The BBC’s US President editor is in New Hampshire to cover the Republican Primary. “It’s the economy, stupid” is the running gag these days about the number one reason why the President might not be re-elected. Among the elite media, anyway. Much of the rest of the country might be worried about His continued assault on gun rights, poor performance on stopping illegal immigration, the constant class war rhetoric, the possibly unconstitutional power grabs and recess appointments, His poor foreign policy record, and His general apparent incompetence to improve anything, but that doesn’t interest Mardell or his fellow travelers. And we never hear about any of that from the BBC anyway, so it may as well not exist for the purposes of this discussion.
As Mitt Romney solidifies his lead over Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, where do you think the BBC’s top man in the US goes to keep his finger on the pulse of the people? A Jon Huntsman gathering. Who?
Yes, Mardell went to a gathering of supporters of the candidate who has been at the bottom of the polls from the beginning. Huntsman is now getting a little play in New Hampshire, because that state is full of Reagan Democrats, who basically were the “independents” who voted for The Obamessiah in 2008. To support his attendance at a Huntsman event, he points to an article by the Left-wing (but not identified as such, contrary to what Jane Bradley said they should do) Daily Beast which says Huntsman had his best debate performance yet. In other words, Democrats like him, so Mardell is on the scene. I’d be more impressed if he had found a non-Left article speaking positively about Huntsman.
Now, you might be saying, “Hey, Dave, Hunstman is suddenly on the rise, so it’s logical that Mardell would check out his gathering to see what’s up.” Well, he didn’t do that for Santorum, who rocketed up from the bottom of the polls in Iowa. He went to a Ron Paul rally after a quick stop at a Romney speech. The BBC instead sent Peter Marshall of Newsnight to laugh at Santorum. Contrary to the tone here, Santorum’s rise was discussed with distaste in BBC reporting.
No, Mardell has liked Huntsman from the beginning. He was mentioning Huntsman when the man was not even a blip on the radar, yet didn’t mention Herman Cain until after the first debate, when he dismissed Cain out of hand. Last September, Mardell told an audience at the BBC College of Journalism that he liked Huntsman as a candidate and especially that Democrats liked him. I think that about sums it up right there. But this is at least as much about defending the President as it is about Huntsman. For his latest, Mardell is talking to some other Republican voters. What’s especially troubling about this report is that Mardell also seizes an opportunity to defend the President on the economy.
Actual Republican voters in New Hampshire are more conservative, or at least used to be. Reagan lost a primary to Pat Buchanan, for example. The state has, though, seen a serious increase in Democrat voters in the last few years. The problem is that the state also has this rather lax, same-day voter registration deal, so people can switch parties or independents can sign up for one (one has to be registered for a party to vote in the primary) on the day in order to flood the polls for a given candidate. There are rumors that out-of-state Paul minions are coming in to take advantage of this as well. So the particular circumstances of New Hampshire benefit Huntsman more than just about any other candidate.
But Mardell is there more to defend the President than to push Huntsman. So he talks to some Huntsman supporters about their thoughts on the economy. First, he talks to an actual Republican, a business owner and son of a former Republican governor and White House staffer. Chris Sununu definitely blames the President for the bad economy. Mardell, though, questions him.
I put it to him that is fine as political rhetoric, but question whether Obama’s policies have really hurt his thriving ski resort.
Somebody show me an example of Mardell doing this to an Obamessiah supporter. He let’s Sununu answer the question, but then dismisses it.
Not everyone agrees that the language of the campaign reflects reality.
It’s very clever how he emphasizes that this is “rhetoric”, which devalues the position. In the interest of balance, of course, Mardell then talks to someone who – what a shock – doesn’t like where the Republican Party is going. Donald Byrne is one of those “independents” registering specifically for this primary I was talking about. It would be more informative if he’d found an actual Republican who felt differently, but I guess one right-winger a day is all he can stomach. Tell me if any of the following sounds eerily familiar to everything the BBC has been telling about the Republicans:
He says the language used about Obama is pandering to the base.
“I think the Republican party in the United States has shifted very far to the right,” he says.
“Being a moderate is a negative in this campaign and that’s very unfortunate, because the majority of Americans are moderate and well balanced in their thought process.
“There is too much pandering to these right-wing extreme sides.”
This could have been copied and pasted from any number of BBC reports. Actually, it sounds like a good White House talking point. Wake me up when Mardell finds an “independent” who says that the Democrats have moved too far to the Left, and that it’s bad for the President to pander to Left-wing extremes. No, to Mardell, that’s a good thing, what He should be doing.
One thing Mardell neglected to tell you about Byrne is that he hosted a Huntsman gathering at his own home last month, and that he doesn’t like Romney’s strong talk against China. It’s pretty obvious that a software entrepreneur with a vested business interest in dealing with China is going to like the former Ambassador to China who sucked up to them. The “pandering” to extremists Byrne was talking about was, in fact, about anti-China rhetoric and not, as Mardell wants you think, specifically about the US economy. So a little dishonesty from Mardell there to help his Narrative.
To further defend the President on the economy and convince you that the fiscally conservative position is actually an extremist one, Mardell found a big-government Republican and economist who worked for the first President Bush. You won’t be surprised to learn that he says that the debate between Keynesian and Milton Friedman economics is silly. It’s more between Keynes and Hayek, but Friedman is a big American name, so we’ll accept that. In any case, Mr. Bastani says that neither approach works, and anyways Keynesian economics has become the middle ground. If Mardell asked him if anything the President has done might have harmed the economy, we aren’t told. Did he censor that bit, or did he just not bother to ask at all? Either way, you’re left with a specific Narrative.
That’s the same message you’ve heard over and over again from a number of Beeboids, isn’t it? How many times have we heard “Two Eds” Flanders say it? How many times has the BBC gotten Blanchflower or some other Left-wing pundit to say this? Mardell himself has said (at that now infamous BBC CoJ appearance) that the British public support endless deficit spending, and that the President is “the last Keynesian standing”. He thinks that’s the answer. So he went out and found people to support his own personal position. And we know his own personal position, because he revealed it in front of the BBC CoJ camera.
Both these reports from New Hampshire were written from his own personal viewpoint: Huntsman is the good candidate, Keynesian policies are best (it’s a misunderstood Keynesianism, actually, as the man himself never promoted an endless, infinite deficit), the other Republican candidates are extremist, and that any talk of the President hurting the economy is mere rhetoric.
As a result, you’re not informed about what’s going in New Hampshire, but you do get a message.
UPDATE: In case there’s any doubt about the reality of Huntsman’s supporters, here’s a video of some supporters who think he’s practically a Democrat. Notice how they whine about evangelicals just like Mardell and the other Beeboids do.
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There’s yet another BBC North America correspondent pushing an agenda these days. Ian Pannell has gone to Detroit to spin a tale of woe and misery, blaming all of it on the current economic situation. He even clearly articulates the message one is meant to take away:
“The gap between the rich and poor in America is now bigger than it’s been for 30 years.”
Pannell closes the piece with this line, followed by a statement that “what we’ve seen” all over the US is a similar problem. In case anyone didn’t bother watching all the way through, the message is spelled out equally clearly in the blurb accompanying the video.
Now, before we get into the problems of Detroit, let me just say that I’m in no way denying that there’s a severe economic problem in the US right now. I’m on record here many times complaining about exactly that. In fact, I believe we’ve been in a Depression for the last 18 months or so, and will continue to be unless there’s a drastic change nationwide. So this post is not meant to challenge Pannell’s last sentence. Instead, I mean to challenge the agenda being pushed and the myth being spun specifically from Detroit.
Detroit, of course, is definitely a problem city. Unemployment in the Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn region is the worst in the nation among what we call “greater metropolitan areas”. As of May 2010, Detroit had about 90,000 (!) abandoned homes or residential lots, and the city has had to spend money demolishing them. If that seems like an awful lot of homes emptying over a relatively short period of time (we’re meant to assume that this is all about the “downturn” since 2008), you’d be right to be suspicious. Yet Pannell wants you to believe that Detroit is just like the rest of the country, a victim of economic inequality thrust upon it by outside forces. Well-trained BBC audiences will already know the approved causes: greedy bankers and the evil rich appropriating more than their fare share of wealth.
Except it’s simply not true. Detroit has been going down the tubes for years and years. Here’s what Pannell and the BBC don’t want you to know, because it detracts from their agenda: First of all, Detroit suffers from relying far, far too much on a single workhorse: the automotive industry. The fact that the industry has been in decline for a couple of decades or more – so bad that the President had to bail out the unions out GM and sell Chrysler off – is an inconvenient truth which interferes with Pannell’s tale, so he leaves it out. White flight and urban blight have been a problem for decades. How could Detroit’s struggles as portrayed by the BBC be largely due to a recent phenomenon if a site like “The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit” won a local award in 1998? There were 12,000 abandoned homes as of 2005. In 2008 – at the beginning of the economic crisis, mind – unemployment was at 21% in some areas, and criminals were re-offending to stay in the safety and comfort of prison rather than trying to get by in a disaster area.
Detroit’s population has declined by 25% over the last decade. This has very little to do with the “downturn” (it’s only a recession when conservatives are in charge, right?). Pannell provides none of this context. The problems of the last three years have obviously made things tougher, but to portray Detroit purely as a victim of the recent economic crisis is false. But it does help feed the class war mythology which the BBC loves to push.
Another Detroit problem Pannell doesn’t want you to know about is that Detroit was on the brink of insolvency by 2005. It was driven there by powerful unions and poor management from a series of economic denialist Democrat mayors, and capped off by a Democrat mayor who ended up in prison over a sex scandal. To be fair, I’m pretty sure Republican mayors in that area wouldn’t have done much better, considering the corruption and cronyism that went on, and that precious few Republicans over the last decade have been fiscal conservatives. Regardless of who was in charge, though, the city lost 39% of its manufacturing jobs – mostly in the auto industry – in the 1980s. Unemployment ten years ago was among the worst in the nation. This has nothing to do with the current economic situation.
As of 2002, five of the ten largest employers in the area were state-run organizations. Indeed, the top two employers were the public school system and the City government itself. Does that sound familiar? This is never a recipe for growth and success. The Post Office was the #7 employer, and I think we can all guess how that works out after the city loses a quarter of its population. Even a media studies graduate can do the math here.
But none of this context is provided to the BBC audience. All you see is a tale of woe, people struggling to survive in tough economic times. The struggle is real, but the direct cause presented to you by Pannell is false. Using Detroit like this to highlight the current economic crisis in the US is like using Grimethorpe to highlight what Tory Cuts have done over the last couple years without telling you about the closing of the mines.
This is the result of agenda-driven newsgathering and reporting. It’s a dishonest report, pushing a specific agenda, intended to support the BBC’s Narrative about income inequality. Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.
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Yesterday, As I See It posted a comment in the open thread about how Lyse Doucet gave a report on Radio 5 in which she gently sanitized the Muslim Brotherhood ( I can’t find a link to it right now, but if someone points to it I’ll add it here). At one point, she apparently slipped up and said that Salafists are “extremists….er…..let me say strict….” Oops, nearly tanked the Narrative there. In any case, I was reminded of a post I saw by Jeremy Bowen back in February, where he said that the Muslim Brotherhood are “conservative, moderate and non-violent”.
WTF? I said to myself. How can they be both? By definition one cannot be the other. Any group calling for Shariah Law cannot be moderate. Yet Bowen saw no problem saying it. However, somebody had a problem with it, as he stealth-edited it out quickly. I failed to take a screenshot at the time, assuming News Sniffer would catch it if anything happened, but when I went back the next day, “moderate” had been removed, and News Sniffer had nothing. So I gave up on it.
Why would he say such a thing? Somebody pointed it out to him, and he or an astute BBC News Online sub-editor sent it down the memory hole. Wake me up when a Beeboid says the same thing about the Tea Party movement.
If anyone still had a modicum of trust in Bowen’s reporting, it’s surely shredded to pieces now. He’s obviously partisan, and not thinking clearly. Defenders of the indefensible may dismiss this simply because it’s 10 months old, but I fail to see how that makes any difference. Bowen truly believed it, and clearly meant to sanitize the Muslim Brotherhood so the license fee payers wouldn’t get too worried about them. He’s not, so why should you be? I’m sure his superiors at the BBC know all about what he really thinks, and simply don’t care. Some of them may even agree with him. It’s irresponsible, not to mention delusional. I’d say it’s impossible to trust his reporting on Egypt any longer.
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Katty Kay thinks these people are nice, filled with a sense of civic duty and lawfulness. Her colleagues want you to believe this is all about lax banking regulations and corporate welfare. Last time I checked, that didn’t cause people to say “F#@k” an entire country. At BBC News Online, they see such a strong parallel between this and the Tea Party movement (is it because they’re mostly hideously white? -ed), that they’ve spent time picking cherries in order to put together a quiz, asking you to guess whether some quasi-political statement was made by a Tea Partier or an Occupier. It would much more informative to put together a set of photos and police blotter reports, and then ask which is which. Of course, that wouldn’t help the BBC’s Narrative. Although I must say I enjoy the Beeboids’ intellectual hypocrisy of suddenly using the Tea Party which they disparaged as a positive example now.
At the bottom of the latest watered down report of violence and arrests and lawless behavior by the Occupiers, the intrepid BBC News Online team does what they always do for protests they support: Ask readers if they’re involved and to send in their comments. To my knowledge, there has never been one of these for the Tea Party movement. If a defender of the indefensible or BBC employee who has been notified of this “hate site” could point one out to me, I’d be most grateful.
Yesterday the nice Occupiers who are filled with a sense of civic duty and lawfulness tried to occupy a Citibank branch. This is not lawful behavior, this is not inspired by a sense of civic duty. This is an act of lawlessness. Yet the BBC plays it down this way:
Staff at Citibank near Washington Square Park called police because “very disruptive” protesters “refused to leave after being repeatedly asked,” the bank said.
“The police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed.”
They shouldn’t have been there in the first place, yet the BBC refuses to point out that this is illegal behavior. No, they love this stuff, support it 100%. Speaking of people who support the Occupiers 100%, if anyone reads Inspector Gadget’s blog, they’ll know that he does, and claims that most police do as well. They’re arresting people now because they have to, but if the Government doesn’t do something to get the police back on side, they won’t do it forever. Or, if the idiot Occupiers ever figure this out and stop calling them fascist tools and do something to get the police on side, it will be a different story. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is a recipe for disaster. When the police are on the side of the destroyers, they will eventually stop doing their jobs. The more the BBC demonizes the police, the less inclined they’ll be to act on behalf of a Government they detest. But I digress.
Getting back to the latest BBC breathless report about the Occupiers in the US, they say this:
The New York protests began on 17 September with a small group of activists and have swelled to include several thousand people at times, from many walks of life.
Anyone ever seen a BBC report describe a Tea Party protest so generously? Funny how they’re now so careful to be generous to these people, the exact opposite of the way they’ve handled the Tea Party movement. No sneering or insulting with sexual innuendo, no suggesting ulterior motives or unseen hands pulling their strings. No hand-wringing over the “anger” this time, eh, BBC?
So I ask the BBC again: Why don’t you discuss the fact that the Tea Party movement actually went out and did what decent, civic-minded, law-abiding citizens should do and took their anger out at the polls, rather than vandalize and occupy private property, and disrupt? Why don’t you point out the irony of the Occupiers are able to do all of this only because other people are giving them money to do it? And that they believe they’re entitled to other people’s money to do it? That’s not the American ideal of working hard and having it pay off you claim they want.
Mark Mardell admits that many of the Occupiers were Obamessiah worshipers but are now “disillusioned”. So why aren’t they protesting against Him? He says it’s because they don’t want to change one political party or other, but want to change the entire system. But he won’t discuss what that actually means. He knows what they really want, but won’t say it out loud. So I’ll let them say it for him: Why not discuss how convenient it is for these protests to fill news broadcasts so nobody is talking about the President’s looming scandals: Solyndra, where the White House is still refusing to turn over relevant documents and communication, and Gunwalker, in which Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller have been subpoenaed.
And most importantly: Why don’t you ask the Occupiers why they haven’t protested outside the White House? After all, the President is the greatest recipient of Goldman Sachs largesse, and He’s the one who authorized more bank bailouts, and is handing over billions of taxpayer money to greedy corporate cronies. Oh, that’s right: you’ve censored all that news, so can’t start talking about it now.
This is an intellectual failure of the BBC. I think I’ll go down to visit the Occupiers next weekend to see what else the BBC isn’t telling you.
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I came across this while looking for some Mardell quotes for a recent post, and saved it until after I’d had a long look at it and taken time to absorb it all. It’s an hour-long discussion with Mark Mardell and BBC Washington editor Simon Wilson about US politics and how the BBC is going to cover the looming (13 months away) second-most important election in human history.
Parts of it give a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the vast, multi-tentacled creature that is the BBC, as well as glimpses of how any large media organization operates. There’s talk of funding, use and distribution of resources, personnel, and reporting angles. On that score alone it’s worth watching. I’m going to post the video first, and my comments and analysis will be below the fold.
We learn that Mardell claims that he needs to ask not only what has gone wrong with the US economy, but why. He says he needs to ask not only if the Republicans hurt it but if actually the President’s policies might have harmed the recovery. He hasn’t done it yet, even after more than two years, and I don’t expect him to do it now. Still, he pretends that’s what he’s doing, and it’s nice to hear him acknowledge that it’s at least a valid question to ask.
Mardell states (@5:51)that the big story of the US economy is easy to “sell” to (meaning, I hope, gain the interest of)the British public because “it has such huge resonance here.” The President, he says, “is the last Keynesian standing. He’s still someone saying, the stimulus can work, that’s the way to get the economy going.” Mardell was encouraged, he explains, that after a recent blog post about the President’s latest Jobs Plan For Us, there were a bunch of Left-wing Brits commenting on his blog that this was great, the way to go, this is what Cameron should be doing, etc. This told Mardell that there was “a resonance” in Britain with the President’s policies. We’re seeing here clear proof that Mardell – and, as we’ll soon learn, the BBC – feels that he (and they) reflect the general thoughts and feelings of the British public. This supports Jeff Randall’s quote about how they think they are on the middle ground. And there’s much, much more of this kind of thing to come.
The first Republican candidate Mardell mentions by name is Huntsman. You may well ask who the hell that is, as he’s never gotten more than a couple percent of any vote or poll anywhere, and is on no one’s radar except far-Left foreigners and discussions inside the Beltway bubble. Mardell will return to Huntsman again, and we’ll learn later why that is.
When Mardell goes through the candidates, I was willing – at first – to cut him some slack over how he leaves Herman Cain for last, as this was done a month ago and Cain had yet to achieve the prominence he has now. But notice how Mardell again dismisses the “pizza millionaire”. (Millionaire: Boo!) I’ll get to why I won’t cut him slack for putting Cain at the bottom later on. When he gets to Huntsman again, he says that candidate is the favorite of Democrats, and I’ll leave it others to infer an attitude behind his facial expression and the way he says it, as well as the audience reaction.
13:30 Mardell says that the country is changing, and while he can’t say specifically what the President has done to affect that change, the country “is changing in His image”. To support this he points to the fact that there are now two Governors of Indian descent in…ahem…formerly racist Southern states. He doesn’t mention that both Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal are Republicans, because that would detract from the notion that The Obamessiah has redeemed us to some degree. Of course, he totally contradicts that notion later on, but we’ll get to that in due course.
Then he says “on the other hand”, black poverty is the worst it’s been in almost thirty years. We saw this same blinkered attitude come out in his two recent blog posts where he visited struggling black people in Chicago. Because He is black, somehow economic policies will be aimed specifically at helping black people. Only a naive person who has a poor grasp of government and economics on a national scale will think that a black President can have a specific, immediate affect on the economic situation of millions of black people across the country. It makes no sense, but that was part of the Hope and Change Mardell expected. His last blog post shows that he does know better than that, but his and the BBC’s obsession with race and racial politics keeps driving him back to silly ideas. And hey: wasn’t He supposed to usher in a post-racial era? Emotion is getting the better of reason with Mardell here.
Maybe His policies have been crap? Nah.
In any case, Mardell concludes this section by laying out what he thinks are the main questions or points he and the Beeboids covering the US should be bringing up:
1. What has the President done to put Himself in this position? 2. Big up the resonances with the British audience (assuming, that is, the British public thinks like Beeboids do on issues such as taxation and stimulus) 3. What are the wider implications for America?
Ask yourselves how Mardell and the BBC have done so far on these. From what I can tell, the answer to the first question is “Nothing! Never!” The other two go some way towards explaining the BBC editors’ choice of stories and angles. And I suppose there’s really nothing wrong with the second two as general guidelines. Also, be sure to keep these, especially the first one, in mind over the next year of noise.
The floor is then handed over to Wilson, who goes into the more pragmatic aspects of newsgathering and coverage. I found this part rather interesting, and license-fee payers might also be interested to know how their money is being spent, and just why the BBC reports what it does.
We soon learn from Wilson that there has been a “huge investment” in the BBC’s online coverage of the US. That will be clear to anyone having a look recently, just from all those lightweight, magazine-style pieces about parks and some woman giving birth just after running a marathon. Well worth the money, I’m sure. By now they will have 11 full-time staff doing online reporting or those “digital media” magazine-style pieces they teach in courses in those feeder schools. And that doesn’t even include the usual Washington staff like Kim Ghattas and Katty Kay, or Laura Trevalyan in New York, or the number of on-air talent traipsing around the country, like Steve Kingston and Jonny Dymond. I think we’ve all noticed for a while now that the BBC has ramped up their US coverage.
Much later in the video, Wilson explains how these new hires “put great value” back into the news by providing real stories, etc. You can all judge for yourselves how much value for your money there is in these magazine-style fluff pieces. He says it’s partially driven by “commercial” concerns, which is, I think, a hint of the new international subscription scheme they’ve come up with. He does say that some of the new commercial money will go towards paying for cameramen and extra crew to follow the radio guys around.
At one point later on, they discuss how social media will play an important role. No, it isn’t what you think. Part of it is actually a fairly reasonable, if brief, discussion about how there will be debate events and whatnot driven by Twitter, and so that will be an important platform. But there’s more, which I’ll come to soon enough.
@ 25:00 I just want to add some info to Mardell’s remarks about why it’s not so exciting to get that sit-down interview with the President. He says that it’s because the message won’t be much different from what you already get from the members of the Administration because, unlike in British Governments, there isn’t really much policy conflict or different Cabinet members briefing against each other etc. This is true, but he only half way explains why this is. Obviously in the US the Cabinet and all people holding the various key positions in an Administration are not sitting politicians, aren’t vying for leadership, and aren’t fighting to get promoted to a better Cabinet position. It makes a big difference in so many ways, functionally and in message management.
@28:00 question from another Beeboid about the Republican candidate nobody except Mardell has ever cared about or thought had a chance: John Huntsman. His name comes up yet again, this time because he’s the only one fretting about Climate Change. Check out how Mardell answers, and the audience reaction. No further proof is needed of the BBC’s inner thinking on this issue. The discussion expands to the “anti-science party”, etc. Judge for yourselves, of course. But I wonder how many of these “pro-science” Beeboids believe in homeopathy or astrology?
It’s obvious that Mardell likes Huntsman, and he even says that nobody likes Huntsman except the Democrats, and that he’d fit right in with the British Conservative Party. I know, I know, let’s not get started on how the Conservative Party should be held in violation of the Trades Description Act. Just more insight into the Beeboid mindset. But this is why I won’t cut him slack on ignoring Cain earlier, and in his reporting. Even a month ago nobody outside his bubble thought Huntsman was going anywhere, whereas lots of people were already starting to take Cain seriously.
32:00 In response to a question/statement about how all this focus on the election leaves less room for the more interesting bigger picture of what the US is about, Mardell says he’s always wanting to “tell a greater American story”. He claims that’s what he always tries to do. Which is pretty funny considering how I’ve been saying that he should be called the US President editor precisely because that’s not what he does at all.
Then he says one of the voices he wants to look into is the “wealthy African American community”, specifically where the President comes from. We know now that he went out and did that, resulting in his recent blog post I discussed here. I bet he didn’t get what he expected there at all.
33:45 Mardell reveals that former BBC World News America executive producer Rome Hartman wanted to “ban all stories about guns and ban all stories about poor black Americans”. Which just tells me what lay behind the crap which led me to call it BBC World Propaganda America.
But then he says this: “You can’t censor bits of a country, you know, because it doesn’t fit the image you would like.” Oh, really now?
35:00 Mardell says that Jonny Dymond has done “some fantastic stuff”.
36:45 Mardell says that Twitter “doesn’t follow BBC guidelines.” He’s referring to accuracy, and not revealing personal biases all over the place, but it’s nice to hear them admit it nevertheless.
37:15 As part of his explanation of his feeling about how important Twitter can be as a source of mood, Mardell references the Tucson shooting (of Rep. Giffords and several other victims). He says when that happened, “the idea came out from Twitter that this was a bigger story about America;it says something about the tone of our politics. I mean, that came from Twitter, and it was absolutely right. Now, whether it created that because people like me reacted, and thought, ‘Well, that’s a good point.'”
We knew at the time, and it’s known now, that this simply wasn’t true. The murderer was mentally ill, with more political influences from the Left than from the Right. But the media – including Mardell and the BBC – used it to whip up anger against the Right, blaming Sarah Palin as an accessory to murder, etc. Mardell even used this lie to promote the idea that the President was healing the country. It was a disgrace then, and it’s a disgrace now that Mardell still apparently doesn’t realize what he’s done, or that he helped promote a lie.
40:00 Mardell agrees with a question about doing public figure profiles and how he wants to widen the focus to say something about “a wider sense of America”. You mean like how we’re racists or anti-science or want justice at the point of a gun?
41:20 Wilson explains how some beats are more important than others, and how he’s spent his career in places which are “stand-by” stories. On a slow news day, he says, the BBC News producers will want to “just shove an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in, because people always that.” That’s not anti-Israel bias in and of itself, of course, and it’s a no-brainer that throwing red meat out will rouse the dogs and get an audience reaction. But how sad that they see it as titillation in this way. He does go on to explain how it’s just part of the news cycle, outlets need to put something out, etc., so I guess that’s just the jaded journo talking there, and won’t try to read any more into it.
43:15 A female Beeboid brings up Huntsman yet again (he’s gotten more mentions inside this BBC bubble during the last 45 minutes than in the entire US media over the last six months). “How much further to the Right has American politics shifted? Superficially, it would seem much further to the Right. Has the center ground moved far to the right of what we would consider the center here?”
When did we really shift to the Left, exactly? Justin Webb’s book about the “strange death of Social Conservatism” in the US aside, that is. Yes, we elected a Democrat, but that had a whole lot to do with white guilt and the self-congratulatory outcome of electing a black man, not to mention a general backlash from the middle against the policy failures of Bush’s second term, and the entire media (except Fox News and a couple of radio talking heads, sure) being in the tank for The Obamessiah, especially the agenda-setting New York Times and Washington Post, as well as the MTV/Comedy Central crowd. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t exactly a landslide victory, despite the swooning of the Beeboids, the way the electoral counts look, and the number of celebrities crying on camera. It was 52% to 46% of the popular vote. Decisive, yes. A sign that the country had moved so far to the Left that today we’re “much further to the Right”, no. Mardell, naturally, thinks the woman’s observation is correct.
The Tea Party movement started less than a month after the inauguration. That has to be the fastest cultural shift in history, right? And remember that the Beeboids said at first that the whole thing was just sour grapes from whites who wouldn’t have voted for Him anyway. Recall that Wilson was just a few minutes ago talking about how Presidential candidates must find the center ground to win elections. So why isn’t the woman asking if the President had shifted too far to the Left, and the country was moving away from that, which is by default to the Right, but not necessarily so far to the right of center? Because He’s in the correct place, of course, and anyone not agreeing must be wrong. Again, very revealing of the Beeboid mindset and ideological ground.
To prove his point that the country really has shifted to the Right, Mardell says that politicians and operatives who’ve been in the business for 30 years say that it’s nothing like the old days, when they could just have a drink with the opposition. If one isn’t lost in the mist of bias, one might say that it could also be due to the number of “to hell with business as usual” types who have come in, and the influence of the Tea Party movement being fed up with Corporate Welfare, Corporate Cronyism, Big-Government spending (all of which flourished under Bush, let’s be clear). Funny how when the Occupy Wall Street darlings say the same thing, they’re somehow not much further to the Left than these Beeboids. We can see the perspective here, see the prism through which they view everything. The US is much further to the Right on Social issues than Britain, as if the 60s never happened, says Mardell. Particularly homosexuality. I wonder if this isn’t just another example of the Beeboids assuming their own viewpoints reflect that of the country.
This reveals the difficulty as well as the madness of defining the US in British terms. It also shows that they really do look down on us from on high, and from the Left. Wilson follows this up by saying that “the divisiveness is just almost impossible to, kind of, quantify.” He says it’s worse than the Middle East, because Israel and Hamas sit down and talk sometimes. Yes, that’s right. Notice how none of this is blamed on their beloved Obamessiah. No mention of President “I won”, no mention of “don’t call my bluff”, no blame even remotely directed His way. Eventually Wilson wonders if there might be a bit of blame laid on the Democrats’ doorstep. He recalls that the Dems were vicious about Bush, so maybe there’s a smidgeon of that left, eh? How generous and impartial of you, Simon. You mean there might be someone else to blame? Unbelievable bias on display here.
50:19 After Mardell discusses how probably the best angle for the Republicans to take would be to push the line that the President may be a nice guy, very intellectual, etc., He’s just not up to the job, a female Beeboid asks how much of that is felt in the US, and that “I do think that’s the mood here, actually.” Wow. That’s the first time I’ve heard that coming out the mouth of a Beeboid. Mardell replies that he thinks it’s “pretty widespread”, then relates the story of a black Virginia businessman he met who said that in the real world the President would be out of a job for failing to produce.
I have to admit that I’m stunned by this. Not that Mardell is aware that people think the President is inept (he brings it up every once in a while), but that he understands that there’s at least a grain of truth to it and doesn’t place blame everywhere else. This is so absent from his reporting it’s not even funny. Sometimes we’ve seen him express disappointment when a speech doesn’t inspire him enough, or lay out the policy attacks he thinks would work, but no way has his overall reporting given anyone the idea that the idea that the President is inept is widespread, at least without qualifying it somehow by saying those people are ideologically opposed to Him or racist or something.
The next question is about how much religion will play in the election. Mardell again reveals that the BBC’s general anti-religion bias accurately reflects the views of the British public. Believing in God isn’t normal in Britain, he says. I guess Songs of Praise just panders to the tiniest of minorities? The Church of England is just something they put on the tin? I hope no Muslims hear about this.
Michelle Bachmann’s chances hadn’t yet tanked when this was made, so I won’t blame him for going on about her here. I will, however, complain that he’s unfairly suggesting that she might still want the death penalty enforced for adultery and blasphemy. This simply isn’t credible. Nobody is going to get elected on that platform, and this isn’t a banana republic where the President can start hanging people on a whim. She can believe whatever she wants, and it’s simply impossible that as President she could even make the tiniest headway towards convincing Congress to pass some kind of of insane law like that. Yet Mardell is concerned. Does he really still have no idea how US Government works, or is his visceral hatred for religious belief causing him to have ridiculous fears?
As part of this discussion on the influence of religion, Mardell says that he thinks the Tea Party “got it right – or that the think tanks behind the Tea Party in Washington”. Wrong. There was and is no think tank behind the movement. It was going strong for two months at least before anyone tried to form a national organization or think tanks or activist groups started jumping on the bandwagon. Even after two and half years, they still don’t get it. There’s a difference between groups trying to have influence, lending support, or jumping on the bandwagon and being “behind” the movement. In one sentence, Mardell has demonstrated that he thinks the whole notion of a grass roots movement is discredited. Fail.
He says that the Left wants to highlight the social-religious aspect, while the Right wants to play it down. Does this mean that all those BBC reports whipping up fear about the social-religious aspect of the Tea Party movement come from the Left? I think we can say they do.
The penultimate question is about – you knew it was coming eventually – racism. A male Beeboid brings up the “visceral hatred of Obama”, and says that during the last election there was a lot of concern about race, and asks if there is “a danger” of “playing that down” this time. In other words, in the minds of these Beeboids, we’re still secretly mostly racist, and if The Obamessiah loses in 2012, it will be because of racism. Mardell first says that he knows it’s a factor, and recalls one of Justin Webb’s pieces featuring a southern white woman subtly expressing her racism. But then, he actually says that after meeting so many Tea Partiers, he doesn’t think most of us are racists. “At least not in a straight-forward sense”. He says that underlying the concern about government spending our money, it’s really about not wanting to the government to “spend money on people not like them”. That’s simply offensive, and made me swear out loud when I heard it.
Then he says that there are also people who feel disconnected because “they didn’t expect this sort of person in the White House.” Somehow the President “doesn’t meet their stereotype about what a black person is like.” Is that why Joe Biden praised the then-junior Senator from Illinois for being so “articulate and bright and clean”? Words fail, other than more swearing at the screen. And oh how Mardell smiles, very pleased with himself, while slandering about a hundred million people.
Still, what happened to the idea Mardell put forth earlier that there is a widespread notion that the President is just not up to the job? Yeah, never mind about that, then. Racist!
So yes, we’re still apparently racists, even though in the end Mardell admits that he hasn’t found racism to be as much of a factor as he thought he would. Well, thank you very much. Still, that hardly discounts the rest of what he said. Wilson agrees with his assessment. To judge from this, everything you’ve heard about fiscal responsibility is just a lie, a smokescreen to hide our racism. This is what Mardell thinks, this is what the BBC thinks, and this is what they want you to think. They simply cannot accept any reasonable justification for objecting to Socialist policies.
In all, a fascinating hour spent inside the hive mind, and very revealing on a number of levels. I hope this exceedingly lengthy post didn’t cause too much pain, but there was just so much to talk about.
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As everyone saw over the last few days, there was a reasonable-sized far-Left protest in New York City against “Wall Street”. The BBC’s coverage of these people was as different from the way they reported on Tea Party protests as the goals of the former are from the latter. In other words, vastly different.
As just one of the most obvious examples, I’d like to see someone show me the Tea Party equivalent of the video the BBC posted in one of their follow-up reports about the Wall Street protest. The opening lines of the voice-over:
“Today, there was a protest march of over 1000 peaceful protesters, some with signs, chanting peaceful slogans….”
The speaker is one of the protesters, given air time by the BBC to describe the protest from his point of view. This is part of an interview with him by the BBC News. Can anyone find me even a single example of the BBC doing this at a Tea Party protest? Also, Spot the Missing Word: “anger”. Where’s the anger, BBC?
Notice that there is talk of arrests, police needing to use force, etc. As always, the violence comes from the Left, yet the BBC ignores it. In stark contrast, please recall just how many times the BBC told us about the “boiling anger” of the Tea Party movement. Every report mentioned the “anger”. Yet when we get BBC reports on far-Left protests, we hear how “peaceful” they are. In fact, the BBC even allows the protesters to define themselves, again a 180 degree turnaround from the BBC’s treatment of Tea Partiers. How many arrests have there been at Tea Party events, BBC? Answers on the head of a pin…..
Let’s also recall the time that Mark Mardell took a silly unique incident of a senior citizen engaging in a momentary physical struggle with a Left-winger, and spun it as the violence coming from the Right. In actual fact, it was the Left-winger who started the physical confrontation, which ended in the older man biting off the Left-winger’s fingertip. Mardell used this to frighten you, and threaten about a looming violence coming from the Right. Which, of course, has never materialized. The offensive, biased top BBC man in the US even questioned the rational behind the senior citizen’s political point of view, and even ended his short post by asking: “And can any Americans out there explain why this debate has got quite so heated?” Wake me up when he does this about one of these far-Left protesters. It won’t happen, because he and the rest of the BBC understand and sympathize with their motives. On the other hand, when it’s the far-Left on which they’re reporting, the BBC takes great care to make sure to avoid giving you the impression that these people are filled with rage, and give them unchallenged air time to express their intentions. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the likes of Peter Allen saying that these far-Left protesters are “a bit strong for our tastes.”
The best the BBC can do is edit this video report by an actual Beeboid so that it opens with the words “Angry at their treatment by the banks, and by the police.” How have the banks mistreated these people, I wonder? A strange characterization, to be sure. The title of the report shows that these particular far-Left protesters were marching on police headquarters. Did the Tea Partiers ever do such a thing? Of course not. Yet here, the BBC report is sympathetic, not fearful. The anger is shown in a remarkably different light. In fact, here we’re given a justification for that anger, whereas the anger of the Tea Party movement was left up in the air, its rationale even questioned by BBC correspondents.
Worse still, it’s compared – favorably? – to the recent protests in Madrid. Those were extremely violent and destructive, but since the Beeboids support their political agenda, that’s played way down. Completely unlike the initial BBC reports about the Tea Party movement, there is no editorializing, no suspicious commentary about their motives, no mention of an unseen guiding hand of national organizations.
Side note: I’m very amused to hear that one of the things these people were protesting against are “multi-billion dollar bank bailouts”. Funny how that was an extreme right-wing thing to do back when the Tea Party movement was doing it. Clear evidence of BBC political bias on that specific issue.
When it’s a far-Left protest, the BBC makes sure to show you a special slide-show of the marchers and their interaction with the police, but without the editorializing and fretting that was omnipresent in their reports on Tea Party events. No sneering, no worrying about motives, no insulting with sexual innuendos. Where was the equivalent for a single Tea Party protest? This is a glaring disparity, considering how the Tea Party movement represents a far larger segment of the US than do these far-Left protesters. Sure, many people are unhappy with Wall Street and the mess to which they contributed, but most people in the US don’t want it all shut down like these far-Left types do.
Another BBC report on this far-Left protest mentions their “anger at police”, which is very revealing. Again, the BBC helpfully provides the reason for the anger, as if it’s the police’s fault these people want to commit vandalism and violence. At the Tea Party protests I’ve attended, the rapport between the police and the protesters could not have been more civilized. Because there was no vandalism or violence, or even the remotest of hint of any. Many of us even thanked the police afterwards for their time. Why is the Left allowed – even expected – to behave differently, but not a single peep from the Beeboids?
The difference between the BBC’s treatment of protests from the far-Left and protests from the non-Left couldn’t be more drastic, or more obvious.
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The former editor of Today, Rod Liddle, has a brief blog post for the Spectator defending his former colleagues at the BBC against charges of a pro-Euro conspiracy. That sentence doesn’t contradict my headline. As most people here know by now, Peter Oborne wrote recently about how Liddle complained to upper mandarins about the complaints he was hearing about the obvious pro-Euro bias among the talent on his programme. He was told in no uncertain terms by a senior BBC figure that Euro-skeptics are “mad”, so those complaints should be ignored.
How many different topics now have we seen to receive the same treatment, I wonder? Warmism, the EU, open borders, the evil of the Tea Party movement, “Green” Energy, the list goes on. Sometimes it does seem that there is a coordinated effort to get a certain Narrative out there. On quite a few stories, as has been shown on this blog time and time again, the exact same position is taken by the presenter on several different programmes, radio and television, not to mention BBC News Online, essentially across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting. Then there are those quotes on the sidebar of this blog, particularly the one from Jeff Randall, in which he says that the bias is visceral, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. To put it another way, it’s in their DNA (you knew I couldn’t resist that one).
So following up on Robin Horbury’s post about yesterday’s biased performance by James Naughtie, now Rod Liddle confirms it. Liddle heard the show, and has a few words to say on the matter.
I heard my name mentioned on the Today programme yesterday, which is always nice, to be remembered by your old manor. The journalist Peter Oborne was castigating the propagandist forces, as he saw them, which back in 2000 attempted to convince of the need for greater European integration and joining the Euro. These were, he said, the Financial Times, the CBI and the BBC, pre-eminent amongst which latter was the Today programme. Jim Naughtie picked him up on this and pointed out that at the time the programme was edited by me, and I could hardly be described as a Europhile (Jim said this with a soft veneer of loathing). He was right; I was editor back then and was mildly Eurosceptic. Oborne responded by saying that I had also complained about pro-Euro bias in the BBC but that my complaints were ignored.
So it wasn’t just Robin and John Anderson who inferred a negative attitude from Naughtie, eh? Liddle continues:
This isn’t quite right; Oborne seems to imply that there was a covert plot within the top echelons of the BBC in favour of the European project, and that’s not true either. It is rather more the case that the civilised, decent middle class liberals who ran the corporation genuinely believed that the Eurorealists were a bunch of deranged xenophobes, one step up from the BNP, and therefore their arguments should be discounted. I realise that covert plot or otherwise the result was the same – a heavy pro-Euro bias, and so you might argue my quibble does not matter. But the BBC’s bias was arrived at through a sort of inherent wet liberalism, rather than an actual plot as such.
And there you have it. This is exactly what this blog has been saying – not just about the Euro, but about a variety of topics – since its inception. There is a self-affirming, ideological groupthink on these issues at the BBC because of the personnel. BBC hiring practices ensure it, BBC editorial policies enshrine it, and the style guide reinforces it. It’s not just us saying this anymore. This will not change until there is a wholesale purge in certain departments, and complete rethink on journalistic practices.
I can’t leave without including one more bit from Liddle:
One part of the Beeb back then which was, however, entirely on board with the Euro project was the Brussels office. We presented the programme from their studio on one occasion and kicked the EU from pillar to post, to the clear discomfort of the resident correspondents. Our team, in the manner of football hooligans, then plastered their office with Just Say No and Referendum Now posters and stickers. I suppose you could argue that this showed clear anti-Euro bias on our part, but it was really just a spirit of mischief and an attempt to remind our Brussels colleagues that the country was not entirely behind the project, as they might have thought.
That last line could have been said about a dozen issues. Come see the bias inherent in the system.
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I lost count of how many times during the Egyptian revolution against the Mubarak regime people here pointed out how anti-Israel sentiment was a key issue in the country, and how this was constantly played down by the BBC. I’m sure any worrying here was summarily dismissed by defenders of the indefensible as being typical nonsense from “Israel Firsters” or the inane mewlings of people who see anti-Semitism everywhere à la Jerry Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo.
I’ve also lost count of how many times the BBC has tolerated the notion that Jews anywhere in the world must suffer for their support – or even assumed association – with Israel. We often try to point out the difference between criticism of Israel and demonizing it, and the latter is a problem with BBC reporting. The BBC even censored news of what’s happened to the Jews in Malmö, Sweden, where even the mayor says that whatever happens to them is deserved if they support Israel. The BBC has still never reported any of that. They’ve censored lots of news of violence against Jews in Europe, another example being the story of how the Dutch police had to start a sting operation where cops posed undercover as orthodox Jews as a way to catch the increasing number of people attacking them.
So imagine my surprise when I saw this “From Our Own Correspondent” piece about anti-Jewish sentiment in Egypt. In fact, I was almost as surprised as the BBC’s Thomas Dinham was to see evidence of the rampant anti-Semitism there. How I was the subject of anti-Semitic abuse in Cairo
Relations between Israel and Egypt have become increasingly strained in recent weeks, and in the Egyptian capital there is a mounting sense of tension, including incidents of anti-Semitism.
Okay, let’s ignore the nonsense about how it’s only a recent thing. Give the poor Beeboid a chance.
Suspicion is a feature of everyday life in Egypt, and a fondness for conspiracy theories is as much a part of the landscape here as the constant traffic jams and their accompanying symphony of blaring car horns.
With the democratic certainties that greeted the immediate aftermath of January’s revolution having faded, however, the climate of mistrust and unease about the hard-won gains of the revolution is becoming increasingly palpable.
As disquiet sets in, so does the fear of foul play, backroom deals and, increasingly, malign foreign influences.
Back on solid ground here. This is the normal way of things in any Arab/Muslim country, as anyone who has spent more than five minutes anywhere in the region would know. To be fair, this kind of magical thinking – believing the most outrageous, quasi-supernatural causes for anything and everything – exists in many parts of the less developed world, from Africa to Asia. So good for Dinham for using those keen journalistic instincts to notice.
Dinham begins to relate his experience of sitting at a restaurant in Cairo, and beginning to notice the suspicious stares of the Egyptian men around him. A conversation soon starts, and he discovers they think he’s an Israeli. He doesn’t take it very well.
I was shocked. In nearly six months of living in Syria, where orchestrated hysteria about Israel is integral to the very identity of the state, I had never heard the accusation surreptitiously levelled against me.
Neither am I from Israel, nor am I Jewish, but as someone of unmistakably European appearance, I have found myself constantly associated with Israel in Egyptian eyes.
Dinham seems to miss the point here. Anti-Israel sentiment is spread in many ways in Egypt, not just by the government. And here it’s time to clearly separate the notion of legitimate criticsm of Israel from demonization. Most of this is demonization, not criticism. There’s the Muslim Brotherhood for a start. In fact, half the anti-Mubarak noise we heard during the protests was about how wrong he was for making peace with Israel. Assad and the Syrian government have never had to worry about that accusation, so there’s much less reason for people in Syria to be fretting over Israel the way Egyptians do, especially now. If he thinks it’s just the government who spread this stuff, he’s seriously out of touch.
So his story continues. A few days after this, a nearby bridge collapses, making a loud noise, and immediately the locals suspect foul play. Like I said, this is to be expected from people with this magical mindset. Dinham now expects it, too. But then he tries to play it down.
Israel is just one of a panoply of worries that exercise the conspiracy theorists that frequent Egypt’s cafes.
The standard fare of political gossip tends to revolve around the trial of [former President Hosni] Mubarak, internal corruption, and the causes behind the dire economic woes Egypt is currently experiencing.
A prosecuting lawyer at Mr Mubarak’s trial even introduced the novel idea that the ex-president had died years ago, and that the man on trial was none other than an impostor.
Again, this is typical of that mindset. The more wild and supernatural the idea, the more it spreads, and the easier it is to use as an explanation for just about anything. So Dinham doesn’t quite get this, and plays down the Israel angle.
I would hazard a guess that Israel struggles to make it into the top-five political issues discussed in Egypt.
“Political issues”. The problem is that the anger towards Israel is anything but simply political. Does he not realize this?
Israel has probably been less of a concern than the rising power of Shia Iran in the region, which apparently worries many in this overwhelmingly Sunni country, partly thanks to a constant stream of stridently sectarian rhetoric broadcast from Saudi Arabia.
Sounds like somebody has spent too much time speaking with the educated elite, and not so much with regular people.
In the Byzantine politics of the region, hearing strident opposition to Israel and its greatest regional foe, from the same person, almost in the same breath, is commonplace.
Again, magical thinking, not rational. This the result not of legitimate criticism of Israel, but of a relentless campaign of demonization, where Israel is the sole instigator, genocidal, always to blame, the root cause of all ills in the region. No surprise to us, but obviously very confusing to Dinham. So he’s been shrugging it off the whole time, staying inside the elite thought bubble. Until now.
Nevertheless, a strong and sometimes violent dislike of Israel is a fact of Egyptian life, something I was unfortunate enough to discover after a cross-border raid by Israel killed several Egyptian security personnel.
The Israelis had been chasing a group of gunmen who had attacked an Israeli bus close to the border between the two countries.
He’s not blaming Israel for starting it, for a change. He’s just saying the event was a catalyst for what was to come, which is probably correct.
While walking in the street someone pushed me from behind with such force that I nearly fell over.
Turning around, I found myself surrounded by five men, one of whom tried to punch me in the face.
Fortunately, Dinham had an intelligent response:
I stopped the attack by pointing out how shameful it was for a Muslim to assault a guest in his country, especially during Ramadan.
I applaud this. It makes a wonderful counterpoint to what I heard on the BBC News Channel back when Muslims in Paksitan Afghanistan started killing people out of anger against the idea that Pastor Jones in Florida was thinking about burning a Koran. At the time, Huw Edwards was speaking with some MCB mouthpiece about the incident, and expressed his concern that the response from the Muslims was less “nuanced” than some would like. The MCB guy said the violence was perfectly understandable because it was the end of Ramadan, and as people had spent the last month deep in prayer and spiritual contemplation that it was only natural that they’d want to kill. I’m not making that up, and we’ve heard that excuse a lot. So it’s nice to see a BBC journalist stating that violence in Ramadan is not acceptable. In any case, Dinham’s enlightenment continues:
Relieved that a seemingly random assault was over, I was appalled by the apology offered by one of my assailants. “Sorry,” he said contritely, offering his hand, “we thought you were a Jew.”
Too bad his colleagues aren’t equally appalled when this happens all over Europe.
Shaking his head in disbelief on hearing the news, an Egyptian friend sympathised: “That’s stupid, you are obviously not a Jew.”
The chilling implication I was left with was that, had I been Jewish, the assault would have apparently been justified.
Congratulations, Thomas Dinham. Welcome to the real world. We’ve only been saying this for years, while the BBC has tolerated it, played it down, and swept it under the rug. Let this be a lesson to all Beeboids. Jews everywhere are expected to suffer because of Israel, and the demonization of Israel is a direct cause of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews worldwide. Not criticism of Israel, mind, but demonization. There’s a difference.
It’s time the BBC was honest about it.
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This is the last inthe “drama” called the core. Give it a listen from 6 mins onwards http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01490q8 public sector = good private = bad Even Sky gets a bizarre mention in a lefty rant on wonderful nature of publicsector provision. And its great someone reviewed the background of that “oil analyst”
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Both pieces talk about how this was a (misguided and wrong, in my view) retaliation for the Israeli Government’s razing of some illegal Jewish settlements in the area.
The BBC reports that the Hebrew graffiti threatens further attacks, while Ikhwanweb just says the settlers left racist graffiti. It looks like it’s supposed to say something like “Mohammed go away”, but my Hebrew’s a bit rusty and this may be vernacular. There’s apparently other graffiti not shown in either report, so there isn’t enough information to draw a proper conclusion about who is more accurate.
I should mention here that the Jerusalem Post reports something not mentioned by either the BBC or Ikhwanweb: the mosque was not in use, and there were no holy books inside. Unhelpful context, that.
Ikhwanweb, whose sympathies are not in question and who do not claim impartiality, report Palestinian eyewitness accounts that IDF forces abetted the arson crime, while the BBC instead reports rumors of the IDF training settlers to fight Palestinians. The openly anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood reports eyewitness accounts (whether one beileves them or not, at least they’re trying), while the allegedly impartial BBC instead makes an inflammatory statement. There is some training going on, in fact, and the BBC uses this to plant the idea in the reader’s mind that the Israeli Government is actually responsible for this and future violence. Even though the training is for defensive purposes.
The BBC report closes with the required (yes, BBC, it’s required, and I challenge anyone to prove that it isn’t, and no whining about proving a negative: this is included nearly verbatim in every report about settlements) boilerplate copied and pasted from the style guide:
There are some 500,000 Jewish Settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Settlements are regarded as illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
Meanwhile, the more informative and balanced Ikhwanweb closes with this:
Since the incident, more and more Palestinians have criticized the Palestinian Authority which rules the West Bank, accusing security services of not fulfilling the ”duty of protecting the mosques”.
One Palestinian man Mohammed Abdurrahman condemned the West Bank security services for the inability to protect the mosques at a time when the services have effectively persecuted Palestinian resistance fighters in the West Bank.
No mention of this at all by the BBC. They’re too busy stoking up anger against Israel. And there’s no obligatory moaning about the number of Jewish settlements or legal judgments about them from Ikhwanweb.
One is tempted to say that the Muslim Brotherhood is more interested in accuracy and balance about the Israel/Palestinian conflict than the BBC is. Once again it seems that the Corporation’s editorial policy and innate bias cause them to demonize Israel at every opportunity, although the BBC disputes this.
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Biased BBC reader “As I see it” has provided us with the following thoughtful analysis – give it a read!
“It is my contention
that there is a left-wing bias in the output of the BBC.
I happen to have a group of friends with whom I meet at regular intervals for a
particular leisure activity. (And no, it doesn’t involve either caravanning or
dubious sexual practices in secluded locations – nor does it combine the two.
So don’t try to guess).
The point is the members of this group are all employed in charities, trades
unions and the public sector and they are all fairly staunch Labour supporters
– indeed in most cases longstanding party members.
Some may regard my keeping up with these people as masochism on my part but I
find it fascinating. (And no, as I already explained there is nothing in the
least exotic about this activity).
I recall meeting up with these people in the dying days of the last government
at the time when they knew they were staring down the barrel of defeat. After
thirteen years of power the political situation was causing some soul
searching, I can tell you. Needless to say they are not particularly strong on
the economics. They tend to focus on social, political and media issues.
had gone wrong they asked?
Not personally coming to this debate with the view that the fall of the Brown
premiership was entirely a bad thing, I nevertheless threw in my two-pennyworth
as a bit of a digression. I put forward the contention that the BBC had only
ever seemed to criticize the Blair/Brown government from the left. I was not
surprised with the general response that this was some form of heresy. You see
Labour supporters on the one hand tend to convince themselves that there are
actually too many conservative voices on the BBC – however they still see the
old Corporation as a pretty hallowed institution. In other words although they
say that they believe it is not left-wing enough for them they still don’t see
any pressing need for change. A suspicious position don’t you think? I think it
is odd, given that people on the left usually tend to be pretty iconoclastic
when it comes to British institutions. They certainly don’t hold back when it
comes to wanting change in the Police, the! Monarchy, the House of Lords,
Devolution, etc, etc. When it comes to the BBC they seem to want more of it!
Despite the reluctance of most to openly admit the truth that the BBC’s centre of
gravity is several steps to the left of where the British general public stand
there were still one or two guilty nods and winks of recognition to my
observation that the Labour government had only really been criticized by the
BBC from the left side of any debate.
In order to persuade anyone who may remain unconvinced I would cite two topical
examples that show up how the BBC is out of kilter with the outlook of the
British public: the AV referendum and the recent rioting.
The AV Referendum. This was not a simple left ‘v’ right debate. In fact it was
much more interesting than that. The Conservatives were against it but so was a
significant section of Labour MPs – a section of what you might call old
Labour. Ed Miliband and his new leadership were in favour, even though he might
have been supposed to be in the process of reconnecting with traditional
supporters and wishing to differentiate himself from the aloof and metropolitan
Bairites and New Labour, he still came down squarely on the side of something
that was dubbed “progressive”. Now there were political and tactical
complications but the debate was framed as one pitching “progressives” against
British tradition and the existing constitution. Now don’t forget the public
were still seething from the MPs’ expenses scandal and might have been thought
to have been keen for some new politics – yet the referendum revealed only a
tiny section of the British public would vote f! or this so-called
“progressive” measure. In the event the metropolitan “progressives” were left
high and dry. I don’t suppose we will be having any further referenda on other
cherished progressive propositions of the BBC liberals any time soon. I’m sure
the British publics’ views on EU membership, capital punishment, global warming,
immigration, etc will all now continue to go untested for the foreseeable
It was a similar situation with the issues surrounding the August riots. There
was an obvious disconnect between the BBC opinion and the British public
reaction on all the relevant issues. This was apparent from the initial
‘careful now, stand off’ Police control methods, to the typical profile and
motivations of the rioters, right through to the handing down of sentences by
Now there are those in the BBC and their supporters on the left who will cling
to the concept that the BBC is there to challenge our views and to come with
ideas from ‘left field’.
I wholeheartedly disagree. These left-liberal views have had a fair old crack
of the whip and look where we are now.
It must be time that the licence paying public should tell the BBC enough is
enough. Please stop visualizing yourselves as being some elite cadre leading us
dumb prols ever leftward by the nose. Please get back to the basics of what we
pay you for: informing and entertaining us.”
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Here’s a jolly good analysis of a day in the life of the BBC from a regular B-BBC contributor;
“Never ones to let an opportunity slip, at death o’clock this morning R4 gave us some thoughts from the BBC’s World Service (unavailable on listen again for some reason)…..Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza have made Hamas reconsider its two year cease fire and what its response will be to Israeli aggression.
Moving quickly on we are informed the Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan (him of the bayonets, helmets and barracks…oh and he said ‘Islam means Jihad’) was going to visit Somalia bringing untold relief to the people…..the question is what will the hard line al Shabab group make of the ‘moderate’ Erdogan?…….then onto Syria…whilst Israel had no right of reply in the first report the Syrian government were allowed to plead self defence to their actions in shooting civilians….and all through the day the BBC have been pressing the belief that oil sanctions against Syria will only harm the civilians there and do no harm to the regime….and strangely we hear absolute! ly nothing of Turkey’s recent attacks on the Kurds….Over 30,000 people have been killed in the last 10 years, 8,000 Kurdish villages wiped out and mass movement of refugees….most of this has been done by Turkey….proof recently surfaced that the Turks had used chemical weapons on the Kurds…but the BBC remains silent.
Onwards to glory and Excess Baggage leads the charge with Sandi Toksvig venturing into Istanbul…where of course Western and Eastern culture live in perfect harmony and Turkey would make a valuable new member of the European club….just lock up your daughters, wear a stab vest and carry a gas mask.
Wasting no time we jump aboard a train in the Interrail Tales where we hear that the HST trains in Europe are marvellous, and did you know Europe is great and everyone is so alike…..why can’t we all just get on? If only we had HST trains in the UK perhaps we wouldn’t riot!
Then the intrepid Mark Mardell ‘From Our On Correspondent’ goes on Safari to wildest USA to investigate the ‘delights of the Republican infighting…the wacky races that are the Republican primaries….it all makes good copy!’ Indeed where would be without Mardell’s insights….he does give us a warning though…he admits to professional disdain towards the Republican primaries….never would have guessed…..and he goes on to insinuate and smear with snide remarks that Michelle Bachman would probably like to execute gay people and thinks slavery should continue for blacks who don’t convert to Christianity.
The Republicans are cartoon caricatures that even Republican voters don’t want and who are only waiting for a more sensible Republican candidate to come along…presumably one that Mardell has personally vetted and endorsed….must be Black, a Democrat and Muslim…preferably gay and with a spending problem.
Finally of course there was an earlier discussion about the riots on the Today programme….Justin Webb trying to persuade us that the riots were of course a result of a class battle, a new long term war with the poor rising up ….and he seriously suggested the magistrates were on the other side merely defending the interests of the upper classes rather than dishing out righteous justice.
The fact that he brought in Tariq Ali to buttress his arguments tells us all we need to know when a superannuated old Trot like Ali is deemed a reasonable source of opinion….conveniently he did indeed trot…out the old lie…..poverty caused the riots along with the all pervasive urges to buy buy buy in this consumer society…and of course the poor rioters can’t afford all the stuff they want….so they steal it…it’s only fair….the MPs do just the same….moral equivalency…MPs fiddle their expenses, inner city yoof burns down homes and businesses and kills a few people….all the same thing really.”
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It seems like we’re about to get a deal of some sort to temporarily alleviate the debt crisis. I say temporarily, because there’s no telling how it’s all going to work out over the next two years. In any case, it’s not done yet, so it’s a couple days early to start mocking the BBC’s coverage with “Lo! The Conq’ring Hero Comes”. What I’d like to do is provide some examples of the exact same budget issue the country has been experiencing at the state level. The BBC has mostly ignored all of this. It’s important, though, to bring this up for two reasons.
1. Spending a moment on how individual states solved their problems provides some helpful context with which to understand the national debate.
2. The reality of what’s gone on at the state level basically puts the lie to what the BBC has been telling you about the national issue.
First up, Wisconsin. Many people here will remember the BBC’s wild-eyed coverage of what went on in Wisconsin a few months back, when a Republican governor was, as the BBC put it, trying to pass an anti-union budget. Searching this blog for Wisconsin-related content will provide plenty of evidence of the BBC’s biased coverage, telling you how awful Gov. Walker’s plan would be for honest public sector workers. I don’t even want to get into how the BBC censored all news of violent and hateful rhetoric from the Left, in stark contrast to the way they focused on every fringe outlier in the Tea Party protests they covered.
In any case, the state had the same budget crisis the country is facing: too much spending, not enough money coming in. The Governor and the Legislature decided to cut spending. The BBC wasn’t happy. So it’s important to check in now to see how things turned out.
Apparently, pretty well. It seems that, by saving money, the state was able to save lots of teachers’ jobs they were going to lose the way things were going. Not only that, but the state itself went from being deep in the red to nosing into the black. It’s possible, you see, if you don’t listen to the likes of Ed Balls or Harry Reid or Mark Mardell. I’ll let the Lt. Governor of Wisconsin, Rebecca Kleefisch, explain.
(After just looking at her and hearing the first three words out of her mouth, tell me Ms. Kleefisch wouldn’t absolutely drive the Beeboids like Justin Webb insane.)
Who’d have thought, eh? Not the BBC. There’s something else they never told you about the situation in Wisconsin: the Democrats’ budget would have added $1.7 billion in spending, leading to a $1.4 billion deficit. Yet the BBC advocates against people who oppose this kind of thing. Mark Mardell has described the national version as “borrowing enough money to continue governing“. No other viewpoint on the issue is allowed without qualifying it as “extreme” or “right-wing” or “protecting the wealthy”. So Wisconsin is one example of the BBC’s ideology causing them to get it wrong when they reported on the beginning of the story, wrong in the middle, and then go silent when the result is something that goes against their ideology.
It would be very instructive in figuring out the national debate if one were to look at a concrete example of a success. No wonder the BBC censors it.
Let’s look at another example, one which the BBC barely touched on because there was no loud union agitating to support: Ohio. This state is worth looking at because it’s one of those bell-weather states, which many pundits watch to predict national voting trends (probably a variety of reasons for this, but that’s for another time).
Ohio hasn’t been doing well in recent years. Last year, unemployment was one of the highest in the country, and had a negative credit rating from Standard & Poors. However, last November, Republican John Kasich got elected – with the help of a Tea Party trend in the state, where they won a majority of Congressional seats and state legislature spots. Care to guess the result? The BBC won’t tell you, so I will:
After getting elected, Gov. Kasich (a former Congressman and then…*shudder*…a Fox News talking head) passed a budget which reined in spending. S&P raised the state’s credit rating.
Standard & Poors Ratings Services upgraded Ohio’s debt rating just one day after it put the United States on “creditwatch negative” on what it calls a rising risk of policy stalemate in the debt limit negotiations.
For Ohio, the rating was revised from “negative” to “stable” after Gov. John Kasich signed a new budget the ratings agency says will essentially balance the state’s finances for the next two years. S&P also said Ohio is experiencing a modest economic recovery which has stabilized revenue.
In making the upgrade, the agency also assigned a “AA+” long-term rating to Ohio’s $416.75 million general obligation bonds.
“After a significant decline through the recession, Ohio’s economy is steadily recovering,” according to S&P’s statement issued Friday.
Who could have imagined? No need to borrow more, no need for class war. Well, actually Ohio did repeal its estate tax. The class warriors hate that.
Contrary to the opinions espoused across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting, neither Wisconsin nor Ohio needed to borrow more money to continue governing, and spending cuts had positive effects. And none of that “too much, too soon” nonsense. Oh, and the credit rating went up not because of more borrowing but because of a solid short-term plan. Again, not what the BBC has led you to believe.
Texas, with its Republican governor and legislature, has had a budget surplus for like three years running. And that state has led the country in job creation by a long mile. And – oh, the horror – it’s a low-tax state. No wonder Rick Perry is a popular dark horse candidate for President these days. I know, the BBC never told you any of this.
How about Nikki Haley in South Carolina? Yep, now there’s a budget surplus. Is she a “Tea Party darling” too, BBC? Wake me up when they acknowledge her accomplishment. Same goes for Mitch Daniels in Indiana.
So there you have some reality, some context in which to understand the national debate on the debt crisis. Real solutions, real results, all the opposite of the BBC’s propaganda. Did any of these Governors send out the attack dogs like the President has? Did any of these Governors demonize their opponents the way the President has? No, for they are leaders, not mere instigators, and what’s more, have actual plans and sound policies, not just speeches and rhetoric.
This is the reality at the state level, and thank goodness the Founding Fathers had the wisdom to enshrine the level of state autonomy that they did. Too bad the BBC censors news of things that don’t fit their ideological agenda, while telling you the opposite is the only way to save the country.
Who’s being intransigent again, BBC?
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That’s how Britain’s venerable broadcaster, the BBC, treated the mythical anecdote about media titan William Randolph Hearst and his purported vow to “furnish the war” with Spain in the late 19th century.
In an article posted online yesterday, the BBC described Hearst as the “definitive [news] baron” and declared:
“He’s credited with the invention of tabloid journalism in the 1890s when his New York Journal began a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. He also had a reputation as a warmonger.
“‘You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war,’ goes an apocryphal instruction he was supposed to have sent in a telegram to an illustrator in Havana.”
That’s right, the line is apocryphal. What, then, is the point in using it? As a none-too-clever, back-handed way of buttressing the dubious notion that Hearst and his newspapers were capable of fomenting a war?
That’s sloppy journalism from a leading international news organization.
Someone at BBC News Online instructed Peter Jackson and Tom de Castella to whip up a piece that would give everyone the idea that nasty Uncle Rupert might be responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And they used an apocryphal quote to help create that context of a press baron “known” to have instigated war, knowing full well that’s what they were doing.
UPDATE: A stealth edit? The BBC article now includes MillerCoors’ statement that they filed the paperwork beforehand. They don’t tell quite the full story, but this more or less negates my claim. News Sniffer doesn’t have it yet, so I can’t prove anything as I didn’t take a screenshot.
In case there are any lingering doubts, here’s more proof of the BBC’s bias and dishonesty when it comes to reporting on the budget crisis in the US. They’ve put up a report about a problem caused by Minnesota’s shut down f the state government.
Beer giant MillerCoors may be forced to stop selling 39 popular beers in stores and bars in Minnesota because of the state’s ongoing government shutdown.
The company failed to renew their brand label registration before a budget dispute prompted a shutdown on 1 July.
This is in fact serious business. They’re going to have to start actually removing product from shells state-wide, which is a very, very costly undertaking on top of the revenue loss. Now, being fan of real ale and proper beer in general, I’m the last person to shed a tear over people being deprived of this cheap swill, and the possible boost in business for real craft brews, of which there are plenty in the region. But that’s beside the point. What I’m complaining about here is the reason the BBC reports for this happening:
State employees who process alcohol licence renewals were laid off when the government shut down, Minnesota official Doug Neville said.
Oh, did he, now? Since this is a US issue, my first instinct is not to believe what the BBC reports when it comes to obviously partisan politics. Neville could be merely protecting a Democrat government. So let’s see what the local paper has to say about it:
The company tried to renew in mid-June, but the process got delayed when they wrote a check for too much money. Green said they sent in a new check, which the state received on June 27, but nonetheless got a letter three days later saying their brand licenses had expired.
“We believe we’ve followed all applicable state laws on this,” Green said.
In other words, this is happening not because the state employees who process the paperwork were laid off due to a government shut down (caused by nasty old Republicans preventing saintly Democrats from saving the state, no doubt), but by general incompetence on both sides. The BBC is in no doubt whose fault it is, and they don’t want you to have any doubts either:
The government shutdown in Minnesota began over a budget impasse.
The state’s Democratic Governor, Mark Dayton, had called for spending cuts and tax increases, while the Republican-led legislature rejected higher taxes.
Well, at least they don’t call the Republicans “newly empowered” this time. Must look into getting that style guide updated. In any case, the BBC reports that Neville claimed that the paperwork wasn’t done because the employees were laid off, but clearly that’s not what happened. In fact, this looks an awful lot like the Minnesota state government deliberately obstructed the license renewal and is damaging businesses across the state to score political points.
What Neville really means is that the paperwork can’t be redone now (or since the day after MillerCoors got their expiration notice) because the employees are laid off. But that’s not why it got canceled in the first place. Except you don’t know that because the BBC didn’t give you the information you need.
Why did the BBC leave it out of context like this? Don’t they know what actually happened? Or do they know all too well, but censored the facts out in order to support their Narrative? The “More on this story” links at the bottom currently go to national sources, not local ones. Yes, I realize these change as they are updated on some schedule, but the only valid links should be local papers. Both the Time and CNN items actually tell the truth, so why can’t the BBC? It’s not good enough to lie in the report and only put a link to the truth at the bottom. Curiously one wire report has the Neville quote about the employees being laid off.
Once again the BBC reports on a US issue from the anti-Republican perspective, even allowing a little white lie in the process. And hey: if this is really down to sloppy churnalism necessitated by the 24/7 news cycle we demand from them, then what’s the point of it? Once again I say that the BBC can just shut down its entire newsgathering service on the US and simply replace them all with a news aggregator. You’d get more information that way, and less bias.
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