Plain Mardelled

Craig in the comments has already noted how Mark Mardell has posted a BBC online diary entry which is biased against Sarah Palin.

I am having a go at analysing why it’s so unfair, because it has some elements of straight reporting combined with deeply suggestive comments which slant the whole thing. No one could accuse Mardell of being stupid, so let’s look at what he does. It’s the kind of sly character assassination and snide socio-political bias which telly taxpayers pay for, after all. Let’s look at what they get for their money…


First Mardell sets up his supposed „angle“, that Sarah Palin is on the rise and may be a Republican Presidential candidate. He immediately then states that Palin dismissed as „idiot reporters“ journalists who suggested that she had sought to speak at a function in key swing and early primary state Iowa. Maybe, Mark, that’s because she stated clearly that she’d had previous invites and hadn’t had time to respond to them (and this is blatantly likely to be the case). The journalists ignored the facts, as usual, and in this case especially obvious ones. However it’s a useful introduction to Mardell’s underlying theme: the appallingness of Palin.

It frames the news that Mardell heralds of a „long, hostile“ Vanity Fair piece which paints her as „extravagant, vindictive, and rather more bad tempered in private than in public“. Mardell finds this thrust „unsurprising“, but, contra-appearances, this adjective suggests agreement with Vanity Fair rather than cynicism about the source. Why? Don’t forget that this is a „Palin on the rise, seeking power“ piece, rather than a „journos out to get Palin“ piece. The previous factoid about Palin dismissing „idiot journalists“ attempts to present as hors d’ oeuvre a character of prickly nastiness to which the Vanity Fair article will be a plat principal. There are certainly journos out to get Palin, and Mardell is one of them.

Lest we be confused (between grammar and context) about Mardell’s real position, consider Mardell’s own snark comments on Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin that „The dynamic duo are becoming something of an item. Talk about a balanced ticket.“ The „dynamic duo“ is a phrase straight from comic book America- something tells me we aren’t supposed to find it respectful. As for the „balanced ticket“, Mardell clearly shows his political balance in determining for the reader what balance is with his intentioned irony.

According to Mardell, whose tone is completely consistent with the Vanity Fair hit piece, Palin „drips political ambition“. Furthermore according to Marr, she generates „fascinated revulsion or slavering worship“ ie. She’s a kook.

In the end, Mardell would doubtless claim the theme was favourable to Palin- except that he never for a second examines the reasons why Palin is rising: successful interventions from Facebook over Obamacare (the masterstroke of the „death panels“ comment), successful nomination of candidates, the endorsement (mutual) of the Tea Party, the judicious selections of who to support- Mccain and Fiorina for instance illustrating pragmatism, her skilful use of Fox News… etc.

Helloooo Mardell- you overpaid tax-funded smarmbucket- I may not be a Palin fan but I certainly recognise that positive qualities are necessary for an outsider like Palin to make the impact she’s had. Time BBC journalists as well as MSM Journolisterswoke up and smelt the license payers’ coffee.

Topical typicality

Douglas Carswell writes of the BBC’s divergent approach in covering public issues such as bullfighting in Catalonia and illegal immigration in Arizona. This is the reason I don’t watch the BBC: you know what the story will be from the barest description of it; I prefer to garner details from sources more varied and less predictable. Douglas attempts neutrality:

I’ve little interest in the politics of either Catalonia or Arizona, and even less in bull fighting. But I do wish our state broadcaster would report objectively, rather than on the basis of whether they happen to approve.

This the BBC cannot and will not do; the partisan interest they have (with its pan-national socialistic imperative) is what drives them to cover these stories and propels them all over the globe. Oh, that and license-payers’ money.

Here is the news…

The pretence of impartiality has been scrapped in the last-minute scramble to change minds before Labour faces the electorate next month.

Well, actually that’s a paraphrase of the introduction to this article. No mention of the fact that Labour has a large majority and that it has no need, based on this, to scrap anything. The correct reading of events must be that they are trying to disrupt Conservative campaigning by changing some of the talking points relating to tax, for instance the cider tax and the broadband tax. Notice in the article how the “experts” magically align themselves with the Government policy while the Conservatives are depicted as spoilers. Repeat after me, Beebies: Labour has a majority and has no need to scrap anything; the Conservatives have no power to scrap this stuff; any such action we can presume is dictated by the drive for Labour presentation at the elections. Fair dos, eh?

Open thread

A post-chocolate egg open thread- updated to an entry-to-election thread. Best comments will be threaded into a main post.

Selective feedback

According to the BBC, Ed Balls “received a standing ovation – unusual for a minister at a teachers’ conference – as he outlined the increased investments in education since 1997.”

Wow. Good to know. Those investments wouldn’t have included massive pay increases for teachers, would they? I believe they would (not that the BBC would ever spell it out). And who wouldn’t give an ovation when the pay concerned was theirs?

The Beeb seemed to think that Balls’ challenge to the Conservatives to match his spending plans for education was a solid punch.

On the other hand the BBC consider it just not worth remarking that one of Britain’s most celebrated recent war heroes wanted to “knock out” Gordon Brown, so angry was he made by Brown’s disrespect for the armed forces.

I guess Balls’ jab just seemed more punchy, from a certain point of view. (thank to Hippiepooter and others for pointing out the Beharry omission)

Happy Easter, Papa

I hold no brief for the Pope; I am a Protestant if anything. However, I do recognise when the forces of Progressivism see an opp for agitation, and that time is now. As a Briton, I don’t really give a damn about the proclivities of papists. If guilty of a crime, let ’em go to jail. If not, let them be like every other oddity up with which we put. I cannot think of any justification for the BBC’s intense interest in the Catholic church and child sex. Can it be that there are limits to tolerance? How borgeois! Or is it just al Beeb seeking to stick it into another institution of western civilisation? As a reader/viewer/citizen, I just find their scrutiny bizarre, three days running by my count. Why are the Beebies so obsessed with Catholic child sex?

sotto voce

As Craig and Cassandra have been pointing out in the comments, the Beeb have been subtly downplaying the cash for influence scandal of senior Labour figures. First there’s the fact that the headline to their article says “Ministers attack ‘MPs for hire'”. Ah, so senior Government figures are on the side of the angels then? The Gvt is acting decisively? What exactly is “for hire?” Is that anything like soliciting bribes? Then it’s noticeable that only one of the miscreants, Stephen Byers, is even identified directly as a Labour MP in the article. Moreover, they are described as “ex” ministers- for whose actions it would surely be churlish to blame the Gummint; be rather like a husband being blamed for his ex-wife’s behaviour, wouldn’t it? How about “senior Labour figures caught in bribery scandal”? How about “three senior Labour former ministers have been caught in a sting operation soliciting payments for influence. These are Stephen Byers, Labour MP for… who was minister of…, Patricia Hewitt, Labour MP for… who was minister of… and Geoff Hoon, Labour MP for… who was minister of…”

I’ve only talked here about the framing sentences of the BBC article. The rest is rather detailed detail. By the time they get to it readers will have given up the will, and just be glad that “due process” is being followed and isn’t it wonderful our media is able to bang to rights those grubby “not Gordon’s Labour but ex- Labour” types.

Incidentally, it’s no surprise that washed up pols peddle influence for cash- but then it wasn’t back in ’97 either ands that’s when the BBC was washing down “things can only get better” with flutes of champagne.

"world" "news"

The BBC is now promoting the cold weather in Europe to one of the top stories. What about the fact that more than half the entire USA is under snow at the moment? In any case the worst period for cold is over for most of central Europe at least (I know whereof I speak- in Prague where I am the daytime temperatures were minus 12 celsius or so only a couple of days ago; I’m lucky my ears didn’t freeze off). The Beeb typically refer to this as Europe’s “cold snap”, implying that it’s a little aberration. Well, they’ll soon be able to catch up with the weather and report a warming, as is their wont. But it seems to me that more than half the USA under snow (average depth across this area 3.8 inches) is a much bigger story, yet it has been relegated to the status of a freak east coast winter storm. The BBC tend to concentrate on the effects regardless of the intensity of the weather (unless it suits them), ignoring the fact that Europe’s chaos- at the very least the UK’s- is in large part due to reduced capacity as a result of lower expectations following predictions of global warming. Yet again the BBC’s coverage- even of the weather!- is distorted by ideology. When there is no financial rationale behind a business, ideas do tend to take over like bindweed.