Mark Mardell Inadvertently Exposes Himself And His Colleagues

I apologize in advance for any unpleasant images that title may have evoked. As most people here will know, I’m wont to complain about how Mardell is little more than a British mouthpiece for the White House Press Office. I’ve written at length about how this or that report or blogpost from him is supporting the President’s cause, spouting White House talking points, etc.

This time, though, it’s Mardell himself explaining what the White House talking points are. And it doesn’t take much to see how he and his BBC colleagues are in lock-step with the White House propaganda machine.

Mitt v Isaac in Tampa

One has to feel a little sorry for the BBC’s US President, though. He was supposed to be wallowing in a political event, reporting on Romney accepting the nomination and whatever negative stuff he can imagine. But the Republican convention has been delayed because of the storm, so is stuck having to make something up instead. He’s got copy to file one way or the other, so I suppose the White House talking points have to get in there somehow. However, in casually laying these point out, Mardell inadvertently reveals himself and his colleagues for the White House shills that they are.

First, Mardell cleverly tries to use the storm as a metaphor for the impending doom he wants you think Romney’s campaign senses. They’ve been battered and put off message recently, he explains, and Romney is going to face a tough crowd. No, really.

The house band blast out a sound check, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer rehearses a walk and talk for his show. Everything in the vast auditorium is bathed in blue and red lights, atmospheric, but curiously reminiscent of emergency vehicles at a crash scene.

Yeah, it’s a bit ham-fisted, I know. But it’s not easy churning this stuff out on demand, you know. In any case, this is a not so subtle introduction to the White House talking points. In fact, it’s one of them: Romney is in trouble already.

Still, Republicans are crossing their fingers that there’ll be no accidents this week. They hope that Isaac will miss and Mitt will be a hit.

Who at this point – outside the Beltway and the HuffingtonPost, anyway – still thinks the Republican Party is going to turn on Romney and they won’t rally around him for the goal of unseating the President? This is a mentality from six months ago. Sure, Mardell was right all along that most of the Republican Party and sympathetic conservatives and independents wanted just about anyone but Romney. But that was then and this is now. There’s no way that lingering animosity towards him outweighs the desire to prevent the resurrection of The Obamessiah.

Now for the talking points. I’ll let the BBC’s US President editor explain:

He may not applaud all the statements coming from the floor when the convention does kick off. He has a tricky path to walk.

He might want to convince the conservative base that he really is one of them. But he doesn’t want to play into the hands of the Democrats who are determined to depict him as a scary reactionary in thrall to nutters and cranks.

Nobody is going to depict Romney as a reactionary. Mardell is straining here. But “nutters and cranks”? That’s pretty much how most Beeboids describe the Tea Party movement. But now that Mardell has laid it out there for you, pay attention from now on to how many of the usual BBC suspects start saying that on air.

President Obama, apparently determined to distract attention from the economy, said in an interview this weekend that Romney had “signed up for extreme positions”.

You mean like how BBC economics editor tweeted that Romney had gone “so extreme” by picking Paul Ryan as running mate?

The Obama campaign team pulled out all the stops to link Romney’s name to that of the once obscure congressman Todd Akin, who coined the ugly phrase “legitimate rape”.

You mean like how you and your colleagues pulled out all the stops to spread the story all over the place and link Romney inextricably with Akin? In a way, I should point out, that you don’t do with things that might make the President look bad.

By the time they were through, the uninformed might think Todd Akin was the third name on the ticket.

So would BBC audiences. He’s really writing my jokes for me.

The president’s campaign went into overdrive to highlight an awkward joke Mr Romney made about his birth certificate, suggesting he had strayed into “birther” territory.

You mean like how BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America tweeted that Romney’s joke was “dangerous”?

But they’ve already been buffeted off message in the last week by Mr Obama’s accusations.

Really? Is that why polls now have Romney as tied with or even slightly ahead of the President? So where is Mardell telling you that the President is equally in trouble, campaign on the back foot, after all the missteps like “You didn’t build that”, or the harshly criticized bogus ad accusing Romney of being responsible for a woman dying of cancer, or the Democrat mouthpiece who accused Romney of committing a felony – both of which the President Himself had to dance around deal with a question about it at His recent press conference? Don’t make me laugh. The BBC censored all news of it save for one brief mention by Mardell in a blog post. Which he, naturally, defended.

See, it’s not just me saying this or that is a White House talking point. This is the BBC’s top man in the US, a life-long political junkie, highly trained and an experienced journalist with close contacts in the White House, who regularly receives press releases and emails and all the relevant information, telling you that these are White House talking points. Which he and his colleagues then dutifully support.

Oh, and the whole idea that Romney is in trouble and needs to get his game going for this convention? Don’t take my word for it that it’s a White House talking point: read it on the White House website.

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11 Responses to Mark Mardell Inadvertently Exposes Himself And His Colleagues

  1. London Calling says:

    To really know what is going on in the US Presidential, turn off the bBC. Just because you’ve paid for it doesn’t mean you have to watch it. Go online to Fox TV, and our incisive US reporter DP on bBC. You haven’t paid anything, and you will be wiser for it. Truth is free, lies come expensive. Mardell is an utter disgrace, as is bBC News, as is Thompson Boaden Patten and the whole ghastly national broadcaster. To entertain and inform? Lets have a 50% refund on that piece of mis-selling.


  2. hippiepooter says:

    I wouldn’t say this is Mardell’s most overt case of shilling.

    “But he doesn’t want to play into the hands of the Democrats who are determined to depict him as a scary reactionary in thrall to nutters and cranks.”

    You could equally argue (far more plausibly I would say) that this is an adverse observation against the Democrats.

    I was suprised to see Obama posting election propaganda on the White House website, but he hadn’t.

    Just because Mardell likes feeding us as much ‘Democrat partisan pie’, as he can, doesn’t mean he’s always got his fingers stuck in it.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      You can’t be serious. It’s only a criticism of Democrats for thinking that if one believes that Mardell doesn’t think it’s true. We know he does, as do his colleagues at the BBC, as I’ve demonstrated here and previously.

      And I don’t really want to say where Mardell’s got his fingers stuck.


  3. max says:

    Sure, Mardell was right all along that most of the Republican Party and sympathetic conservatives and independents wanted just about anyone but Romney.

    so close but so wrong, quit rewriting history. no one wanted anyone but Romney – but just about everyone wanted someone other than Romney. Romney was 2nd or 3rd on almost everybody’s list, not many people had Romney as 1st choice but only a miniscule fringe wanted “anyone but Romney”. That is a significant difference.


  4. David Preiser (USA) says:

    I said in post that it’s a White House talking point that Romney needs to reinvent himself, and that Mardell felt the same way. So this quote from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the Republicans in the Senate, struck me as interesting. The topic of discussion was the possibility of the Republicans taking the Senate in November, even if Romney loses. But regarding Romney’s chances, Cornyn seems to have a different opinion than Mardell:

    I always thought that there would be a late shift in the momentum once Gov. Romney establishes himself as a viable alternative to Barack Obama, which I think he is in the process of doing.

    See? This is about Romney convincing the other side. No Republican needs to be convinced that he’s a better alternative to President “You didn’t built that”. I think this backs up my assertion that the previous animosity is being put aside for the benefit of the real goal.


    • Span Ows says:

      David, have you ever contacted Mardell? It may be worth a one page summary of the various issues sent to him and his bosses. OK, I know one page isn’t even scratching the surface and his bosses probably encourage him but at least you’d have thrown in their face.


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        No, I’ve never tried to contact Mardell directly. Early on in his tenure in the US, I posted a couple comments on his blog, but they were “moderated”. I have, though, sent a few complaints through the usual channels, but have never even received so much as a form letter.

        A long time I ago I sent a complaint in about Justin Webb back when he was working the US beat, and got a reply that I was barking up the wrong tree. I was told that he officially came under the jurisdiction of Worldwide, and should send complaints there. I’ve never been able to figure out how to do that.

        If his bosses do hear about my (or similar) complaints because a lurking Beeboid or defender of the indefensible calls it to their attention (it does happen once in a while), they probably laugh at it. Mardell is a titled editor, which means that, unless he openly starts chanting “Vote Democrat or you’re a racist!” on air, his job is to give his expert opinion and analysis, which means he can say whatever he likes as long as it’s couched in the proper language.


  5. George R says:

    What BBC-Democrat’s Mardell is not keen to mention about Romney:

    ” Pamela Geller cheers Mitt’s plan for North American energy independence”


  6. Louis Robinson says:

    Quoth Mardell on the subject of yesterdays events at the GOP convention: “Americans excel at entertainment by never underestimating an audience’s boredom threshold, and never overestimating its appetite for spectacle.”
    Funny. Don’t remember that as an opening sentence when the BBC reported on Obama standing in front of his fake Greek columns in 2008…

    Does anyone else detect a sullen tone creeping into Mardell’s reports?

    “The quality (of the TV screens) is astonishing, some how better than reality. ” – snide comment.

    “Perhaps that lack of drama accounted for the empty seats, and the rather dutiful dancing as the celebratory music played.” – or perhaps it was something to do with a hurricane?

    “It was an emotional climax to tonight’s reality TV show.” – another snide aside.

    If Romney wins, don’t expect any admission from Mardell that he was wrong. That’s not how the BBC works. 5Live’s lefties double down on their views because there are no consequences in the BBC for being wrong. (Only promotion to management and then on to the NYT at a million dollar salary). Commentators are never faced with their own words after the event. They all live in the vacuum of their own beliefs.

    The good news is the more sullen Mardell gets, the better it signals the Republicans chances of victory.

    Next week Mardell will be like a pig in shit at the Democratic convention. He will meet an army of Mardells with US accents. He will be surrounded by people who think America is evil, capitalism is evil, business is evil, and that the world begins and ends with their sexuality. There’ll be talk of gay marriage and abortion rebounding off every wall. (O needs the votes) So enjoy, Mark, but remember, like shit, if you sit in it you’ll smell like it.

    Finally, Mardell must be furious that it was Juan Williams of Fox who came up with the “corporate wife” slur against Ann Romney. Juan and Mark have a lot in common. Neither have had a proper job, something they share with Obama.


    • Big Ben says:

      The continued presence of Juan on Fox News gives some credence to their claim to be “fair and balanced”. A damned sight more so anyway than any of the US mainstream media or of course the subject and inspiration of this whole blog.


  7. Guest Who says:

    I’d be interested in whether Mr. Mardell will cover and what his take will be on the bizarre set-up… um, ‘interview’ between the US luvvie chat show host and ‘we don’t think using wives is kosher (c)Bacon. R’ Michelle Obama.
    SKY just ran it and the entire group in the studio agreed it was all, well… ‘odd’. The host rambled around towards her getting her line in and it took partisan rigging the ‘news’ to a new level.
    I also thought it funny that the feed was captioned (on SKY at least) ‘Worldwide Pants’. No argument there.