I know others have mentioned the BBC’s biased coverage of the Occupiers, but I think it’s important to look at them all together, so we can see the big picture, the larger context of the BBC’s reporting. We’ve all seen by now how the BBC loves the “Occupy Wall Street” protest, as well as the copy-cat protests in other cities. Any negative aspects played down, the protesters’ mixed messages spun favorably. Now the top BBC talent in the US has gone among them, and come back with glowing reports. It makes for a stark contrast with the way Mardell and Katty reported on the Tea Party protests.
First, the unbelievable dishonesty and bias of Katty Kay:
Occupy Wall Street: Grievances without violence
I’ll pause for a moment while everyone stops laughing, and give you a chance to clean the tea off your monitors and keyboards. You read that right: Katty says there’s no violence. And it gets worse. How does she open her report?
There is something endearing about a protester who camps out on Wall Street carrying a sign that reads “I love humanity, let’s figure this s**t out together”.
OK, he wasn’t quite as discreet with the swear word, but my editors will frown if I replace the asterisks with the actual letters.
But seriously, how angry can you really sound if you begin your revolutionary bank-bashing with the words love and humanity? It is somehow so very un-European.
Awww, how sweet, eh? Like all well-constructed pieces, the Narrative is set out very clearly in the opening section: these protesters are lovely, have the best of intentions.
It’s hard to imagine, for example, the hooded youths of the London riots pausing between rock throwing and shop-looting to utter poetic affection for their fellow human beings.
Their priority was Sony or Samsung (stolen plasma TVs that is), not sitting down with their political opponents to figure out the country’s economic problems.
Who’s sitting down with political opponents here? The Occupiers are screaming at their ideological enemies. If these people honestly wanted to sit down with political opponents and figure out the country’s problems, they’d be sitting outside political offices and government buildings, going to committee meetings open to the public, etc. That’s not what they’re doing at all. Katty just made that up out of thin air.
Let’s recall how Katty opened her first report about the Tea Party movement. She opened that video piece with a quote from the President, who is one of the Tea Party’s political opponents. The people on whom she’s reporting doesn’t even get the first word. The President called for unity, she intoned, but that call was drowned out by the Tea Partiers. Before we even learn what the Tea Partiers wanted, we’re told they disrupt, divide, oppose. Oh, and let’s not forget they are angry. And that was actually the least biased, least frowning, least scaremongering report about the Tea Party movement ever done on the BBC at the time.
Yet for some odd reason Katty starts her report on the Occupiers focusing on the love. She contrasts the Occupiers with the violence of the protesters in Greece and other places, and draws the conclusion that the US is just a nicer place, so protesters don’t get violent like they do in Europe.
No, the most extraordinary thing about the US protests so far is that they have been so mild.
It took Americans a long time to jump on the European protest wagon and now they’ve finally done so, it’s with exemplary order and calm. Given how rough the American economy is, that’s quite surprising.
You ain’t seen nothing yet, Katty. (UPDATE 9:23pm: All those nice people Katty met just got up and tried to occupy Wall St. again and and got violent with the police, throwing bottles and bags of garbage at them. Imagine! How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya, Katty?)
They’ve only just begun. Wait until they realize they won’t get their way immediately. She gets in her usual far-Left ideology about “growing inequality” and how the evil rich are “gobbling up” wealth while others aren’t getting richer. This is far-Left ideology, no matter which side of the argument you’re on. And she has form. For example, recently she complained that the economic crash hasn’t lasted long enough to “turn people off Capitalism”. It’s right there, out in the open. This is what Katty believes, and she reports according to her personal political beliefs. It cannot be denied. Naturally, because she holds these beliefs, she’s surprised things haven’t gotten more violent.
So it’s interesting that – barring the one incident of pepper spray used against demonstrators on Brooklyn Bridge – the nice people camping out in Zuccotti Park have been well, so nice.
Show me one single example of Katty – or any Beeboid – describing Tea Party protesters as “so nice”. Notice how she says there’s been just the one unfortunate incident. What about the hundreds of people arrested while trying to illegally storm the Brooklyn Bridge? What about all those nice protesters who tried to actually illegally occupy Wall St. itself? Does Katty know about this? Does she care? Or does she sweep that under the rug because it doesn’t help the Narrative she wants to tell?
Oh, but Katty knows that United Statesians can do violent protests when they want:
And it’s not that Americans can’t riot – they’ve done so with force in the past. Remember Vietnam, LA, the race riots in Detroit?
But those were in the 1960s. In recent decades protests in the US seem to have become more peaceful, even more subdued.
So why haven’t there been molotov cocktails and shootings yet? Katty will tell us by – you won’t believe this – using the Tea Party movement as an example.
That other political protest movement of recent times, the Tea Party, might get fired up by their deeply held convictions, but they certainly don’t riot.
Oh, gee, thanks a lot. We also don’t get arrested by the hundreds, or illegally occupy anything. To my knowledge, there has never been a single arrest as a result of Tea Party activity. If somebody does manage to find such an anomaly, it would be nothing compared to the hundreds of arrests of Occupiers around the country in the last few weeks. That’s right, Katty: hundreds of nice people arrested in Boston, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, San Diego, New Jersey, Des Moines. The only reason there haven’t been even more arrests in other cities is because the police have decided not to do any for the moment.
Why have all these people been arrested? Why are the police trying to clear them out in various cities? Because the protesters are breaking the law. Unlike the Tea Party, these people didn’t bother with mundane things like permits or working with the police or obeying the law or having consideration for their fellow citizens. Yet Katty thinks it’s the same thing.
The same quality of civic duty and lawfulness that foreigners find so distinctive about American life in general has dictated the mood of the economic protests as well.
Civic duty, my arse! Breaking the law and blocking traffic and storming government buildings is not civic duty or lawfulness. How can Katty be so dishonest? Hey, Katty: would say these people in Zuccotti Park are “nice” and civic-minded? Or did you miss the anti-Jew messages? I guess you’re also unaware that they’re calling for violence in LA. I guess I shouldn’t ask about the “Time to kill the wealthy” email that was sent to a bunch of NY lawmakers. (UPDATE: Or spitting on a member of the Coast Guard.)
Now let’s visit with Mark Mardell. He went to Nashville to see what the kids are up to. His enthusiasm is evident in the headline:
The start of something new?
Out of all the protesters in Nashville, Mardell managed to find a person of color. Unfortunately, he couldn’t even be bothered to find an African American, who are a significant portion of the population there, if only a small minority of protesters. The poor lad had been to New York, and got himself arrested trying to illegally occupy the Brooklyn Bridge. Mardell gives him sympathetic treatment. He spent seven hours in a cell (oh, the humanity), and his law-abiding immigrant parents weren’t pleased that he now has a criminal record. But the BBC’s top man in the US understands.
On the other hand, Hirak believes his arrest was part of something historic, something important.
A movement that isn’t just about Wall Street, but which he hopes will grow in Tennessee, where he goes to university.
“I am a very small part of it, but this is the opportunity finally for the people to speak out and participate in our democracy,” he says. “We’re finally going to get our voice back in our democracy. We are the 99%.”
Now let’s recall Mardell’s first blog post about the Tea Party movement. He asked if it was down to racism. He pretended to be impartially asking the question, throwing it out there for others to ponder. But we know now that he believes it is secretly driven by racism, and that all the noise about fiscal conservatism and government reform is a smokescreen to hide it.
The rest of his piece is sympathetic to the protesters and their cause. No casting aspersions, no suggesting that they’re mere puppets of Washington think tanks (like he said about the Tea Party to the BBC College of Journalism), and most curiously, no fretting about the anger. No, Mardell is hopeful, not concerned. This is the US protest movement he’s been waiting for, and it shows. You won’t see him mocking any of these protesters the way he did last month to his junior colleagues.
Naturally, when he gets to New York, Mardell also has to try to compare the Occupiers with the Tea Party movement. He makes sure to tell you that, unlike these people, those Tea Partiers like big corporations. But he forgot to mention that a major complaint is corporate welfare and bank bailouts. No, the easy route is to claim that the Tea Party is on the side of the evil rich, and the Occupiers are on the side of the poorest and most vulnerable.
Fortunately, Mardell understands that there really isn’t a fair comparison at all.
But other differences suggest it would be wrong to read across from one movement to another.
These are early days, but Occupy doesn’t seem to have drawn people into politics for the first time in the way that the Tea Party has.
Most of those I have spoken to here and in Nashville were already interested in radical politics.
I have yet to meet any one who turned up because their own economic situation made them want to change the world.
Which is what we’ve been saying here all along. These people had this ideology long before the economic crisis, long before the bank bailouts. Unlike the Tea Party movement, this was planned in advance. Unlike the Tea Party movement, which was spontaneously started by a St. Louis housewife as an anti-tax gathering, and eventually inspired millions of people to form peaceful, law-abiding protests. Funny how all the Beeboids leave this fact out. However, notice that Mardell doesn’t wonder about organization or influence from above. He also never enthused over how someone he met at a Tea Party event felt they were part of something historic. To him, it was all hatred and racism.
Here’s what Mardell and Katty have censored from their glowing reports about the Occupiers: Union organizers and Union members joining in. Even the far-Left Mother Jones says it’s driven by Big Labor. That’s not a grass-roots movement at all. Will Mardell admit it? No.
Laura Trevalyan has been more honest in her coverage. She does report about the defecating on police cars, the ugly behavior, and the complaints about the property destruction and illegal behavior in Zuccotti Park. Unfortunately, she thinks that occupying private property and preventing the city from cleaning up after a month of filthy occupation is “a victory”. Only at the BBC is breaking the law celebrated in such a fashion. She made a live report saying the same thing on the News Channel earlier today.
You want to know what a real victory is for a political movement is? Changing politics. The first Tea Party victory was affecting a town council vote in a little town in Rhode Island. Real victories include affecting local elections in places like Tucson and Miami, not to mention electing Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Oh, and taking over the House of Representatives last November. Those are actual, respectable victories for a political movement: law-abiding and civic-minded. Not occupying and vandalizing private property and preventing the city from cleaning it up. Ah, the twisted morality of the BBC.
There was one bit of dishonesty in Trevalyan’s report as well.
In the Colorado city of Denver on Friday, riot police arrested demonstrators as they removed their tents in Lincoln Park near the state Capitol.
This makes it seem as if the police just went in and started arresting innocent people who were actually packing up to leave peacefully. Wrong. Those arrested refused to leave an area they had been occupying illegally.
Why can’t the BBC be honest about breaking the law? Why can’t the BBC be honest about these Occupiers? I think we know why. The difference between their treatment of these protests and the Tea Party movement is staggering.