BBC World News America Boss: Fear And Loathe The Tea Party And Republicans

Dick Meyer, executive producer of BBC World News America, has written another heavily biased viewpoint article for the BBC website. This time it’s published under the hilariously ironic rubric, “Echo Chambers”. Meyer’s purpose here is to frighten you in the way parents used to scare children with tales of monsters in the woods and gypsies come to steal them away in the night. His essay is about as rational and respectable as any folk myth.

Reports of Tea Party demise are greatly exaggerated

Who said the Tea Party was dead again? The Left-wing media echo chamber, that’s who. Meyer thinks differently, so perhaps that’s the blurb about this BBC “Echo Chamber” section (upper right corner of the page) is referring to here:

Unscrambling the noise of the global debate, from social media to scholarly journals, Kansas City to Kathmandu.

Unfortunately, Meyer’s diatribe is proof that he and the BBC are still caught squarely in the middle of an echo chamber, with no escape possible.

Meyer’s basing his tale on the results of a few results in the recent elections around the country. Just like his anchor, Katty Kay, Meyer perpetuates the lie that Mike Bloomberg is considered a Republican. Bloomberg is in fact a life-long Democrat who switched parties specifically to ease his run for mayor of New York City. After being certain of re-election, he dropped the “R” and has pretended to be an Independent ever since, all while pushing Left-wing, Nanny State policies. Even this bio piece about him refers to NYC as “Democrat-leaning”, and explains why Bloomberg was elected and re-elected. For Meyer to present the election victory of ex-Marxist De Blasio as some sort of sign of a magic shift to the Left in NYC is a joke. The city is Left-wing by and large, save for the Upper East Side and a few small enclaves in Queens and the like. Rudy Giuliani was an anomaly, elected to clean up the streets and make the city safe again. He stayed in office largely on the strength of his behavior after 9/11. Bloomberg was then elected not because the city had shifted to the Right, but because Bloomberg was thought to be the right guy to fix the city’s economic troubles. The “R” next to his name was a mere convenience, nothing more. Meyer displays either intellectual dishonesty or simple ignorance. My bet is on a combination of both.

The Virginia result is another example of Meyer’s dishonesty. The Democrat victor, Terry McAuliffe, is a well-known Democrat money-man and former Clinton crony. He had huge support from the national Democrat organizations, including a stump appearance from the President Himself. His Republican opponent, on the other hand, got precious little support from the national party, partly because of the internal struggle between the Republican Establishment and the Tea Party movement. The national Republican Party gave plenty of support to Christie, who didn’t really need it, and plenty of support elsewhere. But not for Cuccinelli. Even so, McAuliffe’s victory was a narrow one, about 2.5%. As it happened, a fake Libertarian candidate also ran in Virginia, quietly funded by one of the President’s old money-bundlers. He got more than twice that number of foolish Virginians to vote for him, thus handing McAuliffe the victory.

Meyer is either unaware of this, or thinks it doesn’t matter. Either way, his own personal political bias leads him to misinterpret the result, and misinform you as a consequence. This is the kind of man the BBC puts in charge of an entire daily news program made under the BBC banner. They and he don’t care, though, as they have an agenda to push: Fear and loathing.

Meyer’s casual relationship with the truth is also evident even his mention of the local Alabama race. He describes it with emotive language:

Further south in Alabama, the national business lobby coalesced behind a standard issue Republican running against a fire-breathing Tea Party man in a special House election – and won, reasserting the power of the Regular Republican Party.

“Fire-breathing”. Cute. It was actually so close they had to have a run-off election. And it was more cash from the business lobby – who backed The Obamessiah and are now moving firmly behind Hillary Clinton (where Goldman Sachs goes, so generally does the rest of Wall St. and the banking industry) so not at all a sign of Republican Establishment power – that really gave Bradley Byrne the win. The NY Times describes this as a sign of things to come, a warning that the Tea Party is still a strong force fighting for control of the Republican Party. Meyer understands this, hence this fearmongering article.

Now for the loathing. First, it’s clear that Meyer has no more idea what the recent mixed election results mean than anyone else does. All he knows is that the Tea Party movement is still out there working on elections. But then we come to the point of the piece. Since it’s an article by a BBC producer about the Tea Party movement, you can guess where this is going.

The difference in the black/white vote in all three of the big elections was as stark as can be.

In the exit polls of the Virginia governor’s race, blacks picked the Democrat 90% to 8%; whites voted for the Republican, 56%-36%. In New Jersey, blacks voted for the Democrat 78%-21%; whites for the Republican by the reverse margin, 79%-21%. In the New York mayor’s race, blacks voted for de Blasio (whose wife is black) 96%-3%.

My suspicion is that black voters feel a growing threat or hostility from the Republican Party, or at least from its Tea Party wing.

This would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous and offensive. All of a sudden blacks are trending more Democrat, eh? A “growing threat”? Not even remotely. As nearly everyone here knows, the black voters have backed Democrats for the last several decades. It’s been a monolithic voting bloc for so long that Dem leaders take it for granted. Every time somebody here made a comment that the blacks were voting for skin color in 2008, somebody else points out that previously blacks voted for Al Gore in almost equal numbers. How can this world-class journalist, with decades of experience producing national news broadcasts, get this so horribly, tragically wrong?

Let’s examine just how wrong and dishonest Meyer is being here. Here’s a link to a couple of charts which show that blacks overwhelmingly have voted Democrat for decades. Note that the percentages in many years pretty much matches the new results Meyer claims as proof of a new trend. Here’s another set of data from an academic paper out of Columbia University (NB: pdf file) showing the same very high percentages – the high 80s and low 90s – again disproving Meyer’s claim. Why would African Americans believe that the Tea Party movement is a threat to them? Because partisan fearmongers like Meyer keep telling them so, over and over, in spite of all the evidence before them.

It isn’t at all surprising the racial dimensions of politics have been exacerbated during the administration of America’s first black president. The reverse would be far more surprising.

Especially considering just how much people like Meyer in the mainstream US media kept telling us that we were too racist to elect a black man, and that not voting for Him was proof of racism.

The Tea Party movement from the start has had to defend itself from accusations of racism. They are increasing in volume, however – allegations that can be heard on MSNBC most days.

Yes indeed, because people like Meyer in the mainstream US media and the Left-wing blogosphere kept saying it was a racist movement. That theme has been perpetuated quite happily by the BBC ever since they finally admitted its existence in April 2009 (even then Kevin Connolly insulted hundreds of thousands of participants with a sexual innuendo on air, and it still remains in print on the website).The BBC’s North America editor, Mark Mardell, has been telling that tale over and over ever since he set foot in the country with a preconceived notion. I’ve written at length about this as well, and evidence of Mardell’s vicious and dishonest attacks can be seen here, here, and here, just for starters. Then there’s the evidence of his claim at the BBC College of Journalism that, even though he’s never seen over racism at a Tea Party rally, all opposition to the President’s domestic economic policies is racist. The Tea Partiers aren’t racist, he says, “at least not in a straightforward sense.” It’s not a legitimate policy opposition, he believes, but a racist opposition to redistributing wealth “to people not like them”. Mardell will believe in this crypto-racism to his dying day, that there can be no legitimate opposition to anything the President does. All of it must have some more sinister motivation. His BBC colleagues have pushed this for years as well. In addition to the BBC’s top journalist in the US, correspondents like Jonny Dymond engage in fearmongering as well, with false claims that hate groups are on the rise after the election of the black man, and that the Republican Party is doomed to be the party of old, white males. Meyer clearly agrees.

And certainly the antipathy of a slice of white America to Obama is rabid. But polling, focus groups and anecdotal reporting can’t get at the role of race in the Tea Party ethos very precisely or effectively. It is clear, however, black voters feel it.

Well, the evidence Meyer cites clearly doesn’t back up his assertion at all. Yet he sticks to the Narrative like a child to his security blanket. It’s no wonder that blacks feel a threat when people in charge of national news broadcasts keep telling them to be afraid, very afraid. That’s the power of the media.

Meyer winds up his piece with more blind guesses about what may or may not happen. Naturally we get the “Washington is so toxic these days” Narrative thrown in (mercifully he doesn’t follow other BBC journalists and throw in the obligatory exclusive blame on Republicans), it’s all a mess, we’re in dangerous waters here. In other words, be afraid, very afraid, that the evil, racist Tea Party movement is still out there, waiting to wreak havoc and do harm. In other words, a typical BBC article on the topic.

This isn’t the first time the BBC website has given Meyer a platform for his partisan antics. He’s previously defended the President against critics, dismissing “so-called scandals” that we now know to be very real, and – what a shock – placing blame for the recent government shutdown exclusively on Republicans.

Fortunately, Meyer is no longer in charge of a news broadcast on a major US network, so the damage he can do is fairly minimal. He used to be, and it was during his tenure at CBS that Dan Rather destroyed his own reputation over those fake Bush memos. So there’s form on partisan hackery subverting journalistic integrity. Where was he before taking the reins at BBC WNA? The Left-wing NPR, which cultivates an audience of elite, white liberals. Perhaps not coincidentally, anchor Katty Kay is the regular guest host on NPR’s Diane Rehm show. What was that about echo chambers again? However, Meyer’s BBC World News America is still broadcast every day on a few PBS stations around the country. Worse is the fact that BBC News has been increasing its investment in the US section of the website, hiring more and more staff, producing more and more output, and attracting more and more US eyeballs.

Is this beyond the BBC’s remit? It’s a discussion that needs to be had. Either way, it’s important that people are aware of the hyper-partisan, dishonest journalism at the top.

Parallels

With all the recent fuss about BBC mandarins wasting and trousering public funds, this BBC news brief caught my eye:

NPR to shed 10% of staff amid budget shortfall

The BBC reports that US public radio network NPR is having to cut loose 10% of its staff due to financial difficulties. What the BBC doesn’t want you to know: anchor of BBC World News America, Katty Kay, is the regular guest host for NPR’s Diane Rehm show.

The BBC tells you this about NPR’s funding:

NPR, based in Washington DC, receives about 2% of its annual budget from federal funds, with the rest from grants, licence fees from local affiliates, and listener donations.

Its revenue was projected to be $178m in the upcoming financial year.

There’s no bias here yet; the importance of the information will become apparent in a moment.

The broadcaster has also seen several high-profile firings and turnover in its leadership in recent years, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance payments.

What the BBC doesn’t want you to know:

NPR host’s involvement in Occupy D.C. leads to her firing from another show

A public radio host was fired on Thursday after the conservative political site The Daily Caller exposed her role as a spokeswoman for “October 2011,” the faction of Occupy Wall Street movement occupying Washington’s Freedom Plaza.

Lisa Simeone, the host of the nationally syndicated “World of Opera” show, and former weekend host of “All Things Considered,” is a freelancer working for WDAV, NPR’s Davidson, N.C., affiliate, where “World of Opera” originates. She also was the host for the weekly D.C. show “Soundprint” on NPR’s WAMU affiliate.

NPR terminates contract with Juan Williams

Juan Williams once again got himself into trouble with NPR for comments he made at his other job, at Fox News. And NPR’s has unleashed an unprecedented firestorm of criticism directed not at Williams – but at NPR.

NPR fired Williams Wednesday night after 10 years with the network for comments he made about Muslims on Fox News.

Thursday was a day like none I’ve experienced since coming to NPR in October 2007. Office phone lines rang non-stop like an alarm bell with no off button. We’ve received more than 8,000 emails, a record with nothing a close second.

NPR’s garnered more than 6,800 comments, many supporting Williams and others asking why it took so long to fire him. Here’s Thursday’s .

At noon, the deluge of email crashed NPR’s “Contact Us” form on the web site.

The overwhelming majority are angry, furious, outraged. They want NPR to hire him back immediately. If NPR doesn’t, they want all public funding of public radio to stop. They promise to never donate again. They are as mad as hell, and want everyone to know it. It was daunting to answer the phone and hear so much unrestrained anger.

Schiller’s fall puts NPR funds at risk

News accounts of the sacking of National Public Radio Chief Executive Vivian Schiller are careful to point out that she is not a blood relation to Ron Schiller, who, until Tuesday, had been NPR’s senior vice president for development — before he was caught on tape disparaging Tea Party members and the Republican Party in general.

But, unfortunately for her, she is related to Ron Schiller in the sense that he was one of her first big hires after she took the top NPR job in January 2009. WNYC President Laura Walker referred to the duo as “The Schillers,” because they traveled the country together meeting with donors and local public radio officials attempting to build a fundraising juggernaut that would benefit all of public media, with NPR at the center.

As chief executive, Schiller defined her top priority to be creating a stable funding base for NPR to do its thing, which is a pretty important thing, actually: delivering high-quality journalism in which listeners of all political stripes can hear their issues addressed in a serious manner.

It is tragic that, by hiring Schiller and botching the firing last year of former NPR commentator Juan Williams, a favorite of conservatives, she has placed public radio funding on its most precarious footing in recent memory.

Emphases mine. Sounds eerily familiar, no?

In other words, this is a largely Left-wing network. Why is the aforementioned financial data important? Because the BBC then goes on to say this:

The network is a favourite target of conservatives and Republicans, who see it as biased and an inappropriate recipient of taxpayer funds.

Of course, right-on thinking people are supposed to snicker at this, because these terrible people are making a mountain out of a molehill, raising a fuss over a lousy 2%. I’m not putting up a straw man here. This argument has been going on for ages. And as we can see, there’s clearly something to those charges of bias. It’s bias not to see that, if you know what I mean.

However, I’d suggest that there might be a legitimate concern about giving $3.46 million (2% of $173 million) of taxpayer money to a media outlet catering almost exclusively to wealthy white people:

AIR Director: NPR Serves ‘Liberal, Highly Educated Elite,’ Wonders How to Justify Public Funding

After working in many parts of public radio — both deep inside it and now with one foot inside and one foot outside — I believe there’s an elephant in the room. There is something that I’m very conscious of as we consider this crisis that I’d like to speak to.

We have built an extraordinary franchise. It didn’t happen by accident. It happened because we used a very specific methodology to cultivate and build an audience. For years, in boardrooms, at conferences, with funders, we have talked about our highly educated, influential audience. We pursued David Giovannoni’s methodologies. We all participated. It was his research, his undaunted, clear strategy that we pursued to build the successful news journalism franchise we have today.

What happened as a result is that we unwittingly cultivated a core audience that is predominately white, liberal, highly educated, elite. “Super-serve the core” — that was the mantra, for many, many years. This focus has, in large part, brought us to our success today. It was never anyone’s intention to exclude anyone.

Nor was it ever, by her own admission, anyone’s intention to include anyone else. Then there was this more recently:

NPR: mostly white audience produces mostly white teen novels list

There’s controversy at NPR over the service’s latest 100 best-ever teen novels list. 75,220 NPR listeners voted for their favorite young adult novels. The list quickly drew fire for its lack of diversity.

“Only two—yes, two—books on the list are written about main characters of color,” noted reading and English teacher Shaker Laurie in a blog post, they being Sandra Cisneros’ ‘House on Mango Street’ and Sherman Alexie’s ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’.

How did this happen, you ask?

But NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos contends that the problem wasn’t with the judges:

“The issue with NPR’s audience is that it skews white and mature. As I detailed last year in a report on diversity in NPR, roughly 87 percent of the radio audience was white, compared to 77 of the country’s over-18 population, according to NPR’s Audience, Insight and Research Department. African-Americans and Hispanics are particularly under-represented; Asian Americans are slightly over-represented, but they are a much smaller group.”

“The poll result, in other words, was innocent, normal and natural,” he concluded. “If still sad.”

Why should any tax money go to fund this, when it could be used instead to help the poorest and most vulnerable (who tend not to be so hideously white) or, heaven forbid, not taken from taxpayers in the first place? The BBC wouldn’t dream of such an objection, apparently, or at least can’t be bothered to mention it. Sure, it’s only a news brief, but that shows how they don’t see the big picture behind the story, or choose not to. These own-goals certainly contributed to NPR’s current funding difficulties, and it’s worth discussing.

I ask any lurking journalists who wish to dismiss my point by saying that I simply don’t understand how news works to please spend a moment explaining why it’s not worth discussing. It’s an honest request.

Also, this goes some way to discredit Mark Mardell’s repeated assertion that conservatives and especially the Tea Party movement he loathes has no legitimate objection to wealth redistribution because they really object only to redistributing wealth to people not like them. Even when he admits that there are a few who aren’t racist, he goes on to tell anecdotes about people who are, and concludes that the whole issue is sharpened by redistribution to people who “are not like us”. Well, if the Tea Party movement is supposed to be made up of almost exclusively “white, largely well-off people” who mostly have a racial animus towards the misuse of their taxes, then by his logic they wouldn’t object to around $3.5 million going to NPR.

Of course most Beeboids (aside from Jeremy Paxman, apparently) wouldn’t see anything wrong with forcing all taxpayers to fund this kind of media organization.

Daniel Nasaw’s Horrible History Lesson

Daniel Nasaw is one of the handful of Beeboids working the US beat who was actually born and raised here. In his latest feature for the BBC online Magazine, a “From Our Own Correspondent” segment, he visits a Civil War battle reenactment to use as a metaphor for a primary Narrative about the current state of US politics we hear across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting: an historic, extreme polarization.

Nasaw doesn’t so much get the basic relevant history bits of the Civil War wrong as he does the lesson which he’s trying to invent from it.

Antietam: Re-enacting a bloody 1862 US Civil War battle

(Audio “From Our Own Correspondent” version is here, beginning @17:18)

In addition to the morale-boosting effect for the North (it was a strategic draw, really but ended Gen. Lee’s push into Union territory), the Battle of Antietam is pretty legendary because of the carnage, so it’s a good choice for Nasaw to hold up as a symbol of how horrible the splitting of the nation was. Which becomes the problem, as we’ll soon see. First, a bit about the whole reenactment thing, which seems to baffle our not-so-humble correspondent as well as amuse him much in the way natives in exotic locations reenacting colorful tribal rituals amuse the tourists.

It really is a pretty big hobby, as Nasaw says. Lots of groups all around the country – even in places that weren’t remotely involved in the conflict – many with the same kind of enthusiasm and attention to detail as any historical hobbyist group. They can be as hardcore as any bunch of enthusiasts, and relaxed about it at the same time. They’re there mostly to have fun rather than declare their allegiance to any political ideology. Not that the history behind the game isn’t on some people’s minds in many cases.

Unlike Nasaw, who seems to have approached this event from another culture entirely, I’ve actually participated in one of these battle reenactments. As these things happen,  a friend of a friend knew someone involved with the local historical society who was putting on one of these battles. They needed bodies, so I jumped at the chance. Also unlike Nasaw, I had no ancestors involved in the Civil War, as mine didn’t even get to the US until more than almost 40 years after it was over. I ended up dressing for the Confederate (“Rebel”) side, simply because that’s where they needed bodies. I was supplied with a period costume of civilian clothing, not a uniform, as the South couldn’t always afford everything for their troops. This also struck home the fact that – as Nasaw points out but apparently doesn’t accept – many really did come out to fight for their homes and safety of their families more than for any political ideal, or to keep their right to own slaves.

We did a few minutes of actual drills from some period military book, and learned to load and fire the percussion muskets (all replicas, not rifled IIRC) used at the time. Having to stand there furiously attempting to reload after one shot while a wall of guns fired at me from the other side, and the next rank of my team running forwards into the volley to their next spot before taking their next shot, told me in about thirty seconds a whole lot more about why these battles were so bloody and not always conclusive than anything I’d ever read on the subject. It’s all a bit of a joke to Nasaw, but it can be a real lesson. As for who decides who dies when, naturally I asked the same thing he did, but didn’t take offense like he seemed to at being told that was a rookie question.  As it turned out, there were a few veterans in charge of each side who would just occasionally say, “You’re dead….now you can die….we need a couple people to die on this next volley,” and so on. Not a big deal.

Now for why Nasaw is wrong to use the Civil War for the message he wants to get across. First of all, the concern about States’ Rights goes back long before the Civil War, right back to the founding of the United States of America. It was a vital issue debated by the founders for years before and after independence. In fact, the Civil War wasn’t even the first time secession came into the picture. Of course, what’s going on here is that Nasaw is trying cast light on the polarized political situation we’re in today. We keep hearing from our media elites that the country is more divided, political discourse is more polarized than ever before. Mark Mardell likes to cite claims of grizzled veterans that we all used to get along so well, politicians were never so partisan, etc., as part of his proof that it’s never been this bad before. They’re all at it, really, because that’s the same Narrative we hear from the mainstream Left-leaning media in the US. And they’ve been doing it for some time, not just recently. It all started, we’re supposed to believe, when the US elected a black man as President. All those anti-Bush protests and the ChimpyMcBushitler posters and celebrities crying about Bush hating black people after Katrina, that wasn’t polarization, you see. It’s only when a Democrat President – particularly this One – doesn’t get His way that we’ve suddenly gone horribly wrong. For example:

March 2010, Mardell: Is US politics nastier than ever?

January 2011: Jonny Dymond ponders “the anger and polarisation apparent in today’s American polity” in regards to a mentally unstable person attempting to assassinate a Democrat politician and murdering a few people in the process

October 2011, Mardell: US ‘divided society’ protests spread (Oh, hang on, that was about their darling Occupiers’ class-war rhetoric, and no Beeboid was fretting about how they were polarizing politics)

August 2012: Paul Mason says the pick of Paul Ryan for VP has “polarized US politics”

September 2012, Justin Webb: What happened to America’s community spirit?

Andrew Marr’s upcoming special film about the four years of The Obamessiah’s reign will see him push the same Narrative.

I’m sure everyone has seen or heard other examples as well. So what’s the most obvious historical example of the US being divided? Exactly. Because subtlety isn’t a quality trait with media types bent on getting convincing you about their world view, Nasaw needs to spell out just how relevant this is to today’s situation. It’s where he delves into the issue of States’ Rights and slavery that he gets it wrong.

Long before Lincoln was elected, slavery was a known problem. In fact, while quite a few founders were slave owners, quite a few more were not, and even the top figures who owned slaves at the time knew it was a bad idea. However, there’s a significant economic dimension to the problem as well. Slavery was actually kind of dying out because the trade became less economically viable, but the arrival of the cotton gin kept it going long after its sell-by date, to the point where it was becoming massively difficult to shift the South’s economic engine away from it. The South would have had to diversify economically eventually, but it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Nasaw, like so many who don’t actually understand the history, sees the Civil War as being exclusively about protecting slavery and the concept of States’ Rights as a smokescreen behind which to hide it. Although it’s watered down in the printed version, in the audio version Nasaw is more explicit about this (beginning @19:18:)

“That’s the familiar slogan wielded by Americans who want to whitewash the stain of slavery from the War’s glory.”

Well, yes and no. While it’s true that slavery was the key right which led to the secession, it’s not something that’s been a major issue from the start. There’s also the fact that many in the South have a particular cultural heritage they want to defend (this feeling might just be familiar to some of you, no?) which has precious little to do with slavery. That gets suppressed every time someone whacks them with the slavery cudgel, which leads to no small amount of resentment. Plus we mustn’t forget the trials of the Reconstruction, when much of the South was occupied militarily and politically by the North. In some places they tend to teach that era of history as if Gen. Sherman left only last week and the remains of buildings are still smoldering in the streets. That’s caused a scar on the regional psyche which goes far beyond a single issue. In short, there’s much, much more to the whole thing than slavery alone. But that muddles the issue, and gets in the way of the metaphor you’re meant to have jammed into your brains. It’s possible that Nasaw is simply unaware of all this, didn’t learn anything other than the standard liberal tropes (history being not only written by the victors but updated by future elites), and really does see it in the simplistic terms he lays out here due to ignorance and not just pure ideology. In “reporting” from this biased perspective, he’s denigrating millions of United Statesians.

Nasaw gets a Civil War expert to tell us that today’s debate goes all the way back to the War, it actually goes back much further. Of course a Civil War expert is going to focus on his area, and of course this makes it a nice red herring. It’s here where Nasaw starts to make some offensive parallels. His goal is to make a direct tie from today’s Tea Party protests and critics of ObamaCare to those desirous of keeping slavery going. He wants to show that it’s the same mentality, the same people, the same belief system. That’s how he sees it, and that’s the story he set out to tell.

I probably don’t need to point out how this also ties right in with the overall BBC Narrative that there is really no legitimate opposition to the President’s policies and that all those complaints are really driven by crypt0-racism, but reminders can be found here, here, here, and here.

While many of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, many equally felt that it was wrong, and that it was something that would eventually have to go away. But more important than that specific issue is that, besides the North-South divide we know about today, there was also originally a kind of chasm between the wealthy Eastern States – industrial and mercantile Northeast, coastal trade cities, etc. – and the poorer, rural West. When I say “West”, however, I’m using it as defined at the end of the 18th Century. Back then, the western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee were a largely unexplored frontier. In other words, very rural, and not wealthy. Even in the country’s early years there was a kind of resentment from those States.

Added to this strain is the more obvious cultural division between the more industrial, mercantile North and the largely agrarian South. Different European heritages also played a part. A further cultural difference was that many in the Southern region looked to Republican Rome for an example of how things should work. This was fine for a largely agrarian nation, not so much for an increasingly urban and commerce-driven one. So there was an innate suspicion of too much central government power from the very start, and for a variety of reasons. Slavery was not the only causus belli.

In fact, the State of New York under Governor Clinton (not the guy from Parliament-Funkadelic, and no relation to the former President) threatened to secede back in 1788 because he felt the ratification of the very Constitution we’re talking about today actually went too far in curtailing his own State’s autonomy. That was all about finalizing borders and maintaining the independence of a country – a State with a capital “S”, which is why I tend to write it that way – which he had been enjoying until then. Like several other key figures, he accepted it once they added the Bill of Rights. Even more important was Clinton’s objection to the new Federal Government imposing a national tariff on foreign commerce, New York’s cash cow. In other words, very much like the kind of objection involving States’ Rights and the Federal Government’s ability to tax commerce we heard about ObamaCare in front of the Supreme Court. More secessionist noise was going on under President Jefferson a few years later for other reasons, which is partly why Clinton was brought in as his Vice President (Somebody ask Paul Mason about a VP pick polarizing the country, right?). Yet Nasaw wants you to focus exclusively on slavery when discussing the concept.

Basically, the Civil War was the culmination of all this stuff, which had been brewing for more than 75 years. The right of secession had long been accepted. The irony of the early instigators of the Revolution’s feelings of being slaves to the British Crown while owning slaves themselves wasn’t lost on them. They knew, but were for reasons best left to people much more intelligent and informed than I, ultimately incapable of sorting it out early on. Lessons hadn’t been learned well enough, the South became too economically dependent on free labor, a lot of people in power didn’t want to suddenly have hundreds of thousands of opposition voters appear on the scene all at once (like in Mississippi, for example, where blacks would have instantly outnumbered whites) and the rest is…well, you know.

But Nasaw doesn’t seem to know any of this. All he sees is a chance to equate slavery enthusiasts with people who oppose a Federal Government wanting to “reform healthcare systems”. The very term “reform” is loaded with positive connotations, a biased perspective on its own, although that’s a discussion for another time, and one we’ve had before anyway. Any opposition, then, to new powers of the Federal Government are similarly tainted. This stifles debate even before it begins. When a couple of the people he meets object, Nasaw sneers. He gives the game away when he asks those playing the Union side if they feel “morally superior” to the Rebels. It’s all black and white to him (no pun intended, although it’s pretty unavoidable).

If one is going to have an honest discussion about the origins of the States’ Rights debate, one has to go way past the Civil War, all the way back to the years before the founding of the country. The concept is entrenched in the US Constitution for a reason: it was vitally important to the founders, who had been debating the topic for years already. It’s about something far beyond a single issue, even one as culturally and morally important as slavery. To simply dismiss the whole thing by tainting it with support for slavery, full stop (subtext: You’re A Racist!), does a disservice to the audience, to the debate itself, and to the nation’s history.

I understand that no humble correspondent can be an expert on every subject, and it’s impossible to do in-depth research for every story. But this is a clear example of a reporter having a preconceived story he wants to tell, one that is exactly in line with the perspective put forth by nearly every other report on the subject, and really screwing with history to get his point across.

 

PS: Amusingly, Justin Rowlatt’s preceding segment about Las Vegas’ economic struggles gives you in a few seconds more information about the looming economic catastrophe in China than pretty much all other BBC reporting in the last few months put together. Unfortunately, though, he’s yet another Beeboid who see that the money has run out but is unable to grasp why that is.

Mardell Redistributes His Political Ideology

This post from Mark Mardell has to one of his most misguided and biased efforts yet. In an attempt to get his readers thinking that quasi-Socialism is in fact a very American ideal, he plays coy, pretending that he’s only asking a question, as if he’s merely opening debate on the topic and doesn’t have a position. It’s quite obvious that he does, although as we’ll see, his understanding of it is rather bizarre. His ultimate goal, of course, it to prove that Mitt Romney is wrong.

Is redistribution a foreign idea to the US?

Mitt Romney, in the wake of his “47%” comments, told Fox News that government redistribution of wealth is an “entirely foreign concept” to Americans.

He repeated the point today: “I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America.”

I am not sure whether Mr Romney means that such ideas come from abroad or just that redistribution is alien to American values.

But he is on to something.

What Mardell means is that Romney may have hit on something that will appeal to the uglier instincts of the voters.

Despite being factually wrong, he has hit upon a central reason why American politics can seem so very different to what happens in Europe, including in Britain. Specifically, conservatism here is very different from conservatism there.

See, when I said that his goal was to prove that Romney is wrong, it wasn’t just my biased inference. “Factually wrong”, eh? How so?

There is a large section of the American right, indeed of the American people, which does not accept the grand central bargain of post-war politics across the other side of the Atlantic.

And we all know how well that has worked out, don’t we? Or is the sad situation in Greece and Spain, and the general death spiral of the Euro something Mardell hasn’t quite grasped? He’s writing as if Euro-style Democratic Socialism is the correct way to go, and those who don’t accept it are on the wrong side of history. So how is Romney wrong?

The Republican candidate of course protests too much. In a technical sense, any system of taxation involves a redistribution of wealth, from the individual to where the government chooses to spend it.  

Ah, here we go, Mardell is going to demonstrate how Romney is wrong.

Of course, hundreds of years ago it was distributing the wealth of the masses upwards to the kings and lords. But nowadays, even if every citizen paid exactly the same in a minimalist state there would still be redistribution to defence manufacturers, or to the police force, or whatever.

???????

This is a joke, right? Some under-educated teenage prankster has hacked into Mardell’s blog and stuck this in, right? Can he seriously believe that the basic business of government – defending the borders, keeping the peace, or whatever – is the same thing as the kind of wealth redistribution we’re all talking about? I mean, technically, using tax revenue to fund government agencies like the military and the police meets the definition of the word “redistribution”, but that’s got absolutely nothing to do with the concept that’s causing all this debate. Yet Mardell seems to equate anything the government is supposed to do on the most basic level with everything it can do if it wants.

In other words, he’s claiming that Romney said that not funding basic local services is the real American way. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Mardell has actually revealed his misguided beliefs before. In March, he displayed a serious misunderstanding of the entire argument against the individual mandate of ObamaCare, which forces people to purchase health insurance or face a serious tax penalty.

The centrepiece of Obama’s changes to the healthcare system is what’s called “the individual mandate”.

This means that Americans have to buy health insurance, just as in most countries you have to have car insurance if you drive.

The opponents say the government can’t require people to buy services, any more than they can make them buy bananas.

Notice how he doesn’t understand the difference between health insurance and car insurance, or the concept of commerce. The Supreme Court thought otherwise. Even the liberals on the Court understood how Mardell is wrong. As Justice Kennedy would point out in the hearing, when one buys car insurance, one has already engaged in commerce by buying the car. ObamaCare is forcibly creating commerce just so they can regulate it.

Furthermore, car insurance is first and foremost about protecting other people against what the insurance policy-holder might do. All the other coverage is subsequent. Not so with health care. Yes, the Court eventually upheld the individual mandate, but my point isn’t about whether or not it’s constitutional. The point is that Mardell’s analogy is wrong, that he has a poor grasp of the subject, and that his personal belief system shows through in his commentary. In fact, he also showed this same misguided opinion in this piece, where he says that the Individual Mandate is:

weird jargon for an accepted fact of life in most countries, that everyone has to have health insurance, just as in most places everyone has to have car insurance if they want to drive.

His bias on the issue makes him criticize the opinion of people on which he’s reporting. Even if he provides space for the other side of the argument, he’s not supposed to take sides. Yet he does, repeatedly. Like when he declared that the Supreme Court’s approval of ObamaCare was “good for democracy”. He’s a titled BBC “editor”, so that means he’s allowed to write opinion pieces. How or why one is supposed to separate his opinions from his allegedly impartial reporting, I have no idea.

Mardell then writes a couple of paragraphs demonstrating that he actually does know the difference between progressive wealth redistribution and basic government spending. Which makes it all the more ridiculous for him to conflate the two as he does elsewhere. He opens the next section of his piece by again using biased terminology, although very cleverly begins what he thinks is an epic takedown of Romney with this setup:

But he is right that in America has only slowly embraced anything that looks like redistribution of wealth. After all it was that arch-reactionary, Otto von Bismarck, who introduced the world’s first welfare system, including the old-age pension, in Germany in the 1860s.

America didn’t get anything like it until Franklin Roosevelt – FDR – brought in the New Deal, including a pension for the poorest in 1935.

Maybe it is something about presidents with three initials, but the real expansion of redistribution came with LBJ’s Great Society.

“Embraced”. And then he uses von Bismarck as some kind of “Mikey likes it” example of the palatability of wealth redistribution. Gosh, if an “arch-reactionary” can like it, what’s my problem, right? Never mind the vastly different political, social, cultural, and economic heritage of an only recently largely feudal Europe and the clean break, independent-minded heritage of the US.

Richard Nixon built on this, but many conservatives have never accepted the changes.

The one time Leftoids use Nixon as a good example of anything. Yawn.

This is in contrast to Europe, where both main political traditions after World War II seemed to broadly agree that while Soviet Union-style socialism didn’t work, capitalism if left to its own devices produced inequalities which if not softened could prove dangerous.

Dangerous when? How? Shut up, just accept the Gospel.

We know from Mardell’s infamous appearance at the BBC College of Journalism that he believes that Britain is superior to the US because of this difference.

He then holds up “Butskellism” and Mrs. Thatcher as still more proof that Conservatives ♥ wealth redistribution (his line about how she actually didn’t destroy the welfare state after all ought to shock a few BBC producers and favored edgy comedians, no?). Again we see that Mardell is showing his own personal bias on this political issue. Look, he’s saying, proper Conservatives and reactionaries (Tea Partiers take note) have long embraced wealth redistribution. Those who still reject it are wrong-headed.

Mardell then makes a fatal error.

Until a few months ago it was a core part of Mitt Romney’s argument that President Barack Obama was leading the US towards a “European-style entitlement society”.

Until a few months ago? Never mind that Romney’s only been the actual nominee for about three weeks, as he’s been the de facto nominee for a few months now. Mardell is suggesting that Romney hasn’t mentioned it much since, I suppose, Rick Santorum dropped out. Even so, during the Republican challenge for the nomination, the candidates were picking apart each other and not really focusing too much on the President. However…..

Mardell opened this piece with a mention of Romney’s recent interview on Fox News. Apparently he didn’t he notice that Romney said this:

Obama, supporters, ‘more European than American’ in outlook

Oops. Did Mardell miss this part? Not understand it? Ignore it entirely because it didn’t suit his agenda for this article? I mean, what does Mardell think that whole 47%er thing was about? Think it’s only just now popped back up? Think again:

June 27: “He’s taking us down a path towards Europe.”

Sept. 22: ‘European socialist policies not right for US’

In reality, it’s still a core part of his argument. I have no idea why Mardell chose to say that. Quite frankly, it destroys his credibility. Finally, this being a Mark Mardell report for the BBC, he has to get in a dig at the Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party stands for “taxed enough already”, but it was given life by one man’s revulsion at the Obama administration’s financial help for home owners who couldn’t pay their mortgages – a classic redistribution of wealth.

The “one man”, as Mardell’s link shows, is Rick Santelli, the CNBC reporter whose rant from the trading floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange gave the name to a movement which had already quietly started about a month earlier. But, contrary to Mardell’s narrow mischaracterization, Santelli was talking about sub-prime mortgages which should never have been given out to people who – as we now know – could not have afforded them in the first place. It was that whole Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac propping them up which led to the disastrous debt bubble which crashed our economy. Santelli’s point was that this was the government promoting bad behavior by supporting the idea that it was okay to get into massive debt that you could never pay because the Nanny State would take care of it.

Instead, Mardell wants you to think this was about the government merely stepping in to lend a warm helping hand to those temporarily in need, tending to the poorest and most vulnerable. So he demonizes millions of people for their “revulsion” (an emotional term chosen to manipulate you against them) for something he believes he’s already established is right and just and already accepted by proper Conservatives. Because that’s how he sees it.

His personal political ideology informs his reporting from start to finish. It leads him to misinterpret, misrepresent, and misunderstand what’s going on.

Now for an alternative viewpoint about the US and the inherent “revulsion” at “classic redistribution of wealth”. It’s a quote from early United Statesian icon Davy Crockett. Yes, that Davy Crockett. It’s rather long, but well worth your time, and hopefully you’ll get a better understanding of the US perspective than anything the BBC’s US President editor can provide.

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: “Don’t be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted.”

He replied: “I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say.”

I began: “Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and…”

“’Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

This was a sockdolager… I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

“Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.”

“I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.”

“No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?”

“Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with.”

“Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?”

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

“Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.”

“It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government.

So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.

The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.”

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

“So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.”

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

“Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.”

He laughingly replied:

“Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.”

“If I don’t,” said I, “I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.”

“No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday a week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.”

“Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye… I must know your name.”

“My name is Bunce.”

“Not Horatio Bunce?”

“Yes.”

“Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go.”

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him—no, that is not the word—I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story: The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted—at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

“Fellow citizens—I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.”

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

“And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

“It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.”

He came upon the stand and said:

“Fellow citizens—It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.”

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

“NOW, SIR,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

“There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men—men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased—a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

(Source)

Is The Occupy Movement Racist Now?

A while back, the BBC followed the lead of their brethren in the Left-wing US media and tried to get you to think the Occupiers were similar to the Tea Party movement. This was done because – to the media’s dismay – much of the country failed to hate the Tea Party movement and buy into the demonization promoted by the press. So, having resigned themselves to that fact, the media luvvies tried to gain acceptance for the Occupiers by trying to promote the idea that they had similar ideals to the Tea Partiers. The BBC even played a little game of “Who Said It” to help drive home this notion.

Now it appears the two movements do have something in common after all: their opposition to The Obamessiah.

Tea Party and OWS Protest Side-By-Side Against Obama in San Francisco

The unthinkable finally happened last night in San Francisco: the Tea Party shared a protest with the Occupiers, both groups angry with the same person.

And who was this unifier, the only man who can bridge the divide and bring together all sides of the political spectrum? Why, President Obama, of course.

I don’t need to remind anybody here that the Narrative from the BBC has been that opposition to the President is not so much policy-based as it is steeped in racism. They simply refuse to acknowledge that people can be genuinely opposed to His policies for legitimate reasons. See the video of Mark Mardell’s appearance at the BBC College of Journalism for a reminder of his mocking of a Southern woman whom he describes as a racist, as well as his opinion that the Tea Partiers are really, deep down, under the skin, concerned about the Government spending money “on people not like them”.

So, one has to ask now: Is the Occupy Wall St. movement racist?

Over to you, BBC.

Responding To A Defender Of The Indefensible

This is regarding a comment from Dez on an open thread which had already dropped off the main page by the time I noticed it. I haven’t had time to put together the response his comment deserves, and since I think there is an important point to be made here, I’m making it a main post rather than continuing the discussion in the middle of an old thread.

A week ago on a previous Open Thread, John Horne Tooke commented in response to a criticism of BBC reporting by “As I See It” that the BBC’s biased coverage of the US had convinced his college-educated daughter that Republicans “do not believe in science”. It was on Page 7 of this Open Thread (Js-kit/Echo won’t allow linking directly to a comment).

That’s obviously about either Creationsim or Warmism, or both, on which the BBC has form. Basically this is based on the assumption that all Republicans are “climate deniers” and Christians who believe that the Earth is 6000 years old. The BBC has declared that skepticism that human activity is the driving factor in Global Warming is “anti-science”,  and so all Republicans get tarred with that epithet, even though there are plenty who buy into Warmism. As for Creationsim,  people like Justin Webb and Nicky Campbell (R5L Sept. 8, 2011) have conflated a belief in God as Creator (a very broad term) with the belief that the Earth is only 6000 years old, and suggested that, for example, both Sarah Palin and Rick Perry are unfit for high public office because of it. In the case of JHT’s daughter, she got it from Chris Evans. There’s probably also something there about opposition to embryonic stem-cell research being anti-science. It’s easy for the BBC audience to assume that this is the case for all Republicans, since the Beeboids themselves keep reinforcing that opinion. In short, biased BBC reporting, along with constant partisan attacks from BBC Light Entertainment personalities, forms incorrect opinions.

So I extrapolated from that to a pet peeve of mine, and replied that if JHT’s daughter also thought that the Tea Party movement was driven by crypto-racism, he’d know whom to blame. I was of course referring to the BBC US President, Mark Mardell, along with the fact that the majority of BBC reporting about the Tea Party movement has suggested that opposition to the President was based more on the color of his skin than on any policies. There’s plenty of evidence for this, which I’ll get to in due course. Dez disagreed with me. His comment in full is below the fold.

Hell Yeah! Because it can’t be anything to do with the idiots pictured here:
http://snotrockets.net/politics/tea-party/the-tea-party-are-a-bunch-of-racists-there-ive-said-it/

And it can’t be anything to do with The Patriot Freedom Alliance:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073094/Racism-row-erupts-Tea-Party-calls-Barack-Obama-skunk.html

Or Marilyn Davenport:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1378380/Official-apologizes-Obama-chimpanzee-email-Tea-party-member-fired.html

No! It’s all the fault of Mark Mardell because he told the BBC College of Journalism that; “I’ve been to lots of Tea Party meetings and I honestly don’t think most of them are racist… I think for them it is about the Government spending their money…”

Bascially, Dez’s argument is that since others besides the BBC have pointed to fringe elements and isolated incidents, the BBC cannot be blamed for influencing public opinion on this matter. I won’t put words in his mouth and say that Dez also believes that the Tea Party is driven by racism. I think he does, although I’m happy to be corrected if he chooses to explain himself. Furthermore, he’s also misrepresenting what Mardell actually said at the BBC  CoJ.

First of all, let’s discuss who influences public opinion. 50% of the UK public watch the BBC for their news. The BBC has far more influence there than any other television news organization. BBC News Online is Britain’s most popular news website, especially seeing a 109% boost in visitors during the last two years from that desirable 18-24 year old demographic. Nobody has as much influence in online news as the BBC. Outside of that, while Radio 4 has lost some of its audience share, Chris Evans has nearly 9 million listeners. So when he says the Tea Party is racist, he reaches more people at the same time – including JHT’s daughter – than just about anyone else in Britain who isn’t an athlete, royalty, or on X/Strictly whatever. Then there are all the Left-wing comedy programmes and news quizzes, on both radio and tv. The Beeboids at the Today Programme believe they set the agenda for the nation’s news each day. No other media organization has anything like the number of channels or online presence or audience figures of the BBC. It’s not even close. The BBC has by far more influence on public opinion than the rest of them.

The Daily Mail may have passed the New York Times as the top online news source, but how much is that due to celebrity gossip and photos of women in bikinis, never mind the fact that the NY Times has a pay wall which cuts readership short?  The Mail got 45.3 million unique visitors in December,  Those figures are worldwide, not only British readers. The BBC suggests that’s more about “popular journalism”, big photos, an search engine optimization than the quality of the actual hard news, so it’s difficult to claim that the Mail has more influence on public opinion than the BBC.  Sure, the Mail can raise a fuss sometimes and affect a tiny bit of change, as Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross found out. But do 50% of the public get their serious news from the Mail, or do more of the British public read their website for news than BBC? Clearly not.

So I think it’s fair to say that the BBC has more influence on public opinion than any other media outlet. Does the BBC overwhelmingly try to tell you that the Tea Party movement is racist, inspired by racism, or is filled with racists? Yes. The list is seemingly endless.

Jonny Dymond recently made a dishonest report about how hate groups are on the rise because there’s a black President. This was part of the BBC Narrative which began in 2008, that opposition to The Obamessiah can be due only to skin color and not policy.

In one of his earliest blog posts since taking over for Justin Webb, Mark Mardell was openly asking if opposition to the President was driven by racism. He said that, considering how important racism has been in US political history, “it would be strange if it now mattered not a jot”. In his first weeks on the job, Mardell was already ignoring the main economic policy points of the Tea Party movement and Republican opposition to a Democrat President, and focusing instead on a suspicion he has, based on small evidence.

Not long after that, Kevin “Teabagger” Connolly was pushing the same Maureen Dowd article from the NY Times that Mardell waas. In that same post, David Vance also tells us about Gavin Essler in the Daily Mail scowling at those Hitler signs, and whipping up fear that someone might assassinate the President. So even if the Mail does have a negative influence on the public, we can partly blame Beeboids for that, too.

There have been plenty of comments on this blog about Richard Bacon and Victoria Derbyshire pushing this same Narrative, never mind all those edgy comedians who make a good living working the Left-wing tropes.

The next issue is whether or not Dez is correct that the outliers his examples highlight are enough to convince someone that the Tea Party movement is, in fact, racist. I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog trying to show that, contrary to BBC reporting, the movement is actually driven by people’s unhappiness with the President’s and the Democrats’ economic policies, and there’s no need to get into all that here.

The short answer is that every large gathering and movement is going to have its parasitical fringe element, people who ride the coat tails of the larger movement to push their own issues. It’s become a cliché that every Left-wing protest march will feature someone with a “Free Palestine” sign or a “Troops out of Iraq” placard or a hoodie with that “A” for Anarchy symbol, regardless of the issue of the day.  But we don’t say that the student riots protests against tuition fees were driven by support for the Palestinian cause. The same thing goes for Right-wing gatherings and pro-life supporters or similar. So there are obviously going to be some racists somewhere who see protests against the President as an opportunity to bare their own racist grievances. It can’t be helped. Hell, there might even be people who actually are racist, but are also legitimately concerned about the destructive economic policies.

However, I’d say that it’s impossible for a grassroots movement which grew into a national phenomenon to be largely driven by racism if Herman Cain and Col. Allen West got so much support from them. The second Tea Party protest I attended back in 2009 was hosted by a black man. And how racist can people be who vote for Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio? Or are there actual racists who hate black people but have no problem with Indians or Hispanics?

But I think it would me more informative to instead answer a question with a question.

If we’re supposed to accept that the Tea Party movement is driven by racism based on a few outliers and isolated incidents, would Mardell and Connolly and John Horne Tooke’s daugher and Dez equally say that the Occupy Wall St. movement is driven by anti-Semitism if I provided several examples? Would they do what we’re so often instructed not to about Muslims and extremism or young black men and crime, and stain the majority for the behavior of the few?  Would, then, the following be enough evidence to declare that anti-Jewish sentiment does matter a jot in the Occupy movement:

Anti-Semitic Protester at Occupy Wall St LA


Occupier shouting “Go back to Israel” to a Jew

The Hate in Zuccotti

Pete Sutherland traveled to Zuccotti Park all the way from Georgia Friday, shivering as he wielded a handmade sign that read, “The Reason the Arabs Hate Us.”

“Jews are the smartest people in the world,” said Sutherland, 79. Not in a good way.


“They control the media.”


But no one tells the truth about the Hebrew people, as he sees it, because “the media doesn’t want to commit suicide by losing the Jewish advertisers.’’


“I’m not anti-Semitic,” he finished.

The New York Times thought the Occupy movement was getting such a bad reputation that they went out to make a story defending them. The Times instructs us not to smear the majority for the acts of a few.


Occupy Wall Street Has an Anti-Semitism Problem

A quick sampling of the anti-Semitism on display among the Occupy Wall Street set yields the flamboyant and aggressive protester who yells,“You’re a bum, Jew” at his yarmulke-wearing interlocutor; the conspiracy theorist who laments that “Jewish money controls American politics,” and warns the Russians not to let the Jews take over Russia too; and  the self-described Nazi with the swastika tattoo who regrets that America has been handed over to “other people.” Ah, people power.

I could go on. So do we declare that the Occupy movement is mainly anti-Semitic, or that it’s fair for people to get that idea?  I didn’t say so after my encounter with the Occupiers at Zuccotti. In fact, I said that, despite the videos I’d seen and reports I’d read, I hadn’t seen any real anti-Semitism there, and so wouldn’t declare the entire movement tainted. Which brings me to my final point: Dez’s misrepresentation of Mardell’s CoJ appearance and misunderstanding and mischaracterization of my comment.

You can watch Mardell speak for himself here. (@ around 54:20 if the link isn’t direct)

Mardell mocks a Southern white woman while confirming his off-camera colleague’s opinion that racism was certainly a factor in the 2008 election. “You knew exactly what it was,” he chortles. He then says that he doesn’t think “most” of the people at Tea Party protests he’s been to are racists. “Certainly not in a straightforward sense.”  Dez conveniently elided that bit. Which leads to his error about what I said. Mardell isn’t saying that most of us aren’t racists, he’s saying that it’s there underneath the surface of the economic issues. “Deeper than that, it’s about the Government spending their money on people who are not like them.”  Dez conveniently elided that bit as well. Dishonesty? Or a simple mistake? Only Dez can tell us.

I said at the time, and have repeated many times since, that Mardell believes the Tea Party movement to be driven by crypto-racism. His own words tell you so. Now, I’m not blaming Mardell’s appearance at the CoJ for people being misinformed. That’s a misunderstanding on Dez’s part. What I am saying is that Mardell, the BBC’s top man in the US, believes it to be true, and that it influences his and his fellow Beeboids’ reporting. The question from his colleague presupposes that racism is a factor, and Mardell confirms it. This tells us the editorial opinion of and the conventional wisdom at the BBC, which informs all their reporting on the issue. In other words, they already thought that, long before Mardell’s appearance at the BBC CoJ. This is a problem. Aside from the smear factor, it also causes them to ignore or play down the real economic issues behind the opposition to the President’s and the Democrats’ agenda. Mardell can acknowledge that excessive government spending is a concern, but deep down it’s driven by racism. Even when writing about Herman Cain’s popularity, he actually thinks it’s important to ask if the man’s black skin would “bother any right-wingers”. So Dez’s portrayal of Mardell is absolutely false.

Of course there’s no memo going out telling everyone to push the racism angle or anything. It’s just groupthink, reinforced from the top. They read it in the Washington Post and the New York Times and the HuffingtonPost, and they hear it from their Left-wing associates and friends, and laugh at it with their favorite Left-wing comedians. It’s visceral, and is spread throughout the BBC.  That’s why you hear it not only from Mardell and Dymond, but from Bacon and Campbell and all the rest of them.

And that’s why 50% of the public who watch BBC News, as well as heavens knows how many more who rely on BBC News Online – who combined make up the majority of the population – think the Tea Party movement is driven by crypto-racism.

BBC Surprisingly Unfazed About White House Shooting – I Wonder Why?

The man supected of shooting at the White House last Friday had become obsessed with President Barack Obama, officials have told US media.
It is thought Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, 21, believed God had given him a personal mission to attack the White House, said law enforcement sources.
A US Park Police bulletin said he was “unstable with violent tendencies”.

You would have thought that someone bringing a rifle with him and shooting at the White House would have been on the BBC website’s loop for several days accompanied by a lorry load of speculative think pieces on the dangers of political violence in the US from an assortment of pundits and experts.

Not one mention of the dangers of violent rhetoric.

Could it have been because of the suggestion that this man had been hanging around the Occupy DC gathering? There is no evidence that he was a “member” of that “movement”…..but he might have listened to some of the rhetoric which could have echoed fiery outbursts in New York

Naturally the BBC goes for the safe option and doesn’t even wonder if there is any connection between the endemic violence in so many of the Occupy encampments and an “Obama obsessed” gunman firing a rifle at the Presidential residence.

I wonder why?

At least in the BBC website report of Rep. Giffords interview with the ABC’s Diane Sawyer they had the good grace not mention Sawyer’s sly and serpentine attempt to rehash the lies and innuendo pumped out by a complicit US/UK media associating the Tucson shooting with Governor Palin and the Tea Party….

cross posted at The Aged P

BBC IGNORES BIDEN LIES, GOES AFTER RUBIO

The BBC has managed to squeeze two items out of a Washington Post story on Marco Rubio’s family history, with a news report and an accompanying bit of pointless padding from Daniel “let’s defend Obama” Nasaw (unsurprisingly both pieces make prominent reference to Rubio’s status as a Tea Party favourite). Thanks to the internet we can get a different perspective, and Hot Air provides us with a statement from the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies:

The Washington Post seems to have very little understanding of the Cuban exile experience and what it means to be an exile. Marco Rubio’s family was forced to stay in America because they refused to live under a communist system. That makes them exiles. It makes no difference what year you first arrived. The fundamental Cuban exile experience is not defined according to what year Cubans left, but rather by the simple, painful reality that they could not return to their homelands to live freely.

It’s so predictable that the pro-Democrat BBC would cover the Rubio story in the way it has and yet totally ignore Joe Biden’s recent outrageous claims that opposition to Obama’s jobs bill will lead to increased rape and murder. We know from the Rubio articles that BBC journalists have been reading the Washington Post this week; it’s stretching the bounds of credulity to believe not one of them saw the paper’s Fact Check column in which Biden’s statements were debunked and awarded the highest mark of Four Pinocchios.

It’s also revealing of BBC priorities that there’s been no follow-up to Fast and Furious since August, and that it hasn’t touched the Solyndra story in over three weeks, despite more revelations in both scandals. And goodness how the BBC’s US journos are suddenly quiet about the Occupy movement since it all started going Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm. They were queuing up to cover it a week ago. [*See updates]

When Bush was in power the BBC went out looking for political scandal (for example agenda-driven conspiracy-peddling left-wing activist Greg Palast – who recently told a crowd of lefties they should urinate on Republicans – was a regular reporter on Newsnight). Can anybody think of a single example of BBC journalists digging up dirt on the current administration? Has there been any scuffed BBC shoe-leather in pursuit of Democrat scandal? Some of Mark Mardell’s efforts read like they’ve been dictated to him by White House press secretary Jay Carney (who is, let’s not forget, husband to the co-author of Katty Kay’s book Womenomics). The BBC really should drop the laughable pretence of impartiality and just declare its hand:

[*] UPDATE 13:40. Related to the Occupy Wall Street protests – here’s another story from this week’s Washington Post which the BBC chose not to pick up:

Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data.

UPDATE 14:00. H/t John Anderson:

NOT THE BBC’S CUP OF TEA

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.

Katty Kay and Mark Mardell Love Far-Left Protests

I know others have mentioned the BBC’s biased coverage of the Occupiers, but I think it’s important to look at them all together, so we can see the big picture, the larger context of the BBC’s reporting. We’ve all seen by now how the BBC loves the “Occupy Wall Street” protest, as well as the copy-cat protests in other cities. Any negative aspects played down, the protesters’ mixed messages spun favorably. Now the top BBC talent in the US has gone among them, and come back with glowing reports. It makes for a stark contrast with the way Mardell and Katty reported on the Tea Party protests.

First, the unbelievable dishonesty and bias of Katty Kay:
Occupy Wall Street: Grievances without violence

I’ll pause for a moment while everyone stops laughing, and give you a chance to clean the tea off your monitors and keyboards. You read that right: Katty says there’s no violence. And it gets worse. How does she open her report?

There is something endearing about a protester who camps out on Wall Street carrying a sign that reads “I love humanity, let’s figure this s**t out together”.

OK, he wasn’t quite as discreet with the swear word, but my editors will frown if I replace the asterisks with the actual letters.

But seriously, how angry can you really sound if you begin your revolutionary bank-bashing with the words love and humanity? It is somehow so very un-European.

Awww, how sweet, eh? Like all well-constructed pieces, the Narrative is set out very clearly in the opening section: these protesters are lovely, have the best of intentions.

It’s hard to imagine, for example, the hooded youths of the London riots pausing between rock throwing and shop-looting to utter poetic affection for their fellow human beings.

Their priority was Sony or Samsung (stolen plasma TVs that is), not sitting down with their political opponents to figure out the country’s economic problems.

Who’s sitting down with political opponents here? The Occupiers are screaming at their ideological enemies. If these people honestly wanted to sit down with political opponents and figure out the country’s problems, they’d be sitting outside political offices and government buildings, going to committee meetings open to the public, etc. That’s not what they’re doing at all. Katty just made that up out of thin air.

Let’s recall how Katty opened her first report about the Tea Party movement. She opened that video piece with a quote from the President, who is one of the Tea Party’s political opponents. The people on whom she’s reporting doesn’t even get the first word. The President called for unity, she intoned, but that call was drowned out by the Tea Partiers. Before we even learn what the Tea Partiers wanted, we’re told they disrupt, divide, oppose. Oh, and let’s not forget they are angry. And that was actually the least biased, least frowning, least scaremongering report about the Tea Party movement ever done on the BBC at the time.

Yet for some odd reason Katty starts her report on the Occupiers focusing on the love. She contrasts the Occupiers with the violence of the protesters in Greece and other places, and draws the conclusion that the US is just a nicer place, so protesters don’t get violent like they do in Europe.

No, the most extraordinary thing about the US protests so far is that they have been so mild.

It took Americans a long time to jump on the European protest wagon and now they’ve finally done so, it’s with exemplary order and calm. Given how rough the American economy is, that’s quite surprising.

You ain’t seen nothing yet, Katty. (UPDATE 9:23pm: All those nice people Katty met just got up and tried to occupy Wall St. again and and got violent with the police, throwing bottles and bags of garbage at them. Imagine! How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya, Katty?)
They’ve only just begun. Wait until they realize they won’t get their way immediately. She gets in her usual far-Left ideology about “growing inequality” and how the evil rich are “gobbling up” wealth while others aren’t getting richer. This is far-Left ideology, no matter which side of the argument you’re on. And she has form. For example, recently she complained that the economic crash hasn’t lasted long enough to “turn people off Capitalism”. It’s right there, out in the open. This is what Katty believes, and she reports according to her personal political beliefs. It cannot be denied. Naturally, because she holds these beliefs, she’s surprised things haven’t gotten more violent.

So it’s interesting that – barring the one incident of pepper spray used against demonstrators on Brooklyn Bridge – the nice people camping out in Zuccotti Park have been well, so nice.

Show me one single example of Katty – or any Beeboid – describing Tea Party protesters as “so nice”. Notice how she says there’s been just the one unfortunate incident. What about the hundreds of people arrested while trying to illegally storm the Brooklyn Bridge? What about all those nice protesters who tried to actually illegally occupy Wall St. itself? Does Katty know about this? Does she care? Or does she sweep that under the rug because it doesn’t help the Narrative she wants to tell?

Oh, but Katty knows that United Statesians can do violent protests when they want:

And it’s not that Americans can’t riot – they’ve done so with force in the past. Remember Vietnam, LA, the race riots in Detroit?

But those were in the 1960s. In recent decades protests in the US seem to have become more peaceful, even more subdued.

So why haven’t there been molotov cocktails and shootings yet? Katty will tell us by – you won’t believe this – using the Tea Party movement as an example.

That other political protest movement of recent times, the Tea Party, might get fired up by their deeply held convictions, but they certainly don’t riot.

Oh, gee, thanks a lot. We also don’t get arrested by the hundreds, or illegally occupy anything. To my knowledge, there has never been a single arrest as a result of Tea Party activity. If somebody does manage to find such an anomaly, it would be nothing compared to the hundreds of arrests of Occupiers around the country in the last few weeks. That’s right, Katty: hundreds of nice people arrested in Boston, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, San Diego, New Jersey, Des Moines. The only reason there haven’t been even more arrests in other cities is because the police have decided not to do any for the moment.

Why have all these people been arrested? Why are the police trying to clear them out in various cities? Because the protesters are breaking the law. Unlike the Tea Party, these people didn’t bother with mundane things like permits or working with the police or obeying the law or having consideration for their fellow citizens. Yet Katty thinks it’s the same thing.

The same quality of civic duty and lawfulness that foreigners find so distinctive about American life in general has dictated the mood of the economic protests as well.

Civic duty, my arse! Breaking the law and blocking traffic and storming government buildings is not civic duty or lawfulness. How can Katty be so dishonest? Hey, Katty: would say these people in Zuccotti Park are “nice” and civic-minded? Or did you miss the anti-Jew messages? I guess you’re also unaware that they’re calling for violence in LA. I guess I shouldn’t ask about the “Time to kill the wealthy” email that was sent to a bunch of NY lawmakers. (UPDATE: Or spitting on a member of the Coast Guard.)

Now let’s visit with Mark Mardell. He went to Nashville to see what the kids are up to. His enthusiasm is evident in the headline:

The start of something new?

Out of all the protesters in Nashville, Mardell managed to find a person of color. Unfortunately, he couldn’t even be bothered to find an African American, who are a significant portion of the population there, if only a small minority of protesters. The poor lad had been to New York, and got himself arrested trying to illegally occupy the Brooklyn Bridge. Mardell gives him sympathetic treatment. He spent seven hours in a cell (oh, the humanity), and his law-abiding immigrant parents weren’t pleased that he now has a criminal record. But the BBC’s top man in the US understands.

On the other hand, Hirak believes his arrest was part of something historic, something important.

A movement that isn’t just about Wall Street, but which he hopes will grow in Tennessee, where he goes to university.

“I am a very small part of it, but this is the opportunity finally for the people to speak out and participate in our democracy,” he says. “We’re finally going to get our voice back in our democracy. We are the 99%.”

Now let’s recall Mardell’s first blog post about the Tea Party movement. He asked if it was down to racism. He pretended to be impartially asking the question, throwing it out there for others to ponder. But we know now that he believes it is secretly driven by racism, and that all the noise about fiscal conservatism and government reform is a smokescreen to hide it.

The rest of his piece is sympathetic to the protesters and their cause. No casting aspersions, no suggesting that they’re mere puppets of Washington think tanks (like he said about the Tea Party to the BBC College of Journalism), and most curiously, no fretting about the anger. No, Mardell is hopeful, not concerned. This is the US protest movement he’s been waiting for, and it shows. You won’t see him mocking any of these protesters the way he did last month to his junior colleagues.

Naturally, when he gets to New York, Mardell also has to try to compare the Occupiers with the Tea Party movement. He makes sure to tell you that, unlike these people, those Tea Partiers like big corporations. But he forgot to mention that a major complaint is corporate welfare and bank bailouts. No, the easy route is to claim that the Tea Party is on the side of the evil rich, and the Occupiers are on the side of the poorest and most vulnerable.

Fortunately, Mardell understands that there really isn’t a fair comparison at all.

But other differences suggest it would be wrong to read across from one movement to another.

These are early days, but Occupy doesn’t seem to have drawn people into politics for the first time in the way that the Tea Party has.

Most of those I have spoken to here and in Nashville were already interested in radical politics.

I have yet to meet any one who turned up because their own economic situation made them want to change the world.

Which is what we’ve been saying here all along. These people had this ideology long before the economic crisis, long before the bank bailouts. Unlike the Tea Party movement, this was planned in advance. Unlike the Tea Party movement, which was spontaneously started by a St. Louis housewife as an anti-tax gathering, and eventually inspired millions of people to form peaceful, law-abiding protests. Funny how all the Beeboids leave this fact out. However, notice that Mardell doesn’t wonder about organization or influence from above. He also never enthused over how someone he met at a Tea Party event felt they were part of something historic. To him, it was all hatred and racism.

Here’s what Mardell and Katty have censored from their glowing reports about the Occupiers: Union organizers and Union members joining in. Even the far-Left Mother Jones says it’s driven by Big Labor. That’s not a grass-roots movement at all. Will Mardell admit it? No.

Laura Trevalyan has been more honest in her coverage. She does report about the defecating on police cars, the ugly behavior, and the complaints about the property destruction and illegal behavior in Zuccotti Park. Unfortunately, she thinks that occupying private property and preventing the city from cleaning up after a month of filthy occupation is “a victory”. Only at the BBC is breaking the law celebrated in such a fashion. She made a live report saying the same thing on the News Channel earlier today.

You want to know what a real victory is for a political movement is? Changing politics. The first Tea Party victory was affecting a town council vote in a little town in Rhode Island. Real victories include affecting local elections in places like Tucson and Miami, not to mention electing Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Oh, and taking over the House of Representatives last November. Those are actual, respectable victories for a political movement: law-abiding and civic-minded. Not occupying and vandalizing private property and preventing the city from cleaning it up. Ah, the twisted morality of the BBC.

There was one bit of dishonesty in Trevalyan’s report as well.

In the Colorado city of Denver on Friday, riot police arrested demonstrators as they removed their tents in Lincoln Park near the state Capitol.

This makes it seem as if the police just went in and started arresting innocent people who were actually packing up to leave peacefully. Wrong. Those arrested refused to leave an area they had been occupying illegally.

Why can’t the BBC be honest about breaking the law? Why can’t the BBC be honest about these Occupiers? I think we know why. The difference between their treatment of these protests and the Tea Party movement is staggering.

The Wit And Wisdom Of Mark Mardell At The BBC College Of Journalism

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.

OCCUPY WALL STREET

On Monday David Preiser contrasted the way the BBC reported the Tea Party movement (“a bit strong for our tastes” as R5L’s Peter Allen put it) with the sanitised PR effort it is producing on behalf of Occupy Wall Street. David headlined his piece: “The BBC Loves Left Wing Protest“. No kidding – check out Paul Mason’s tweets of encouragement to the New Statesman’s lefty activist Laurie Penny:

Here are the sort of characters from the Wall Street protest you won’t see on the BBC’s coverage.

The anti-Semitic college graduate. “Why are you fighting with us? Because you got the money, Jewish man… You can’t even speak English. Are you Israeli? Go back to Israel.”

The Jews Control Wall Street Guy versus The White Anglo-Saxon Protestants Own Wall Street Guy.

The angry anti-white know-it-all hippie. “Maybe if we don’t use currency any more, like, that’d be really awesome. Maybe if there’s no currency a lot of products that don’t need to exist wouldn’t exist.”

Imagine the reaction the BBC would have had to such dickheads spouting equivalent bile and idiocy at a Tea Party rally. There would have been a determined effort to portray them as representative of the whole movement. But as we all know, lefty protest movements get rose-tinted BBC coverage.

UPDATE. More video of angry anti-white know-it-all hippie. “Are you a white man? If you’re a white man then shut the fuck up about race because you don’t know shit other than how to rape and kill.”

The BBC Loves Left-wing Protests

As everyone saw over the last few days, there was a reasonable-sized far-Left protest in New York City against “Wall Street”. The BBC’s coverage of these people was as different from the way they reported on Tea Party protests as the goals of the former are from the latter. In other words, vastly different.

As just one of the most obvious examples, I’d like to see someone show me the Tea Party equivalent of the video the BBC posted in one of their follow-up reports about the Wall Street protest. The opening lines of the voice-over:

“Today, there was a protest march of over 1000 peaceful protesters, some with signs, chanting peaceful slogans….”

The speaker is one of the protesters, given air time by the BBC to describe the protest from his point of view. This is part of an interview with him by the BBC News. Can anyone find me even a single example of the BBC doing this at a Tea Party protest? Also, Spot the Missing Word: “anger”. Where’s the anger, BBC?

Notice that there is talk of arrests, police needing to use force, etc. As always, the violence comes from the Left, yet the BBC ignores it. In stark contrast, please recall just how many times the BBC told us about the “boiling anger” of the Tea Party movement. Every report mentioned the “anger”. Yet when we get BBC reports on far-Left protests, we hear how “peaceful” they are. In fact, the BBC even allows the protesters to define themselves, again a 180 degree turnaround from the BBC’s treatment of Tea Partiers. How many arrests have there been at Tea Party events, BBC? Answers on the head of a pin…..

Let’s also recall the time that Mark Mardell took a silly unique incident of a senior citizen engaging in a momentary physical struggle with a Left-winger, and spun it as the violence coming from the Right. In actual fact, it was the Left-winger who started the physical confrontation, which ended in the older man biting off the Left-winger’s fingertip. Mardell used this to frighten you, and threaten about a looming violence coming from the Right. Which, of course, has never materialized. The offensive, biased top BBC man in the US even questioned the rational behind the senior citizen’s political point of view, and even ended his short post by asking: “And can any Americans out there explain why this debate has got quite so heated?”

Wake me up when he does this about one of these far-Left protesters. It won’t happen, because he and the rest of the BBC understand and sympathize with their motives. On the other hand, when it’s the far-Left on which they’re reporting, the BBC takes great care to make sure to avoid giving you the impression that these people are filled with rage, and give them unchallenged air time to express their intentions. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the likes of Peter Allen saying that these far-Left protesters are “a bit strong for our tastes.”

The best the BBC can do is edit this video report by an actual Beeboid so that it opens with the words “Angry at their treatment by the banks, and by the police.” How have the banks mistreated these people, I wonder? A strange characterization, to be sure. The title of the report shows that these particular far-Left protesters were marching on police headquarters. Did the Tea Partiers ever do such a thing? Of course not. Yet here, the BBC report is sympathetic, not fearful. The anger is shown in a remarkably different light. In fact, here we’re given a justification for that anger, whereas the anger of the Tea Party movement was left up in the air, its rationale even questioned by BBC correspondents.

Worse still, it’s compared – favorably? – to the recent protests in Madrid. Those were extremely violent and destructive, but since the Beeboids support their political agenda, that’s played way down. Completely unlike the initial BBC reports about the Tea Party movement, there is no editorializing, no suspicious commentary about their motives, no mention of an unseen guiding hand of national organizations.

Side note: I’m very amused to hear that one of the things these people were protesting against are “multi-billion dollar bank bailouts”. Funny how that was an extreme right-wing thing to do back when the Tea Party movement was doing it. Clear evidence of BBC political bias on that specific issue.

When it’s a far-Left protest, the BBC makes sure to show you a special slide-show of the marchers and their interaction with the police, but without the editorializing and fretting that was omnipresent in their reports on Tea Party events. No sneering, no worrying about motives, no insulting with sexual innuendos. Where was the equivalent for a single Tea Party protest? This is a glaring disparity, considering how the Tea Party movement represents a far larger segment of the US than do these far-Left protesters. Sure, many people are unhappy with Wall Street and the mess to which they contributed, but most people in the US don’t want it all shut down like these far-Left types do.

Another BBC report on this far-Left protest mentions their “anger at police”, which is very revealing. Again, the BBC helpfully provides the reason for the anger, as if it’s the police’s fault these people want to commit vandalism and violence. At the Tea Party protests I’ve attended, the rapport between the police and the protesters could not have been more civilized. Because there was no vandalism or violence, or even the remotest of hint of any. Many of us even thanked the police afterwards for their time. Why is the Left allowed – even expected – to behave differently, but not a single peep from the Beeboids?

The difference between the BBC’s treatment of protests from the far-Left and protests from the non-Left couldn’t be more drastic, or more obvious.

BBC Censorship And The Economic Delusions Of Mark Mardell

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.

The Bias Of Katty Kay Revealed On MSNBC

A couple days ago, BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of what’s left of BBC World News America, Katty Kay participated in a panel discussion on Chris “Thrill Up My Leg” Matthews’ show on MSNBC. Unlike the BBC, MSNBC has no Charter & Agreement requiring them to provide balance and remain impartial, and the panel is even more weighted to the Left: John Heilmann from New York Magazine, Katty, Helene Cooper from the New York Times, and Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel. The host himself is now infamous for his over-emotional statement on air of devotion to the President, and has spent much of the time since His election viciously attacking any opponent.

Before we get to the video, I have to say that it’s certainly not Katty’s fault that this is a far-Left echo-chamber, or that Matthews has a specific partisan agenda to push and assembled this panel accordingly. But she is responsible for her own words and behavior. Therein lies the danger of being a talking head on these panels. It’s all opinion-mongering, and there’s no escaping that the whole point of appearances like this is to give opinions on stories. Sometimes that’s not a big deal, like when a pundit is asked to predict how things might turn out, or explain a couple of angles a politician might take on something. But that’s not what’s going on this time.

Since she’s not actually on the BBC here, and is not performing any BBC-related duty, defenders of the indefensible can claim that she has no obligation to be impartial. All I can do is present this from the BBC’s own rulebook, and let people judge for themselves:

BBC News and Current affairs staff, BBC correspondents on non-staff contracts and freelances known primarily as presenters or reporters on BBC news and current affairs programmes, must remain impartial when speaking publicly or taking part in similar events, such as a public discussion or debate.

Now to the video:

Notice how Matthews misses Perry’s joke and claims this is embracing extremism. The first words out of the New York Magazine guy’s mouth are, “The Republican Party right now is a very ideological party.” And the Democrat Party isn’t? Matthews goes on to disparage Perry, and we can see the tone from the outset. Angry, extremist, mean, ideological. Matthews really piles on, blatantly misrepresenting the message of the movement: “We don’t believe in evolution. We don’t believe in Climate Change.” He says this is the language of the Tea Party. Nods of agreement all round, and no protest at all from Katty Kay. She agrees with the characterization that this is what the Tea Party movement is about. If she thought differently, she would have said something.

This has not and has never been the language of the Tea Party movement. The last two and a half years have been about fiscal responsibility. Katty actually later acknowledges this fact, but only after she says that the movement is all social conservatives. Once again I have to state emphatically for any lurking defenders of the indefensible waiting for a gotcha moment: Of course there are plenty of social conservatives in the movement, and of course these issues concern them. Yes, social conservatives have also tried to jump on the bandwagon and co-opt the movement’s energy for their own ends. But the inspiration, the driving force, the raison d’être of the Tea Party movement is fiscal conservatism and nothing else. Remember – and I sympathize with those who get their information on US issues from the BBC who were kept in the dark about this for months – the whole thing started as an anti-tax movement and grew into an anti-ObamaCare and anti-Socialism/Big-Government movement. Nothing else mattered. No social issues inspired this, none of the hundreds of spontaneous protests around the country were about social issues. It’s simply false to portray the movement and the millions of people supportive of it as social conservatives first and foremost. Yet the BBC Washington correspondent plays right along. For her to go along with it and abet Matthews’ smear is biased behavior, and, I believe, a breach of the BBC’s impartiality guidelines for correspondents.

Since a few genius pundits have been comparing Perry to Reagan, the discussion shifts to that idea. But things are different today than they were in 1980. “There seems to be a meanness of spirit,” Katty opines. Yes, she’s making a distinction between Reagan’s campaign and the rougher tone of today, but she’s also acting as if it’s only the Right which is acting this way. When did Katty ever frown at the President for saying “Punch back twice as hard”, or instructing His supporters to argue with opponents and “get in their face”, or for crying, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”? Never, and she wouldn’t dream of doing so. In fact, she’s pretending here that it never happened. I suppose that’s to be expected, seeing as how the BBC has censored this news, not allowing you to know about it. This is a BBC Washington Correspondent revealing what she thinks about the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party, and it’s exactly as biased as we’ve all been saying about her work for the BBC.

At one point, Katty states that Perry’s joke was actually him being mean, and that the public doesn’t like that sort of thing. Clearly she misses the point, just like the rest of these Leftoids. From nearly the very beginning of the movement, the Mainstream Media and Leftoid blogosphere have tried to characterize Tea Party people as being angry and mean. People here may recall just how many BBC reports on the movement (just click on anything in the Tag Cloud on the right side of this page with “Tea Party” in it, and you’ll see what I mean) focused on “boiling anger”, etc. So this is nothing new. Then there was the racist angle, thankfully absent from this particular discussion. The thing is, many in the movement have taken the approach of humor with it.

For example, the host of one Tea Party event I attended was a black man, who greeted the crowd by saying, “Hello all you racist rednecks!”. Perry is doing the same thing here. And the Leftoids on the panel simply don’t get the joke, as they’re the very people who actually are making the smear which Perry’s playing on. The crowd in the video obviously gets it, but the BBC Washington correspondent very obviously doesn’t.

There’s also the inevitable mention of Katty’s arch-nemesis, Sarah Palin, who is never far from her thoughts. It’s much harder now for Palin to enter the race, apparently. Glad that’s straightened out.

I’ve made a quite a few posts and comments on this blog highlighting the bias of Katty Kay’s reporting and interviewing manner on the BBC. Her personal opinion revealed here in her capacity as a pundit reflects my charges exactly.