Friends fall out.

The NPR ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin, criticises BBC coverage of Katrina.

I am sure that the BBC is not inventing these interviews. But the effect is that it sounds less like reporting than like caricature. Public radio listeners likely understand what is going on — that BBC cultural assumptions about the United States remain mired in a reflex European opposition to American foreign policy. But what comes through the radio sounds mean-spirited and not particularly helpful; it probably evokes knowing glances and smirks among editors and producers back in London.

There is more right than wrong in the BBC’s coverage. But when it comes to portraying certain American cultural expressions, the BBC seems to have a tin ear.

(Via Instapundit – same link as below.)

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104 Responses to Friends fall out.

  1. Susan says:

    Poor Beeb. Licking their chops in anticipation of numerous gruesome scenes of dead and suffering Americans, only to be sorely disappointed. The poor dears.


  2. Ian Barnes says:

    Someone should write a book: “how not to run a broadcaster, by The BBC.”

    Why am i not surprised, it’s just not even financially viable, and to think that the cost of putting up 34 people in 5 star hotels, + expenses including flights (business class) and transport on the ground, i wonder how the CEO of the BBC can justify such over the top wastage of licence fee payers money..

    Its just not good fiscal management, there is no other explanation.


    Does anyone know when the UK Royal Navy is going to build/ buy its new aircraft carriers? Its just that there was supposed to be an announcement ages back, but still nothing.


  3. dave t says:

    Still arguing about the carriers. MoD trying to (a) get French to buy one as well to lessen cost (b) change the size (downwards) to save money and (c) work out how to get another few thousand pounds in weight off the Joint Strike Fighters they agreed to buy to fly off these carriers which turn out to be too heavy for the British designs but fine for the Yank carriers… for an announcement soon saying because the French won’t play and because the Yank planes are too heavy (not our carriers are too small…) the whole deal is off. Given the ‘success’ of the Charles De Gaulle carrier (hasn’t made un uninterupted voyage yet!) probably a good thing to keep the French out altogether but the MoD are letting Thales have part of the design work…

    Another fine example of how the country that once sailed and ruled the world is now crap at running a Navy thanks to NuLab…


  4. Peter says:

    The Beeb aren’t there solely for RITA,they are also there for the revolution.
    via Stepen Pollard


  5. Rob Read says:

    As socialism is a form of stealthy slavery, are the BBC hoping to re-introduce slavery to the west?


  6. Frank P says:

    It was just another opportunity for a mass boondoggle and all those BBC types getting closer to San Francisco, their spiritual home.

    Incidentally, Jeremy Thompson from Sky did a pretty good job with the vox pops and managed to convey a friendly and sympathetic tone with no apparent anti American bile. Nor did he seek out the whingers – as the BBC inevitably do.


  7. Susan says:

    OT but typical:

    As I predicted here a couple of weeks ago, the assbackwards job that Gov. Blank-o did in preparing for Katrina will result in attempts by the federal government to usurp more local power:


  8. dave t says:

    Love the antiwar protest pictures…all the US ones were close ups so we can’t see just how few did turn up….and here in the UK that twit from the London Irish medics wearing his combats and his headress despite no longer being entitled to wear them….wonder if his Quartermaster wants the stuff back or shall we see the cops arrest him for theft of Army property? Why DO the BBC pay any attention to those clowns? Tony Benn claims two thirds of the country now support his anti American stance…yeah right Your Grace, Viscount Stansgate etc! When he goes the sheer hypocrisy of NuLab as they glorify the old fool will be matched only by the Beeb.


  9. Freddie says:

    Sky News is one channel. BBC has news 24, news on other channels, radios 4+5, BBC world service…hence why they might need more people on the ground I guess


  10. Freddie says:

    This isn’t a bad analysis though


  11. Lurker says:

    Reality check: Disparity between Sky & Beeb also explained by the presence of Fox in the US. Sky would have full access to Fox footage and personnel. As for ITN, its utterly impoverished…


  12. Frank P says:


    > As for ITN, it’s utterly impoverished. < You can thank "Death on the Rock" for that. Pity there's not another Maggie around who could do the same to the BBC.


  13. chevalier de st george says:

    HAve you heard?
    the Saudis are said to have bought in around 5% of Sky news.
    Perhaps the BBC crew will move on to Cindy who is at this moment suffering from acute lack of pub at the expense of Katrina and Rita.


  14. Susan says:


    Is Sky owned by Murdoch? Because they also just bought huge chunks of Fox News and The Times of London as well.

    Looks like the Saudis are targetting the least dhimmi media in the West for take-over. They wouldn’t bother with the Beeb which of course is willing to roll over and play dead for them for free šŸ™‚


  15. Gary Powell says:

    It would be nice if a less lazy person out there organised a protest march protesting the tv tax on the scale of at least the anti war protests.It would be interesting to see how the bbc report such an event.I suggest as a slogan the closure of the bbc rather than reform as it is clearly past redemption.The march should end outside the bbc with a mass burning of our lie/censes.A few banners for a change saying U.S.A.WE LOVE YOU would be refreshing,but I think we all know nothing will be done about it while the neolabs have power over us.


  16. Socialism is Necrotizing says:

    Socialism is Necrotizing.


  17. dan says:

    That’s why they can see that journalistic independence is damaged when the BBC cooperates with an investigation into the folks who killed 52 of their fellow countrymen, but cooperation with an investigation of people using naughty words ? (i.e. the BBC’s co-operation in supplying evidence for the prosecution of BNP folk)

    Spot The Difference!


  18. JohnR says:


    BBC spins for Bolivia’s Marxists

    BBC calling again, as usual, with a biased error betraying its true leftist agenda. This time, they were caught giving aid and succor to none other than Bolivia’s Marxist Evo Morales’ identified in Investor’s Business Daily this week as Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s ‘second willing domino.’ The BBC errantly reported a court ruling on census data and then said the election rules stiffed Morales’ party, complete with supporting statement from Morales’ spinners.

    Fact: The court ruled exactly the opposite way the BBC said, something that would discredit Morales’ spinning.

    Miguel Centellas, a Boliivian blogger, guesses the problem is BBC incompetence. Knowing these guys, we don’t. Miguel has written them a note politely informing them of their error and we have a pretty good idea how they’re going to treat his request for a correction. We know what side they’re on.


  19. mamapajamas says:

    Peter: “The Beeb aren’t there solely for RITA,they are also there for the revolution.”

    George at Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has nominated Justin Webb for “Commie Idiotarian Hall of Fame” for that piece of idiocy :).

    Personally, I hope Webb holds his breath waiting for that revolution… it would get him out of everyone’s way so neatly :). The only thing that would fix things in New Orleans would be an audit of the city’s fiscal records for the last 40 years or so!


  20. Susan says:

    Webb is a fool. You notice that even Paul Reynolds is not defending this moron.

    It’s scary that his kid is going to school with American kids. They might catch her dad’s socialist cooties.


  21. jgm says:

    Socialism is necrotizing:

    “Socialism is necrotizing.”

    Sure is.


  22. Cockney says:

    Gary P,

    Why don’t you organise one then? I think it’s less the evil ‘neolabs’ preventing this mass outcry and more the fact that nobody much really gives a monkeys.


  23. richard says:

    when the bbc sent justin webb mat frei and alistair leithead to strut their stuff in new orleans and houston they knew what to expect from them.and the egregious three knew what was wanted of them.and they produced it.
    had the bbc wanted integrity they may have sent lindsay brancher michal hussein and jonny diamond.
    but as i say the bbc knew what they wanted.


  24. Ian Barnes says:


    This is probably one of the worst things we will see in our time..

    The good people of Britain who have worked all their lives, paid taxes and participated in communities, now facing jail because they cannot afford the council tax increases and i believe this is the tip of the iceberg..

    New Labour have stabbed their own people in the Back. They’ve abandonned the British people in their hour of need, and i too will go to jail if need be..

    I am not paying for increases in council tax that only got to fund final salary pensions for government workers, who can then retire happily on full benefits from 55. When i have to work until i’m 69..

    No way, the government can go to hell.

    Gordon Brown sure is going to inherit a troubled PMship.


  25. Cockney says:

    Rather than concern themselves with half ars*d analyses of the American psyche, why doesn’t the BBC conduct a (sensible, non partisan)in-depth study of the options for post-Katrina reconstruction and the potential implications for the budget deficit. Better still, why doesn’t it look in more depth at the Germany situation, or the fledgling Japanese recovery both of which are of more importance for Britain than a few wet but largely unharmed Texans? Whether biased or not (and as far as I can see it is), the BBC’s obsession with guff about how Americans might ‘feel’ is becoming increasingly tedious – there isn’t an election for years, there clearly isn’t going to be a ‘revolution’ and polls suggest that recent events have merely deepened the existing ideological divide anyway rather than shifted allegiences so who cares? Give us some f**king real news.


  26. Ian Barnes says:

    The BBC have the audacity to call the lady a “rebel”, well in that context, its a bit rich from the bbc. Given that they call suicide bombers in Israel “freedom fighters”.

    In that case i liken this woman’s plight to the freedom fighter cause, and i support her 100%.

    Better start building more jails, because they’re going to be full of people like her very soon…

    Forget the criminals we couldnt actually put them away, that would offend their human rights…yeah right pull the other one..


  27. Cockney says:

    Ian, I agree that council tax isn’t fair on pensioners, but what are you suggesting? That tax should be voluntary as long as one can come up with enough bluster about why it’s all wasted. Brown may be inheriting a less than perfect economic situation but unless the Conservatives or anyone else can come up with some policy rather than banging on about how disgraceful everything is they haven’t got a hope in hell.

    Aren’t you a student anyway?


  28. Loose says:

    American reporters are not perfect, but most of them are trained in “objective” journalism, in English. So why the hell are we sending clowns like Justin Webb on an all-expenses junket? A satellite hook up to a local or even network US station is a lot cheaper. All Webb and the rest of the bbc crew of losers seem interested in doing is to bark about the poor and the lack of buses and the coming revolution, etc. Reminds me of that great line from West Side Story about venal, presumably poor types: They’re depraved on account of they’re deprived, and they’re deprived on account of they’re depraved.


  29. Anonymous says:

    Cockney, council taxes are raised by local councils because central government reduces the funding for councils in general.

    Its been happening for years, and is a means of Gordon to gain extra income without himself having to raise taxes. Its a deceiving way of making it look like the council is solely to blame.

    I’d say you cannot expect people to continually pay for outrageous rises in council tax when there is no visible difference. And besides when most of the money raised goes on government workers final salary pension schemes, i;m afraid the government can go to hell.

    I’m not paying for that, and i doubt many other people will..Its not fair.

    The conservatives for example, have consistently proved that councils run by them have delivered effecient services and balanced the books..

    Under this lot, they couldnt balance your tyres let alone anything else..

    Cockney, you’re line of questioning ever intreagues me…i can’t decide if you actually work for New Labour, the BBC, or perhaps another newspaper?
    Or maybe just an individual interested in stirring the pot so to speak…

    I like discussing with you, i find it, well for want of a better word interesting..


  30. Ian Barnes says:

    The post above is by me, Ian


  31. Frank P says:


    >They’re depraved on account of they’re deprived and they’re deprived on account of they’re depraved< The perfect definition of a vicious circle. Moreover, 'twas ever thus and forever will be.


  32. Comrade Cheree says:

    If ‘Socialism is Necrotising’ by “Socialism is Necrotising” then what influence does Communism have on our Government and the BBC bearing in mind the following?: –

    Tessa Jowell ex-Communist party member.

    Dr. John Reid ex- Communist party member.

    Charles Clarke ex- Communist party member.

    Peter Hain ex-Young Communist.

    Peter Mandelson ex-Young Communist.

    Alan Johnson strongly influenced by Communist party.

    Patricia Hewitt (Ex-Liberty), David Miliband along with Harriet Harman (ex-Liberty) {and Shami Chakrabarti [Liberty] ā€¢ therefore possibly why we have to endure her painful glory seeking appearances on the anti-British Broadcasting Corporations political programmes} have/are apparently strongly influenced by the father of the UK Communist party John Saville.

    David Milibandā€˜s father was a member of Communist party.

    Cherie Blairā€™s father was/is a member of the Communist party.

    Tony Blairā€™s father was a member of the Communist party.


  33. Cockney says:

    Ian, I work in finance in the City. I’ve got no ‘agenda’ and I’m not a raving left winger, I just find this a splendid place to have a really good argument in order to break up another looooooong day’s work.

    I certainly agree that Conservative councils are better run (although in fairness their citizens are generally wealthier and less expensively reliant on council services). Many Labour councillors are appalling left wing incompetents, but at the end of the day people vote for them. If you object to house price linked council tax or would rather pay for less services you can use your vote and attempt to get this changed.

    Isn’t it a bit churlish to arbitrarily decide that you’re not complying with the law because ‘it’s not fair’ (obviously if you genuinely can’t pay it’s a different matter)? Where do you draw the line? If a government or hopeless council that I despised was voted in I might think about working abroad elsewhere in the country but otherwise I’d have to lump it and work towards getting them kicked out next time.


  34. Ian Barnes says:

    Well put Comrade Cheree, i’m glad to see someone else here has recognised the Communist undertones with this government..


  35. Ian Barnes says:

    Hi Cockney.

    I think its more a case that the people can’t afford to pay it and live..pensioners on the whole don’t have that much spare can they be expected to continually pay really high council tax?

    I think its really quite bad..and i do fully support this lady and the vicar who went to jail 2 weeks ago for the same thing…its going to get worse..


  36. Ian Barnes says:

    Anyone see that the BBC’s coverage of the HAMAS attack on Israel has now turned into the Israelis fault?

    Hamas started off by firing over 40 rockets at the Israelis and quite rightly the Israelis replied back.

    And yet the BBC implies that it was the Israelis fault..????


  37. Comrade Cheree says:

    Hi Ian Barnes,

    We all know that we are paying our TV licence fees to support the anti-British Broadcasting Corporations pro-Palestian political movement. Try reading the UK’s Communist party’s homepage and , surprise – surprise, so do they!


  38. Frank P says:

    Comrade Cheree

    Actually, I’ve never seen his membership card but it has in the past been widely reported that Tony Blair’s father was a Conservative. As for the party membership of the others, though I suspect it may be true, have you any links that can substantiate the data?


  39. APL says:

    Ian Barnes gets hot under the collar about a lady who in the BBC report is described as ‘a retired social worker’.

    Well, there is some justice in the world after all. This lady has been on the government payroll, by implication not paying any tax and now drawing a pension that she has probably not contributed to either.

    It is good to see that the machine will happily roll over its own faithfull servants along with the rest of us.

    Ian also says ‘..the BBC have the audacity to call the lady a “rebel”‘.

    Ironic don’t you think?


  40. Cockney says:

    Ian, I assume from her desire to see the ‘abolition’ of council tax that she favours replacement with a local income tax (which sounds a bit Lib-Dem) or a ‘community charge’ (which I recall lead to far greater protests than some pensioners in Devon) or she doesn’t think anyone should pay any tax at all (which would have been interesting to see in action had her party been elected). What would you do?


  41. Rob White says:

    Last paragraph here…

    BBC’s world editor Jonathan Baker…

    “If things are not going well, he is there to be criticised, and if they were going much better he would expect to take the credit,” he said.

    MMMmmm – cant see ANY news coverage or comments praising Mr Bush on the (B)BBC.

    Blood pressure rises slightly…


  42. dan says:

    Ian Barnes I am not paying for increases in council tax that only got to fund final salary pensions for government workers, who can then retire happily on full benefits from 55. When i have to work until i’m 69..

    As APL has pointed out above, this lady is a retired public servant & a recipient of a final salary pension.

    I would have some respect for her if she was demanding a reduction in wasteful public spending, rather than just expecting services without additional cost. Unfortunately as a former social worker she will be ignorant of the price of fish & will have been unable to see that extra services result in tax increases in excess of inflation.


  43. dan says:

    Give us some f**king real news.

    Dead right, Cockney. We get constant non-news stories from the US whilst the army of BBC European correspondents seem to have a job that does not involve filing reports.


  44. dan says:

    Loose “A satellite hook up to a local or even network US station is a lot cheaper.”

    Yes, I’ve seen a comment here excusing the BBC’s extravagance in sending an army to Texas. That commentor thought that Sky could use less staff as it could utilise Fox News facilities. But the BBC does have some sort of partnership deal with ABC (for instance it carries ABC’s radio news on R5). It could have relied on ABC for most of its hurricane video.


  45. Ritter says:

    R4 Today this morning interview Gordon Brown, our Chancellor from the centre-left party. What was the line of questioning? Putting the centre-right alternative arguments? eg how about a flat tax? No chance. Humphries put the far-left arguments to him eg on “Equality” – shouldn’t all be equal?, typical far left/communist party doctrine.

    OT BBC quick to post re jail for council tax pensioner….ever seen a BBC News story about the countless poor & single mums fined for telly tax evasion?….imagine the headline:

    “Prison for telly tax protest single mum/pensioner”

    Not much chance of that being published.


  46. dan says:

    Is the jailed ex-social worker tax rebel happy that social workers spend their time dreaming up rules such as this?

    A scheme at Calderdale Royal Hospital has banned visitors from asking new mums questions or looking at their babies in maternity wards.
    It has been introduced by neo-natal staff to protect the baby’s “right to privacy.”

    Debbie Lawson, neo-natal manager at the Special Care Baby Unit, said the barrage of questions infringed on the child’s human rights.


  47. dan says:

    The BBC continue to give the BA’s illegal strikers a free pass, implying that planes were grounded merely for a lack of food & that the baggage handlers had some connection with the employees at different firm, ie Gate Gourmet

    The strike action by Gate Gourmet staff led to planes being grounded at Heathrow last month.

    Neither do they pick up on the (non- American) management of Gate Gourmet claiming lies being told by the T&G, & the extent to which the GG staff had pushed their luck with illegal strikes.,,170-1797903,00.html

    Mr Born, managing director of Gate Gourmet, said the workers were only sacked when his company decided to stand up to the illegal walk-out in August after “giving in” to six previous wildcat strikes.


  48. Ritter says:

    OT Not BBC bias but an example of ho public sector funding gives organisations plenty of time to ponder whacky left wing agendas…..

    “Tate ‘misunderstood’ banned work”

    “Tate Britain “misunderstood” a piece of art it took out of a show to avoid religious offence, its creator said.”

    and what religious group might be ‘offended’? I’m taking bets….

    “The gallery cancelled plans to display John Latham’s God Is Great, concerned in particular that it could upset Muslims after London’s 7 July bombings.



  49. richard says:

    the bbc and nineteenth century literature.

    if the bbc had their license cancelled and reduced to producing pride and prejudice,middlemarch and emma i might well invest in them.
    i would have one condition however.i would not accept justin webb as darcy or orla guerin a elizabeth bennet.


  50. Ritter says:

    Re BBC anti-US bias

    Lord Wilson & his independent panel appointed by the BBC Govenors to investigate the quality of European Reporting on BBC News, said this in their findings published January 2005:

    “there is a widespread perception that the BBC suffers from certain forms of cultural and unintentional bias” and that “the BBC’s coverage of EU news needs to be improved and to be made more demonstrably impartial”.

    You could substitute the words “EU” for “American” to the above findings to accurately reflect the quality of Webb & Frei’s recent reports from the USA today. Some of Webb and Frei’s mistakes reflect a basic ignorance of US governance arrangements. They need training to improve their knowledge and therefore inform their reporting, to ensure it is accurate rather than misleading. Why is this not being addressed by the new “BBC College of Journalism?”

    It’s about time the likes of Webb & Frei spent 15 mins in front of a computer informing themselves about the country they aim to report from. Might I suggest they start with the BBC’s own guide…..

    An Overview of Governments in the United States