On Institutional Bias

This isn’t specifically about any one instance of BBC bias, but it is directly, 100% relevant to our ongoing debate about whether or not it’s possible for there to be an institutional bias at the BBC even though there’s no deliberate conspiracy to push an agenda or narrative (except, you know, when there is: e.g. 28-Gate and the deference to Islamic sensitivities and multiculturalism).

Will Bloomberg Challenge the New York Times

Now that Nanny Bloomberg is done with trying to use political power to directly control the personal behavior of New Yorkers, he’s aiming bigger. Despite his previous claim of not wanting to get into editorial control of Bloomberg News, well, that’s what he’s now doing.

Is Mike Bloomberg the next William Randolph Hearst, a tycoon who mixes media and politics, influencing the course of the nation? Bloomberg has the money and the opportunity; we know he wants a seat at the policy table.

In a recent piece, The New York Times says that the former New York City mayor is involving himself in the editorial activities of Bloomberg LP. The Grey Lady sounds concerned, and rightly so. Just as Mr. Bloomberg won unlikely election as mayor of a heavily Democrat city by skipping through the political middle, he could also steer Bloomberg’s news operation in between the left-leaning Times and right-sided Dow Jones, ending up where a great many Americans reside. It would be a fitting and satisfying next step for the successful financier and politician, who is clearly not ready to retire.

Anybody who thinks Bloomberg is going to seek the happy middle hasn’t been paying attention. I’m not sure how the normally fairly sensible Liz Peek thinks Bloomberg was anything other than a life-long Democrat dressed up first in Republican sheep’s clothing, and then pretended to be an Independent, and it’s worrying that she can look at the track record of his third extra-legal term in office and see anything even remotely resembling the middle ground where most Americans live. But that’s another story. The story here is that Bloomberg News has grown to be much bigger, staff-wise, than the WaPo, and is rivaling the NY Times. I’m bringing up this article because of the following:

But, it’s not all about numbers. It is also about positioning. The New York Times has become more liberal over time, derided on the right these days as a virtual mouthpiece for the Obama White House. The paper has not endorsed a Republican for president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956; the nod has gone to the Democrat candidate in every election since.

It’s not just those on the right that see the paper as tilting left — former ombudsman Daniel Okrent wrote a farewell piece in 2004 describing the paper as slanted liberal, especially on topics like gay marriage. As he said, rather gingerly, “On a topic that has produced one of the defining debates of our time, Times editors have failed to provide the three-dimensional perspective balanced journalism requires.” He noted that the paper unintentionally tends to “tell only the side of the story your co-religionists wish to hear,” but adds that “negligence doesn’t have to be intentional.”

Another departing public editor, Arthur Brisbane, made a similar confession as he exited the paper a year and a half ago. He admitted “the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds,” a “kind of political and cultural progressivism” that leads to “developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage” being treated “more like causes than news subjects.” And, this is from the inside.

Emphases mine.

This isn’t the wittering of some angry, fat, old, single white male (or whatever other pejoratives defenders of the indefensible like to hurl at us) ranting because some media outlet publishes opinions he doesn’t like, pretending to read their minds and reading things that aren’t there. This is a case of two different professional, highly experienced journalists (three if you count Peek as well) saying that there is an institutional bias in a world-class, long-lived news organization, and that it happens quite naturally due to the personnel involved.

Does that sound familiar? It should. It’s what I’ve been saying about the BBC for years. For evidence of the hive-mind at the BBC, one need look no further than the “In Their Own Tweets” page. For more evidence, look at the “In Their Own Words” page. Then read the last line of this feature on the BBC’s “North America editor”, Mark Mardell. Then consider the evidence of 28-Gate, Robin Aitken’s book, Peter Sissons’ complaints, and Jeremy Paxman’s statement on using the World Service to “spread influence”. These are only the tip of the world’s largest media iceberg.

I submit that the evidence of this hive-mind which causes the institutional bias at the BBC is irrefutable. And professional, experienced journalists know that this is a very real phenomenon in media organizations.

A View From Outside The Echo Chamber

Defenders of the indefensible love to belittle this blog by claiming that it’s nothing more than a microscopic minority of cranks and haters caught up in an echo chamber, not representative of any popular opinions, not a single word to be taken seriously. The views expressed here about BBC bias do not, we’re told, represent anything other than an extremist, miniscule minority.

With this in mind, I’d like to direct your attention to this piece by  US writer from Minnesota, James Lileks. He’s of the Right, but socially pretty liberal and has plenty of mainstream opinions and tastes, although maybe an unhealthy obsession with advertising and magazine art from the 1950s. In other words, he’s not the kind of extremist defenders of the indefensible claim we are. So when he independently catches the BBC in exactly the kind of bias we point out here, it’s worth taking note.

Read the following, part of a larger point about “offensive” art and intentions, and notice how it could have been written by any number of people here:

While listening to the BBC today I heard an interview with a California church singled out by the Southern Poverty Law Center – “an organization that monitors hate groups,” and thus utterly neutral and trustworthy, of course; the very act of dedicating yourself to the task proves you’re on the side of the angels. The interviewer, having been informed that the church endorsed the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video, badgered the pastor about supporting hate,  sounding as though he had a film of sour jam around his teeth as he spoke. The pastor asked the interviewer to explain how the film was inaccurate. There wasn’t any response to that, but the earnestness of the pastor and all that JEEESUS talk was supposed to say it all.

Then the  Southern Poverty Law Center spokesperson said that the church wasn’t violent, but such extremism, combined with easy access to firearms, made for a worrisome situation.

The impetus for the story, just to recap, was a video that supposedly made people on the other side of the world rise up in murderous rage, which had nothing to do with the church in the profile, except that they endorsed its sentiments. They do not believe that Mohammed was a prophet. I suspect the interviewer didn’t, either, but of course he said “The prophet Mohammed” whenever the subject arose.

It’s just easier all around that way. You get less mail.

It’s stuff like this that makes me laugh when defenders of the indefensible do their “you’re an obscure tiny minority and nobody agrees with you anywhere outside the echo chamber” routine. This is also yet another example of the institutional bias at the BBC. Same perspective on this story, same angle of attack, same “Prophet Mohammed”, but on another programme on another channel. Lileks doesn’t say, but this is most likely the World Service, editorially independent and far away from Barbara Plett on Radio 4 and some Beeboid on the News Channel and the rest of the spectrum of BBC broadcasting. They don’t need to pass memos around or send editorial directives from on high or hold secret meetings to deliberately plan this kind of biased reporting: it’s reflexive. It comes naturally to them because that’s the kind of people the BBC hires and that’s the atmosphere in house.

Reporting The US On The Bias

“Cutting on the bias” in wood or textiles means cutting diagonally against the grain so that it accentuates the lines. That’s what’s going on at the BBC’s special section on the US 2012 election. It hasn’t been updated in a couple of days, and here’s how it appears now:

White House propaganda, White House propaganda, and more of it, with a couple of fluff pieces thrown in. The top story at the moment is the BBC’s explanation of the President’s first ad attacking Romney for his association with Bain Capital. It’s become more balanced than it initially was, as people here pointed out earlier this week, and presumably after somebody at the BBC realized it. It’s still not entirely balanced as they’ve got the President’s ad embedded right at the top of the piece, while including only a link to Romney’s rebuttal. The link below that is to a second attack ad on Romney on the same topic. No links to anything from Romney.

The “Latest news” section is slightly out of date, but the bias is still obvious. Besides the news brief about Ron Paul ending his “active campaign”, the other featured reports are about Hollywood feting the President for His recent endorsement of homosexual marriage, a piece about Romney reacting contritely to that Washington Post hit piece – now proven to be less than accurate, although the BBC has never bothered to inform you of that – about him allegedly bullying a homosexual a few decades ago (another score for the White House campaign machine), and a piece lamenting Sen. Richard Lugar’s defeat in the Republican primary for Senate in Indiana. We’re told by “correspondents” that this will make the Senate more partisan than ever. Translation: the Democrat majority won’t get their way so easily. This is a biased position, of course, shown to be all the more ludicrous since the Senate just rejected the President’s own budget proposal 99-0. You can’t get more bi-partisan than that, which is why the BBC has so far censored that news.

The video features also reveal the biased grain in the BBC’s perspective on the US elections. The section on Battleground States isn’t all that bad in general, and I won’t try to read too much into a perceived emphasis on Democrat optimism. But there is a blatant lie in the section on Wisconsin. You have to click on the State in the Battleground feature to read the following:

Barack Obama will be hoping to hold on to the sizeable majority he won in 2008, and will be helped by the state’s strong union movement. The unions have been leading the opposition to new Republican Governor Scott Walker’s controversial bid to restrict workers’ collective bargaining rights. The proposals led to mass protests and a successful attempt to trigger a recall election for Mr Walker’s job.

The bit I’ve bolded is, quite simply, a lie. What Walker did was restrict the right of public sector unions’ rights on collective bargaining. The BBC admitted that part when they first began reporting on this story, yet here they deliberately mislead you to think it’s an attack on all workers, full stop. I simply don’t accept the excuse that this was simplified due to space constraints or because it’s an unimportant distinction. And of course, by “controversial”, the BBC means that the unions didn’t like it. Another issue of bias here is that the BBC gives you only the Democrat unions issue, and not the budget disaster Gov. Walker faced upon taking office, which just as much a concern for voters. The budget concern is why Walker sought to restrict public sector union power and their burden on the State. It’s not all union workers everywhere, only the public sector ones, which is why I maintain that it’s an important distinction. As most people here will know, their coverage of the Wisconsin situation has been extremely biased and at times dishonest. Plenty of background can be found here, here, here, here, and here. I don’t expect the BBC to update this section with the news that the union-backed candidate lost the Democrat primary for the recall, which kind of puts a damper on the whole issue, making the BBC’s take even less useful.

The magazine piece explaining why candidates’ wives don’t win elections is reasonable, no bias there, for a change.

Next up is the piece by Justin Webb – Mark Mardell’s predecessor as North America editor, whose gushing reports about The Obamessiah during the 2008 election won him the coveted seat on Today – explaining why the Republicans aren’t ready to lead. My fisking of ol’ Justin’s piece is here.

Then you get Jonny Dymond’s biased piece telling you how the Republican Party is just for white men, freezing out Hispanics. It’s just one in a series of race-baiting pieces from Dymond, whose remit seems to be proving that Republicans and any opponents of the President are racist. See here, for example.

If you still aren’t convinced that Republicans/conservatives are awful, then you can move on to former Obamessiah activist Matt Danzico’s “bespoke” magazine piece about yet another one of those studies showing conservatives are inspired by negatives while liberals are inspired by positives. The study’s goal was to prove a biological and cognitive difference between liberals and conservatives. I won’t bother to address how this leads us down a path to eugenics, but suffice to say that it’s always liberals these days who want to use “science” to prove that they’re superior. Danzico, of course, slightly misrepresents the findings. Another way of describing the findings can be found in the University of Nebraska’s own school paper: conservatives tend to be more realistic while liberals tend to be more idealistic. I find it amusing that a student journalist spins the study less than an adult professional journalist.

And finally, there’s Adam Blenford’s piece worrying that too many people in the US aren’t registered to vote. Setting up the article by using a Republican as an example of a dedicated voter betrays the bias, if one understands that voter “disenfranchisement” is the primary motivation behind ACORN and Left-wing activists who encourage absentee ballots (Blenford uses the youth vote, another Left-wing target demographic, as his example there), same-day registration, and who attack laws requiring ID to vote, all methods behind voter fraud. Some people here may remember Newsnight hiring Left-wing activist and “investigative journalist” to do a special report telling you that only white Republicans engage in voter fraud, and specifically to disenfranchise black people. He also defended ACORN against charges of voter fraud by saying that, even though they do it, it doesn’t affect elections. If that’s not enough to convince you, just do an internet search with the term “voter disenfranchisement 2012” and see who’s worrying about it and what issues are the focus. It’s obvious.

While not every single report is riddled with bias, much of it is, and nearly every single piece on the BBC’s US Election 2012 page is written from a Left-wing perspective one way or another. There’s no memo handed down to make this happen, no directive from on high. It’s due to the BBC hiring what seem to be exclusively Left-wing staff. If they all think that way, there’s no need for an organized institutional bias: it will happen naturally.

The BBC Sides With Illegal Immigrants While Pretending Otherwise

Before I even get into this, I have to call attention to what appears to be the title for a series of reports: “Altered States”. This is bias right up front, as it’s a theme we keep hearing from the BBC and the Left-wing media in the US, that the US has somehow suddenly become more divided and vicious since 2008. I wonder why that is, BBC? Could it be that nothing has really changed except the occupant of the White House? Have we forgotten the constant outrage about Bush, and before him Clinton, and before him (skipping a Bush), Reagan, and before him….well, you get the idea.

In short, this is a BS Narrative being pushed by the BBC, in the long run-up to November, just to reinforce the notion that opponents to the President have made things worse. Not Him, mind you. It’s the fault of His enemies, those who want to tear Him down. Of course, that’s really about racism, right? So, with that in mind, let’s examine what’s sure to be a story involving a racial angle.


Illegal immigrants take taxis to avoid deportation

Here’s the blurb to this in the Top News Story featured links on the main news page:

Illegal immigrants take taxis because to avoid getting pulled over while driving and having their papers checked. “The BBC investigates why.”   I’ll tell you why, BBC: they broke the law. In other news, bank robbers avoid the police because they don’t want to get arrested for heroically redistributing wealth.



“They have their life blocked because of the immigration issue.”

And there you have it. No need to listen further, really, unless you just want to get hit over the head with it repeatedly. Their life is ruined because they broke the law, BBC. They all deliberately broke the law, in many cases repeatedly. Even if we’re to sympathize with the heroic idea that they’re just looking for a better life, I have to ask the BBC why Hispanics are elevated above my own family, who came here legally. There is no embargo, no blockade stopping these people from entering legally and going through the correct process. They don’t because people with whom the BBC sympathizes – and whom the BBC is abetting with this report – enable this illegal behavior.

In the tiniest possible gesture towards balance, we also hear from a white person who tells us about people from Kosovo, who had to go through the legal process. So that’s one voice on the side of the law. Next up, a man who is against the law. Then – the classic trick – a child, to appeal to your sympathy. Then another Hispanic who is against the law.

We next hear from another Hispanic taxi driver, who also shares his concern. And so on.

The blurb accompanying the video report itself says this:

But critics call it a civil rights issue and warn it stokes a climate of fear and division. Ironically, all eight of the cab companies in Gainsville are operated by Hispanics.

Ironically? And there’s the race angle. The fact that they have brown skin and speak Spanish is irrelevant to the legal issue. But that’s the real agenda here, the real Narrative from pro-illegal activists: that it’s about race. Typically, the racialist-minded Beeboids see ethnicity before they see a person’s character. There is a racial angle here, though: brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking people helping other brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking people to break the law. I’m not sure that’s ironic at all.

By the way, BBC, where are all the hand-wringing stories about illegal Chinese immigrants who get deported? Or don’t we care about them because they don’t have the same powerful activist base, and Chinese people don’t get the same sympathy about race discrimination?

Does your head hurt yet? Did you get the message? In case you didn’t, and that lone voice in favor of the law out of ten against somehow held your attention, the closing line is “We just gotta learn how to do it the right way.”

This is a propaganda piece, full stop. Paid for by you.

Myth-Spinning From Detroit

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.

Twitter Me This

Ranting about biased Beeboid tweets has become something of a favorite past time around here recently, and deservedly so.  DB’s trap shooting in particular has provided some real gems, and several other people have brought biased tweets to our attention. The problem, though, is that, with one exception, ultimately the BBC employees revealing their bias remain unaccountable, unaffected by any controversy, and the biased behavior continues unabated.  They have no problem openly laughing at us.

We know that the official BBC guidelines abjure openly biased utterances on social media.  The catch phrase is “Don’t do anything stupid”.  They make a distinction between “official” Twitter accounts and personal ones.  Only the “official” ones (NB: pdf file), which require the approval of management and are allegedly monitored by a senior editor, are required to follow BBC guidelines of impartiality.  If we take a broad constructionist interpretation, this means that anything which is not strictly prohibited in the text would be permitted.  Thus, all those personal accounts can use the “opinions my own” disclaimer as a get-out-of-bias-free card, even though they openly state their positions at the BBC.  It’s pretty obvious that there’s a massive grey area here, and I seriously doubt that BBC management has spent much time trying to draw a line between them.

I have my doubts because we know from Mark Mardell’s appearance at the BBC College of Journalism that they accept that their use of Twitter “doesn’t follow BBC guidelines” (@36:45).   I don’t know how much more proof we need.

The reason I bring this up is because there’s been a highly relevant incident recently at the Washington Post.

Jennifer Rubin, the lone non-Left voice at the paper (she’s a blogger and not even a reporter or editor), recently retweeted a blog post by “Bad Rachel” about the release of Gilad Shalit, which was full of rather unfortunate anti-Palestinian vitriol.  There was naturally a backlash, and Patrick Pexton, the WaPo ombudsman, chose to publicly chastise Rubin for it.  He admits that he always gets a load of complaints that the paper even allows a conservative voice in its pages, which is pretty funny.  But what he said was instructive. Remember, this is about a mere retweet, and not somebody telling George Osborne to [email protected]#$ off or calling for support for Occupy Wall Street:

But how responsible is Rubin for it? She didn’t write it. It did not appear anywhere in The Washington Post — online or in print. It appeared on Abrams’s independent “Bad Rachel” blog, and then Abrams broadcast it on Twitter.


Some readers suggested that because an employee retweeted this link, The Post somehow condones genocide against Palestinians. That’s nonsense. The Post’s journalism and its editorials show a deep commitment to human rights around the globe, from Russia to China, to North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and beyond.


It’s also worth noting that the rules of objectivity that apply to editors, reporters and bloggers in The Post newsroom do not apply to Post opinion bloggers and columnists. Post opinion writers are given greater leeway to say what they want. That’s how it should be. If the opinion section were too politically correct, it’d be dull.

So we see here a distinction between columnists and opinion bloggers.  But is the BBC’s distinction between “official” Twitter accounts and the rest of them equally valid?  I would say not, as people like Matt Danzico and Mark Sandell and Jane Bradley are not opinion bloggers or op-ed writers for the BBC.  Yet they reveal their bias and, in the case of Bradley, seem to be proud of it.

The Washington Post ombudsman then lays out the official guidelines:

Social-media accounts maintained by Washington Post journalists — whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or elsewhere — reflect upon the reputation and credibility of The Washington Post’s newsroom. Even as we express ourselves in more personal and informal ways to forge better connections with our readers, we must be ever mindful of preserving the reputation of The Washington Post for journalistic excellence, fairness and independence.

He again points out that writers hired specifically for their personal opinions are not included in the “journalistic excellence and fairness” bit, but that their public behavior reflects on the credibility of the WaPo nevertheless.

With this example in mind, one has to ask if the BBC should similarly be concerned about how the constant stream of biased tweets from Beeboids from a number of different departments and job levels reflects on their credibility.  Does the “opinions my own” disclaimer really excuse all of it?  Does the Washington Post – a paper so biased that the previous ombudsman apologized for their pro-Obamessiah bias during the 2008 election, and the publisher had to apologize for trying to organize dinner parties at her own home to provide personal access to Administration officials – have more integrity than the BBC?  Unless they rein in this partisan behavior, I would have to say yes.

If nothing else, the sheer volume of biased utterances from the Left and the fact that there has yet to be a single example of a Beeboid tweet from the Right shows that the BBC is full of Leftoids, and the groupthink is endemic. Intellectual diversity at the BBC seems to be practically non-existent, and their public behavior with social media proves it.

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

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

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

The BBC reports it this way:

Wisconsin public workers protest over anti-union bill

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

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

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

‘Scariest thing ever’

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s also a bit of BS:

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

More reality can be found here:

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

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

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

Next the BBC reports on the actual protests:

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

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

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

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

How angry were the protesters, BBC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBC Economic Bias: Only The Left Has It Right

While everyone is enduring yet another full day of BBC reporting negatively about the nasty cuts forced on the poorest by the Conservative-led Coalition, it’s also necessary to check out the BBC’s reporting on budget policy developments in the US.

Barack Obama unveils US budget plans for 2012

US President Barack Obama has unveiled his 2012 budget, describing the proposal as a “down payment” on future cuts to the US budget deficit.

The budget aims to cut $1.1tn (£690bn) from the US deficit over a decade.

He said the US must live within its means and called for some reductions, but said “we can’t sacrifice our future” with drastic cuts.

The White House policy sounds suspiciously like the Labour line. It’s not a coincidence, as both Labour and the White House are guided by the same economic principles. Notice how the BBC treats The Obamessiah’s position.

After the requisite criticisms from Republicans – which sound suspiciously like the Tory statements, only without the luxury of the “we inherited this mess” card – we get more of the Labour line….sorry….White House line that we “can’t sacrifice our future in the process”. Does that sound familiar? It should.

The BBC sub-editor who put this together subtly sets you up to interpret the subsequent statement from the President with this:

Although Mr Obama is empowered to propose a budget, it is up to the US Congress to enact it into law and then to distribute the funds.

Mr Obama’s budget is seen as an opening bid in a long process of negotiation with House and Senate leaders of both parties, and analysts say Republicans will press for deeper cuts.

“Analysts” say? The Republicans themselves have only been shouting it from the rooftops since Nov. 3. Why bother attributing the notion to anonymous analysts? Also notice how the BBC makes sure to include that the negotiations will be with the leaders of both parties.

Then we get some Gordon Brown language in a summary of one of the President’s points:

At a school in Baltimore on Monday morning, Mr Obama called for future investment in education, transportation infrastructure and high speed internet, “so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker anywhere in the world”.

“Spending” is softened and sexed up into “investment”. You’ve all heard that one before, and will continue to hear it next time Ed Balls is in front of a BBC microphone.

Then the BBC quotes the President’s own words about exactly the same thing.

“While it is absolutely essential to live within our means – and while we are absolutely committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to find further savings and to look at a whole range of budget issues – we can’t sacrifice our future in the process,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to invest in those areas that will have the biggest impact in our future.”

So when the BBC writes that His “budget is seen as an opening bid…”, it’s clear that this is in fact the White House’s talking point. In other words, the people who actually see it this way are the President and Katty Kay’s personal friend, the new White House Spokesman. And the BBC dutifully toes the line. He says He’s going to work with “both parties”, just like the sub-editor set framed it above. Another White House talking point turned into BBC reporting.

The resulting impression is that He’s trying His best to reach across the aisle, and any problems will be due to intransigence by nasty Republicans, who want make budget cuts for purely ideological reasons.

Notice, though, more Labour ideology in the President’s statement: “We can’t sacrifice our future”. We hear it time and time again on the BBC when hearing criticisms of the nasty Tory boodget coots.

The bias only gets worse.

Among the programmes slated for cuts under his own plans are some that Mr Obama said he considered crucial, including development grants for poor neighbourhoods.

Hitting the poorest hardest, naturally. It’s getting to be like an echo.

Mr Obama also reiterated his call for $78bn in cuts to the defence budget.

“If we’re going to walk the walk when it comes to fiscal discipline, these kinds of cuts will be necessary,” he said.

He said he aimed to wring greater efficiency from government programmes and to sell 14,000 government office buildings and properties.

So He’s now portrayed as a fiscal hawk. If He’s going to cut the precious US military machine, He must be serious, no? The only mildly opposing view we get is from another analyst who says – wait for it – that the Republicans will want more cuts. Why not get an actual Republican to say it, BBC? None willing to talk to you off the record? Couldn’t any of the legion of Beeboids in the US get a better source? No, an HSBC (greedy banker!) analyst saying we need to cut more will do nicely. Funny how they manage to dig up a month-old quote from the Treasury Secretary about making sure we “don’t hurt the recovery”. Or was it a quote from Ed Balls just mis-attributed? It’s getting very hard to tell. It’s no wonder the BBC is leaning heavily towards one side here.

The reason I’m making this a main post and not just another complaint in an Open Thread is that the bit right before that Geithner/Balls quote highlights the BBC’s bias on economics reporting both in Britain and elsewhere.

Whereas countries such as the UK have imposed spending cuts to reduce their deficits, the Obama administration has said rapid, drastic spending cuts are not the way forward.

This one sentence reveals the massive editorial bias about economics at the BBC. Countries such as the UK, eh, BBC? The Obama administration has said the exact same thing Labour keeps saying, so it must be true. In the context of the recent – including today’s – relentlessly negative BBC reporting on the Tory spending cuts, one can only draw the conclusion that “drastic” spending cuts are disastrous, hit the poorest hardest, etc.

Censored from this and basically all BBC discussions of countries imposing spending cuts is the one country which actually did it starting last year: Germany. Worst of all for the BBC, the Germans seem to have gotten it right.

The German economy, Europe’s largest, has powered the region’s expansion over the past year as companies stepped up output and hiring to meet export demand. While governments from Ireland to Spain are struggling to revive their economies and push down budget deficits, German business confidence surged to a record last month and manufacturing growth accelerated.

Germany’s outlook is looking better and better because of the austerity measures the BBC hated on at the time. They hated it so much that they actually put up a page asking for input from people engaged in anti-austerity riots in Europe. They acknowledged Germany’s success once or twice (while still reminding you that nobody likes it and the masses are rioting anyway), but it’s quickly swept under the rug and censored when discussing policies in Britain, as if the example doesn’t exist.

Business confidence in Germany is the highest in two decades, basically since before West Germany had to absorb East Germany much in the same way that Lloyds had to (yes, had to, despite Robert Peston’s attempts to make you forget about that) absorb HBOS.

This fact is suspiciously missing not only from this report, but from basically every single BBC report or discussion about budget policy. They don’t want you to think about it, because it contradicts the Narrative: Left economic policies are better.

All you hear from the BBC is how bad these cuts are, and what cruel and unnecessary damage is being done. You never hear of a case where it’s working, and certainly are never allowed to consider how the alternative plan failed in Japan and Ireland, for example. The BBC’s partisan bias on budget policy is very clear and consistent.

An Irrational Fear of God at the BBC

The BBC, along with the rest of the Left-leaning media, has from almost the very start tried to portray the Tea Party movement as a far-right, extremist movement. At first, their main Narrative was that racism was the primary motivating factor behind the movement, with a generic anti-government theme as window dressing. When the movement which the BBC at first ignored, then played down, kept growing far beyond their expectations, the next Narrative was that it was a primarily Christianist movement. This of course was intended to lead the audience into thinking that the Tea Party supporters were clearly off the deep end, as all good Liberals know that anyone who self-identifies as a Christian is halfway towards extremist beliefs anyway. The recent offerings from various BBC-enabled comedians on such programmes as Have I Got News For You and Radio 5 are proof of this mindset.

As we got closer to the mid-term elections in the US (to which the BBC reacted as if it was the second-most important election in human history), the BBC made all sorts of efforts to portray the Tea Party movement as extremist and Christianist as possible. The staggering number of times they mentioned Christine O’Donnell and the fact that the BBC only once mentioned Marco Rubio and Col. Allen West until about a week before the election (and then only in passing, with no features at all) betray the BBC’s biased agenda for what it was.

A few days before the election, the World Service’s “Heart and Soul” programme gave us an installment entitled “God and the Tea Party” (Oct. 27 podcast). Here, Matthew Wells went to Kentucky to speak to a number of Tea Party supporters. Without exception, no matter how much they professed their Christian beliefs and their attitude that the US was a “Judeo-Christian country”, based on Judeo-Christian values, all of them equally expressed their desire for government to stay out of people’s lives and stop the taxing and spending (Note to bigots at the BBC: If someone makes an effort to include the Jews, they’re not the bogeyman you’re looking for). Yet, Wells kept pressing each of them to express their Christianist goals anyway, as if they all harbored a secret desire to turn the US into the Christian equivalent of Saudi Arabia. Then Wells gave a good portion of the segment to far-Left journalist and think-tanker, E.J. Dionne, who said that yes, they’re all extremist Christianist, but don’t worry because the far-Right Christian movement is not going to last long.

At one point, despite what the people themselves told him, Wells stated that conservative, Christian social issues are “at the heart” of the Tea Party movement.

In August, Mark Mardell had the same thoughts, wondering if the Christian Right wasn’t really at the heart of the Tea Party movement. Again, he asks this in spite of everything they keep telling him. It’s as if he suspects it’s all a big smoke screen. Mardell could always be counted on to find the outlier that fits this agenda and let that color everything.

Then, of course, there’s Glenn Beck, whom the BBC kept trying to portray as being a leading light of the movement, even though he’s actually a social conservative who tried to jump on the bandwagon, and did not come from the heart of the movement itself. There is a wide overlap between conservative Christians and supporters of the movement, but that’s all it is. Beck’s big rally in Washington, DC was for the former, not the latter. And let’s not forget Sarah Palin. The Beeboids sure haven’t. I’m sure the screener of her new reality show is already making the rounds, and they’re having a great laugh while at the same time being slightly afraid.

With this whole Social Conservative Christianist Narrative in mind, how does the BBC explain the fact that now several Tea Party organizers have written an open letter to the Republican Party leaders in Congress, telling them to lay off the social conservative issues and focus on stopping the taxing and spending?

I’m reproducing the full letter below. Read it, and decide for yourselves whether or not this matches the BBC Narrative across their spectrum of broadcasting, or what I’ve been saying for the last 18 months.

On behalf of limited government conservatives everywhere we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement.

Poll after poll confirms that the Tea Party’s laser focus on issues of economic freedom and limited government resonated with the American people on Election Day. The Tea Party movement galvanized around a desire to return to constitutional government and against excessive spending, taxation and government intrusion into the lives of the American people.
The Tea Party movement is a non-partisan movement, focused on issues of economic freedom and limited government, and a movement that will be as vigilant with a Republican-controlled Congress as we were with a Democratic-controlled Congress.

This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue, nor should it be interpreted as a political blank check.
Already, there are Washington insiders and special interest groups that hope to co-opt the Tea Party’s message and use it to push their own agenda – particularly as it relates to social issues. We are disappointed but not surprised by this development. We recognize the importance of values but believe strongly that those values should be taught by families and our houses of worship and not legislated from Washington, D.C.

We urge you to stay focused on the issues that got you and your colleagues elected and to resist the urge to run down any social issue rabbit holes in order to appease the special interests.

The Tea Party movement is not going away and we intend to continue to hold Washington accountable.

Here’s a link to a PDF file of the letter, with all signatories.

After more than a year of careful observation, the BBC has figured out that the Tea Party movement has mostly been busy trying to transform the Republican Party (Scott Brown in MA was an anomaly to them, a sign of nothing to come, apparently). But their bias makes them think it’s for an entirely different reason. Why, it’s almost as if they had a story they wanted to tell and went out there and told it, in spite of everything they learned from the very people about whom they were supposed to report.

"As a biased broadcaster …"

Nick Cohen in Standpoint Magazine :

A while ago, a BBC producer phoned to tell me I had written a “controversial” book. I knew that already, and gathered from the teeth-sucking sound coming down the line that she did not approve.

“So,” she continued, “we’ve lined up four guests to argue against you.”

I told her to go away — maybe I used a stronger term — and then thought about her predicament. As a biased broadcaster, she wanted to hear my book denounced, but she could not risk organising a one-on-one debate. Maybe I would have come out on top. More probably, some listeners would have agreed with me, others with my opponent, as is the normal way of things. By arranging her show to make it four against one, however, she could maintain the illusion of impartiality while creating the impression in listeners’ mind that the consensus was overwhelmingly against arguments she found uncomfortable. In the interests of “balance” and of letting “everyone have their say”, she would fill 80 per cent of the airtime with advocates of her own political position. I have watched out for rigged debates ever since. They are the surest signal the BBC dares send that an idea does not deserve a hearing in polite society.

I’m a bit busy today, and haven’t time to give chapter and verse from the B-BBC archives. Let Mr Cohen give us the latest example :

Ophelia Benson did not quite get the four-on-one treatment when she appeared on Radio 3’s cultural talk show Nightwaves to discuss a “controversial” book she has co-authored with Jeremy Stangroom. They gave her a mere two opponents, and the presenter tried to be fair. Still, when one adversary stopped disparaging her, the other started, as the BBC flashed warning signs to listeners to ignore her.

(The book, called “Does God Hate Women ?”, is ‘controversial’ in that it does not restrict its targets to Bible-bashing rednecks in the United States. Had it done so, I’d probably be hearing readings on ‘Woman Sour‘ this morning !)

WE NEED MORE LEFTIST THINKING..

You couldn’t really make it up!

Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s drama commissioning controller states unequivocally:

“We need to foster peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, stubborn-mindedness, left-of-centre thinking”.

Why? That’s not the job of an unbiased broadcaster, is it? But it is the mission of a profoundly compromised leftist dominated State monopoly. My thanks to Mr Stephenson for confirming that which we all know to be true – the BBC is institutionally biased and likely to get worse. Axe it.

(Hat-tip to all who sent me this! I have been so busy this is my first chance to blog it here!!)

NO DIFFERENCE?

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which….”

I am advised that Mark Popescu, former Editor of Daytime News at the BBC, is joining the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as Head of News at the end of this month. “I am really excited by the challenge of joining Defra and will be working with the news team to develop the department’s communications strategy across all platforms.” Mark replaces Mark Devane, who is joining the BBC Trust as Head of Communications at the start of April.” Impossible to say which was which….