The BBC has been busy this week trying to carry the President’s water over various incidents. US President editor Mark Mardell has been especially active defending the President and attacking His enemies. And the youngsters at BBC News Online Recdep have been equally busy making sure some things are reported at length, while other things are censored entirely.
Before I continue, though, let me state first that this is not, contrary to what defenders of the indefensible love to claim, about me simply wanting the BBC to say only what I want to hear, or report from a Right-wing slant. This is about the failure of the BBC – specifically its top people in the US – to report not only accurately, but honestly, and give you some semblance of the whole picture. It’s also about how the biased reporting makes the BBC appear to support the President of the US, rather than being an impartial, honest broker of news.
The latest example is the foolish remark by Rep. Akin about rape and pregnancy. Naturally, since it’s been a big deal in the US mainstream media, the BBC is all over it, with no fewer than five features about it. currently at the top of the US & Canada (Who?) page:
Romney calls for Akin to drop out
Todd Akin: “I was medically wrong”
(There have probably been at least two more news briefs going up since I’ve been trying to put this together while the site goes up and down). Contrast this with the amount of BBC coverage of two other big recent election stories. The President’s “You didn’t build that” statement (I hesitate to call it a gaffe, because He meant it) was censored entirely by the BBC, except for a single brief mention of it in one Mardell blogpost. Yes, Mardell was defending the remark, trying to explain the context. The other big story, one which has been all over the news was even brought up in the recent surprise Presidential press conference (more on this later), was the falsehood put out by a Democrat Super-PAC that Romney was directly responsible for a woman dying of cancer. The BBC has censored that completely.
These issues harm the President, make Him look bad. So the BBC isn’t interested in covering any of it. Yet this story about one Republican candidate for Senate – not even about Romney, not even connected to his campaign, mind – is a top priority for them. Even Katty Kay got into the game by tweeting that Missouri was an important State for Romney. It continues to be the biggest target for the Democrats this week, but that ought not make it a top news priority. Or do political targets dictate newsgathering now?
Back in January, Mardell managed to defend, sort of, Romney for his quip about how he loved to fire people. Actually, he didn’t defend Romney at all. Rather, he said that it was wrong to call the statement a “gaffe”, because it was really just clumsy and wrong for Romney to say it. Actually, it’s not really a defense at all, just the pretense of one.
A couple of days ago, VP Biden told an audience of African-Americans – descendants of slaves – that Romney and Ryan wanted “to put y’all back in chains”. Mardell defended him. In fact, he starts out by seeming to call any criticism of Biden over this remark “mud-slinging”. He curiously said that the mainstream media played down why the remark caused an uproar – the slavery reference – which is a joke. Everyone knows why it was a bad thing to say, which is why the media went into overdrive to protect Biden from the backlash. What’s much worse, though, is that Mardell had the nerve to suggest that Biden said it “perhaps inadvertently”. No, that’s simply not credible. Of course Biden knew exactly what he was saying, hence the pandering “y’all” thrown into the mix. Otherwise, Mardell is suggesting that Biden is as dim and unqualified to be VP as he thinks Sarah Palin is. I don’t believe that for a moment. Mardell here is basically telling himself – and you – a little white lie.
The defense continues. Suddenly people who saw this as race-baiting and wrong are, according to Mardell, “too sensitive”. Apparently the BBC’s top man in the US is unconcerned that people like Artur Davis (the co-chair of the President’s 2008 election campaign) and Doug Wilder (Democrat former Governor of Virginia) found Biden’s remarks to be deliberate, and offensive. The BBC wouldn’t dare suggest that the Black Coalition of Georgia Republicans are too sensitive to racial issues, would they? What Mardell really means is that white Republicans are making a mountain out of a molehill. He’s thus dismissing the objections of black people out of hand. And it’s not like he has no idea these people exist.
Actually, Biden’s dopey utterings have gotten worse. He opened his remarks in Virginia by saying that the Dems can “win in North Carolina”, and last week asked at a campaign stop, “’Folks, where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th Century in making automobiles?’ Imagine if Sarah Palin had said such a thing. The BBC would have been all over it: Beeboids tweeting ecstatically, two separate online articles, plus a Mardell blogpost. But when Biden does it….nada.
It’s actually worse than you think. Biden’s idiocy has gotten so bad that his staff is actively trying to censor press pool reports and keep reporters from getting too close. This is from Politico, ladies and gentlemen, a favorite read and retweet source for both Katty Kay and Mark Mardell. They know all about this, but don’t want you to know. No, it’s much more important to whip up hysteria over Rep. Akin’s terrible remark about rape and pregnancy.
Let me repeat: I don’t want the BBC to report negatively about Biden, while supporting or sweeping Akin under the rug. I want them to report both accurately and honestly, without trying to defend one or the other. Explaining the potential damage or why one or the other is controversial is fine, but that’s not what you’re getting from the BBC, is it?
Speaking of difficulties with the press, people here may remember three weeks ago when Mardell was grumbling about how Romney wasn’t so friendly with the press during his visit to Poland. Apparently there wasn’t enough access granted, and his press man lost his temper with the pool reporters. Mardell was all over that. In fact, it was so important to him that he whipped up a second negative piece about it. His friends getting censored by Biden’s staff? Radio silence. You don’t need to know about that.
Worse, the President Himself actually didn’t give a press conference at all for eight weeks. No questions taken at all. Instead, He’s been hitting the local media, morning radio DJs, and the like. He’s been doing that instead because they bow to instructions in advance about what He wants to talk about. Where’s Mardell on this? He knows about it, but doesn’t want you to know. Again, I don’t merely want Mardell to attack the President: I just want him for once to report the whole picture, both sides, and not only negatives about one side, while providing the defense for the other.
And this is where the water-carrying becomes really obvious. Remember all those times Mardell was moaning about how things have gotten so negative, so nasty, and blamed the Tea Party or Republicans for it? There was another attack from Team Obamessiah last month, this time accusing Romney of committing a felony while at Bain. They even held a conference call with reporters to push it.
The other day, the President finally did
grant an audience give a press conference where He took questions from reporters. It didn’t go so well for Him because one of them had the audacity to ask Him about the negative, ugly tone of His campaign. This was about both that bogus ad and the felony charge. The President tried to dodge responsibility for it. Previously, His campaign denied knowledge of it. Then they had to admit they knew. At the presser, the President showed that He knew all about it, while trying to claim that He didn’t, and that it was no big deal. Did the BBC report that? No, of course not, because that would mean you’d know about the ugly ad itself, or the bogus felony charge, which makes Him look bad. So they’ve censored this as well, in order to maintain radio silence about the ugliness coming out of the White House.
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya now, BBC? Will you ever be an honest broker of news about US issues? Or is it going to be Pro Obama At All Costs until November 6? (Not Nov. 2, like Michelle Obama just said, at which the Beeboids will not be giggling on air.) It’s not bias to report about the two attack ads. No need to judge them, just report that they exist, and that they’ve caused an outcry. But the BBC can’t even do that anymore. It’s not just Mardell, either. There are other BBC journalists tasked with proper newsgathering in the US. They’re all responsible for this failure.
When trying to understand religion, the BBC is all at sea! The culture of the BBC is secular. Most movers and shakers in Britain’s broadcaster come from the same background.
As products of the elite education system, bathed in righteousness, anointed by the membership of the world’s most exclusive club and with an unshakeable belief in their own rectitude. Oh, they were comfortable with Rowan Williams because they shared his values, left of center, redistributionist, socialist. They live in a world in which Jesus was no more than a grass roots community organizer – one could say, the Barrack Obama of his day. The BBC puts its Christianity in a box; a religion with slightly batty vicars in unkempt beards, pottering about in soup kitchens, wearing sandals and clutching nylon-strung guitars singing “Kumbaya”. “All Gas and Gaiters”. Safe, secure, tame. TFTD. Two minutes during TOADY. Grab a coffee while it’s on.
Now, can you imagine THIS group of people trying to understand the robust debate that is going on in the US at the moment? One can sense their incredulity in this sentence from the BBC website:
“The most senior US Catholic cardinal is to give a benediction at the Republican National Convention next week in Florida when Mitt Romney accepts the party’s presidential nomination.”
How can this be? Isn’t Mitt Romney (in whispered tones) a Mormon? Can Mardell and his pals figure out the Catholic Church’s duplicity against their beloved President?
Psst! It’s not just the Cardinal who opposes the Obama administration over the health insurance issue. Here is a list of Catholic organizations suing the federal government.
The BBC concludes: “The Catholic Church is embroiled in a dispute with Mr. Obama over his health law that requires employers to provide free access to birth control through their health insurance.”
That’s it then. It’s all about birth control, abortion, the weird Catholics out of date agenda driven my medieval concepts about purity and restraint. Purity? Restraint? The fools!
But from the other end of the religious spectrum, the Southern Baptists have also come out against Obama. This time the BBC can shake its collective head and say, “Ah! Southern Baptists – they’re just homophobic.”
And the Jews? Well, that’s because they’re – well – Jews.
There is a serious reason for religious opposition to Barrack Obama health care plans – reasons never fully explained by the BBC. But how can a secular organization understand a debate framed in terms they don’t understand? To them all religions are slightly mysterious, slightly nutty.
To understand the political implications of the debate surely someone must lay out the FACTS?
OK. So I have been light-hearted in my post so far. Here (for BBC producers) are both sides of the argument.
The defence of the administration view comes Gary Gutting is a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame writing in the New York Times
And supporting the Catholic position is Marc Thiessen writing in the Washington Post who points out that even Obama’s favorite lefty Catholics like Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association (who became a hero to the Catholic left in 2009 when she broke with the bishops and endorsed Obamacare) have voiced concerns about the threat to religious freedom.
It seems if you want to know the issues you do not find them discussed in the BBC. The issue is: the threat to religious freedom.
I really appreciate the listing of all of these one-sided opinion pieces regarding the US Election. The problem is that the BBC got away with this at the last US election, and will seek to do it again and again. It has, in conjunction with the Guardian and other left-wing mainstream media in the UK, tried to create the myth in the UK that anything a Republican does in the US is hateful, stupid, or dangerous, but the opposite is true of anything a Democrat does. Unfortunately, the UK public has risen to the bait time and again, and the ‘perceived wisdom’ in the UK now is that the US can only be barely tolerated if someone like Obama is at the helm, and must be excoriated at all times if there is even a sniff of non-Democrat tendency anywhere in that country. Much the same as the BBC has tried to do here in the UK with its incredible left-wing bias.
What the right wing in the UK needs is a bunch of ‘attack dogs’, as favoured by the Labour Party, who almost make themselves impossible to ignore by the BBC, by continually taking on the BBC and its cohorts at every turn, and making it clear what is going on – refusing to be shouted down by BBC commentators, and pointing out, with force, again and again, just how the BBC is behaving. Labour does this sort of thing attacking the current government on many fronts and gets huge publicity from MPs whom the labour leadership does not have to be seen to support, but the dagger is slowly but surely sunk into the media thinking. It’s time the current government stopped pussy-footing around with this bunch, and started playing hardball in interviews, and pointing out clearly where the interviewer is being partisan, is trying to talk over answers, is inconsistent with its approach to the various UK political parties etc. Use proxies fed and watered by the party but keep hammering away at the message.
Sadly it is not just the BBC. My main sources of print news, The Times (daily) and Time magazine (weekly) are just as bad. It’s just as Bill Clinton complained in 2008, very few reporters are prepared to investigate or print anything that might get the Obama apostles to play the race card.
It’s more than that. Most journalists have so much emotionally and professionally invested in Him and in His success that it’s extremely difficult for them to turn around and start reporting the reality about Him. At best you get things like Mardell’s moaning that a particular speech of His isn’t as inspiring as it ought to be.
A defeat in November would be personally devastating for them.
Is it my imagination or is Jon Swain of the Daily Telegraph against Romney?
” It’s time the current government stopped pussy-footing around with this bunch, and started playing hardball in interviews, ”
They won’t! they will continue to sleepwalk into oblivion, which to be fair is just where their policies should put them. Their real problem is that there simply is not enough difference between any of them. If they had any balls (no not HIM!) they would have policies worth supporting. I wouldn’t give the socialists the skin off my s**t, but the now useless tories are almost as bad.
Cameron wanting Turkey in the EU gives the lie to all his posturing on the right. Traitors all of them
There, I feel better now, nurse where is my whiskey?
Spot on, but of course support for a non white, democrat president is entirely in line with the BBC values and strategies. We should be surprised if their reporting wasn’t so biased in favour of Obahma.
In Britain their bias barrage 24/7 of the last several decades is definitely changing the culture and politics of the country. How any conservative government can allow them to keep the license fee to fund this barrage is distressing.
David, Pardon my ignorance but how much influence does the BBC have in USA elections? They clearly believe they carry a lot of weight given the effort they put into bigging up The Chimp but I wonder how many ordinary voters bother with their coverage. Just curious. I do not recall seeing any American coverage of British elections in the past.
Right now, PhilO’, the BBC has zero influence, thank goodness. But they have immense influence on my country’s greatest ally. They have tremendous influence on my friends and acquaintances and people I’ve done business with in the past and may in future. They have tremendous influence on the British public who vote for their leaders, which ultimately affects us all.
Additionally, the BBC has increased their presence in the US, hiring more staff and spending more money, with the goal of increasing their share of US eyeballs and ad revenue. They’re quite open about it:
Online journalists now work at the heart of the BBC’s Washington DC hub, offering news and feature content aimed at US audiences more directly than ever before.
As well as covering news from across the US and Canada, the team produces bespoke online video and text features for the BBC’s international Magazine section, which launched in September 2011.
The US operation is backed by wider BBC News website teams in the UK providing expert coverage of wider global affairs, technology, science and nature, health and the arts.
Then there’s BBC World News America, a news broadcast co-produced by BBC Worldwide and Discovery Communications, made in Washington, DC, and targeted specifically at a US audience. It hasn’t gone very well in its four years of existence, though. Once a full hour of biased broadcasting, it got cut in half last year and dumped from the BBC America channel entirely. The first half hour was usually video reports from the mother ship (mostly stuff from the News Channel or “The Ten”), covering various UK and international issues they thought were worthy of our attention, with the second half being reports from various Beeboids in the US, along with Matt Frei or Katty Kay displaying their personal biases while interviewing various people in the studio. I used to complain about it regularly here.
What’s left of it is now syndicated on PBS channels in select locations around the country. That’s why Matt Frei jumped ship to C4 and Katty Kay took over as anchor. At least it no longer competes directly with the syndicated broadcasts of BBC World News, though.
Basically, they’re definitely trying to increase influence here. I consider it an enemy invasion.
And their ambition is clear. Note the declaration that the BBC World Service is “The world’s radio station”.
I suspect David it will be Hopey Changey at all costs if this article is anything to go by:
Especially when it comes to the comment:
But among the self-described middle class, 52% of adults believe President Barack Obama’s policies in a second term would help them, opposed to 42% who said electing Republican challenger Mitt Romney would do the same.
Now I have to declare I’m not very good at maths but even I could spot that something was wrong with the downbeat assessment about their future that would somehow be better under Obama than Romney, as Obama was the incumbent.
The clue, as ever, that something is amiss that the report stands “as is” – no qualification is presented and no background information exists in it for you to assess it yourself. So if you go to the poll itself you do find something that explains why this poll seems to have a jarring message.
Does Partisan Affiliation Influence Economic Perceptions?
As is true of the population overall, more members of the middle class identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party (50%) than with the Republican Party (39%), with 11% declining to take sides. These partisan affiliations are correlated with the economic attitudes and perceptions of survey respondents in ways that often run contrary to their actual economic circumstances, a pattern evident in many Pew Research surveys conducted since 2008, when the recession took hold and Barack Obama was elected president.
So what in reality we have here is a survey of mostly democrats saying that despite feeling the pinch, it will be okay if Obama gets in and fixes it for them.
Democrats say Obama is great and we want him back – quelle surprise.
For me this comes back to David’s point. We just want a balanced report. If the shoe had been on the other foot and it was Romney and the GOP, there would have been qualification of such statements along the “well they would say that wouldn’t they?” Not here though. Of all the messages to be pulled out from this poll, the BBC emphasis is Obama good for the middle classes.
This in itself is strange as there is a lot of thinking to suggest that the middle is likely to get really hit in any Obama second term as a tax base for his programmes.
But you just know if this had been a republican skew in both make up and findings, the angle would have been the misguided middle putting their faith in a president who was about to stick it to them, proving what brain dead fools they were wedded to party ideology as opposed to pragmatic common sense.
The Akin story is relatively minor – but it was run as 3rd or 4th main item several times on Radio 4 news programmes. A very clear example of the BBC blowing up an anti-Republican story out of all proportion.
And as David Preiser says, the BBC has deliberately avoided coverage of the gutter politics of the Obama campaign – effectively charging Romney with responsibility for murder, and tax felony. Even normally-left media in the US have described the campaign as dirtier than ever before.
Mardell himself is a flaccid disgrace to decent journalism. And the rest of the BBC”s US gang are just as bad. How are they going to explain it all if Romney / Ryan win big in November ?
But the Democrats and Leftoid media have been trying to make a huge deal out of it. There are even rumors that the President is going to make abortion a main feature at the Democrat convention next month. Anything to keep the focus off the economy, unemployment, and silly things like ObamaCare, Fast & Furious or Solyndra.
I don’t mind the BBC reporting it, although they’ve gone a bit over the top because they, too, see it as way to hole Romney’s campaign beneath the waterline. What I do mind is the bias that makes them think that the other stuff isn’t worth reporting.
Beeboids, Atkin and Galloway.
BBC-NUJ on issue of rape.
BBC-NUJ is very critical of Republican, Atkin, not so much of ‘Respect’ (Sic) MP, Galloway.
But then who are the people who voted for Galloway?
Above: read Akin, not Atkin.
Errr……any clues given in this quiz?
Don’t be silly, but you can have as many re-sits as you like to try to improve your grade….
The BBC’s startling lack of curiosity is a fatal flaw … even the bias referred to here is so lazy, knee jerk … incurious. That’s what is shameful .
David, Thank you for your explanation. In 2010 the BBC were all out for Labour and the Borrowers suffered their biggest ever defeat. Unfortunately the No To Gordon votes were split by the population taken in by Clegg’s performance in the debates and we ended with Coalition government. Lessons….1. TV exposure can fool the people some of the time. 2. BBC endorsement can backfire some of the time. 3. You are fortunate to have a two party system so no prospect of coalition. 4. Libdems are peculiar to Europe. Don’t tolerate a breakaway political group because it becomes a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later they will gain enough votes and screw the system up. Cheers.
Lots of Lefties in the US believe that the third party candidate, Ralph Nader, prevented Al Gore from winning the 2000 US election.
(…..god almighty, Al Gore as head of the most powerful country in the world…..)
Wait, I thought Bush stole that election? Which excuse am I supposed to believe now?
Good points all, especially the influence of broadcast to sway minds, shape policy and influence ballot box opinions.
So it always seems odd that a £4Bpa uni-directional tribal monopoly does not raise more concerns than it does.
The point on coalitions is also well made, but sadly is another inevitable flaw of true democracies.
Frankly the phrase ‘too many cooks..’ or maybe ‘all chiefs…’ are apposite.
Choice is good, but in leadership if there is too much you simply end up with fudge and compromise, which defines today’s politics.
Here is a former pollster for the Democrats saying that Obama’s campaign is the dirtiest ever. Now THAT is the real news about the campaign.
Don’t worry: Mardell will be along soon to explain that it’s not His fault. He’s probably reading that new Politico e-book on exactly that right now.
It’s not just the BBC news department that is the problem. Today’s Woman’s Hour had an intem on Ayn Rand. It was introduced as being about her continuing influence on US politics:
“Jenni speaks to Prof Jay Kleinberg, Emeritus Prof of history at Brunel University and Dr James Boys, visiting Senior Research Fellow at Kings in London about author and Philsopher, Ayn Rand.”
It very quicky turned into a sustained attack on the Republican Party.
…” the longevity of George Galloway goes to show that you can believe in practically anything on the political left these days so long as you profess a dislike for the United States of America and Israel.”
And nearly all the comments are Galloway supporters for pretty much the reasons given, plus the obligatory class hatred. No wonder the BBC hasn’t had him on for a kicking yet.
Tonight’s non-story against Romney from B-BBC, although not attributed to any specific reporter, just to show that they’re all as bad as each other.
Typical BBC half-truths. They omit the fact that The Obamessiah played up his foreign bona fides most of his adult life. He told a publisher He was born in Kenya. He sat through 20 years of Sundays filled with “God Damn America”. Plus there are the rumors that the reason His Harvard records are sealed is that He enrolled as a foreign student.
Too often this site seems ‘anti-BBC’ rather than ‘anti-BBC bias’, and then I read tour de forces like these and it makes the site so worthwile.
Great piece for the prosecution DP on Mardell’s overwhelming bentness. We know that while Obama rolls round in the gutter in this campaign Mardell’s going to be right down there with him.
The BBC acted as an extension of the Democratic spin machine during the last election (e.g., no discussion allowed of Obama’s past, experience or associates, gaffe-prone Joe Biden to be a non-person until the result announced, make the most of every smear against the Republicans, etc), and it is just getting going to do the same again. That’s what they call responsible coverage of foreign affairs, I suppose. Stick them fully under Ofcom’s control – it’s not difficult, surely?