The Wit And Wisdom Of Mark Mardell At The BBC College Of Journalism

I came across this while looking for some Mardell quotes for a recent post, and saved it until after I’d had a long look at it and taken time to absorb it all. It’s an hour-long discussion with Mark Mardell and BBC Washington editor Simon Wilson about US politics and how the BBC is going to cover the looming (13 months away) second-most important election in human history.

Parts of it give a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the vast, multi-tentacled creature that is the BBC, as well as glimpses of how any large media organization operates. There’s talk of funding, use and distribution of resources, personnel, and reporting angles. On that score alone it’s worth watching. I’m going to post the video first, and my comments and analysis will be below the fold.

We learn that Mardell claims that he needs to ask not only what has gone wrong with the US economy, but why. He says he needs to ask not only if the Republicans hurt it but if actually the President’s policies might have harmed the recovery. He hasn’t done it yet, even after more than two years, and I don’t expect him to do it now. Still, he pretends that’s what he’s doing, and it’s nice to hear him acknowledge that it’s at least a valid question to ask.

Mardell states (@5:51)that the big story of the US economy is easy to “sell” to (meaning, I hope, gain the interest of)the British public because “it has such huge resonance here.” The President, he says, “is the last Keynesian standing. He’s still someone saying, the stimulus can work, that’s the way to get the economy going.” Mardell was encouraged, he explains, that after a recent blog post about the President’s latest Jobs Plan For Us, there were a bunch of Left-wing Brits commenting on his blog that this was great, the way to go, this is what Cameron should be doing, etc. This told Mardell that there was “a resonance” in Britain with the President’s policies. We’re seeing here clear proof that Mardell – and, as we’ll soon learn, the BBC – feels that he (and they) reflect the general thoughts and feelings of the British public. This supports Jeff Randall’s quote about how they think they are on the middle ground. And there’s much, much more of this kind of thing to come.

The first Republican candidate Mardell mentions by name is Huntsman. You may well ask who the hell that is, as he’s never gotten more than a couple percent of any vote or poll anywhere, and is on no one’s radar except far-Left foreigners and discussions inside the Beltway bubble. Mardell will return to Huntsman again, and we’ll learn later why that is.

When Mardell goes through the candidates, I was willing – at first – to cut him some slack over how he leaves Herman Cain for last, as this was done a month ago and Cain had yet to achieve the prominence he has now. But notice how Mardell again dismisses the “pizza millionaire”. (Millionaire: Boo!) I’ll get to why I won’t cut him slack for putting Cain at the bottom later on. When he gets to Huntsman again, he says that candidate is the favorite of Democrats, and I’ll leave it others to infer an attitude behind his facial expression and the way he says it, as well as the audience reaction.

13:30 Mardell says that the country is changing, and while he can’t say specifically what the President has done to affect that change, the country “is changing in His image”. To support this he points to the fact that there are now two Governors of Indian descent in…ahem…formerly racist Southern states. He doesn’t mention that both Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal are Republicans, because that would detract from the notion that The Obamessiah has redeemed us to some degree. Of course, he totally contradicts that notion later on, but we’ll get to that in due course.

Then he says “on the other hand”, black poverty is the worst it’s been in almost thirty years. We saw this same blinkered attitude come out in his two recent blog posts where he visited struggling black people in Chicago. Because He is black, somehow economic policies will be aimed specifically at helping black people. Only a naive person who has a poor grasp of government and economics on a national scale will think that a black President can have a specific, immediate affect on the economic situation of millions of black people across the country. It makes no sense, but that was part of the Hope and Change Mardell expected. His last blog post shows that he does know better than that, but his and the BBC’s obsession with race and racial politics keeps driving him back to silly ideas. And hey: wasn’t He supposed to usher in a post-racial era? Emotion is getting the better of reason with Mardell here.

Maybe His policies have been crap? Nah.

In any case, Mardell concludes this section by laying out what he thinks are the main questions or points he and the Beeboids covering the US should be bringing up:

1. What has the President done to put Himself in this position?
2. Big up the resonances with the British audience (assuming, that is, the British public thinks like Beeboids do on issues such as taxation and stimulus)
3. What are the wider implications for America?

Ask yourselves how Mardell and the BBC have done so far on these. From what I can tell, the answer to the first question is “Nothing! Never!” The other two go some way towards explaining the BBC editors’ choice of stories and angles. And I suppose there’s really nothing wrong with the second two as general guidelines. Also, be sure to keep these, especially the first one, in mind over the next year of noise.

The floor is then handed over to Wilson, who goes into the more pragmatic aspects of newsgathering and coverage. I found this part rather interesting, and license-fee payers might also be interested to know how their money is being spent, and just why the BBC reports what it does.

We soon learn from Wilson that there has been a “huge investment” in the BBC’s online coverage of the US. That will be clear to anyone having a look recently, just from all those lightweight, magazine-style pieces about parks and some woman giving birth just after running a marathon. Well worth the money, I’m sure. By now they will have 11 full-time staff doing online reporting or those “digital media” magazine-style pieces they teach in courses in those feeder schools. And that doesn’t even include the usual Washington staff like Kim Ghattas and Katty Kay, or Laura Trevalyan in New York, or the number of on-air talent traipsing around the country, like Steve Kingston and Jonny Dymond. I think we’ve all noticed for a while now that the BBC has ramped up their US coverage.

Much later in the video, Wilson explains how these new hires “put great value” back into the news by providing real stories, etc. You can all judge for yourselves how much value for your money there is in these magazine-style fluff pieces. He says it’s partially driven by “commercial” concerns, which is, I think, a hint of the new international subscription scheme they’ve come up with. He does say that some of the new commercial money will go towards paying for cameramen and extra crew to follow the radio guys around.

At one point later on, they discuss how social media will play an important role. No, it isn’t what you think. Part of it is actually a fairly reasonable, if brief, discussion about how there will be debate events and whatnot driven by Twitter, and so that will be an important platform. But there’s more, which I’ll come to soon enough.

@ 25:00 I just want to add some info to Mardell’s remarks about why it’s not so exciting to get that sit-down interview with the President. He says that it’s because the message won’t be much different from what you already get from the members of the Administration because, unlike in British Governments, there isn’t really much policy conflict or different Cabinet members briefing against each other etc. This is true, but he only half way explains why this is. Obviously in the US the Cabinet and all people holding the various key positions in an Administration are not sitting politicians, aren’t vying for leadership, and aren’t fighting to get promoted to a better Cabinet position. It makes a big difference in so many ways, functionally and in message management.

@28:00 question from another Beeboid about the Republican candidate nobody except Mardell has ever cared about or thought had a chance: John Huntsman. His name comes up yet again, this time because he’s the only one fretting about Climate Change. Check out how Mardell answers, and the audience reaction. No further proof is needed of the BBC’s inner thinking on this issue. The discussion expands to the “anti-science party”, etc. Judge for yourselves, of course. But I wonder how many of these “pro-science” Beeboids believe in homeopathy or astrology?

It’s obvious that Mardell likes Huntsman, and he even says that nobody likes Huntsman except the Democrats, and that he’d fit right in with the British Conservative Party. I know, I know, let’s not get started on how the Conservative Party should be held in violation of the Trades Description Act. Just more insight into the Beeboid mindset. But this is why I won’t cut him slack on ignoring Cain earlier, and in his reporting. Even a month ago nobody outside his bubble thought Huntsman was going anywhere, whereas lots of people were already starting to take Cain seriously.

32:00 In response to a question/statement about how all this focus on the election leaves less room for the more interesting bigger picture of what the US is about, Mardell says he’s always wanting to “tell a greater American story”. He claims that’s what he always tries to do. Which is pretty funny considering how I’ve been saying that he should be called the US President editor precisely because that’s not what he does at all.

Then he says one of the voices he wants to look into is the “wealthy African American community”, specifically where the President comes from. We know now that he went out and did that, resulting in his recent blog post I discussed here. I bet he didn’t get what he expected there at all.

33:45 Mardell reveals that former BBC World News America executive producer Rome Hartman wanted to “ban all stories about guns and ban all stories about poor black Americans”. Which just tells me what lay behind the crap which led me to call it BBC World Propaganda America.

But then he says this: “You can’t censor bits of a country, you know, because it doesn’t fit the image you would like.” Oh, really now?

35:00 Mardell says that Jonny Dymond has done “some fantastic stuff”.

36:45 Mardell says that Twitter “doesn’t follow BBC guidelines.” He’s referring to accuracy, and not revealing personal biases all over the place, but it’s nice to hear them admit it nevertheless.

37:15 As part of his explanation of his feeling about how important Twitter can be as a source of mood, Mardell references the Tucson shooting (of Rep. Giffords and several other victims). He says when that happened, “the idea came out from Twitter that this was a bigger story about America;it says something about the tone of our politics. I mean, that came from Twitter, and it was absolutely right. Now, whether it created that because people like me reacted, and thought, ‘Well, that’s a good point.'”

We knew at the time, and it’s known now, that this simply wasn’t true. The murderer was mentally ill, with more political influences from the Left than from the Right. But the media – including Mardell and the BBC – used it to whip up anger against the Right, blaming Sarah Palin as an accessory to murder, etc. Mardell even used this lie to promote the idea that the President was healing the country. It was a disgrace then, and it’s a disgrace now that Mardell still apparently doesn’t realize what he’s done, or that he helped promote a lie.

40:00 Mardell agrees with a question about doing public figure profiles and how he wants to widen the focus to say something about “a wider sense of America”. You mean like how we’re racists or anti-science or want justice at the point of a gun?

41:20 Wilson explains how some beats are more important than others, and how he’s spent his career in places which are “stand-by” stories. On a slow news day, he says, the BBC News producers will want to “just shove an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in, because people always that.” That’s not anti-Israel bias in and of itself, of course, and it’s a no-brainer that throwing red meat out will rouse the dogs and get an audience reaction. But how sad that they see it as titillation in this way. He does go on to explain how it’s just part of the news cycle, outlets need to put something out, etc., so I guess that’s just the jaded journo talking there, and won’t try to read any more into it.

43:15 A female Beeboid brings up Huntsman yet again (he’s gotten more mentions inside this BBC bubble during the last 45 minutes than in the entire US media over the last six months). “How much further to the Right has American politics shifted? Superficially, it would seem much further to the Right. Has the center ground moved far to the right of what we would consider the center here?”

When did we really shift to the Left, exactly? Justin Webb’s book about the “strange death of Social Conservatism” in the US aside, that is. Yes, we elected a Democrat, but that had a whole lot to do with white guilt and the self-congratulatory outcome of electing a black man, not to mention a general backlash from the middle against the policy failures of Bush’s second term, and the entire media (except Fox News and a couple of radio talking heads, sure) being in the tank for The Obamessiah, especially the agenda-setting New York Times and Washington Post, as well as the MTV/Comedy Central crowd. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t exactly a landslide victory, despite the swooning of the Beeboids, the way the electoral counts look, and the number of celebrities crying on camera. It was 52% to 46% of the popular vote. Decisive, yes. A sign that the country had moved so far to the Left that today we’re “much further to the Right”, no. Mardell, naturally, thinks the woman’s observation is correct.

The Tea Party movement started less than a month after the inauguration. That has to be the fastest cultural shift in history, right? And remember that the Beeboids said at first that the whole thing was just sour grapes from whites who wouldn’t have voted for Him anyway. Recall that Wilson was just a few minutes ago talking about how Presidential candidates must find the center ground to win elections. So why isn’t the woman asking if the President had shifted too far to the Left, and the country was moving away from that, which is by default to the Right, but not necessarily so far to the right of center? Because He’s in the correct place, of course, and anyone not agreeing must be wrong. Again, very revealing of the Beeboid mindset and ideological ground.

To prove his point that the country really has shifted to the Right, Mardell says that politicians and operatives who’ve been in the business for 30 years say that it’s nothing like the old days, when they could just have a drink with the opposition. If one isn’t lost in the mist of bias, one might say that it could also be due to the number of “to hell with business as usual” types who have come in, and the influence of the Tea Party movement being fed up with Corporate Welfare, Corporate Cronyism, Big-Government spending (all of which flourished under Bush, let’s be clear). Funny how when the Occupy Wall Street darlings say the same thing, they’re somehow not much further to the Left than these Beeboids. We can see the perspective here, see the prism through which they view everything. The US is much further to the Right on Social issues than Britain, as if the 60s never happened, says Mardell. Particularly homosexuality. I wonder if this isn’t just another example of the Beeboids assuming their own viewpoints reflect that of the country.

This reveals the difficulty as well as the madness of defining the US in British terms. It also shows that they really do look down on us from on high, and from the Left. Wilson follows this up by saying that “the divisiveness is just almost impossible to, kind of, quantify.” He says it’s worse than the Middle East, because Israel and Hamas sit down and talk sometimes. Yes, that’s right. Notice how none of this is blamed on their beloved Obamessiah. No mention of President “I won”, no mention of “don’t call my bluff”, no blame even remotely directed His way. Eventually Wilson wonders if there might be a bit of blame laid on the Democrats’ doorstep. He recalls that the Dems were vicious about Bush, so maybe there’s a smidgeon of that left, eh? How generous and impartial of you, Simon. You mean there might be someone else to blame? Unbelievable bias on display here.

50:19 After Mardell discusses how probably the best angle for the Republicans to take would be to push the line that the President may be a nice guy, very intellectual, etc., He’s just not up to the job, a female Beeboid asks how much of that is felt in the US, and that “I do think that’s the mood here, actually.” Wow. That’s the first time I’ve heard that coming out the mouth of a Beeboid. Mardell replies that he thinks it’s “pretty widespread”, then relates the story of a black Virginia businessman he met who said that in the real world the President would be out of a job for failing to produce.

I have to admit that I’m stunned by this. Not that Mardell is aware that people think the President is inept (he brings it up every once in a while), but that he understands that there’s at least a grain of truth to it and doesn’t place blame everywhere else. This is so absent from his reporting it’s not even funny. Sometimes we’ve seen him express disappointment when a speech doesn’t inspire him enough, or lay out the policy attacks he thinks would work, but no way has his overall reporting given anyone the idea that the idea that the President is inept is widespread, at least without qualifying it somehow by saying those people are ideologically opposed to Him or racist or something.

The next question is about how much religion will play in the election. Mardell again reveals that the BBC’s general anti-religion bias accurately reflects the views of the British public. Believing in God isn’t normal in Britain, he says. I guess Songs of Praise just panders to the tiniest of minorities? The Church of England is just something they put on the tin? I hope no Muslims hear about this.

Michelle Bachmann’s chances hadn’t yet tanked when this was made, so I won’t blame him for going on about her here. I will, however, complain that he’s unfairly suggesting that she might still want the death penalty enforced for adultery and blasphemy. This simply isn’t credible. Nobody is going to get elected on that platform, and this isn’t a banana republic where the President can start hanging people on a whim. She can believe whatever she wants, and it’s simply impossible that as President she could even make the tiniest headway towards convincing Congress to pass some kind of of insane law like that. Yet Mardell is concerned. Does he really still have no idea how US Government works, or is his visceral hatred for religious belief causing him to have ridiculous fears?

As part of this discussion on the influence of religion, Mardell says that he thinks the Tea Party “got it right – or that the think tanks behind the Tea Party in Washington”. Wrong. There was and is no think tank behind the movement. It was going strong for two months at least before anyone tried to form a national organization or think tanks or activist groups started jumping on the bandwagon. Even after two and half years, they still don’t get it. There’s a difference between groups trying to have influence, lending support, or jumping on the bandwagon and being “behind” the movement. In one sentence, Mardell has demonstrated that he thinks the whole notion of a grass roots movement is discredited. Fail.

He says that the Left wants to highlight the social-religious aspect, while the Right wants to play it down. Does this mean that all those BBC reports whipping up fear about the social-religious aspect of the Tea Party movement come from the Left? I think we can say they do.

The penultimate question is about – you knew it was coming eventually – racism. A male Beeboid brings up the “visceral hatred of Obama”, and says that during the last election there was a lot of concern about race, and asks if there is “a danger” of “playing that down” this time. In other words, in the minds of these Beeboids, we’re still secretly mostly racist, and if The Obamessiah loses in 2012, it will be because of racism. Mardell first says that he knows it’s a factor, and recalls one of Justin Webb’s pieces featuring a southern white woman subtly expressing her racism. But then, he actually says that after meeting so many Tea Partiers, he doesn’t think most of us are racists. “At least not in a straight-forward sense”. He says that underlying the concern about government spending our money, it’s really about not wanting to the government to “spend money on people not like them”. That’s simply offensive, and made me swear out loud when I heard it.

Then he says that there are also people who feel disconnected because “they didn’t expect this sort of person in the White House.” Somehow the President “doesn’t meet their stereotype about what a black person is like.” Is that why Joe Biden praised the then-junior Senator from Illinois for being so “articulate and bright and clean”? Words fail, other than more swearing at the screen. And oh how Mardell smiles, very pleased with himself, while slandering about a hundred million people.

Still, what happened to the idea Mardell put forth earlier that there is a widespread notion that the President is just not up to the job? Yeah, never mind about that, then. Racist!

So yes, we’re still apparently racists, even though in the end Mardell admits that he hasn’t found racism to be as much of a factor as he thought he would. Well, thank you very much. Still, that hardly discounts the rest of what he said. Wilson agrees with his assessment. To judge from this, everything you’ve heard about fiscal responsibility is just a lie, a smokescreen to hide our racism. This is what Mardell thinks, this is what the BBC thinks, and this is what they want you to think. They simply cannot accept any reasonable justification for objecting to Socialist policies.

In all, a fascinating hour spent inside the hive mind, and very revealing on a number of levels. I hope this exceedingly lengthy post didn’t cause too much pain, but there was just so much to talk about.

Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to The Wit And Wisdom Of Mark Mardell At The BBC College Of Journalism

  1. JohnW says:

    We all know that the BBC won’t be simply “covering” the US election as much as stage-managing the Obama cavalcade for the British public. How lucky we are…


  2. John Anderson says:

    Superbly detailed post,  David.   Thanks very much for all your work on this.

    But I will take your word for what ios said on the tape – I simply could not endure an hour of Mardell and his warped view of Americans.


  3. D B says:

    An impressive and comprehensive post which highlights the obsessions and prejudices at work within the BBC. (One error, I think – wasn’t the popular vote nearer 53-46 rather than 56-42?)

    Let me offer yet more proof why the BBC can’t be trusted to report with impartiality on US politics. This tweet is from BBC World Service journalist (and Caroline Lucas fan) Piers Schofield :

    @inglesi Piers Scholfield   Panic of the Plutocrats – Krugman on the rich and rightwing in the US being a little thin-skinned.. #occupywallstreet

    It was retweeted by Ros Atkins, presenter of BBC World Have Your Say (see screengrab below). What with Mark Sandell yesterday, there seems to be quite a cosy little team of lefties working on that programme.

    The article by Krugman (the former Enron adviser – don’t hear THAT mentioned much by the BBC) that so impresses these BBC journalists includes this observation on the Wall Street protesters: “there has in fact been nothing so far to match the behavior of Tea Party crowds in the summer of 2009.” Really? Can anybody recall a Tea Party demonstrator taking a dump on a police car? It would’ve been reported by the BBC for sure, and I can’t find any mention.

    Krugman has good reason to play down the unsavoury side of the protests – he’s very proud of the fact that the demonstrators call themselves Krugman’s Army.

    For a different take on the Wall Street occupiers – beyond the narrow field of opinion referenced by BBC journalists – here’s James Taranto:

    The left got what it wanted in 2008: a liberal president with a sweeping agenda and big Democratic majorities capable of enacting it. The result has been a great and failed experiment in progressive politics and governance. In due course, one hopes, the left will absorb some lessons–but for now, they seem to be suffering a nervous breakdown.
    That is one way to understand why so much of the liberal establishment is rallying behind Krugman’s Army, as the “Occupy Wall Street” protests are known. Everything they believe in has failed, so they are turning nihilistic.


  4. DJ says:

    Great post DP!

    Just thinking about the final bit, you have to admire the chutzpah of these weasels. There’s no evidence that the Tea Party movement is motivated by racism, but that just proves it’s super secret racism. On the other hand, one hundred million Beeboids can take to Twitter to explain how much they *&!@($% hate conservatives, but anyone claiming the BBC is biased is some kind of partisan wacko.


  5. Mike Walker says:

    An intellectual pygmy slopping about in a heap of ill organised adipose tissue.If it were not so dangerous and deeply offensve it would be merely tiresome


  6. james1070 says:

    LOL, the BBC blaming the Dems for the hatred gainst Bush. Did not the BBC run a Bush is stupid campaign on Newsround and Blue Peter?


  7. Phil says:

    So Tea Partiers aren’t racist, “At least not in a straight-forward sense”.

    Yet another example of the BBC/Guardian ability to spot racism where most people wouldn’t.

    It reminds me of those incompetent social workers, so convinced of their own competence and cleverness, who discovered networks of satanic sexual abuse of chidren all over the place.

    The special ability to identify bad qualities in others which probably don’t exist is becoming more and more prevalent in all branches of the sinsiter, nanny state including our government funded broadcaster.   


  8. Martin says:

    You do have to ask why the right wing media really don’t go after the BBC. The Daily Fail spend most of its time making up pointless stories about the BBC when evidence of real bias comes from beeboids themselves.


  9. Cassandra King says:

    Another totally brilliant post David, you have become a picture window that looks directly and clearly into the soul of the beeboid hive mind!

    Whats missing from the BBC analysis? Blacks are poorer now than when Obama conned his way into the white house, social mobility of blacks willing and able to escape from the democreep plantation has fallen with the surest escape being readily accessible jobs.

    The left sure do love their client masses and they are doing everything they can to keep them where they are, on the democrat plantation. Freedom? It comes from a struggle not least with ones self, it springs from the individual taking responsibility for themselves, it doesnt come from a social security check, food stamps,state housing in one of the godawful prison like social housing complexes.

    Herman Cain, a man with a plan and boy do the democreep plantation owners hate him, a black man with pride in himself, a man who has comitted the sin of demanding better things for himself and more importantly of himself, he failed to listen to the democreep dogma of ‘gimme gimme,wheres my share’ and Oh what a poor victim I am, gimme gimme wheres my share’.

    The democrats have their self appointed ‘black spokesmen’ who just happen to enrich themselves mightily while keeping the majority down, all too ready to lay blame on others of a different colour, all too ready to offer excuses for failure, all to ready to inflame the mob with racist language. Uncle Toms, well rich uncle Toms eh? Race baiters, race hustlers, plain rabid racists and welcome in the democreep fold. If racism didnt exist the democreeps would have to invent it, funnily enough thats exactly what they do. Hate and jealousy and spite lovingly incubated in a client mass.


    • Roger C says:

      Welcome back Cassandra, you have been missed!


      • Cassandra King says:

        Been away in English land for the last few weeks visiting the relis, isnt England sliding down the pan or what? Expensive and everyone I spoke to is mightily pissed orf.

        13th century Fox, so busy with his gay lovers, and what is it about this current regime, are they all Gay? New qualifications consist of membership of common purpose and being Gay and the world of regime luxury is opened up?

        Nothing wrong with being Gay of course but now 3% of the population now inhabit 90% of government posts, its a wonder they can get any work done, and the rent boys alone must be knocking a full percentage point of the youth unemployment figures.

        Everywhere in England land town you hear Eastern European gutteral Slavic mumbling, just try any Sainsburys and ask for directions to the Brown sauce and lets not talk about the East African assistants who have the manners and civility of Julius Malema having to talk to a Boer! People waiting for the special offer sections to be filled with near out of date produce and its a better scrum than anything the English land ‘rugby’ team could manage.

        Did I say I visited England land? Didnt feel like it to me, still good to be back and even better to be gone, bills for the utilities and dont mention the bleedin poll tax, still I got a shiny brochure explaining all the new charges and rules and regulations were saving the planet.

        I thought it was a bit funny on the jet in, every f*cker was as miserable as sin and everyone on the outbound was as happy as Larry on acid, you could cut the relief to be leaving with a knife. Its as though everyone was relieved to be leaving little old England land town.

        The only problem with leaving is going back, still musnt grumble eh? Hey WTF is up with the cream? I spent long mights dreaming of double cream heaped on my coffee and it turns out the cream has changed, the fruit has about as much taste as Jordan.

        I walked past Westminster many times and was amazed at the people going in, it looked a gaggle of big issue rejects combined with multimillionaire toffs and all with what looked like a frontal lobotomy, ive seen more life in the eyes of an Egyptian mummy. Its like they are remote controlled robots controlled by a gaggle of pissed up ten year olds.

        Anyhoo, thanks for the welcome back! If you want to see how the film bodysnatchers would look for real then go stand outside parliament for a couple of hours.


        • Cassandra King says:

          Part 2,

          Went to Sainsburys and half the tills were some kind of person free remote control thingy with the odd brave person making an ass of themselves trying to work out how to use the bleedin things. The few tills with real people working them, oh and one of them just had to be a muslim in a black bag looking sinister, one African looking like she would eat anyone who dared to expect her to do any work and one white woman, needless to say everyone went to her till, the queue went back to the bread counter.

          Tried to speak to a so called customer service number and got connected with some f*cker in what sounded like Somalia and I could not understand on word, not one word and it cost two quid. Now I know plenty of West Africans who are the last word in helpfulness and courtesy but London seems to crammed full of African nationalists with a toothache and a chip that would make McCain blush with jealousy.

          My little flat, my little humble bolthole and now crammed with muslims utterly determined to spit in the lift, caught one pissing in it, I kid you not and if you want drugs then anyone of a dozen local drug dealers are on hand, whose only trace after the night is done is piss stains on every level of the stairs.

          Still musnt grumble eh?


          • JohnW says:

            “…if you want drugs then anyone of a dozen local drug dealers are on hand…”

            You have to hand it to Labour – this is one area where they’ve succeeded in ensuring that we have plenty of choice. Never mind the loss of grammar schools and the iron hand of the State everywhere else – as long as we can have a wider choiceof drug pushers, all’s well with their world!


    • Grant says:

      Keep on drinking that cherry brandy, or whatever it is  !!!!!!


  10. George R says:

    The political ethos of BBC-NUJ ‘College’ (2010)

    “How the BBC’s ‘impartial’ professor of journalism ‘improved’ his rival’s Wikipedia biography”

    Read more:


  11. cjhartnett says:

    Will watch this soon, but I don`t really need to.
    The comments above will be right in that the BBC only has one setting…left liberal massaging. It can do no other now.
    Still-none of us here have a vote in the USA…and we know the nature of the Beast we`re dealing with.
    If anyone in the USA thinks that Mardell and his ilk are the voice of Britain, well we will reply with assuming that Michael Moore represents the good folk of Michegan!


  12. D B says:

    Top ten richest celebs supporting Occupy Wall Street. Love the fact that one of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons’ business ventures is high interest credit cards. 


    • JohnW says:

      Of course, the Left doesn’t do irony. Hypocrisy, yes and in spades – but irony, no way.


      • Reed says:

        Irony requires a sense of humour – a quality many on the left seem to lack completely. Their political views are like religious beliefs to them, nothing to be amused by.


  13. Craig says:

    Fascinating piece David. Thanks for all your hard work on it.

    Funny that Mardell recognises the resonance Obama’s job plan has with his left-wing British readers. Does he ever wonder why his own blogspots seem to have so much greater resonance with his left-wing readers than with their right-wing counterparts? Shouldn’t that tell him something? Probably not, given that this video suggests that he (ahd his colleagues) will just dismiss those critical right-wing readers as being so far to the right of the British mainstream as to be discountable. 

    Yes, the race discussion at the end was exactly as you describe it – Mardell saying that most Tea Party people he’s come across aren’t racists but, when you look below the surface, they are racists. 

    I remember Matt Frei predicting (wishful thinking) on a ‘Correspondents Look Ahead’ prior to the 2004 election that George W. Bush would be a one term president. Mark Mardell made a few predictions here – that Sarah Palin was likely to enter the presidential race (wrong already), that Herman Cain hasn’t got a chance and, on Obama’s chances for 2012, “If I had to put money on it, I think he’ll make it.” Are his predictions going to go the way of Frei’s?

    Incidentally, the David asking the ‘parochial question’ about climate change sounded very like David Shukman (“the anti-science stuff that being said by the llkes of Bachman and others, Palin.”) 


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Does he ever wonder why his own blogspots seem to have so much greater resonance with his left-wing readers than with their right-wing counterparts? Shouldn’t that tell him something?

      Unfortunately, Craig, Mardell clearly said this told him he was on the middle ground, finger on the pulse of Britain.


  14. voiceforchildren says:

    Your readers might be interested in some more (non)reporting by the BBC 


  15. Phil says:

    How do you get as fat as Mr Mardell? Most people don’t.

    He’s obviously as much sense of proportion when it comes to eating as he’s got in his broadcasts.


  16. Louis Robinson says:

    David Preisser (USA) – my hero.  Now may I make a point or seven:
    1.  All over the world, in public corporations and private companies, universities, banks and insurance companies, in movie production companies and charities, meetings like this are happening. Strategy is debated. Philosophy is discussed. Conclusions are reached. But who the hell posts them on YOUTUBE? Is it the vanity of a group who thinks the world must hear what should be private deliberations? This stuff should be confidential. What does it tell the competition at Sky? It’s like watching a pantomime horse appear on stage without the costume. If I was a BBC manager I’d have the clip taken down at once. However, selfishly, I’m so glad they had the misjudgment to make this public.

    2. Mark Mardell’s ten minute opening remarks, intended to show a depth of understanding gleamed from what I would expect to be carefully cultivated private sources and insiders, could have been cobbled together just as easily from cutting and pasting articles from half a dozen political magazines and blogs. It was so basic it wouldn’t quality as “US Election #101”. Is this the level of the average briefing? I loved Mardell dismissing Herman Cain as a no-hoper and this, as recently as last month?  I remember the much maligned Glenn Beck a year or so ago on his radio show saying, “I shared the stage with a man on Saturday. He was a wonderful orator and a very smart guy. I turned to my producer Stu and said, ‘I think we’re watching the next president of the United States’”. Mark Mardell is obviously consulting widely, shame it’s with all the wrong people.

    3. I thought (as David pointed out) Mark Mardell’s concession that Tea Partiers are not racist with the qualification “at least not in the straightforward sense” was telling. It was code for “but we all know deep down they are”. Remember to whom Mardell is speaking: the BBC class, liberal, secular, upper-middle class, university educated Brits, brought up in the cradle of the welfare state, men and women who know in their hearts with all the certainty of their pensionable careers that what they believe is true. No intellectual diversity here. If Mardell had simply stated what I think he knows, “The tea party is not racist” and left it at that he would have lost credibility with his peers. The “at least not in the straightforward sense” was him caving to the silent pressure in the room, proving to his peers he had not “gone native” in the US.

    4. Mardell admits he has not had time in the US to make a true assessment. This is a problem with the BBC’s policy of parachuting correspondents into an area for a period of time. It’s taken me over 12 years to begin to understand what is going on in the US. There is a genuine dilemma here: move people about the world or have ‘native’ correspondents? Many Indian and Asian correspondents are natives of the country. I tend to favor the local reporters. I cannot see how Mark Mardell could talk to some of my friends here in the South and illicit a truthful response. He would seem like an alien being to them – even to the Anglophiles.


  17. Louis Robinson says:

    Part Two

    5. The clip does show something else fascinating: it is the way a news narrative is constructed – not in the field in response to events but by news editors influenced not only by their political and social leanings but also by logistics, budgets and technology. Wasn’t it interesting to hear Simon Wilson tell us jokingly that money was short and only if Sarah Palin jumped into the presidential race OR HAD SOME REVELATION ABOUT HER FAMILY would his masters at Television Centre demand a story about her?  I assume these are the same serious people who ignored the speeches she made on financial policy and international relations in Hong Kong and India in 2009. 

    6. I’m a news junkie and in watching the US news networks, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, some of the European channels and the BBC, it’s clear that all outlets subtly confirm their home audiences’ preconceptions and prejudices about the USA. However, it should be different with the BBC. In general Brits are sympathetic to the US. However, the BBC does not broadcast to the British people in general but rather to a segment of the British people. As described above, their audience is like their reporters: “ liberal, secular, upper-middle class, university educated Brits, brought up in the cradle of the welfare state, men and women who know in their hearts that what they believe is true.” How does the average Beeboid even begin to understand the part religion plays in the US? The secular mind, which begins with the idea that all religion is superstition, is totally bemused by the idea that a Mormon could be president.  The British public in general would have no problem with that concept, but the BBC R4 and News audience (a tiny slither of the population) does. The BBC deludes itself that it has a broad audience, at least, to its speech content, so what the BBC American bureau will have to do (driving us all mad in the process) is to craft a leftist narrative that promotes liberal values, protects the first Black president from criticism probably by blaming events for his problems, make Republicans/Conservatives look obstructionist, ill-informed and stupid, and when if, as I suspect, Obama gets the bum’s rush in November 2011, they will sit back and say, “Bloody Yanks. Told you so.  Just a load if fascists.”

    7. Simon Wilson’s (I liked him) point is well taken about the Democrats bearing responsibility for the current bitterness in the country – though I don’t believe all was sweetness and light in times gone by –  that’s a myth. The Dems petulance after losing the Bush/Gore election in 2000 led eventually to the day they turned on a dime and left Bush hanging the wind over Iraq. It was cynical decision to use the war, which they had supported up to that point, as a stick with which to beat Bush. I think Wilson knows this, but note how cautiously he broaches the idea to the journalists in the room. He describes it as an “unformed idea”.

    All in all a terrific post, David, I’ve watched the clip twice (!!!) and learned so much from it. Keep up the good work.

    Finally, welcome back, Cassandra. I too have just spent some time back home and returned to the US thoroughly depressed. But that’s an ex-pat all over, I guess!  


  18. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Thanks, Louis. Some comments on your comments, if I may:

    1. These BBCCoJ videos are posted on YouTube for all to see, rather than on an internal server for employees only. because the Beeboids are 100% confident in their integrity. They see nothing to be concerned about or ashamed of here. You can bet they are, in fact, supremely proud of this session.

    2. Mardell is reflecting the discussions he’s had with his fellow Leftoid journalists in the US, and with Democrat strategists and Beltway types.  He dismissed Cain in part because of his statement during the first candidates’ debate that he’d ask a Muslim about loyalty before appointing one to his Cabinet.  At the BBC, the charge of dual loyalty is reserved only for Jews, so Mardell felt this was just a nutty thing to say.  Also, because Mardell spends so much time inside the DC media bubble, he wouldn’t have heard of Cain before this.  It’s just so revealing that Mardell – and even other Beeboids in the room – kept bringing up Huntsman.  Considering Huntsman has been on the bottom from the beginning and is still there now, while Cain has been steadily rising the entire time and is now at the top, it shows just how misguided their perspective is.

    3. Mardell was saying that we’re all racists behind the mask because he believes it to be true, not because he felt any peer pressure.  Listen to his mock Southern accent when he quoted that “racist” old lady saying she didn’t like Him but couldn’t quite say why. I challenge anyone to show me an example of a higher-ranking Beeboid mocking a Muslim immigrant or Traveller in this manner in an educational session at the BBCCoJ.

    He will go to his grave believing that most objections about the President are informed by racism first and foremost.  I’ve said before that Mardell has the ability to continue singing the same song in spite of what people tell him in interviews.  It’s astonishing that he can say that he’s found no evidence of racism at Tea Party events, but then infers evidence of it anyway.  He just knows it for a fact, and nothing will change that, I’m afraid.

    It’s difficult to understand why the BBC would allow someone with such ingrained prejudice to be in an important position in journalism, unless one believes that the BBC agrees with Mardell on this issue.

    4. It’s all the same thing to media types. Mardell has the “skill” and experience of doing reports, so it’s no big deal for him to go to a new beat and start right in.  The BBC, and probably nearly all media organizations, think this is no big deal, a competent journalist can go in and adapt and get up to speed very quickly.  I suppose that’s true to some degree, but they wouldn’t put someone who knew nothing about sports in the field to cover football, I bet.

    5. I agree it’s telling that Wilson expects news value only from revelations in Palin’s personal life, as if nothing else matters. How many of all these revelations so far have been worth a damn thing, though?  None, really.  All the leaked or released emails, the recent smear book, babbling from Bristol and her baby-daddy, none of it has been of any value or changed a damn thing, yet the intrepid quality journos at the BBC are still waiting, expecting a salacious scandal at any moment, because they just know in their hearts she’s horrible and the real story is waiting to be told.

    You can be sure that every time Palin has made a serious, intelligent, effective policy statement, the Beeboids will be sure it was scripted for her by her handlers.  Their bigotry against plain-speaking, non-elite United Statesians knows no bounds.

    6. I think the BBC does reach a broader audience than that.  I can’t find real figures at the moment, but I’m pretty sure I read during the recent noise about the dangers of a Murdoch monopoly that something like 70% of the public get their news from the BBC, either from radio or TV.

    7. You might be giving Wilson too much credit.  He should be asking if the President might bear some responsibility for the divisiveness before he blames Dems in general.  The constant attacks and belligerent rhetoric coming from Him has a lot to do with the atmosphere, yet the BBC ignores it, and tells the staff to ignore it.  Mardell is just as bad on that score. He says they should be asking if the President’s policies might have hurt the economy, but he certainly never has himself.


  19. D B says:

    Some great points being made in this thread.

    Interesting analysis of the latest WSJ/NBC poll here:

    According to the NBC/WSJ poll, this is pretty fascinating: Cain over-performs vs. Romney in the GOP horse race among high-interest Republican voters, men, those 55-plus, Republicans who have college educations, Tea Party supporters, and those who identify themselves as “very conservative.

    Wait, what now? Very conservative, Tea Party-supporting older white Republican men are the ones backing Herman Cain? But… but… they’re all racist aren’t they?


  20. Louis Robinson says:

    David P, I hear you; but I still contend that BBC news is not viewed by a majority of people in the UK though I concede that it is the most popular news service. As last week’s figures show 4.78m people watched the 6:30 Sunday bulletin. That leaves the other 50m doing something else.

    I also concede that the BBC along with most of “Fleet Street” set the agenda with the Guardian/Independent/BBC axis a major player. ITN doesn’t even figure. And unlike the US, cable news hasn’t really taken hold. There is NO conservative mass media. Those BBC set piece news bulletins remain powerful.

    One last thing. With respect: I’m not willing to ascribe motives to people like Mark Mardell. I consider them “misguided”. But I also know many are very conceited and would never admit another viewpoint. I’m sure Mardell would never come round to our point of view no matter how well we argued our case. And even if we convinced him of our case, because of who he is and where he works, he wouldn’t admit it.

    But – if you click the link – you’ll see why we shouldn’t give up on anyone:


  21. George R says:

    BBC-NUJ: pro-‘OCCUPY’; anti- ‘TEA PARTY’.  
    More embedded ‘Occupy’ propaganda from BBC-NUJ’s



    • George R says:

      Is one of the key reasons why BBC-NUJ is pro-‘Occupy’, and anti-‘Tea Party’ because ‘Occupy’ is inclined to be law-breaking, and ‘Tea Party’ is inclined to be law-abiding?


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        I don’t think the Beeboids support the Occupiers because of the law-breaking, but we’ve seen over and over again that they condone it when the cause is just.