The BBC’s ‘Altered States’ – Painting A Picture

The BBC continues its ‘Altered States’ series of reports to convince you that the US has somehow become more divided and racist since the election of a black President in 2008. It wouldn’t be called ‘Altered’ if it wasn’t somehow different from before, right? The last installment also featured race and pushed a “Racist US” Narrative. I won’t go so far as to say the reference to the movie was deliberate because of the ugly, base, primitive nature of the proto-human to which the star reverted, and the BBC is making a subtle accusation that whites who will vote for the eventual Republican candidate want to turn back the clock to the days of Jim Crow laws, lynching, and real oppression of minorities. I’m sure the BBC editor in charge just thought it was a cute turn of phrase. But you can all draw your own conclusions.

The latest installment by digital media Beeboid Franz Strasser uses the racially divided city of St. Louis, Missouri to help paint that picture. The rich whites get the south side, while the devastated blacks suffer and are left to rot in the north. This selectively-portrayed microcosm is supposed to reinforce the notion that the US is racially divided, laying the groundwork for the idea that opposition to a black President is based on racism, rather than genuine, honest opposition to His policies. The city is clearly racially divided, and I don’t mean to denigrate the plight of African-Americans in this obviously failed city. I’m concerned here only about the biased reporting.

Strasser has previous on dishonest reporting for the BBC. His first series of reports were about immigration in the US (middle of pg. 4 of the open thread). The dishonesty lay in the fact that the word “illegal” was censored from every single report, even while he was reporting from two ‘Sanctuary Cities’, which openly flout immigration law and harbor illegals. It was especially dishonest to omit the term because this report was conceived and produced when the illegal immigration issue was at the top of the news cycle. This latest report for the ‘Altered States’ series is no different.

Spot the Missing Political Party.
The Democratic Party has dominated St. Louis for more than 60 years. There hasn’t been a Republican mayor since 1949. All the policies which have contributed to the current sad state of affairs in the city have been enacted by Democrats. Yet Strasser fails to mention the political scene. If this had been a Republican-controlled city, you know the BBC would have made sure to point that out.

The first black Alderman (the Board of Aldermen is the equivalent of the City Council in other cities) was elected in 1943. Today, no fewer than 13 of the 28 Aldermen are African-American, including the Board President. Now, does this sound like a city where whites oppress blacks and keep them down? It sounds more like Democrats and Democrat policies failing them than anything else. Yet the BBC doesn’t want you to know any of this, as it doesn’t help the “Divided, Racist US/Racist Republicans” Narrative they want to create in your minds in this re-election year.

(Coincidentally, another Democrat-controlled city and home base of the Community-Organizer-in-Chief, Chicago, also has the Alderman system. Funny how that works, no?)

As it happens, the Tea Party movement, which the BBC often portrayed as racist, and US President editor Mark Mardell believes to be driven by crypto-racism, began in St. Louis, when a white woman started her own little protest against high taxes forced on the region by Democrats. This was weeks before Rick Santelli’s famous rant which gave the movement its name. Strasser missed an opportunity for race-baiting there because he, like all of his ill-informed colleagues at the BBC, simply didn’t know. Of course, everyone here knows of the BBC’s ignorance on the Tea Party movement.

In any case, there’s something else Strasser left out of his sad tale of one city divided. While showing you street after street of empty, boarded-up houses and dead commercial blocks, he deliberately left out the fact that those buildings are empty because the African-American population has been leaving the area in search of better schools. They left to seek out a better life for themselves and for their children, because the Democrat-controlled city has failed them repeatedly for decades. Instead, you’re left with a racially-charged story without a single mention of the politics which led to the situation, with no information whatsoever given to help you understand it.

As always, don’t trust the BBC on US issues. Especially, it seems, when it comes to one of their themed series of reports.

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15 Responses to The BBC’s ‘Altered States’ – Painting A Picture

  1. Ian says:

    Erm, weren’t Louisiana and New Orleans run by Democrats – black ones, too – when they corruptly siphoned off federal Katrina aid? I seem to recall the violent “thank you” the refugees gave to those white communities which sheltered them, too.

    Perhaps it’s little things like this which add to racial tension, not to mention Obama’s constant honky-baiting and his employment of all those bros on the federal useless-parasite-ocracy payroll.

    Funny how the beeb’s own useless bureaucrats are mainly white, though. Another report into institutional racism is clearly required – let’s hope this one isn’t shredded too, like the one on the Jewish question!

    By the way, wasn’t there a “Strasser” in the German nazi party? It is amazing how they built new lives for themselves after the war. 


    • Demon1001 says:

      I was also going to ask about the name Franz Strasser.  I seem to recall hearing it about an SA man or Nazi banker or some such role. 


      • Dez says:

        Interesting how a post about supposed false accusations of racism is immediately followed by comments about “honky-baiting” and; “wasn’t there a ‘Strasser’ in the German nazi party?”


        • Roland Deschain says:

          I’m bound to say I winced when I saw the term “constant honky-baiting”.  It isn’t helpful.

          And whether Franz Strasser is or is not a descendant of a Nazi may be of passing interest, but isn’t really relevant to the discussion.  Are we visiting the sins of the fathers?

          Oh dear.  I seem to be agreeing with Dez.  I’m going to lie in a darkened room now.


          • Demon1001 says:

            Not so much as visiting the sins of the fathers, but a genuine question – was there a Strasser who was a leading light in the nazis.  I thought of coincidence rather than a relationship. 


            • Demon1001 says:

              Point of interest, I have just googled the name Strasser and Nazi and found  there were a couple of brothers of that name who fell out with Hitler.  Interesting story actually.  There’s probably not much likelihood to them being related to Obama’s friend, although that wasn’t my point anyway. 


          • ltwf1964 says:

            a white person is perfectly entitled to use the term “honky”,but a person of any other ethnic variety using the term would be racist

            in much the same way as black people can refer to themsleves as “n…..z”,but others cannot


          • Ian says:

            Rolandez (why not just use one login name?) – 

            Of course it isn’t helpful – but you try telling racists like Osama, er Obama that. As for Strasser, think beeb antisemitism, as in “yet more hypocrisy”. Doh!


  2. cjhartnett says:

    Thank you David.
    I can see it all now, and so won`t bother seeking out Strasser and that stock set of wet liberal posing by bombed out houses and beaten black underclass.
    That the Democrats have had the place to themselves for so long won`t be bothering the empty heads who put the pieces together…there is ONE message…Democrats=Labour=good and virtuous. Anbody else?…racist and stupid.
    The greatest country on the planet deserves serious study and analysis..but they`d rather keep their downtrodden masses bought off with their grandkids pensions, so they can tell them all that Obama drove past them once.


  3. Dez says:


    “The BBC continues its ‘Altered States’ series of reports to convince you that the US has somehow become more divided and racist since the election of a black President in 2008.”

    When or where exactly does this ‘series of reports’ say (or imply) that the US has become more racist since 2008?


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Dez, of course neither of these reports say it openly. At no point do I say they do. The implication is there, though, when one considers – as we have been instructed by BBC employees – the larger picture, the overall context of BBC reporting on the US. It’s all part of the process of bulding a Narrative. And please don’t tell you me you don’t think editors consider the big picture when directing their reporters to do a series, or that the reporting of their department on a specific issue isn’t coordinated somehow. News production isn’t random, and BBC correspondents don’t operate in a vacuum.

      Before I get to specific examples, though, what do you suppose “Altered” means? Different from before, of course. Do you have an…um….alternate suggestion? Once again you seem to be denying simple word definitions, just like with the meaning of “crypto-“. The implication that things are different is right there in the title.

      The context has already been framed for us by, for example, Jonny Dymond’s report on the recent “explosion” of hate groups in the US because we have a black President. There’s also his report for Today from a couple months ago about the Republican primary in Florida, in which he casually refers to the GOP as the Party of “old, white America”. It’s no coincidence that he focused on the issue of illegal immigration. Although – as I keep saying – the word “illegal” is kind of airbrushed out of the picture, so that opposition to illegal immigration is conflated with opposition to immigration of people with brown skin, full stop. Thus the Narrative is supported.

      We shouldn’t forget that nearly every BBC report on the Tea Party movement, beginning with the very first one from Kevin “Teabagger” Connolly to the shrill noise from all of them right before the 2010 midterms, focuses on the racial aspect: white people. There isn’t any reason to do so, as the same people were equally opposed to nationalized healthcare when it was called HillaryCare, and opposition to high taxation is color blind. Unless, of course, one is trying to push a Narrative about how racism is behind it all.

      Even when reporting on the Iowa caucus, Dymond makes sure to tell you that the Republican delegates were “mostly white”. In Iowa. It’s about as useful as telling you that the people at a Harlem polling precinct are mostly black. But he has a Narrative to push, so it’s Today gold.

      Mark Mardell, as you well know, has spent quite a bit of effort suggesting, even as early as 2009, that racism is behind opposition to the President is based on racism. In January of this year, Mardell told us that, whatever happened in the coming eleciton, the US was going to be a “fractious, jittery place”. As if to say that things have gotten worse lately. He also suggested that politics in Washington have become more divided. The message is clear: things have gotten worse since 2008. When Mardell suggested in 2010 that the country was more divided than ever, It’s a theme we keep hearing. Mardell has also done a couple reports showing that the recession – not His fault, of course – has hit black people hardest.

      He also went that other major city I mentioned which has the Aldermen setup: Chicago. There he found that black people were also struggling more than whites. Just like in St. Louis. Guess which political party has run Chicago for decades, just like St. Louis. Of course, we’re not told any of that. It’s all about the national economic policies, as Mardell is a national reporter. Opposition to the President’s policies to created jobs and boost the economy (if one believes that’s what they’d do, of course), it follows, keeps black people down. The Narrative is supported once more.

      I could go on and on, but the point seems pretty clear: The BBC has created a very big picture over time, and this latest series of reports is specifically meant to support it.


  4. Andrew says:

    Sad though the tale it is, the narrative around it is utterly disingenuous, esepcially how it uses the Manhattan Institute report as some kind of academic basis for its argument.

    First lets deal with the report that shows as the BBC puts it that:

    The city of St Louis, Missouri, remains one of the most segregated cities in the US, according to a study by the Manhattan Institute

    St Louis hardly gets a mention at all in the report.  It crops up in a table showing segregation in largest cities by African American population.  In this table however, St Louis has dropped five places out of the top ten in terms of Top Ten African populations.  In addition, in both cases its segregation indicies have dropped.

    There are two other tables:

    Long Run Segregation Trends in the Nations Most Segregated Cities (my emphasis)


    Largest Cities with Increases in Segregation

    St Louis is not in either of those tables

    In fact the report main thrust is that Ghettoes are dying out and that American Cities are now more integrated than they’ve been since 1910.

    You’ve also got to love that housing price comparison.  Of course there will be a difference.  If you’ve got row after row of boarded up houses, it does have a tendency to dilute house prices.  Not only that boarded up houses are empty which means people as David pointed out have moved out of the area. That will mean making an inference on the demographic makeup between the two areas the same as comparing apples with pears.

    The real story here is who did this.  Who kept telling the people in the ghetto that they were there for them and that they had their backs if only you’ll keep voting for them?

    St Louis might not be the fastest turnaround of that group but lets no get


  5. James Sutherland says:

    From their perspective, I suppose this all fits in with 0’s declining popularity? At the outset they were so excited at how enlightened the US was for annointing Him as Supreme Ruler to bring forth His promised gifts of a halved deficit, cheaper healthcare and wonderful jobs from His chosen companies like Solyndra.

    Now, confronted with dismal poll ratings and a serious chance of Him being defeated in November, they are forced to choose between 2 explanations: either 1, they were wrong all along and He has failed miserably, deserving to be kicked out for it; or 2, He is still The One, but the ungrateful ignorant unwashed racist masses are unworthy of His leadership after all. Of course they choose #2 rather than re-examine their hero through less rose-tinted spectacles.


  6. lojolondon says:

    The BBC loves to believe the USA is racist, their favourite programme typified by Louis Theroux interviewing hilbillies and racists all over the world.
    USA racism is ‘proven’ by the fact they have voted a black man as president twice, even though his first term was an unmitigated disaster.
    Just like global warming – as the earth cools, I still have the idiot zealots saying to me that the cold winters and wet summers are proof of global warming.