Sorry I’m a little late in getting to this, but life intrudes occasionally. I saw this the day it was posted, but didn’t have time to deal with it until now. BBC US President editor blogged about Libya and the death of Gaddafi. And it’s classic Mardell in full acolyte mode.
“Wow”, said Hilary Clinton as she was handed a Blackberry with the news out of Libya.
Gaddafi’s death will be a relief to President Obama and his administration. That’s on the fairly simple grounds that he backed NATO action, called for him to go, and now he’s gone.
Wait a second…..that’s not what I saw originally. I remember it well because I literally smacked my forehead, stood up, and walked away when I saw it. It’s the reason I went back to do this now. It appears that Mardell had a rethink and made a stealth edit. Fortunately, he can’t escape Google. The original post seems to be lost down the memory hole, but the opening line in question is still there:
The death of Col Gaddafi is a vindication of sorts for Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and the awkward US decision to ‘lead from behind’.
A vindication, eh? Killing Gaddafi in cold blood, without due process of law, is vindication of a foreign policy strategy? Did the BBC ever say that when Sadaam was put on trial by his own people, judged, convicted, and sentenced by his own people, that was a vindication of Bush’s foreign policy? I forget. What color is the sky on your planet, Mark? I wonder who told him to tone it down. But make no mistake: Mardell’s true thoughts were revealed in his original words. His beloved Obamessiah has been vindicated. Was it the not doing anything part that was vindicated, or the not having boots on the ground which led to a killing in cold blood without trial or due process of law that was the vindication? Yeah, whatever. Don’t bother wondering if we had put boots on the ground that Gaddafi might have been captured and granted his human rights, put on trial, etc. Nah. The Obamessiah knows best, regardless.
Has His Nobel Peace Prize been vindicated yet? FFS.
Okay, so back to the current post. Mardell explains that Gaddafi’s death will come as a relief to the President because that means the mission was a success. Naturally, what he really means is that ugly, barbaric United Statesians wanted him slotted, not that the President Himself would be so crass. But Mardell’s main point is that this represents the “Obama Doctrine”, of a less aggressive US. The fact that he has to then admit that we carried the main load of warmongering, and that the essential defeat of Gaddafi’s forces wouldn’t have been possible without US muscle is amusing, but then irritating because Mardell still maintains that it’s totally cool simply because we didn’t start it. I’ll leave it to others to explain how that makes sense, because I sure as hell can’t. Either we made it possible, or we didn’t, no?
Mardell’s main point here is that it’s a significant improvement over the Bush Cowboy years because the Muslims won’t view this as the nasty US imposing our will on the poor brown-skinned folk. There won’t be a generation of Libyans growing up the name “Barack”, I guess. He still sticks to his position that the President wanted to “lead from behind”, and not that He didn’t want to do anything at all. This is White House spin, and not the facts.
Let’s also recall now that Mardell himself was originally against taking action in Libya. He felt that the President frowning at Gaddafi would be sufficient, and tried to convince you that the President’s approach to this conflict was “very deliberate, very rigorous, rather academic.” It was a lie then, and it’s a lie now. The President didn’t want to do it, and had to be convinced by others to act. There’s a big difference between being unsure and trying to work it out and not wanting to do it, full stop. But Mardell constantly told you that the President was trying to figure it out anyway, and that only the uglier side of the US wanted to rush out, guns blazing.
In fact, Mardell was so against the notion that the US was going to save the day that at one point he even praised the President for making the UN relevant again. This is the same UN, mind, that’s now whining about how Gaddafi didn’t get his human rights affirmed before he was whacked. Who didn’t see that coming?
I won’t bother to get into a discussion about how US involvement was illegal anyway, because the President actually needed Congressional approval to send troops out in this case, where Libya wasn’t relevant to immediate US foreign policy and security needs, or that some people like St. Michael and St. Jon (Moore and Stewart) were displeased, as the BBC censored all of that. They’re both totally cool now because they support the Occupiers, so forget about old news that might make the President look bad.
Mardell continues his in blog post to reassure you that it’s great because the Libyans will think they did it themselves, and didn’t have it forced on them by Western Imperialists (he doesn’t use those terms, but that’s what he means). If that’s the case – if Gaddafi’s killing in cold blood vindicates that strategy – then why was it so great for the President to dither over it for weeks?
This is where it becomes clear that Mardell was spinning for Him the entire time. If the President’s plan the whole time was to bomb from afar and let the Libyans themselves do the heavy lifting on the ground, then why dither deliberate about whether or not to get involved? If “leading from behind” was the plan all along, why did He have to have His arm twisted to do it?
Even Mardell admits it, sort of:
In the end it was fear of being judged a moral failure that drove the decision.
The president was told that thousands could die in a massacre in Benghazi and he wasn’t going to be held responsible for that.
Hell, even the odious, now departed, Matt Frei was worrying about that before Mardell was. And Mardell is still trying to tell you that this is a success story.
But if President Obama’s policy has been a success on its own terms, it leaves others in the US deeply worried. They don’t think their country should encourage, cajole, help and guide. They think it should lead – that it should be seen to lead in fact and in deed.
And if it doesn’t it is not clever – it is defeatist, and will inevitably lead to a diminution of power. They may raise their voices, not today, but when the dust settles.
It’s worth repeating: Forget that Sadaam was captured without harm, put on trial by his own people, and sentenced in a court of law by his own people, according to the laws of his own country. Mardell will hate that to his dying day, yet the cold-blooded killing of Gaddafi, without trail, without legal justice, is a success, a vindication, in his view. How twisted can you get?
In Mardell’s biased worldview, the President’s plan was a success, even if He didn’t actually have this plan and it was forced upon Him. Cold-blooded killing is vindication, whereas a trial according to the laws of the country concerned is Cowboy justice. No effort is spared at the BBC to praise Him and prove to you that He knows best.
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A search on the BBC website for ‘Occupy Wall Street‘ brings up pages of articles within the last month (the first appearing on 23rd September). There are now well over thirty articles just about the U.S. protests from that period.
Compare that to an equivalent search for the ‘Tea Party‘. The movement took off in a big way during the first three months of 2009 and by April some half a million people were taking part in Tea Party protests across the United States. How did the BBC cover it? Very differently.
Somewhat belatedly, the first article to appear was a full-length one by Kevin Connolly, entering the world on 15/4/09 (the one with the “tea-baggers” reference).
This was followed on 20/4/09 by a very brief, ironic aside (in the BBC’s Obama Diary) from Kevin Connolly (“the modern versions [of the Tea Party] do not quite have that regime-shaking intensity about them”).
On 27/4/09 there was a personal ‘voter’s view‘ from a Tea Party supporter as part of a series of voter reflections on Obama’s first hundred days.
There were a couple of ‘Newsnight’ blog-posts on 29th April, one from Peter Marshall (“the Tea Party people are almost exclusively white”), the other by Paul Mason. There was then nothing for four months (May-August 2009), while the Tea Party continued going from strength to strength. The BBC looked away.
Finally, on 14 September 2009 Mark Mardell almost woke up, with a sneering aside in a blog-post about Congressman Joe ‘You lie!’ Wilson (“Listening to the “tax-payers’ tea party” in Washington on the radio over the weekend, it struck me that if I were reading a transcript blind of context, I would assume I was listening to a demonstration of a growing resistance to a brutal and undemocratic regime.”)
A day later there was the briefest mention of the Tea Party movement in another blog-post by Paul Mason.
On the same day, Mark Mardell posted a piece called “Is race a factor in Obama protests?” Having put that question out there, tied it to the Tea Party protests and added that “the allegation is that many of those who are calling their president “un-American” mean he is not white,” he then blithely added that he’s was merely “describing and inviting debate, not passing comment”. You lie, Mark!
Finally, on 26/9/09 there was a dismissive aside in an article by Max Deveson saying, like their ideological opposites, that the Tea Party has “a shopping-list of grievances that did not necessarily gel very well together”.
Nothing more appeared on the BBC News website about the Tea Party movement during the closing three months of 2009, even though the Tea Party continued to go from strength to strength, enough to make every BBC reporter sit up and take notice in 2010 – whether they wanted to or not.
So, in contrast to the dozens of generally full-length articles in under a month about OWS that are already littering the BBC News website, the growth of a major political movement, the Tea Party movement, that shook the American political system in 2010 and continues to shake it in 2011, passed with just five full-length pieces and four other fleeting mentions in the course of an entire year.
At best that’s extremely poor journalism, at worst it’s ideologically-driven selective reporting. It’s almost certainly both.
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Mark Mardell has awoken. I assume he has been slumbering in recent days such has been his apparent lack of interest in the OccupyWallStreet movement. Initially, I thought that perhaps even HE would be embarrassed by the disgusting antics of this motley crew. I mean, defecating on a Police car or spitting on a Marine are things that surely any civilised person would be ashamed of and yet it’s right up there on the “To Do” wish list for OWS. But Mark has suddenly chosen to engage with OWS and. as one might expect, he’s a fan. Instantly, he compares it to the Tea Party, and is now wondering what it can achieve. He continually references the Tea Party in a vain move to compare the two whilst carefully erasing the law-breaking that has accompanied the Occupy movement – Obama’s little stormtroopers.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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A couple of days ago, I commented on a previous open thread about Mardell’s latest journey amongst the great unwashed in search of more hope for the President’s chances of re-election. It was basic human interest stuff, anecdotes about how the economic crisis and continuing New Depression have hit black people hardest. He didn’t do any in-depth analysis in that piece, as it was just supposed to set the stage for his next, more profound installment, in which he said he’d find out why this is the case.
I gave my own two-cents worth about why black people have been affected most by unemployment in these times, wondering how Mardell would approach it seeing as how we have a black President and, according to all of Mardell’s previous reporting, none of it is His fault. To save people scrolling through the open thread to find the comment, I’ll reproduce that bit here:
It’s pretty obvious to someone who doesn’t live inside the bubble, but let’s see if Mardell discovers for himself that a far higher percentage of blacks work in blue collar and service industry jobs. These are always the first to go when the economy sags. I wonder if Mardell will understand the irony of the President’s penchant for attacking the rich, when it’s the rich who provide the bulk of the jobs in the service industry.
If rich people have less to spend, they don’t hire cars, they don’t have parties, they don’t go out to dinner as often, they don’t spend so much on vacation, they don’t buy more products so less needs to be manufactured, their businesses don’t have as many cleaners or secretaries or maintenance workers. I can say from personal experience and lots of first-hand accounts I’ve heard that the service industry in NYC has been hit very, very hard. When there are less of these kinds of jobs, there are a lot less employed black people.
And it’s not just the evil rich, of course. The unloved middle classes also spend money on all these things, and they’re tightening the belts as much as anyone right now.
Why blacks are overwhelmingly employed in the lower, more vulnerable job ranks is a topic for another discussion entirely. But the fact remains that they are more vulnerable, no matter who is in charge. We’ll see how Mardell deals with it.
As it turns out, in his next installment, Mardell has a partial clue. But he’s got other problems.
It’s kind of an odd title for a piece in which the success story is only the first part, while the rest is, as Mardell himself puts it, “depressing”. The first section is about the success of a new charter school in Chicago. I’m sure many here will enjoy the BBC actually reporting that one of these non-government schemes for education works very well for minorities, considering how they attack Michael Gove for his attempts to provide the same chances for success to minorities in Britain. In any case, Mardell starts things off with this bit of hope for the future, which is nice.
Then he gets into the details of unemployment. As it turns out, Mardell actually discovered that, as I said, blacks are especially vulnerable to public sector cuts as they are proportionally over-represented in government jobs. So good for him for actually doing a bit of research for a change. He missed out, though, on how so many of the service industry jobs held by black people vanish when everyone – evil rich and unloved middle class alike – tighten their belts due to increased taxation and economic recession. I suppose it might be too difficult for Mardell to admit that the evil rich and the sneer-worthy middle class actually provide lots of jobs. I have no problem with him adding the bit about “cultural and historical” reasons for blacks mostly having jobs on the low end of the scale, as it’s not exactly false. But it is a topic for another discussion, so he leaves it at that, as he should.
But the big problem for Mardell is when he learns this about his beloved Obamessiah:
‘The president is not God’
What’s this blasphemy? Who said such a thing? Another person whose criticism of the President is based on race? Er, no.
Robert Blackwell believes more enterprise is the answer.
He’s part of President Obama’s set, a good friend and a fundraiser.
Indeed, he once employed Mr Obama. Although he’s the same age as the president, with the same cool good looks, he could be Mr Obama’s younger brother.
“Cool good looks”? Is this superficial editorializing necessary? He just can’t help himself, even if he’s really suggesting that the job has seriously aged the President.
He is one of Chicago’s wealthy black professionals, who made his money out of a ping pong business before branching out into management consultancy.
He says the public sector cuts have hit hard.
“There’s no business that can absorb that community. Black companies are pretty small and neither government nor large corporations have a very good track record frankly doing business with blacks.
Therefore, there’s nowhere for these people to go who come off the public sector roles.”
New York has a big government department devoted specifically to help, guide, fund, and make contract connections for minority-owned businesses, and so does Illinois. You can bet every other state has a similar department. I guess we’re back to talking historically here and not bothered about the current situation, although I’m certainly not saying that everything is great and there’s a ton of business and job opportunities waiting for them at the moment. But this is really just to help paint the picture that blacks have it rougher than anyone else due to historical white oppression, so let’s not quibble over details, right? Still, I think I see where this is going. He’s not going to suggest that – quelle horreur! – the private sector is the only way to really create permanent jobs and that government can’t save the day, is he?
But Mr Blackwell says the challenge is really one of entrepreneurship.
“If blacks were to participate in proportion to their skill and population, we would have a lot more dollars in our community,” he says.
“We could hire people, we could take more risk. There’d be social capital. I think entrepreneurship is really the only way out. “
Oh, my goodness. This goes against just about everything we’ve heard from the BBC about how to create jobs in tough times. It also goes against Mardell’s own beliefs. How many times did he criticize the Tea Party for not believing the government should take care of everyone? The last time Mardell went amongst the blacks in a job center to ask how they were doing and what they thought, government spending was all the rage. How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya now, Mark?
While he has raised money for Mr Obama, he doesn’t seem like a fan of the president’s policies.
He says he’s a libertarian: he doesn’t think the government can create jobs and wants less red tape.
Sound a lot like what we’ve heard from the Tea Party movement. Yet when they say it, Mardell dismisses it as misguided and based at least in part on racism. Still, I give him credit here for not censoring this blasphemy and allowing you to hear it. It must have pained him greatly. But now for the most important question of all: Is this His fault?
But he doesn’t blame the president.
“Barack didn’t start this. I mean the economy was not in good shape when he came in,” Mr Blackwell says.
Whew! That was close. Is Mardell going to ask if the President’s policies made things worse, better, or the same? No way in hell. After all, when the President got His way with a Democrat-controlled Congress, Mardell thought it was a Golden Age. Instead, it’s time to protect the President.
“The other thing I think is the president is not God, which means he can’t control everything. If you believe in free enterprise, which I do, he has a limited role.”
“So he doesn’t create jobs, it’s the private sector that creates jobs.”
Few here do blame the president.
If they express a political view, it is that Congress is blocking Mr Obama’s policies: exactly the line the White House is pushing at the moment.
And exactly the line that Mardell and the BBC have been pushing. What about discussing if the President’s own policies have hurt job creation in the private sector? Nope, can’t have that. Mardell’s goal here is not to criticize the President. He’s here to find yet another way of telling you that none of this is His fault, and sure as hell isn’t going to suggest that blacks are always going to support the black man, regardless of what happens. It’s a fact, as far as Mardell’s concerned, that none of this is His fault, and that none of His policies have hurt the economy at all. No, they don’t blame Him, so neither should you.
Here’s another question glaringly absent from Mardell’s piece. It’s especially glaring considering the racial angle of the whole thing: what do these people think of Herman Cain? Instead, check out Mardell’s closing line:
But it remains a depressing fact that under the first black president, black people’s economic prospects have only got worse.
This is an intellectual failure. Black people’s economic prospects have gotten worse because the first black President was unfit for office, inexperienced, and has governed poorly, with the wrong ideology to create jobs and right the economy, or at least stop the decline. Every single one of His ideas has backfired, every single policy a failure in this regard. If you want a black President who might do something to help black people’s economic prospects, look to Herman Cain. And it won’t be cos he is black, but because he won’t be a far-Left ideologue pushing another misbegotten hyper-Keynesian spending bill.
But since he’s ideologically of the Left, all Mardell can do is focus on race.
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Mark Mardell, the BBC’s man in the USA, lets the mask slip in a rather unpleasant piece on Governor Palin’s decision not to enter the 2012 Presidential race.
Shriekily filled with venom against a president she branded a socialist and suggested was un-American, in love with guns, God and the unborn, apparently ignorant of the outside world, indeed not fully clued up on the lower 48 (the USA outside Alaska)
What a perfect example of well informed, deeply researched political analysis – paid for, I might add, by a poll tax on everyone who owns a TV set in Britain.
Holding true to the definitive snake oil salesman’s code of practice that the best way to present an untruth is to baldly state it as a fact, Mardell goes for broke.
Sarah Palin’s decision will have disappointed some. Not the American people who clearly didn’t like her as John McCain’s running mate in 2008.
Excuse me? If that was the case why was it that the only time that the McCain ticket led Obama in the polls was in the first half of September after Palin joined it? After September 15th, of course, the ticket was dead in the water – not because of Palin but due to McCain’s deer-in-the-headlights reaction to the Lehman Brothers collapse.
Naturally Mardell ignores policy positions and goes for the personal…
As a result we have Michelle Bachmann in the race. Herman Cain in the race. Rick Perry in the race. They are all more authentic, more intelligent, more acceptable than Palin
Hmmmm….Mr Mardell – are you saying Camille Paglia is is just some dumb broad?
No evidence to back this up, of course. Indeed what is fascinating is how Mardell is trying desperately to portray Palin as some sort of X Factor “celebrity” without any connection to the world of serious politics. No reference to her years of executive experience in Alaska as a successful city mayor or popular governor. No reference to her fight against corruption in her own party or her triumphant battles against the big oil companies.
But then why in the world would any rational person be at all surprised at this bucketful of poisonous bile?
It’s Mark Mardell..
For years he was paid by the BBC to pimp the EU as their man in Brussels. Then, when the they began to believe their own hope&change crapola about a totally unvetted Chicago Daley machine hack with zero executive experience, Mardell’s bosses decided to send him to Washington as a kind of court correspondent to wax lyrical about the new Camelot. He must have been delirious with joy, foreseeing an eight year stint pimping for Obama.
But it has all gone horribly wrong. The Obamacare shambles, the ever swelling deficit, the lobbyist rewarding stimulus that has failed to dent unemployment, the ATF guns scandal, the Democrats losing control of the house in 2010, the emergence of the tea party (which, characteristically, Mardell ignored for well over a year )…..
Mardell could even be characterised as the Comical Ali of the Obama regime
a cult figure thanks to his wild claims and colourful language
Obama is crumbling and there is precious little reward in pimping a failure. Hence the vitriolic attack on Palin. When the Brooks/Douthat/Frum axis of appeasement was advocating accomodation with Obama and Huntsman seemed the future Palin was the only leading light of the GOP who was calling him out. Her predictions have been vindicated. She was right about Obama – Mardell and his ilk were wrong – and how it must hurt to be outsmarted by someone “apparently ignorant of the outside world, indeed not fully clued up on the lower 48”
Here’s a suggestion for the BBC, supposedly in cost cutting mode. Why not save money by getting rid of Mardell and just giving White House spokesman Jay Carney a few dollars extra to blah blah blah about the Potemkin villages of Obamaland.
The song will be the same as Mardell’s but the price will be much lower…
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The president had waved a copy of his hefty American Jobs Act and told them the USA had to catch up with the likes of China and North Korea in spending on high-speed rail and education.
The President of the most successful, most prosperous country in the history of the world says we need to catch up with North Korea, and the BBC US President editor is fine with it. Doesn’t bat an eyelash.
Okay, I admit I’m being mean. Actually, this is a mad typo. There will probably be a stealth edit tomorrow once somebody points it out to him, so I’ve taken a screenshot. If/when this gets fixed, I’ll post it. Be honest: you thought for a moment that the President actually did say that, right?
The President actually said we should emulate South Korea by adding more teachers. Yay, more government spending. I guess it’s difficult to churn this stuff out, especially when one has to go out amongst the great unwashed in flyover country in search of the elusive Obamessiah supporters, so I’ll be charitable here and shrug off this nutty typo.
Mardell sees nothing fishy – or curiously neglects to point it out – in the President’s seeking out the most sympathetic white audience He ever had, back before the 2008 election, when He was still the world’s sweetheart: students.
The president was talking at Fort Hayes art and design college and one pupil, 18-year-old Mel Dodge, told reporters he was an aspiring lyricist and admires Mr Obama’s skills.
“He chooses his words so beautifully,” said the teenager. “That’s why I came out here today, just to hear that in person.”
That’s just the kind of spiritual boost Mardell needed. Actually, it’s a high school in US parlance. Which means some of them will be voting next year – like Mel Dodge – and the rest are potential noisemakers on His behalf. I know this is just a language barrier thing and not an attempt to mislead. But there’s something else fishy here. As a high school it’s part of the state/city-funded school system in Ohio. His Jobs Plan For Us has a couple lines sending over $350 million specifically to Ohio’s largest school districts (not colleges). Including the Columbus area, which covers this school. Totally targeted pandering. Oops, Mardell forgot to mention that bit. There’s something else about Ohio he doesn’t want you to know:
Ohio is just about the most key swing state there is when it comes to national elections. The President has spent half of His domestic traveling while in office to swing states. He’s visited Ohio fourteen times. Mardell didn’t want to inform you of that lest you start thinking too much about how this was an election campaign stop, geared in part towards unions. But now there must be a semblance of non-partisanship:
He wasn’t so certain about the politics, unsure that the president’s jobs plan would work. He wanted to look at the Republican field as well before he decides how to cast his first vote.
Yeah, sure. Mardell also has a bridge downtown to sell you. His blogpost is just past its midway point, so it’s time for a party political advertisement.
If Mr Dodge is not convinced, it won’t be through lack of White House effort. Senior advisor David Plouffe is just the latest to offer to answer questions by tweet.
This advertisement was brought to you by the Campaign to Re-Elect the President. And your license fee.
I’ve just got a detailed White House email on the beneficial impact of the act on Montana. Why Montana, I know not, but I am sure 49 similar missives will soon be in my inbox.
Yes, Mark, we know you’re well-connected and on the Democrat mailing list. You don’t need to remind us. Oh, my apologies, I’m being rude. The campaign ad is still going.
The president will, I guess, be on the road until this is done or dead.
“I guess.” That’s very silly, and pretty disingenuous. We all know that’s what’s going to happen, because Jay Carney already told everyone last week that the President will “travel all over the country; we’ll be to a lot of different places.” As if he doesn’t know. Hell, the President’s travel schedule is given out to the press, and it shows that He’s going all over the damn place now, mostly to those magical swing states. Just how stupid does Mardell think his audience is? And it’s not partisan at all, no sir. No way you’re going to hear from the US President editor that the only job the President is concerned about creating is His own second term. That’d be a bit too much analysis. Instead, Mardell gives us one of the more obvious signs of his personal political bias:
He is portraying what is a series of pretty partisan, controversial proposals as plain common sense, that no-one of goodwill could resist.
No one of good will, eh? That’s a purely emotional phrase. Mardell is clearly giving an ideological position, supporting the President’s message. Anyone who doesn’t agree with throwing another half trillion dollars down the rabbit hole would resist, based on an entirely different definition of goodwill, but he doesn’t see it that way, and tells you so. So now it’s time to provide “balance”.
There you go. One sentence, with a once-in-a-blue-moon link to a known right-wing pundit, Cal Thomas. If this was from elsewhere, I’d say that might remotely be enough to balance out Mardell’s preceding statement that this “debate” obviously means that there are some who are resisting, and therefore have no good will. But as this is a Mardell post, there’s more coming to support the President.
He got backing on Tuesday for more spending from the Congressional Budget Office’s director, who warned cuts could damage recovery.
He got backing, sort of. But the CBO’s “backing” isn’t quite how Mardell presents it. In fact, the CBO boss says that “changes in taxes and spending that would widen the deficit now but narrow it later in the decade.” Which is pretty much exactly what the SuperCommittee is going to do. Just like in Britain (not including union bosses and UK-Uncut and their fellow travelers at the BBC), nobody really thinks severe cuts are happening this instant or tomorrow. For the US, it’s all about 2013 and beyond, and remember, only in a best-case scenario will there be barely $1.5 trillion cut over the next few years, which is a fraction of the actual deficit we need to cut. That’s why nobody on the fiscally responsible side was really happy about the debt agreement. Hello?!!? Short-term memory, anyone?
The CBO isn’t backing the President in the way that Mardell insinuates, nor are they really repudiating the Tea Party idea and instead siding with Ed Balls and Stephanie Flanders. In fact, what the CBO really says is this (does Mardell think nobody clicks through his links, or does he actually not understand what the following bit means?):
“Attaining a sustainable budget for the federal government will require the United States to deviate from the policies of the past 40 years in at least one of the following ways,” he said. “Raise federal revenues significantly above their average share of GDP; make major changes to the sorts of benefits provided for Americans when they become older; or substantially reduce the role of the rest of the federal government relative to the size of the economy.”
Raising revenues doesn’t necessarily mean draconian taxes only. Growth in industry and consumption raises revenues as well, since that’s all taxed to the eyeballs. So “raising revenues” means a lot more than just taxing the rich even more. And what’s that about changing benefits for seniors? Oh dear, oh, dear. Sounds like austerity and cuts affecting the most vulnerable to me, and as Social Security and Medicaid are going to be just about the biggest government expense in the near and long-term future (aging Baby Boomers joining the rolls, longer-lived population in general), it’s pretty major. Again, this is way more in line with Tea Party ideals than with Krugman/Balls/Flanders. And that last sentence about reducing the role of the federal government speaks for itself, you betcha.
Remember: the CBO boss said “at least” one of these three methods. It’s pretty dishonest to put it as just cuts are bad, m’kay, full stop.
So is that what Mardell thinks supports the President? One could just as easily say that the CBO statement is more about what the SuperCommittee is going to do than about whether or not we should add another half-trillion to the deficit. Oh, hang on: the CBO boss actually was saying this to their faces. The link Mardell provides is about the CBO boss’s first appearance in front of their first official hearing. Nothing to do with supporting yet another Stimulus package at all! Wow. Let’s just shake our heads and move on.
But the president’s plan is ideologically objectionable to most Republicans, even more so now that he has revealed how it would be paid for: by taxing what they would describe as “wealth creators” and what Obama would call the rich, oil companies and corporate-jet owners.
It’s ideologically objectionable to Republicans, but not to anyone of “good will”. How biased can you get? Actually, the President has already caved on the corporate jet issue (perhaps Oprah had a word in his saucer-like?), but never mind. Mardell must have missed that memo. I think a less ideologically blinkered person would mention small businesses as well, as they provide the vast majority of jobs in the country.
This is bound to get messy. The White House has confirmed that they will accept parts of the bill being passed.
What’s that last bit supposed to mean? I thought compromise and bi-partisanship were supposed to be the new American dream? Why is he warning about compromise and bi-partisanship? Weird. Unless one would be unhappy with the President giving in one iota to the nasty Republicans.
The danger for Obama is a loss of his simple message.
What simple message? Where did we see a simple message? Mardell sounds like he drank the Kool-Aid here.
He could get drawn into the wrangling and the less attractive aspects of compromise. He needs all the clarity his lyricism and beautiful words can conjure.
So compromise is bad now. Curiously, only a few weeks ago it was the one thing that would have saved us from a credit downgrade. And just the other day Mardell was telling us about how ashamed someone was of Congress for their failure to work together. Now he thinks its best for the President if He convinces everyone to do things His way, without stooping to compromise. You know, that’s just what the other of his concerned voter in that post said. Funny, that. It’s almost as if there’s an agenda here.
By the way, that post of his saw Mardell visiting Democrats in Indiana, and he kind of forgot to mention that it’s another important election swing state.
In the end – wacky typos aside – this is all typical biased reporting. And sloppy and dishonest at that, one of Mardell’s worst. What’s the emoticon for putting one’s head in one’s hands and weeping quietly?
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Yes, he’s the BBC North America editor, the man with his finger on the pulse of political events in the USA. I recall back in January when Mark Mardell brought us to near tears with his moving commentary on Obama’s calls for “civil discourse” (Remember that meme, the one that suggested the evil Sarah Palin was more or less directly responsible for the Arizona shootings?) But here’s the problem; For some inexplicable reason. Mark has overlooked the Democrat supporting Jimmy Hoffa calling “to take these sons of bitches out” and the ..erm..Vice President referring to opponents as “Barbarians.” I’m sure Mark will get around to highlighting these examples of outrageous hypocrisy from the Obama camp…..any minute now…..
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As`part of the BBC’s sensational run-up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Mark Mardell speaks to a CIA officer about the use of torture, and whether or not it can ever be justified.
The ideas discussed in the full piece may or may not be of interest to you. I don’t know, and frankly don’t care. What I want to draw your attention to is this statement by Mardell, with which he ends the piece:
Such discussions are the meat and drink of adolescent debating societies, rather than mature democracies – where it is more normal to assume it is very wrong, while very occasionally turning a blind eye if it happens.
It has always intrigued me that when Britain really stood in peril of foreign conquest, when the blitz was killing more people than died on 9/11 night after night, it seems torture was not used.
Perhaps they simply never captured a Nazi senior enough to be worth putting to the question. What is the tipping point?
This is the BBC North America editor giving you his personal opinion that, not only is the US inferior to Britain, but we’re no better than adolescents. This is opinion, not journalsim, and sure as hell not impartiality.
Will any of you trust someone about US issues who so candidly sneers at us?
UPDATE: My thanks to all who have pointed out that Mardell is not only biased and arrogant, but ignorant of his own country’s history as well. His statement, on which his entire case for US inferiority seems to rest, is patently false. A full complaint to the BBC is on the way.
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Mark Mardell, that pro-Obama shill operating Stateside is worth watching; A regular B-BBC contributor has held his latest pronouncements up to the light and this is what can be seen;
“Catching up with Mardell and his up close and personal attack on Rick Perry: Mark Mardell is a slippery fellow…giving truth but missing out salient facts that would alter people’s perceptions of what he says: He lays into the Republican Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, and tells us that there are people who would dispute that the Republicans (Thatcher admiring conservatives) have done as well as they say on the economy.
‘The Texas economy may feel like a miracle to some, but to others it is more like a diabolical torment. ‘
He links to an article by a Richard W Fisher (and note how up to date Mardell is..must be desperately scouring the internet to dig up any opposing voices)…..
Richard W Fisher ‘…he was a candidate for the same U.S. Senate seat in the regularly scheduled election, defeating former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox and U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews in the Democratic primary.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_W._Fisher
Mardell then links us to the Pastor Gerald Taylor of the Texas Organizing Project…...
‘Texas Organizing Project says it’s ‘not ACORN with a new name’ ‘
ACORN was a Obama supporting organisation that tried to fix elections in the US amongst many other scandals……and it looks as if TOP is formed along exactly the same lines organising ‘community leaders’ and getting involved in electoral organizing despite denials of doing so….
Really? ‘The Texas Organizing Project (TOP) promotes social and economic equality for low to moderate income Texans through community and electoral organizing.’
‘Many consider them a new version of an old community-organizing group that folded earlier this year after a string of controversies: ACORN. Like the defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, TOP is a grass-roots community-organizing group. The new Houston-based nonprofit was formed by several former Texas ACORN employees.’
Texas Organizing Project Is Newest ACORN Spinoff Group By Matthew Vadum on 3.29.10 @ 6:39PM An inside ACORN source has just confirmed this to me: the Texas chapter of ACORN has pretended to break off from the national group and has incorporated itself under the name Texas Organizing Project. http://spectator.org/blog/2010/03/29/texas-organizing-project-is-ne#
Want a job at the TOP?
http://www.unionjobs.com/staff/tx/tx-opef.html Mission: The 501(c)(3) Organizing Table is a fiscally sponsored project of the Texas Organizing Project. The Voter Engagement Organizing Table is working in target communities in the Houston area and Harris County to engage underrepresented communities in the democratic process, develop new leadership from within these constituencies, take collective action on important policy issues and establish a long-term model and infrastructure for increasing voter participation in the County. Job Title: Coordinator Voter Engagement Table; Reports to: Director Texas Organizing Project
Mardell has ‘forgotten’ to tell us that two of the opposing voices he has named are in fact Democrat supporters…..bearing in mind his blog is probably read in the US as well that surely amounts to an attempt to swing people’s voting decisions away from the Republican candidate……is the BBC like the Guardian (which had its nose punched when it similarly told Americans to ‘vote democrat’) subverting American politics to its own ends? Surely not?
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Andrew has already mentioned this (Pg. 3 of the open thread @ 9:28pm GMT) list of White House attack points on Rick Perry posing as an editorial blog post by Mardell, but now there’s a nice BBC censorship angle to add, so worth a full post.
The BBC US President editor wants you to know how to understand Rick Perry’s claims that his non-Left policies helped not only to keep Texas above water during the Recession/New Depression, but to actually become a business and jobs leader in the country. As Rick Perry is now more or less the leading Republican horse in the race (thanks at least in part to the President’s foolish desire to punch downwards), it’s Mardell’s duty to tell you not to believe what Perry says interpret the issues involved for you.
The main claim to fame here is that Texas creates lots and lots of jobs, right? Even the full power of the Mainstream Media and the White House propaganda machine can’t change that fact, so they need to instead spin it so that you think those jobs are not good and so don’t actually help the “miracle” Perry is claiming, or simply that Republican policies weren’t responsible at all for any success. So Mardell uses one of the older tricks in the book, and generalizes from a single anecdote.
He’s found a cardboard box manufacturer in Texas as his anecdote. The boss waxes enthusiastically about what a great business environment he’s found. Of course, as Mardell points out, his main reasons are geographical location and the availability of the labor he needs, neither of which Perry can possibly claim credit for. Hence the usefulness of this anecdote for the Narrative. The only policy one can point to as being a contributing factor is the clumsily worded “tax abatement”.
By itself, this is just an anecdote. Nothing else offered about any other businesses similarly successful no thanks to specific Republican policies. Yet Mardell expects that this is enough evidence, combined with his other White House talking points, that the Texas success story isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
The other main White House talking point is that all those jobs Texas is creating are “low wages, in many cases.” Wrong. The fact is that, since the Recession/New Depression started, Texas has the 6th-highest rate of increase in hourly wages. This same piece at the PoliticalMath blog also shows why it’s a bit disingenuous for Mardell to point out that Texas’ unemployment numbers aren’t so hot. Many of the new jobs are taken by the hordes of people – legal US citizens from other states – who have flocked into Texas to find work. The unemployment figure is as high as it is because too many people who already live there aren’t getting into the workforce. You can probably look to the state’s southern border and guess why that might be.
Before any defenders of the indefensible try to tell me that the figures are being misrepresented because it’s the median and not the mean, and/or that merely adding a few millionaires and billionaires would skew the wages numbers in Perry’s favor, stop and remember that this is about hourly wages, not salaried folks and business owner income. So when Mardell says that the jobs are low paying “in many cases”, he’s the one being misleading, and deliberately so.
Amusingly, Mardell closes with this:
But there is a down side and a lot more to say. On Monday, I’ll write in this blog about those who highlight the problems, and those conservatives who see Texas as a model – not just for the US, but the whole world.
Um, if this blog post of his is supposed to be about the positives, I’d hate to see him discuss the negatives. Since it’s already Wednesday and he hasn’t come up with anything further, I’ll assume it’s proving a little more difficult than he thought to write about people who think a few positive lessons might be learned from Texas. Either that or he’s still recovering from the stunning blow of having to report that the President says regime change in Libya is a vital US interest. (Mardell didn’t actually attribute that to the President: he just stated it as fact. -ed)
The censorship bit? Well, a while ago, I posted about how the BBC censored news of a few US states which had actually improved their own economic situations with the lower-tax, spending reform policies espoused by the Tea Party movement and disparaged by the BBC. I said that it was wrong for the BBC to censor this news when it would have provided their audience with a very useful context in which to view the US debt crisis debate. I also posted about how the BBC similarly censored the same kind of news about Canada.
Now the BBC is censoring news about a US state which is heading for trouble because of the very tax-and-spend policies which inspired the Tea Party movement in the first place. Illinois lost the most jobs in the country in July, and unemployment numbers have been increasing for the last three months. Since the beginning of the year, 89,000 people have left the work force. Why? Because instead of cutting spending and reforming wealth redistribution, the Democrat Governor and Democrat Legislature increased taxes by a good bit in January: 46% increase on business taxes and a 66% increase on personal income tax. Do the math and say, “ouch”. By the way, no Republicans voted for it, as none were needed due to the Democrat super-majority of both houses of legislature. Does that sound familiar?
In short, the BBC is still censoring news that doesn’t support their Narrative on the US economy. And Mark Mardell is a dishonest broker of news on US issues.
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The second-most important election in human history is a mere 445 days away, and the BBC is already focused on informing you how awful the President’s potential opponents are. They’re especially focused on telling you how awful the people are who will vote against Him.
The first sentence of Jane O’Brien’s report on the poll features her calling the winner, Michelle Bachmann, “the latest darling of the Tea Party”. I’m still waiting for a defender of the indefensible to show me an example of any Beeboid referring to a Labour or Democrat figure as anyone’s “darling”. It’s a pejorative, plain and simple, yet seems to be firmly established in the BBC style guide and is used time and again in this fashion with apparently full approval by the BBC’s editorial policy. And this is what’s used to start a BBC report allegedly intending to impartially inform you about a story.
Bachmann, O’Brien informs us, “narrowly” won the poll. How narrow? We aren’t told. Who came in second? We aren’t told. The next potential opponent of the President O’Brien mentions wasn’t even in the poll: Rick Perry. The only other name mentioned is Mitt Romney, who also didn’t even take part in the Iowa poll. Already the actual agenda is revealed here. This isn’t a report about the Iowa poll at all, or what the results mean: it’s about casting a harsh light on threats to The Obamessiah.
The BBC actually did a whole separate report on Perry already, so what’s the point of bringing him into what’s supposed to be a report about the Iowa scene? Iowa wasn’t the point at all, of course. It’s just an excuse for a BBC editor to tell his correspondent to do a quick report on who might be the potential threat to the President. Which they’re already doing elsewhere, as we’ll see in a moment. In other words, this was a complete waste of time, unless one has a specific agenda.
In fact, Michelle Bachmann won by a mere 152 votes. Congressman Ron Paul came in a close second. Tim Pawlenty came in third, and then dropped out of the race altogether. He never had much of a chance anyway. The three candidates pictured in this HuffingtonPost article aren’t even mentioned by the BBC at all. The actual results, out of a possible 16,892 votes:
1. Rep. Michelle Bachmann: 4,823 (29%)
2. Rep. Ron Paul: 4,671 (28%)
3. Tim Pawlenty: 2,293 (14%)
4. Rick Santorum: 1,657 (1o%)
5. Herman Cain: 1,456 (9%)
6. Write-in votes for Rick Perry, who wasn’t even a candidate yet: 781
7. Write-in votes for Mitt Romney, who skipped Iowa entirely: 567
8. Newt Gingrich: 385
9. Write-in votes for John Hunstman, Jr. who also skipped Iowa: 69
10. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter: 35
Notice who came in 5th, and remember it for later.
This is the inherent danger of trying to create, as the departed Matt Frei put it, “a rapport” with an entire country, rather than just straight-up reporting. The BBC should have just done a simple news brief on the actual results, with a couple paragraphs about the whos and whys of the top three or five. Job done, public informed, context provided for the larger picture, then move on to the big fish.
As others have already pointed out on the latest Open Thread, the first thing on Jonny Dymond’s agenda (after scoring some drugs, that is) is to tell you that the Iowa Straw Poll attendees are mostly white. Apparently he’s the new North America correspondent to replace Kevin “Teabaggers” Connolly, who has taken his own bias to the Middle East.
The reason to point out their skin color, of course, is simple: to create the impression that, whatever these voters want, it’s not “representative”, as Dymond makes sure to point out, of the rest of the country. Also, ultimately there is a racist subtext here, as we must always remember that racism is of course a primary motivating factor in opponents of the President. But, you may well ask, why didn’t Dymond or any other Beeboid cry “racism” about Herman Cain’s fifth place showing? Well, they don’t like him because he stated in the last debate that he didn’t want Shariah Law to become part of US law, and previously said that he’d want to know if any potential Muslim cabinet member of his supported jihad. You see, the BBC is capable occasionally of seeing past skin color when it suits them. But, as we saw over and over again in the BBC’s reporting on the 2008 Presidential election (the most important election in human history, from the way they covered it), and in their early reporting on the Tea Party movement, when it comes to a black man who holds the approved thoughts, any opponents have racism as at least a partial motivation. Like when Dymond describes the crowd as “white” in the same sentence he says they “really, really want to get rid” of the President. There is no escaping what he’s done here. Racism is clearly a card for them to play at the appropriate time, and their opinion on the matter is based on emotion and not facts.
As for the demonization of the candidates themselves, note how Dymond and his editor frame their statements. Do the Beeboids ever use the term “red meat” when reporting on Labour or Democrat events? Dymond gets in an early scary code word: “revivalist” as a sort of subliminal set-up for the Narrative. It’s interesting that twice we hear the word “freedom” from the unnamed speaker celebrating Bachmann’s victory, yet the Narrative you’re given from Dymond and the rest of the Beeboids covering this is that religion is the key.
The problem is that the three vox pops featured have nothing to do with race or religion, but talk instead about economic concerns. It’s very clever how the BBC plays this. They give you the vox pops, the actual opinions of the voters, so they can claim impartiality in that they’ve provided the balance of opposing views. But Dymond and his editor bookend these statements with his racialist qualifier and then afterward by saying that Bachmann is popular because she’s a “social conservative”. Did anyone hear that given as a reason in the vox pops? No. It’s almost as if the BBC is telling you not to listen to them. The Beeboids sure as hell don’t, so why should you, eh?
Naturally, the bit of Bachmann’s speech they let you hear is the religious stuff. This is the BBC Narrative in action, making you forget all about the actual statements of the voters. Then he skips the rest of Iowa to talk about the same thing O’Brien did: someone they see as the real potential threat to their beloved Obamessiah, Rick Perry. In case there’s any doubt about the agenda here, the title of Dymond’s piece is about how the Republicans “lash Obama”. Do you need to know what happened? What the voters really want? What the candidates are really about? No. All you need to know is that they’re white, Christian, and are attacking the President. All this silly economics stuff the country has been talking about is by the by. Social Conservatism is the real issue here for the BBC. I guess that means Justin Webb’s book about its “strange death” was a load of BS? Nah, it was that kind of brilliant insight which got him the Today seat.
In case there are any lingering doubts about the BBC’s agenda here, and what they want you to think is the real problem, just read the first words at the top of their piece on Rick Perry:
Perry led 30,000 worshipers at a prayer rally
Yes, of course the excuse here is that the video clip is of Perry at a prayer rally. What about his actual track record as Governor of Texas? Did he turn the state into an Evangelical theocracy or what?
To his supporters, he’s the man who fixed Texas and can answer the country’s economic prayers. Could Rick Perry, who has announced his intention to enter the presidential race, overcome his doubters and end up in the White House?
Oops, the focus is on the economy here. Must switch gears.
The Texas governor ticks many of the boxes on the party’s wishlist. He’s a socially conservative Christian with a record of cutting spending, who can boast that he restored to health the finances of the second largest state in the US, without raising taxes.
There, that’s better. But hey, what’s that about solving the state’s economic problems without raising taxes? The BBC never mentioned this during the whole debt ceiling agreement saga. Curious.
Mr Perry also shares one important quality with his other main Republican rival, Michele Bachmann, who topped a straw poll in the crucial state of Iowa at the weekend. They can both fire up an audience, as he demonstrated a week ago at a prayer rally in Houston which left some of the 30,000 worshippers in tears.
Prayer. And, horrifyingly, he left people in tears over whatever Christian stuff he was talking about. See, it was okay when The Obamessiah went to church. It was okay when He spoke with black church leaders. Did anyone ever see such an emphasis on His Christianity? No. In fact, it had to be played down a bit because of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright problem.
Here’s the thing. I’m not saying that the religion and social conservative thing is a non-issue in the US, or trying to make you think that it’s not at all important to non-Leftoid voters or anything of the sort. What I’m saying is that it’s not the most important issue at all, and that over and over again we hear from the public that the economy is the number one concern which dwarfs all other issues, while the BBC continues to frame things as being the other way round.
Getting back to the piece on Perry, though, it’s amusing to see the BBC suddenly remember that someone was fixing economic problems with the kind of small-government attitude the BBC was denigrating so recently. The problem for the BBC here, though, is that Perry might start looking too good to the reader, so they make sure to bring out the big guns: he’s only “Bush on steroids”. This is enough to strike fear into the heart of any Beeboid, and they expect in your hearts as well. Actually, Bush was barely a small-government kind of President. He let Congress ramp up all kinds of debt under his watch, and was too powerless to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Frank/Dodd to blow up the mortgage bubble which led to all our current woes. But that’s not what the BBC wants you to remember. Just remember how much you hated Bush for being a Christian and a social conservative.
When it comes to Michelle Bachmann, the Beeboids are confused about what to do with her. They’ve already admitted that they can’t play her as a buffoon like they do with Sarah Palin. But they’re clearly scared of her, and it makes their reporting look a little silly at times. Rajesh Mirchandani (how many Beeboids are covering the US scene these days?) opens his report by speaking of her “fiery rhetoric”. And what bit of this rhetoric does the BBC provide for you in the video?
“Barack Obama will be a one-term President!”
Oooh, scary. This is only “fiery rhetoric” if one is a die-hard supporter of the President whom she’s trying to unseat. Surely with all the footage available of her the BBC could have found something a little stronger. That would mean, though, that they think this isn’t strong enough. Clearly they do, and went with it, which is a bit silly.
But hey, at least he only called her a “favorite” of the Tea Party movement and not a “darling”. Then Mirchandani is off to talk about Perry again. Redundancy ‘R’ Us at the BBC. That’s now three Beeboids making the exact same report but with slightly different words. The only thing different is the aegis under which each report is made. The results, though, seem to be exactly the same.
No discussion of the BBC’s coverage of the US (read: coverage of anything which might affect the President) is complete without the BBC North America editor, Mark Mardell. Just back from his hols, Mardell gives us an idea of the impression he’s gotten of the public mood.
The Republican race has moved a little closer to the finishing line while I’ve been taking a few days’ break on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Bad timing, but it reinforced some of my views about next year’s election. More on that in a moment.
Um, has anything not reinforced his views on the US? Ever? Mardell says this about Bachmann and Perry:
They are tailoring their message to the times.
Are they, now?
But for all the Tea Party movement’s insistence that it is about fiscal responsibility and economic conservatism, these two candidates are both evangelical Christians, with a strong line on social conservatism. Perry signed a law that makes a woman about to have an abortion look at an image of her foetus. The stand out question to Bachmann in last week’s debate was whether she still believed, for religious reasons, that a woman should be “submissive” to her husband, and how that would touch the authority of the commander in chief.
Bingo! That’s all three elements on my score card: Evangelical Christian, social conservatism, and abortion. Narrative? What Narrative? What about the economy? Jobs? Small government? Nope, not interested. Scare-mongering against Christians is what works best. Wake me up when a Beeboid takes a similar tone about a Muslim candidate in Britain. But see, Mardell knows all too well what he’s doing, and has a handy riposte:
The right has attacked the media for focusing on such questions. But it is the media’s job to look at weakness, and it may be that social conservatism is not the priority of most Americans right now.
Yes, it may be. But that’s not stopping him as he simply doesn’t care. His opinions have been reinforced, remember. Mardell gives a brief description – in class war terms, naturally – of the area in which he vacationed, and then says this:
We didn’t meet anyone who was following the Republican race. But we did meet plenty of bewilderment at DC politicians and the state of the economy.
Well, thank goodness he didn’t run into any nasty old Republicans to ruin his vacation. And notice how he cleverly makes the problem into a bi-partisan one, shifting blame as always away from the President.
There was a couple running a bar who still seemed slightly surprised they were having their best three business years ever, but worried about what would happen next. There was the woman in the state park depressed and ashamed about the state of America, its education system, and the difficultly of setting up a business.
Whose fault are these oppressive regulations and taxes on small businesses, Mark? It sure ain’t the Republicans, who have been calling for less and less of it. But he still tries to play it as just a generic Washington problem.
There were late night drinks on the balcony of a motel with a Democrat who still had faith in Obama, but shook his head over the state of the economy.
They do seek out their own kind, don’t they? I’m sure Mardell doesn’t even realize what this says about him.
There is huge uncertainty in this country. Wise candidates will focus on that, as well as the more concrete issue of jobs.
Then why the constant focus on Evangelical Christians and social conservatism? Oh, that’s right, since the BBC audience can’t vote in US elections, the real agenda is to demonize the lot of them, and the voters along with them, so you know whom to hate and why when we don’t vote for The Obamessiah.
The stage is now set for future BBC reporting on the 2012 election. All these reports, all these Beeboids working on your dime, one clear Narrative.
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Recently, I talked about a few states in the US that had actually taken strong steps towards fixing their own economies, even moving into surplus, by decreasing spending, entitlement reform, and tax breaks. The BBC censored all information about this, never told you. This is unfortunate, as it would have provided a useful context in which to consider the national budget situation. Ohio, Wisconsin, and South Carolina did exactly the same thing as what Mark Mardell claimed the extremist Tea Party movement forced into the national debate on how to deal with the budget crisis, and forced it on a President who wanted to spend, spend, spend, instead. Yet those states all seem to have made the correct decision. And the BBC remains silent, as it doesn’t fit the Narrative they want to tell about economic policy.
While the BBC is busily spreading blame around for the US budget fiasco and debt agreement (to everyone except the President, of course), it seems to have escaped the astute Beeboids’ notice that there’s another country in North America which seems to be doing a bit better. It’s right there in the title of the relevant section of BBC News Online: US & Canada.
Canada, as it turns out, is doing better than the US for pretty much the same reason. Has the BBC mentioned this at all? No they have not. It’s true that they didn’t have the same kind of sub-prime mortgage crisis, but as a largely resource-based export country, if others aren’t buying – particularly the US – they’re not going to do well either.
In April, the BBC had this to say about the major issues of the Canadian election:
Conservatives are seeking to make the economy the dominant issue in the election. Canada fared much better than the US during the recession, but unemployment is still high at 7.8%.
Mr Harper has promised to provide tax breaks for corporations and manufacturers and tax credits to encourage small businesses to hire new workers.
Mr Ignatieff opposes corporate tax reductions offered by Mr Harper, but Conservatives retort that eliminating the planned reduction in the corporate tax rate amounts to a tax increase, which would be harmful to the recovering economy.
Sounds familiar, no?
Liberals want to establish a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are also seeking increased funding for social services including for poor seniors, carers and early childhood education.
Mr Ignatieff has unveiled a plan to promote affordable housing and reduce homelessness. But the proposed funding comes from a public-private partnership fund for infrastructure investment which Liberals say is unproductive, but which city governments around the country argue is an important funding stream.
Does this boilerplate sound familiar? It should, as it’s the same way the BBC always champions the farthest Left social policies. Like they did in their Q&A about the US debt agreement.
The chief sticking points have been Republicans’ resistance to tax rises and calls for much bigger spending cuts than the Democrats favour, and Democrats’ desire to shield healthcare programmes for the poor and elderly and the Social Security pension programme from cuts.
The poor and elderly. Just another version of the “poorest and most vulnerable” who are always hit hardest by the latest policy on offer from the Conservatives.
Notice, though, that in the above brief description of Harper’s plans, the BBC News Online sub-editor grants space to his opponent on the Left for a rebuttal. Yet when it’s time to outline the Liberal plans, not only do they get a lengthier, more detailed explanation, but no space is given to any objection from the Right.
Harper and the Conservatives won, obviously, so how is Canada doing now? Well, the Canadian dollar spiked a couple cents higher than the US dollar after Harper and the Conservatives won the election – funny that, eh, BBC? – and after dropping down to a more normal level, has recently come back up to dead even with the US dollar.
On a local level, the Province of Saskatchewan followed the kind of sound fiscal policy advocated by the supposedly extremist fringe Tea Party, and changed their economy. In 2007, the Saskatchewan Party won a majority, after 16 years of rule by the liberal New Democrats. They won on a platform of tax relief, entitlement reform and deregulation, along with pledges to use the cash gained on education and road infrastructure. It seems to have worked because the province has since had an increase in people moving in, more jobs. Instead of throwing the cash around as “stimulus”, they paid off their debts, and Standard & Poor’s raised their credit rating to AAA in May.
So this is yet more evidence that it can be done the way the Tea Party movement suggests. Again, the BBC is utterly silent on something that doesn’t fit the Narrative.
Nationally, Canada’s debt is down to 35% of GDP, and the only reason it’s that high is because Harper did throw some cash around a couple years back at the start of the recession. But now the jobless rate is the lowest it’s been in two years, since they started adding jobs again after the financial crisis. Wages rose as well. Imagine that. Canada allows certain resource extraction techniques – fracking, for example – that the US won’t because of fealty to the environmentals, and so creates more jobs, and produces more. These aren’t difficult concepts, but are anathema to the BBC ideologues.
Even the New Democrats slashed spending to reduce the deficit, which was so bad that at one point, 36% of revenue was used to pay off interest on it. Eventually, Canada reduced its deficit by a combination of economic growth – not spending, but actual growth – and spending cuts. No draconian taxes, no new crushing regulations, no massive spending increases.
Basically, Canada is on very solid footing now, while the US is in the toilet. Canada followed sound fiscal policy, very much like that advocated by the Tea Party movement, has reduced its debt substantially, and is thriving. The US tried the opposite, and tanked. The BBC tried to tell you that it was a crazy minority trying to force this stuff into the conversation for ideological purposes. Not once did Mark Mardell or Stephanie ‘Two Eds’ Flanders or any other Beeboid provide the example of Canada as something to consider while trying to understand the debate in the US. Not once were you told that there have been success stories which contradicted the President’s agenda.
They’re trying to push the White House Narrative that the downgrade and current mess is all the fault of the Tea Party, without ever acknowledging that things would be even worse had we not voted in some people with a clue and forced Congress to face reality. It wasn’t going to happen otherwise, and instead of telling you that, the BBC has spun it the other way.
In sum, the BBC has censored news of economic success caused by conservative fiscal policy because it does not suit their ideology and the Narrative they want to tell you. You’re not given the information you need to form an opinion, and in fact are at times told the opposite of what’s true.
I always say you can’t trust the BBC on US issues, but now it seems that there’s not much to trust them on for anything to do with North America.
Speaking of which, Mark Mardell’s official title is “BBC North America editor”, yet when was the last time you heard him mention anything about Canada? In fact, when was the last time you heard him talk about anything other than the President and His plans and speeches? It’s been a while. Time for a new, more appropriate title for him. I’ll leave it open to everyone else for suggestions.
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It’s happened. Standard & Poor’s has downgraded the United States’ credit rating to AA+ for the first time in history. Worse still, they have a negative outlook on the country fixing things in the near future enough to restore AAA confidence. Earlier this week, Moody’s re-affirmed its AAA rating for the US, but also placed a negative outlook on maintaining that status. Fitch takes the same unhappy view.
Let’s be very, very clear here, clear enough to counter all BBC propaganda and ideological commentary (I hesitate to call it “reporting” at this point) on the debt agreement, and the entire process leading up to where we are now. As I’ve been saying for some time now, both S&P and Moody’s have stated explicitly that the debt agreement does not do anywhere near enough to lower spending enough to maintain their confidence in the country’s ability to right the ship.
In assigning a negative outlook to the rating, Moody’s indicated, however, that there would be a risk of downgrade if (1) there is a weakening in fiscal discipline in the coming year; (2) further fiscal consolidation measures are not adopted in 2013; (3) the economic outlook deteriorates significantly; or (4) there is an appreciable rise in the US government’s funding costs over and above what is currently expected.
First, while the combination of the congressional committee process and automatic triggers provides a mechanism to induce fiscal discipline, this framework is untested. Attempts at fiscal rules in the past have not always stood the test of time. Therefore, should the new mechanism put in place by the Budget Control Act prove ineffective, this could affect the rating negatively. Moody’s baseline scenario assumes that fiscal discipline is maintained in 2012, despite pressures for fiscal relaxation that often precede general elections and the difficult negotiations that are likely to arise due to the scheduled expiration of the so-called “Bush tax cuts” at the end of that year.
“Fiscal discipline”. “Fiscal consolidation”. No mention of tax rises, no demand for increased “revenues”.
While the agreement is clearly a step in the right direction, the United States, as in much of Europe, must also confront tough choices on tax and spending against a weak economic back drop if the budget deficit and government debt is to be cut to safer levels over the medium term.
The increase in the debt ceiling and agreement on the broad parameters of a deficit-reduction plan support Fitch’s judgment that, despite the intensity and theatre of political discourse in the United States, there is the political will and capacity to ultimately do the right thing. In Fitch’s opinion, the agreement is an important first step but not the end of the process towards putting in place a credible plan to reduce the budget deficit to a level that would secure the United States’ ‘AAA’ status over the medium-term.
“A step in the right direction”. Does this sound like what the BBC told you on Tuesday? No, it does not. To them, this was forced on the President by the extremist Tea Party movement, out of a desire for “purity”. Notice they don’t say “raise taxes”, only that we must face “tough choices on taxing and spending”.
The review will focus on the U.S. sovereign credit fundamentals relative to ‘AAA’ peers and medium-term economic and fiscal prospects in light of Sunday’s agreement on cuts of nearly USD1 trillion over 10 years on discretionary spending and the establishment of a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional committee that will identify an additional USD1.5 trillion of additional deficit reduction by year-end.
Cuts in “discretionary spending”. Not bleed the rich.
We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process. We also believe that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade.
“Containing the growth in public spending”. “Fiscal consolidation”. Yes, they alone talk about raising revenues, but don’t say how or how much. In fact:
Standard & Poor’s takes no position on the mix of spending and revenue measures that Congress and the Administration might conclude is appropriate for putting the U.S.’s finances on a sustainable footing.
Revenues increase not only when the government raises taxes, but when business and industry pick up. Reaganomics – not Stephanomics – proved that. So S&P doesn’t particularly mean only that taxes must be drastically increased. And let’s be honest: only the massive, insane tax increase that the President was threatening not long ago would even put the tiniest dent in the trillions of debt. One could forcibly take all the wealth of every billionaire in the country, and that would barely even cover the one year’s worth of interest payments. Then next year, there won’t be any billionaires left, so that well will have run dry. Who else do you tax then? It’s simply not possible to do anything with the simplistic “tax the wealthy” prescription coming from the President in His speech on Tuesday, and from the BBC most of the time.
As a matter of fact, S&P is quite capable of upgrading a state when they reduce spending and get their house in order: like they did for Ohio. But that’s because a Republican Governor took care of things. There has been growth over the last year and more in Ohio because he reduced the regulatory burdens and extra taxes on business. The result is more revenue, and a stabilization of the state’s economy. So anyone who claims that S&P’s lowering of the US rating means specifically that the solution is to increase taxes is simply not telling the truth.
Most importantly, S&P says this:
Our revised upside scenario–which, other things being equal, we view as consistent with the outlook on the ‘AA+’ long-term rating being revised to stable–retains these same macroeconomic assumptions. In addition, it incorporates $950 billion of new revenues on the assumption that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for high earners lapse from 2013 onwards, as the Administration is advocating. In this scenario, we project that the net general government debt would rise from an estimated 74% of GDP by the end of 2011 to 77% in 2015 and to 78% by 2021.
Yes, if the evil Bush tax cuts on the wealthy expire, they project not quite $1 trillion more in revenue. And that’s a rose-tinted glasses view, hoping against hope that the business will actually still be there to provide that much. It obviously won’t be, the way things are going. Even then, even in this ideal situation, the debt will still rise and rise and rise. Not much of a solution, and no consideration given to how it might actually kill the business these taxes are meant to milk. In short, this is at best a drop in the bucket. And that’s their “upside scenario”, for heaven’s sake.
In fact, S&P was hoping for $4 trillion in cuts. Cuts. The debt agreement, the one the BBC screamed bloody murder about for a week or more, barely achieves 6o% of that, and that’s only if the ensuing meetings and negotiations achieve the absolute best, most-perfect case scenario. In other words, while the agreement is a step in the right direction, it’s barely half of one.
And hell, it’s not even a real step. It just starts the conversation we so desperately needed.
Now, let’s review the “reporting” of the BBC on the matter.
“He’s been forced off His agenda. Remember, He came to office promising hope and change, and talking about spending to stimulate the economy, and to change the way America was.
Instead, He’s been forced down a path of spending cuts. He didn’t want any of this.
Yes, and thank goodness He was forced off this path of destruction. As we’ve seen, every single ratings agency would have trashed the country’s credit rating if we kept on spending like Mardell thought we should. Yet when a few US states fix their own economies with Tea Party-inspired policies (reduced spending, reduced burdens on business, entitlement reform, no new crushing taxes), the BBC pretends it doesn’t exist.
For the last two weeks, we’ve heard from the BBC that the Tea Party is wrong, that spending more – or the Ed Balls line of not cutting too much too soon – is the way to go, and that the Tea Party-backed Republicans were the ones being intransigent, an angry, extremist minority trying to force things their way. And thank @@#$ing God they did. Without them, things would be much, much worse. There’s really no other way to put it.
A review of the above statements by all three major ratings agencies shows very clearly that more spending cuts were and are desperately needed. And which party refused to cut more out of intransigence, BBC? Which party’s ideology prevented them from achieving the level of deficit reduction we desperately need? Why have you been championing the President’s ideology when it’s all turned out to be the wrong idea?
Most people here have watched the Tea Party movement rise from a smattering of tiny, local gatherings to a nationwide phenomenon that changed the face of Washington in less than two years. Most people here have also watched the BBC ignore it, then denigrate it, then ignore it again, then really lay into it in the most negative fashion. We were called everything from racists to extremists to nutters to teabaggers. Oh, how the Beeboids laughed and sneered. In contrast, every time a Left-wing organization started up, pretending to be grass roots or non-partisan, the BBC leapt into action immediately to inform you.
What do you say now, BBC? Your reporting and opinion-mongering has been proven 100% wrong about all of it. It’s time to get rid of the entire newsgathering operation in the US. They serve no purpose other than to be a foreign mouthpiece for the White House. All at your expense.
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