When has it become the BBC’s mission to spread innuendo and conspiracy theories?

That was the first line of an email from a reader. He or she then directed me to this:

“Why did US base escape tsunami?”

After outlining a current conspiracy theory about the tsunami mysteriously sparing the US base in Diego Garcia, the BBC article says:

Is America a power for good or ill in the world? Was there a malign hand at work, or has America’s role in the crisis in fact been a model of humanitarian leadership.

Let us know what you think. Is this just anti-US sentiment on the web or something more worrying?

You can read and send us your views from this page.

Contemptible. And now a public service announcement: have you remembered to pay your licence fee? This webpage will enable you to give Β£121 to the BBC, as you are legally obliged to do, with the minimum of inconvenience. Avoid any unpleasantness by paying now. Remember that the BBC relies on its “unique system of funding” in order to fulfil its vision of becoming “the most creative, trusted organisation in the world.” Come to think of it, why not pay twice? Then perhaps the the BBC might favour us with yet more internet conspiracy theories presented as neutral topics for discussion. I don’t think we’ve had the 4,000 Israelis or Operation Monarch yet.

The published comments were a mixture. There were some sceptical voices, but the usual run of earnest semi-literate cultists also jumped in. David Moore asks:

“Could it have been an attempt by the Neo-Conservative Christian Right to let set off an atom bomb, in order, to open the gates of hell and put out the flames with the water.”

Own up. Which one of you was it?

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124 Responses to When has it become the BBC’s mission to spread innuendo and conspiracy theories?

  1. Andrew Paterson says:

    Do they ever grovel on that webpage? Are we treated to a negative ‘editorial’ from the Newswatch team?

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  2. Sigivald says:

    FYI, here’s a nice writeup of exactly why Diego Garcia escaped unharmed.

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  3. dan says:

    Re Anonymous – “”BBC defends Tsunami coverage”

    As Anonymous says, BBC’s whinge at ” Dismal anonymous sources” is particularly sweet.

    Also noted in the piece “We were castigated during the Iraq War for falling significantly behind Sky News on a major story.”

    Not “behind”, in reality the BBC were castigated for DENYING that US forces had reached Baghdad, even while we watched the pictures of the advance on Sky News.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I really think you guys are being unkind to the BBC.

    Laura is right – the BBC is perfect

    /sarcasm off

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  5. Richard says:

    OT

    Ever thought of joining a trade union?

    Well it’s pretty clear from this gushing piece that seems to have been written by the press officer at the TUC that you should. It also looks like Britain should introduce the Working Time Directive.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4149835.stm

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  6. Andrew Bowman says:

    Dear All, Laura is a friend of Biased BBC’s good friend Hannah Bayman – please be pleasant, welcoming and understanding of her while she acclimatises.

    Laura (and Stu) have both appeared here at my invitation – Comrade Michael Gill of these parts rattled the bars over at Hannah’s Blog the other day, and, I must confess, so did I a couple of days ago in the comments on Hannah’s post of December 22nd – Hannah’s blog is here (no direct link to the post is available).

    Sadly Hannah refers to our past posts on her record of leftie causes and outpourings (all of which were publicly available on the net) as “inaccurate and negative stuff on a right-wing blog” and goes on to suggest that this is “an anti-BBC blog”. Far from it – I don’t think we’ve said anything inaccurate about Hannah – negative maybe – but noting public records of Hannah’s political peccadilloes is surely reasonable, assuming those sources are accurate (Hannah has n

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  7. Andrew Bowman says:

    …never emailed to suggest otherwise).

    Nor are we anti-BBC – our cause is BBC bias – a malevolent, PC, right-on cultural force that unaccountably moulds and shapes our national debate, for the worse, rather than merely informing that debate.

    Anyway, welcome Laura, I hope we give you some stimulating discussion and food for thought!

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  8. cockney says:

    Richard,

    It does look a bit one sided in the absence of a response from the CBI or similar, however pretty much the same article was in the FT yesterday without comment from the ‘other side’ – presumably they’re still putting something together (or choosing to ignore it).

    The big cock up in the article is that it is apparantly ‘ironic’ that UK productivity is low but working hours are high, whereas of course it’s precisely due to low productivity that UK firms need their staff to work longer to keep profit up. What this should lead to is an in depth analysis of why British productivity is so low in the first place (at least in part an opportunity for the BBC to rant against British business one would have thought). What it actually leads to is a flippant remark and a full stop.

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  9. Hannah Bayman says:

    Hmm, I’ve posted about 20 times on why your Aldermaston post and ensuing comments were nonsense. It’s a good job I’m so patient. πŸ˜‰

    The problem isn’t you pulling together a few random petitions and other bits from Google – much of it years old – it’s that with a tremendous leap of prejudice you use it to call into question my honesty and integrity as a journalist.

    The BBC would never be able to do this to somebody on such shaky grounds and I wouldn’t on my blog, partly because I’m nice but also because of the libel laws.

    Say as many times as you like that you disagree with the Aldermaston marchers, or the tone of the coverage, or amount of the coverage, or whatever. But blame to it on me in the way you did is both inaccurate and dodgy.

    It also misses YOUR point, because I’m not the one in charge. Almost everything brodcast journalists write is decided by someone else and everything is edited by two or even three people.

    Same goes for the George Bush post – it’

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  10. Hannah Bayman says:

    ‘s surely irrelevant to what you are trying to prove, isn’t it?

    I still can’t believe that you led with my blogette all election day. The coverage on the real BBC couldn’t have been that biased.com then could it? πŸ˜‰

    Anyway, as I said eons ago, why don’t you guys organise your own Aldermaston march? If you did, I can assure you, you’d get full coverage on all outlets.

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  11. Laban Tall says:

    Off topic – the BBC stealth editors strike again.

    Yesterdays report on the stabbing of a pregnant woman in Hull was headlined ‘Murdered woman’s babies also died’.

    Some pro-choice editor must have spotted this faux pas – an unborn child is of course a foetus. This morning the headline and first paragraph has removed any mention of the emotive word ‘baby’.

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  12. Andrew Paterson says:

    Hannah, what’s your opinion on this absurd Diego Garcia story?

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  13. ed says:

    (to respond to Laura’s point about exhaustive coverage)

    I watched much of the BBC’s coverage on BBCWorld and it was far poorer than CNN and Sky. Really. Definitively. Poorer. Sky was easily the best, giving plenty of on-the-ground coverage, scientific analysis from real scientists in realtime, and, above all, a passionate interest in the numbers of casualties and the seriousness of the situation likely to arise from the tsunami. The BBC was nowhere- and despite my views on the BBC that shocked me.

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  14. Monkey says:

    The difference is that Sky correspondents are experts in their respective fields.

    eg During the Iraq war, who actually had more of a clue about what was actually going on?

    1) Skies Spekky techno geek Francis Tusa (who could instantly name every single plane, it’s range, it’s probable targets, and the weapons it was carrying) and his buddy, foriegn affairs expert and ‘eye spy’ magazine collumnist Tim Marshall?

    2) Wooly old liberal John Simpson and Ragi Omar?

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  15. JH says:

    Sky also realise that they have to display excellence to survive in a competitive marketplace. The Beeb however, inured from the laws of the market by its state funding is free to please itself and the tastes and values of those who work there.

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  16. David says:

    OFF MESSAGE:

    But why is no one asking some serious questions about the sudden doubling in the UK Tsunami death toll?

    How could it have gone up from an estimate of 199 to this current figure. If I recall rightly we were told before there was a confirmed total of 49 or thereabouts and the rest of the 199 were made up of missing yet to be confirmed. That estimate was given about a week after the Tsunami, so the figures for persons notified to the FO as being missing shoudl have been accurate by then. I don’t believe they suddenly had another 200 plus notified after that.

    Could the explanation lie in TB’s unexpected lethargy? Had it emerged a week ago that the figure was over 400 he would have been in a v. difficult position.

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  17. Andrew says:

    I’d probably better categorically deny planting that comment on the Beeb website. I haven’t played any Moonbat Bingo in a while, so I might have to start up again when I’ve got some time to kill. With blanket coverage of the tsunami though, there aren’t many stories out there to pillory at the moment. Whoever got that Diego Garcia one on was a genius though – just the right level of poor grammar, confused rambling, and insane adherence to ideology to sail right beneath the BBC censor’s radar.

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  18. JH says:

    OT

    Surprised the Kirsty Wark story hasn’t received some comment on this blog – Or is this a case of objective coverage of a bias -related issue?

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  19. Laura says:

    Okay, I’ve checked out the term moonbat, but what is moonbat bingo, I’m confused.

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  20. Rob Read says:

    Laura,
    The BBC (dont) Have Your Say team won’t post right wing comments. So we have a little game whereby we post the most OTT lefty buzzword filled, conspiracy mad, chompskiing on the bit, lunatic post we can, and see if we can get it posted. More often than not it gets posted.

    This is Moonbat bingo.

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  21. cockney says:

    Moonback bingo consists of posting ridicuous comments onto websites in order to tempt nutters into agreeing with you.

    For example, try posting a comment on this site regarding the prospects of the UK becoming an Islamic state by Christmas and see what happens….

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  22. Monkey says:

    Christmas 2080?

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  23. Andrew says:

    Yeah, Moonbat Bingo because the more lefty buzzwords or memes you get, the better. So blame the US for virtually any problem, appeal to the UN, despair at the lack of support for the EU constitution, throw in a remark about the bias of the Murdoch press, and sprinkle a selection of lefty catchphrases, like climate change, globalisation, or imperialist. The Beeb gobble it up like so much Christmas turkey.

    Sorry, that should be ‘Winterval seasonal meal.’

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  24. cockney says:

    I personally blame the US for Pedro Mendes’ disallowed ‘winner’ at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

    There’s too many coincidences – impending Man U investment by a wealthy US businessman, the importance of Man U success to Sky (prop. R Murdoch – US citizen)viewing figures, the failure of the US to supply ‘ball crossing the line’ technology, Spurs having a Muslim defender….

    I implore the UN to step in and award the game to Spurs.

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  25. Andrew Bowman says:

    JH: “Surprised the Kirsty Wark story hasn’t received some comment on this blog – Or is this a case of objective coverage of a bias -related issue?”

    Hi JH, I have something in mind re. this topic, and have been meaning to write it up for a few days – will try to do so over the weekend. Watch this space – and thank you for your interest!

    Andrew.

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  26. Pete _ London says:

    cockney

    Being a gooner all I can say is … hee hee hee …

    You cannot be serious about the ball being over the line. Never in a million years. Here’s the proof:

    http://www.stephenpollard.net/001965.html

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  27. LaurenceL says:

    Moores’s comments quoted in context include – “That’s the sort of weird dream I had the night before the earthquake” Well I had a dream the other night…….

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  28. Susan says:

    Cockney actually made a funny. Folks, this is a historical moment.

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  29. Susan says:

    Looks like the Beeb-Guardian-Independent set will no longer be able to make political hay out of the Damiola Taylor murder. To their unending chagrin, no doubt, the prime suspect isn’t a white native Brit but a Muslim:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/4153461.stm

    I predict that the sad case of the Damiola Taylor murder has just been demoted from page 1 status to 3rd column, 2-paragraph, page 26 fodder.

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  30. Laura says:

    Not true, conspiracy-theory person.
    Cut and paste this link and you will see that it is the second top story and earlier today it was top.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/default.stm

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  31. Laura says:

    And as for the Have Your Say pages, I have seen alot of very right-wing posts, especially on women’s issues.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    The BBC has announced it will ignore those parts of public opinion incensed by its screening of the Springer Opera which will go ahead as planned.

    If only we could treat this as a victory for freedom of expression although I for one have no desire to hear the “F” word several hundred times and the other word which good taste demands should not even be abbreviated. Nor do |i wish to see Jeusus in a nappy.

    Instead we all know the BBC is no champion of fredom of speech. All it cares about is its own two faced hypocritical weltanschaung.

    I think though that the BBC will come to regret this.

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  33. Andrew Paterson says:

    Laura, care to comment on just how a crazy (and I mean unqualifiably crazy) left-wing conspiracy theory of this topic even remotely made it onto the ‘fair and impartial’ BBC webpage?

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  34. Pete _ London says:

    Laura

    You vindicate Susan. Earlier today the Damilola Taylor story was on the main front page. Now its not even the main story on the ‘England’ page. Of course, if the one named accused were white and not asian the left would be all over it.

    Also, what exactly constitutes a ‘very right wing’ opinion regarding ‘women’s issues’?

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  35. Laura says:

    I just think they are reporting something people are emailing/blogging about, not saying it is true, but allowing readers to comment.

    but what about THIS story about Diego Garcia?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/3977853.stm

    I think this is absolutely disgusting and don’t understand how the US/UK can get away with it. Now that makes ME angry.

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  36. Pete _ London says:

    Laura

    I’m not sure what your first sentence is referring to there. Are you answering my question?

    Re. Diego Garcia, either the protestors aren’t making their point clear or the writer of the piece has been sloppy; do they want housing or a return to the island? If they want housing then let them pay for it. How bloody novel?! Frankly, my advice to them would be to ditch the British passports and claim asylum. Seem s to work for many others.

    If they want a return the the island it just won’t happen. Excuse me for being dim but I just don’t see why you have pointed it out, apart from having a gratuitous swipe at those evil Yanks and their lickspittle Brit poodles, of course.

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  37. Susan says:

    The Beeb-Guardian-Indy will be forced to report the latest developments in the Taylor case, of course, because of the huge amount of publicity they gave it at the outset. But after that, it’s syanara time for poor Damiola Taylor. His suspected killer turned out to be the wrong color, so he’s toast. It’s almost amusing to watch the Beeb et. al squirm when they get themselves into these types of predicaments. But that’s what happens when you decide that some animals are more equal than others.

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  38. David H says:

    Laura – The plight of the Diego Garcians is indeed tragic and unjust, but the subject in hand is the BBC’s assumption that their viewers want nothing more than the opportunity to indulge in a bit of yank bashing. Because the BBC news department is staffed with a load of Guardian reading, anti-American leftists they assume that everyone else shares the same viewpoint as them. It’s this sort of nonsense which makes me glad that I don’t pay my licence fee.

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  39. Susan says:

    Actually Pete, the Diego Garcia base’s lease is due to expire in a few years and the islanders are already making plans for what to do with it. (They’ll inherit of course all of the modern improvements that the US made to the island gratis.)

    Also they are not natives but the descendents of colonial workers who were imported to work plantations during British colonial days. The Brits have just as much right to the island as the “islanders” as it was uninhabited before colonial times.

    I found out all of this while researching the “Diego Garcia Internet rumors” yesterday.

    Laura is just deploying the time-honored lefty tactic of changing the subject when uncomfortable questions are asked about the actions of the “impartial” and “fair” BBC.

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  40. Laura says:

    Pete, yes the first sentence was in answer to your question, which I took in good faith. That is my opinion.

    Re, right wing on women’s issues in Have Your Say, here is an example:

    I don’t really understand the meaning of being married if my wife has to take me to court accusing me of raping her. Except in health related problems, a wife who doesn’t want to have sex with her husband should divorce him rather than accuse him of rape. What if she takes me to court after having sex with me willingly just to harm me.
    Michael, Ethiopia

    P.S. Susan, I can’t believe you just said this – “The Brits have just as much right to the island as the “islanders” as it was uninhabited before colonial times”

    I take it that also means that the Brits could tell the Americans to get out as they need the country back. I could give more examples.

    If so, you have no heart Susan, I can hardly believe you are a woman.

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  41. Laura says:

    Sorry, I was answering Andrew’s question first – about why i thought the Diego Garcia story was reported.

    My post above is in response to Pete’s question.

    Sometimes the comments on this board come up so fast that by the time you’ve answered one, a couple more have been posted ahead of you.

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  42. Susan says:

    “I take it that also means that the Brits could tell the Americans to get out as they need the country back. I could give more examples.

    If so, you have no heart Susan, I can hardly believe you are a woman.”

    I merely pointed out that the British found the Island (according to what I read) uninhabited and spent time and money to develop it. They did not push out any “natives” as the BBC article you posted somewhat suggested (or didn’t mention). Your attacks are silly and irrelvant. “You have no heart, I can’t believe you are really a woman.” What does that have to do with the subject at hand?

    It’s a moot point. The islanders are getting to move back to their island in a few years, much improved by millions of dollars of development, and the presence of a US naval base on Diego Garcia probably saved thousands of lives last week as navy helicopter flyers were able to deliver food and water over terrain where roads had been wiped out or blocked by the tsunami.

    PS —

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  43. Pete_London says:

    Susan

    Thanks for that. I thought it was uninhabited prior to us pitching up there but didn’t want to say so without being certain.

    Laura

    What’s ‘right wing’ about what the fella in Ethiopia posted? While we’re on the point, don’t you think we should be non-judgmental about other cultures? πŸ˜‰

    And what’s all this this about hardly believing Susan’s a woman? I’m beginning to believe you’re taking the p*ss. Either that or you’re being sexist.

    Judgmental attitudes to other cultures and sexism, Laura. I’m beginning to believe you’re a right winger yourself!

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  44. Susan says:

    PS — The American revolution was basically a civil war between English people and English-descended people. Not really a comparison at all.

    I refuse to give in to your emotional blackmail by expressing sympathy for people I do not know, regarding a situation neither I nor you are an expert on. For all we know the Diego Garcia inhabitants may have been given millions in compensation and free housing when the Brits moved them to the Seychelles; we just don’t know and we aren’t likely to hear about it from the sources of news that you obviously rely upon.

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  45. Susan says:

    Pete: she’s just emoting from Guardian talking points. If you don’t agree with their world view on whatever oppressed-person-cause-du jour that is making the rounds at all the fab cocktail parties this season, you’re heartless and evil. Laura is obviously too young to realize that those of us who are “right-wing Death Beasts” have already had it used on us 5,000 times already, and are immune to its effects πŸ™‚

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  46. Susan says:

    “What’s ‘right wing’ about what the fella in Ethiopia posted? While we’re on the point, don’t you think we should be non-judgmental about other cultures?”

    Indeed Pete. Laura is oppressing this poor Ethiopian man by applying imperialistic Eurocentric parameters to his authentic Afrocentric dialectic. πŸ™‚

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  47. Laura says:

    a woman as in human, rather than a bot. rephrase: where is your heart? These people haven’t been given millions at all, they’ve been homeless, dossing rough in many cases. it has been reported on the bbc but also meridian and local press

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  48. Laura says:

    P.S. and maybe this is why I am left-wing, because no-one on the right is actually that pleasant to human beings. Why are you lot so angry, cynical and misanthropic?

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  49. Susan says:

    We’re not angry, cynical and misanthropic. You are the one who started to call the people here names first, starting with me. And you dare to accuse others of being “misanthropic”? We were polite until you started in with the same=old, same-old despicable tactics that I for one and quite tired of. The only thing that surprises me about your posts is that you didn’t call me a “racist” but I’m sure that’s coming soon.

    Laura, have you ever given a thought to the 4 million people who’ve been cleansed off their lands by the Islamofascist government of the Sudan? Two million have been killed and four million pushed off their land for the crime of being a different religion than the majority. This has been going on for more than 20 years. This has hardly been reported in the left-wing press and it certainly hasn’t made the Guardian cocktail circuit — until the Islamofascist government started to kill fellow Muslims last year, and even then it doesn’t get the same amount of pr

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  50. Susan says:

    press as it should. The reason no one in your circle cares about the Southern Sudanese is that there’s no US army base there and therefore, no reason to care.

    I could just as easily show up on one of your lefty blogs and start screeching that you are “heartless” and misanthropic and a “bot” and demanding that you start expressing a lot of insincere sympathy for the Southern Sudanese. But I won’t do it, because it’s a despicable act of emotional blackmail and beneath me.

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