The latest edition of my report is up on EyeTube now (no embed possible at the moment). It clocks in at 15:23. Some stuff the BBC covered badly, and some they haven’t covered at all. Sources are below, and my thanks to all those who took the time to listen to the previous editions.
I’m trying something a bit new and different here. After asking David Vance and the All Seeing Eye, I’m starting a real rebuttal to the BBC’s lame output about US issues. I can’t compete with the “bespoke” video magazine pieces, but I can provide a bit more information and analysis of real US issues that get spun by the BBC or simply censored out of existence. There’s much more to what’s going on over here than what affects the President or the latest racial issue or celebrity gossip, and there seems to be a vacuum which needs filling. So this is my humble attempt.
It’s not possible to provide a proper rebuttal in fifteen minutes, but consider this an opening salvo. If enough people agree, I’d like to expand this from just me providing some info to a live audio or video discussion, where everyone here can call in or whatever, beginning next week. But more on that later.
I’m also going to try and provide sources for everything I talk about, so everyone here can decide for themselves what’s going on. The BBC may not be held accountable for their actions, but the inhabitants of this blog deserve better. Hey, if you don’t want to listen to the audio, just check out these links instead.
Hmmm. Embed not working. Link to audio file on EyeTube below:
The BBC’s US President editor is in New Hampshire to cover the Republican Primary. “It’s the economy, stupid” is the running gag these days about the number one reason why the President might not be re-elected. Among the elite media, anyway. Much of the rest of the country might be worried about His continued assault on gun rights, poor performance on stopping illegal immigration, the constant class war rhetoric, the possibly unconstitutional power grabs and recess appointments, His poor foreign policy record, and His general apparent incompetence to improve anything, but that doesn’t interest Mardell or his fellow travelers. And we never hear about any of that from the BBC anyway, so it may as well not exist for the purposes of this discussion.
As Mitt Romney solidifies his lead over Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, where do you think the BBC’s top man in the US goes to keep his finger on the pulse of the people? A Jon Huntsman gathering. Who?
Yes, Mardell went to a gathering of supporters of the candidate who has been at the bottom of the polls from the beginning. Huntsman is now getting a little play in New Hampshire, because that state is full of Reagan Democrats, who basically were the “independents” who voted for The Obamessiah in 2008. To support his attendance at a Huntsman event, he points to an article by the Left-wing (but not identified as such, contrary to what Jane Bradley said they should do) Daily Beast which says Huntsman had his best debate performance yet. In other words, Democrats like him, so Mardell is on the scene. I’d be more impressed if he had found a non-Left article speaking positively about Huntsman.
Now, you might be saying, “Hey, Dave, Hunstman is suddenly on the rise, so it’s logical that Mardell would check out his gathering to see what’s up.” Well, he didn’t do that for Santorum, who rocketed up from the bottom of the polls in Iowa. He went to a Ron Paul rally after a quick stop at a Romney speech. The BBC instead sent Peter Marshall of Newsnight to laugh at Santorum. Contrary to the tone here, Santorum’s rise was discussed with distaste in BBC reporting.
No, Mardell has liked Huntsman from the beginning. He was mentioning Huntsman when the man was not even a blip on the radar, yet didn’t mention Herman Cain until after the first debate, when he dismissed Cain out of hand. Last September, Mardell told an audience at the BBC College of Journalism that he liked Huntsman as a candidate and especially that Democrats liked him. I think that about sums it up right there. But this is at least as much about defending the President as it is about Huntsman. For his latest, Mardell is talking to some other Republican voters. What’s especially troubling about this report is that Mardell also seizes an opportunity to defend the President on the economy.
Actual Republican voters in New Hampshire are more conservative, or at least used to be. Reagan lost a primary to Pat Buchanan, for example. The state has, though, seen a serious increase in Democrat voters in the last few years. The problem is that the state also has this rather lax, same-day voter registration deal, so people can switch parties or independents can sign up for one (one has to be registered for a party to vote in the primary) on the day in order to flood the polls for a given candidate. There are rumors that out-of-state Paul minions are coming in to take advantage of this as well. So the particular circumstances of New Hampshire benefit Huntsman more than just about any other candidate.
But Mardell is there more to defend the President than to push Huntsman. So he talks to some Huntsman supporters about their thoughts on the economy. First, he talks to an actual Republican, a business owner and son of a former Republican governor and White House staffer. Chris Sununu definitely blames the President for the bad economy. Mardell, though, questions him.
I put it to him that is fine as political rhetoric, but question whether Obama’s policies have really hurt his thriving ski resort.
Somebody show me an example of Mardell doing this to an Obamessiah supporter. He let’s Sununu answer the question, but then dismisses it.
Not everyone agrees that the language of the campaign reflects reality.
It’s very clever how he emphasizes that this is “rhetoric”, which devalues the position. In the interest of balance, of course, Mardell then talks to someone who – what a shock – doesn’t like where the Republican Party is going. Donald Byrne is one of those “independents” registering specifically for this primary I was talking about. It would be more informative if he’d found an actual Republican who felt differently, but I guess one right-winger a day is all he can stomach. Tell me if any of the following sounds eerily familiar to everything the BBC has been telling about the Republicans:
He says the language used about Obama is pandering to the base.
“I think the Republican party in the United States has shifted very far to the right,” he says.
“Being a moderate is a negative in this campaign and that’s very unfortunate, because the majority of Americans are moderate and well balanced in their thought process.
“There is too much pandering to these right-wing extreme sides.”
This could have been copied and pasted from any number of BBC reports. Actually, it sounds like a good White House talking point. Wake me up when Mardell finds an “independent” who says that the Democrats have moved too far to the Left, and that it’s bad for the President to pander to Left-wing extremes. No, to Mardell, that’s a good thing, what He should be doing.
One thing Mardell neglected to tell you about Byrne is that he hosted a Huntsman gathering at his own home last month, and that he doesn’t like Romney’s strong talk against China. It’s pretty obvious that a software entrepreneur with a vested business interest in dealing with China is going to like the former Ambassador to China who sucked up to them. The “pandering” to extremists Byrne was talking about was, in fact, about anti-China rhetoric and not, as Mardell wants you think, specifically about the US economy. So a little dishonesty from Mardell there to help his Narrative.
To further defend the President on the economy and convince you that the fiscally conservative position is actually an extremist one, Mardell found a big-government Republican and economist who worked for the first President Bush. You won’t be surprised to learn that he says that the debate between Keynesian and Milton Friedman economics is silly. It’s more between Keynes and Hayek, but Friedman is a big American name, so we’ll accept that. In any case, Mr. Bastani says that neither approach works, and anyways Keynesian economics has become the middle ground. If Mardell asked him if anything the President has done might have harmed the economy, we aren’t told. Did he censor that bit, or did he just not bother to ask at all? Either way, you’re left with a specific Narrative.
That’s the same message you’ve heard over and over again from a number of Beeboids, isn’t it? How many times have we heard “Two Eds” Flanders say it? How many times has the BBC gotten Blanchflower or some other Left-wing pundit to say this? Mardell himself has said (at that now infamous BBC CoJ appearance) that the British public support endless deficit spending, and that the President is “the last Keynesian standing”. He thinks that’s the answer. So he went out and found people to support his own personal position. And we know his own personal position, because he revealed it in front of the BBC CoJ camera.
Both these reports from New Hampshire were written from his own personal viewpoint: Huntsman is the good candidate, Keynesian policies are best (it’s a misunderstood Keynesianism, actually, as the man himself never promoted an endless, infinite deficit), the other Republican candidates are extremist, and that any talk of the President hurting the economy is mere rhetoric.
As a result, you’re not informed about what’s going in New Hampshire, but you do get a message.
UPDATE: In case there’s any doubt about the reality of Huntsman’s supporters, here’s a video of some supporters who think he’s practically a Democrat. Notice how they whine about evangelicals just like Mardell and the other Beeboids do.
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There’s yet another BBC North America correspondent pushing an agenda these days. Ian Pannell has gone to Detroit to spin a tale of woe and misery, blaming all of it on the current economic situation. He even clearly articulates the message one is meant to take away:
“The gap between the rich and poor in America is now bigger than it’s been for 30 years.”
Pannell closes the piece with this line, followed by a statement that “what we’ve seen” all over the US is a similar problem. In case anyone didn’t bother watching all the way through, the message is spelled out equally clearly in the blurb accompanying the video.
Now, before we get into the problems of Detroit, let me just say that I’m in no way denying that there’s a severe economic problem in the US right now. I’m on record here many times complaining about exactly that. In fact, I believe we’ve been in a Depression for the last 18 months or so, and will continue to be unless there’s a drastic change nationwide. So this post is not meant to challenge Pannell’s last sentence. Instead, I mean to challenge the agenda being pushed and the myth being spun specifically from Detroit.
Detroit, of course, is definitely a problem city. Unemployment in the Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn region is the worst in the nation among what we call “greater metropolitan areas”. As of May 2010, Detroit had about 90,000 (!) abandoned homes or residential lots, and the city has had to spend money demolishing them. If that seems like an awful lot of homes emptying over a relatively short period of time (we’re meant to assume that this is all about the “downturn” since 2008), you’d be right to be suspicious. Yet Pannell wants you to believe that Detroit is just like the rest of the country, a victim of economic inequality thrust upon it by outside forces. Well-trained BBC audiences will already know the approved causes: greedy bankers and the evil rich appropriating more than their fare share of wealth.
Except it’s simply not true. Detroit has been going down the tubes for years and years. Here’s what Pannell and the BBC don’t want you to know, because it detracts from their agenda: First of all, Detroit suffers from relying far, far too much on a single workhorse: the automotive industry. The fact that the industry has been in decline for a couple of decades or more – so bad that the President had to bail out the unions out GM and sell Chrysler off – is an inconvenient truth which interferes with Pannell’s tale, so he leaves it out. White flight and urban blight have been a problem for decades. How could Detroit’s struggles as portrayed by the BBC be largely due to a recent phenomenon if a site like “The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit” won a local award in 1998? There were 12,000 abandoned homes as of 2005. In 2008 – at the beginning of the economic crisis, mind – unemployment was at 21% in some areas, and criminals were re-offending to stay in the safety and comfort of prison rather than trying to get by in a disaster area.
Detroit’s population has declined by 25% over the last decade. This has very little to do with the “downturn” (it’s only a recession when conservatives are in charge, right?). Pannell provides none of this context. The problems of the last three years have obviously made things tougher, but to portray Detroit purely as a victim of the recent economic crisis is false. But it does help feed the class war mythology which the BBC loves to push.
Another Detroit problem Pannell doesn’t want you to know about is that Detroit was on the brink of insolvency by 2005. It was driven there by powerful unions and poor management from a series of economic denialist Democrat mayors, and capped off by a Democrat mayor who ended up in prison over a sex scandal. To be fair, I’m pretty sure Republican mayors in that area wouldn’t have done much better, considering the corruption and cronyism that went on, and that precious few Republicans over the last decade have been fiscal conservatives. Regardless of who was in charge, though, the city lost 39% of its manufacturing jobs – mostly in the auto industry – in the 1980s. Unemployment ten years ago was among the worst in the nation. This has nothing to do with the current economic situation.
As of 2002, five of the ten largest employers in the area were state-run organizations. Indeed, the top two employers were the public school system and the City government itself. Does that sound familiar? This is never a recipe for growth and success. The Post Office was the #7 employer, and I think we can all guess how that works out after the city loses a quarter of its population. Even a media studies graduate can do the math here.
But none of this context is provided to the BBC audience. All you see is a tale of woe, people struggling to survive in tough economic times. The struggle is real, but the direct cause presented to you by Pannell is false. Using Detroit like this to highlight the current economic crisis in the US is like using Grimethorpe to highlight what Tory Cuts have done over the last couple years without telling you about the closing of the mines.
This is the result of agenda-driven newsgathering and reporting. It’s a dishonest report, pushing a specific agenda, intended to support the BBC’s Narrative about income inequality. Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.
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A few months before the historic 2008 election, Senator Obamessiah declared His dream of transforming the US into a green energy economy. He promised to use His power to foster the development of green energy companies, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and create five million green jobs. We all know how well that’s turned out, don’t we?
He poured $4.7 billion down the Green toilet, creating precious few jobs, many of which have since been killed due to bankruptcy. Worse still, we’re more dependent on foreign oil because of His misguided moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, and His refusal to allow not only the Keystone pipeline from Canada. Plus He delayed a deal to allow oil and gas drilling in an Ohio national park. Without lifting a finger, He’s killed nearly a quarter million jobs right there, plus ensured that the US will remain a net importer of oil for the foreseeable future.
He punted on Keystone as a sop to the environmental voters He needs in 2012. By delaying the decision until after the election, He can not only please them, but also doesn’t have to deal with attacks from the non-Left about killing jobs or preventing us from having more domestic production. The Ohio deal is more or less the same thing. But it’s not just a political ploy, as He’s obviously a Watermelon, and always has been. It fits right in with the rest of His extreme-Left mindset.
I can also go on all day about how the ideologically-driven EPA needlessly harms the economy by trying to shut down coal plants, excessively regulating power suppliers which drives up consumer costs causing further pain in difficult times (same thing is happening in Britain), and preventing regions from creating hundreds of thousands of much-needed jobs. Then there’s the fact that subsidizing biofuels (e.g. “dirty corn”) causes feed corn prices to go up, which in turn causes food prices to skyrocket. All of this has gone on under The Obamessiah’s watch, much of it at His direction, and done by people He appointed due to ideology.
We can see, then, how the President’s ideological delusions and His political fecklessness cause serious harm to the US. So how does this apply to the rest of the world? Well, let’s consider the current situation with Iran.
As we all know, there has been an endless series of international talks about dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. With the recent assault on the English British Embassy in Tehran, there has been an increasingly loud call for hardcore sanctions. Specifically, the latest noise is a call for a total embargo on Iranian oil in Europe. Which we also know isn’t likely to happen any time soon. The problem is, countries like Italy and Spain are dragging their feet because they rely a bit too heavily on Iranian oil. People are mumbling about somehow finding other sources for them so they can join the embargo, but who sees that happening any time soon? Where are they going to get it? Venezuela? As if that will make the world a safer place.
Switching sources at the drop of a hat is much easier said than done. And even if Italy, Spain, and Greece somehow manage to find alternative sources within the next few weeks, surely it will be at great cost, which is the absolutely last thing these countries need when they’re already on the brink. They’re already about to bring the Eurozone crashing down like Humpty Dumpty as it is. In short, the lacuna of energy sources has dire consequences.And don’t get me started on how some countries might now be turning away from nuclear energy, which will only add to the problem.
If The Obamessiah wasn’t such a Watermelon, hadn’t appointed Warmists and Green ideologues to key government positions, and wasn’t sucking up to the environmentals for the votes He needs in 2012, it’s entirely possible that the US could have been a viable source. Despite His best efforts, we’ve become a net exporter of fuel. Unfortunately, by fuel I do not mean oil. I do mean petroleum-based products for a variety of uses. The US is still the world’s largest net importer of oil, but we’ve managed to do enough things with it that we can now export more refined products than we bring in. That’s an innovation success story, and I hope it won’t be jeopardized by the Watermelons in Washington.
But what if the US could also become a net exporter of crude? If not for pressure from the Green Lobby over the last couple of decades, and the serious setbacks handed to us by the President, we’d probably be there already. In which case we could be a viable alternative source for Italy, Spain, and Greece, thus enabling a real, crippling embargo on Iran. Sadly, we’re not there, and won’t be any time soon, so international security is seriously damaged because of Watermelon ideology and political fecklessness by the President.
In the end, Warmist ideology harms the country and the world in more ways than we can imagine. You won’t be hearing this viewpoint on the BBC.
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One of the battalion of Beeboids covering the US these days, Jonny Dymond, has just done an extremely one-sided collection of sob stories for Today about the struggles of the middle class. He went to a couple of slowly dying cities in Connecticut to create his tapestry of woe, and his agenda is clear.
I say it’s one-sided not because there are tons of stories of rising successes for the middle class he could have provided in the interests of balance, but because of the way Dymond presents the situation in the first place. Highly selective, and framed in a very narrow-minded fashion. The whole story is presented as a case study in how the 2008 financial disaster and the subsequent recession has ravaged the middle class, the backbone of the US. But the agenda here is really to support the Occupiers’ cause.
Dymond starts out in a metal parts factory in Prospect, CT, where he wrings his hands over the plight of the workers. They no longer get the guaranteed annual raises, or the constant overtime which pads the regular paychecks of anyone on an hourly wage in any industry (especially including the public sector), so their American Dream, he opines, is on hold at best, and possibly even disappearing for good. The factory boss also laments the plight of his employees. But in the middle of all this, he casually mentions that Connecticut hasn’t actually has any net job increase in 20 years. What does that have to do with 2008 or the recession? He and one of his suffering employees also point out that the food prices and gas prices and taxes are going up and up, which makes things tough for those on an essentially fixed income. Well, we can all guess what the standard BBC answer to that is: they need pay rises. Never mind that Connecticut ranks 47th in crushing taxes which hurt businesses and job growth.
The Tea Party movement – so disparaged by the BBC – wants to lower taxes, something that’s an anathema to Left-wingers like Dymond, so he doesn’t mention the idea. Nor does he mention that the Democrats who run the state recently enacted the largest tax increase in state history. (Over the last two decades, when the state wasn’t run by Democrats, it was run by Bush-style Big Government Republicans, the kind the Tea Party movement has been working to get rid of.) Dymond also better hope that none of these factory workers earn more than $50K pa, or have spouses earning a similar middle-class income, as the Democrats who run Connecticut recently raised state income taxes for both. These aren’t even the “millionaires and billionaires” against whom the President often rails, either.
Food prices going up? Even the Guardian admits that this is in large part due to the Warmists forcing biofuel down our throats, causing edible corn prices to skyrocket, which drives up everything else. Who’s robbing the American dream here, Jonny?
One of the staples of the American Dream Dymond mentions is home ownership. Well, he better hope none of his struggling middle class workers in Connecticut own homes these days, as the Democrats who run the state have made property taxes there 50% higher than the national average. Sure, these geniuses think they’re doing to it soak the evil rich bankers and David Letterman who live within commuting distance of New York City, but the unintended consequence – as always in these cases – is that hurts the middle class most. Dymond couldn’t be bothered to find this out, as it would detract from his Narrative.
If that’s not bad enough, they also just raised the state sales tax from 6% to 6.35% (still significantly lower than New York, but then New Jersey has no sales tax on retail good at all), and eliminated tax exemptions for all kinds of things which affect these middle class factory workers, like heating oil and the sacred property tax credit. They even killed the tax exemption for products which help people quite smoking. At the same time, they jacked up taxes on cigarettes. I hope none of those struggling factory workers smoke, or if they do they’re not thinking of quitting any time soon. So much for the American Dream, eh, Jonny? As we all know, and which the BBC has mostly kept from you, some states not controlled by Democrats have cut taxes and added jobs. Even New York, with the highest tax burden in the country, the Democrat Governor is trying to fix the budget without raising taxes. But that doesn’t help the Agenda, now, does it? So don’t bring it up.
To tie it all together, Dymond goes to the city of Hartford to meet up with his darling Occupiers. He manages to find one of them who hasn’t pulled a knife on someone. This Occupier laments that we’ve all been lied to, that there’s no such thing as the American Dream. What Dymond fails to realize is that this, just like the factory bosses’ statement about no net job growth for the last 20 years, also has nothing to do with the recent financial crisis and recession. This Occupier means that there has never been an American Dream available to everyone willing to work for it. He’s not talking about a temporary rough time we need to fix at all.
This keeps happening with BBC reports on this issue. On the one hand they say that the Occupy movement is inspired by anger at the greedy bankers who caused the financial crisis that everyone else has to pay for. Ask yourself how many times you’ve heard someone (usually a trade union mouthpiece or Labour politician or Robert Peston) say that people are being forced to pay for a crisis they didn’t cause. On the other hand, they moan about income inequality and corporate greed. But if this is all anger at a recent phenomenon, why do the Occupiers keep saying that this has always been a problem, and everything has always been bad? It’s because the BBC keeps misleading you about the whole story, as Dymond is doing here.
This is a very biased report. Everything is framed from one side of the issue, and facts which detract from the Narrative are swept under the rug.
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On David Vance’s “That General Assembly” post from yesterday, DB posted a comment (his reply to mine at the top of the thread) about how a well-known clothing company, Men’s Wearhouse (an off-the-rack suit chain) spoke out in support of the Occupiers. The dopey bearded CEO decided to have a store in Oakland put a sign of solidarity in the window.
DB posted this picture of said window:
The message apparently went over the Occupiers’ pointy little unwashed heads, so they smashed it.
So, do Katty Kay and Laura Trevalyan and the rest of the comrades working for the BBC in the US still think these people want to sit down with their opponents and work out how to fix the system? Can we admit what’s going on yet?
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Where to begin? First, let me say that of course I went down there with some preconceived notions and certain expectations, based on everything that’s been in the news and online about the Occupiers. My intentions were twofold: show what was going on without prejudice or cherry-picking, just letting the scene speak for itself, as well as engage in conversation with as many people as I could, asking questions to learn not just their motivations and what they expected to accomplish, but how they expected to achieve their goals. Needless to say it was fascinating, and very educational. I realize this is an exceedingly lengthy post (probably an hour’s worth of stuff to get through), but there’s a lot to talk about, and I believe that this is important. As I’ll show here, all of my suspicions have been proven correct over the last week or so. Furthermore, I believe this will show just how much the BBC has failed on this story.
Here’s what I saw walking around the encampment. Full report follows afterward. There are also clips of conversations below the fold. All video hosted by EyeTube.
I spent over two hours walking in and around Zuccotti Park – the epicenter of the Occupy movement – taking photos and video, talking to as many people as possible. I tried as much as I could not to be like Mark Mardell or other Beeboids at a Tea Party event, and honestly tried to listen to what these people had to say, taking them at their word, and not let my prejudices color anything or prevent me from changing my mind. I’ll let others decide for themselves how successful I was or wasn’t on that score. Unlike a professional interviewer, although I did think of a few things in advance, I didn’t have a prepared list of questions written down, or notes to refer to while we talked. The result was that I often strayed off topic, missed opportunities, and struggled for the right thing to say. I realize I was trying to cover too much at once, something that wouldn’t happen if I was doing a report aimed at getting a specific angle or story. I also didn’t get professional-quality video, as I was using only a little cheap handheld camera, and spent more time looking at the person with whom I was speaking than into the screen to see what I was shooting. I got bumped into a lot, people walking in front of me, etc. Quite frankly, I’m pretty sure that if I did have any of that proper prep, I’d never have gotten in and up close like I did and had so many candid conversations.
Apologies in advance for the frame drops, etc. Final Cut Pro didn’t like some of the files. I didn’t always get the best shot, either, as I was just walking around with my little camera, trying to engage in conversation rather than act like an instigator cameraman constantly looking at the screen.
So what did I learn? First, I discovered that, just like Katty Kay said, many of them were nice, and willing to talk. And they nearly all seemed to be rather intelligent, which is refreshing. I’ll chalk that up to this being New York City, though. That doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with rage, or willing to do whatever it takes to get their way. It just means that they’re nice enough to talk to on a one-to-one basis. Many came across as well-meaning, hearts in the right place. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that their heads were located a couple of feet below that. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I heard a lot of those good intentions expressed by the Occupiers.
However, there were quite a few who were not so nice, who clearly resented anyone questioning their opinions. I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of the leaders. Oh, wait, sorry, this is a “leaderless” group, right? Yeah, well, we’ll get to that later. In any case, I found that the people with the worst attitude were those who were just stopping by to show their support. Quite a few typical Left-wing fascists milling around, who were convinced that anyone who didn’t agree with them was evil and ignorant, even when they were shown up to be woefully lacking in their own command of the facts. But this is about the Occupiers themselves.
I’ll admit that I went down there with the preconceived notion that these people were all far-Left ideologues. As it turned out, only one person turned out to be anything but that. Of course, it’s silly to have expected otherwise. But there was one guy there handing out fliers about supporting small businesses. It was for something called “The American Lender”. The website doesn’t give much information about their backing, but it was nice to hear from someone not entirely hating capitalism, full stop. Everyone else who talked about small businesses, supporting the little guy, etc., came from an anti-corporate stance. But it was more than that. It seemed like everybody who expressed support for free market ideals really didn’t want what most of us consider to be that at all. They were anti-Capitalist, and wanted to create some kind of localized, mom-and-pop economy, where there was no mass production, no mass consumption, and no corporations at all. How this was going to create a prosperous national economy which raised everyone out of poverty and created opportunities for advancement in any field was not only unclear, but nobody seemed to have considered it. This was schoolboy fantasy stuff for the most part.
Before going any further, though, a word about Zuccotti Park itself. It’s privately owned, by a developer corporation called Brookfield Properties. By New York law, a developer gets permission to own and manage (key word, there) what would otherwise be a public park, in exchange for the right to have greater density of property ownership in the area. In other words, Brookfield gets to own more office and/or residential buildings than a developer is normally allowed, because they manage the public park.
But dig it: this form of purely capitalist corporate influence on government is what makes this little extravaganza possible. You see, part of the deal is that the private owner must make the park available to the public 24/7, whereas a state or city-owned park closes at midnight, and the cops kick everybody out. That’s why the Occupiers chose this space, yet the irony seems lost on them. Oh, and the President is about to throw some taxpayer money down yet another green toilet…sorry…give money to crony corporate capitalists…damn…invest in green energy and jobs for an alternative energy company, this time owned by Brookfield. I’m not too worried about Brookfield sneakily calling the national guard to remove the Occupiers or anything, are you?
At one point, I spoke with a couple of Occupiers who were washing the communal dishes. It turned out that they were more non-voters, didn’t trust the system, etc. But they were very enthusiastic about the cute little “general assembly”.
(I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask the guy who mentioned boycotting all corporations if that included Apple, or if they wanted the people donating the generators etc. that enabled their righteous cause to also stop funding corporations. My failure there.)
One can see how this kind of micro-democratic scenario where everyone feels a personal, direct connection to the outcome can be fulfilling. But it’s also very misleading. Unfortunately, it was clear that this student-style democracy simply reinforced their belief that the system at large wasn’t working for them, and could no longer do so. They also had no idea how they would ultimately achieve their goals. Not a good sign.
My suspicions that this was misleading seem to be proving more correct than I could have imagined. Apparently now there’s a lot of infighting going on amongst these happy campers. (Note: the NY Daily News is a very Left-wing paper these days. They’re in full support of the Occupiers’ anger, so if they’re reporting trouble, you know it’s bad.) So much so that there are now areas of the park where some of them don’t feel safe at night. Somebody tell Katty Kay and Laura Trevalyan. As you can see from the video, it’s not a very big space. Anyone familiar with the history of anarchist movements won’t be at all surprised that this is the inevitable result of such self-fulfilling emotions.
One of the photos in my first post from Zuccotti Park featured a sign condemning food corporations and calling for people to support small farmers. In the caption, I said that, while this was a nice sentiment, it wouldn’t help the urban poor. I support my local (okay, I live in NYC, so an hour or more away) farmers and fishermen. I buy most of my produce and all of my fish from the weekly farmers’ market in my neighborhood because the quality is great and the price is mostly comparable to big-box grocery stores. I also occasionally buy stuff from a locally-sourced farmers’ cooperative, which is arranged and patronized by a bunch of people in my neighborhood. I’m not a pretentious “locavore”, and I don’t care about their carbon footprint. I just like the product, the convenience, and the generally reasonable prices. That’s your free market right there. But people living in other neighborhoods, or, for example, in desert regions or less densely populated areas, don’t have access to this stuff. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to drive an hour to get to the nearest store, one which generally will rip me off for the convenience.
I also like to support local and small businesses wherever I can, because they provide the vast majority of jobs in the country. Family businesses are also one of the best ways to pass on a legacy of success to one’s children, and provide opportunities for achieving beyond their parents. Of course, achieving beyond something is not what the Occupiers are about. They mostly want to punish achievers who earn more than some arbitrary income level which changes depending upon their mood. Earning anything more than that isn’t fair, you see. For example, one of the photos in my slideshow featured this “unemployed seamstress”. She wanted to tax the rich more, because she didn’t make as much money as they did, and was unaware of the realities of the tax system. Mentioning Herman Cain was met with a death look from her husband (off camera).
In any case, all the lip-service paid to supporting the free market and small businesses was generally a smokescreen for being anti-corporate. Which brings me to that anti-corporate message. Nobody will argue with the notion that corporations have too much influence on politicians. Lobbying and corruption is a serious problem, something on which conservatives and liberals can agree. But the grievances of the Occupiers go beyond that. Everything was about “corporate greed” and “corporations control the government”, which are two different issues. But it was all the same to these people, as the bottom line was anti-Capitalism. Corporations are symbolic of their enemy. Wal-Mart and Target allow working-class people to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle? Screw that: the CEOs make too much money and the workers don’t. All those MacBook pros and iPhones and North Face tents and Sony cameras the Occupiers were using to attack big corporations? Shut up, that’s not the point. The internet? Invented and run by magic fairies, free to all with no silly business and nasty profit model needed. You get the idea.
The problem of too much corporate influence in government is very real. But their answer wasn’t to clean up Washington by, for example, putting a moratorium on politicians and generals becoming lobbyists or getting automatic directorships or seats on corporate Boards the instant they leave office. They mostly wanted to end corporations, full stop. This is a serious disconnect between reality and their dreams, something which I was to learn was part of the very foundation of the Occupier movement.
Nobody I spoke with advocated violence. Some of them had no idea that their comrades elsewhere were calling for violence, and the ones that were aware seemed to genuinely regret it. Of course, we’re talking about two types of violence here. The more obvious kind is like in the “England Riots” from August, which the BBC initially described as grievances against nasty Tory cuts and income inequality (Is that foreshadowing or what? Revealing of a certain inherent mindset, no?). In that scenario, the “protesters” took the initiative, attacking police, property, etc. A lot of these people see getting arrested as a badge of honor, as if they’re defending Rosa Parks’ right to sit in front of the bus, or of those little girls to go to their local whites-only school in Alabama. The other kind of violent scenario is like what we saw when the Occupiers tried to take over the Brooklyn Bridge, obstructing traffic and inconveniencing their fellow citizens. There’s a difference between exercising one’s right to free speech, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and infringing on other people’s rights and property. Nobody I spoke with understood the difference, and that’s a problem. Actually, I seriously doubt any of the Beeboids do, either. Personally, I say that your rights and freedoms end where mine begin. Contrary to what Katty Kay alleged, their love for humanity only goes as far as their own desires. You want to get home from a long day at work to your wife and kids? Screw you, evil rich oppressor! Your rights are worthless because you’re morally inferior. We’re excercising our rights, and our cause is just.
Remind me again how many people have been arrested since the Tea Party movement started. While you’re at it, remind me how many Tea Party protests didn’t have permits to operate, and had to be kicked out so the city could clean up after them at taxpayer expense. The only instances of confrontation as far as I’m aware are when Democrat politicians blocked citizens from their rights to freedom of speech and presence at public hearings. Yet the ludicrous Mark Mardell only wrings his hands about things getting physical when a senior citizen Tea Partier gets assaulted and ends up biting off the fingertip of his attacker.
I honestly didn’t see much evidence of anti-Semitism at all. While I did see a couple of people with signs complaining about Israel, I definitely didn’t see the kind of stuff we’ve seen in videos and pictures from this and other Occupier groups. In fact, the one person I did speak with who was complaining about Israel seemed genuinely to be doing it from a sense of concerned patriotism (regarding that unfortunate attack on the USS Liberty), nothing to do with a specific Jewish element. There was one guy with a sign whining about Israel influencing the US into wars and all that, but he was engaged in a pretty civil conversation with an orthodox Jew at the time. So it’s pretty hard to get that alarmed.
I’m sure, however, that once some of those ugly anti-Semitic images went public, the organizers (hey, the BBC told me that this is a leaderless movement – ed.) abjured their comrades against such displays, so I didn’t see any of the really nasty stuff. Also, it became quickly apparent to me that trying to do a Today-style ambush interview would get me nowhere, and the confrontational, accusatory approach just felt wrong at the time. So maybe I missed some opportunities to show up a few anti-Semites. It just didn’t seem an appropriate way to go. Plus, I look Jewish, so most likely any genuine Jew-haters would have dodged me anyway. I suppose I could have just yelled out, “How many people here blame the Jews for all this,” but that would have been counter-productive.
Still, we do know from evidence from other Occupier groups that there is an element of anti-Semitism in this movement, typically tied into the anti-banker/anti-corporate/anti-evil-rich types. And yes, I’m aware of this video. I didn’t see him there on Sunday (at least, I don’t think he was the guy I saw holding up a sign saying that Bloomberg felt his billions threatened), and it looks like he’s actually just outside the park and not part of the Occupier encampment, and seems instead to be, like quite a few others, somebody with his own issues jumping on the bandwagon. Hey, for all I know he could be one of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s congregants. In any event, I’m sure as hell not going to be like Mark Mardell and tell you that I see anti-Semitism everywhere even though I see precious little evidence of it. So that issue will have to be left for another day. On Sunday, it was irrelevant, as far as I could tell. As it happened, there were a few sympathetic Jews there, and as I showed in my slideshow, I also saw a flier posted by a group calling themselves “Occupy Judaism” (a rather unfortunate name) inviting all to join “traditional egalitarian and gender-neutral” (an oxymoron) celebration of the Jewish holiday of Simchas Torah. They wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it if there was an underlying pulse of anti-Jew sentiment.. Really, I think that anti-Semites are just part of the intersection in the giant Venn Diagram of Left-wing agitators. Although, this was NYC, so your mileage may vary.
In the end, just like the endless charges of racism against the Tea Partiers, dismissing this whole Occupier deal as anti-Semitism won’t inform anyone of what they’re really about, what they’re really doing, or what their actual goals are. I think that’s more important.
However, it sure seemed like this group was – *gasp* – overwhelmingly Christian. Wake me up when the Beeboids start fretting over the religious bent of the Occupiers, like they did about the Tea Party movement. Can anyone imagine this happening outside St. Paul’s?
The BBC told us that, while the Occupiers were full of energy and anger at the economic situation, they were unclear about their goals. Or, at least, the Beeboids came away unclear about them. I found that to be decidedly not the case at all. Everyone I spoke to was very, very clear about their goals, and we all know by now what those were. What I learned was that they are mostly very unclear about how to achieve them. Contrary to what Katty told us, the anger was up front, first and foremost, and I heard precious little about anyone’s “love for humanity”. She was also completely wrong about their priority was “sitting down with their political opponents to figure out the country’s economic problems”. These people were convinced that by copying the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, and by taking over the streets of their cities, and occupying government and bank buildings, they could bring the government to their knees and destroy the current system. I heard this expressed over and over. That’s not trying to figure out anything. As far as they were concerned, they already had it figured out and were going to keep occupying whatever they could until they got what they wanted. No discussion, no debate. I have no idea where Katty got her ideas from, and suspect she made it up out of whole cloth because she’s used to debating issues on TV and projected that onto the Occupiers. We now know it was all baloney because the BBC itself is describing the Occupiers at St. Paul’s as an anti-Capitalist protest.
Let’s compare this with the Tea Party movement. The whole point of the Tea Party was to stir up the voters. People went to town hall meetings, city council meetings, politicians’ public appearances, and went out and voted in elections. In contrast, with a handful of exceptions, the Occupiers were non-voters. Out of the dozens I spoke to, practically the only ones who were conscientious voters with a clue were these people:
(The woman speaking off camera about how Herman Cain would supposedly take away all our freedoms wasn’t an Occupier, but rather a comfortable Manhattanite who came down to show her support. I had to look up Cain’s actual position on both abortion and home healthcare for the disabled, because I hadn’t heard about what they claimed. As it turns out, these people’s concerns over their independence was already being threatened by Democrat Gov. Cuomo as part of the recently agreed plan to cut the budget and fix the state finances without raising taxes. Instead of continuing to let the home care providers bill Medicare directly, Cuomo – apparently foolishly – turned over the payment of home healthcare providers to for-profit HMOs, who in turn would bill Medicare. This was supposed to save money. What it did was let the HMOs close facilities, since government tracking pretty much begins and ends when they see the invoice. Personally, I don’t see how adding a layer of bureaucracy is ever going to save money, so Gov. Cuomo probably screwed that one up. It’s not the same thing as putting more money into institutions instead, as one woman was worried about. But Herman Cain hasn’t made any of that part of his platform, so it seems they were off base there. This is all state-level stuff, and nothing he’s said so far is relevant to it. Still, their concern for their own situation is legitimate. Yet they were slightly embarrassed that they were acting and voting out of self-interest. Everyone does that to some degree, and it’s not as if they had no larger concerns. One of them was proud that she started voting at age 18, and would always do so. The chasm between the integrity of these people and the other 99% of the Occupiers (see what I did there) is staggering. As these three were voters with the sense of civic duty so lacking in most of the Occupiers, I say more power to ’em.
Neither they nor I knew it at the time, but the day before I was there, some Occupiers took the protest to the front lawn of Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE and the President’s Jobs Czar. It’s the President’s own fault for stoking the class war. Payback’s a bitch, eh?
As for abortion, Cain doesn’t like abortion, but has said that the government should stay out of it. Like so many emotion-based Leftoids, the woman who told me I had my facts wrong had no grasp of how US government works. Roe v. Wade was decided in the Judicial branch of government, not the Executive or Legislative, so that’s the only way it’s going to get overturned. In short, the US isn’t a banana republic or any kind of country where the Executive holds all the marbles. Typical fear-mongering, typical ignorant certitude from the “women’s reproductive rights” crowd there. No wonder I hadn’t heard that Cain was going to take away everyone’s freedoms. FFS.)
The rest of them? They either voted for The Obamessiah and weren’t going to vote for Him or anyone else in 2012, or didn’t vote at all and wouldn’t bother because – and I’m not making this up – they believed that Bush stole one or the other election. Every time I suggested that this wouldn’t happen again because Bush was no longer in charge, I was brushed off with suspicions about Diebold (the company who makes the electronic voting machines), or claims that the corporations decided who would be elected, don’t trust the system, etc. In short, these people don’t have the sense of civic duty that Katty claimed they did. They won’t be voting for change. Instead, they want to destroy the entire system in favor of…well…they’re not really sure. Some kind of pre-industrial society, but with MacBooks and iPhones and YouTube, I think.
I kept asking what they thought they were achieving if they weren’t going to vote, because so far nobody in Washington was sitting down and talking about ending corporations or ending lobbying. What’s going to happen next? Nobody knew. They all expected that they’d just keep on doing this, getting arrested here and there, and exercise their right to peaceful assembly until…um…they got the word out…or something. That’s the number one problem I saw here: no end game, no exit strategy. They fully believed that what they were doing would work, just like what happened in Egypt. They honestly all viewed themselves as being oppressed by a dictatorship, and that their desires were equivalent to those of Martin Luther King, Jr., or of the Syrians trying to get out from under the thumb of a police state. No joke. It’s a complete disconnect from reality.
It seems that the Beeboids who went to Zuccotti Park or have visited with Occupiers elsewhere in the country sympathized entirely with their anti-corporate message (they keep telling you about the horrors of “income inequality”, right?), and supplanted the actual goals and thoughts of the Occupiers with their own more mild form of Socialism. That’s why the reality of what these people are about gets watered down so much in BBC reports. The Beeboids figure that, holding all the approved thoughts and – crucially – being part of an elite state-funded organization, they themselves will be part of the nomenklatura, protected from the negative consequences of a quasi-Marxist system that the rest of us will suffer.
It’s important for everyone to understand just how clued-in the organizers…oops, sorry, there are no leaders, yeah…the Occupiers are in getting their message out and dealing with the media. I expected to see more anti-Jewish sentiment there and the usual Class War/SWP stuff, based on images and videos we’ve seen of anti-Semitism from Occupiers around the country, including in New York. It turns out, though, that the organizers figured this out and have been warning people to clean it up. Their own website includes instructions not to bring controversial signs that have the anarchy “A”, or say “Socialism” or “Communism” because those “will scare people”. Basically, these guys know exactly what they’re doing. You think the Tea Party did this right from the start?
While walking around the encampment, I got the impression that this media intelligence wasn’t an accident. It turns out that my suspicions were correct. They have professional mainstream media people coaching them, or even acting as spokespeople. So it’s no wonder that the mainstream media has sanitized their message so much, and that you keep hearing that they just want to “fix the system” and they’re all on the side of the angels. I haven’t found evidence of a BBC employee doing this yet, but we already have proof of their support. The media (except Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart, yeah) are all on their side, and are enabling them. That’s the reason why the Tea Party movement was met with radio silence until April 15: the mainstream media was against them, so did their best to censor all news of it. For a while, other than Fox News, only local media even acknowledged its existence. It was only when there were hundreds of gatherings around the country that the mainstream media start talking about it. That was when the BBC first dared to report it, and when Kevin Connolly stated that he could detect the guiding hand of a national organizer, while he insulted us all with a sexual innuendo. Wake me up when the BBC does the same for the Occupiers. And no, I’m not going to let that go until it’s removed from the website and there’s an official apology from Connolly and/or the BBC.
This Was Not A Spontaneous, Grass-Roots Movement
Unlike the Tea Party movement, which started with a spontaneous anti-tax rally organized by a St. Louis housewife, Occupy Wall St. was organized months in advance by a small cadre of professional rabble-rousers. They first announced their intentions publicly on June 14. That original anti-tax rally which morphed into the Tea Party after Rick Santelli’s rant, however, could not have been planned so far in advance because the President didn’t even take office and launch into His Socialist agenda until January 31st. So that’s one myth busted. Secondly, the organization – and I do not use that term lightly – of “general assemblies” and “democracy” has been spread through every Occupier group from one source. The Occupiers all over aren’t really taking instruction from this cadre of instigators, but they’re definitely taking their lead from it. For example, the original instigators sent out a guide (NB: pdf file) to those who wanted to attend, two days before the event. I imagine this is why one needs to call or email to get an appointment to speak with the movement’s mouthpiece.
Make no mistake: this was planned by pros who know exactly what they’re doing, and have had these beliefs for a very long time, nothing at all to do with the current economic crisis or the sub-prime mortgage fiasco or the President’s failed Stimulus. If you asked these people five years ago what they thought, they’d tell you the exact same thing they’re saying today.
Actually, there’s a parallel with the Tea Party movement right there. When that all started, and the accusations of racism hit immediately, I was debunking that by pointing out that we were all against nationalized healthcare years ago, back when it was called HillaryCare. Opposition to Socialized medicine had nothing to do with the color of the President’s skin then, and has nothing to do with it now. That’s something the BBC refused to acknowledge, and makes it all the more infuriating when Mardell claims the Tea Party is driven by crypto-racism. Likewise, the Occupiers’ opposition to bankers’ wealth and “income inequality” has nothing to do with the current situation. It’s just something they’ve always thought. Why can’t the BBC ever discuss this?
Sadly for the Occupiers, not all the comrades around the country are equally clued in. Some idiots in Phoenix have apparently handed out fliers explaining when it’s okay to shoot a cop. BBC: ZZZzzzzzzz.
Not A Political Movement, Eh?
These people keep saying they’re not a political movement, and try to distance themselves from the usual shibboleths. But I keep hearing about “solidarity”, which has a very specific political connotation. In addition, the concept of “income inequality” is Socialist. The cute little “general assemblies” they have, where everybody in the group gets to vote daily on various issues, is classic student anarcho-syndicalism. Their desire to end corporations and national conglomerates in favor of small, local (don’t mention for-profit) businesses is old-school anarchism.
It’s not politically neutral at all. They don’t want to openly side with one political party or the other, but you will never, ever, hear a single one of them say they’re considering voting for a Republican. If any of them voted in past elections, it’s either for a Democrat, Socialist, or Green/Nader. And what do they think that fist logo represents? Fluffy kittens? These people are about as political as it gets, but they think they’ve successfully disguised it. The media is helpfully carrying their water on that score. I’ll grant, though, that there is always going to be a core of people who go the “a pox on both their houses, you can’t put a cigarette paper between them” route. And those are the people who are the most ideologically far out of all. Only one person I spoke with grasped the concept of a third party, or that the civic duty of voting could actually change the face of the House of Representatives.
For those who think that the Occupy Wall St. movement started out as a bunch of reasonable people concerned about bank bailouts and massive deficit spending, along with some Ron Paul supporters, read this:
The Occupy wall street movement has been heavily infiltrated by the right wing and Ron Paul supperters, people lets not forget who Ron Paul really is, this man takes donations from racist organizations and has their full support, be carefull of these Ron Paul characters nad thoer end the fed message, they are wolves in sheeps clothing.
What happens next for the Occupiers? I have no idea, and neither do they. The thing is, nobody had any clue what they were going to do if we don’t have the equivalent of the Egyptian Army removing Mubarak. And that’s troubling. Now, some are suggesting that this will all peter out once the real cold weather hits in December. I’m not sure how that’s going to affect places like Los Angeles or other warmer climes. Others figure that once the uglier voices become the face of the movement with which the public is most familiar, most people will get bored, the support will fade, and the donations will dry up so much that the free protest ride ends. My take is that this is an election year (and a bleeding half, really), and these people are a very useful political tool, so I suspect the money will keep coming somehow. Especially since they’ve got a bank account with the usual e-commerce setup.
They’re getting support from, among other places, ex-ACORN apparatchiks, who are up to their old tricks, like exploiting homeless people to do their dirty work.
But I’m more worried about what these people will do when they realize that they’re not going to get their way, that the Army won’t remove the Government like they did in Egypt, and 300 million people won’t simply bow down to the righteous cause. Quite a few of these people really have nothing better to do, pretty much do this for a living. I said in my video segment that I got the impression of being in the parking lot outside a Grateful Dead concert, and that still fits. Back in the day, lots of people would follow them around for months and years, paying their way by selling drugs or t-shirts or vegetarian sandwiches, or simply putting their hand out and begging for that “miracle ticket”. When I heard the announcement from a couple of hirsute fellows that they had bus tickets to DC, I was seriously having flashbacks (no, not that kind).
(My batteries ran out again here, but I ended up having a lengthy, intelligent debate with the Occupier wearing glasses. I tried to explain that the Tea Party movement had proved that it was indeed possible to affect change by attending local city council meetings, state legislature open hearings, telling politicians they needed to listen, and by voting. I don’t know how much he took away with him, but at least he understood there was another way besides occupying government buildings and holding their breath until they turn blue.)
What I mean is that these people can keep doing this for a very long time. And eventually, they’re going to realize that it isn’t working. Will they fess up and become a ready-made cadre of Obamessiah activists? I don’t know. If not, the emotions will have driven many of them into a frenzied state over time. Fighting the man, speaking truth to power, getting arrested over and over again, and watching a seemingly endless stream of video clips of their comrades fighting with police, getting pepper-sprayed and bundled into police vans will not yield a happy result. Like we heard from a couple people, they all seriously think that obstructing traffic and infringing on other people’s space and property is their right. Freedom of speech and right to peaceable assembly and all that. What they tragically fail to understand is that, unlike many blacks in the South before the Civil Rights movement, they can exercise their right to vote without fear, and all this glorious civil disobedience is unnecessary extremist nonsense. The Tea Party movement has proven that they don’t need to do any of this. I found only a couple of people who even remotely grasped this point. So I think the violent confrontation – always started by the nasty fascist police infringing on their rights, bien sur – will become a kind of ouroburossian (if that’s not a word, it is now) reality. They’ll continuously create situations which they’ll interpret as justifying their cause, projecting onto it false equivalences with everything from Wat Tyler to the German Peasant Rebellion to Gandhi to MLK and the Civil Rights movement. That’s when you’ll really start to see the stuff the BBC told you would never happen over here.
So What Have I Learned?
First and foremost, I learned that the BBC’s initial reporting on this movement was a load of BS. In case there are any lingering doubts about that, notice that their current coverage describes the comrades at St. Paul’s as being an anti-Capitalist protest. That has nothing whatsoever to do with what the BBC originally told you were the well-meaning darlings who merely wanted to sit down and work out how to fix the system. We all called it right from the start, yet the sympathetic Beeboids tried to tell you different. They’re all concerned about the state of the economy, angry about bank bailouts, worried about unemployment, we were told. Clearly that’s not the case at all. As it turns out, the BBC refused to do the tiniest bit of research, refused to ask around, refused to do the slightest investigation into the origins of the protest. As I’ve already shown, this was planned and announced long in advance. There’s no excuse for the BBC to get this wrong.
The Occupiers here in NYC are fortunate. They’re operating in a city which is expert in dealing with freakshows and demonstrations and instigators. And just like police everywhere, at some point whatever sympathy they may have for the Occupiers’ cause will pale in comparison to the sense of duty to their fellows in blue once they see one freeloader after another assault and injure cops. The New York Police Sergeants’ Benevolent Association is already pissed off, and promising to sue Occupiers who harm any of their members. Remember, these are the same policemen who witnessed Tea Partiers thank them for their time and effort after our own protests. Which were negotiated with authorities in advance, permits paid, everyone leaving at the scheduled time. Funny how Katty Kay never enthused about how nice we were. And I can tell you from personal experience that not a few NY cops were initially unhappy about dealing with a gathering of what they assumed were angry Right-wingnuts. Cops in the big US cities are likely to be just as Left-leaning as in the UK. But in NYC, they know the difference between concerned citizens and irrational zealots.
What’s even worse is that this is only going to get uglier, more violent, as the frustration at their failure to achieve instant “change” builds, and as they see their comrades get involved in dangerous physical confrontations with police around the country. When you have nothing to lose, and no idea what you’re doing, only horror can occur. This will all end in tears, and the BBC will support them to the bitter end, blaming everyone else.
I hope some of this is helpful in people’s understanding of what’s going on here. If nothing else, I learned – once again – that we can’t trust the BBC on US issues. Let’s face it: the BBC is not going to tell you the truth about what’s going on. There will be no scare-mongering about the “boiling anger” of these people, or speculating over hidden motivations – only sympathy and hand-wringing over income inequality and how these agni innocenti are feeling disconnected from a system which no longer works for them. As everyone here knows by now, there have been many violent outbursts from Occupiers all around the US. And it can’t all be blamed on the police acting aggressively for no reason. So where is the BBC coverage? Sparing at best.
If the BBC was really an honest broker of US news, they’d have the platoon of Beeboids working exclusively for the website working every day on updating you about the incidents occurring practically every hour. Yet it scarcely gets the time of day on the BBC website, never mind live footage of the latest round of ultra-violence from whatever city is kicking off next. And let’s not pretend that the Beeboids don’t know how to find out what’s coming up next, as we now know the Occupiers have all kinds of notifications sent out over the social media networks so beloved at the BBC.
Quite frankly, it’s time to say the BBC is filled with liars and propagandists on this score. Any defenders of the indefensible are welcome to explain why it’s okay for the BBC to censor all of this. Any lurking BBC employees should be ashamed.
PS: I left out my chats with the guy who wanted all the troops to come home (they mostly are already), the black Muslim who didn’t want his picture taken and didn’t even know what literature was at his table, the cheerful Truther, and the guy angry at Israel for attacking the USS Liberty (genuinely not anti-Semitic, really, more of a friend-of-the-military guy angry that an ally did that and got away with it), who was also a Truther, as that seems beside the point here.
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Katty Kay thinks these people are nice, filled with a sense of civic duty and lawfulness. Her colleagues want you to believe this is all about lax banking regulations and corporate welfare. Last time I checked, that didn’t cause people to say “F#@k” an entire country. At BBC News Online, they see such a strong parallel between this and the Tea Party movement (is it because they’re mostly hideously white? -ed), that they’ve spent time picking cherries in order to put together a quiz, asking you to guess whether some quasi-political statement was made by a Tea Partier or an Occupier. It would much more informative to put together a set of photos and police blotter reports, and then ask which is which. Of course, that wouldn’t help the BBC’s Narrative. Although I must say I enjoy the Beeboids’ intellectual hypocrisy of suddenly using the Tea Party which they disparaged as a positive example now.
At the bottom of the latest watered down report of violence and arrests and lawless behavior by the Occupiers, the intrepid BBC News Online team does what they always do for protests they support: Ask readers if they’re involved and to send in their comments. To my knowledge, there has never been one of these for the Tea Party movement. If a defender of the indefensible or BBC employee who has been notified of this “hate site” could point one out to me, I’d be most grateful.
Yesterday the nice Occupiers who are filled with a sense of civic duty and lawfulness tried to occupy a Citibank branch. This is not lawful behavior, this is not inspired by a sense of civic duty. This is an act of lawlessness. Yet the BBC plays it down this way:
Staff at Citibank near Washington Square Park called police because “very disruptive” protesters “refused to leave after being repeatedly asked,” the bank said.
“The police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed.”
They shouldn’t have been there in the first place, yet the BBC refuses to point out that this is illegal behavior. No, they love this stuff, support it 100%. Speaking of people who support the Occupiers 100%, if anyone reads Inspector Gadget’s blog, they’ll know that he does, and claims that most police do as well. They’re arresting people now because they have to, but if the Government doesn’t do something to get the police back on side, they won’t do it forever. Or, if the idiot Occupiers ever figure this out and stop calling them fascist tools and do something to get the police on side, it will be a different story. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is a recipe for disaster. When the police are on the side of the destroyers, they will eventually stop doing their jobs. The more the BBC demonizes the police, the less inclined they’ll be to act on behalf of a Government they detest. But I digress.
Getting back to the latest BBC breathless report about the Occupiers in the US, they say this:
The New York protests began on 17 September with a small group of activists and have swelled to include several thousand people at times, from many walks of life.
Anyone ever seen a BBC report describe a Tea Party protest so generously? Funny how they’re now so careful to be generous to these people, the exact opposite of the way they’ve handled the Tea Party movement. No sneering or insulting with sexual innuendo, no suggesting ulterior motives or unseen hands pulling their strings. No hand-wringing over the “anger” this time, eh, BBC?
So I ask the BBC again: Why don’t you discuss the fact that the Tea Party movement actually went out and did what decent, civic-minded, law-abiding citizens should do and took their anger out at the polls, rather than vandalize and occupy private property, and disrupt? Why don’t you point out the irony of the Occupiers are able to do all of this only because other people are giving them money to do it? And that they believe they’re entitled to other people’s money to do it? That’s not the American ideal of working hard and having it pay off you claim they want.
Mark Mardell admits that many of the Occupiers were Obamessiah worshipers but are now “disillusioned”. So why aren’t they protesting against Him? He says it’s because they don’t want to change one political party or other, but want to change the entire system. But he won’t discuss what that actually means. He knows what they really want, but won’t say it out loud. So I’ll let them say it for him: Why not discuss how convenient it is for these protests to fill news broadcasts so nobody is talking about the President’s looming scandals: Solyndra, where the White House is still refusing to turn over relevant documents and communication, and Gunwalker, in which Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller have been subpoenaed.
And most importantly: Why don’t you ask the Occupiers why they haven’t protested outside the White House? After all, the President is the greatest recipient of Goldman Sachs largesse, and He’s the one who authorized more bank bailouts, and is handing over billions of taxpayer money to greedy corporate cronies. Oh, that’s right: you’ve censored all that news, so can’t start talking about it now.
This is an intellectual failure of the BBC. I think I’ll go down to visit the Occupiers next weekend to see what else the BBC isn’t telling you.
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I know others have mentioned the BBC’s biased coverage of the Occupiers, but I think it’s important to look at them all together, so we can see the big picture, the larger context of the BBC’s reporting. We’ve all seen by now how the BBC loves the “Occupy Wall Street” protest, as well as the copy-cat protests in other cities. Any negative aspects played down, the protesters’ mixed messages spun favorably. Now the top BBC talent in the US has gone among them, and come back with glowing reports. It makes for a stark contrast with the way Mardell and Katty reported on the Tea Party protests.
I’ll pause for a moment while everyone stops laughing, and give you a chance to clean the tea off your monitors and keyboards. You read that right: Katty says there’s no violence. And it gets worse. How does she open her report?
There is something endearing about a protester who camps out on Wall Street carrying a sign that reads “I love humanity, let’s figure this s**t out together”.
OK, he wasn’t quite as discreet with the swear word, but my editors will frown if I replace the asterisks with the actual letters.
But seriously, how angry can you really sound if you begin your revolutionary bank-bashing with the words love and humanity? It is somehow so very un-European.
Awww, how sweet, eh? Like all well-constructed pieces, the Narrative is set out very clearly in the opening section: these protesters are lovely, have the best of intentions.
It’s hard to imagine, for example, the hooded youths of the London riots pausing between rock throwing and shop-looting to utter poetic affection for their fellow human beings.
Their priority was Sony or Samsung (stolen plasma TVs that is), not sitting down with their political opponents to figure out the country’s economic problems.
Who’s sitting down with political opponents here? The Occupiers are screaming at their ideological enemies. If these people honestly wanted to sit down with political opponents and figure out the country’s problems, they’d be sitting outside political offices and government buildings, going to committee meetings open to the public, etc. That’s not what they’re doing at all. Katty just made that up out of thin air.
Let’s recall how Katty opened her first report about the Tea Party movement. She opened that video piece with a quote from the President, who is one of the Tea Party’s political opponents. The people on whom she’s reporting doesn’t even get the first word. The President called for unity, she intoned, but that call was drowned out by the Tea Partiers. Before we even learn what the Tea Partiers wanted, we’re told they disrupt, divide, oppose. Oh, and let’s not forget they are angry. And that was actually the least biased, least frowning, least scaremongering report about the Tea Party movement ever done on the BBC at the time.
Yet for some odd reason Katty starts her report on the Occupiers focusing on the love. She contrasts the Occupiers with the violence of the protesters in Greece and other places, and draws the conclusion that the US is just a nicer place, so protesters don’t get violent like they do in Europe.
No, the most extraordinary thing about the US protests so far is that they have been so mild.
It took Americans a long time to jump on the European protest wagon and now they’ve finally done so, it’s with exemplary order and calm. Given how rough the American economy is, that’s quite surprising.
You ain’t seen nothing yet, Katty. (UPDATE 9:23pm: All those nice people Katty met just got up and tried to occupy Wall St. again and and got violent with the police, throwing bottles and bags of garbage at them. Imagine! How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out for ya, Katty?) They’ve only just begun. Wait until they realize they won’t get their way immediately. She gets in her usual far-Left ideology about “growing inequality” and how the evil rich are “gobbling up” wealth while others aren’t getting richer. This is far-Left ideology, no matter which side of the argument you’re on. And she has form. For example, recently she complained that the economic crash hasn’t lasted long enough to “turn people off Capitalism”. It’s right there, out in the open. This is what Katty believes, and she reports according to her personal political beliefs. It cannot be denied. Naturally, because she holds these beliefs, she’s surprised things haven’t gotten more violent.
So it’s interesting that – barring the one incident of pepper spray used against demonstrators on Brooklyn Bridge – the nice people camping out in Zuccotti Park have been well, so nice.
Show me one single example of Katty – or any Beeboid – describing Tea Party protesters as “so nice”. Notice how she says there’s been just the one unfortunate incident. What about the hundreds of people arrested while trying to illegally storm the Brooklyn Bridge? What about all those nice protesters who tried to actually illegally occupy Wall St. itself? Does Katty know about this? Does she care? Or does she sweep that under the rug because it doesn’t help the Narrative she wants to tell?
Oh, but Katty knows that United Statesians can do violent protests when they want:
And it’s not that Americans can’t riot – they’ve done so with force in the past. Remember Vietnam, LA, the race riots in Detroit?
But those were in the 1960s. In recent decades protests in the US seem to have become more peaceful, even more subdued.
So why haven’t there been molotov cocktails and shootings yet? Katty will tell us by – you won’t believe this – using the Tea Party movement as an example.
That other political protest movement of recent times, the Tea Party, might get fired up by their deeply held convictions, but they certainly don’t riot.
Oh, gee, thanks a lot. We also don’t get arrested by the hundreds, or illegally occupy anything. To my knowledge, there has never been a single arrest as a result of Tea Party activity. If somebody does manage to find such an anomaly, it would be nothing compared to the hundreds of arrests of Occupiers around the country in the last few weeks. That’s right, Katty: hundreds of nice people arrested in Boston, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, San Diego, New Jersey, Des Moines. The only reason there haven’t been even more arrests in other cities is because the police have decided not to do any for the moment.
Why have all these people been arrested? Why are the police trying to clear them out in various cities? Because the protesters are breaking the law. Unlike the Tea Party, these people didn’t bother with mundane things like permits or working with the police or obeying the law or having consideration for their fellow citizens. Yet Katty thinks it’s the same thing.
The same quality of civic duty and lawfulness that foreigners find so distinctive about American life in general has dictated the mood of the economic protests as well.
Out of all the protesters in Nashville, Mardell managed to find a person of color. Unfortunately, he couldn’t even be bothered to find an African American, who are a significant portion of the population there, if only a small minority of protesters. The poor lad had been to New York, and got himself arrested trying to illegally occupy the Brooklyn Bridge. Mardell gives him sympathetic treatment. He spent seven hours in a cell (oh, the humanity), and his law-abiding immigrant parents weren’t pleased that he now has a criminal record. But the BBC’s top man in the US understands.
On the other hand, Hirak believes his arrest was part of something historic, something important.
A movement that isn’t just about Wall Street, but which he hopes will grow in Tennessee, where he goes to university.
“I am a very small part of it, but this is the opportunity finally for the people to speak out and participate in our democracy,” he says. “We’re finally going to get our voice back in our democracy. We are the 99%.”
Now let’s recall Mardell’s first blog post about the Tea Party movement. He asked if it was down to racism. He pretended to be impartially asking the question, throwing it out there for others to ponder. But we know now that he believes it is secretly driven by racism, and that all the noise about fiscal conservatism and government reform is a smokescreen to hide it.
The rest of his piece is sympathetic to the protesters and their cause. No casting aspersions, no suggesting that they’re mere puppets of Washington think tanks (like he said about the Tea Party to the BBC College of Journalism), and most curiously, no fretting about the anger. No, Mardell is hopeful, not concerned. This is the US protest movement he’s been waiting for, and it shows. You won’t see him mocking any of these protesters the way he did last month to his junior colleagues.
Naturally, when he gets to New York, Mardell also has to try to compare the Occupiers with the Tea Party movement. He makes sure to tell you that, unlike these people, those Tea Partiers like big corporations. But he forgot to mention that a major complaint is corporate welfare and bank bailouts. No, the easy route is to claim that the Tea Party is on the side of the evil rich, and the Occupiers are on the side of the poorest and most vulnerable.
Fortunately, Mardell understands that there really isn’t a fair comparison at all.
But other differences suggest it would be wrong to read across from one movement to another.
These are early days, but Occupy doesn’t seem to have drawn people into politics for the first time in the way that the Tea Party has.
Most of those I have spoken to here and in Nashville were already interested in radical politics.
I have yet to meet any one who turned up because their own economic situation made them want to change the world.
Which is what we’ve been saying here all along. These people had this ideology long before the economic crisis, long before the bank bailouts. Unlike the Tea Party movement, this was planned in advance. Unlike the Tea Party movement, which was spontaneously started by a St. Louis housewife as an anti-tax gathering, and eventually inspired millions of people to form peaceful, law-abiding protests. Funny how all the Beeboids leave this fact out. However, notice that Mardell doesn’t wonder about organization or influence from above. He also never enthused over how someone he met at a Tea Party event felt they were part of something historic. To him, it was all hatred and racism.
Laura Trevalyan has been more honest in her coverage. She does report about the defecating on police cars, the ugly behavior, and the complaints about the property destruction and illegal behavior in Zuccotti Park. Unfortunately, she thinks that occupying private property and preventing the city from cleaning up after a month of filthy occupation is “a victory”. Only at the BBC is breaking the law celebrated in such a fashion. She made a live report saying the same thing on the News Channel earlier today.
You want to know what a real victory is for a political movement is? Changing politics. The first Tea Party victory was affecting a town council vote in a little town in Rhode Island. Real victories include affecting local elections in places like Tucson and Miami, not to mention electing Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Oh, and taking over the House of Representatives last November. Those are actual, respectable victories for a political movement: law-abiding and civic-minded. Not occupying and vandalizing private property and preventing the city from cleaning it up. Ah, the twisted morality of the BBC.
There was one bit of dishonesty in Trevalyan’s report as well.
In the Colorado city of Denver on Friday, riot police arrested demonstrators as they removed their tents in Lincoln Park near the state Capitol.
This makes it seem as if the police just went in and started arresting innocent people who were actually packing up to leave peacefully. Wrong. Those arrested refused to leave an area they had been occupying illegally.
Why can’t the BBC be honest about breaking the law? Why can’t the BBC be honest about these Occupiers? I think we know why. The difference between their treatment of these protests and the Tea Party movement is staggering.
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I came across this while looking for some Mardell quotes for a recent post, and saved it until after I’d had a long look at it and taken time to absorb it all. It’s an hour-long discussion with Mark Mardell and BBC Washington editor Simon Wilson about US politics and how the BBC is going to cover the looming (13 months away) second-most important election in human history.
Parts of it give a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the vast, multi-tentacled creature that is the BBC, as well as glimpses of how any large media organization operates. There’s talk of funding, use and distribution of resources, personnel, and reporting angles. On that score alone it’s worth watching. I’m going to post the video first, and my comments and analysis will be below the fold.
We learn that Mardell claims that he needs to ask not only what has gone wrong with the US economy, but why. He says he needs to ask not only if the Republicans hurt it but if actually the President’s policies might have harmed the recovery. He hasn’t done it yet, even after more than two years, and I don’t expect him to do it now. Still, he pretends that’s what he’s doing, and it’s nice to hear him acknowledge that it’s at least a valid question to ask.
Mardell states (@5:51)that the big story of the US economy is easy to “sell” to (meaning, I hope, gain the interest of)the British public because “it has such huge resonance here.” The President, he says, “is the last Keynesian standing. He’s still someone saying, the stimulus can work, that’s the way to get the economy going.” Mardell was encouraged, he explains, that after a recent blog post about the President’s latest Jobs Plan For Us, there were a bunch of Left-wing Brits commenting on his blog that this was great, the way to go, this is what Cameron should be doing, etc. This told Mardell that there was “a resonance” in Britain with the President’s policies. We’re seeing here clear proof that Mardell – and, as we’ll soon learn, the BBC – feels that he (and they) reflect the general thoughts and feelings of the British public. This supports Jeff Randall’s quote about how they think they are on the middle ground. And there’s much, much more of this kind of thing to come.
The first Republican candidate Mardell mentions by name is Huntsman. You may well ask who the hell that is, as he’s never gotten more than a couple percent of any vote or poll anywhere, and is on no one’s radar except far-Left foreigners and discussions inside the Beltway bubble. Mardell will return to Huntsman again, and we’ll learn later why that is.
When Mardell goes through the candidates, I was willing – at first – to cut him some slack over how he leaves Herman Cain for last, as this was done a month ago and Cain had yet to achieve the prominence he has now. But notice how Mardell again dismisses the “pizza millionaire”. (Millionaire: Boo!) I’ll get to why I won’t cut him slack for putting Cain at the bottom later on. When he gets to Huntsman again, he says that candidate is the favorite of Democrats, and I’ll leave it others to infer an attitude behind his facial expression and the way he says it, as well as the audience reaction.
13:30 Mardell says that the country is changing, and while he can’t say specifically what the President has done to affect that change, the country “is changing in His image”. To support this he points to the fact that there are now two Governors of Indian descent in…ahem…formerly racist Southern states. He doesn’t mention that both Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal are Republicans, because that would detract from the notion that The Obamessiah has redeemed us to some degree. Of course, he totally contradicts that notion later on, but we’ll get to that in due course.
Then he says “on the other hand”, black poverty is the worst it’s been in almost thirty years. We saw this same blinkered attitude come out in his two recent blog posts where he visited struggling black people in Chicago. Because He is black, somehow economic policies will be aimed specifically at helping black people. Only a naive person who has a poor grasp of government and economics on a national scale will think that a black President can have a specific, immediate affect on the economic situation of millions of black people across the country. It makes no sense, but that was part of the Hope and Change Mardell expected. His last blog post shows that he does know better than that, but his and the BBC’s obsession with race and racial politics keeps driving him back to silly ideas. And hey: wasn’t He supposed to usher in a post-racial era? Emotion is getting the better of reason with Mardell here.
Maybe His policies have been crap? Nah.
In any case, Mardell concludes this section by laying out what he thinks are the main questions or points he and the Beeboids covering the US should be bringing up:
1. What has the President done to put Himself in this position? 2. Big up the resonances with the British audience (assuming, that is, the British public thinks like Beeboids do on issues such as taxation and stimulus) 3. What are the wider implications for America?
Ask yourselves how Mardell and the BBC have done so far on these. From what I can tell, the answer to the first question is “Nothing! Never!” The other two go some way towards explaining the BBC editors’ choice of stories and angles. And I suppose there’s really nothing wrong with the second two as general guidelines. Also, be sure to keep these, especially the first one, in mind over the next year of noise.
The floor is then handed over to Wilson, who goes into the more pragmatic aspects of newsgathering and coverage. I found this part rather interesting, and license-fee payers might also be interested to know how their money is being spent, and just why the BBC reports what it does.
We soon learn from Wilson that there has been a “huge investment” in the BBC’s online coverage of the US. That will be clear to anyone having a look recently, just from all those lightweight, magazine-style pieces about parks and some woman giving birth just after running a marathon. Well worth the money, I’m sure. By now they will have 11 full-time staff doing online reporting or those “digital media” magazine-style pieces they teach in courses in those feeder schools. And that doesn’t even include the usual Washington staff like Kim Ghattas and Katty Kay, or Laura Trevalyan in New York, or the number of on-air talent traipsing around the country, like Steve Kingston and Jonny Dymond. I think we’ve all noticed for a while now that the BBC has ramped up their US coverage.
Much later in the video, Wilson explains how these new hires “put great value” back into the news by providing real stories, etc. You can all judge for yourselves how much value for your money there is in these magazine-style fluff pieces. He says it’s partially driven by “commercial” concerns, which is, I think, a hint of the new international subscription scheme they’ve come up with. He does say that some of the new commercial money will go towards paying for cameramen and extra crew to follow the radio guys around.
At one point later on, they discuss how social media will play an important role. No, it isn’t what you think. Part of it is actually a fairly reasonable, if brief, discussion about how there will be debate events and whatnot driven by Twitter, and so that will be an important platform. But there’s more, which I’ll come to soon enough.
@ 25:00 I just want to add some info to Mardell’s remarks about why it’s not so exciting to get that sit-down interview with the President. He says that it’s because the message won’t be much different from what you already get from the members of the Administration because, unlike in British Governments, there isn’t really much policy conflict or different Cabinet members briefing against each other etc. This is true, but he only half way explains why this is. Obviously in the US the Cabinet and all people holding the various key positions in an Administration are not sitting politicians, aren’t vying for leadership, and aren’t fighting to get promoted to a better Cabinet position. It makes a big difference in so many ways, functionally and in message management.
@28:00 question from another Beeboid about the Republican candidate nobody except Mardell has ever cared about or thought had a chance: John Huntsman. His name comes up yet again, this time because he’s the only one fretting about Climate Change. Check out how Mardell answers, and the audience reaction. No further proof is needed of the BBC’s inner thinking on this issue. The discussion expands to the “anti-science party”, etc. Judge for yourselves, of course. But I wonder how many of these “pro-science” Beeboids believe in homeopathy or astrology?
It’s obvious that Mardell likes Huntsman, and he even says that nobody likes Huntsman except the Democrats, and that he’d fit right in with the British Conservative Party. I know, I know, let’s not get started on how the Conservative Party should be held in violation of the Trades Description Act. Just more insight into the Beeboid mindset. But this is why I won’t cut him slack on ignoring Cain earlier, and in his reporting. Even a month ago nobody outside his bubble thought Huntsman was going anywhere, whereas lots of people were already starting to take Cain seriously.
32:00 In response to a question/statement about how all this focus on the election leaves less room for the more interesting bigger picture of what the US is about, Mardell says he’s always wanting to “tell a greater American story”. He claims that’s what he always tries to do. Which is pretty funny considering how I’ve been saying that he should be called the US President editor precisely because that’s not what he does at all.
Then he says one of the voices he wants to look into is the “wealthy African American community”, specifically where the President comes from. We know now that he went out and did that, resulting in his recent blog post I discussed here. I bet he didn’t get what he expected there at all.
33:45 Mardell reveals that former BBC World News America executive producer Rome Hartman wanted to “ban all stories about guns and ban all stories about poor black Americans”. Which just tells me what lay behind the crap which led me to call it BBC World Propaganda America.
But then he says this: “You can’t censor bits of a country, you know, because it doesn’t fit the image you would like.” Oh, really now?
35:00 Mardell says that Jonny Dymond has done “some fantastic stuff”.
36:45 Mardell says that Twitter “doesn’t follow BBC guidelines.” He’s referring to accuracy, and not revealing personal biases all over the place, but it’s nice to hear them admit it nevertheless.
37:15 As part of his explanation of his feeling about how important Twitter can be as a source of mood, Mardell references the Tucson shooting (of Rep. Giffords and several other victims). He says when that happened, “the idea came out from Twitter that this was a bigger story about America;it says something about the tone of our politics. I mean, that came from Twitter, and it was absolutely right. Now, whether it created that because people like me reacted, and thought, ‘Well, that’s a good point.'”
We knew at the time, and it’s known now, that this simply wasn’t true. The murderer was mentally ill, with more political influences from the Left than from the Right. But the media – including Mardell and the BBC – used it to whip up anger against the Right, blaming Sarah Palin as an accessory to murder, etc. Mardell even used this lie to promote the idea that the President was healing the country. It was a disgrace then, and it’s a disgrace now that Mardell still apparently doesn’t realize what he’s done, or that he helped promote a lie.
40:00 Mardell agrees with a question about doing public figure profiles and how he wants to widen the focus to say something about “a wider sense of America”. You mean like how we’re racists or anti-science or want justice at the point of a gun?
41:20 Wilson explains how some beats are more important than others, and how he’s spent his career in places which are “stand-by” stories. On a slow news day, he says, the BBC News producers will want to “just shove an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in, because people always that.” That’s not anti-Israel bias in and of itself, of course, and it’s a no-brainer that throwing red meat out will rouse the dogs and get an audience reaction. But how sad that they see it as titillation in this way. He does go on to explain how it’s just part of the news cycle, outlets need to put something out, etc., so I guess that’s just the jaded journo talking there, and won’t try to read any more into it.
43:15 A female Beeboid brings up Huntsman yet again (he’s gotten more mentions inside this BBC bubble during the last 45 minutes than in the entire US media over the last six months). “How much further to the Right has American politics shifted? Superficially, it would seem much further to the Right. Has the center ground moved far to the right of what we would consider the center here?”
When did we really shift to the Left, exactly? Justin Webb’s book about the “strange death of Social Conservatism” in the US aside, that is. Yes, we elected a Democrat, but that had a whole lot to do with white guilt and the self-congratulatory outcome of electing a black man, not to mention a general backlash from the middle against the policy failures of Bush’s second term, and the entire media (except Fox News and a couple of radio talking heads, sure) being in the tank for The Obamessiah, especially the agenda-setting New York Times and Washington Post, as well as the MTV/Comedy Central crowd. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t exactly a landslide victory, despite the swooning of the Beeboids, the way the electoral counts look, and the number of celebrities crying on camera. It was 52% to 46% of the popular vote. Decisive, yes. A sign that the country had moved so far to the Left that today we’re “much further to the Right”, no. Mardell, naturally, thinks the woman’s observation is correct.
The Tea Party movement started less than a month after the inauguration. That has to be the fastest cultural shift in history, right? And remember that the Beeboids said at first that the whole thing was just sour grapes from whites who wouldn’t have voted for Him anyway. Recall that Wilson was just a few minutes ago talking about how Presidential candidates must find the center ground to win elections. So why isn’t the woman asking if the President had shifted too far to the Left, and the country was moving away from that, which is by default to the Right, but not necessarily so far to the right of center? Because He’s in the correct place, of course, and anyone not agreeing must be wrong. Again, very revealing of the Beeboid mindset and ideological ground.
To prove his point that the country really has shifted to the Right, Mardell says that politicians and operatives who’ve been in the business for 30 years say that it’s nothing like the old days, when they could just have a drink with the opposition. If one isn’t lost in the mist of bias, one might say that it could also be due to the number of “to hell with business as usual” types who have come in, and the influence of the Tea Party movement being fed up with Corporate Welfare, Corporate Cronyism, Big-Government spending (all of which flourished under Bush, let’s be clear). Funny how when the Occupy Wall Street darlings say the same thing, they’re somehow not much further to the Left than these Beeboids. We can see the perspective here, see the prism through which they view everything. The US is much further to the Right on Social issues than Britain, as if the 60s never happened, says Mardell. Particularly homosexuality. I wonder if this isn’t just another example of the Beeboids assuming their own viewpoints reflect that of the country.
This reveals the difficulty as well as the madness of defining the US in British terms. It also shows that they really do look down on us from on high, and from the Left. Wilson follows this up by saying that “the divisiveness is just almost impossible to, kind of, quantify.” He says it’s worse than the Middle East, because Israel and Hamas sit down and talk sometimes. Yes, that’s right. Notice how none of this is blamed on their beloved Obamessiah. No mention of President “I won”, no mention of “don’t call my bluff”, no blame even remotely directed His way. Eventually Wilson wonders if there might be a bit of blame laid on the Democrats’ doorstep. He recalls that the Dems were vicious about Bush, so maybe there’s a smidgeon of that left, eh? How generous and impartial of you, Simon. You mean there might be someone else to blame? Unbelievable bias on display here.
50:19 After Mardell discusses how probably the best angle for the Republicans to take would be to push the line that the President may be a nice guy, very intellectual, etc., He’s just not up to the job, a female Beeboid asks how much of that is felt in the US, and that “I do think that’s the mood here, actually.” Wow. That’s the first time I’ve heard that coming out the mouth of a Beeboid. Mardell replies that he thinks it’s “pretty widespread”, then relates the story of a black Virginia businessman he met who said that in the real world the President would be out of a job for failing to produce.
I have to admit that I’m stunned by this. Not that Mardell is aware that people think the President is inept (he brings it up every once in a while), but that he understands that there’s at least a grain of truth to it and doesn’t place blame everywhere else. This is so absent from his reporting it’s not even funny. Sometimes we’ve seen him express disappointment when a speech doesn’t inspire him enough, or lay out the policy attacks he thinks would work, but no way has his overall reporting given anyone the idea that the idea that the President is inept is widespread, at least without qualifying it somehow by saying those people are ideologically opposed to Him or racist or something.
The next question is about how much religion will play in the election. Mardell again reveals that the BBC’s general anti-religion bias accurately reflects the views of the British public. Believing in God isn’t normal in Britain, he says. I guess Songs of Praise just panders to the tiniest of minorities? The Church of England is just something they put on the tin? I hope no Muslims hear about this.
Michelle Bachmann’s chances hadn’t yet tanked when this was made, so I won’t blame him for going on about her here. I will, however, complain that he’s unfairly suggesting that she might still want the death penalty enforced for adultery and blasphemy. This simply isn’t credible. Nobody is going to get elected on that platform, and this isn’t a banana republic where the President can start hanging people on a whim. She can believe whatever she wants, and it’s simply impossible that as President she could even make the tiniest headway towards convincing Congress to pass some kind of of insane law like that. Yet Mardell is concerned. Does he really still have no idea how US Government works, or is his visceral hatred for religious belief causing him to have ridiculous fears?
As part of this discussion on the influence of religion, Mardell says that he thinks the Tea Party “got it right – or that the think tanks behind the Tea Party in Washington”. Wrong. There was and is no think tank behind the movement. It was going strong for two months at least before anyone tried to form a national organization or think tanks or activist groups started jumping on the bandwagon. Even after two and half years, they still don’t get it. There’s a difference between groups trying to have influence, lending support, or jumping on the bandwagon and being “behind” the movement. In one sentence, Mardell has demonstrated that he thinks the whole notion of a grass roots movement is discredited. Fail.
He says that the Left wants to highlight the social-religious aspect, while the Right wants to play it down. Does this mean that all those BBC reports whipping up fear about the social-religious aspect of the Tea Party movement come from the Left? I think we can say they do.
The penultimate question is about – you knew it was coming eventually – racism. A male Beeboid brings up the “visceral hatred of Obama”, and says that during the last election there was a lot of concern about race, and asks if there is “a danger” of “playing that down” this time. In other words, in the minds of these Beeboids, we’re still secretly mostly racist, and if The Obamessiah loses in 2012, it will be because of racism. Mardell first says that he knows it’s a factor, and recalls one of Justin Webb’s pieces featuring a southern white woman subtly expressing her racism. But then, he actually says that after meeting so many Tea Partiers, he doesn’t think most of us are racists. “At least not in a straight-forward sense”. He says that underlying the concern about government spending our money, it’s really about not wanting to the government to “spend money on people not like them”. That’s simply offensive, and made me swear out loud when I heard it.
Then he says that there are also people who feel disconnected because “they didn’t expect this sort of person in the White House.” Somehow the President “doesn’t meet their stereotype about what a black person is like.” Is that why Joe Biden praised the then-junior Senator from Illinois for being so “articulate and bright and clean”? Words fail, other than more swearing at the screen. And oh how Mardell smiles, very pleased with himself, while slandering about a hundred million people.
Still, what happened to the idea Mardell put forth earlier that there is a widespread notion that the President is just not up to the job? Yeah, never mind about that, then. Racist!
So yes, we’re still apparently racists, even though in the end Mardell admits that he hasn’t found racism to be as much of a factor as he thought he would. Well, thank you very much. Still, that hardly discounts the rest of what he said. Wilson agrees with his assessment. To judge from this, everything you’ve heard about fiscal responsibility is just a lie, a smokescreen to hide our racism. This is what Mardell thinks, this is what the BBC thinks, and this is what they want you to think. They simply cannot accept any reasonable justification for objecting to Socialist policies.
In all, a fascinating hour spent inside the hive mind, and very revealing on a number of levels. I hope this exceedingly lengthy post didn’t cause too much pain, but there was just so much to talk about.
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A couple of days ago, I commented on a previous open thread about Mardell’s latest journey amongst the great unwashed in search of more hope for the President’s chances of re-election. It was basic human interest stuff, anecdotes about how the economic crisis and continuing New Depression have hit black people hardest. He didn’t do any in-depth analysis in that piece, as it was just supposed to set the stage for his next, more profound installment, in which he said he’d find out why this is the case.
I gave my own two-cents worth about why black people have been affected most by unemployment in these times, wondering how Mardell would approach it seeing as how we have a black President and, according to all of Mardell’s previous reporting, none of it is His fault. To save people scrolling through the open thread to find the comment, I’ll reproduce that bit here:
It’s pretty obvious to someone who doesn’t live inside the bubble, but let’s see if Mardell discovers for himself that a far higher percentage of blacks work in blue collar and service industry jobs. These are always the first to go when the economy sags. I wonder if Mardell will understand the irony of the President’s penchant for attacking the rich, when it’s the rich who provide the bulk of the jobs in the service industry.
If rich people have less to spend, they don’t hire cars, they don’t have parties, they don’t go out to dinner as often, they don’t spend so much on vacation, they don’t buy more products so less needs to be manufactured, their businesses don’t have as many cleaners or secretaries or maintenance workers. I can say from personal experience and lots of first-hand accounts I’ve heard that the service industry in NYC has been hit very, very hard. When there are less of these kinds of jobs, there are a lot less employed black people.
And it’s not just the evil rich, of course. The unloved middle classes also spend money on all these things, and they’re tightening the belts as much as anyone right now.
Why blacks are overwhelmingly employed in the lower, more vulnerable job ranks is a topic for another discussion entirely. But the fact remains that they are more vulnerable, no matter who is in charge. We’ll see how Mardell deals with it.
As it turns out, in his next installment, Mardell has a partial clue. But he’s got other problems.
It’s kind of an odd title for a piece in which the success story is only the first part, while the rest is, as Mardell himself puts it, “depressing”. The first section is about the success of a new charter school in Chicago. I’m sure many here will enjoy the BBC actually reporting that one of these non-government schemes for education works very well for minorities, considering how they attack Michael Gove for his attempts to provide the same chances for success to minorities in Britain. In any case, Mardell starts things off with this bit of hope for the future, which is nice.
Then he gets into the details of unemployment. As it turns out, Mardell actually discovered that, as I said, blacks are especially vulnerable to public sector cuts as they are proportionally over-represented in government jobs. So good for him for actually doing a bit of research for a change. He missed out, though, on how so many of the service industry jobs held by black people vanish when everyone – evil rich and unloved middle class alike – tighten their belts due to increased taxation and economic recession. I suppose it might be too difficult for Mardell to admit that the evil rich and the sneer-worthy middle class actually provide lots of jobs. I have no problem with him adding the bit about “cultural and historical” reasons for blacks mostly having jobs on the low end of the scale, as it’s not exactly false. But it is a topic for another discussion, so he leaves it at that, as he should.
But the big problem for Mardell is when he learns this about his beloved Obamessiah:
‘The president is not God’
What’s this blasphemy? Who said such a thing? Another person whose criticism of the President is based on race? Er, no.
Robert Blackwell believes more enterprise is the answer.
He’s part of President Obama’s set, a good friend and a fundraiser.
Indeed, he once employed Mr Obama. Although he’s the same age as the president, with the same cool good looks, he could be Mr Obama’s younger brother.
“Cool good looks”? Is this superficial editorializing necessary? He just can’t help himself, even if he’s really suggesting that the job has seriously aged the President.
He is one of Chicago’s wealthy black professionals, who made his money out of a ping pong business before branching out into management consultancy.
He says the public sector cuts have hit hard.
“There’s no business that can absorb that community. Black companies are pretty small and neither government nor large corporations have a very good track record frankly doing business with blacks.
Therefore, there’s nowhere for these people to go who come off the public sector roles.”
New York has a big government department devoted specifically to help, guide, fund, and make contract connections for minority-owned businesses, and so does Illinois. You can bet every other state has a similar department. I guess we’re back to talking historically here and not bothered about the current situation, although I’m certainly not saying that everything is great and there’s a ton of business and job opportunities waiting for them at the moment. But this is really just to help paint the picture that blacks have it rougher than anyone else due to historical white oppression, so let’s not quibble over details, right? Still, I think I see where this is going. He’s not going to suggest that – quelle horreur! – the private sector is the only way to really create permanent jobs and that government can’t save the day, is he?
But Mr Blackwell says the challenge is really one of entrepreneurship.
“If blacks were to participate in proportion to their skill and population, we would have a lot more dollars in our community,” he says.
“We could hire people, we could take more risk. There’d be social capital. I think entrepreneurship is really the only way out. “
Oh, my goodness. This goes against just about everything we’ve heard from the BBC about how to create jobs in tough times. It also goes against Mardell’s own beliefs. How many times did he criticize the Tea Party for not believing the government should take care of everyone? The last time Mardell went amongst the blacks in a job center to ask how they were doing and what they thought, government spending was all the rage. How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya now, Mark?
While he has raised money for Mr Obama, he doesn’t seem like a fan of the president’s policies.
He says he’s a libertarian: he doesn’t think the government can create jobs and wants less red tape.
Sound a lot like what we’ve heard from the Tea Party movement. Yet when they say it, Mardell dismisses it as misguided and based at least in part on racism. Still, I give him credit here for not censoring this blasphemy and allowing you to hear it. It must have pained him greatly. But now for the most important question of all: Is this His fault?
But he doesn’t blame the president.
“Barack didn’t start this. I mean the economy was not in good shape when he came in,” Mr Blackwell says.
Whew! That was close. Is Mardell going to ask if the President’s policies made things worse, better, or the same? No way in hell. After all, when the President got His way with a Democrat-controlled Congress, Mardell thought it was a Golden Age. Instead, it’s time to protect the President.
“The other thing I think is the president is not God, which means he can’t control everything. If you believe in free enterprise, which I do, he has a limited role.”
“So he doesn’t create jobs, it’s the private sector that creates jobs.”
Few here do blame the president.
If they express a political view, it is that Congress is blocking Mr Obama’s policies: exactly the line the White House is pushing at the moment.
And exactly the line that Mardell and the BBC have been pushing. What about discussing if the President’s own policies have hurt job creation in the private sector? Nope, can’t have that. Mardell’s goal here is not to criticize the President. He’s here to find yet another way of telling you that none of this is His fault, and sure as hell isn’t going to suggest that blacks are always going to support the black man, regardless of what happens. It’s a fact, as far as Mardell’s concerned, that none of this is His fault, and that none of His policies have hurt the economy at all. No, they don’t blame Him, so neither should you.
Here’s another question glaringly absent from Mardell’s piece. It’s especially glaring considering the racial angle of the whole thing: what do these people think of Herman Cain? Instead, check out Mardell’s closing line:
But it remains a depressing fact that under the first black president, black people’s economic prospects have only got worse.
This is an intellectual failure. Black people’s economic prospects have gotten worse because the first black President was unfit for office, inexperienced, and has governed poorly, with the wrong ideology to create jobs and right the economy, or at least stop the decline. Every single one of His ideas has backfired, every single policy a failure in this regard. If you want a black President who might do something to help black people’s economic prospects, look to Herman Cain. And it won’t be cos he is black, but because he won’t be a far-Left ideologue pushing another misbegotten hyper-Keynesian spending bill.
But since he’s ideologically of the Left, all Mardell can do is focus on race.
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As everyone saw over the last few days, there was a reasonable-sized far-Left protest in New York City against “Wall Street”. The BBC’s coverage of these people was as different from the way they reported on Tea Party protests as the goals of the former are from the latter. In other words, vastly different.
As just one of the most obvious examples, I’d like to see someone show me the Tea Party equivalent of the video the BBC posted in one of their follow-up reports about the Wall Street protest. The opening lines of the voice-over:
“Today, there was a protest march of over 1000 peaceful protesters, some with signs, chanting peaceful slogans….”
The speaker is one of the protesters, given air time by the BBC to describe the protest from his point of view. This is part of an interview with him by the BBC News. Can anyone find me even a single example of the BBC doing this at a Tea Party protest? Also, Spot the Missing Word: “anger”. Where’s the anger, BBC?
Notice that there is talk of arrests, police needing to use force, etc. As always, the violence comes from the Left, yet the BBC ignores it. In stark contrast, please recall just how many times the BBC told us about the “boiling anger” of the Tea Party movement. Every report mentioned the “anger”. Yet when we get BBC reports on far-Left protests, we hear how “peaceful” they are. In fact, the BBC even allows the protesters to define themselves, again a 180 degree turnaround from the BBC’s treatment of Tea Partiers. How many arrests have there been at Tea Party events, BBC? Answers on the head of a pin…..
Let’s also recall the time that Mark Mardell took a silly unique incident of a senior citizen engaging in a momentary physical struggle with a Left-winger, and spun it as the violence coming from the Right. In actual fact, it was the Left-winger who started the physical confrontation, which ended in the older man biting off the Left-winger’s fingertip. Mardell used this to frighten you, and threaten about a looming violence coming from the Right. Which, of course, has never materialized. The offensive, biased top BBC man in the US even questioned the rational behind the senior citizen’s political point of view, and even ended his short post by asking: “And can any Americans out there explain why this debate has got quite so heated?” Wake me up when he does this about one of these far-Left protesters. It won’t happen, because he and the rest of the BBC understand and sympathize with their motives. On the other hand, when it’s the far-Left on which they’re reporting, the BBC takes great care to make sure to avoid giving you the impression that these people are filled with rage, and give them unchallenged air time to express their intentions. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the likes of Peter Allen saying that these far-Left protesters are “a bit strong for our tastes.”
The best the BBC can do is edit this video report by an actual Beeboid so that it opens with the words “Angry at their treatment by the banks, and by the police.” How have the banks mistreated these people, I wonder? A strange characterization, to be sure. The title of the report shows that these particular far-Left protesters were marching on police headquarters. Did the Tea Partiers ever do such a thing? Of course not. Yet here, the BBC report is sympathetic, not fearful. The anger is shown in a remarkably different light. In fact, here we’re given a justification for that anger, whereas the anger of the Tea Party movement was left up in the air, its rationale even questioned by BBC correspondents.
Worse still, it’s compared – favorably? – to the recent protests in Madrid. Those were extremely violent and destructive, but since the Beeboids support their political agenda, that’s played way down. Completely unlike the initial BBC reports about the Tea Party movement, there is no editorializing, no suspicious commentary about their motives, no mention of an unseen guiding hand of national organizations.
Side note: I’m very amused to hear that one of the things these people were protesting against are “multi-billion dollar bank bailouts”. Funny how that was an extreme right-wing thing to do back when the Tea Party movement was doing it. Clear evidence of BBC political bias on that specific issue.
When it’s a far-Left protest, the BBC makes sure to show you a special slide-show of the marchers and their interaction with the police, but without the editorializing and fretting that was omnipresent in their reports on Tea Party events. No sneering, no worrying about motives, no insulting with sexual innuendos. Where was the equivalent for a single Tea Party protest? This is a glaring disparity, considering how the Tea Party movement represents a far larger segment of the US than do these far-Left protesters. Sure, many people are unhappy with Wall Street and the mess to which they contributed, but most people in the US don’t want it all shut down like these far-Left types do.
Another BBC report on this far-Left protest mentions their “anger at police”, which is very revealing. Again, the BBC helpfully provides the reason for the anger, as if it’s the police’s fault these people want to commit vandalism and violence. At the Tea Party protests I’ve attended, the rapport between the police and the protesters could not have been more civilized. Because there was no vandalism or violence, or even the remotest of hint of any. Many of us even thanked the police afterwards for their time. Why is the Left allowed – even expected – to behave differently, but not a single peep from the Beeboids?
The difference between the BBC’s treatment of protests from the far-Left and protests from the non-Left couldn’t be more drastic, or more obvious.
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The president had waved a copy of his hefty American Jobs Act and told them the USA had to catch up with the likes of China and North Korea in spending on high-speed rail and education.
The President of the most successful, most prosperous country in the history of the world says we need to catch up with North Korea, and the BBC US President editor is fine with it. Doesn’t bat an eyelash.
Okay, I admit I’m being mean. Actually, this is a mad typo. There will probably be a stealth edit tomorrow once somebody points it out to him, so I’ve taken a screenshot. If/when this gets fixed, I’ll post it. Be honest: you thought for a moment that the President actually did say that, right?
The President actually said we should emulate South Korea by adding more teachers. Yay, more government spending. I guess it’s difficult to churn this stuff out, especially when one has to go out amongst the great unwashed in flyover country in search of the elusive Obamessiah supporters, so I’ll be charitable here and shrug off this nutty typo.
Mardell sees nothing fishy – or curiously neglects to point it out – in the President’s seeking out the most sympathetic white audience He ever had, back before the 2008 election, when He was still the world’s sweetheart: students.
The president was talking at Fort Hayes art and design college and one pupil, 18-year-old Mel Dodge, told reporters he was an aspiring lyricist and admires Mr Obama’s skills.
“He chooses his words so beautifully,” said the teenager. “That’s why I came out here today, just to hear that in person.”
That’s just the kind of spiritual boost Mardell needed. Actually, it’s a high school in US parlance. Which means some of them will be voting next year – like Mel Dodge – and the rest are potential noisemakers on His behalf. I know this is just a language barrier thing and not an attempt to mislead. But there’s something else fishy here. As a high school it’s part of the state/city-funded school system in Ohio. His Jobs Plan For Us has a couple lines sending over $350 million specifically to Ohio’s largest school districts (not colleges). Including the Columbus area, which covers this school. Totally targeted pandering. Oops, Mardell forgot to mention that bit. There’s something else about Ohio he doesn’t want you to know:
Ohio is just about the most key swing state there is when it comes to national elections. The President has spent half of His domestic traveling while in office to swing states. He’s visited Ohio fourteen times. Mardell didn’t want to inform you of that lest you start thinking too much about how this was an election campaign stop, geared in part towards unions. But now there must be a semblance of non-partisanship:
He wasn’t so certain about the politics, unsure that the president’s jobs plan would work. He wanted to look at the Republican field as well before he decides how to cast his first vote.
Yeah, sure. Mardell also has a bridge downtown to sell you. His blogpost is just past its midway point, so it’s time for a party political advertisement.
If Mr Dodge is not convinced, it won’t be through lack of White House effort. Senior advisor David Plouffe is just the latest to offer to answer questions by tweet.
This advertisement was brought to you by the Campaign to Re-Elect the President. And your license fee.
I’ve just got a detailed White House email on the beneficial impact of the act on Montana. Why Montana, I know not, but I am sure 49 similar missives will soon be in my inbox.
Yes, Mark, we know you’re well-connected and on the Democrat mailing list. You don’t need to remind us. Oh, my apologies, I’m being rude. The campaign ad is still going.
The president will, I guess, be on the road until this is done or dead.
“I guess.” That’s very silly, and pretty disingenuous. We all know that’s what’s going to happen, because Jay Carney already told everyone last week that the President will “travel all over the country; we’ll be to a lot of different places.” As if he doesn’t know. Hell, the President’s travel schedule is given out to the press, and it shows that He’s going all over the damn place now, mostly to those magical swing states. Just how stupid does Mardell think his audience is? And it’s not partisan at all, no sir. No way you’re going to hear from the US President editor that the only job the President is concerned about creating is His own second term. That’d be a bit too much analysis. Instead, Mardell gives us one of the more obvious signs of his personal political bias:
He is portraying what is a series of pretty partisan, controversial proposals as plain common sense, that no-one of goodwill could resist.
No one of good will, eh? That’s a purely emotional phrase. Mardell is clearly giving an ideological position, supporting the President’s message. Anyone who doesn’t agree with throwing another half trillion dollars down the rabbit hole would resist, based on an entirely different definition of goodwill, but he doesn’t see it that way, and tells you so. So now it’s time to provide “balance”.
There you go. One sentence, with a once-in-a-blue-moon link to a known right-wing pundit, Cal Thomas. If this was from elsewhere, I’d say that might remotely be enough to balance out Mardell’s preceding statement that this “debate” obviously means that there are some who are resisting, and therefore have no good will. But as this is a Mardell post, there’s more coming to support the President.
He got backing on Tuesday for more spending from the Congressional Budget Office’s director, who warned cuts could damage recovery.
He got backing, sort of. But the CBO’s “backing” isn’t quite how Mardell presents it. In fact, the CBO boss says that “changes in taxes and spending that would widen the deficit now but narrow it later in the decade.” Which is pretty much exactly what the SuperCommittee is going to do. Just like in Britain (not including union bosses and UK-Uncut and their fellow travelers at the BBC), nobody really thinks severe cuts are happening this instant or tomorrow. For the US, it’s all about 2013 and beyond, and remember, only in a best-case scenario will there be barely $1.5 trillion cut over the next few years, which is a fraction of the actual deficit we need to cut. That’s why nobody on the fiscally responsible side was really happy about the debt agreement. Hello?!!? Short-term memory, anyone?
The CBO isn’t backing the President in the way that Mardell insinuates, nor are they really repudiating the Tea Party idea and instead siding with Ed Balls and Stephanie Flanders. In fact, what the CBO really says is this (does Mardell think nobody clicks through his links, or does he actually not understand what the following bit means?):
“Attaining a sustainable budget for the federal government will require the United States to deviate from the policies of the past 40 years in at least one of the following ways,” he said. “Raise federal revenues significantly above their average share of GDP; make major changes to the sorts of benefits provided for Americans when they become older; or substantially reduce the role of the rest of the federal government relative to the size of the economy.”
Raising revenues doesn’t necessarily mean draconian taxes only. Growth in industry and consumption raises revenues as well, since that’s all taxed to the eyeballs. So “raising revenues” means a lot more than just taxing the rich even more. And what’s that about changing benefits for seniors? Oh dear, oh, dear. Sounds like austerity and cuts affecting the most vulnerable to me, and as Social Security and Medicaid are going to be just about the biggest government expense in the near and long-term future (aging Baby Boomers joining the rolls, longer-lived population in general), it’s pretty major. Again, this is way more in line with Tea Party ideals than with Krugman/Balls/Flanders. And that last sentence about reducing the role of the federal government speaks for itself, you betcha.
Remember: the CBO boss said “at least” one of these three methods. It’s pretty dishonest to put it as just cuts are bad, m’kay, full stop.
So is that what Mardell thinks supports the President? One could just as easily say that the CBO statement is more about what the SuperCommittee is going to do than about whether or not we should add another half-trillion to the deficit. Oh, hang on: the CBO boss actually was saying this to their faces. The link Mardell provides is about the CBO boss’s first appearance in front of their first official hearing. Nothing to do with supporting yet another Stimulus package at all! Wow. Let’s just shake our heads and move on.
But the president’s plan is ideologically objectionable to most Republicans, even more so now that he has revealed how it would be paid for: by taxing what they would describe as “wealth creators” and what Obama would call the rich, oil companies and corporate-jet owners.
It’s ideologically objectionable to Republicans, but not to anyone of “good will”. How biased can you get? Actually, the President has already caved on the corporate jet issue (perhaps Oprah had a word in his saucer-like?), but never mind. Mardell must have missed that memo. I think a less ideologically blinkered person would mention small businesses as well, as they provide the vast majority of jobs in the country.
This is bound to get messy. The White House has confirmed that they will accept parts of the bill being passed.
What’s that last bit supposed to mean? I thought compromise and bi-partisanship were supposed to be the new American dream? Why is he warning about compromise and bi-partisanship? Weird. Unless one would be unhappy with the President giving in one iota to the nasty Republicans.
The danger for Obama is a loss of his simple message.
What simple message? Where did we see a simple message? Mardell sounds like he drank the Kool-Aid here.
He could get drawn into the wrangling and the less attractive aspects of compromise. He needs all the clarity his lyricism and beautiful words can conjure.
So compromise is bad now. Curiously, only a few weeks ago it was the one thing that would have saved us from a credit downgrade. And just the other day Mardell was telling us about how ashamed someone was of Congress for their failure to work together. Now he thinks its best for the President if He convinces everyone to do things His way, without stooping to compromise. You know, that’s just what the other of his concerned voter in that post said. Funny, that. It’s almost as if there’s an agenda here.
By the way, that post of his saw Mardell visiting Democrats in Indiana, and he kind of forgot to mention that it’s another important election swing state.
In the end – wacky typos aside – this is all typical biased reporting. And sloppy and dishonest at that, one of Mardell’s worst. What’s the emoticon for putting one’s head in one’s hands and weeping quietly?
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It’s actually not so bad, with two of the four economists interviewed taking positions which aren’t 100% in favor of more borrowing and spending. Although, there is an obvious bias on the part of the online editor who chose them. The first up, Robert di Clemente (a generally sharp guy) speaks more truth than the other three combined, and makes real points about why we are where we are. The other three either say “Please, sir, may I have some more QE”, or suggest that we may as well get around to doing more of it.
Naturally, one of them is the BBC’s favorite far-Left economists not named Paul Krugman, one David Blanchflower. I’m sure many people here have seen him over and over again on the BBC (type his name in the search field on this blog).
What’s interesting is that only di Clemente says outright that Government policies on jobs and growth have failed. He also tells us something that nobody has ever said on the BBC before: 40% of jobs losses have come from three industries: housing, automotive, and finance. Think for a second about what this means, as two out of three are very relevant to the UK.
The reason for all those job losses in the housing industry is obvious: the whole thing was bloated way, way out of proportion, to an unsustainable level, by specific Government policies. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Government-sponsored sub-prime mortgage scheme all led to houses being far overvalued, and a massive construction boom by developers in the hopes of everyone getting to buy and sell and flip houses and buy-to-let, and all that. Does that sound familiar? It should. So when that bubble burst, of course there were going to be an awful lot of people out of work.
That doesn’t mean that we need to do something to raise the industry back up again to unsustainable levels so all those people can have jobs again, either. It means that many of those jobs should never have existed in the first place, and were actually based on an ethereal foundation. Things never should have gotten so out of hand. If many of those jobs hadn’t existed, it’s quite possible many of those now unemployed would have found work in other, more sustainable sectors, and would still have jobs now.
The automotive industry has been bleeding jobs for ages, and the bailout didn’t stop it from continuing. The loans and what amounted to taxpayer funding of union pensions didn’t add a single job, and hasn’t put a single person back to work. Nor can any QE scheme return the automotive industry to its former, unsustainable level. So again, Government policies did not and cannot bring back jobs.
Di Clemente also mentions the finance industry. I know what you’re thinking: “Hang on, the BBC told me that we bailed out the evil bankers so the greedy bastards who caused all our woes got off scott free and still got their massive bonuses, etc.” So how can there be unemployment in the finance industry? It certainly doesn’t jibe with the BBC Narrative.
In fact, 106 banks went bust in 2009, large and small, retail and investment. Last year, the number was 109. Some of these got bought out and absorbed into larger companies, which, or course, still means plenty of people made redundant. This doesn’t include venture capital firms, hedge funds, etc., which have also folded since then.
The other fascinating thing di Clemente mentions is that there are plenty of employers out there looking to hire, but simply can’t find the right skilled workers. Apparently all those liberal arts graduates with watered down degrees we’re churning out don’t have the right skills for real existing jobs. Does that sound familiar?
The next bubble to burst in the US is student debt. That’s another Government scheme artificially propping up an entire industry to unsustainable levels. Cracks are beginning to show, but it will be a couple years before it all starts to go south in the manner of the mortgage crisis. Watch this space, and don’t expect the BBC to tell you about it. It’s actually rather strange that the BBC has never mentioned this, considering how much energy they’ve spent telling you that student debt is terrible so the nasty Tories should abolish tuition fees like they do in wonderful Scotland. You’d think they’d be looking for some context which might back up their ideology. Only they can’t be bothered because they just know they’re right, so it’s not important.
In essence, di Clemente raises more interesting points in 340 words than an entire year of BBC reporting on the US economy. He basically blows all of Mardell’s and Flanders’ reporting out of the water. These are major issues, none of which are discussed openly and honestly by the BBC. He’s smart enough not to point his finger directly at the President, and instead blames the ideological divide in Congress. But it’s very clear from his statement which side he thinks is the problem, and it ain’t the heroes of the BBC. Why isn’t this man on speed dial instead of Blanchflower? Ah, I see I’ve answered my own question.
More damning is the fact that there are exact parallels in Britain for most of this. Yet the BBC never discusses it. Where’s the context? Why not look for lessons to be learned, BBC? Is it because you don’t like what you see and it will hurt the Narrative?
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