something something US REPUBLICAN NAZI !!! something something

For at good few hours today this was the main news story on the BBC US & Canada page:

A Republican candidate for a very safe Democrat seat is a member of a re-enactment society and dressed up as, among other things, an SS officer. A bit embarrassing for a political candidate when the photos come out, but was it really the most important news item in North America? No, of course not, but the BBC wasn’t going to miss the chance to bash the Republicans. Added bonus – using “Republican” and “Nazi” in the same headline. “Republican” appeared in the blurb beneath, and in the opening sentence of the actual story, too. [Read More…]

How very different from the BBC’s treatment of stories embarrassing to Democrats where the party name is either not mentioned or buried so far down the page you’ll probably miss it. That’s when the BBC even covers such news items. Here are some recent stories the BBC hasn’t reported on, let alone given number one headline prominence:
Democrats run fake Tea Party candidate in Jersey congressional race.
Democrat aide calls female Republican candidate “a whore”.
Democrat Congresswoman’s phone message asking for lobbyist money.
Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr accused of trying to buy Obama’s old Senate seat.

The Nazi uniform story quotes “the BBC’s Ian Mackenzie in Washington” (note to BBC subs – it’s “Iain”). As Craig pointed out in the comments a few days ago, Mackenzie is another whose Twitter account is quite revealing. Here he is summing up Obama’s inauguration day:

And here’s what he thinks of Sarah Palin:

This comment about Fox News is a bit rich given the BBC’s huge preference for leftie guests (not to mention presenters and of course journalists). MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann only likes to have people whose views he shares on his show but you won’t find sneering comments about that from an Obama-lovin’ hipster Beeb journo like Mackenzie. The received wisdom is strong in him. A perfect addition to the BBC’s team of Right-hating US correspondents.

Full marks for this snippet of honest self-analysis, though:

Helen Boaden claimed that impartiality is in the BBC’s genes. She’s either a deluded idiot or a liar.


Interesting interview here with Man Booker Prize nominee Peter Carey in which the author gets to mock “stupid people like George W Bush and Sarah Palin”  Even in their Arts section, the BBC meme is always being advanced.


Had to smile at the BBC coverage of the mass rally in Washington organised by Glen Beck and attended also by Sarah Palin. It starts of by saying…“Tens of thousands…” attended the rally. Oh Really? I have read other US media channels giving the number of a minimum of 300,000 up to 500,000+. But to the BBC, who must view Beck and Palin with something approaching horror, it was just” tens of thousands”. Here’s a picture of those “tens of thousands”…

New Blood

Kiera Feldman, the BBC’s new recruit from left-wing activist radio, isn’t the only recent addition to the Corporation’s staff in America.

Matt Danzico began his job as a US BBC interactive journalist in April. His current job description:

Write, shoot, edit, and produce text and multimedia stories for the BBC News website. Conduct research and interviews with individuals on topics ranging from media and culture to science and technology.

Here are some of Danzico’s tweets (click image to enlarge):

Another April starter was Daniel Nasaw, online journalist for the BBC’s Washington bureau. Prior to taking up his new role Nasaw spent a couple of years reporting about America for The Guardian, whose worldview he still touts:

Here he is writing about a Newsweek cover which showed Sarah Palin in cycling shorts last November:

Let’s focus our attention not on her legs but on her far-right political ideology, her baseless attacks on Obama, her attacks on women’s reproductive rights and her effort to purge moderates from the Republican party.

Hmm, no agenda there then.

My message to the news media: We are under enough fire as it is. Don’t let’s make our job even harder by giving Palin and her millions of supporters a legitimate grievance.

Let’s see where that measures: Yes, quite.

Partisan reporting from the US? We ain’t seen nothing yet, apparently.

Update 19.45. In the comments Craig points out that another of the BBC’s April intake (so much for reining in spending) was former Newsweek political correspondent Katie Connolly (Twitter account here). Things may be bleak for journalists in America but at least left-wing hacks know that there’s always the chance of a job at the BBC where they can pursue their agendas protected from the horrors of the free market.

Re : Sarah Palin (and Barack Obama)

Don’t expect to see these polls featuring on the Today programme tomorrow.

Not that it matters politically because obviously she’s a female Republican dunce and he’s obviously a male Democratic genius.

But Sarah Palin’s poll numbers are strengthening.

And President Obama’s are sliding.

Guess what? They’re about to meet in the 40s.

Same Old Same Old …

The BBC’s Matt Frei is surely a worthy successor to Justin Webb. Take a listen to Sunday’s “Americana” on Radio Four – although I must warn you that you will never get those 30 minutes of your life back (fortunately I had a long drive to do on Sunday).

“As Sarah Palin kicks off her book tour around the nation this week, Americana takes time to learn more about the women that represent America as well as the women who work each day to make it run.”

Otherwise known as ‘let’s find a succession of women to take a pop at Sarah Palin‘.

I particularly liked the woman chosen to give us the more sympathetic take on Palin, the BBC’s idea of a ‘devil’s advocate’, one Amy Alexander, whose website shows, er, an interesting sensibility.

“Demonising Sarah Palin solidifies Sarah Palin’s base – the same crowd that calls President Barack Obama a socialist, a totalitarian sleeper and worse. The Left’s relentless demeaning of Palin gives more fuel to this crowd’s perverse, puritanical sense of victimisation. Palin, after all, is a human being – she is therefore worthy of respect. And for the liberal feminists out there of any gender, it is foolish not to admit that Sarah Palin posesses a high degree of ambition, self-confidence, and what we Americans call moxie – gumption to everyone else. Those are qualities we say we want to cultivate in women. I think it’s time we stopped fretting about Palin’s hypocrisy, contradictions, mangled syntax and stagey flag-waving, and acknowledged the postive parts of her persona. They do exist, and recognising them does not require you to dismiss her obvious shortcomings“.

She really came out fighting for Palin, didn’t she … the main guest, one ‘Cokey’ Roberts (I won’t hazard a guess how she got that name) turned out not to have actually read Palin’s book – but she apparently knew what was in it without reading it !

(One Republican representative was interviewed – and Frei opened by opining that Palin was a wake-up call to the ‘white old men’ of the party. And so it goes …).


Have a look at this slideshow from the BBC marking Sarah Palin’s exit from Alaskan office. The commentary under each slide is interesting. The BBC did nothing but mock Palin and it seems to me that their snobbery remains to the end. I like the line being peddled that she “may” have contributed to McCain’s defeat. I hope Palin stays in US politics if for no other reason to annoy the BBC, CNN, the New York Times and the rest of the left wing cultural and political elite. Personally I think she is great!


I was reading this BBC report on the birth of a baby son to Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol. So far so good, until I get to the line that says “the father is apprentice electrician Levi Johnston, who has been dating Miss Palin for three years and is reportedly keen to take their child hunting.” Now then, is it just me or is this another gratuitous dig at those moose-hunting Alaskan unsophisticates ? Why could the BBC not just report the birth without having to oh-so-subtly snipe at the Palins? Sniggering up their sleeves is about as close to objective reporting as this lot get.

It’s the double standards that get you.

Obama’s set-piece press conference debut contained three nice little nuggets- Obama referred to former First Lady Nancy Reagan as being into a “seances thing”. He referred to himself as a “mulatto” “mutt”, and he said that people were more interested in his new dog than in his policies. All this was there, accompanied by the anxious looks from the assembled Obama team members, yet the BBC headlined their story “impressive debut” and excerpted for video the deliberate joke that Obama planted about the “serious news” of the family’s planned dog. Have you noticed how quite a few of Obama’s joke moments don’t seem intentional? Just saying. If George Bush had said that his dogs were more interesting than his policies…

But actually the double standards I had in mind wasn’t a comparison with the coverage that has been habitually afforded to GWB’s “gaffes”. It was with the treatment of Sarah Palin whose brisk on the fly conference with the press in Alaska was reduced by the Beeb to comments about the “jerks” who were criticising her. You can get much more video here than the BBC offers. In fact the comments were contextualised in a fairly substantial response to a precise question about anonymous allegations against her. These were not criticsms but allegations which she refuted. The Beeb’s treatment made her look intemperate and peremptory where actually she was thorough and open in her response. But by cut, cut, cutting away at that response, and tacking on another, the BBC shaped and ran with the story about Sarah hitting back at “‘jerk’ critics”.

Update: you might like to check out this audio interview with Palin giving her point of view most completely.

Post match analysis

With the election finally over, let’s take a moment to review the Beeb’s coverage before we move on. This is possibly one for the train spotters, but it’s important not least because of the Beeb’s claim that individual examples of bias aren’t persuasive as they are trying to achieve balance over time. How the Beeb does so is anyone’s guess, as there’s no evidence they monitor it. However, let’s be radical: let’s assume they’re not lying. So let’s look at the coverage of the election (okay, from the moment Palin was selected) on Justin Webb’s blog. And let’s take with the treatment of Palin. To anticipate a few preliminary objections:

  • Why Webb? Well, he’s the North American Editor, so it seems reasonable.
  • Why the blog? I don’t think the Beeb’s going to let me have all the tapes of Webb’s broadcast coverage. And, frankly, I don’t want them. But not to worry: we know that the same rules regarding impartiality apply, so the blog entries should, if Webb’s doing his job, present a balanced and impartial view.
  • Why Palin? Webb’s blogged on her a lot, which means there’s a decent sample. And she’s someone on which there are significantly differing views, which we should therefore expect to see reflected in the coverage. As Webb puts it, she is immensely grating on those who do not like her, but immensely pleasing to those who do.

So let’s look at the balance:

As for Sarah Palin! Her creationist views are bound to become an issue (can you really have a president who denies basic truths about the world?)

So Webb’s coverage of Palin begins, and with characteristic style – ignoring the fact that, as the Beeb’s admitted, she’s not a creationist, and that she’s not running for president. I’m going to chalk that one up as a negative comment.

However, I’m going to exclude those comments that are neutral – and I’m using the term loosely. Comments such as these:

As well as these posts: on the pregnancy; agreeing she is not the new Eagleton; and his entry about lipstickgate.

So what’s that leave us with? Well, here are the postive comments, such as they are:

  • Palins Punches: I liked the parliamentary-style jabs at Obama and they have peppered the news coverage, though I still think she is skating on thin ice.
  • America’s Answer to Thatcher: with that quote about being grating or pleasing (I’m trying to be generous)
  • Two posts about Palin getting more cheers than McCain: Disappointment? and Regan, Clinton, W and Obama. These really seem like digs at McCain, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
  • And an admission that She is not the harbinger of some dark witch-burning retreat into superstition and irrationality.

And on the negative side:

So, on balance, and over time, do you reckon that Webb thinks Palin would have: made a brilliant VP; been an awful one; or do those rules on impartiality and his professionalism make it just impossible to tell?