Mardell Tells A White House Lie

Yes, I say “lie”. Mark Mardell is lying. I say he’s lying and not merely reporting something when he’s misinformed, or making a claim based on false information for which he’s not responsible. I’m saying Mardell is lying because he knows what he’s saying is not true.

The BBC’s US President editor continues pushing the White House talking points about the “Sequester” budget cuts on Today, and here’s a link to the printed version.

Sequester budget cuts: America’s grim fairy tale

It’s more or less the same biased stuff he produced the other day, which I wrote about here. This time, though, instead of avoiding telling you who really came up with the Sequester plan, Mardell just openly lies about it.

Many Republicans say the idea for the “sequester” budget cuts was President Obama’s in the first place. The White House rejects that.

Whoever came up with the idea, the 2011 law meant failure to agree would cut both cherished Democratic programmes that helped the poor and defence spending beloved of Republicans.

There’s even a bit of bias in the last line there, which I’ll get to in a moment. First, to expose the lie.

It’s not just Republicans saying it. By phrasing it that way, Mardell leads you to believe that it’s a matter of opinion. In fact, as I showed in my previous post on Mardell’s spin, the White House has admitted that it was the President’s offer. I’ll just reprint the quote from CNBC (not Fox News, not Breitbart) about it, to save defenders of the indefensible the pain of having to read another post of mine:

Woodward documents in his 2012 book The Price of Politics that team Obama first proposed the idea of the sequester. Expanding on his work in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, he noted—as he has before—that both President Obama and his would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew lied on the campaign trail by saying the sequester originated with House Republicans. The White House has now ceded that fact.

“Fact”. Not good enough for you? Forbes says it was His idea. The Washington Post, which Mardell reads regularly, gives His claim Four Pinocchios, and provides evidence to back up the fact that it was His idea. Even Politifact rates the President’s claim that the cuts was Congress’s idea as “mostly false”Politico, which Mardell reads regularly, almost admitted it, but they couldn’t quite bring themselves to hurt Him and so framed it in an amusingly contorted bit of spin that would make Helen Boaden proud:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to give Obama the authority…

Then there’s this bit from a different Washington Post article (not Fox News, not Breitbart):

Last year, the House passed two bills that would have stopped the sequester and replaced some of the spending cuts with others. But the White House said the magnitude of the cuts was unacceptable and would imperil critical government programs.

Anyone who gets their information on US issues from the BBC will be very aware of which Party runs the House. The President could have prevented this, but chose not to. Curiously, Mardell chose not to tell you about it.

If none of this is good enough for you, here’s White House spokesman Jay Carney, personal friend of BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of BBC World News America Katty Kay, saying, “the sequester was one of the ideas yes put forward, yes, by the president’s team.”

In other words, Mardell knows exactly who started this, exactly whose idea the sequestered cuts are, and exactly what he’s doing when he misleads you. Blame must always be shifted from The Obamessiah. Trapped in a world He never made, it’s not His fault, you see.

Almost forgot about the bias in that sentence about which cuts supposedly hurt whom. Consider the pantomime caricatures Mardell uses: the Democrats want to help the poor, while it’s the war machine that’s so beloved by the Republicans. Can you tell where you’re meant to boo and hiss, and where you’re meant to cheer? I guess that makes Mardell the pantomime dame, although that’s probably an insult to the integrity of pantomime dames everywhere.

In case you didn’t come away from all this “journalism” with the idea that the cuts supposedly forced on Him by evil Republicans would be a catastrophe for the country (another White House talking point which is going to turn out not so true) and, by extension, the UK and the world (which is why it gets promoted on Today), the BBC’s US President editor ends with this bit of dramatic prose:

There is seemingly no end to this toxic tale of cruel dismemberment and government by crisis.

Emotive terms, value judgment, full stop. Notice whom he’s criticizing, and who gets a free pass. This is an editorial, an opinion piece, not journalism. Don’t trust him or the BBC on US issues.This is your license fee hard at work.

PS: I realize most people here don’t really care much about the US or much foreign stuff at all, and are mostly – and quite rightly – concerned with the BBC’s bias on domestic issues. All I can say is that you should be concerned that the BBC spreads poison elsewhere at your expense, and that they’ve clearly gone far beyond their remit of providing public service broadcasting and are actually dedicated to expanding the BBC’s tentacles across the globe purely because they can. The BBC exists now for itself, and not for you. It’s also a relentless drive for more revenue, something else that’s not supposed to be part of the BBC’s reason for existence. The BBC does this stuff in your name, and the BBC bias is everywhere, across the spectrum of broadcasting, all over the world.

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32 Responses to Mardell Tells A White House Lie

  1. Alan Larocka says:

    This is more like the typical lefty attitude to being confronted with facts.


    • johnnythefish says:

      The ugly face of the Left, eh? Keep shouting lies and don’t let the interviewer get a word in edgeways. Scary.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Got to agree with Rep. Ellison about the use of scary background music and preparing the audience on how to interpret what they’re about to see. I can’t stand it when the BBC does it, and Hannity shouldn’t do it either. But Ellison is lying about what happened in 2011, and pretty much about whose fault the sequester is.

      Ellison was bad, and Hannity was worse. This was like one of the lower quality Evan Davis outings on Today.


      • Span Ows says:

        How was Hannity worse? I thought he was patience personified! I would have told Ellison to eff off after 2 minutes.


        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          All the shouting and interrupting was very reminiscent of Davis’s style when has a guest on he wants to take down and isn’t getting the desired response. I also didn’t like the way Hannity acted as if he’s doing an elected Representative a favor by allowing him to speak on his precious show. Very BBC as well. Sure Ellison was ranting, but Hannity could have handled this much better, and made Ellison look like a clown, but he’s not capable of it.


      • johnnythefish says:

        The bit of the clip I saw didn’t include the preamble and the music. But fair point. It’s a crude (and counter-productive, to anyone with half a brain) tactic which, as you say, we’d pull the BBC for.


        • hippiepooter says:

          What is notable though, is that Conservative politicians rarely ‘pull’ the BBC on it.

          The difference between Fox and the BBC is, Fox is honest about it’s bias whereas the BBC lies about it.


  2. johnnythefish says:

    Excellent piece of research showing yet more shameless bias – again on the biggest issue affecting the world’s biggest economy. Why do they get away with it? Because they can. (And another stinker on ‘climate change’ today which I’ll hold for the next Open Thread.)

    Enter trolls if you feel you have the balls and the intellect to defend this one (I suspect Thursday night might be when they wash their hair, though).


    • Bigt says:

      I didn’t think they had to wash their hair as it adds to their wailing and gnashing of teeth and chest beatings and false tears for the poor…

      Right BBC guys back off to millionaires row, job done…


  3. Guest Who says:

    ‘I realize most people here don’t really care much about the US or much foreign stuff at all’
    I can only speak for myself, but as a citizen of the world we share with the US and other countries who very much influence every aspect of my, my family and my nation’s situation, I actually do care about foreign stuff quite a bit.
    Which is why I get concerned when my impartial and professional national broadcaster appears to feel what I get to find out about anything, domestically of beyond our shores, needs ‘interpreting’ to the point of being at best of little value or, worse, misinformation.
    Then I get very interested indeed.


  4. Owen Morgan says:

    David, no need for the postscript. Your criticisms of the BBC’s disastrous coverage of US politics are greatly appreciated.


  5. NotaSheep says:

    I would complain to the BBC but today I received this email:

    ‘Thank you for your email. As you may be aware the BBC’s guidelines on complaints stipulate that we will not entertain complaints from people who remain anonymous.

    Click to access complaints_fr_work_ed_complaints.pdf

    For that reason we cannot take your complaint further.
    Thank you.’

    Somehow I don’t think they like being questionned…


    • Span Ows says:

      disgraceful. How do they know its ‘from people who remain anonymous’. I would write back and ask them that.


      • NotaSheep says:

        I think even the BBC can work out that my actual name is not NotaSheep MaybeaGoat.


        • Span Ows says:

          LOL, I know…but they don’t “know”. It is an assumption about a customer (to shut them up or shut them out) and as such is a disgrace.


          • Guest Who says:

            ‘but they don’t “know”. It is an assumption about a customer’
            Another BBC unique precedent is the notion of ‘guilty until proven [redacted]’.
            By way of mitigation this does appear to be applied internally as well:
            Pollard Report
            17. The complete distrust of Mr Jones which I referred to above extended to the News PR team. Ms Deller and Mr Feeny were, by this stage, evidently concerned about the continuing leaking of material to the media, of which they assumed Mr Jones to be the source.
            154. It does appear to me that, by this stage, Mr Rippon was becoming something of a ‘fall guy’.
            90. Ms Boaden says Mr Entwistle pulled back from this when it was pointed out that this was an ethically dubious thing to do, and that it was unlikely in any event to prompt Mr Rippon to resign.

            Lovely workplace environment.
            It can also be noted that the BBC’s ‘best guesses’ and assumptions, if they fit their mindset on what ‘should be’ even in the face of a factual ‘what is’, does not stop them proceeding on this basis to some very unpleasant consequences.
            Oddly these tend to be mostly expensive for the licence fee payer, whose interests The Trust is in theory tasked to protect.
            Quite how this is achieved by using public funds to give Lord McAlpine compo whilst sidelining and rehiring almost all complicit remains to be explained.
            Oh… they don’t have to.
            ‘1.10 If the BBC Trust does not agree with you that the BBC has erred, the BBC Trust’s decision is final.’
            A bit too unique.


    • DJ says:

      Pity they don’t feel the same way about ‘sources close to…’


    • Guest Who says:

      Somehow I don’t think they like being questioned
      Complaints that the BBC may not investigate:
      1.7 At all stages of this Procedure, your complaint may not be investigated if it:
      1.7.1 fails to raise an issue of breach
      1.7.2 is trivial, misconceived, hypothetical, repetitious or otherwise vexatious.

      No mention that the people deciding these, as with all things, are also within the BBC, so they may as well have saved space and said ‘if your complaint makes us look dumber than a box of rocks or more bent than a 9 bob note, or simply we don’t feel like playing any more.
      I also note that to copy and paste those few lines for the purposes of sharing has not be made easy.


  6. john in cheshire says:

    David, I had read about Mr obama’s campaign team being economical with the actualite during the presidential campaign and that Mr Woodward had recorded, accurately, that it was the democrats who had proposed the sequester. That the Republican party seems uninterested in declaiming the democrat, and more specifically Mr Obama’s team’s mendacity is something I find quite puzzling. The bbc will repeat ad nauseum any propaganda that the democrats produce and in my opinion are not above creating their own. Please keep up the pressure on these obnoxious organisms because the day people like you ease up on them is they day they win.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I guess the Republicans can’t get too much mileage out of that because they agreed to it in the end, and want budget cuts anyway rather than increasing taxes and spending even more than ever. They can’t really claim total innocence on this like the BBC claims the President is, even though they offered a better deal before, which He rejected. If I thought they were really clever, I’d actually be inclined to view the Sequester as the Briar Patch, and the Republicans as Br’er Rabbit. I don’t really give them that much credit, though.

      Their goal should be to point out how what the White House is doing is all political and how the President is clearly not interested in fixing the economy. And maybe a little demonstrating how it isn’t and won’t be quite the catastrophe the White House says it is.

      As for keeping up the pressure, thanks, but I wish there was a way to spread some of this information around more.


  7. David Preiser (USA) says:

    I’ll just continue the theme from my previous thread of how the Obamessiah Administration is politically doing whatever they can to make this sequester catastrophic. Or, in some cases, just scaremongering without substance.

    Pre-Sequester Pink Slips? Duncan Stretches Impact on Teachers

    At the White House today, Education Secretary Arne Duncan sounded the alarm over looming automatic cuts to the nation’s school system, warning that as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs with some layoffs already underway.

    It’s an eye-opening claim, but one not entirely supported by facts.

    “Over the next, you know, month or two, you’ll see lots of pink slips go out,” Duncan said. “That’s starting,” he added, “it’s still really early on.”

    That’s from ABC, not Fox News, not Breitbart. Also not from Fox News, nor from Breitbart, but from the Washington Post, is this:

    4 Pinocchios for Arne Duncan’s false claim of ‘pink slips’ for teachers

    Dishonest scaremongering, plain and simple. No scowling from any Beeboids on any of this.

    In an another area of the bloated Federal Government, a top Department of Homeland Security official has resigned at the same time he released a few hundred illegal immigrants from the special jail set up to house them. Yes, this is from the Right-leaning Washington Examiner, but the facts presented are not in dispute. Can’t shoot the messenger here to discredit the message here.

    DHS official resigns after immigrants are freed

    The senior Homeland Security Department official in charge of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants announced his resignation the same day the agency said that hundreds of people facing deportation had been released from immigration jails due to looming budget cuts, according to a resignation letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. The government said he had told his bosses weeks ago that he planned to retire.

    I’m sure he did plan to retire, and the DHS knew already. But that only addresses the question of whether or not he was forced out for what appears to be a political move. What’s pretty obvious here, though, is that, knowing he was on the way out, they let him release the illegals as a nice middle finger to Republicans and the Right, who they know get all upset about this sort of thing.

    At the White House, Carney said the decision to release what he described as “a few hundred” of the 30,000 illegal immigrants in federal detention was made by “career officials” at the immigration agency. He said the immigrants who were released were still subject to deportation.

    “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings,” Carney said. “Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.”

    The criminal element isn’t really the point, but whatever. Why is this a budget issue? Here’s why:

    ICE is required by Congress to maintain 34,000 immigration jail beds. As of last week, the agency held an average daily population of 30,733 in its jails.

    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned this week that DHS might not be able to afford to maintain those 34,000 jail beds and that mandatory budget cuts would hurt the department’s core missions.

    ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the ridiculous Dept. of Homeland Security, which was not even created by Democrats. Anyways, consider the money being spent here.

    If we assume for the sake of argument that, based on the average given of just over 30,000 detainees in house over the course of a year, at a cost of $164 per head, per day to keep them there, that’s around $1.8 billion per year. Why are we keeping them in jail at taxpayer expense and not simply sending them back home? I have no idea. Sure, reasons have been given, but I don’t really buy any of them.

    If we really needed to save money in that department, rather than simply letting a few hundred go, which saves precious little money (maybe $25 million or so, since we still have to pay to maintain the appearance of keeping tabs on them), we could simply send them all back home with $10,000 in their pocket. After all, they come here for the opportunities lacking in their home countries, right? 10 grand would set them up nicely. How much more compassionate can you get? The cost of doing that would be just over $300 million. Even if we give them all first class tickets, we’re still talking about one third of what we’re spending each year for this BS. Send them all home, and we no longer have this annual expense at all. A huge savings, even if we followed my plainly silly suggestion.

    Oh, and that’s me being super generous and pretending that none of these illegal immigrants have committed any other crimes while in the US, and are not a public danger in any way. If you factor that in and don’t give that subset first class tickets (make the bastards suffer in Virgin Premium Economy), and only give themt $5K each (am I a softie or what?), it’s an even bigger savings, never mind how much we’d save by not having to go through whatever criminal proceedings would have to be done.

    But nobody’s even dreaming of that because this is all about politics and not about saving money. Hell, this shouldn’t even be a new concept for the government because, after all, the Administration has been otherwise deporting illegals in record numbers. And I bet He’s not as generous as I would be. Somehow, the BBC doesn’t want you to know any of this background context to the issue and instead wants you to think the cuts are all due to wrong-headed Republican ideology.


  8. Louis Robinson says:

    Careful Preisser. O’s administration will be warning you not to be so belligerent soon. Looks like journalists and commentators are lining up to claim they’ve been threatened:

    “Bob Woodward isn’t the only person who’s received threats for airing the Obama administration’s dirty laundry. It seems anyone is a potential target of the White House these days – even former senior members of the Clinton administration.”

    And Ron Fournier: “As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.”

    There are also reports of one ABC and one CNN journalist having been taken aside as well. Looks like Nixon lives!

    I expect the fearless Mark Mardell to be next man to be on the wrong side of the White House – oh sorry, I must have dropped off.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      There’s been plenty of that going on ever since He was anointed. Yet the BBC’s US President editor gets upset and thinks it’s worth reporting only when Mitt Romney is less available for a few minutes on one campaign trip. In fact, it bugged him so much he blogged about it a second time.

      It’s only getting to be big news now because it’s happening to a sainted one who can get himself plenty of air time to complain about it. An Administration mouthpiece’s prejudiced, ageist remark about Woodward isn’t going to help, either.


      • Andy S. says:

        Dave, could the White House apparatchik threatening Woodward be Valerie Jarrett? I hear she’s such an evil bitch that even Obama’s rotweillers Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod went elsewhere because she was too obnoxious, even for them.


        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          No, it was Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the President. Jarrett is more behind the scenes, sort of the Dick Cheney of the story, only more extremist.


      • Span Ows says:

        Great first link here David.


  9. George R says:

    “A nasty, brutish, imperial presidency”

    By Nile Gardiner.


  10. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Instead of spamming the page with yet another new post by me, I’ll put this here, since it’s on the same topic of BBC blatant bias about the Sequester and protecting the President. It’s pretty unbelievable, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from the most partisan Beeboid in the US.

    Katty Kay answers your sequester questions

    She’s mostly giving her personal partisan opinion that it’s “madness”. And of course she tells the same lie Mardell does about who offered the scheme, particularly regarding the defense cuts. Remember, Katty is the highest- profile Beeboid in the US, both as anchor of BBC World News America and a regular panelist on MSNBC, and regular guest host on NPR. She is the face of the BBC (poor photo of her here, unfortunately) in the US as much as anyone is. Are you proud?

    Read the whole thing and enjoy your license fee hard at work.