They did it!

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the result is historic. As for the BBC’s coverage, well thanks for your comments. Iain Dale was also unimpressed, and as evidence of the Beeb’s standing at home and abroad, here’s an American perspective:

The real fun network of the night was BBC America, which picked up the BBC feed being aired back in England. The coverage played like a good-natured “Idiot’s Guide to the American Election,” with references to such states as “North Hampshire.”

After all the hard work, though, it’s only right that the last word goes to the Beeb. And who better than John Simpson (a troll challenge here: can anyone make a convincing case Simpson might have voted Republican?) :

The United States has seen the biggest transformation in its standing in the world since the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1960.

This is a country which has habitually, sometimes irritatingly, regarded itself as young and vibrant, the envy of the world. Often this is merely hype. But there are times when it is entirely true.

With Barack Obama’s victory, one of these moments has arrived

UPDATE: Iain Dale fleshes out his criticism of the Beeb’s coverage here: references to John Bolton’s outburst, “car crash TV”, and a note that this should be David Dimbleby’s last election make it well worth reading.

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143 Responses to They did it!

  1. Hugh says:

    BTW anyone got a link to video of Bolton criticising the Beeb’s coverage?


  2. whitewineliberal says:

    bbc’s coverage was better and more balanced than
    itn’s and sky’s I thought. lots about the republicans this morning.


  3. Laban says:

    Are the corridors of Shepherds Bush awash with empty champagne bottles this morning ? I think we should be told.


  4. Peter says:

    Just watching BBC Breakfast News and the invited guests, one of whom has said that ‘if he (Mr. Obama) can do this, maybe he can solve Iraq’. O……k. No clue as to how this might happen. Maybe it will be via ‘change’.

    The bouffant is still in the USA so they left the blonde to handle this… um, news… programme.

    Democracy in action, and congrats to the successful candidate and those who voted for him. But as the term ‘managing expectations’ was used by the BBC and its talking heads a few times, I’d really like to see a little less micro-managing of how I need to think according to their idealised groupthink, and a little more factual, objective information with reasoned analysis from balanced commentators. (Note: a series of Democrat sisters in support… not the greatest start)

    At the very least I hope we can no longer be told there are any ceilings in place and any candidate and any issue can now be decided on merit rather than various ‘ist’ issues.


  5. TaffDragon says:

    Is America ageist?


  6. frankos says:

    bbc’s coverage was better and more balanced than
    itn’s and sky’s I thought. lots about the republicans this morning

    I disagree
    Overall the coverage was disappointing and the BBC far too inclined to back Obama –giving him the benefit of the doubt about his policies– There will be a honeymoon period with the new administration but the BBC had better start doing some decent objective jounalism (which it is very well paid for) as soon as possible.


  7. Hugh says:

    Whitewine – are you Mike Lloyd?


  8. James Sutherland says:

    Kennedy … that would be the same President Kennedy who got America into that wonderful foreign policy success, VIETNAM?

    Sadly, I suspect Obama will indeed be that “successful”, as Mr 57 States makes good on his pledge to explode spending and jack up taxes even in ways it’s already known both cut government income and harm the economy. I wonder how the Beeb will spin the exploding deficit and collapsing economy over the next four years: memory hole (‘forget’ their support now), or just lie as with Brown’s nonsense about us being “best placed” to weather the downturn, while everyone who actually knows what they’re talking about knows it’s more a case of “hardest hit”?


  9. Peter says:

    Well, after some entirely understandable and valid post-election, pre-swearing-in and ongoing interest in one of the planet’s more significant countries, I am hoping the British Broadcasting Corporation, Inc. might just address a few more local issues, possibly even with some critical insights and not just a series of carefully-selected on-tap West London luvvies to tell me how life is sweet.

    Otherwise I may have to suggest that if one is still forced to pay one’s fee, and choses to do so, it might be better to do so in $.


  10. jeffD says:

    whitewineliberal…..’lots about the republicans this morning.’

    You really are a stupid c*** aren’t you!Elections over now so you can go back to your desk at the bbc and collect a little bonus.


  11. henryflower says:

    Time and again last night, I heard Obama backers describing the fact that when the economy had gone belly-up, Obama had proved a steady hand on the tiller, and when he was described by one Democrat pundit as the candidate who “looked like a guy who would know what to do”, I took it as read that the BBC host would ask the pundit, “So what would he do? Exactly how will he rescue the US economy?”

    But no. Of course, no. Awkward questions. Just luxuriate in the changeness of everything.

    I’ve never seen an election in which democracy and accountability have been so badly served by the media. Not merely by the BBC, to be sure, but as far as a licence fee payer is concerned, most inexcusably by the BBC.

    Anyway, I was never one of those who came here to excoriate Obama or confidently predict a McCain victory, and I don’t want supporters of the Republicans to start getting as deranged and as Manichean is Democrats have been during the Bush years. I hope we’ll stay more sensible. I hope Obama does a good job, though I’m not necessarily optimistic. More importantly, I hope the media honeymoon is brief, and the BBC – having seen their man elected – actually begin to do what we pay them to do.

    If they don’t, we shouldn’t pay them. As far as I’m concerned, their coverage of this election alone would, in a fairer world, lead to the scrapping of the licence fee.


  12. Martin says:

    It will be interesting to see how long the BBC can resist itself and not start attacking America once Jesus takes over.

    Of course the BBC now has an historical hate figure to replace Reagan in George Bush. Just like Thatcher, he will get the blame for everything that goes wrong for Obama.

    I also wonder how long it will take the BBC to try to compare Gordon Brown to Obama?


  13. Roland Deschain says:

    henryflower: I hope the media honeymoon is brief, and the BBC – having seen their man elected – actually begin to do what we pay them to do.

    Why do you think they might? We’re still waiting for them to do this with Gordon Brown.


  14. frankos says:

    I see that Gordon Brown sees Obamas election as a vindication of his policy of the vast overbearing Nanny State.God help all the taxpayers of USA and GB


  15. Peter says:

    Oh boy, less than a day in and Aunty is now giving vent to whether Senator O could be called ‘black’. Do what? It was not supposed to be anything to do with racial issues.

    I have to say that watching most of the joyous electorate featured, who did indeed appear to come from a certain racial group, along with the interviewees on the sofa (‘Us’???? Does that make me ‘them’?. Interesting integration call, Aunty), were not too concerned about policies.

    Oh well. Only one way to go now…

    Ru Paul for President!


  16. Jeff says:

    whitewineliberal “bbc’s coverage was better and more balanced than
    itn’s and sky’s I thought. lots about the republicans this morning.”

    I’d have to agree with that.


  17. Arthur Dent says:

    Well a clear victory for the one. Listening to his acceptance speech last night it was powerfully reminiscent of Tony Blairs ‘things can only get better’ moment.

    Interesting information on the state of US politics. This is supposed to be a transformational ‘change’. Well although the electoral college looks like a landslide the popular vote figures show a different story

    The popular vote currently stands at 51.3% to Obama against 47.4% for McCain. IN comparison to 2004 which was 50.7% Bush, 48.3% Kerry what you actually see is a small movement of votes in a country that is still deeply divided politically. [Hattip: Dizzy]


  18. Peter says:

    Where does the BBC get these ‘comedians’ that they wheel out to comment on… political issues?

    Just watching on… Breakfast News… some bloke I have never heard of or seen before be a) not funny and b) trot out a series of ‘very personal views’… which just happen to fit what the BBC editorial staff like to hear but need to find mouthpieces to articulate who they can blame for being ‘edgy’.


  19. jjohn says:

    On BBC World Prof. Schama shaking his hand (just like Clinton did “I did not have, etc.”) wanting us (the viewers) to know now that “America has wiped out its original sin!”

    original sin! Jefferson’s pc faux pas has now been assauged. Oh I’m so happy now. Can’t wait until we get an Hispanic president, and I guess we can “purge” ourselves even more.

    When Brown took over from Blair we experienced the same deluded expectations by the dreamy left/MSM in the UK that great changes would happen in Iraq/ Afghanistan. It hasn’t. This is what is happening in the US right now. Chicago and all the political showmanship reminded me of the South Bank back in 1997. Isn’t this that Blair moment again?
    How long before the BBC starts talking about the first Black PM?


  20. adam says:

    Poor old john bolton. Can anyone explain what sent him over the top last night?


  21. Steve E. says:

    Loved how John Simpson popped up last night to inform us that he’s been ‘covering elections in the US since the 1960s’ (ie. he’s just flown in to Washington from wherever he’s been holidaying the past few weeks), then gets Madeleine Albright to parrot the party line about Iraq being ‘the greatest disaster in American foreign policy since Vietnam.’
    Job done, John.
    Meanwhile, Obama will face stiff negotiations with both the US military and the Iraqi government to draw up a definitive timetable for the withdrawal of American forces. Any analysis of this from the Beeb? Much like the rest of their coverage of the US elections, details have been comprehensively ignored. Still, we only have four years to work those out for ourselves…


  22. adam says:

    Given he is decendent of slavers how have they erased slavery.
    Simple minded Schama


  23. Grant says:

    Whitewineliberal 7:42

    You are still having a laugh, aren’t you ?

    Any comparison with commercial channels is irrelevant. The licence fee goes to the BBC, not them. The BBC was still fanatically biased in favour of Obama. Their coverage was a total disgrace.


  24. frankos says:
    Enjoy the party –the hangover might be a bit harder to take, once a few decisions and hard policy are required


  25. Kill the Beeb says:

    This puts BBC reporting in a dichotomy. How can they continue with the theme that “Americans are stupid” when there is now a black man in the whitehouse? (Notes to Beeboids. The name ‘Whitehouse’ has overtly racist connotations. Report it)

    By Beenoid definition this would make the American populace more than ‘geniuses’. It would make them gods!

    (Notes to Beeboids. There has never been a black prime minister because Britain is racist. Report it. There’s hope for Diane Abbot yet)


  26. Mailman says:

    or not made Frankos.

    I think Obama may be a problem, just as Clinton was a problem, when real hard decisions have to be made (like kicking the arse of some terrorist scum, who thanks to Clinton is still running around (albeit on a dialisis machine:)).

    Well, if nothing else Obama has proved one thing…that yes, you can BUY the presidency of the United States of America.

    Be interesting to see how the MSM spins all the issues that will come out of Obama’s returns on campaign funding.

    But mark my words, Obama has destroyed for ever the notion (if there really ever was one) that anyone can run for the presidency. If you have the money, you can do anything…that would appear to be at complete opposites with his socialist ideology wouldnt you think?


    ps. BTW, Im relieved to see the world hasnt actually ended…just yet, with the election of a black guy 🙂


  27. jjohn says:

    “Tear down this wall” Reagan in 1987

    “World court tells Israel to tear down illegal wall” Guardian headline (2004)

    “To those who will tear the world down- we will defeat you” BO (2008)

    Clarification needed clearly the BBC won’t help: what does he mean here? Who is exactly “tearing down the world”? Is this a coded reference to Islamic terrorism?


  28. whitewineliberal says:

    hugh – no. no connection
    to the bbc, as i’ve said on numerous occasions.


  29. DB says:

    John Bolton lets rip as the BBC’s favourite historian looks on in evident discomfort:


  30. Robert S. McNamara says:

    Many congratulations to Senator Obama on his decisive victory.


  31. adam says:

    “What you said was outrageous. You are guests in this country” – John Bolton

    Not been a good weak for Dimbledor. “Britains most respected historian” Simon-id do Obama-Schama called him a “wuss” in another highlight last night.


  32. DB says:

    This is pretty funny – video of an Obama-supporting Brummie journalist in Miami who is too drunk to write his own article so he copies and pastes it from the BBC website. He also tells his bosses at the Birmingham Mail to fuck off, so I’m not sure he has a job this morning.


  33. 漢字仮&#2151 says:

    JeffD throughs the C word at someone who says something he doesn’t like. I wonder if anybody will call him on it?

    I won’t hold my breath – I’ve seen plenty of rage directed against liberal commenters on this blog when they use even a hint of ad homenium though.


  34. Hugh says:

    What would you like the moderators to do 漢字仮ࡧ, ban the use of asterisks?


  35. knacker says:

    Re the Simpson/troll challenge: your money’s safe.

    Another safe prediction: Simpson, whose career is built on damning with faint praise, will never, ever appear on camera with John Bolton.


  36. 漢字仮&#2151 says:

    Oh for F***’s sake Hugh 😉 I’m saying that there seems to be a chorus of “play fair” comments when someone who expresses a viewpoint against the general flow of this blog uses ad homenium attacks but general silence when it flows the other way.


  37. Grant says:

    DB 10:13

    Thanks for the link to the John Bolton clip. It is a cracker. Dimblebore is so taken aback, he can’t even look Bolton in the face !


  38. Anti neocon says:

    Hahahahahaha. John “wiggy” Bolton threw his toys out of the pram!!!! Hahahahahaha. I’m surprised he didn’t start accusing everyone of being “islamofascists”!!!!. Hahahahahahaha.


  39. Grant says:

    Chinese contributor 10:36

    Agree with you about “ad hominem” arguments, but I don’t think it is a preserve of the right. The left’s orgy of personal hate towards Sarah Palin showed them at their nastiest, ugliest worst. Would you not agree ?


  40. Umbongo says:

    On Today this morning we get Obama’s victory speech in full. Who the hell wants to listen (or needs to listen!) to a highly predictable flood of platitudes – possibly of passing interest to political nerds in the US – from the winner of a foreign election? Speeches of electoral triumph and defeat are notable for their vacuity and irrelevance. This is not news. It is the BBC celebrating at inordinate length the success of its favourite son.

    Today then launched into an orgy of speculation about the US’s future and future policies under Obama. Hint to the BBC’s editorial staff: no-one knows – this isn’t news – the US is a foreign country – there’s little to say that hasn’t been said a 100,000 times in the past couple of months. But then this journalistic premature ejaculation goes with the BBC’s addiction to news in the future tense (eg “Gordon Brown will say”, Jacqui Smith will deny” etc) and failure to report all the facts and a little bit of context where it affects the BBC’s line on matters where it deems the punters require a “nudge” (cf climate change, Afghan/Iraqi wars, US presidential candidates).


  41. Hugh says:

    漢字仮ࡧ, That’s fair comment, but I would add he’d get less ad hominem if he actually constructed the odd argument for contributors to have a go at.

    Comments such as ‘I think the Beeb’s coverage was best’ and ‘I like Justin Webb’s blog’ don’t really cut it, and are – as I think he realises – a little irritating.


  42. Tom says:

    Does anyone know who the reporter who pissed off Bolton was…. and what he said that got the ambassador riled?


  43. Taiko-san says:

    Grant (it’s 漢字仮ࡧ btw – got round to changing that). I’m not making any such general left/right accusation – it’s just that this is a right leaning blog (oh yes it is!) and and I’ve noticed that shouts of “ad homenium” and “play fair” generally (but by all means not exlusively) get thrown left rather than right. Go to a left leaning blog and the positions are completely reversed.

    As for the Sarah Palin thing – yes some of the stuff thrown in her direction was pretty vile – it cut’s both ways, but, like I said, I’m not making an “all right wingers do this / all left wingers do that argument”, just making an observation on this blog.

    Here’s an example of some subtle BBC bias I noticed this morning. Did anyone hear the coverage of McCains consession speech? When McCain congratulated Obama there were a small amount of Boos from the crowd. The commentator jumpedon this and said something along the lines of “the boos from a small section of his supporters was in stark contrast to his statesman like speech”. Now I know that booing isn’t very gracious but, come on, they’ve been up all night and their guy didn’t get in – a few boos isn’t really worth wagging a dissaproving finger at and certainly isn’t confined to the republicans. In any election anywhere there is always a small section of the crowd who doesn’t take losing very well. I wonder if the BBC were so pious when they covered John Kerrys consession speech in 2004? Maybe they were (in which case I’d take it back) I’ll have to try and find it (anyone remember or do they have video?)


  44. Taiko-san says:

    Grant – you make a fair point yourself – he does seem to be a bit of a cheerleader!


  45. Taiko-san says:

    Sorry, the last post was directed at Hugh (although Grant makes good points too)


  46. adam says:

    Thats what i want to know.
    He was sat next to loony Schama and argued with that cow Katty Kay.
    It must have been something even worse than those two


  47. GCooper says:

    I thought Bolton was remarkably restrained. It only looks significant because so few are ever prepared to speak the truth to the BBC.


  48. Umbongo says:


    “Comments such as ‘I think the Beeb’s coverage was best’ and ‘I like Justin Webb’s blog’ don’t really cut it, and are – as I think he realises – a little irritating.”

    Then he should be ignored: there’s no point in entering a discussion with anybody where, in reality, there’s no argument, just an exchange of assertions. This behaviour diverts the purpose of this website which is to expose BBC bias: perhaps this is the motive for provoking such behaviour. The website was not (I believe) set up to pander to those who either use swearing and deliberate offensiveness as an argument (on either side) or use unsubstantiated personal opinion (eg your example – ‘I think the Beeb’s coverage was best’) to confirm or deny BBC bias.


  49. Robert S. McNamara says:

    John Bolton had to deal with tyrants, thugs and dictators and the handful of people at the UN who weren’t one of the above. But nothing in his career could’ve prepared him for having to deal with the BBC’s shenanigans.


  50. Ed R says:


    Not to put to finer a point on it, but Obama could have whipped his todger and swung it around at his victory speech – hey, it’s ok, he is the first black President!

    When will the Beeb realise that we don’t give a shit if he is white, black, brown, yellow, green, we care about whether that person has the right qualities for the job description.

    I do not believe Obama has those qualities.