Biased Editorial Double Standards: US Ideological Violence Edition

Two people from Nevada appeared in court yesterday on charges of plotting to abduct and murder policemen. They are members of the fringe group Sovereign Citizens, a movement of people who have an extreme, quasi-anarchic (in the old school sense), anti-government view. Apparently they were busted after an undercover operation exposed their plans. Nothing new or unusual, really, except that it’s a case of two extremist white people getting arrested for plotting anti-government violence in a week where the public has been overwhelmed with the news of young black men murdering white people (stories which have been used to hype up racial animosity and as a counterweight to the media’s Trayvon Martin Narrative) topped off with two different criminal convictions of military men who espoused political views shared by the Left-wing media. So this minor story must have come as a great relief to the newsroom and editors who are responsible for deciding what gets published every day, a welcome break in what must seem to them as a stream of unfortunate news giving credence to Right-wing views about racial violence, terrorism, and the dangers of the anti-war movement and heroic whistleblowing.

Naturally, the BBC feels it’s worth reporting. It was just a plot thwarted, noting actually happened, nobody even close to being harmed. But it’s newsworthy because of what they represent.

No bias on that score, of course, since the Washington Post, the HuffingtonPost, and CBS all felt it was newsworthy. That’s the lemming-journalism defense we often get: it’s okay for the BBC to report/not report it, because other media outlets are/aren’t. The bias lies in the report itself, as well as the blatant double standard in how they cover incidents of “domestic terrorism”.

First, the quality of reporting. The BBC cites the Southern Poverty Law Center as an authority on the Sovereign Citizens movement. They describe the SPLC as “a non-profit civil rights group”, full stop. Many people here will have seen some of us refer to a “Rule #1” being in effect, and this is a classic example.

In this case, Rule #1 isn’t from the Philosophy Department of the University of Woolamaloo (although I think a BBC version could easily be made with one or two substitutions), but concerns how and when the BBC labels vox pops, guests, and think tanks or organizations they use in appeals to authority. The idea is that the BBC so rarely labels Left-wing, on-message groups or guests that, if they don’t label them, or call them “independent”, one knows which side they’re on. In contrast, those with opposing viewpoints are introduced with the health warning that they’re conservative, or take one side of an issue.

This isn’t just a Biased-BBC fever dream, either. The Center for Policy Studies recently published a report proving it, at least where think tanks and policy organizations are concerned. And here again is another example. The SPLC is independent only in that it isn’t officially owned or run by a political party. It’s hardly non-ideological, though, and the BBC’s use of “independent” is dishonestly meant to lead you to that conclusion. In fact, the SPLC has a long history as a Left-wing activist organization. It’s always been a civil rights and human rights advocacy organization (the “Southern Poverty” part should be a tip-off), more recently going on the attack against numerous non-Left organizations. For example, they labeled the Family Research Council a “hate group”, and featured it on a “hate map” (although they’re clever enough not to use Palin-esque crosshairs), which may have inspired an attempted murder. It’s a joke to present the SPLC as anything other than what it is. In other words, Rule #1 is in effect here, as usual. It doesn’t matter if they do the work of angels, or if you or I agree or disagree with their ideology. It’s a highly ideological organization with very clear political views and activities, and it’s simply wrong to hide that and mislead the reader.

In fact, this isn’t even the first time the BBC has used the SPLC as an authority to support an agenda. Jonny Dymond cited them in his dishonest story about how white supremacist groups have been on the rise since we elected a black President. Dymond presented the SPLC as an organization which tracks “hate groups and other groups on the far right”. In other words, not an impartial organization at all, but one dedicated to an agenda of attacking the Right. Much like some BBC journalists.

It would have been easy enough for the BBC to simply refer to the FBI, or even the Department of Homeland Security (surely not too partisan for the BBC), who have the same concerns about the Sovereign Citizens. Although maybe that would be a case of “they would say that, wouldn’t they?” about an anti-government group. Instead, the BBC went for an ideological fellow traveler, presenting it as an impartial judge.

This leads me to the biased double standard. A little over a year ago, the BBC published a news brief about the arrests of five young men in Ohio who were caught plotting to blow up a bridge. They, too, had known ties to a well-known organization, but for some reason, instead of reporting the connection and going into detail about it, the BBC decided to censor that key detail. I suspected at the time that the reason was that the organization in question was the Occupy movement. Laughably, the BBC managed to think of one possible motivation for the crime, which the FBI dismissed out of hand: the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death. The FBI dismissed that as a motivation because they knew what the BBC refused to tell you: they were Occupiers, and their motivation was to engage in some anti-government (or anti-establishment) ultra-violence. I say the BBC refused to tell you this because it’s impossible to claim that the BBC didn’t know, seeing as how the wire services from which the BBC gleaned this in the first place mentioned the Occupy connection. Outrageously, the BBC even quoted the FBI about ideology being motivation:

“The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views,” said Special Agent Stephen Anthony, of the FBI’s Cleveland division, in a statement.

Which ideological views? Occupy views. It was deliberate censorship, because the BBC was (and still would be if it came back) highly and rather openly supportive of the Occupy movement, and was loathe to draw such an unsavory connection. When it’s a Right-wing group like the Sovereign Citizens movement, though, the BBC has no problem mentioning the defendants’ connection to it and citing its ideology as the motivation behind their plot to commit violence.

A clear double standard, and one unquestionably caused by personal, ideological bias. I wonder if either Daniel Nasaw, the man in charge of deciding what stories get published in the US section of the BBC website, or any lurking professional journalists, will be able to give us any other explanation besides, “Please shut up, you don’t know how things work in a newsroom.” (I paraphrase slightly.)

Detroit Is Bankrupt – So Is BBC Journalism In The US

Detroit has declared bankruptcy at last, and the BBC is on the case. Emily Buchanan, one of the battalion of Beeboids working the US scene, has put together a video report explaining why the once successful city has fallen so far. Her reasons:

White flight, leaving inner city blacks to suffer and find themselves trapped in an urban nightmare

The collapse of the car industry

“Detroit has suffered a vicious cycle of decay, mismanagement, and population decline.”

This last one, a direct quote, is a meaningless statement. It says nothing about how or why it all happened. Who let the urban center decay after the whites fled? Why did the auto industry collapse? Is there a relationship between the crushing burden of pensions and the collapse of either the auto industry or Detroit? There is, but don’t expect the BBC to tell you, because that would tread on sacred union ground. If the population has been dwindling for so long, and the tax base along with it, why did the city spend as if it still had the historically full population and wealthy tax base?

(UPDATE as the story has “evolved”: For some reason, the BBC has removed Buchanan’s video and replaced it with some disaster pr0n by Michelle Fleury.)

Spot the missing political party which has been running Detroit for the last 43 years: Democrats. Every single mayor since 1970 has been a Democrat, and they’ve all been African-American since 1974. Neither Buchanan’s video, nor the accompanying article, nor Jonny Dymond’s inset “analysis” mention either of these key facts. Why the censorship? Because it doesn’t help the Narrative.

The BBC isn’t really interested in discussing the realities behind Detroit’s destruction. No, they’re interested in the emotional impact of the story of evil wealthy white people abandoning a proud industrial city, destroying the lives of the working class and black people, and the city in general. They don’t talk about the corruption, they don’t talk about profligate spending in the face of a declining tax base. They admit that it’s been going on for a long time, but only that it’s “linked to declining industry”. Detroit’s income was largely dependent on a single industry. People in Britain know all too well how this is never a recipe for lasting success. But there’s no Thatcher to blame here, so the Beeboids aren’t really interested in going after the culprits. Although, didn’t the President save the auto industry a few years back? How’s that working out, BBC?

The accompanying article is only marginally better than the video. At least there we learn that public sector pensions have strangled the city coffers. Oh, wait, no we didn’t. We learn instead that two city unions opposed the bankruptcy plan to give creditors – union pension funds included – 10 cents on the dollar. The ones the BBC mentions are for retired workers, in case you hadn’t teared up enough yet. Dymond actually mentions corruption and mismanagement, but leaves it there. Instead we get more sexy details over which to shed tears and feel bad.

But there’s something of a dichotomy between the two quasi-explanations give. Either it was white flight and a declining tax base due to the collapse of the auto industry, or it was corruption and mismanagement. It’s both, of course, and mostly the corruption and mismanagement has been done in the last decade or so. One mayor even went to jail for it. However, there’s no identity politics benefit to be had from going into that issue, so it’s ignored entirely.

The thing is, we’ve seen all this from the BBC before. Two years ago, they sent Ian Pannell to spin a similar tale of woe. Pannell’s story was that the poor urban blacks whom Buchanan now describes as being abandoned and left to rot by wealthy whites were victims of income inequality, thrust upon the city by outside forces. The city was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2005. Eight years later, after much more corruption and fiddling and shuffling the deck chairs, the city was finally allowed to declare it openly. At least Dymond and Buchanan now admit (barely) that there was some local responsibility for the problems. They won’t say whom or how they ruined the city, but at least it’s a tiny improvement. The corruption doesn’t really burn all the money, but it does keep the powers-that-be from doing anything useful. It’s also likely that politicians who are so corrupt were never capable of doing anything useful in the first place, so it’s a no-win scenario no matter how you slice it.

Simply listing unpleasant statistics about empty homes and population decline and murder rates isn’t an explanation of anything. It’s merely a laundry list of indicators. How did it rack up such debt in the first place? What policies led to the city being so burdened by retired workers and public services maintained at a level which hasn’t been sustainable for a decade or more?

Actually, there was a brief period of potential growth after 2001. The city built casinos and sports stadiums, the kind of development which usually brings in a short-term boost. Of course, since the place was already falling apart and the population exodus was underway, it was never going to be sustainable. There’s that word again. The only time the BBC ever seems to understand that word is when discussing so-called “green energy”. When it comes to endless government “investment”, the word “sustainable” vanishes from their dictionary. By the time the next mayor took office and started burning money, the serious financial problems became clear. Here’s a more informative timeline, giving you more insight than anything the BBC can provide. As usual, you’d have been better served by a news aggregator than the millions of pounds spent on all the staff in the US.

The BBC isn’t interested in any of this, or in informing you of anything really useful or important. All they see here is a tear-jerker, and story-tellers love that sort of thing. So that’s what you get from the BBC: a story. Nothing particularly informative or worth your time, but that was never the point. The point is to manipulate your emotions. Plus, it’s an opportunity to continue to spin the myth that this kind of collapse is due largely to those outside, uncontrollable forces Pannell was talking about two years ago. The BBC brings up Stockton, CA, and other cities elsewhere which have declared bankruptcy recently, as if they’re all part of a piece. They are, but not the way the BBC wants you to think.

Here’s an example of how the BBC prioritizes the causes in  Detroit:

The city, once renowned as a manufacturing powerhouse, has struggled with its finances for some time, driven by a number of factors, including a steep population loss.

The murder rate is at a 40-year high and only one third of its ambulances were in service in early 2013.

Declining investment in street lights and emergency services have made it difficult to police the city.

And Detroit’s government has been hit by a string of corruption scandals over the years.

Between 2000-10, the number of residents declined by 250,000 as residents moved away.

Steep population loss, which equals steep tax loss. Less tax revenue means less money for the local government to spend, which in Beebspeak becomes “declining investment”. Murder rates on the rise, which, I suppose, translates into more white flight. Only then do we get to the corruption scandals. This should come first, not last. I say last and not penultimate because the last item is simply a more specific reiteration of the population decline point. Gosh, I wonder why people left in droves over the last decade, BBC? White flight, or cutting losses in a clearly corrupt and financially suicidal regime, with no real industry or commerce developed to replace what the auto industry provided?

All those other bankrupt cities the BBC mentions, except for San Bernardino, were run for a very long time by Democrats and powerful unions as well. And San Bernardino had massive public sector employee debts anyway. As Margaret Thatcher said, it’s fine until you run out of other people’s money. Instead of pointing the finger at the corruption and mismanagement and long-term unsustainable fiscal policy, the BBC blames other people’s money.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the BBC played another Spot the Missing Party game about another city where decades of Democrat, African-American mayors and city mandarins screwed the place up, where the economically deprived African-American urban community suffers most: St. Louis.

UPDATE 2: The BBC does, in fact, mention a political party: The Republican Governor who agreed to the bankruptcy deal (h/t Rufus McDufus). Naturally, the reason they mentioned a political party can be gleaned from the sentences preceding it:

But Ed McNeil, the lead negotiator for a coalition of 33 unions, told Reuters news agency the move was about “busting the unions”.

“This is not about fixing the city’s finances,” he said. “It’s about the governor and his own agenda to take over the city of Detroit.”

In a letter accompanying Thursday’s filing, Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, said he had approved the request for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

“It is clear that the financial emergency in Detroit cannot be successfully addressed outside of such a filing, and it is the only reasonable alternative that is available”.

Could the innate bias be any more obvious?

Don’t bother trusting the BBC on this or any US issue.

BBC Salivating Over Possible Race Riots?

Yes, I know that’s a bit over the top, and I’m deliberately phrasing it as a question because I’m not categorically stating that’s what they’re doing over the possible result of George Zimmerman’s trial. But it sure seems that way. Having said that, let’s all note that this is the first BBC mention of the trial since just before it actually started. They’ve been absolutely silent about the trial the entire time it’s been going on, and it’s not difficult to suspect their silence has something to do with the fact that most of the testimony – from both sides – has discredited the case for the prosecution. BBC reporting on the incident before the trial has been dishonest, misleading, and has censored key facts in order to lead their audience to the approved thought: Zimmerman killed an innocent boy from a distance, in cold blood, due to racism and racial profiling, and Trayvon Martin was murdered simply for what we call “Walking While Black”. Let’s also remember that the BBC tried to stoke racial tensions with their World Have Your Say segment in which they encouraged discussion about how the US is essentially run by white supremacists, with a legal system driven by white supremacists. They did everything in their power to suggest to the audience that Zimmerman remained free initially due to a racist State, again misleading the audience to the desired thought. After five-plus years of Beeboids in the US finding racists under the bed and telling you that opposition to the President has racist underpinnings, the Narrative is all but assured.

Now that it’s pretty much over, bar the closing statements, and a verdict is coming soon, the BBC can resume normal operations. Notice that they continue to use the “undated family photo” of a smiling, angelic, pubescent Martin, instead of the more updated photos Martin himself posted on Facebook. This is a deliberate editorial choice to lead the reader in a specific direction. If they had shown the more recent photos of Martin in a hoodie, with the golden “grill”, the gun, etc., that might prejudice the reader into thinking maybe the lad was a possible troublemaker. What’s particularly galling about this editorial decision – for that’s what it is, the photo didn’t come up randomly – is that the mere fact that Martin had grown into being a bit of a troublemaker, and was all about the gangsta act, absolutely shouldn’t make anyone think he had it coming. Yet the BBC News Online geniuses decided that they didn’t want to portray Martin as anything other than in the best light possible. It’s only natural to wonder if someone with thuggish tendencies would start the fight, which is why the BBC kept all this from you. This is dishonest, and a failure of journalism. Of course, BBC journalism on this story has been a failure from start to finish.

Reminders of the BBC’s failure can be read here, here, and here. Note especially how the BBC has censored the fact of the physical altercation between Martin and Zimmerman from all reporting – except for one article. This physical altercation is the key to the entire case, as Zimmerman’s defense is that Martin was beating the crap out of him and then, when he noticed Zimmerman’s holstered gun, made a reach for it. It was then that Zimmerman grabbed his gun and shot Martin. This should be included in every single report about the case, from start to finish, because it’s the single most important element on which the jury will base their verdict. If one doesn’t know about this very close physical contact – and BBC audiences who blinked and missed the lone mention don’t know about it, as its been deliberately kept from them in nearly all reporting – then the entire case looks dramatically different from reality. Even though the BBC didn’t mention the fight once, I think they got away with it as they’ve never mentioned Zimmerman’s testimony that Martin was reaching for his (Zimmerman’s) gun, which would then make a clear case for self defense. An acquittal would seem like a sham of a travesty of a joke. Which would then mean that BBC audiences would not only be unsurprised at a resulting race riot, but would be inclined to understand and support the outrage. I think that’s the goal of BBC News producers and journalists here: to direct their audience to a specific opinion on the case.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, the BBC has never reported on Zimmerman’s history of fighting against racism, or his efforts in support of blacks. Nor have they every made mention of Martin’s checkered recent past. Can’t have those inconvenient truths interfere with the Narrative.

The  way the BBC opens the report betrays their agenda:

Florida officials have appealed for calm as the trial of a neighbourhood watchman who shot dead an unarmed black teenager enters its final phase.

“Unarmed”. This is “accurate”, but at no time does the report mention the physical altercation between the two. The BBC is once again censoring the most important fact of the case, and it’s important to call them on it. This makes it all the more bizarre for the BBC to then mention further down that both Martin’s and Zimmerman’s mothers said that the screams heard on a recording were their own son’s. Why was anyone screaming? Without the key fact of the fight, this is a non sequitur. Expecting the reader to remember the one mention of the fight from two weeks ago doesn’t work. Just in case anyone might possibly start edging toward an unapproved thought, the BBC makes sure to tell you that Martin’s mother was “absolutely” certain it was Trayvon. Wasn’t Zimmerman’s mother also sure? I guess the BBC thought her opinion was not as relevant because she didn’t qualify it with such a strong word. By elevating one mother over the other, the result is that the BBC guides you once again towards the desired conclusion that Martin was completely innocent, and that Zimmerman was possibly beating the crap out of him before drawing his gun and murdering the lad in cold blood. They reinforce the notion of Zimmerman’s complete guilt by informing everyone that the prosecutor told the jury that Zimmerman killed Martin “because he wanted to”. Again, without the knowledge of the physical contact – especially about Zimmerman’s repeated testimony that Martin was reaching for his (Zimmerman’s) holstered gun – people already inclined to believe the racist Narrative – which the BBC encouraged – will draw the desired conclusion.

It’s entirely possible that the BBC journalists who put this together believe in their hearts that Zimmerman is a racist who killed an innocent boy in cold blood. But that’s no excuse to censor the most important fact of the case, or to emphasize one side’s argument over the other.

In actual fact, the only racist remarks made were by Trayvon Martin to his girlfriend moments before the incident. He referred to  Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker”. This was all over the news after her testimony in the trial, yet the BBC censored it, as they have everything else during the trial. So BBC audiences have no idea about reality, and know only the dishonest Narrative forced on them by BBC journalists. As it became increasingly clear that the racism angle was a non-starter in the trial, Martin’s own family made a public statement that it wasn’t about racism. Yet the BBC kept that from you, and are now wringing their hands over a potential race riot in the event of an acquittal, because, well, that’s been the Narrative from their friends and acquaintances and thought leaders in the US mainstream media, as well as their friends and acquaintances and thought leaders in the far-Left blogosphere.

Just in case anyone doubts where the BBC’s sympathies lie, just look at the one report which mentions the fight. As always, we get the angelic photo of Martin, plus a sympathetic picture of Martin’s mother wiping tears from her eyes. Of course everyone is going to feel sorry for her, feel her pain. It’s still manipulative for the BBC to juxtapose that with the angelic, smiling image instead of the more recent and relevant thug shots. The BBC has also censored the recent news that the judge blocked from the trial a load of texts from Martin about learning to fight, how he could sucker punch somebody, and getting a gun. Again, this might make Martin seem less than angelic, and possibly responsible for his own actions and starting the physical altercation. It might lead the BBC audience to suspect that this wasn’t a cold-blooded racist murder after all, so they left it out. They know about it because even the Guardian made a brief mention.

John Anderson in the open threads has been keeping us apprised of the craziness of this trial, including how even prosecution witnesses end up supporting Zimmerman’s case. A couple of examples here, here. and here. The BBC certainly doesn’t want you to know any of that, and it’s not included in this report, either. So BBC audiences will have absolutely no idea why Zimmerman might be acquitted, if that’s what happens. There’s a reason the prosecution has demanded, and the judge has in one case allowed, that the jury consider lesser charges instead of the one they brought. Their case is a disaster, and they’re desperately trying to get a conviction on something, anything. But BBC audiences don’t know about the reality, so this news of a lesser charge being introduced must seem very curious indeed.

Quite simply, you cannot trust BBC reporting on this story. And it’s because of the personal ideological biases and prejudices of BBC journalists.

That “Conservative” Supreme Court

In the Monday open thread, I called attention to the BBC’s misrepresentation of the US Supreme Court’s vote to overrule an Appeals Court ruling upholding racial preferences in university admissions. The BBC claimed that the Supreme Court has gotten more conservative since 2003, when the Court originally voted to uphold racial preferences, and on which the present case was based. This was a BBC suggestion as to the cause of the ruling.

I called that assessment into question, not only because the vote was 7-1 (with the very Left-wing Kagan recusing herself, as she supported the case in a previous job), with two liberal Justices joining the majority, but because the Court had in 2003 and still has now a liberal majority, 5-4.

The Justices in 2003:

Chief Justice Rehnquist – conservative
Stevens – liberal
O’Connor – conservative
Scalia – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Souter – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Ginsburg – liberal
Breyer – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today’s Court:

Chief Justice Roberts – conservative
Alito – conservative
Kennedy – liberal
Thomas – conservative
Sotomayor – liberal
Ginsburg – liberal
Scalia – conservative
Breyer – liberal
Kagan – liberal

5 liberal – 4 conservative

Today, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred homosexual couples from having certain benefits and rights that heterosexual couples have. Spot the missing President who originally signed the bill into law. Can you guess which political party he was? Can you guess which leading Presidential candidate for 2016 with a close personal connection to him? Blatant bias by omission there. I do hope they add this relevant bit of information as the story “evolves” (i.e. an editor tells them to stop hiding what they already know). (UPDATE: The story has evolved. The BBC now mentions Clinton, although not his party. But they get points for admitting that it had bi-partisan support in Congress. Mark Mardell would have been pleased with their determination to reach across the aisle to get things done.)

This uncomfortable fact was also censored from the BBC’s Q&A on the issue of homosexual marriage. All you’re told is that the law was “passed by Congress” in 1996. Of course, when The Obamessiah signs a bill into law, it’s all about Him doing it. When it’s a law they don’t like, particularly when it’s one signed by a darling Democrat, there’s no President to be seen.

Also, check out how the Justices voted. Exactly along the labels I gave them above. More conservative still?

What’s funny is that this is now the third major ruling in the last year in which the Supreme Court ruled on the liberal side of an issue. They upheld the key portions of ObamaCare, and struck down the key part of Arizona’s “controversial” law about dealing with illegal immigration. Now with this decision, the Left-wing/Progressive faction has victories in the three biggest issues. Yet the BBC describes the Court as becoming more conservative when it returns a decision to the lower court. Note that no law was struck down or upheld specifically by the racial preferences ruling, but rather rejected a lower court’s decision. The law is still in place, yet the BBC decided to plant the notion that the Court had become more conservative, in spite of the evidence.

Now that there’s yet another Left-wing victory, the BBC is not pointing out the liberal majority on the Court, or even daring to remind you of the political party which originally signed the DoMA into law. Is the Court still trending conservative, BBC?

The BBC should simply shut down the entire US division and replace them all with a shaved orangutan managing a news aggregator. You’d be more and better informed, and tens of millions of pounds would be saved.

The BBC And The IRS

The Director of the IRS’s tax-exempt enforcement division, Lois Lerner, has been placed on “administrative leave” after her publicly derided appearance in front of Congress the other day. Reality forces the BBC to report on a story they were quietly avoiding until the story got too big to ignore.

Lois Lerner on administrative leave in US tax scandal

There are some glaring omissions here, as well as the usual partisan bias we’ve come to expect from the BBC’s coverage of US issues. Instead of my usual lengthy and tedious essays parsing every little word, I’m going to try something different. This time I’m simply going to rewrite the piece as if I were an editor, taking the bulk of what’s already been written and adding important things I believe they left out, and making a few changes to remove the partisan bias.

Read the BBC article above, and then read my version. Please compare and contrast, and let me know which version better informs you.
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BBC Omits Most Important Facts About Benghazi And Other Scandals

Last week, the US President had to use a joint press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister to address His domestic troubles regarding the whole Benghazi mess, as well as the growing scandal of political intimidation by the IRS. The BBC helpfully spelled out all the White House talking points while censoring the two most important facts of both stories.

Obama tries to tame political tempests

After briefly outlining the IRS scandal, the BBC says this:

Joseph Grant, who headed the IRS division responsible, announced that he intends to retire next month.

Key detail missing: Grant was promoted to head the division only a couple weeks ago. He was deputy commissioner until then, including while the political intimidation and obstruction was going on. But as far as BBC audiences know, the President has taken decisive action and secured the resignation of a person responsible for the wrongdoing. Why is this an important point? Because the BBC doesn’t want you to know – or simply don’t know themselves, which would be poor journalism – that the person who actually was the head of the tax-exemption division while all this was going on is now in charge of the IRS division which will be enforcing ObamaCare.

Sarah Hall Ingram still has her top job at the IRS, and considering the huge impact ObamaCare is going to have on the country beginning next year, perhaps one of the most important jobs in the country. Her assistant was scapegoated instead, yet the BBC ignores this entirely. As a result, you’re misinformed on two levels. Why is this a big deal? Well, why should we trust someone who oversaw political intimidation and suppression by the IRS to oversee implementation of another policy? The BBC isn’t interested.

After quoting the President’s assurance that He was on the case, the article moves on to Benghazi. Again we get more of the President’s statement, this time the shifting blame to Congress for approving more funding for embassy security, we at least hear a concern raised by Speaker Boehner. Except this isn’t the whole story at all.

What the BBC left out is that the noise about needing more funding for security is irrelevant, a smokescreen. In fact, part of the original fuss was that the State Department had deliberately reduced security there, out of concern for appearances and appeasing local sensitivities about Crusader boots on the ground. Has the BBC forgotten about that? It was brought up during that infamous second presidential debate, when the President took responsibility for it before later passing the buck.

There were State Dept. resignations late last year over their failure to provide adequate security. Nothing whatsoever to do with a lack of funding.

The Benghazi incident appeared likely to tarnish Clinton’s four-year tenure as secretary of state but the report did not fault her specifically and the officials who led the review stopped short of blaming her.

“We did conclude that certain State Department bureau-level senior officials in critical positions of authority and responsibility in Washington demonstrated a lack of leadership and management ability appropriate for senior ranks,” retired Admiral Michael Mullen, one of the leaders of the inquiry, told reporters on Wednesday.

The panel’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said it had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than Clinton’s office.

Yet the BBC leaves all this out and you’re left to focus on the funding issue, which, naturally, shifts blame away from the President and His Administration and makes it into a partisan issue. As usual with the BBC, the President is merely trapped in a world He never made, apparently surrounded by incompetents like a cartoon villain who just can’t get good help these days. If only Congress wasn’t so awful and helped Him fix things, right? Coincidentally, the latest excuse by the IRS is that they weren’t partisan but merely incompetent. But back to the BBC and Benghazi.

The BBC article then goes on to explain what’s probably the biggest aspect of the Benghazi scandal at the moment: the talking points.

The emails show that White House staff requested only minor edits to the so-called talking points about the Benghazi assault, but there were repeated requests from the state department to omit information that might be used to criticise them.

The BBC left out the most important factor of all: there is no mention in any of the versions of the talking points of that stupid video. You know the one: the amateur anti-Mohammed video made by some Egyptian guy living in the US that was initially – dishonestly – blamed for the attack in Benghazi. That’s why everyone is poring over the talking points, not just about how the Administration wanted to suppress information which made their foreign policy look bad.

Here’s the full set of the different versions of the talking points (NB: PDF file). Look for yourselves and see if there’s anything there about the video. The closest anything gets is the original claim that the Benghazi attack was spontaneously inspired by the protests in Cairo, which was only superficially about that video.

I’m sure everyone here remembers that Amb. Susan Rice, Sec. of State Clinton, and the President Himself lied to the public and the victims’ families about the video being the cause. Clinton even assured them at a special gathering that they’d go after the video maker, as if that was all that mattered. No mention of this from the BBC. Their brief mention here is basically the White House version of events, omitting what’s most important.

The BBC then moves on to the third scandal, and possibly the one which actually broke the slavish media defensive wall that has surrounded this President for years, including during His initial candidacy: the Dept. of Justice seizing phone records of journalists at the Associated Press. All this other stuff was generally viewed as mere partisan noise by His enemies, until the gatekeepers themselves got hit.

The BBC gives us the President’s line of defense, that it was a national security issue and of course we shouldn’t spare any effort to keep us all safe. Yet the leak in question was about something that made a statement from the Administration look like a lie, not about classified data that put anyone in harm’s way. No mention of that from the BBC. Oh, and the DoJ also tapped the AP phone line in the press gallery in the House of Representatives, possibly allowing them to gather phone records of conversations with Congressman, which is illegal.

I realize that this was really a BBC summary of the President’s speech, and that they can’t cover everything fully, can’t provide every single detail about each issue. But surely they can mention the most important factors of each, instead of misleading you.

PS: I see the BBC used the photo of the President making a Marine hold an umbrella for Him, as if he was a valet. It’s not the most flattering picture of Him, but there have still been no snarky tweets from Beeboids about how it’s a bad protocol gaffe.

BBC Censorship: The List Just Keeps Growing Edition

Everyone knows by now how the BBC got it wrong on Benghazi. I made a post about how the BBC was censoring news of what really happened on Sept. 13, 2012, two days after the attack. Plenty of people here from then on posted links to stories about it, and we all wondered why the BBC kept ignoring it or simply followed the White House talking points and dismissed those complaining. Now we know why they did this. As Mark Mardell has admitted (h/t DB), he thought it was all just partisan attack nonsense to which he needn’t pay attention.

In the interests of full disclosure I have to say I have not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little.

His very next sentence suggests that he was more convinced by a different spin on the incident, because it came from sources he was more likely to trust.

I remember listening to reports from the BBC and others at the time that did suggest the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a rather puerile anti-Islamic video.

Even though I’m not a journalist, I’ve heard enough from actual Beeboids who used to comment here, as well as from self-proclaimed journalists who’ve made attempts to explain it, not to mention the statements made by Mardell himself and the head of the BBC bureau in the US about how they decide what gets published/broadcast, to know that, no matter how hard everyone tries to be impartial, personal opinion is going to inform decisions on some level, at some point in time. The BBC’s top man in the US has now admitted that his personal opinion of both the sources of the complaints and what he understood of their merits prevented him from taking it seriously. It can’t be much of a stretch to conclude that the BBC in general took the same position. After all, they do tend to follow the lead of their fellow Left-wing journalists in the US.

One has to wonder just how much he knew about the complaints of mistakes regarding embassy security and the cover-up of what the Administration knew and the consequential lies to the victims’ families and the public about it, including lies told by someone at least one Beeboid sees as a global inspiration. Did Mardell simply dismiss it all because it was coming from Republicans, people he’s described on more than one occasion as “enemies” of the President? Not to mention the fact that everyone knew this was going to be a major issue in the campaign to re-elect Him. The BBC doesn’t like to report things which make Him look bad, and are more interested in demonizing opponents than investigating what’s going on. Mardell certainly has form on dismissing any criticism of Him as partisan attacks with little merit.

The day after the attacks, people were posting other news items on the open thread here about what actually happened, and showing what the BBC kept leaving out. It was clear even then that the President and His Administration was not being truthful, pushing the phony story about that video causing it. At the time, Mardell bought it hook, line, and sinker, and even seized on it to take a swipe at Mitt Romney (then the Republican nominee contesting His re-election). The BBC wasn’t interested in reality then, and continued to cover their eyes and ears for months. Defenders of the indefensible love to dismiss things because of the source (Fox News! Fox News!), refusing to even go into the merits of any of it. Yet who’s getting the last laugh now? One has to wonder if Mardell and the BBC similarly dismissed the merits of the stories simply because they didn’t like the source.

The fact that the BBC is only now getting around to admitting all of this and reporting it is revealing of how they prioritize news stories. It was only after the latest round of hearings started and the revelations were spread across the front pages of their preferred news outlets for more than a day that they decided is was newsworthy. The revelations had been out for days before that, and in some cases, weeks and months. Yet the BBC couldn’t be bothered. A simple news aggregator would have kept you better informed, and you could all decide for yourself what had merit and what didn’t. The gatekeepers failed you here.

The BBC has form on censoring deciding stories simply aren’t worth your time, only to be forced by reality to report it much later on, long after everyone here knows all about it. For example:

“Fast & Furious”, where the Administration oversaw guns being sold illegally to people who they knew would sell to Mexican drug cartels, without tracking them, in the hopes of creating a body count on which they could exploit to push for stricter gun laws, and then tried to cover it up.

The President’s mishandling of the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

They censored all kinds of stuff from the Trayvon Martin coverage.

They censored almost all news about the billions sent down the Green Toilet to failed green energy businesses run mostly by Democrat money-bundlers.

They’ve also censored news of all but two gaffes by the President, as it conflicts with the “He’s so suave and cool and far more intelligent than the inarticulate Bush” groupthink. Bush got no such protection, as even the slightest misstep was ridiculed for your benefit.

The BBC even censored a bit out of a speech by the President so it wouldn’t conflict with their Narrative about the budget and one round of debt negotiations.

There’s plenty of other stuff the BBC thought you didn’t need to know. Have a look at this list and judge for yourselves if any of it was newsworthy or not.

The latest major story the BBC has so far kept from you is the admission by the IRS that they’ve been illegally targeting and harassing Tea Party groups and other non-Left organizations. This has apparently been going on for some times, as a top Administration official (at the time) inadvertently mentioned over two years ago that the President’s inner circle had illegal access to tax information of their political opponents. It’s a big deal, but in the interests of keeping this from being yet another of my tediously lengthy posts, I’ll just link to an op-ed from the national newspaper perhaps respected most by the BBC: the Washington Post. Not Fox News, not Breitbart, not Jihadwatch, not Glen Beck. It’s simply not possible for defenders of the indefensible to dismiss this because of the source.

Playing politics with tax records

A BEDROCK principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purpose. The law is blind to political viewpoint, and so are its enforcers, most especially the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Any violation of this principle threatens the trust and the voluntary cooperation of citizens upon which this democracy depends.

So it was appalling to learn Friday that the IRS had improperly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny. It was almost as disturbing that President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew have not personally apologized to the American people and promised a full investigation.

BBC: ZZZZzzzzzzz

With all this in mind, I say again that the BBC has given up being as serious news organization when it comes to US  issues. They may have a titled editor on the scene, and at least 100 employees beavering away at the website and producing those “bespoke” video magazine pieces, but it’s little more than a lightweight content producer these days, with an eye to attracting the MOR and low-information crowd, along with the ad and subscription revenue that comes with their eyeballs. Your license fee hard at work. Sure, most of this is technically paid for by the commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, but there’s plenty of sharing of resources and funding. And after all, this is your official state broadcaster expanding far beyond its original remit.

UPDATE, 5/13: The BBC has now reported it. Because the President spoke out about it, it’s new. He has condemned the actions and promised to deal with it, so all is well.

“I’ve got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it and I will make sure that we find out exactly what happened.”

Like He has with Benghazi, right, BBC?

Questions Begin For Mark Mardell Over Boston

The BBC’s top man in the US, Mark Mardell, has some questions for the FBI in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. And I have some questions for the BBC’s wrongly-titled North America editor.

Questions begin for FBI over Boston

The relief was palpable in a city where 19 April 2013 had been cancelled, paralysed, because of the manhunt for a terrorist.

When the news broke that the second suspect had been caught Boston residents who’d been cooped up under a day-long curfew poured onto the streets whooping with joy.

That raises a question before we even get to Mardell’s questions for the FBI. Why no mention that the only reason the second suspect was found is that the owner of the boat where he was hiding was able to find him only because the lockdown was lifted and he stepped outside for a smoke? Why no question from him as to why the lockdown in the first place? It clearly hindered the goal of finding the suspect, not to mention the ominous overtones of the government forcing citizens to remain indoors not because they were in danger but simply to make things easier for government officials to move around.

Mardell remarked in a previous blog post about how surprising it was to find the entire city shut down like that. But he felt it was necessary, and worried only that people wouldn’t feel safe again until the perpetrator was caught. Not that people got a bad impression from the government ordering them to remain indoors in a situation that wasn’t something immediately threatening to everyone, such as an imminent nuclear attack, but that this made them feel even more scared of the bad guy. The extreme exercise of State power didn’t bother him at all. Why not?

Back to Mardell’s “analysis”:

When President Obama spoke, the normal level of chatter returned and no-one seemed to be paying much attention. But he had something important to say.

Naturally, the President must be brought into the conversation, even if it’s just as a launchpad for the real point Mardell wants to make. Actually, it’s probably more than just his reflexive response to view everything through the prism of Him. Normalcy started to return not when news broke that one suspect had been found and killed while the other was now running scared, but because He spoke to us.

Now, about that point Mardell wants to make. The President asked the rhetorical question of “why did they do it”.

“How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers. The wounded, some of whom now have to learn how to stand and walk and live again, deserve answers.”

The president might be wise to start by asking President Putin. I have no evidence that the “foreign government” asking questions about Tamerlan Tsarnaev was Russia, but that is my strong suspicion.

It’s not His fault, you see. These young men were not radicalized by the Iraq War or Afghanistan, and definitely, no way in hell, never in a million years were they radicalized to murder their neighbors by seeing all those fellow Mohammedans get killed in cold blood – innocent women and children included – by drone bombs under the President’s orders. Nope, they’re Chechens now, not home-grown US terrorists anymore. So of course Putin must bear some responsibility because of that whole Russia/Chechnya scene. I do hope this won’t make any Beeboid start to have second thoughts about the theory that these people are all radicalized by Iraq/Afghanistan/US Foreign policy. To think that there might be some sort of global, pan-Islamist connection regardless of which country is oppressing them is one of the most unapproved thoughts imaginable.

Whoever it was, they warned the FBI that Tamerlan was a strong supporter of radical Islam. The FBI say they investigated, interviewed him, and found no links with terrorism. This is quite remarkable. Let me repeat it. The FBI had been warned that the man who apparently carried out the first terrorist attack on an American city since 9/11 was a strong supporter of radical Islam.

It’s actually not at all remarkable to anyone who follows reality outside the Beltway bubble and far-Left blogosphere. I don’t remember Mardell finding it so remarkable that the US Army knew for some time that Maj. Hasan was going radical and expressing disturbing thoughts. As most people here have known for some time, the FBI purged language about Islamic terrorism from their materials. (Actually, one change to the guidelines made at the same time is right on the money: the bit about how there really is no more international functional Al Qaeda super-group any longer, and it really is a hodge-podge of gangs and cells and freelancers and inspired lone wolves and wannabes.) Aside from that, it shouldn’t be remarkable to anyone who follows reality outside the Beltway bubble and far-Left blogosphere because even the Washington Post reported that Russia told the FBI about Tamerlan.

Why is Mardell being so coy? Why pretend he doesn’t know? Is there some BBC legal eagle keeping him from saying it out loud? Or is he just that far behind the times again? He knows Tamerlan traveled to Russia last year, because his colleagues mention it on the “Chechen links” section of the special feature on the bombers. So it’s silly for him to play this game. Maybe there’s just some legal reason he can’t say it, even though he and his colleagues can speculate all day long about right-wing connections.

People will want to know how far they delved, how hard they tried, how seriously they took the information. Some of the criticism will be unfair, based on hindsight – they must get thousands of such warnings ever year. Or perhaps they are quite rare. That is another question.

No, Mark. The real question is: who gave the order over a year ago to make the FBI turn a blind eye to the specific radical Islam component to these things. And why. One suspects that Mardell won’t be asking any of either his or my questions any time soon. Nor will anyone at the BBC, because that’s not what they do.

One last question for Mardell: Will you and your colleagues finally learn the lesson and not only stop speculating that these attacks are probably from Right-wingers, but also stop speculating that it can’t be connected to radical Islamists? Speculate about everyone or no one.

Double Standards And Leaders

Spot the missing President in this BBC report about the latest violent attacks by Guantanamo Bay inmates on their guards. We hear about the military not being able to decide what to do, as well as Congressional “restrictions” (translation: Congressmen simply don’t want to deal with the ensuing political mess if any of the POWTs are given a civil trial in their constituency), and we hear about how the hunger strike and violence is in protest of the fact that all these people are being held without charge or trial indefinitely. We even learn that one of the reasons the prisoners aren’t being released all over the place is concerns that they might be harmed if they go back home. Isn’t that nice? The other worry, of course, is that many of them go right back to the battlefield, which is the reason POW camps exist in the first place.

But no mention at all of the President of the United States. It’s a glaring omission, not only because He authorized military tribunals to start up again two years ago. After, of course, the fairly messy result of the civilian attempt the year before. Does He bear no responsibility? Another reason this is an unacceptable omission on the BBC’s part is that the President can simply release them all without sending them back to a dangerous homeland (if that is in fact even a real concern for many of them). There is precedent (e.g. the Uighurs, and everyone’s favorite “Briton”, Binyam Mohammed, who was later, after the BBC received complaints from both sides, demoted to “UK/British resident”) and it’s not impossible for someone capable of diplomacy and deal-making.

George Bush actually released, or transferred to custody in other countries, about 500 detainees during the six years he was in office after the establishment of the prison. Human Rights Watch, a trusted source for the BBC, puts the figure at 532. According to this New York Times interactive feature, there were 242 being held when Bush left office. There are currently 166 detainees, which means that the Nobel Peace Laureate-in-Chief, on the other hand, has released or transferred a mere 76 people in five years. His track record is not good, yet the BBC doesn’t even mention Him in the report about them protesting at what is essentially His failure.

Are there serious obstacles to releasing or transferring all of them? Sure. So why can’t the BBC mention that in His defense? It wouldn’t be biased, so long as they didn’t attempt to shift blame away entirely. The article as it stands does that.

Of course, the BBC is well aware of the President’s failure on this issue, which is why they casually put a link in the sidebar to Andrew Marr’s gently critical special report from before the last election. But is that good enough? It is for the BBC.

Barack Obama’s presidency: Why hope shrivelled

Marr covered a lot of ground in his report, but I’ll keep to a couple relevant and timely points. First, the failure on Guantanamo.

Marr did mention that the President’s early promises to shut down the prison failed.

But Obama’s early promises to close Guantanamo Bay and bring about a new era of trust between the US and the Muslim world have turned to dust. He over-promised.

That’s a fair assessment in its own way. Of course, all politicians over-promise on a regular basis, so that’s hardly a scathing critique.  Matt Frei (ex-BBC, former Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America) was still hopeful and positive even a few months after He was elected and it was clear that not everything was going according to plan:

With a flick of a pen he declared the intention to close down Guantanamo Bay. He reached out to staunch enemies like Iran without sounding craven. He began to talk to the Muslim world rather than at it.

Frei and the rest of the BBC just ran with His promise, never questioning whether or not it was possible or wise. Justin Webb even enthused after that video kiss He blew to Iran early on:

The point is that Mr Obama understands that case himself – the case that says: “Come off it, America IS better, and has a decent case to put before the court of world opinion.”

But he also understands that there may be advantages to not making it, indeed to making the opposite case (to the extent that he did in that al Arabiya interview).

In fact, I wonder whether he really disagrees with the Krauthammer position.

George W Bush said what he thought. The new man is capable of sophistry in the matter of confusing his enemies…

(A cynic might ask who really are His enemies….)

At the time, Frei and Webb were the two top Beeboids in the US, the two highly experienced, world-class journalists the BBC expected you to trust. And they got it wrong. But the BBC is aware now. It’s just not really His fault, you see. Which brings me to the timely points which aren’t strictly relevant to the Guantanamo story.

Marr wheels out a couple of major falsehoods in his attempts to shift blame for the President’s failure to achieve absolutely all our dreams. One of them is a canard we hear a lot from the BBC:

It is quite true that in Congress, the Republicans waged a brutal and remorseless campaign to frustrate him.

In actual fact, the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for the first two years of His reign. They rammed through ObamaCare and spending bills without governing by consensus, without reaching across the aisle. The Republicans could do nothing to stop it. Mark Mardell even once referred to that as a “Golden Age”. So it’s absolutely false to claim that Republicans have blocked Him the entire time.Yet it’s so entrenched in the BBC mindset that even the US-born ex-Guardianista Daniel Nasaw peddles the Narrative. No need for a conspiracy or memos or editorial directives for this kind of Corporation-wide groupthink if they all think the same way anyway. The bias occurs naturally. They don’t even realize they’re doing it.

The very next sentence takes it further.

The level of vituperation and abuse Obama took at the hands of insurgent Tea Party activists went far beyond civilised disagreement.

And civilians protesting stopped Him how, exactly? But never mind the how: consider what Marr’s said there. “Far beyond” civilized disagreement? Really? We all know the BBC and the Left-wing media loved to tar the entire movement, millions of people, with the actions of a few. It was all part of the Narrative that there is no legitimate opposition to the President’s policies. In stark contrast, the BBC praised the Occupy Wall St. movement. At no time did they ever focus on the violence and criminal activity, or declare that the movement itself was tainted because of all the vandalism, rapes, deaths (here’s just a small sample, all of which the BBC refused to cover), or even when Occupiers were arrested for trying to blow up a bridge. In fact, the BBC censored the news of the plotters’ Occupy bona fides. None of this even remotely happened with any Tea Party groups or protests. But that clearly hasn’t stopped the BBC from their smear job. Actually, they were doing it from day one. I challenge anyone to demonstrate how the BBC treated the Occupy movement with similar negativity.

In the very first BBC report, Kevin Connolly insulted all of them with a sexual innuendo. Is this civilized, BBC? It hasn’t gotten any better since.

But let’s focus on “civilized disagreement”. Several BBC programmes in fact relish in over-the top stuff. The first incident which comes to mind is Eddie Mair calling Boris Johnson “a nasty piece of work”. Far beyond civilized disagreement, or merely a robust interview? Question Time is usually a good source of ugly statements which go far beyond civilized disagreement. We recently saw a Labour activist call a UKIP candidate a “disgusting” woman. Far worse is the week-long celebration over Margaret Thatcher’s death. Andrew Marr and Mark Mardell and all the rest of the Beeboids can frown and scold and defame the Tea Party movement and its participants, but they have refused to similarly cast the harsh light on opposition to Thatcher. Will the BBC similarly condemn the unions and Labour and apparently the vast majority of Northern England for going far beyond civilized disagreement in their opposition to the Iron Lady? Or is only The Obamessiah deserving of such special protection?

Is making “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead” a chart-topper out of hatred for someone far beyond civilized disagreement? How about if a BBC Digital Media Executive tweets that he’s put it on his playlist? What about burning poppies? What about the violence and vandalism during those “student” protests? What about all the BBC employees who tweeted vicious and vulgar things about Mitt Romney or Republicans or Sarah Palin (see the “In Their Own Tweets” page on this site)? All just the isolated acts of a few, no reason to tar the entire BBC, or all opponents of Thatcher’s policies, or all opponents of UKIP, or all opponents of tuition fees or all opponents of budget cuts? Okay, but then we must also condemn Marr and the rest of the BBC for smearing millions over the acts of a few.

The reason I bring that up is because it’s clear that Marr was trying to shift blame away from the President. While he realized that it was never possible to fulfill all those promises, he doesn’t really blame Him for any of the failures. It’s always someone else’s fault. So even when the BBC links to his report as a subtle way to admit the President has failed on Guantanamo, there’s plenty of blame-shifting to be found both in the Guantanamo article and Marr’s feature.

They just can’t help themselves. But the double standards are clear.

Kim Ghattas Book Reveals Personal Misgivings About US Power

The BBC’s State Department correspondent, Kim Ghattas, has a new book out about Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. A review of it is in the Murdoch-owned (but not tarnished by it) Wall Street Journal, written by their assistant books editor, Sohrab Ahmari. Ahmari came to the WSJ with a legal background, and has co-edited a book of essays from Middle Eastern dissidents entitled “Arab Spring Dreams”. So, much like Ms. Ghattas, he’s sympathetic to the plight of Arabs living under lousy rulers, although he clearly comes from a different direction than Ghattas.

Nowhere Left to Fly To

Hillary Clinton circled the globe 40 times in four years as secretary of state. But what did all this on-the-go diplomacy accomplish?

Clearly Ahmari comes with a not-very-positive perspective on Clinton’s accomplishments as Sec. of State, and was looking for something in Ghattas’ book. But my concern here is what his review says about Ghattas, and what she says about herself.

The material has world-historical heft, yet the treatment rarely carries weight.

Not a good start.

Ghattas clearly enjoys the access that her job entails and deems no detail of life in the State Department press corps too insignificant to share. There are seemingly endless anecdotes about the “chewy chocolate chip cookies” at the air bases that service the secretary of state’s plane; the chicken-salad dinners aboard the plane; the press packets handed out by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing; the “Bulgari hand fresheners” inside the Saudi king’s tent. Did you know that one time Mrs. Clinton’s plane almost took off without “Arshad Mohammed from Reuters, who had overslept”?

Unfortunately rather shallow, it seems, and more about Ghattas’ job than about Clinton’s. But this comes as no surprise at all to those who have been watching her output for the BBC since 2008. Ghattas never hesitated to gush over Michelle Obama’s dresses or fawn over other superficial things. But that’s not the important bit. It begins here:

Ms. Ghattas adds to this banal reportage her reflections on the meaning and purpose of America’s superpower status.

As a globetrotting, experienced professional journalist, her insights here might be of value, no? Well….

The author, who is of Dutch-Lebanese origin and who grew up in Beirut in the 1980s during Lebanon’s civil war, says that she wrote the book in part to “come to terms with my personal misgivings about American power.”

Personal misgivings?

Her pro-Western family was dismayed when, in 1984, the Reagan administration, having resolved to stop Lebanon’s sectarian bloodletting, withdrew American forces in the wake of Hezbollah’s terror campaign against peacekeepers. Her own political awakening came as a teenager in 1990, when President George H.W. Bush greenlighted Syrian domination of Lebanon in return for Hafez al-Assad’s participation in the first Gulf War against Iraq.

In other words, the BBC chose somebody with a personal grudge against the very country she’s supposed to report on impartially. Just like they keep Jeremy Bowen, who has a personal grudge against Israel, as their Middle East editor, and sent someone full of hope and enthusiasm and the starry-eyed wonder of a small child to become the North America editor – Mark Mardell – to report on their beloved Obamessiah (even the jaded pros at DigitalSpy saw his worship for what it was early on). Or just like how they hired an Obamessiah campaigner to produce digital media material and other reports on the US, based in part on the strength of the video he made about his cross-country trip to get the vote out for Him (Matt Danzico, who continued to run a website for a while to “keep tabs” on the President from a Left-wing perspective, while working for the BBC). Or how they have an extreme Left-wing ideologue as the economics editor for Newsnight. Or, well, you get the idea.

Is Ghattas entitled to her opinion? Of course. Are her concerns about how the US uses its power valid? Irrelevant, even if these are issues genuinely worth examining and debating, because it clearly affects how she approaches her job either way. Is it right to have someone who is wrestling with what is really a personal animosity towards a country as the reporter for that country’s foreign policy activities? No.

Before any defenders of the indefensible get itchy fingers and start telling me I just want somebody who is partisan the other way, and will report only things I want to hear, let me just say that I actually want someone who does not come in with a connection or visceral bias one way or the other. Surely there must be someone the BBC could have brought in that doesn’t have such a deep personal issue like this.

The WSJ review also wonders about Ghattas’ usefulness, but from a different angle.

The lesson of these experiences—that America’s friends pay a steep price when the indispensable nation fails to engage morally—isn’t lost on Ms. Ghattas.

I bet it isn’t. All the  more reason why somebody with such an intimate issue shouldn’t be given the job.

Yet it rarely impels her to question Mrs. Clinton’s lukewarm, often cynical, responses to the plight of dissidents and democrats from Iran to Russia to East Asia.

Yes, Ahmari is not a fan of Hillary, and was hoping for at least some criticism of her performance from a supposedly impartial, highly-experienced professional journalist.

Ms. Ghattas takes it for granted that “the world had become allergic to U.S. leadership by the end of the Bush administration” and that, therefore, Mrs. Clinton’s job was to “restore America’s lost face in the world.” Such assumptions lead her to frame age-old wisdom as the revolutionary innovations of the Obama administration. “In the twenty-first century America could no longer walk into a room and make demands; it had to build connections first,” she writes at one point—as if the notion would have shocked, say, Dean Acheson or Thomas Jefferson.

And there you have it. Ghattas came to the job with negative opinions. So even somebody on Ghattas’ side about how the US had negatively affected her fellow Arabs sees the blind worship of The Obamessiah for what it is.

Yet Ghattas has been the voice the BBC expects you to trust most about US foreign policy. Your license fee hard at work, paying people with personal grudges and emotion-based opinions to tell you what’s going on in the world.

 

 

Mardell Tells A White House Lie

Yes, I say “lie”. Mark Mardell is lying. I say he’s lying and not merely reporting something when he’s misinformed, or making a claim based on false information for which he’s not responsible. I’m saying Mardell is lying because he knows what he’s saying is not true.

The BBC’s US President editor continues pushing the White House talking points about the “Sequester” budget cuts on Today, and here’s a link to the printed version.

Sequester budget cuts: America’s grim fairy tale

It’s more or less the same biased stuff he produced the other day, which I wrote about here. This time, though, instead of avoiding telling you who really came up with the Sequester plan, Mardell just openly lies about it.

Many Republicans say the idea for the “sequester” budget cuts was President Obama’s in the first place. The White House rejects that.

Whoever came up with the idea, the 2011 law meant failure to agree would cut both cherished Democratic programmes that helped the poor and defence spending beloved of Republicans.

There’s even a bit of bias in the last line there, which I’ll get to in a moment. First, to expose the lie.

It’s not just Republicans saying it. By phrasing it that way, Mardell leads you to believe that it’s a matter of opinion. In fact, as I showed in my previous post on Mardell’s spin, the White House has admitted that it was the President’s offer. I’ll just reprint the quote from CNBC (not Fox News, not Breitbart) about it, to save defenders of the indefensible the pain of having to read another post of mine:

Woodward documents in his 2012 book The Price of Politics that team Obama first proposed the idea of the sequester. Expanding on his work in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, he noted—as he has before—that both President Obama and his would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew lied on the campaign trail by saying the sequester originated with House Republicans. The White House has now ceded that fact.

“Fact”. Not good enough for you? Forbes says it was His idea. The Washington Post, which Mardell reads regularly, gives His claim Four Pinocchios, and provides evidence to back up the fact that it was His idea. Even Politifact rates the President’s claim that the cuts was Congress’s idea as “mostly false”Politico, which Mardell reads regularly, almost admitted it, but they couldn’t quite bring themselves to hurt Him and so framed it in an amusingly contorted bit of spin that would make Helen Boaden proud:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to give Obama the authority…

Then there’s this bit from a different Washington Post article (not Fox News, not Breitbart):

Last year, the House passed two bills that would have stopped the sequester and replaced some of the spending cuts with others. But the White House said the magnitude of the cuts was unacceptable and would imperil critical government programs.

Anyone who gets their information on US issues from the BBC will be very aware of which Party runs the House. The President could have prevented this, but chose not to. Curiously, Mardell chose not to tell you about it.

If none of this is good enough for you, here’s White House spokesman Jay Carney, personal friend of BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America Katty Kay, saying, “the sequester was one of the ideas yes put forward, yes, by the president’s team.”

In other words, Mardell knows exactly who started this, exactly whose idea the sequestered cuts are, and exactly what he’s doing when he misleads you. Blame must always be shifted from The Obamessiah. Trapped in a world He never made, it’s not His fault, you see.

Almost forgot about the bias in that sentence about which cuts supposedly hurt whom. Consider the pantomime caricatures Mardell uses: the Democrats want to help the poor, while it’s the war machine that’s so beloved by the Republicans. Can you tell where you’re meant to boo and hiss, and where you’re meant to cheer? I guess that makes Mardell the pantomime dame, although that’s probably an insult to the integrity of pantomime dames everywhere.

In case you didn’t come away from all this “journalism” with the idea that the cuts supposedly forced on Him by evil Republicans would be a catastrophe for the country (another White House talking point which is going to turn out not so true) and, by extension, the UK and the world (which is why it gets promoted on Today), the BBC’s US President editor ends with this bit of dramatic prose:

There is seemingly no end to this toxic tale of cruel dismemberment and government by crisis.

Emotive terms, value judgment, full stop. Notice whom he’s criticizing, and who gets a free pass. This is an editorial, an opinion piece, not journalism. Don’t trust him or the BBC on US issues.This is your license fee hard at work.

PS: I realize most people here don’t really care much about the US or much foreign stuff at all, and are mostly – and quite rightly – concerned with the BBC’s bias on domestic issues. All I can say is that you should be concerned that the BBC spreads poison elsewhere at your expense, and that they’ve clearly gone far beyond their remit of providing public service broadcasting and are actually dedicated to expanding the BBC’s tentacles across the globe purely because they can. The BBC exists now for itself, and not for you. It’s also a relentless drive for more revenue, something else that’s not supposed to be part of the BBC’s reason for existence. The BBC does this stuff in your name, and the BBC bias is everywhere, across the spectrum of broadcasting, all over the world.

BBC Spins For The White House Again

I’m sure by now everyone knows about the looming swinging budget cuts that will happen automatically if no new budget deal is reached between the Republicans and the President. This is known as the “sequester”, and is the result of them kicking the can down the road a while back.

The BBC reports that the President doesn’t want this to happen, thinks it’s a bad idea, and has called on Democrat Governors to try and influence the elected Representatives and/or Senators in their States to cave compromise.

He warned the $85bn (£56bn) cuts would put thousands of teachers out of work and bring economic uncertainty.

The president has called on Congress to pass revenue rises and narrow budget cuts to avoid the automatic reductions.

The Democratic president will travel to Virginia on Tuesday to discuss the cuts’ impact on the defence industry.

“These cuts do not have to happen,” Mr Obama told a bipartisan assembly of governors at the White House on Monday. “Congress can turn them off any time with just a little bit of compromise.”

“Revenue rises”. Typical partisan language there. The Republicans refer to it as “tax rises”, of course, and the BBC uses instead the Left-wing terminology. Is the President offering to compromise as well? Don’t be silly. He doesn’t, and shouldn’t have to. According to Mark Mardell, when Congress is controlled by Democrats who don’t need to negotiate with Republicans to pass His plans, it’s a Golden Age.

Unsurprisingly, there’s another point of view that these cuts won’t really do much damage at all. In fact, spending will actually continue to rise and rise. The “cuts” just mean that the spending will rise slightly less than it would have otherwise. Does that sound familiar? Even Forbes admits this. Equally unsurprising is the fact that, not only does the BBC refuse to acknowledge this, but they even manage to quote a cuddly Republican, Sen. McCain, who says he doesn’t totally blame the President and is hoping for a compromise to protect the defense industry.

The BBC dutifully informs you that both sides of the aisle will try to blame each other. So, whose fault is this, really? The BBC reports it this way:

The budget cuts, known in Washington DC as the sequester, were devised in 2011 as an intentionally painful cudgel to encourage Democrats and Republicans in Congress to strike a deal to reduce the US budget deficit.

Note the passive voice, as if the cuts materialized out of thin air during some bi-partisan discussions. In actual fact, it was the President’s idea. He and the White House have been lying about it, and the BBC plays along like the good little propaganda organ it is.

Even the sainted Bob Woodward says so.

Woodward documents in his 2012 book The Price of Politics that team Obama first proposed the idea of the sequester. Expanding on his work in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, he noted—as he has before—that both President Obama and his would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew lied on the campaign trail by saying the sequester originated with House Republicans. The White House has now ceded that fact.

The BBC doesn’t want you to know this, so they spin for the White House and deliberately mislead you. Defenders of the indefensible cannot impugn Woodward here. After all, not only is the above not from Fox News or Breitbart, but a previous book on the President by Woodward was lauded by the former BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America, Matt Frei. A diehard Obamessiah worshiper himself, Frei’s only concern then was that all the fascinating issues in the book might get in the way of the reader appreciating “the nuance of his finely-tuned brain”.

The cuts probably won’t be a big deal at all, and in fact will be considered a good start in some circles. The possibility of this is so great that Democrats and their lobbyists are worried about what might happen if there is no disaster. That’s in the Washington Post, not Fox News, not Breitbart. So the President has to do as much fear-mongering as possible, and work behind the scenes (i.e. get the Democrat Governors to do political cuts in the manner of Labour councils in Britain) to ensure as bad an outcome as possible. Is the BBC providing any analysis from this angle? Of course not. He can do no wrong. It’s not His fault, you see. And in any case, cutting government spending is a sin.

Your license fee hard at work, providing a propaganda outlet for the leader of a foreign country.

Playing Games With Guns

The BBC rushed to report the other day about the newly-released video game from the NRA, which encourages children to learn about target shooting.

National Rifle Association launches shooting game for mobiles

One can tell the perspective of the Beeboid who wrote this up right away from the opening lines. They tell you that the game has been approved for children as young as four right up front, as opposed to mentioning it later on after explaining what the game actually is, and the NRA’s goals for it, figuring this provides maximum shock value. It’s more important, apparently, than the fact that the NRA joined the chorus of those condemning violent video games. Which the BBC censored from the report even though they spent nearly half of it discussing the issue of violent video games. It’s the whole reason the NRA created the game in the first place. I mean, the BBC could have at least used this as an opportunity for an irony alert, right?

Oh, and this isn’t actually a new game rushed out in response to the tragedy of Sandy Hook, either. This is only a mobile/tablet app game, and is basically another version of a game the NRA put out for consoles and PC in 2006. I won’t say the BBC censored this information because I’m pretty sure they didn’t even know about it, and didn’t bother to do any research other than reading the Left-wing blogs and news reports where they usually get their ideas on how to report US issues.

The promotional blurb for the original game pretty much sums up the NRA’s reasoning for the new version:

Join the National Rifle Association for a different take on the first-person shooter. Members of the NRA gun club will wield more than 100 firearms, ranging from consumer guns to specialty and military firearms. But the difference is they’ll use ’em without any blood or violence.

The BBC left out the part where the whole point of this is to separate violence and killing from learning respect for the tools. That’s because the BBC sees this as a horrible brainwashing technique to encourage children to love guns. Two different perspectives, you say? Well, yes. That’s the point. The BBC is reporting from one perspective, and doesn’t allow other viewpoints to interfere with their angle. They even leave out key context which may distract from the story they want to tell. The fact that I don’t like the perspective they’re reporting is beside the point if they don’t provide balance. I want them to feature both sides, not just one. It’s a point lost on defenders of the indefensible (or they simply refuse to accept it), but I’m stating it nevertheless.

Interesting side note: the original game was rated “E-10” (everyone over age 10) by the industry’s rating board, while the current game was given the “4+” rating – by Apple. It’s an Apple app at the moment, not a regular video game release, so the ESRB isn’t involved. The BBC’s darling Apple says this is good for the kiddies, not the NRA. Instead of directing your hatred towards the NRA, you might instead want to condemn Apple for selling such a thing. The BBC doesn’t want to distract you from their agenda, though, so they leave out more key background context.

Personally, I don’t accept that games cause violence. There have been plenty of studies done over the years, and as a long-time gamer myself, I’ve never seen any evidence of it, either. Other than WWII games where there’s no choice, I prefer my violent video games to involve killing aliens, mutants, or zombies, but that’s just me. The NRA is just trying to find another excuse besides blaming guns for these mass murderers. But that doesn’t make it right for the BBC to censor key context, nor does it mean it’s okay for the BBC to report from only a single perspective. It may very well be mainstream British opinion on gun control, but then it’s biased reporting. If you want your opinion reflected in the BBC’s reporting, then fine. Just don’t claim the BBC is impartial and balanced.

Half the news brief is taken up with the defense of video games in general. One might interpret this as defending the NRA’s game. It’s really just part of the whole debate about government control over people’s behavior. VP Biden tried to put pressure on the video game industry, so the voices the BBC provides in defense of the industry concern that part of the story, and are not meant to be interpreted as the BBC providing a line of defense for the NRA’s game. In fact, the inclusion of the debate about violent video games can actually be seen as more evidence of opposition to it.

Both the original game and this new app are non-violent. No living thing is harmed, or even remotely threatened. It’s all target shooting – inanimate objects. The whole deal of violent video games is about actual physical violence against other living (or undead) things, not sterile target practice. I mean, as far as I can tell, the NRA game doesn’t even have human-shaped targets like some real-life ranges do. It’s no more violent than the archery target-shooting game in the Wii Sports package that little kids play. By following the brief, not quite whole, story of the game’s release with the noise about violent video games, the BBC is framing the game in the context of violence. The Beeboid who wrote this up sees it as violence. Again, that’s a perspective informed by their personal opinion on guns.

This is just one in a series of BBC reports on the gun control issue, and the bias is only going to get worse from here.

Katty Kay’s Hypocrisy and Dedication to the President

This is too good to pass up. In the open thread, I called attention to a tweet from the anchor of BBC World News America, Katty Kay, where she actually criticized the President for having too many white men in His cabinet.

 

That was yesterday. Today, Katty was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, co-hosted by former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough (who went native after a while, sort of like Nick Robinson, but has been straying off the reservation for some time now) and Leftoid hack Mika Brzezinski. Now that she’s on national television, the highest- profile Beeboid in the US is dutifully defending the President against charges of sexism. Her contribution is right at the start of this video clip, then she rejoins the discussion after about 5:30 in. Notice the anger she displays. (Here’s a link in case the embedded clip doesn’t work for you.) Impartial or what?

Sure, the Morning Joe producers obviously asked Katty to speak up for the President in the debate, just like any producer would be trying to get a guest to take a stance on the issue of the day. That’s why she was brought in: to give an opinion. But what a joke. Yesterday, she was criticizing the President, today she defends Him. And what a defense: Last term, the President had women in high places, so it doesn’t matter if it’s back to an old boys’ network now. Classic.

Katty Kay: hypocrite, partisan hack, your national broadcaster’s representative in the US. Is she in violation of the BBC guidelines? Judge for yourselves (NB: Katty is technically one of those pay-my-corporation “freelancers”):

Public Speaking and Other Public Appearances

15.4.13

It is important that no public speaking commitments or other public appearances are seen to undermine the objectivity or integrity of the BBC or its content, or suggest BBC endorsement of a third party organisation, product, service or campaign.

Although freelance presenters of BBC programmes may gain a proportion of their non-BBC income from off-air public appearances, they must guard against appearances which undermine their on-air role. They should not allow the use of the BBC’s name or brands in connection with advertising for a public appearance. There should be no suggestion of a BBC connection or endorsement of the third party event or organisation, unless it is editorially appropriate and has been approved by the relevant head of department.

News and Current Affairs Staff, Global News and News Staff in the Nations

15.4.15

BBC News and Current affairs staff, BBC correspondents on non-staff contracts and freelances known primarily as presenters or reporters on BBC news and current affairs programmes, must remain impartial when speaking publicly or taking part in similar events, such as a public discussion or debate. They must not promote any political party, campaigning organisation or lobby group. They should not chair conferences which are a promotional exercise for a commercial company, that supports any political parties, or is one-sided on a matter of public policy, political or industrial controversy or any other ‘controversial subject’.

And Now For Your Moment Of Schadenfreude

Posted without comment, because, well, just click on the link and watch the video.

Video: Secret gun-rights provision in ObamaCare?

Yes, the link is to the Right-wing Hot Air, but the actual video is from CNN. Not Fox News, not Breitbart.

(Link fixed now, sorry.)

Ed Morrisey explains:

By golly, Nancy Pelosi was right — they didn’t know what was in ObamaCare until it passed! Of course, in this case all she needed to do was ask her buddy Harry Reid, who apparently sandbagged his party’s gun-control wing by inserting an interesting clause in the 2800-page bill that no one in Congress bothered to read before voting on it. CNN’s Jim Acosta reveals the restriction on firearms-registration data collection built into the 2010 law.

The reason Reid inserted this clause, CNN reports without ever having actually talked to Reid (he declined comment), was to make the NRA “benign” in the ObamaCare fight — and to push back against “conspiracy theorists” who claimed that the bill would allow Barack Obama to start grabbing guns. Hey, that would never happen, right? Sure.

Oops. Please post comments about anything you see or hear from the BBC on this story.