The BBC Is A Foreign Bureau Of The White House Press Office

We all knew this was coming, ever since former BBC North America editor Justin Webb fretted that the US was in denial of our massive debt and that we were veering dangerously off the cliff of default. Last we heard from his successor, Mark Mardell, the President was taking a $4 trillion “gamble”, which even the current BBC North America editor recognized was a partisan stance and an attempt to roll the Republicans. He’s been on a vacation ever since, no doubt exhausted after having to watch a couple Republicans announce their candidacy for President, and even attending a Sarah Palin rally. Hopefully he had plenty of scented handkerchiefs to hand.

First of all, let’s recognize the sickness, prejudice, and partisan bias which allows an entire professional news organization with an alleged dedication to impartiality not only to let a British Government official joke about “right-wing nutters” without challenge or rebuke while much of the human race is hearing about how someone they’re also describing as a right-wing nutter slaughtered nearly nearly a hundred innocents in cold blood, but then use the insult as a running gag in news reports to defame a political party and millions of US citizens.

Of course, this isn’t a surprise at all, as the BBC allowed another Beeboid previously assigned to the US (Kevin Connolly) to insult hundreds of thousands of people on air with a sexual innuendo, and has no problem leaving it up on the BBC website for posterity. And we don’t need to revisit Justin Webb’s viciousness and personal attacks on Sarah Palin.

UPDATE: In case there was any doubt about which side the BBC is on:

Republicans attack Obama as they push their budget plan

David Vance has already called your attention to Mardell’s bias in a post below, and John Anderson has provided in the comments plenty of evidence of alternative viewpoints which show that it’s really the President who is acting in partisan bad faith, as well as other examples of the BBC using the “right-wing nutter” epithet to influence their audience in a certain partisan direction.

So I’m going to address specific points Mardell makes, and demonstrate just how biased he and the BBC are when it comes to supporting the leader of a foreign country.

First, let’s consider Mardell’s remark about Cable’s insult.

If they are nutters, they are remarkably successful ones.

The truth is that Tea Party-backed Republicans are winning this fight over raising the debt ceiling.

At the risk of violating Godwin’s Law, I should point out that Hitler was also a remarkably successful nutter, as were Stalin and Kim Jong-Il. So calling them successful in no way detracts from their mental illness. My point is that Mardell is quite comfortable leaving the impression that people who agree with every single credit ratings agency concerned about the US fixing its economic plans are nutters. Are the experts at Moody’s and Standard & Poors right-wing nutters? They’re ready to lower the US’s credit rating if things don’t get even slightly fixed. One only needs to watch them and the markets to understand which side worries them. Mardell allows that the Republicans are winning the argument, but he makes it clear that they are wrong. His word games reveal his partisan bias.

It is far from over. But they’ve already won the argument that America’s debt has to be dealt with. They’ve wrung really deep cuts from Mr Obama.

This is just a stupid thing to say. The President Himself knows that the debt needs to be dealt with. He’s made statement after statement for weeks telling us we need to deal with it. I realize Mardell’s been on vacation, but this is unacceptable. Everyone in the country has known for ages that we need to do something. It’s stupid – there’s no other word for it – to say that the Republicans somehow won the argument that we need to do something.

What Mardell may mean – and I’m going way, way out on a limb and giving him the tiniest benefit of the doubt here – is that the Republicans have won the public over into thinking that they have a better plan than the President. Oh, hell, what am I thinking? Of course that’s not what he means. It was just a stupid thing to say, an attempt to appear impartial and give some kind of credit to his the President’s opponent without really meaning it.

As for having “wrung really deep cuts”, that’s hardly true at all. It’s really more like tiny cuts spread out over ten years. The problem for Mardell and his ideological fellow travelers is that, compared to the President’s plan which would actually increase spending, any cut looks deep. Worse, Mardell dishonestly frames this as only the President compromising with nothing given back by the nasty old Republicans. He then reinforces that perception.

They’ve probably stopped Democrats from putting up taxes as part of any final package. It is a pretty straight ideological fight between left and right.

This is where we being to stray into White House talking points. Now that His reputation as a centrist who brings people together is basically non-existent in the public’s mind, it’s in the President’s best interests to keep everyone thinking that both sides are being exclusively partisan. As long as everyone is thinking, “A pox on both their houses,” He doesn’t look like the only petty child in the room, and can get away with pretending that only He reached across the aisle. It’s pretty sad that it’s come to this, but that’s how it is.

So why the charge of nuttiness ?

It’s that Tea Party, again.

At least we’re not racists. For the moment, anyway. That will probably come tomorrow, after a couple sharp BBC News producers come up with an angle to show how the Norwegian mass murderer was a Tea Partier at heart.

The reason House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and the Republican leadership is being so hard-line is because the Tea Party put the iron in their soul.

Those Republicans who took control of the House last year believe they were elected on a wave of popular revulsion at the size of the national debt and government spending.

“So hard-line”? Boehner’s plan is hardly that. It’s more of a compromise than anything the President has given, despite Mardell’s dishonest statement above that only the President has given back. In any case, notice how he’s just contradicted himself. Earlier, Mardell said that the Republicans had won the argument in these talks that we need to cut spending. Now he’s saying the Tea Party won that argument last November. Funny how the winning parties of some elections are allowed to think the voters elected them for a reason, while other winning parties are wrong to think so. By slyly qualifying it as the Republicans “believe” they were elected on this issue, Mardell denies the last two years and more of Tea Party protests, and denies the reality of November’s mid-terms. There is no doubt at all that fiscal responsibility was the number one issue which got all those Tea Party-backed candidates elected to the House.

Of course, we know what Mardell and the BBC believe: the real reason all those people across the country voted for the Tea Party-backed candidates is racism. He won’t say it yet, but what other issue was there? Abortion? Prayer in the schools? Blocking homosexual marriage? No, no, and obviously not.

They may be reading too much into their mandate, but they think that going back, that accepting a hike in debt with nothing in return, would be betraying their voters.

“Reading too much into their mandate,” eh, Mark? Like I said, what other issues were at the forefront of the election? He’s denying the last two and a half years of US activity on this issue. What the hell does he think everyone has been talking about? And what about listening to the ratings agencies which are telling them the exact same thing?

Hey, Mark: it’s not their imagination. And you’re contradicting yourself again. The whole point of Mardell’s editorial post – and the impetus for Cable’s sick joke – is that the Tea Party movement is now influencing the Republicans to the point that they don’t want to accept a debt hike. Well, the movement, and millions of other people who were concerned about the same issue, got them elected. So, hell yes, doing so would be betraying those voters, and it’s dopey to suggest otherwise. Hello? We’ve only been saying it loud and clear since February 2009, before there was even such a thing as a Tea Party movement. The Republicans are correct to think they’re following the voters’ wishes. They’re not following Mardell’s wishes, though, so he is obviously going to frame it as them being wrong. Again, his partisan bias prevents him from informing you correctly.

The current Republican plan has more than a little party politics in it. The debt ceiling would be dealt with in stages: a bit now, a bit next year.

This would stop Obama swallowing the problem whole and getting it out of the way before the election. The Republicans would make sure it repeated on him throughout 2012.

Okay, fair enough. But where is Mardell’s statement – in the interests of balance and impartiality, bien sur – about the whiff of partisan politics in the President’s plan? Not a word which might make Him look bad. Not a single acknowledgment from him or the BBC that the President is acting for partisan reasons. Instead, as we’ve all seen a number of times over the last few weeks, all the BBC tells you is that the Republicans want to harm the poorest and most vulnerable in order to protect the wealthy. Mardell and his colleagues could not be more dishonest about these budget negotiations. Oh, wait, I’m wrong: he can get more dishonest:

But the charge that they are a few chocolate bars short of a fruit cake is because some of them see dealing with the debt as more pressing than borrowing enough money to continue governing.

Behold the ideology inherent at the BBC. This is a purely partisan, Left-wing, über-Keynesian position. We don’t actually need to borrow more to continue governing. We don’t actually need to raise the debt ceiling to “continue governing”. We could do some real cuts that would make the current offering look like child’s play. The only reason the Republicans are even agreeing to a temporary rise is because they are – shock, horror – compromising and reaching across the aisle. In fact, Mardell could just as easily have said that the President has wrung real debt increases from the Republicans. Only that doesn’t sound so good, does it? Not helping the Narrative at all.

Here’s what Mardell doesn’t want you to know about continuing to govern. Oh, hell, he doesn’t know it himself, as he is a blind partisan who fervently adheres to Left-wing economic policies. We could make real spending cuts, cuts that would make the so-called “swinging cuts” laid out by George Osborne look like child’s play. But that can’t happen because the Republicans don’t control both Houses of Congress, and the President would veto any proposal with real spending cuts, or one that won’t kick this can past 2013, after the next election. Hell, He even vetoed a bi-partisan plan from the Senate that increased the debt ceiling. What He really wants to do is force the country either into default or having our credit rating downgraded so He can spend the next 18 months pointing His finger at evil Republicans for causing it. Only the BBC isn’t going to put it that way.

Oops, the BBC forgot to tell you why that happened, didn’t they? He rejected this bi-partisan plan because it would place the burden on the next debt increase squarely on His shoulders. Instead of voting to increase it again, the plan would set the debt limit to increase automatically unless Congress voted to stop it. But Congress will vote to stop it unless the President proposed an equal or greater amount of spending cuts. Which He’s clearly unable to do. That means He’d have to step up and be a man and take the blame for it Himself next time, and have to run a re-election campaign as the Debt Increaser-In-Chief. So He gave a bi-partisan plan – once which would have been acceptable even to Mark Mardell – the two-fingered salute. All to protect Himself. Yet Mardell and the rest of the BBC have the gall to tell you it’s only the Republicans acting partisan.

Then there’s the fact that the President doesn’t want to agree to anything that doesn’t kick the real can beyond the 2012 election. Does that sound familiar? It should. Unless, of course, you trust the BBC for news on US issues, in which case you wouldn’t know that the Democrats refused to pass a budget back in October – before the election – which would have prevented this situation we’re in right now. Only they didn’t want to do anything which would have made that mid-term loss even worse than they knew it was going to be. So they dodged their long-term responsibility for the hope of a short-term safety net in the mid-term election. Who’s acting out of partisan interest again, BBC?

The fact that Mardell made his ideologically-biased pronouncement on fiscal governance puts his subsequent quote of a Tea Party figure in the context that the man is wrong. So while he may be providing the “balance” of an opposing viewpoint (Gosh, Dave, Mardell doesn’t even quote the Dems here, what more do you want? -ed.), he’s providing it after he warns you that it’s wrong.

The entirety of BBC reporting on the budget talks has been biased in this way. And now they’re using a sick insult to frame it. At no time has the BBC been honest about the President demanding far more taxes after 2013. At no time has the BBC reminded you that we wouldn’t even be here if not for Democrat partisan behavior in October. At no time has the BBC told you that, despite the “routine”, in 2006 all Democrats in the House – including Senator Obamessiah – voted against raising the debt ceiling for purely partisan purposes. All you hear is the White House talking points, the perspective from the Left.

I’d like to close with an important statement from a celebrated US politician about the debt situation:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn’t it? This is what the adult in the room sounds like. The celebrated US politician who said it? Who is this nutter who, as Mardell put it today, sees dealing with the debt as a more pressing issue than borrowing enough money to continue governing? Senator Obamessiah in 2006, when He voted along purely partisan lines against raising the debt ceiling. (Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S.2237-8, 3/16/06)

The BBC North America editor is a disgrace, and the BBC itself is nothing more than an extension of the White House Press Office.

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20 Responses to The BBC Is A Foreign Bureau Of The White House Press Office

  1. ltwf1964 says:

    an epic post David

    you got that idiot Mardell bang to rights


    • Craig says:

      Agreed Itwf, fisking at its very finest  by David.

      The BBC website presents a selection of reflections by U.S. voters on the debt limit debate. Inevitably, it’s biased. Just three voices – two on one side (the Democrat side) and one on the other (the Republican side). Not reflective at all of U.S. public opinion by the sounds of it.


      • Span Ows says:

        I disagree Craig: this isn’t fisking: this is ripping Mardell a new one. 🙂

        Seriously, if I had the money I would set up/help set up a BBBC US (with BBBC approval) and pay DP to translate the BBC news in the USA (a la newssniffer, side by side articles)

        I think i will be reblogging this Obama debacle later.


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        Cheers, Span. And thanks to all for the kind words.


  2. RGH says:

    Republicans attack Obama as they push their budget plan

    says the BBC

    Reading the article below that dramatic headline…..I failed to find any evidence of an ‘attack’.

    Was the term ‘attack’ warranted?

    Or was it included to elicit some kind of sympathy for the Pres. along by suggesting unreasonable or aggressive language.

    I could not even find ‘criticism’ in the article.

    All I found was a description of the differing proposals.

    The only ‘strong’ language was attributed to Barry O. himself.

    “Mr Obama condemned the Republican plan….”

    Perhaps the headline should have read:

    Obama condemned the Republicans  on Monday

    It would have linked far more accurately.


  3. Cassandra King says:

    Truly brilliant, an epic to dwarf anything the BBC could and has put out.

    Possibly the most informative post I have yet read on the subject, well done, we are lucky to have you. Just hope the Huffpo does not poach you =-O /


  4. cjhartnett says:

    Still David…I did learn something about US politics to the good on Newsnight last night…accidental maybe, but I`m grateful!
    A Democrat and a Republican senator were debating the deficit in the USA and what to do about it.
    The quality of both men was incomparably higher than any politicians that we get over here. They were detailed, courteous and knew far more about the nuts and bolts of how the proposed bills might(or might not) work.
    Clearly Paxman didn`t have a clue-so sat back and shut up, which was no bad thing. To be fair to him I was no wiser-but sensed at least these senators knew a fair bit about what they were wanting or rejecting…unlike the glib,cliche raddled party puppets WE get by way of “debate”.
    Might be crap there David…but compared to what we have here?…


    • Anthony Masters says:

      I did enjoy the debate between those two US politicians, who were Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). I wish we could raise the level of debate in the House of Commons to that level, as some of it is becoming really dire.


  5. David vance says:

    Epic, David. Well done, forensic.


  6. Louis Robinson says:

    A great posting. Well done, David.

    If I were Mardell’s boss I would ask him to explain his view and answer the points made by David. If (as I suspect) he cannot, he should be replaced.

    Bring back Justin Webb – oww! What did I just say? Sorry, a little mental hiccup.


  7. John Anderson says:

    David Preiser

    You know about 10 times more about what is happening in the US than the vaunted £1 billion a year BBC “news” operation.

    What do you think will now happen – other than the game of chicken continuing ?   My guess is that Harry Reid and the Dem Senators will cobble something together with Boehner and the republicans – OR,  maybe more likely,  some Blue-Dog Dem Senators will desert Harry Reid and vote for the Repub proposals that the House will send to the Senate.

    Either way – President JellO would then be faced with the choice of vetoing a “bipartisan” deal,  which would leave the blame for any financial disaster at the White House,  where it belongs.

    Or President Tantrum will have to swallow.

    I think he’ll swallow.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      It all depends on what He thinks will get Him re-elected.  Judging from that last speech in which He spoke to the public as if to little children, He thinks the old Community Organizer Alinsky tactics will work.  If He’s arrogant enough to think that He can get enough people to blame the Republicans for a government shut-down and/or credit rating fail, then He’ll veto anything given to Him.  It’s kind of sad that this is evidence that He’s incapable of actually leading, and is really only good at instigating, getting people angry enough to organize and do something.  That’s not the same thing as leading in a crisis and making profound executive decisions.  All He’s doing now, it seems, is more of the old campaign rhetoric.  It may inspire the base, and it may inspire Beeboids, but it’s not actually leading.

      Most of the press will still fall in line behind Him, even now, so it’s possible.

      Right now, it looks like we may end up with some mutant version of Sen. Reid and the “Gang of Six” deal.  In which case we won’t default, but will not do enough real savings over the next few years and at least one agency will lower our credit rating.  That will suck.

      I don’t see the Community Organizer in Chief, one who is supremely angry right now, signing a bill which does not give Him something to claim as total victory on which to ride into November 2012.  We’re in a Depression now (contrary to the growth ‘Two Eds’ Flanders predicted yesterday), and it will get worse as all the next wave of people on unemployment benefits reach the end of their term, many more municipalities go bankrupt and lay off thousands of public sector workers, and more business shedding jobs.  It’s going to get real bad unless Boehner gets the President to sign something even half-way real.


  8. John Anderson says:

    Even the slavish White House press corps is now pissed of about the lack of any detailed proposals from President EmptySuit – the last questioner nails it,  The One is scared of publishing anything that would scare his political base :

    Meanwhile – out of the mouths of babes and children – why are we saddling the kids with mountains of debt ? :

    And the magisterial Brit Hume says that the marginalised President WaistyPants does not want to look like a potted plant in the corner of the room (The Biggest Aspidistra in the World ?)


  9. cjhartnett says:

    WE used to hear that stoking up inflation by printing more money led to wheelbarrows of marks that were the portent of Hitler and the Third Reich.
    Indeed it was only tht basket cases like Zimbabwe that still did this-up to 2008.
    Greenspan,Bernancke then do it, but call it Quantitative Easing”…not printing money a la Schacht…and the whole liberla elite and their presses fall into line and use the same fantasies and delusional excuses and shibboleths of tests. This confirms them to be right-it always does!
    So when the Republicans worry about what we`re leaving our kids to pay back-or when they say we`re addicted to state spending-all the liberal elite can do is sneer at Sarah Palin and say that those who don`t agree with their electoral cycle of advantage are “irresponsible”.
    Throwing kerosene on the burning barbecue however is what any responsible and literate man of the Enlightenment would do…really?
    At least Jerry McGuire HAD some money to show us…the Fed is F***ed. Brown may have sold your gold too, as he schmoozed round Marthas Vineyard! Do check…


  10. John Anderson says:

    The blame game – the new BBC attack line is that the Repubs failed to bring their revised proposals to a vote yesterday – implying everything is their fault.   The BBC has the gall to say “Dems and Repubs have alternative proposals …….. – but NO-ONE has yet seen any proposal from the Dems.  The Repubs published their proposal,  which is why the CBO was able to point out that up-front cuts were too low.

    Meanwhile I heard the Repubs being accused last night of being “reckless” – as if it is all their fault that Obama failed to lead,  failed to be specific,  demanded tax hikes to the bitter end until forced by reality this week to drop this demand.

    BBC coverage of US politics is just a dripfeed of lies, lies, lies.


    • Craig says:

      Yesterday’s Today (about 12 minutes in) took up where the previous day’s programme left off. Paul Adams was back again with Justin Webb. On Monday, they were blaming what Adams called the “uncompromising”, “ideologically determined freshmen”, those “ideologically determined Republicans”, for the crisis. Yesterday, Adams told Justin that “the new, ideologically-driven Republicans” from the Tea Party wing were regarded as mistaken over the seriousness of a default by “most economists and experts”.

      The one-sidedness of the language is striking.

      Adams also characterised the two addresses to the nation – one by Obama, the other by Boehner – in very different terms:

      “First of all the president coming out and setting out what he thinks is a reasonable, balanced approach to this issue of debt and deficits and then, just a couple of minutes later, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the Republican John Boehner, coming out and attacking the president for changing his mind.”

      Shortly after he talked of “finger pointing”. From that characterisation of their respective statements, no listener would think that “reasonable, balanced” Obama was guilty of that, only the “attacking” Republican Boehner. However, Obama was also doing plenty of politicking in his speech, it seems – as, I’d say, was Paul Adams here.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      The reason Boehner postponed the vote is because the CBO gave the bill too low a rating and he needs to go back and come up with more savings.  Once again it puts the lie to the Narrative of “deep spending cuts”.  There isn’t enough of a tax base to milk for “revenues” to come up with enough money to calm the CBO’s nerves, and they know that would kill small businesses for a decade if we gave in to the President’s massive tax increases.


  11. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Here’s a BBC World News woman telling a Republican Congressman (not the same one as on Newsnight) that  “the polls show that the majority of Americans actually hold your party responsible for this stalemate.”  (starting around 2:20 in)

    Oh, really?  Which polls?  None of these, that’s for damn sure.  Not Rasmussen, either.

    Gallup says that the majority of people here want a compromise of some kind, if that’s what it takes. But it doesn’t say who’s responsible for what, nor who must do the compromising.

    Oh, hang on, silly me.  The Washington Post poll blames the Republicans.  Naturally.  I should have seen that one coming.  And naturally the BBC uses that as “the polls”, plural, as if this is the ultimate representation of US public opinion on the matter.  BS.


    • Buggy says:

      Ceefax headline this morning: “Republican Debt Plan Under Fire.”

      Makes it sound as though this is the position of the US electorate, doesn’t it ? Presumably via an opinion poll of some sort.

      Surprise ! If you actually read the article it becomes clear that the headline should actually read:

      “Republican Debt Plan Under Fire From The White House.”

      (Or, if you need it to be snappy: “Obama Slams Republican Debt Plan.”)

      “After all, truth is such a nebulous concept, isn’t it ? Makes your poor little brains hurt, yes ? Then let Auntie make it all better by doing your thinking for you. And don’t forget to fork over the readies, will yer ? “