the classic Justin Webb attack on the religious beliefs of non-Muslims. Except one’s views on evolution have nothing whatsoever to do with economics. It’s just something ol’ Justin threw in to belittle us, a non sequitur, as if he thinks one negative plus another negative equals more negatives, and that’s all there is to proving a point.

The debt crisis is a fascinating crisis because it is about so much more than money. It is a test of a culture.

Yes it is. But I don’t think it’s what Justin wants it to be. But his last line reveals his ignorance in a major way, and pretty much discredits his entire missive.

It is about waking up, as the Americans say, and smelling the coffee. And – I am thinking Texas here – saddling up too, and riding out with purpose.

Careful, Justin, you might just get what you wish for. Texas, you see, is the one state where they’re adding jobs and the economy is growing. In fact, 45% of jobs created in the last two years (i.e. during The Obamessiah Administration) have been in Texas. Because they’re doing it from a low-tax, help business, clean out draconian regulation, fiscally conservative position. Oops.

I think ol’ Justin has no idea about this at all, and was just trying to sound folksy, using an Americanism to add authenticity to his viewpoint. Fail.

HELLO!

Hi folks! Just to let you know I am back from holidays, suitably refreshed and ready for battle (Oops, is that the wrong sort of language to use, oh well…)

Managed to completely avoid the BBC during the past week or so and that was a small but merciful relief. That said, I did watch Sky 24hr News which was almost as bad as the BBC. It carries the same smug left of centre analysis of that typifies the BBC – and was cloying about Michele Obama’s recent electioneering pilgrimage to meet Saint Nelson in South Africa. Lord knows what the BBC coverage was like but I found Sky presenters lost all objectivity on the issue, hailing her as some sort of modern icon and role-model.

Of course the BIG difference is that I have a choice when it comes to Sky. I can choose not to pay for it. Alas the Biased BBC offers me no such freedom, demanding that I pay for the bias it churns out with such monotonous regularity.

The point of this blog is not just exposing the hypocritical unprofessional bias that pervades the State Broadcaster – though that is in itself a very useful service. We also exist to help raise awareness that it is WRONG to have a State Broadcaster extort cash from us in order that it can propagandise in ways that many of believe to be utterly wrong. Bias is not the only problem, making us fund it is even worse.

Ignorant US People Astonish Katty Kay

Check out Katty Kay – taking over for Matt Frei as alpha Beeboid at BBC World News America since he left for Channel 4 – telling Mayor Bloomberg of New York that she is “astonished” to learn that more and more people in the US are turning away from Warmism.

“What is it with the American public opinion that seems to fly in the face of all the scientific evidence?”

Calm down, dear. Substitute any other political issue and the Beeboids are usually equally astonished by American public opinion. But never mind.

First of all, it’s not that the people don’t believe the climate changes. That’s BS Number One from the Warmists. Of course the climate changes; we all know that and it’s not in dispute. The question is whether or not it’s caused mostly by human activity. The science on that is being debated all the time, yet the BBC acts as if it’s not, and only whackos don’t get it.

The reason I call this BS #1 is that the very euphemism the Warmists have forced into the discussion – “Climate Change” – is disingenuous. What they all really mean is Anthropogenic Global Warming. The “science” of AGW, invented by people whose careers and fortune depend on it becoming fact, is what Katty is talking about, and not about whether or not the earth’s climate changes or was in a warming trend for a while. But because the Warmists have already won the argument – if you’re using their terminology, they’ve already won the argument, even if you’re still talking – Katty and the BBC can get away with saying that people like me don’t believe in “Global Warming” when in fact it’s that we don’t believe that building one more clean coal plant will sink the Maldives. The recent record cold temperatures around the US probably don’t help. But that’s only weather, yeah.

The reason they switched terms is because “Global Warming” can mean all things to all people. There is no cause or effect implied. Yet we know the BBC and all Warmists believe the cause is human activity, as the topic of this discussion between Kay and Bloomberg proves. As the term itself is dishonest, this BBC segment is dishonest and Katty and Mayor Mikey are dishonest for using the term.

Mayor Bloomberg, of course, is a committed Warmist and an über-Nanny Statist. Don’t even get me started on the behavior he’s banned against the wishes of New Yorkers. Hell, even the fact that he’s mayor right now is undemocratic, because he went against the voters – and his own promise – and twisted enough arms to change the term limit rules so he could buy a third election run for mayor a third time (and I speak as someone who happily voted for him the first time, knowing full well that he was a RINO Nanny). So this guy is the perfect example of an elite ruling class forcing his own personal wishes on a helpless public. No wonder the BBC wanted to talk to him. As soon as Bloomberg says “reduce consumption”, you know where he and the BBC stand. All your personal freedoms are belong to us.

I’m not going to bother getting into more details of Katty’s interview with the mayor, because it’s beyond the point. The BBC – as admitted by Jeremy Paxman in the sidebar – long ago took sides in the debate, and actively works to pursue a specific political agenda. Carbon emission regulations, coal plant permits, government subsidy/investment in various technologies, and the regulations for the entire automotive industry are all political issues. Even if we’re talking about seat belts in cars or helmets for motorcycles, creating a law about any of it is a political issue. No matter which side one is on, it’s done in the legislature by – in theory – democratically elected representatives, and these laws can be changed or repealed entirely by the next batch of democratically elected representatives if that’s what the voters want.

It doesn’t matter which side of the Warmism debate one is on. Legislation is political, full stop. The BBC always takes sides in this specific political issue, and deliberately chooses disingenuous language to support it. And as seen here, they do political advocacy posing as news and information.

Israel In The Crosshairs Of The BBC

There’s plenty of other stuff on this blog about the BBC’s unbalanced bias against Israel after the President’s speech yesterday, but here’s one glaring example of their entrenched anti-Israel attitude.

This article about Netanyahu’s visit to the US and audience with the President includes an analysis inset from Wyre Davies, in which he sneers at the Israeli PM and at what he perceives to be trained seals in Congress, as well as at the nasty old Jewish Lobby. Surely there is a less snarky – less editorializing and impartial – way to describe the situation? In the middle of the article itself, though, the News Online sub-editor slips in this other bit of Davies’ wisdom:

Israel’s claim to being the only democratic state in the region has also been undermined by the dramatic developments of the “Arab Spring” anti-government uprisings, our correspondent adds.

Let’s consider the twisted logic here. Davies – approved by the BBC – is saying that protests against Arab dictators have (Davies uses the past tense, and so will I) already undermined Israel’s claim to being the only democracy in the village. In other words, according to the BBC protesting against dictators diminishes the democratic position of the only non-dictatorship.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this Narrative from a Beeboid. Kevin Connolly, having departed his former post as US correspondent where he insulted thousands of people on air with a sexual innuendo to become a newly-minted Middle East correspondent, said the exact same thing two weeks ago.

Now if, in a few months’ time or so, an Arab/Muslim country actually achieved a state of democracy as a result of all these Arab Spring protests (which would be great and fine with me, regardless of the resulting government’s attitude towards Israel or the US), then there would be some validity to the BBC’s position. At this time, though, there is no such thing. In fact, the protests highlight the very fact the BBC says is undermined by them. But since BBC groupthink is that Israel is the worst of the bunch and the root cause of all strife in the Middle East (even as the President tells them to cut the crap), they see it exactly backwards.

The anti-Israel sentiment entrenched at the BBC twists their vision into seeing black as white. Protests against dictators undermine the idea that Israel is the only non-dictatorship in the region? Only in the minds of Beeboids. Sadly, it’s a set Narrative, clearly prepared in advance, with the latest opportunity seized with gusto. They want Israel to be undermined, to be diminished, to be delegitimized, and see it happening even where it’s the exact opposite.

Bin Laden’s Death: Illegal Assassination or Legitimate Target? Depends On Who’s President…..

Have Your Say, 2001:

Can state assassinations be justified?

US President George Bush has told the CIA to find and destroy Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.

The president has given the agency the green light to do “whatever is necessary” – which could include an assassination attempt – and has given it £700 million in funding to carry out the mission.

The operation will include the CIA working with commandos and other military units to act immediately on intelligence uncovered by American spies about enemy targets.

Should the CIA have been given the go ahead to assassinate Bin Laden? Can such actions ever be justified?

Have Your Say, 2011:

Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden dead: Your reaction

BBC News website readers in Pakistan and Afghanistan have been sharing their views on the death of al-Qaeda’s founder and leader, Osama Bin Laden.

Osama Bin Laden evaded the forces of the US and its allies for almost a decade, despite a $25m bounty on his head.

Enough said.

UPDATE May 3: Der Spiegel asks the question the BBC has curiously stopped asking:

Was Bin Laden’s Killing Legal?

BBC Censorship: Spot The Missing President Edition

One today’s ‘B’ stories is about all the Gulf Coast fisherman complaining that BP isn’t dealing fairly with them, isn’t paying enough compensation, won’t let them into meetings for a negotiation. Nasty old BP, oil destroys communities, etc. There’s also a round of Spot The Missing Word.

The News Channel just let a Louisiana oysterman have a three-minute rant about how evil BP is. Beeboid Emma let him go on uninterrupted, and only after he was finished did she close with one sentence about how BP created a $20 billion fund for this.
Did you spot the missing word?

The Obamessiah made this deal with BP behind closed doors. There is no room for the fishermen to negotiate, or increase the money of the fund, or anything else. Unsurprisingly, He was the top recipient of campaign cash from BP.

The BBC doesn’t want you to know any of that, and has censored all mention of His involvement from all reports today about this issue.

Significant Strands of Opinion

In his new online magazine The Commentator, Robin Shepherd writes about the BBC in the light of the recent observations about the BBC by Michael Buerk and Peter Sissons. He concludes:

“Three possible strategies come to mind: work to reform it; work around it by pressing for a freeing up of the regulatory environment so that a robust competitor can be established in the private sector; or work to abolish it.”

The first has been tried. That is no reason not to try again. But the rot runs so deep that we may have to face the prospect that the BBC is simply unreformable.”

I’m not certain who has tried to reform the BBC. I understand it has been tinkered with from time to time; a new appointee here and there, a few MPs have grumbled. Then there’s this website as well as frequent references on other websites where the BBC’s bias is taken as read. (Or should that be red.) But this hardly constitute a *strategy*.

The second is a good idea regardless of what the BBC does. In an open society it is deplorable that the state should dictate who can say what in the public domain. The airwaves should be free.

Whatever regulatory restrictions there are that prevent robust competition, the BBC will always have the upper hand, as the residual effect of its reputation for excellence and impartiality still lingers in the public’s perception, despite its own suicidal efforts to squander the lot.
Look at the way everyone sneers at Fox Sky CNN etc. The only one they praise is Al-Jazeera.

“Looking to the long term, the third (Working to abolish it)
is a less remote possibility than it might currently appear. While today’s political establishment is largely supportive of the BBC, there are significant strands of opinion taking shape within it that have grave misgivings about the way things have been going.”

We are ‘a strand with grave misgivings’, but so what? Where’s the motivation for a parliamentary decision to scrap the licence fee, or whatever it would take? Politicians and the BBC need each other, so MPs are hardly likely to be so radical.

I must say I regret the disappearance of the BBC spokespersons who used to engage with us here on B-BBC. One of them implied that doing so was frowned upon by the powers that be, so a fatwa of some sort might have been decreed. On the other hand, they might have dismissed us as a bunch of right-wing mouth-frothers unworthy of whatever credibility any of their precious attention might bestow upon us.
People complain that we don’t want unbias, only our kind of bias. As has been noted, true impartiality is strictly for inanimate objects. There is one kind of bias that we should embrace, bias towards ’good’ and against ‘bad.’ We certainly differ over what constitutes good and bad, but meddling with omissions, emotive language, selectivity and disproportionate emphases in news reporting is irresponsible and dangerous.

Finally, I saw some comments on Guido’s blog, and I’ve seen similar here too, to the effect that some people don’t see why they should care about the Middle East. About The Commentator:

“Israel, arentcha sick of hearing about it? It’s alright in small doses to keep informed about what’s going on, but it’s tedious having it front and centre on a new centre right site. Boring.”

and:

“ The reast of the world would be happy if the whole bloody middle-east were just to fuck off and die, quietly please.”

People boast about their own ignorance when they haven’t got the brains to see that they should be ashamed of it. We can’t all be interested in everything, I know, and it takes all sorts etc., and no doubt such people have opinions about something or other, otherwise they wouldn’t bother to comment on a blog. But I wonder what has made them think that displaying perverse bravado is a good idea, rather than a gigantic embarrassment.

The BBC And The Thoroughly "Moderate" Muslim Brotherhood

I’m sure everyone here will remember the BBC’s official position during the Egyptian democracy protests, before Mubarak (to his eternal credit, in my view) stepped down, which was that the Muslim Brotherhood is, in fact, “moderate”. Frank Gardener was on air several times saying that the group was “moderate”, and Jeremy Bowen even wrote online that the group was both “conservative” and “moderate”, until he got caught and stealth-edited out the “moderate” bit. (I saw the original myself, and made a comment here at the time, but unfortunately did not take a screen shot.)

A reminder of the BBC’s Narrative on the Muslim Brotherhood:

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood promotes moderate path

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood launches ‘Islamic Facebook’

Egypt’s opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has launched its own Facebook-style social networking site.

A senior member of the banned Islamist group says the aim is to spread awareness of moderate Islamic values.

Website takes on Muslim Brotherhood critics

Exposing hatred

Through the Ikhwanophobia website, the Brotherhood’s sympathisers aggressively attempt to refute criticisms of the group and to show the world what they consider to be “the true face of moderate Islamists”.

Competing Muslim Brotherhood visions for Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood is vying to become an official party in post-Mubarak Egypt. The conservative Islamist views of some of the group’s members scare many in Egypt and the West, but, as Tim Whewell has been finding out, many members, particularly young activists, are much more moderate.

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that the BBC is not mentioning the Muslim Brotherhood or fundamentalist Islam or their influence on the military in things which detract from the Narrative. I didn’t notice the MB complaining about the following incident. I thought they were advocates of freedom and democracy. Or does the BBC consider this kind of thing to be “moderate”, too?

Egyptian women protesters forced to take ‘virginity tests’

A leading rights group says the Egyptian army arrested, tortured and forced women to take “virginity tests” during protests earlier this month.

Notice that, while the Egyptian Army has been known during the Mubarak regime to crack down on anti-Government agitators, this is entirely different. The BBC, naturally, is placing blame exclusively on the army, and pointing out problems in the past to spin it away, nothing to do with the new changes in attitude. Granted, the sub-editor is essentially copying and pasting from Amnesty’s own website, but that’s no excuse. It’s not Amnesty’s job to inform people about the larger context, but it is – in theory – the BBC’s.

This happened after Mubarak stepped down, not before. It’s a different type of crackdown entirely. Making sure that protesters are virgins is not the same thing as cracking down on protests. This didn’t happen during the anti-Mubarak protests, but only after Egypt’s top brass asked a member of the Muslim Brotherhood to rewrite the country’s laws on personal freedom. Or does the BBC think this is “moderate” behavior as well?

Hey, BBC:

Compare and Contrast: BBC Obamessiah/Libya Edition

Compare this report from Fox News:

U.S. Launches Cruise Missiles Against Qaddafi’s Air Defenses

The U.S. Navy fires the first U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles against Libyan leader’s Muammar al-Qaddafi’s air defenses Saturday, a military source tells Fox News.

The U.S. military strikes clear the way for European and other planes to enforce a no-fly zone designed to ground Qaddafi’s air force and cripple his ability to inflict further violence on rebels, U.S. officials said.

Sounds like the US fired first right? But skip a paragraph about Hillary Clinton attending some meeting about this and we get this:

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive military operations, said the Obama administration intended to limit its involvement — at least in the initial stages — to helping protect French and other air missions.

French fighter jets fired the first shots at Qaddafi’s troops on Saturday, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat. The French military says warplanes have carried out four air strikes, destroying several armored vehicles of pro-Qaddafi forces, according to AFP.

So those damn Froggy warmongers (always spoiling for a fight, right?) drew first blood, and the US was close behind. What a difference from when Chirac wouldn’t even let us fly over French airspace to go after Sadaam.

In any case, contrast it with this report from the BBC:

French military jet opens fire in Libya

A French plane has fired the first shots in Libya as enforcement of the UN-mandated no-fly zone begins.

The UK prime minister later confirmed British planes were also in action, while US media reports said the US had fired its first Cruise missiles.

So who took the first shot? The stringent US media says – natch – the US fired first. Of course, they would say that, as Mark Mardell’s reporting would give us the idea that only all those foolish United Statesian warmongers obsessed with the notion of American decline would demand it. Unapologetically leading the charge and all that, yeah.

In any case, I can’t recall any criticism aired by the BBC from French anti-war voices. Is it not ill-advised when the French do it? Was there a segment with their equivalent of Caroline Lucas saying, “Pas de guerre pour l’oeil“?

After a few paragraphs about how the French are going over with no fewer than 20 aircraft, guns blazing, the BBC allows this:

Other air forces and navies are expected to join the French.

“Other air forces”. As if we couldn’t guess immediately which other ones are involved, and it’s not so important who they are. Except of course it’s vitally important for the BBC Narrative who they are.

The US would use its “unique capabilities” to reinforce the no-fly zone, said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warning that further delays would put more civilians at risk. However, Mrs Clinton said again that the US would not deploy ground troops in Libya.

The BBC News Online editors are just playing games here.

The Prime Minister also said yesterday that nobody was going to occupy anybody, essentially no troops on the ground, full stop, occupation is “not going to happen”. It was aired at least twice on the News Channel yesterday. No mention of that at all here, even though it’s more relevant to the license fee payer who might be concerned about, you know, their own government. But the BBC’s focus is exclusively on protecting the US President here. He’s not George Bush, dammit.

Fox News, naturally, is focused on the US angle, and how the US is leading the way. On one level, this would seem to please those whom Mardell describes as being “obsessed” with the notion of American decline. The US is actually – laudably, to hear the BBC tell it – taking a back seat. Or, as Mardell would have it, “leading from behind”. This is obviously a definition of “leading” of which I wasn’t previously aware.

So, if the hated Fox News is clearly reporting from a pro-US, right-wing bias, a news organization which reports from the exact opposite perspective – not just different, but opposite, mind – must by definition be Left wing. I’m not talking about which report one agrees with: I’m talking about the angles and perspectives involved.

All of the BBC’s reporting from now on for this war for oil….no, sorry, UN-backed war for human rights, is slanted toward this angle. Just remember the Narrative that the US taking a back seat and following along is considered “leading from behind”. No problem, no bias, right, BBC?

UPDATE: While the Secretary of State is in Paris leading the US operations in Libya, the President Himself is sucking up to Brazil and waving at us from afar. Leading from behind, indeed. I assume Mark Mardell approves whole-heartedly, as he says that US decline is a doddle.

Hillary Clinton Proves Mark Mardell Wrong

Hillary Clinton told CNN the other day that she won’t be working for the President if there is a second term in 2012. Not just that she doesn’t want to be Sec. of State again, but wants no position at all in His Administration.

She told Wolf Blitzer that she doesn’t want to be Sec. of State again because she has the best job in the world right now.

Because I have the best job I could ever have. This is a moment in history where it is almost hard to catch your breath. There are both the tragedies and disasters that we have seen from Haiti to Japan and there are the extraordinary opportunities and challenges that we see right here in Egypt and in the rest of the region. So I want to be part of helping to represent the United States at this critical moment in time, to do everything I can in support of the president and our government and the people of our country to stand for our values and our ideals, to stand up for our security, which has to remain first and foremost in my mind and to advance America’s interests. And there isn’t anything that I can imagine doing after this that would be as demanding, as challenging or rewarding.

Er, and it wouldn’t be in a second term? That doesn’t add up. So why is she going to walk away after next year? No prizes for guessing what her staff is saying:

“Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”

He went on, “If you take a look at what’s on her plate as compared with what’s on the plates of previous Secretary of States — there’s more going on now at this particular moment, and it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs. And she doesn’t have any power. She’s trying to do what she can to keep things from imploding.”

Hang on, Mark Mardell has been telling us that The Obamessiah has been thoughtfully “deliberating”. So will he now claim that Hillary Clinton is wrong to think He’s been dithering because she’s “unfamiliar” with the concept? Or does she know better than the BBC North America editor because she’s, you know, on the inside actually dealing with reality and not making uninformed judgments from on high with a perfumed handkerchief held to the nose?

Clinton is said to be especially peeved with the president’s waffling over how to encourage the kinds of Arab uprisings that have recently toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and in particular his refusal to back a no-fly zone over Libya.

Waffling? I guess she just can’t grasp the nuance of His finely tuned brain. What will the BBC have to say about this? Or this:

Bill Clinton: We shouldn’t be letting the Libyan protesters “twist in the wind”

Will Mardell now dismiss the former two-term Democrat President of the United States and the current Democrat Secretary of State as people who are “obsessed with the notion of American decline” or gung-ho cowboys who want an “unapologetically aggressive America storming ahead”?

Clinton’s announcement was not only on CNN but also mentioned on the HuffingtonPost, so we know the Beeboids are aware of it, and can’t pretend it’s not an important enough story for them to mention. So far, though, they’ve censored this news.

In sum, Hillary Clinton just proved that the BBC North America editor’s interpretation of US news has been completely wrong. Why trust him ever again?

UPDATE: Mardell is at it again! This time he’s giving us the spin on the President’s speech about Libya. See the comments thread for more.

Mardell and the President and Libya Continued

No sooner had I posted my complaints about Mark Mardell’s continued, slavish defense of the President and use of the BBC website to set forth his own personal opinions on foreign policy, the BBC’s North America editor put up another post on the matter. Actually he’s done two posts, but I’ll get to the second one in a minute.

The Enigma Variations

As if in rebuttal to my post, Mardell tells us that the President is, in fact, telling a couple Mohammedan leaders to get with the program and back the use of military force against Ghaddafi. Why we never heard about this before is unknown. Not only that, but apparently the reason the US hasn’t been leading the call for a no-fly zone in the first place is not because the President can’t make a decision or simply doesn’t want to do it, but because the US military and Sec. of Defense are against the whole idea. It’s still not His fault.

Now, it’s not exactly a shock that the top brass really don’t want to get involved in this, for a variety of valid reasons which we need not get into here. But Mardell’s whole defense here is based on the idea that the only way a no-fly zone could possibly happen is if the US sends in massive amounts of military force, distracting from Iraq and Afghanistan, that we’ll get bogged down in a country which is not a major priority, and that nobody wants this to look like yet more Western imperialism.

Firstly, while it may be the conventional wisdom that only the US has the military might to do anything worthwhile, who says that’s how it has to be? If The Obamessiah is, as Mardell constantly reminds us, against the childish concept of military invention, why isn’t He doing something else to put pressure on Ghaddafi? Where is His speech to the UN about sanctions? Where is His diplomatic pressure on China and Russia to help out? Oh, that’s right, both countries had their way with Him last time He tried to negotiate anything with them (There you go again, still obsessed with the notion of America’s decline – ed.).

Surely a great humanitarian who, as Mardell told us, feels an emotional attachment with the Libyans’ quest for freedom, and was dead set against using military force, would be working night and day on alternative solutions. Yet we see….what? Scowling? Thoughtfulness? I mean, I’m not even one of those demanding an “unapologetically aggressive America storming ahead”. I’m just asking for the President to do what Mardell said He wanted to do: be on the right side of history. I could care less about military intervention per se. If there are other alternatives, it’s fine by me, and would, I suspect, be fine with most of my fellow United Statesians who are looking for our President to act like a world leader when called upon.

And that’s the key element missing in all of Mardell’s blogposts and reporting about the President and this situation: the people of Libya are asking for help. Unless we’re getting yet another vox pops from Benghazi or something like that, the BBC’s reporting makes it seem as if the only people calling for intervention are ill-advised or foolish warmongers. As Ghaddafi gets closer and closer to shutting down the rebellion and continues to slaughter his own people, it’s looking less and less moral to sit back and watch it happen.

What’s really wrong with the perspective from which Mardell and the BBC report is the Narrative that the President has sat on His hands because He doesn’t want it to seem like US imperialism, forcing dumb ol’ democracy on people who are culturally opposed to who don’t necessarily want it right now. What about all those Libyans we keep hearing asking for help? How would we be imposing a nasty foreign idea on people who are telling everyone who will listen that this is what they want? If that’s what the President and His Administration think, then I say they’re pretty misguided and missing the point. Mardell seems uninterested in considering this either way, as he’s stuck in ideologue mode.

Bahrain may be more strategically important in one sense, but Libya is the poster child everyone’s looking at right now, including the Bahrain leaders. Ghaddafi chose not to follow Mubarak’s laudable example, and should face the consequences, and the leaders of Bahrain would get a clear choice of options if he does. It’s not a difficult concept.

But none of this is seriously addressed by the BBC. Most of the talking heads they have on have been advocating against a no-fly zone. Sure, they’re full of admonitions about the practicality of it, and sounding very sober, yet the discussion has been mostly one-sided. And I don’t even mean we need to hear more from people calling for the bombs to start falling. Where is the discussion of alternatives to a US/UK bombing run? If there isn’t one, do we ever get to blame the world leader who was supposed to be The One to make the US a world leader of morality?

Now for the second post.

To Mardell’s horror, the US has now given its blessing to a UN-backed military action against Libya. Continuing his adamant advice against it, Mardell gets it wrong about how things work:

Now the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, has said that the resolution which is being discussed may need to go beyond this proposal, adding that no-fly zones have “inherent limitations” in protecting citizens at immediate risk.

She said the UN Security Council is focused on swift and meaningful action to halt the killing on the ground. We’re told that is diplomatic speak for airstrikes and bombardment from the sea. Sending in troops has been ruled out.

Sounds like a bombing run to me. In order to create a no-fly zone, one must first bomb the crap out of the enemies air defenses. Now here’s where Mardell gets it wrong:

She has a point. Most in the US top brass are scornful about the idea of a no-fly zone. The US flew more than 30 sorties a day over Iraq and it didn’t bring down Saddam Hussein.

Except the no-fly zone wasn’t meant to oust him. It was meant to stop him from slaughtering the Kurds, the Marsh Arabs, and loads of other people he didn’t like, and invading other countries again. And it worked. I can sense reality quietly slipping away here.

No-fly zones would have been no good against the awful massacres of Rwanda and Srebrenica.

What does this have to do with anything? Nobody was calling for a no-fly zone then. Different deal entirely, required troops on the ground, and nobody wanted to do anything because it was an “African problem”, to be solved only by Africans. Same with Zimbabwe, in case Mardell is thinking of bringing that up next time he’s advocating against military action. Or Darfur, for that matter.

And Srebrenica? Is he joking? What does he think stopped the massacres in the Balkans of getting even worse? A BBC charity telethon? Even Matt Frei understands what happened there, and how it relates to Libya.

Then Mardell repeats his standard line of defense:

There’s been serious debate inside President Obama’s administration about the wisdom of using military force at all.

There’s an aversion to getting involved in another war with another Muslim country, or giving the impression that democracy is a Western plot. Libya is seen as a distraction, not a core US interest.

Again we get the blame spread around, and again Mardell puts forth the lie that this is going to look like US imperialism. Again we’re asked to pretend that George Bush was wrong and nobody in the Arab and/or Muslim world really wants democracy. Again we’re asked to sweep all those cries for help under the rug. Again we’re supposed to pretend that Britain and France and a few other countries couldn’t do a nicely symbolic move with only auxiliary support from the US. All to maintain ideological purity.

Also, I love how it’s acceptable again for the US to let dictators slaughter their own people where it’s not a core US interest. It’s not selfish or parochial at all now that Bush isn’t in charge. What happened to the criticisms of US hypocrisy because we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan but won’t do it in other cases?

Sometimes leadership doesn’t look pretty, or look like a choreographed TV speech. Sometimes it requires compromise and cooperation. Sometimes leadership requires actually leading. But it never looks like taking a back seat and hoping somebody else steps up, no matter how Mardell wants to spin it.

There is still no discussion from Mardell or anyone from the BBC about why, if the President doesn’t want the US military to go in there, He hasn’t been working night and day to get every other Muslim country to put real pressure on Ghaddafi. If the US has no useful influence in the region now, what was the point of all that bowing and scraping when the President was doing His first meet-and-greet sessions? What happened to the world leader whom the BBC told us was going to redeem the US in the eyes of the world? This is His chance to make the US look good, but since He’s ideologically opposed to it, it’s making Him – and the country – look not so good. Again, I’m not talking exclusively about a bombing run. There are many other options which would put pressure on Ghaddafi and be just as positively symbolic. A naval blockade, neighboring countries other than Egypt putting serious troops on the borders, shutting down his bank accounts, just to name a few. There are many ways the President can lead and make the US look good without blowing anything up.

But that’s not happening. Not because the President is so deliberate or thoughtful, not because His Administration wants to “base decisions on facts” (a sly dig at Bush there), and not for any other reason Mardell wants to push on you. It’s because of poor leadership, and an ideological opposition to having the US take a strong position on the world stage. We knew that during the election in 2008, and we’re seeing the fruits of it now. The BBC continues to dismiss that notion, and spin the story every other way possible.

Mark Mardell Continues to Defend the President

Mark Mardell is still desperately supporting the US President about His behavior regarding Libya. The President still hasn’t made a decision, is in fact hoping the problem is solved for Him, and Mardell is faithfully defending Him.

After explaining how others want action (the Chinese and Russians “have questions”, and Mardell leaves it at that so he doesn’t have to speak a truth which might harm his agenda), he dutifully reports the words of Katty Kay’s personal friend and husband of her business parter, White House spokesman Jay Carney:

“Our position is that action like that should be considered and taken if decided upon in co-ordination with our international partners, because it’s very important in the way that we respond to a situation like we see in Libya, that it be international and not unilateral; that it include the support and participation, for example, of the Arab League and other organisations and countries in the region… precisely so that it is not viewed by those who oppose positive democratic reform as the dictate of the West or the United States.”

Translation: I’m not gonna try it – you try it. Oh, and He’s not George Bush.

Mardell makes the obvious point (granted, part of his job) that sitting on His hands looks bad back home. Then he makes his personal opinion very clear:

It may be grown up, it may be sensible in the long run, but it is so unfamiliar that to many it will look like dithering, not deliberation.

“Grown up” is an editorial appraisal of policy. Of course, by making it epistemic, he probably gets through a loophole in the BBC style guide. But this is so obviously where he stands, especially framed in the context of his other blog posts and reports on the subject in which he comes from the same perspective. Mardell also spells out the correct interpretation for you: it’s “deliberation”, and anyone who thinks otherwise just doesn’t get it.

Why isn’t Mardell asking whether or not the Administration is pressing the Arab League to get off their asses? If, as is alleged here, He would “dearly love” for them to lead the attack on Ghaddafi, surely we’d hear about how much He’s working towards that goal? And wouldn’t Mardell be reminding us of that here, just to support his case that his beloved Obamessiah is actually showing leadership and the fools just don’t see it? If not, one would be forgiven for suspecting that maybe He doesn’t want it to happen at all, or simply has no opinion, and is just waiting for others to do it for Him. Mardell seems uninterested in addressing this obvious point.

Then Mardell spins this against the public and in support of the President:

In a country where some are obsessed with the notion of America’s decline, it will confirm some people’s worst fears.

“Obsessed” is an editorial choice which suggests an excessive, inappropriate, possibly unhealthy attitude. A more accurate and less biased term would be “concerned”. I’d even accept modifying it with “very” or “seriously”, or possibly “overly”, if I’m feeling really generous.

Furthermore, this ignores the argument about the President actually not wanting the US to have such a strong position in the world. In fact, Mardell has been spinning this whole thing away from the idea that it’s, you know, normal for people to want their country to be in the best possible position for economic and security issues. Who wants their country diminished? Why is that considered “grown up”? How maintaining this strong position is achieved (or how one even defines it, I suppose) is of course a topic for another discussion entirely. Here I’m concerned with the idea that people naturally want their country to have the best position possible, and that it’s not right to define this as a being somehow unnatural or incorrect behavior.

The main idea of my last post was that there is a valid reason to be concerned about the President actively wishing to reduce the US’s standing on the world stage. It may be out of a far-Left desire to stop being individuals and let the committee decide what to do, or it might simply be out of a lack of interest and deep understanding of world affairs, and just how much foreign policy can sometimes affect the domestic scene. Either way, it’s a legitimate debate to be had, especially the way He spoke during the election and just how much the BBC and Leftoid media kept telling us that this was pretty much what He was going to do if elected.

Mardell lets the White House get in the last word again, even making sure to tell us that criticism is so bad and unfair that the White House has had to “push back”.

In all, it’s another White House propaganda piece, with personal opinion thrown in, from the BBC’s North America editor.