Justin Webb Reports

Justin Webb reports the White House reaction to Pat Robertson’s latest foot-in-mouth episode and promply manages to fall into the common Beebish tendency to see any nutty statement by a Falwell or Robertsonas a fair representation of Bush’s “right-wing religious base.”

Well, I have it on good authority that Mr Robertson has already experienced a taste of said “wrath” just lately. Mysterious as the Beebocracy may find this, Pat Robertson is not the man of influence they seem to think he is, nor are evangelicals the lock-step coneheads seen at every turn in the land of Beeb.

“When is media going to learn that just because somebody calls himself religious, or even a religious leader, that doesn’t mean he speaks for or leads all the other people who call themselves religious?” —Jeff Jarvis

Thanks to RealClearPolitics and Instapundit.

Why the silence?

Given the resources of the BBC, why do we hear nothing of the upsurge of persecution against Christians in Iran? Could it be that the Beeb has its gaze fixed on things that go pop or pop music? Shall we assume that some brutality is simply not that newsworthy in this jolly season? Or worse?

Here is an unedited email received from a close friend who knows a great deal about this subject. Perhaps the BBC could look into it when time allows. I make no apologies for the Christian content. (Full disclosure: I’m a Christian minister.)

Sent: Monday, December 19, 2005 1:52 PM To: Recipient list suppressed: Subject: falling sparrows

Compare these two events:

1) Dozens of volunteers spent several weeks setting up 4 million dominos in preparation for the Dutch world record domino-toppling attempt. A sparrow flew into the hall and knocked over 23,000 and seemed likely to topple many more. So someone shot it – with an air rifle. There was an immediate outrage – a ‘tribute web site’ was set up by animal rights activists – over 20,000 people visited the site. The world record attempt was due to be televised, but after the ‘murder’ even TV staff started to receive threats. The person who shot the sparrow was charged with shooting an endangered species and fined £100 – read all about it here:

“The bird was kept in a government freezer after its killing became a criminal matter. It will be placed on top of a box of dominoes in an exhibition on sparrows next year.”

2) “Iranian Christians are mourning the death of Ghorban Dordi Tourani, an Iranian believer assassinated two weeks ago by an unnamed group of fanatical Muslims and the first Turkmen in Iran known to have been martyred for his Christian faith.

A house church leader in northeastern Iran, Tourani was arrested from his home in Gonbad-e-Kavus on November 22. A few hours later, the 53-year-old convert to Christianity had been stabbed to death, his beaten, bleeding body thrown in front of his home.

I cannot find any mention of this story on the BBC web site. To my knowledge, no memorial site has been set up, thousands of people have NOT protested, and apart from selected Christian news sites, the wider Church doesn’t seem to know of the renewed persecution in Iran.

The only ultimate consolation is that the same God who is aware of falling sparrows, also said, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints…” (Psalm 116:15)

Do, please, pray for Iran and for the Iranian Church.

Credit: Kairos News

Regardless of the religious views of the persecuted people in question, this should be reported. Why the silence?

No longer hated by the people of Afghanistan

, Yanks (like me) are thankful (but not really surprised) over stories such as this one. Will the Beeb deem it newsworthy? [Note to Beeb lurkers:It’s based an ABCNews poll (PDF) and methodologically sound (PDF). So, why not go ahead and report some good news for a change? I’m still capable of being surprised, even by the Beeb.]

Hat tip: Instapundit

Iraqi official criticizes exaggerations “by political elites…and by Western media and analysts.”

If some adult at the Beeb could provide a straight answer about stage-managed “insurgent” photos, could they also explain the Beeb’s failure to report the results of this poll? It finds that Sunnis are surprisingly supportive of the new Iraqi constitution (even before the latest improvement). However gloomy it looks to BBC reporters, the Iraqis seem ready to prove them wrong.

…But the polling by the Iraqi Center for Development and International Dialogue — a nonprofit organization funded partially by the United Nations — indicated that the referendum was headed for passage regardless of the Sunday parliamentary action. “The part that surprised me was the percentage of supporters for the referendum. I didn’t expect that,” said Mr. Hafedh, who was minister of planning under interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Although support for the constitution was particularly high in the northern Kurdish areas and southern regions dominated by Shi’ites, Mr. Hafedh said it topped 50 percent even in central provinces known as the heartland of Sunni unrest — a sign, he said, that the Sunni-Shi’ite split is not as wide as many fear.

“This is exaggerated by political elites who are seeking power and by Western media and analysts,” Mr. Hafedh said. “If you go down to the streets, you can’t tell who is Sunni and who is Shi’ite. We are all mixed.”

When the Beeb fails to report key aspects of a story which is of critical interest to understanding what is happening on the ground, it is reasonable to conclude malintent.

Via Instapundit and RealClearPolitics

Update: In response to B-BBC commenter “Toad”, I have it on good authority that ‘malintent’ is well on its way to being a particularly good way to describe the BBC’s reporting. After all, Bill Gates can use it to describe the malicious code of hackers

“Now in security, there are some very, very key and obvious solutions. The most important is what’s called isolation. This is making sure that people with malintent can’t arbitrarily send code to all the different systems.”

and the word is now the stuff of legal disclaimers,

“In the absence of any other agreement, despatch shall be at the expense and at the risk of the buyer. The supplier shall be free to choose the route and the mode of transport. This choice must be made with the diligence of a prudent businessman, whereby the supplier and his agents shall be liable for lack of diligence only in the event of malintent or gross negligence.”

…I am more than happy to use this word as a descriptor for the Beeb!

On a more helpful note, B-BBC commenter Frank P mentions Melanie Phillip’s Diary as another case of the BBC’s “abandonment of fair journalism”. Read it all.

The Beeb, the War and Mother Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan has reportedly been a bit frustrated of late that press coverage has been trumped by hurricanes. She must be comforted to see that the BBC still considers her newsworthy for managing to get herself arrested in front of the White House. I have yet to see the Beeb take note of her partners in protest or her demonstrably extremist views [quoting Cindy Sheehan]:

“One thing that truly troubled me about my visit to Louisiana was the level of the military presence there. I imagined before that if the military had to be used in a CONUS (Continental US) operations that they would be there to help the citizens: Clothe them, feed them, shelter them, and protect them. But what I saw was a city that is occupied. I saw soldiers walking around in patrols of 7 with their weapons slung on their backs. I wanted to ask one of them what it would take for one of them to shoot me. Sand bags were removed from private property to make machine gun nests.”

Were she backed by neo-Nazis, would the Beeb care so little? Only one or two elected officials have been willing to show their faces with this crowd, but the Beeb doesn’t see the need to inform us of this. Katty Kay can keep us apprised of the latest anti-war developments but let’s keep Mother Sheehan’s coverage warm and fuzzy.

Hat tips: The Corner and Google (–for any ambitious BBC researchers out there!)

Why is the Beeb letting a bloodthirsty dictator off the hook?

Under Mugabe’s heel the people of Zimbabwe suffer with nary a peep from the BBC. Go to the Africa page [at time of posting] and you’ll find one tepid story. Admittedly, there are links to this [2June05], this [15Oct04], this [24June04] , this, [28Feb03] this [2July04] and this [27Nov04] on that page, but nothing ‘above the fold’. Why is this not considered a much bigger story than the extremely rare ‘Koran abuse’? I leave that to our informed commentariat to decide.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Update: B-BBC commenters Mark and Scott note that they have viewed and heard some tough BBC reporting on Zimbabwe. My focus here is the BBC website, but the Beeb deserves credit where it’s due. Indeed, the BBC has been banned by Robert Mugabe’s awful regime. I saw this victim’s story posted today [8June05]. That said, it is apparently still possible to get reports, banned or not. Let the BBC website put the Zimbabwean tragedy in the center of their crosshairs once more.

Update 2: Mark B notes that there is a new story today [9June05] covering the strike. It’s a story that needs to be told.


Auntie: “How do you like your news little dears?”

Public: “If you’re asking whether we like our news rancid and shot through with mould in a congealed puddle of grease or fresh, we’ll take the latter. Somehow, Auntie Beeb, this does not seem like a real choice.”

It may be a bit rotten and unfounded but the BBC (al Reuters , Amnesty International and the ACLU) think you need another serving of a two-year-old ‘story’ alleging Koran-flushing. Recall that the “allegators” are suspected terrorists with no love for the USA passing unverified charges to people whose sole purpose in life seems to be sliming the USA. This is news? Power Line looks at the misleading headline by Reuters but their analysis fits the Beeb like a wart on a witch’s nose.

This story has been marked by two features, I think: lousy reporting, and a desperate desire on the part of leftists worldwide to believe that assertions made by Guantanamo detainees, no matter how outlandish and uncorroborated, are true.

I need some Alka Seltzer!

UPDATE: John Podhoretz notes the following in The Corner:

The Washington Post has a big story about the charges of Koran desecration at Guantanamo and how they appear in an FBI report. Big deal. All this means is that the terrorists at Guantanamo were retailing the story about a Koran flushed down the toilet and told interrogators about it. There are a few possibilities here. One is that the allegation is true, which seems to be a common presumption even though there is no evidence for it but the same prisoner tales repeated over and over until they sound like a cascade of differing reports. It seems at least as likely that the whole allegation is a gigantic game of telephone where the prisoners exchanged stories, the stories got retold and this is where it all ended up. It’s also very possible that the whole thing is an Al Qaeda distortion game of the sort discussed in the infamous training manual uncovered in Manchester, England — in which terrorists were instructed to use the softness of liberal democracies against liberal democracies should they get captured.

These are sociopaths we’re talking about here. Andrew Sullivan would do well to remember that. As would the Washington Post. And Newsweek. And Amnesty International. [And the BBC!-kb]

I’m feeling a bit better.

UPDATE 2: And now the BBC is reporting that the US military is able to confirm that the Gitmo detainee who alleged flushing of the Koran retracted his allegation.

The inmate who made the original allegation about the Koran being flushed down the toilet had retracted it, he said. A Pentagon spokesman characterised the incidents as mainly inadvertent handling of the Muslim holy book.

And how many confirmed incidents were there since 2001? Five.

How does the BBC headline read? Inquiry finds Koran ‘mishandling’

How does the al Reuters headline read? Pentagon says detainee retracts Koran allegation

Gunning for Bolton

, the Beeb sees setback for Bush as a “blow by powerful Senate group”! (Surprise, the Senate is a political body comprised of Democrats, Republicans and one “Independent”. What is so surprising about a renegade Senator from the rustbelt who rocks the boat?) If you really want to know what’s happening, look elsewhere for factual reporting. The only surprise here is that Senator Voinovich, a Republican, did not vote to recommend Bolton to the whole Senate. Voinovich had already expressed some doubt about Bolton. While unusual, it does not sink Bolton’s chances of approval. It merely provides the Beeb with a ‘Bush is humiliated’ non-story.

The real story is that anti-Bush flunkies in the CIA and State Department are doing their best to torpedo Bolton’s nomination to the UN because he has a proven record as a diplomat who actually works for his president.