Intellectual looting at the Beeb

The Beebonline have so far (so far- it’s very early yet) been wise enough not to carry an article linking hurricane Katrina to global warning. Unfortunately BBC World were not so circumspect this morning. I saw one presenter saying to a US environmentalist (invited in apparently to advance the thesis in question) that there was a growing consensus in the US linking hurricane Katrina to global warming. This was not an implication, but a direct comment encouraging a thesis that Katrina was linked to global warming.

So, while many are concerned with doing the constructive things that might help the people on the Gulf coast, the Beeb take time to scour the hurricane newsscape for what it can do for one of their favourite themes.

I can imagine so many people will agree with them, yet again and again trendlines contradict the trend in reporting ever more vociferously and loudly the global warming-world disaster scenario. Here is another one, showing frequency and magnitude of hurricanes hitting the US mainland in the last century and more. (via Instapundit).

The context of the BBC’s alliance with greenish NGOs gives me a chance to link this priceless article from Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic. When you’re at a loss to describe the kind of thing (the socialist mentality which is hard to identify, hard to pin down) that repels you about the Beeb, just run your eyes over lines like these:

‘Illiberal ideas are becoming to be formulated, spread and preached under the name of ideologies or “isms”, which have – at least formally and nominally – nothing in common with the old-styled, explicit socialism. These ideas are, however, in many respects similar to it. There is always a limiting (or constraining) of human freedom, there is always ambitious social engineering, there is always an immodest “enforcement of a good” by those who are anointed (T. Sowell) on others against their will, there is always the crowding out of standard democratic methods by alternative political procedures, and there is always the feeling of superiority of intellectuals and of their ambitions.

I have in mind environmentalism (with its Earth First, not Freedom First principle), radical humanrightism (based – as de Jasay precisely argues – on not distinguishing rights and rightism), ideology of “civic society” (or communitarism), which is nothing less than one version of post-Marxist collectivism which wants privileges for organized groups, and in consequence, a refeudalization of society. I also have in mind multiculturalism, feminism, apolitical technocratism (based on the resentment against politics and politicians), internationalism (and especially its European variant called Europeanism) and a rapidly growing phenomenon I call NGOism.’

It would be hard to give a better summary of the BBC’s mentality- but anyway, do read the rest (also via the prof.).

More jobs for ‘paper shufflers’ at the BBC

The Daily Telegraph reports:

More jobs for ‘paper shufflers’ at the BBC

By Amy Iggulden

(Filed: 29/08/2005)

The BBC is continuing to advertise for more than three times as many administrators and managers as programme-makers despite promising that job losses of almost 4,000 would lead to a new focus on creativity.

Of the 44 jobs available at the corporation, as of August 25, at least 40 per cent are in business support and management while 11 per cent are in programme-making.

Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC, has said that savings of £355 million, to be achieved through outsourcing and the biggest job cuts in its history, are to be spent on programmes.

But union representatives and politicians raised fears that the continued recruitment of “paper shufflers” and managers indicated that cuts would unfairly affect programme-makers and leave an overstaffed bureaucracy.

Among other jobs currently advertised is that of “occupational risk adviser”, at a salary of up to £41,000.

Reporting to a “principle risk manager”, and through him to yet another tier of management, the “head of occupational risk”, the adviser is asked to provide advice on “systems of work, objectives and plans for the management of security and safety risk”.

Brave, Bold Hugo.

Had to get back into the special ‘Biased BBC’ posting seat to keep up with the excellent output of Scott the Expatriate.

The latest thing that caught my eye- though this is a fascinating issue-related post called ‘A molehill’– was this thing about Chavez. The Chavez- you know, that ‘colourful’ fellow with all that oil in South America- who has said that ‘“If anything happens to me then the man responsible will be George W Bush. He will be the assassin, This is pure terrorism.”

Anyhow, Scott said he was uneasy about the BBC’s branding of ”assassin’ Bush’ in their headline for an article about this Chavez pronouncement. I think he’s right, and then some. For those who have been following l’affaire Reynolds-Expatriate it will come as little surprise to find that Paul Reynolds swung by the expatriate’s to tell him he was wrong (Mr Reynolds has a fairly good record in informing posters of their errors)- and when I piped up he came back and said the same to me. He said that Scott was wrong- that Chavez did call Bush an assassin, and so the headline was right.

Wrong, unfortunately. Chavez said that if he was assassinated, Bush would be the assassin. Bush, therefore, has been labelled an assassin in the present tense by no-one but the BBC (and maybe the inmates of the Democrat Underground etc.)- even if they clearly attributed it as Chavez’s view. What he said doesn’t equal the headline’s meaning- which it vitally should at some level. As it happens, Chavez also accused Bush of being a terrorist- but the Beeb eschewed that epithet for their headlinewriting somehow. On such small points though hangs a great deal.

Of course we all know why Chavez called Bush a terrorist. It was a crude populist jibe of the sort that is popular among the sons and daughters of Mother Sheehan. See, Dumbya can’t tell that though he thinks he’s fighting a war on terrorism, he’s actually the terrorist! (incidentally, a second thought might be that Chavez is giving the headline writers an easy option present tense accusation, rather than a problematic predictive term- but the BBC headline writer at any rate didn’t see the need for that option, perhaps seeking a juicier option.)

Why did Chavez go out of his way to talk about who to blame if he was assassinated? Obvious, isn’t it. The paranoid ideologue is trying to boost his image as the opponent of so-called ‘American imperialism’ and at the same time win more than a scintilla of US protection by making it clear that if ‘anything happens to him’ (as the BBC puts it) it will be Bush’s responsiblity. I’m tempted to call that terrorism by soundbyte.

It’s a strongly political message, a cynical one, and one which the BBC not only promote through reportage but amplify through misrepresentation.

With the great numbers of visitors from all around the world that Paul boasts about, should they be doing that for Hugo?

May I firstly thank all those who have been commenting recently

May I firstly thank all those who have been commenting recently. There have been some riveting exchanges, and I feel Paul Reynolds may be regretting slightly that he came along to make our site even a little livelier! (I hope not regretting too much). Personally I think it’s clear- we all care about the media we have, and that makes our discussions full of interest to people of all kinds.

Anyhow, let me start the ‘BiasedBBC’ aspect of this post by pointing you to the triumphant return- after holidays- of the brilliant Melanie Phillips. Paul Reynolds has been arguing here doggedly that the BBC does not demonstrate any certifiable institutional bias, while acknowledging isolated instances, so it was interesting to read Melanie’s take on BBC radio’s flagship news programme- The Today Programme (I highlight the most interesting phrasing):

‘The rules of the BBC Radio Four Today programme’s game clearly have not changed one whit. Wednesday’s edition demonstrated that, bombs or no, it is still performing its iconic function as the noticeboard of a sick establishment.’

Read on for commentary on the latest C4Newsesque BBC reportage.

Melanie has relentlessly pointed out the biases on this particular programme. They are repeatedly noticed by many who visit this site. And this is theflagship of BBC radio news- the talk-based service that almost unarguably epitomises the BBC’s approach to broadcasting.

Second item is to flag up the American Expatriate’s great exchanges with the aforementioned Mr Reynolds. I followed glued to the screen (yes, a little sad- I know) on our own comments box, but was hesitant to lift the exchange from our comments to the main blog to widen their exposure. Fortunately Scott has been chronicling the exchange on his own site– and we don’t mind visiting, do we? You can find two posts so far- here and here.

A taster to read on this site:

‘Paul Reynolds: You raise a very fair point about how many examples of bad journalism you need to discredit the whole output.I do not think the examples put forward actually come close to reaching a critical mass. Some I agree cannot really be defended. But they are selected from hours and hours of coverage and some go back quite a long way.TAE: While the “stunning” type of bias examples may not exemplify the general standard of BBC reporting, they are no doubt facilitated by this institutional bias. It is obviously possible, since it happened, that the BBC might produce a “woeful piece of work” about the Holocaust without mentioning the Jews. But it is darn near inconceivable that the BBC might ever produce a “woeful piece of work” about, say, the wonderful US prisoner of war facilities without mentioning Abu Ghraib. This is because its institutional sympathy with Palestine (Barbara Plett’s tears?) and hostility to Israel allow the first to sneak by, while its institutional hostility to US power (and GWB) and sympathy with whoever might be challenging the US (and GWB) would never allow the latter to sneak by.’


To which I feel like saying only: indeed.

Worst Case Impresarios

Since our Friend of Biased BBC Paul Reynolds has been calling round lately it seems only fair to deal with one of his articles- ultimately comparing his powers of prognostication now, with those demonstrated in the past. Reynolds- one of the first to float the quagmire meme in the mainstream media- gives us his latest effort, showing that this week’s image, just like almost every week’s with the Beeb, is that of Bush running as fast as he can (on an apparent Iraq hampster wheel).

We find him saying that Bush’s failure or success will depend on whether he creates a ‘stable Iraq’. No- that may be the measure du jour- but the true measure is whether the threat Saddam signified- taken as a composite threat, geopolitically in his threat to Israel and significant stranglehold on oil reserves, through terrorism (see anti-Israel activities, but other tentacles too), via the distraction he represented from any other gathering threats, through his UN corruption, alongside his regional repressiveness and his hard-edged Islamofascism- has been blunted and deferred in its lethal path of collision with the West. It has, and so Bush cannot possibly be judged through any spurious definition of stability, a tormented concept endlessly susceptible to media speculation and UN-isation, and terribly open to the argument that Saddam did stability better than anyone.

Reynolds averrs that it’s an achievement that Iraq hasn’t disintegrated before now- while he insinuates that it might be heading that way. He talks about ‘the violence of an insurgency whose power was not predicted and never planned for.’ . Well, not predicted and planned for if you don’t count part five of my (organised in no particular way) composite argument for war- namely the Saddam Islamofascism part. Had ‘we’ not been batting away the beeb sponsored moonbats ‘we’ might have talked a little more about that one- might even have got round to a policy about it.

Reynolds finishes his straw man construction right at the end of his article when he asks ‘But will his (Bush’s) rush to come up with an “exit strategy” force him to abandon the aspiration to create a modern secular democracy out of the ashes of the Saddam dictatorship?’ (emboldenings mine)

Note how we’ve morphed from stability to ‘modern secular democracy’*, and that Bush is still rushing as fast as his little Texan legs can carry him to create the long awaited ‘exit strategy’. Such goal post shifting in the course of one article is a little mystifying (stability = secular democracy?), but not at all an unaccustomed experience for Reynolds’ readers.

As one can see from the comparison of then and now in these two Reynolds efforts- despite cosmetic goalpost shifting- little changes in the Reynolds’ analysis or expectations. I commented about it elsewhere- er, at length.

PS– maybe we could have a B-BBC poll about this little complimentary from the Beeb viewsroom. Should we recommend this article for the news or opinion section? Seems like they can’t decide (which also means, watch out for edits). To quote:

‘The president is facing mounting problems politically and in terms of public opinion, says the BBC’s defence and security correspondent, Rob Watson.

Opinion polls suggest more than 50% of Americans think Iraq is going badly.

Most also believe some or all US troops should be withdrawn from Iraq, according to the polls.

Our correspondent says there even signs of splits within the president’s Republican party, with at least one senior senator making that most damaging of all comparisons by likening Iraq to Vietnam. (imagine!!!- who’d do a thing like that)

Meanwhile the US anti-war movement has been reinvigorated by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq. (yup- the corpse twitches, so to speak)

Ms Sheehan’s supporters have been camped outside the president’s ranch at Crawford, Texas.

This is not a president who would be interrupting his summer holidays unless he thought his political future was really at stake, our correspondent says.’

(all additions, snide remarks and whatnot, mine. Er, or the Beeb’s)

Vital Update

I see that- thanks to an intervention from Mr Reynolds himself- I need to acknowledge an error. A totally unintentional error where I mixed up the conclusion of a current Roger Hardy article you can find here, with the Paul Reynolds one I link to in the post above. Thus the mystery over the changing definition of success for Bush in Iraq was not the mystery I depicted it to be.It is Roger Hardy who goes for the ambitious ‘modern secular democracy’ as his measure for Bush, at the end of his article. I might add though that Paul Reynolds does propose a measure for Bush as being ‘Iraq as the democratic example which justified the war and the cost’– in addition to a ‘stable Iraq’. There are no shifting goalposts in the way that I described, however.

On the other hand, one can still argue that Reynolds’ notion of ‘Iraq the Model’ is only one side to the argument over Bush’s legacy- and does go well beyond a ‘stable’ Iraq, presenting a confusion of a sort- and that my case outlined above concerning the negative virtues of the Iraq invasion should at least be on the table when considering it.

There is much common ground between Hardy and Reynolds (indeed there are no contradictions between them, when viewed side by side), and I find it interesting that even down to imagery we can find a dovetailing of the BBC’s various analyses into one seamless whole. Given that that analysis removes from the table of discussion so much that might vindicate the President, the balance of the BBC’s coverage remains very much in question.

Finally, let me thank Paul Reynolds for stopping by and stooping to correct me openly, and apologise once more for my error. Thank you also for helping to shed even more light on the BBC’s analytical point of view by highlighting my error- I feel it is very helpful to everyone, but myself in particular.

The childish leftie twits at BBC Views Online

who think it’s clever to bugger around with photos as a means of expressing their own petty political prejudices have been busy again.


The photo of Norman Tebbit (see right) on the story Tebbit attacks ‘unreformed’ Islam has clearly been tampered with – first off they’ve selected the worst photo they could find of him, then they’ve slanted it to the left, then they’ve whacked up the white balance to make the picture look completely overexposed.

Norman Tebbit

Looking through a selection of other BBC Tebbit (hey, that has a ring to it) photos, we can see that there are none anywhere near as bad as the one they’ve cooked up for this story.

Likewise, if we look at the BBC’s selection of pictures for a couple of randomly selected leftie elder-statesmen, Lord Callaghan and Robin Cook, we can see that none of their pictures have been manipulated in such a malicious manner.

To the Beeboids reading this, please do kick the backside of whoever cooked up this Tebbit picture – it’s not big and it’s not clever, and it clearly shows just how paper thin your claims to impartiality really are. To be fair, I suppose it could just be down to sheer incompetence – of the graphics person, the story compiler and the sub-editor, rather than bias – but that’s not saying much for you either.

I’m taking a summer break, so this may be my last post for a little while (unless I get some time to spare before going away), but I’m sure my colleagues will keep a light shining on the BBC in the meantime.

Update: I am informed on good authority that the picture of Norman Tebbit was not digitally manipulated. I am happy to accept that that is the case, however, the selected photo is poorly composed and very badly overexposed. It is therefore unrepresentative of and unfair to Lord Tebbit, and should not have been used. Lord Tebbit was shown on Newsnight on the campaign trail during the recent general election, looking rather hale and hearty. A screengrab from that would have sufficed if no better photo was available in the BBC’s archives.

It’s me again

, just stepping in for today and tomorrow before I go on holiday.

What stopped me blogging? As I said earlier, first I was busy, then I was ill. However I have been pretty much recovered for the last week. The thing that repeatedly made me decide that I would get back online tomorrow rather than today was the fact that I was frightened of my by-now enormous pile of unread emails. Eventually I realised that the dragon that lay across my path had to be slain if I was ever to return to the blogosphere. So I deleted them.

You may rebuke me. Be assured that I rebuke myself. But it was the only way.

Meanwhile, I see that in my absence Biased BBC has been tackling high profile, controversial subjects and making national headlines. I too must do my part. I was sorry to see the other day that the actress Barbara Bel Geddes, who played Miss Ellie in Dallas, had died at the age of 82. Whoever wrote the Ceefax report about her life and death knew that the first priority was to tell us that she was a heavy smoker and that this caused her fatal lung cancer.

Those Ceefax boys never let a chance for moral instruction pass by. Incidentally, the US average female life expectancy is 80.67 years.

Let it not be said that the BBC does not correct (some) of its mistakes before they are highlighted here.

Following the BBC’s veritable splurge of ‘Japan as victim’ coverage of the sixtieth-anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there have, thankfully, been a few nods (but only nods – no lavish primetime Sunday evening docu-drama coverage (and DVD release!) of the Rape of Nanking for instance) towards balancing coverage with brief pieces on the atrocities and fanaticism that the Japanese visited upon their neighbours, prisoners of war and opponents.

One such item on BBC News Online was an In Pictures pop-up about World War II in the Pacific. However, even this was cocked-up with an excellent example of BBC News Online journalistic ignorance and naiveté – the caption on the first picture read:

In the early 1940s, Japan began expanding its territory across many parts of Asia.

Ah yes, a nice peaceful spot of ‘expansion’ – quite reminiscent of Spitting Image‘s take on Audi’s “The Muellers are going on holiday” advert from a few years ago (“The Hitlers are going on holiday, first off to the Suedetenland for a spot of annexing”, closing with “Deutschland uber alles, as we Germans still like to imply” instead of “Vorsprung durch technik”). Later on, when no one was looking (or so the Beeboids thought) it was changed to the more accurate (though equally anaemic):

After Japan entered the war in 1941 its troops won easy victories over the Allies, seizing territory from Burma all the way to the Philippines.

Later on still, the first picture was also changed – originally it showed troops running with fixed-bayonets in, shall we say, an aggressive manner. This was subsequently changed to a nice ‘Class of 1932’ style picture of proud, misunderstood Japanese youth.

Strangely enough, this story, Enola Gay crew ‘have no regrets’, doesn’t appear to feature much (if at all) in BBC News Online’s supposedly In Depth coverage of World War II: 60 years on – an old BBC News Online trick – it can’t be said that it’s not there, but there’s little chance of finding it unless you know what you’re looking for! Just for good measure though they do manage to insert a suitably negative (Don’t) Have Your Say quote: “The use of the nuclear bomb was not just an act of aggression, but a crime against humanity” – a coincidence I’m sure.

On another note, apologies for the recent paucity of posts – it’s not that the BBC is any better than before. Sometimes real life gets in the way of shouting “The King is in the altogether” at the Beeboid Media Monopoly Megalith.

Turning away briefly from the issue of BBC bias

, many of the nation’s younger telly-taxpayers have been bemused this morning (and will be again tomorrow morning), because the usual fare of children’s holiday entertainment has been pulled from BBC2, to be replaced with continuous coverage of the World Athletics Championships 2005. Whoopee, not! If the BBC’s tedious sports coverage matters so much, why not drop the endlessly repeated CelebrityHomeCookingAuctionMakeover Show from BBC1 for a change and give us all a break from the irritating tunes, tired clichés and faux-drama therein? Still, going by the BBC’s past performance, it could have been a lot worse.