Anyone catch “Any Questions” on the BBC this lunchtime? I listened to a few minutes of Saint Vince Cable playing to the loudly applauding audience by a/ Mocking Fox and Rupert Murdoch and b/ Pretending that “our” NHS must operate without those voracious reptiles from the Private Sector. Vince can rely on the BBC to at least try to keep his political career afloat.


A man waves goodbye to a passenger on a bus heading into Egypt at the Rafah crossing (28 May 2011)
The BBC seem pretty euphoric about the decision by the Egyptian military to open the Rafah crossing into Gaza. Naturally this is presented as the most benign and enlightened decision one could imagine. Israeli concerns are mentioned but presented as more begrudgery, in true BBC fashion. The fact that Hamas can now get much needed armaments more easily is dismissed as a mere detail as we are all asked to join in BBC praise for the alleged Arab Spring. I heard James Naughtie on Today this morning waxing lyrical about the new Egypt. No mentions of the gang rape of Lara Logan in Freedom Square, no mention of the emerging Nazi Party, no mention of the looming triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood. A secular-ish Egypt is morphing into a new Iran and the BBC can see nothing wrong in that – after all – if you hate Israel you can’t be all that bad, right?


Is the BBC news operation now simply the formal mouthpiece of a number of environmental activists? The WWF – probably the world’s wealthiest group of eco-fascists, swimming in billions of dollars of cash – is bellyaching that strawberry growing in Spain is a scandal. Don’t get me wrong; I am all in favour of sensible preservation of wetlands, and illegal water extraction can be a a menace. But this is more than that, it’s fervent, idealistic hate-the-farmer grandstanding. Never mind the 50,000 souls who depend on soft fruit growing; WWF has decreed they are wicked and it’s trying to stop them making a living. In fact, strawberry growing, it seems, is a greenie hornet’s nest of soul-searching about carbon footprints; here, a pair of intrepid investigative reporters at the Guardian have calaculated to the nearest ounce the respective “carbon footprints” of strawberries from Spain or Scotland. Golly gosh, how wonderful it is that they have so much time to pursue such vital public-interest stories.

The BBC, of course, is up to its neck in this activism and backs it to the hilt. Back in 2007, it was faithfully reporting the WWF eco-fascist efforts in Spain and printed virtually line-for-line its call for a boycott on buying strawberries. Yesterday, it re-visited the story, presenting exactly the same facts, in the same strident, one-sided way. Clearly, the original propaganda burst did not do the trick – and those pesky, selfish farmers are still trying to make a living.

Mark Mardell’s Crisis of Faith, Part III

BBC North America editor Mark Mardell has posted his summary and analysis of the President’s visitation to Ireland and England (not the UK, but England, as we’ll see in a moment). Poor Mardell has been questioning his faith in The Obamessiah for a few weeks now, ever since He decided to listen to reason become a reluctant warrior and finally get on board lead the attack on Libya from behind. Mardell was pretty open about his opinion of military action in previous posts, and is equally revealing here. But his ultimate disappointment is betrayed by the headline:

Obama’s historic speech fails to soar

Aw, poor dear. This isn’t objective analysis, but the expression of a disappointed fan when the latest project by his hero fails to live up to expectations. Mardell shows just how twisted his world view is, and his personal biases are as clear as ever. He certainly didn’t mention the bumbling errors the President made, like writing 2008 in the guest book or screwing up the toast to the Queen or acting like His Irish ancestor meant that He shared the British heritage. Or that He kept saying “England”, when it’s supposed to be Britain or the UK. Imagine if Bush had kept saying England like that, or done any of these things. The Beeboids would have led every programme with a laugh, across the spectrum of broadcasting.

Before getting into what disappointed him, though, Mardell spoke sympathetically about a colleague’s desire to share in this historic event:

I was talking to a colleague beforehand about the eternal tension for broadcast journalists, whether to watch such a speech from an edit suite – which can make practical sense when time is short – or live, which we would all prefer.

He complained: “I’m not going to tell my grandchildren I watched Obama from a cutting room!”

Surely this colleague is a Beeboid, or Mardell would have said he wasn’t, as this is so blatantly impartial. Sadly for the North America editor, the speech didn’t live up to his expectations, but I thought the “historic” bit was that it was The Obamessiah, and the first time a US President spoke at Westminster and not about the content of the speech. But Mardell shares in this worship, and sees nothing biased about his colleague’s attitude or in telling you about it.

So what did Mardell find wrong? Essentially, he felt that the President was too American for his tastes. Sure, he tried to make it sound as if the speech was incoherent, the logic poorly constructed. Have we ever heard Mardell say such a thing about His oration? Only when it’s a message he doesn’t like, like bombing Libya. Mardell does just what defenders of the indefensible accuse us of doing on this blog: complaining when the BBC reports something we don’t like, instead of making an objective case for what they did wrong. Read this bit, and then consider whether or not Mardell says anything further to support the statement:

But it didn’t quite work. It was flat and lacked soaring passion. That is part of the Obama conundrum. Sometimes this tremendous orator doesn’t pull it off. It is often when the argument is over-constructed and the raw emotion can’t burst through the stretched logic.

Nowhere does Mardell explain how the speech didn’t hold together, where the ideas expressed failed to connect into the wonderful whole he was looking for. Instead he complains about certain things the President said, and then reveals his own world view.

For example, the whole middle section of Mardell’s piece is simply laying out various central ideas of the speech. He points out how the President spoke of the historical foundations of the Magna Carta through to how the US and UK still stand for freedom of the individual without state oppression. The rights of liberty espoused by the US and the UK are, the President said, universal rights. This sounds suspiciously like the Bush Doctrine, and so it’s here where Mardell gets upset.

“The future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people’s children and grandchildren are more prosperous and more free – from the beaches of Normandy to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interests and our ideals. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place, and what kind of world would we pass on?”

Think about this statement for a moment. This is the kind of American exceptionalism that the BBC hates, the kind that the anti-Bush Leftoids in the US hate, but what most people in the US wanted to hear at last from the first post-American President. It also sounds pretty reasonable. But not to Mark Mardell.

That to me is the key sentence: “Who would take our place?”

He doesn’t spell it out, but it is a reminder many of the rising powers don’t value democracy and human rights. Those that do may not have the desire to promote them in the muscular way that Britain and America can and do – at the point of a gun.

There are two unbelievably biased and wrong-headed things in that last sentence. First of all, I’d like to ask Mardell which “rising powers” are going to promote democracy and human rights at all? I don’t mean which countries are trying to get it right at home, but which ones are, as the term “promote” implies, trying to spread it around and encourage it elsewhere in the world? It’s a fantasy, yet Mardell is ideologically wedded to pacifist isolationism, otherwise known as sticking your head in the sand and keeping it there while someone kicks you in the ass.

Second, and the most biased bit, is Mardell’s lazy sneer: “at the point of a gun”. He’s said it before, and used similar pejorative phrases, about military actions of which he doesn’t approve, and it’s a personal political view. He’s entitled to his opinion, but he is not, as the BBC North America editor, entitled to tell you what foreign policy is correct or not. Yet he does it over and over again.

Where’s the logic failure of the speech, then? How do the President’s points not cohere? Mardell is being dishonest here, either with himself or with his readers. It’s just that he doesn’t like it when his beloved Obamessiah displays attitudes which he finds distasteful: basic US attitudes.

Looking back on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, some won’t think that such a bad thing.

Some won’t, no. But he does anyway. And then we see Mardell’s heart close to breaking.

But here Mr Obama is nearer to a neo-con than the anti-war movement.

Shed a tear. My God, how can this be? I guess Mardell has been in denial for the past two years as the President ramped up two wars, expanded one of them into Pakistan while killing more people via drones than Bush ever dreamed of, and joined in a third war.

Mr Obama, who went on to talk about the strength of the UK and USA’s “patchwork heritage”, two nations based on values not ethnicity, can get away with this. From an old white man it would have sounded like colonial arrogance.

You know, perhaps it’s just me, but when I look at the President, I don’t see a black man first and foremost. I see a man. The color of His skin is about as relevant as His height or the fact that He’s left-handed. Meaning it’s not relevant at all here. It’s irrelevant to the content of His character or, in this case, His speech. Yet Mardell sees a black man first, and hears the words through that filter. Who’s the real racist here, Mark? Rev. Martin Luther King would be very disappointed.

Aside from that, why on earth would it sound like colonial arrogance to say that our shared values and strength are color-blind and universal? Well, here Mardell is extrapolating from that to the idea of bringing democracy to Libya “at the point of a gun”. When whites do it, I suppose, it’s colonialism. When a black man does it, it’s still wrong, according to Mardell, but not quite as wrong. Again, this is just Mardell’s personal bias against the military action against Libya. He’s entitled his personal opinion, but is not entitled to tell you how to think.

Mardell closes by repeating his earlier assertion that the speech didn’t work.

He got near to the heart of the argument about the way the USA and its allies behave in the world, but he didn’t quite make it all the way.

Which argument, Mark? The one the President was actually trying to make, or the one you wanted Him to? It sounded to me like the President was pretty clear about it all. It’s only unclear if one wanted to hear a totally different attitude.

This felt like an attempt to mix too many elements. Flattering Britain, promoting the essential relationship, American exceptionalism, Britain’s role in creating it, universal values.

So Mardell’s bias is pretty obvious. He just doesn’t like any of these things.

They were all there, but like oil and water stayed stubbornly apart.

Really, how so? What didn’t work? How? Mardell doesn’t ever bother to say. He just claims up front it didn’t work, and then repeats the claim at the end, with no substance offered in between to back it up.

It is perhaps the most important argument in the world today. I want to hear more.

No, Mark. You wanted to hear something else entirely.

One other thing wrong with all of Mardell’s reporting on the President’s visit – as well as that of the entire BBC staff, both on air and online – is that nobody dared express a concern about how inappropriate this campaign trip to an adoring audience of non-voters (for that’s what this was, if we’re honest) was while the Midwest has been battered by floods and tornadoes, with entire towns wiped off the face of the earth, with hundreds dead and hundreds more missing. Never mind the economic troubles He’s running from. Not a single Beeboid raised an eyebrow at this all week long. All out of blind worship of The Obamessiah come among them.


As the BBC constantly reminds us, it’s an era of public spending cuts and these nasty right-wing policies are allegedly hurting us all. Not, however, when it comes to tipping money down the drain on green schemes. Here the BBC doesn’t discuss the cost or impact at all – it instead routinely gives platforms for greenie zealots to pontificate why even more of our cash should be wasted.

NuLabour decreed back in 2009 that, despite the recession, at least £30m should be spent on providing charging points for electric cars – those inefficient, ugly CO2-guzzling death traps that only zealous eco-fanatics actually want. They are only being made because of the availability of huge manufacturing subsidies. Green-nut Boris Johnson, however, thinks they are a good idea, and he’s spending every penny of the available government subsidies on wheeling out thousands more charging points. True to form, the BBC mentions nothing at all about the cost, doesn’t take the opportunity to discuss the important (and only relevant) news point about the embarassingly low take-up of electric cars, and quotes a Green party member who predictably bellyaches that the shiny new points don’t use electricity from renewable energy. You couldn’t make it up.


I’ve been following the debate on the proposed changes to the allowable criteria schools can use when determining which pupils they will accept. What interests me is that the BBC frames the debate within a social engineering context leaving out any reference to academic ability. The Con-Libs seek to provide Academies and Free Schools with the ability to discriminate on an income basis – the poorer the family the better. Now I would have expected the BBC would provide a forum for someone who thinks this is morally and academically inappropriate but no such luck. It seems to me that so long as Government goes down an anti-academic social engineering pathway, the BBC gives it a bye. The fact that our Education system is corrupted as a consequence is a minor detail.

Question Time LiveBlog 26th May 2011

Question Time comes tonight from a location they’ve decided not to share with us (at the time of typing this) on the BBC QT website. Tripoli maybe? Some newly-vacated office-space in Abbottabad, Pakistan? UPDATE: Exeter

On the panel we have Conservative MP and novelist Louise Bagshawe, Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne MP, Labour MP Hilary Benn, Britain’s former Ambassador to the United States and Press Complaints Commission Chairman Sir Christopher Meyer and media lawyer Charlotte Harris.

The LiveBlog will also stay open for the surreal This Week, with Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo.

David Vance, TheEye and David Mosque will be moderating the abuse here from 10:30pm. See you later!


The BBC’s bias against Israel is not merely a case of offending a few Zionists. It has serious ramifications.

Who can blame people for being inflamed with outrage if they are fed a continual stream of myths and lies?
Under our system, politicians depend upon votes to keep them in position, so they are obliged to pander to the will of their constituents. An ill-informed, misinformed public exposes a fundamental flaw in democracy. Naturally, if the masses were informed and educated, democracy would still be the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried, as Churchill said. As it is, it might not even be the best of a bad lot. If our government abandons reason, the BBC has a lot to answer for.

Honest Reporting:

“Israeli PM Netanyahu’s address to Congress has provoked a variety of reactions. While Netanyahu delivered one speech, how the media consuming public heard it was entirely dependent on the focus or interpretation and possibly even the bias of the particular media outlet or journalist writing the story. And the story itself becomes dependent on the lens through which it is delivered.

For some media outlets, the focus was on what Netanyahu was prepared to concede in pursuit of peace with the Palestinians and the painful concessions necessary. For others the interpretation was of a hardline address presented in terms of Netanyahu’s apparent “rejectionism” and unwillingness to compromise.”

BBC: Promoting the Palestinian Narrative

“The BBC buried a pitiful 2.5 min video of the speech along with three short paragraphs in its US& Canada news section. Instead, unlike all the other media outlets above, the BBC preferred to focus on Palestinian reaction to the speech rather than the contents of the speech itself, devoting all of its Middle East news section coverage to emphasizing the Palestinian narrative above the points that Netanyahu presented.

In addition, the BBC continues to use a map of Israel’s borders, which falsely shows Gaza as being “occupied”, a situation that has not been the case since Israel’s 2005 disengagement.”

Those revealing Tweets expose the depth of the problem, it’s endemic.