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.).

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166 Responses to Intellectual looting at the Beeb

  1. JohninLondon says:

    Wow ! What a clear-sighted article !!!

    It sums up the Today programme to a T.


  2. the_camp_commandant says:

    Gawd, it’s jaw-dropping!

    The man is the new George Orwell.


  3. Pete_London says:

    I could kiss Vaclav Havel. Of course, being a dissident under communism and no stranger to the inside of a prison cell, Paul Reynolds may well have met and spoken with him. Maybe it’s time for Reynolds to renew old acquaintances.


  4. ed says:

    Er, steady on Pete. You’d need to kiss Vaclav Klaus to thank him for his clear sight- and he’s a lot less pretty I think it’s fair to say.


  5. Phil says:

    It explains a lot of what’s happened in Scotland since devolution, where refeudalisation is in full swing.


  6. Rob Read says:

    Hello fellow serfs!


  7. AW says:

    Europeanism eh?
    As soon as the time is right new Tory leader Ken Clarke will probably show his “astute pragmatism” (As the Mail likes to put it) and buy into that again – regardless of what the public thinks.


  8. Pete_London says:


    Erm … thanks for that!


  9. DumbJon says:

    Yep – last night’s six o’clock news had a special report from the science bloke which included comments about dear ol’ global warming. Never mind the bad science – it’s just plain tasteless to try and score points even before the dying is over.


  10. Steve says:

    OT but I’ve just emailed this to LGF assumed it may be of interest here as well…

    Hi There,

    I thought you might be interested in this little snippet from the
    following BBC News story:

    “They reminisce about when the police were even-handed in dealing with
    disputes between Jews and Arabs.

    An unemployed labourer says wryly: “Imagine if some Arabs had thrown
    acid on police, like the settlers in Gaza did. Oh, they’d be really
    for it.””

    Hmm I seem to remember that this was not exactly the case?

    Read the whole thing as they say but this quote is taken at face value
    and a casual reader would assume the acid throwing incident was a


  11. kcb says:

    I watched a video clip provided by the BBC(on line) earlier today. Toward the end of the clip, one can see a continuous line of looters carting out TVs,dvd players,entire display cases full of merchandise, furniture etc. You know, the usual life sustaining supplies one would need to survive this disaster. It wasn’t surprising.

    What WAS surprising was the bbc narrator’s comment. She said something along the line that since these looters had lost everything, they were desperate for survival. Another words, have pity. Are Tvs and designer clothing edible?

    This is a devastating event, lives were lost.It will effect our economy, change the landscape and hard hit areas will take years to recover. But looting? I’m tired of this disgusting crime being written off as “understandable human behavior during times like this”. It’s dispicable whether it takes place in Bagdad, New Orleans or (name any big US city who’s national pro sport team loses an important game). Typical that BBC explains it away as if these people are mearly scratching for bits of bread crusts.

    I’d be willing to bet that we’ll see very little about hurricane looters anywhere in the media from now on.


  12. Michael Taylor says:

    I’m listening to the World at One right now – and yes, it’s promised a special section on whether Katrina is another sign of global warming. They just can’t resist it, can they? Anyway, tune in and give yourself a laugh. . .


  13. Allan@Aberdeen says:

    I saw a clip on the looting last night and I couldn’t help but notice what appeared to be the shared ethnicity of the looters – but then again, it was a bit dark. That could have clouded the reporter’s sympathies.
    Later on Newsnight, the bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party by Ken Clarke was given the full “he’s a good bloke” treatment. It looks like the BBC’s man has put his hat in the ring and they’re talking him up.


  14. Michael Taylor says:

    OK, Nick Clarke et al managed to dig up Dr David Viner, of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia – lofty peaks of academe indeed. Loads of guff and supposition about water temperatures, a smattering of conventional wisdom, but no, absolutely no engagement with the data at all. Pitiful. Mind you, even he had to admit that “The individual hurricane we can’t put down to climate change . . .” After that, he was quickly silenced, and is now presumably on his way back home to the Fens. Sad, really.


  15. Michael Taylor says:

    BTW, I love the idea of this blog attempting to “guess the slant” of BBC coverage. Perhaps it could become a regular feature?


  16. dan says:

    Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

    Since the War on Terror began, Tories have been torn between their loathing for Mr Blair and the fact that since 9/11 he has done exactly as the best Tory prime minister might have done. When the Hutton inquiry pitched BBC bias against Blair, the party threw away decades of complaints about BBC bias and backed the corporation.,,172-1757559,00.html

    What an opportunity lost.


  17. dan says:

    back home to the Fens

    An unwise gig for Viner given his GW doom mongering?


  18. Cockney says:

    Re: Clarke – if the BBC hates the Conservatives why would they “back” the only potential leader with a snowman’s chance in hell of becoming PM?

    Surely if they had any sense of strategy they’d be pushing Davis relentlessly.

    More seriously, to help the hurricane effort is it best to donate to the Red Cross or is there something more specific?


  19. AW says:

    Allan – The BBC and the Daily Mail – something is wrong somewhere.


  20. Ritter says:

    Did I miss Justin Webb’s latest masterpiece?

    In search of an Iraq exit strategy
    by Justin Webb

    The president’s neighbours are not, in other words, a bunch of city slickers.

    They are not sophisticated thinkers on world affairs, they are at home with guns.

    What is your point Justin? The president’s neighbours are dumb, therefore the President is dumb? How subtle, how clever you are.

    “President Bush cannot look Cindy Sheehan in the eye and tell her that her son died because the White House messed up.

    But a future president will.”

    Words fail me.


  21. Andrew Paterson says:

    Cockney please, you don’t honestly think that the Conservatives could possibly win with a leader who can make a half hearted attempt to appeal to the Guardinista’s et al, who would pay him lip service but vote for Labour anyway. No, the Conservatives can win with a man like Davis who can bring the centre ground towards him, a far larger bulk of voters that the metropolitan left who would never vote conservative. And stop me if I’m tarring you incorrectly, but people such as yourselves who would scoff at the idea would be as shocked as you were when Thatcher was elected, when it succeeded.


  22. Ron Daniels says:

    Well I’m sure we can all just put that down to yet another BBC ‘slight error’


  23. Susan says:

    I too was pretty disgusted by the Beeb commentator’s justification of the looting as well. I noticed they quickly cut to a shot of the (white) gov. of Mississippi saying that the authorities would be ruthless with looters just after making that comment.

    The key narrative here was obvious: evil white redneck Southern lawmaker calling out the dogs on the poor poverty-stricken blacks who are only stealing DVDs and designer jeans because they are so oppressed. So cliched, and so inappropriate for the situation.

    Methinks somebody at the Beeb’s been watching too many runnings of “In the Heat of the Night.”

    How do they fit in with their “key narrative” all that footage of white Coast Guardsmen pulling stranded blacks up out of the floodwaters with helicopters?

    Sometimes the Beeb’s political agenda is just so idiotic it beggars description.


  24. Rob says:


    Give your money to the UN. I’m sure your money will resurface (minus 75% “admin” costs) in 2012.

    By far the best way to help those in need.


  25. Rob Read says:

    Just a quick nag about this article.

    I thought I’d take one article and critique the journalism.

    German jobless total falls again

    You’d think that being the BBC they’d compare with the capitalofacist UKs unemployment rate (1/2 the German rate)?

    The unemployment rate only changed by 0.2%. I wonder what the margin of error in measuring was?

    The sentence “When not adjusted for seasonal factors the picture looked better, with jobless numbers down by 44,000 to 4.728 million, and the rate sliding to 11.4%.” coming after “The unemployment rate was steady at 11.6%.” leads you to beleive the fall was much bigger when in fact the previous months seasonally adjusted rate would also be steady at the very high 11.4%.

    The quote “That is the strongest decline in unemployment in the month of August in Germany in the last 10 years” should be seen as a indictment of the German economy.

    “A retail sales report on Wednesday showed that retail sales unexpectedly dropped in July, the fifth decline in six months” If retail sales are falling for 5 out of six months, you have to explain the word UNEXPECTEDLY!

    “an earlier snapshot of consumer sentiment showed that shoppers were more optimistic about their prospects.” How much more, a little or loads? Is this a good predictor of future economic trends?

    “Germany’s government defended its record and said it still expected the economy to grow by 1% this year” Is this a good growth rate? How about a comparison to the UK?

    “a target it may top despite the record oil prices.” This target is very low. How likely is it to hit the target? What was last years economic growth? Oil prices are NOT at record high levels in Inflation adjusted measures.

    And this is supposed to be the relatively bias free area of Business.


  26. Joerg says:

    Yes, but those on the left don’t give. They force others to give whilst saving their own money for a villa in Spain, Italy or the South of France. What’s wrong with living in North Korea, I wonder… heaven on Earth for a Socialist (or so they say).


  27. Joerg says:

    They’re just trying to get their buddies re-elected, RR… a match made in heaven (if you ask the BBC): Socialists and Greens in power!

    Germany’s going down the drain anyway… no matter who’s in power – Germany’s synonymous with bureaucracy and you’ll never get rid of it. Too many people in power benefit from it.


  28. BoyBlue says:

    Anyone believe for a moment the BBC would be so sympathetic to looters if, in a similar situation in the UK, it was whites looting Asian shops?

    Somehow I don’t think so.


  29. Rob says:

    I’ve sent a complaint to the BBC about the Justin Webb article. They’ve yet to reply to my previous complaints, so I won’t hold my breath.
    Xenophobic rubbish on your website.

    Once again the BBC goes with the “Guardian World View” and insults Americans. Do you actually think this is big or clever? Its certainly not true. Here are some quotes from Mr Webb’s article:

    “The president’s neighbours are not, in other words, a bunch of city slickers.

    They are not sophisticated thinkers on world affairs, they are at home with guns.

    I cannot imagine a more hostile environment in which to set up a peace camp.”

    So, everybody that lives near the Bush ranch is an ignorrant red-neck. They sit at home stroking their guns and shooting their brothers. I presume from reading your article that Mr Bush is also a gun-totting, ignorrant retard. How respectful you are.

    “President Bush cannot look Cindy Sheehan in the eye and tell her that her son died because the White House messed up.

    But a future president will.”

    Is the President unable to appologise because he believes that the war in Iraq was worthwhile or is he simply refusing to appologise because he’s a


  30. Susan says:

    Boy Blue,

    The looting isn’t really a racial issue in the South; it’s a law and order issue. Blacks are heavily represented in the police and local governments in today’s South. The mayor of New Orleans is black. The mayor of Alabama’s largest city Birmingham is black. The looters could just as easily be stealing from black business owners as well as from white ones, and the lawmakers laying down the law to them could just as easily be black as well as white.

    But the Beeb is still stuck in the Jim Crow era. They are cutting the events to fit some pre-concieved template of the US Southland that’s outdated by some 30 years or so.

    Actually bothering to find out something about the South as it is now rather than depending on cliches cribbed from 40 year-old movies like “In the Heat of the Night” — naw, that wouldn’t be our beloved Beeb, would it?


  31. AW says:

    Bush has “looked her in the eye” but since she has allegedly been “radicalised” and thus wants something much, much different.


  32. dave t says:

    Says it all:

    “There I found a well funded, well orchestrated public relations campaign, run by media professionals complete with the highest quality electronic equipment available. From Satellite trucks and cell phone to wireless computer access, every modern convenience to enhance the message was there…and being used by left wing, socialist and Marxist (self-described) media representatives and Bloggers.

    Most of the Sheehan protesters were either professional (paid staff of Fenton Communications or the radical organization Code Pink or the like), or were long time protesters, some admitting to beginning vigils against the government as early as 1965.

    Cindy Sheehan spent most of her time huddled with VIPS in and air-conditioned trailer. When she ventured out it was for a scripted and often televised moment. She was always trailed by her media people, and they were quick to keep her on point.”

    None of this has made the BBC….fair and balanced? Nope! We have to do this research ourselves if we want to get the other side of a story and how many times has the other side turned out to be a completely different (and often more accurate) one?


  33. RJWhite says:

    Rob, I am complaining (via snail mail) as well. I am truly disgusted by the artical.


  34. Roxana says:

    Cockney make sure you send your donation to the *American* Red Cross not the Internation one.


  35. Pete_London says:

    Ritter, Rob

    In a way I don’t mind Justin Webb’s pieces, the blatant manner in which he exhibits that dumb North London mindset often genuinely makes me laugh. In honour of Justin I’ll be sure to head out this weekend with my 12 bore and Shoot Lots of Stuff.


  36. Ritter says:

    Rob Read. The BBC really struggles with its so-called ‘Business’ News. It has few journos with experience in the business world. I had hopes for Jeff Randall who came from the Times/Sunday Times to beef up the Beeb’s coverage, but I think he’s been emasculated by the Beebs stifling world-view, where ‘profits’ are automatically eyed with suspicion, and business leaders treated with contempt. In that environment, it’s difficult to produce decent reports, untainted by a left-wing, command economy, consumerist slant. Decent ‘business’ news is to be found in journals like the ‘Economist’ where you get unbiased business news that is coherent. Today’s online BBC news report about the German economy is appauling. Contradictory figures along with pointless interpretive ‘commentary’ from a journo who is trying to juggle various press releases and wondering what it all means. Who goes to BBC News for business reports?, not anyone I know.


  37. Susan says:


    I agree. Tangled Webb is often more comical than infuriating. He’s just so clueless, he reminds me of a puppy that hasn’t been house-trained yet. I look at his piddles in this light.


  38. Susan says:

    Not to belabor the point about the looting, but here’s a black conservative’s viewpoint:

    As you may know, about two-thirds of New Orleans’ population is black. Some liberal blogs charge that there was a conspiracy by New Orleans officials (and they toss in the Bush administration for good measure) to kill off the city’s black population. That is ridiculous. They neglect to point out that the Mayor Ray Nagin is black, as are many of the city’s top officials.


    One more thing….I am trippin’ (but not surprised) about the reports of looting and such. Ain’t helpin’ the cause. Come on, my people, we are better.

    Of course the Beeb would never actually bother to interview your average black American person about what he or she feels about the looting, they would just rather ladle on their pre-concieved stereotypes in that horrible, condescending, preachy, sanctimonious, pig-headed Tone they all employ when delivering the “news” on high from the pulpit.


  39. marc says:

    Iraq stampede kills ‘up to 1,000’

    Leave it to the BBC to politicize this human disaster.


  40. dan says:

    Ritter “I had hopes for Jeff Randall”

    I know what you mean, it seems his head is in the right place. But one can’t see any managerial control or direction imposed by Randall. Does the BBC not operate like that? Is “editor” just a pay grade?

    Randall appears to concentrate on golf & city lunches, meanwhile BBC “business” journalists are a joke.

    They have a horrible screechy voiced woman om News24 who keeps using “we”, when referring to city professionals.

    Then that Adam ? on “Working Lunch” who provides a report on the stockmarket without knowing where the market is standing at the time he begins his report, he is usually a couple of hours out of date & the index level comes as a surprise when it comes up on his display screen. Someone with an interest in the market would be receiving a continuous feed, even if he was also preparing his script.


  41. Allan@Aberdeen says:

    Cockney queries my belief that the BBC is backing Ken Clarke’s bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party. I’ve watched to-night’s 6 o’clock news and the perky, jolly report on Clarke’s candidacy leaves no room for doubt: he is the BBC’s man. But why, as Cockney asks, would the BBC support a man who may bring the Tories back into power? It’s because of the fact that, although conservative voters do not match the BBC’s ideal profile (anti-Iraq war, anti-Bush, pro EU federalism etc.), Ken Clarke most definitely does. With the Tories neutered by Clark, there would be no outlet for right-of-centre voters and real political debate in the UK would be dead. That’s why the BBC supports Clarke.


  42. dave t says:

    In the same report that marc refers to:

    “Radical Sunni groups have often targeted Shias in the past, but Iraqi officials said the tragedy had nothing to do with sectarian tension.”


    “Our correspondent says there are now fears that the tragedy will increase the sectarian divisions in this already troubled country”

    How the heck? So this means if there had been a 20 car pile up on the M1 by Belfast then the IRA/UDA crowd would have been out after each others’ guts again…..there was absolutely no need for that comment about sectarian divisions yet still the BBC makes it. Stunning.


  43. AW says:

    I agree to call him “centrist” is contemptible.


  44. dave t says:

    “Some people (including Germany’s Environmental Minister, Jürgen Trittin, a Green Party member, who takes space in the Frankfurter Rundschau, a paper owned by the Social Democrats, to bash US President George W. Bush) are saying the global warming caused Katrina”

    The New York Times: (well known for supporting Bush… 😎 )

    “Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming. But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught “is very much natural,” said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

    From 1970 to 1994, the Atlantic was relatively quiet, with no more than three major hurricanes in any year and none at all in three of those years. Cooler water in the North Atlantic strengthened wind shear, which tends to tear storms apart before they turn into hurricanes.

    In 1995, hurricane patterns reverted to the active mode of the 1950’s and 60’s.”

    How come nothing about this on the BBC….?


  45. JohninLondon says:


    As you say business coverage by the BBC is amateur.

    I see that Gito Hari has suddenly changed from doing politics to being the US business correspondent.

    I expect he has lots of industrial and city experience, will be well up to FT standards. NOT.


  46. Joerg says:

    After watching the latest pictures on Fox News and seeing hundreds of people, a lot of them children, sitting on a motorway bridge inside New Orleans slowly dehydrating to death because communication won’t work properly I must say I find it absolutely disgusting to read statements like the one from Trittin. Send some help instead of preaching unproven facts you scumbags!


  47. marc says:

    Tomorrow is being designated “Blog for Relief Day” for the Katrina victims.

    See here for details:

    But some big American coporations are refusing to help raise funds.


  48. Joerg says:

    Make that big US internet companies led by people who were influenced by the flower power generation! I bet you that most of the CEO’s of these companies are closet socialists.


  49. Fjordman says:

    Klaus is a brilliant man.


  50. marc says:

    I’ve updated the US coporations not helping in the Katrina relief as some corporations are starting to donate, but not the ones I originaly posted about.

    Bayer and Chevron are giving millions.