By Georges – he’s just the man for the Washington job

One of the BBC journalists covering the government shutdown in Washington last night was Marc Georges:

Before he joined the BBC Georges used to make lame nerdy “comedy” videos attacking Republicans. Here are some examples:

So he’s gone from making tedious anti-Republican propaganda to a job at the BBC. No change there then. A natural fit for the BBC Washington bureau.

(See also my comment on the open thread yesterday about another BBC newbie, economics and political journalist Lewis Goodall – formerly of lefty think tank IPPR and prior to that an Oxford University Labour Party activist.)

An emetic…

…courtesy of BBC World Service journalist Stephanie Hegarty:

The leader of a terrorist-exporting theocracy is one thing, but Fox News is something else entirely:

BBC newsroom mindset.

Panorama’s evidence – a 3 second shot of unidentified literature

We’ve already shot Hilary Andersson’s Panorama programme full of holes, but I’d like to drive over the body all the same.

That was it? The BBC’s big song and dance about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and white supremacist literature, which it spent all yesterday gleefully reporting in its bulletins and news programmes, boiled down to roughly 20 seconds from the Panorama programme. Here’s the relevant segment (h/t to Craig from Is the BBC biased? for the transcript. Check out his take on the programme, too.)

“And we found out that Tamerlan’s interests here at home were not just Islamic. He subscribed to publications about government conspiracies, gun rights and white supremacy. He also read about mass shootings. Tamerlan was perhaps not so much the true radical jihadist as a deeply troubled young man who latched onto Islam.”

The actual evidence was on screen for 3 seconds. We weren’t even told what the literature was or how long Tamerlan had subscribed.

Andersson didn’t identify the literature shown but I can confirm that it was, as I said yesterday, the anti-Semitic weekly paper the American Free Press (AFP). Unlike the clip used in Andersson’s news report (which was deliberately blurred out by the BBC) the same footage in Panorama is clearer and the writing can be read.

That page is a book review which can be seen on the American Free Press website. It is dated 24 April, 2013 – 9 days after the Boston bombing and 5 days after Tamerlan’s death. It seems the BBC couldn’t even get hold of hard copies of the editions the older Tsarnaev was supposed to have read. Notice the name and date of the paper are still blurred at the top. [Update – Alan points out in the comments that while the online article Cosnpiracies Are Real is dated 24 April, it did appear in a print version of the AFP in March.]

Here’s the opening couple of sentences of the book review just to prove it’s definitely the AFP she’s looking at:

Conspiracies assume many different forms. In some instances an entire family is cursed, as Kennedy blood and tragedy have seeped across the decades from Dallas (JFK) to L.A. (RFK), Chappaquiddick (Teddy) and Martha’s Vineyard (JFK Jr)

The book is Conspireality by Viktor Thorn who writes regularly for the AFP.

As I mentioned yesterday the American Free Press promotes conspiracies and blames the Jews for just about everything, it sympathises with Muslim grievances, and its contributors appear on Iran’s Press TV to rant about worldwide Jewish control of the media. Who knows, maybe Press TV first turned Tamerlan on to the AFP. And let’s not forget that the AFP thinks the Tsarnaevs were probably framed.

So why didn’t Hilary Andersson point out any of that? Because it would complicate the message. The programme wanted to show that Tamerlan was only “a Muslim of convenience” and it used his apparent interest in unnamed right-wing white supremacist literature as proof of this. Pointing out the similarity in rhetoric of the Jew-hating AFP and jihadi literature would not have been helpful.

Andersson said the programme had been months in the making. How embarrassing.

BBC tries to blur the lines over Boston bomber

David V has already blogged about the BBC report (and upcoming Panorama programme) on Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev reading “right-wing extremist literature… espousing white supremacy and government conspiracy theories”, but I thought this was worth a further post.

In the video report for the story the BBC’s Hilary Andersson is shown looking at publications Tsarnaev is said to have read. The narration is as follows:

Andersson: “When these ethnic Chechen brothers Tarmerlan and Dzhokhar were caught on camera near the bomb site it was soon put down to the work of jihadists. They had been reading militant Islamic websites and had links to the troubled Islamic republic of Dagestan.

But now the BBC has found out that Tamerlan, the older brother was also reading right-wing American literature months before the bombings.Articles about government conspiracies, gun rights, white supremacy, and about the minds of mass killers.”

For some reason the BBC has blurred the footage of the literature that Andersson is reading so that only a couple of headlines can be made out. Here’s a screengrab:


The video, and the online article, go on to quote – unchallenged – the view of a member of Tamerlan’s local mosque that he was merely “a Muslim of convenience”. Andersson is clearly trying to play up the white supremacist angle (the type of people the BBC pointed fingers at in the first place) and downplay the Muslim angle.

Why, then, is the BBC be so reluctant to identify the publications that Andersson is seen reading? The clue could be in the top-right corner of the above picture where the blurry words “Close Gitmo” can be seen in part of a headline.

Close Gitmo Now” is the headline for an article in the American Free Press (AFP) published on April 10, 2013 (five days before the bombing). I’ll be amazed if it’s not copies of this publication that Andersson is seen perusing in her report.

The AFP is a vehemently anti-Semitic weekly paper which peddles all manner of conspiracy theory, usually linked in some way to the neocon New World Order that’s run by the Jews. The recent IRS scandal? The Jews were behind it, of course. And the above “Close Gitmo Now” article describes the 9/11 attacks as “false flag”. It’s that level of nuttiness.

What doesn’t quite fit Andersson’s narrative, and perhaps explains the reluctance to identify the publication, is that while the AFP is very anti-Jewish, it is also sympathetic to Muslim grievances. In one article which blames pro-Israeli propaganda for inciting Anders Breivik’s horrific murderous spree, the writer says Europeans should fear Jews, not Muslims:

“These Europeans ignore the fact that the Muslims they proclaim to be enemies of Christianity actually revere Jesus Christ as a beloved prophet, as did Mohammad himself. At the same time, they ignore the ugly hostility toward Christianity that is an article of faith in Israel…”

I’m sure the Christians whose churches have been bombed across the Muslim world feel very reassured by that.

AFP contributors such as Mark Dankof are regulars on Iran’s Press TV. Wikepedia offers this take:

In a May 2011 article Dankof protested the British government attempting to shut down Press TV, blaming it on “media outlets and correspondents with provable connections to the American Jewish lobby; Israeli intelligence; and Neo-Conservatives thirsting for a War of Civilizations with Iran specifically, and the Islamic world generally.” In a May 2011 article, Dankof also quoted from and wrote that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion accurately reflect the state of the world. He lauded PressTV as one of the few exceptions to the Jewish control of the media.

As I said in the comments under the earlier blogpost, I imagine quite a few young Muslims read the American Free Press. It spouts the same bullshit that Islamists do, and that is what will have appealed to Tamerlan.

Just for good measure, the AFP even says that the Tsarnaevs were probably framed for the Boston bombing.

It’ll be interesting to see if the full Panorama programme highlights any of the above information, because the teaser items certainly haven’t.


I know we’ve done a lot on Zimmerman already but I couldn’t let this pass without a blogpost.

Take a look at the considered opinion of BBC News Channel journalist Robert Rea on the day of the Zimmerman verdict. Rea claims Zimmerman only shot Martin because he was black, and it was shameful that he wasn’t found guilty by the jury. All twelve of them.

The jurors sat through all the evidence and concluded that Zimmerman was not guilty.

Rea’s grasp of the proceedings is such that he didn’t even know there were only six jurors.

His reaction is typical of many – an emotional response to a superficial narrative promoted by an agenda-driven media. That he can work in a BBC newsroom and be so ignorant of simple details of the trial is embarrassing, and doesn’t say much for the BBC’s own coverage of the court case. Of course, not knowing what went on in the courtroom didn’t prevent him from denouncing the jury for coming to the wrong verdict. It was just obvious the verdict was wrong, wasn’t it? It was the accepted wisdom in the newsroom.

This trial-be-damned Justice-4-Trayvon emoting has characterised the tweets of those BBC journalists I’ve seen commenting on the case. Just this morning I stumbled on a couple more from the day of the verdict.

BBC journalist Jo Deahl:

BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast Show producer Laura Harmes:

Further ignorance of, and disdain for, the jury there. And once again an emotional superficial understanding of the case.

A few days ago Richard Lawson, senior producer at Radio 5 Live, blocked me on Twitter for the following tweet:

I’ve read lots of tweets by BBC hacks expressing sadness and anger over the verdict, and seen lots of links from them to articles in lefty publications reinforcing those emotions. I’ve yet to find a BBC journalist who tweeted that the Zimmerman verdict was right and proper.

Until evidence to the contrary emerges I’ll stick with my verdict: groupthink.

Toys out of the pram – angry BBC attacks Zimmerman lawyer

It seems the butthurt is deep at the BBC over the Zimmerman verdict. Using the topic of celebrity lawyers as a hook, the BBC’s Tara Mckelvey has penned a hit-piece portraying Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara as a self-serving celebrity-craving huckster using up his 15 minutes of fame to foment anger: “Zimmerman’s lawyer raises profile – and incites rage

You won’t find BBC articles on the Zimmerman trial questioning the race-baiting comments from hustlers such as the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson. One assumes their views are taken as pearls of conventional wisdom within the politically correct world of left-liberal BBC newsrooms.

Mckelvey explains that the “vigilante” George Zimmerman shot Martin “through the heart”.

The jury accepted self-defence as justification for the shooting. The trial resulted in freedom for Mr Zimmerman – and in a new profile for O’Mara.

A “Justice For Trayvon” photo appears at this point in the article.

Mckelvey tells us that O’Mara’s “fame, or notoriety, was ratcheted up even more after the trial”.

After the jury reached their verdict, Mr O’Mara spoke at a press conference – and surprised people with his inflammatory comments about race.

If Zimmerman had been black, said Mr O’Mara, “he never would have been charged with a crime”.

“This became a focus for a civil rights event, which again is a wonderful event to have,” O’Mara said.

“But they decided that George Zimmerman would be the person who they were to blame and sort of use as the creation of a civil rights violation,” Mr O’Mara said. “The facts that night were not borne out that he acted in a racial way.”

Many people found his remarks offensive.

People such as BBC journalist Tara Mckelvey, evidently.

But what O’Mara said is true. Zimmerman did “become a focus for civil rights violation” because of the colour of skin. It happened when the race hustlers got involved. It happened when Obama said “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.” It happened when the media made Zimmerman a “white Hispanic” and tried to portray him as a racist, even to the extent of selectively editing his 911 call. And it’s also true that the “facts that night were not borne out that he acted in a racial way.” The FBI conducted extensive interviews with Zimmerman, his friends and his colleagues, and could find no evidence he was racist.

Mckelvey then gives us a renatgob with approved views to make the case against O’Mara.

“The defence looked unfeeling and callous during the trial,” says Jeannine Bell, a professor of law at Indiana University. “This comment – that if Zimmerman had been black, he would not have been charged – reinforced that view.”

Jeannine Bell is author of “Policing Hatred: Law Enforcement, Civil Rights, and Hate Crime”. It’s always someone like that the BBC calls on, isn’t it? God forbid they ever get the views of a black conservative. How about asking, say, Thomas Sowell for example, eh BBC?

Mckelvey continues:

Mr O’Mara may have appeared callous, yet his remarks fuelled his fame. It is not clear how long he will stay in the limelight, though.

After a few paragraphs on other celebrity lawyers, she wraps up her article by quoting another on-message expert:

“Celebrity journalists [sic] have an agenda,” says Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. “They know exactly what they want to use the media for.”

Mr O’Mara’s racially charged comments at the press conference after the trial may have been an honest expression of his views but were not “helpful” to his client, says Ms Levenson.

“Being on camera in a press conference is not the time to vent,’ she says. “It’s not a therapy session.”

Mr O’Mara heightened tension with his racially charged remarks after the trial, she says, and made the situation harder for his client. She believes that his remarks hurt his chances for a career as a celebrity lawyer.

“This is O’Mara’s 15 minutes of fame,” says Ms Levenson. “It’s a flash in the pan.”

“incites rage… notoriety… inflammatory comments… offensive… unfeeling and callous… callous… racially charged comments… racially charged remarks”. Get the point? He’s a bad, bad man. Luckily he’ll be “a flash in the pan”, so he’ll get his and no mistake. The “15 minutes of fame” line is the pull quote used in the sidebar of the article.

According to Wikipedia Laurie Levenson is “a frequent television commentator on criminal legal issues, first coming to fame as a frequent commentator for CBS in the OJ Simpson trial.” Perhaps she sees O’Mara as a potential competitor on the circuit?

Not mentioned in Mckelvey’s hit-piece are O’Mara’s comments on the prosecutors:

Zimmerman’s lawyer calls prosecutors ‘disgrace’ to profession

(Reuters) – George Zimmerman’s chief defense lawyer on Monday called Florida prosecutors “a disgrace to my profession” for holding back evidence for months and pledged a new effort to impose sanctions against them.

Mark O’Mara and co-counsel Don West argued the self-defense case that helped Zimmerman win an acquittal of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges on Saturday for the 2012 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

The law requires prosecutors to share evidence with defense attorneys, especially if it helps exonerate defendants. The requirement is known as the Brady disclosure.

O’Mara accused prosecutors of several Brady violations, which were heard by Judge Debra Nelson before the trial. Nelson postponed some of her decisions on sanctions until after trial, saying the process was time-consuming.

“This is not acceptable, and is not going to be tolerated in any case that I’m involved in,” O’Mara told Reuters in New York on Monday, accusing special prosecutor Angela Corey and lead trial attorney Bernie de la Rionda of Brady violations.

Pointing out any of that doesn’t serve the petty revenge-driven agenda of Mckelvey, so she conveniently ignores it.

Another low in the BBC’s biased coverage of this issue.

UPDATE. Tara McKelvey has form: BBC Admits Error in Claiming Race Played Role in Cleveland Kidnappings Coverage (h/t The Beebinator)

“If you complain, you get blacklisted”

Over at Telegraph blogs Sean Thomas recalls how the BBC nicked one his ideas, and how this ties in with the ludicrous pay-offs, the unadvertised job appointments, and the overall sense of impunity within the Corporation:

…I was tempted to write a blog post on the Telegraph mentioning all this, explaining why the BBC is, for all its wonders, actually an outrageous, malign, monopolistic force in British broadcasting, like a kind of vast, retarded toad, squashing the life out of the little guys in the media, especially with the BBC’s 70 per cent dominance of UK TV news consumption, but then I remembered that I am journalist, in a struggling industry. I’m a writer with kids to feed, in a media world destabilised by the internet, where, all-too-often, the only secure employer is the BBC.

So then, like many others before me, I thought better. Because the truth is, one day soon I might need the BBC to give me a job…

(h/t George R)