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.


Oh no, it’s just too awful to contemplate. Public sector workers are going to discover just how much extra they are going to have to pay into their pensions in order to sustain that gilt-edged advantage that they so richly deserve. The BBC ran this item on the topic, you should listen to it. Teachers on 21k a year may have to pay an extra £9 a month – say it ain’t so! Even more heartbreaking, those on £150k a year (Yea, let the vast amount they are paid just go by ever so casually) may have to fund a few hundred extra if they are going to sit back and relish huge pension generosity in their retirement. BMA Chief Hamish Meldrum (Great name) reduced me to tears (of mirth) when he expressed his outrage at this onslaught on our brave hard working pubic sector workers. I was also intrigued to hear it said that many private sector workers enjoy lush pension provision. Know any?

Those Oh So Sensitive BBC Editors…..

It’s a tough job, trundling through BBC’s Editors Blog (did Goebbels have something similar at his Propaganda Ministry?) but two items are worthy of note.

Firstly a tear stained piece from Jeremy Hillman, editor of the BBC News business and economics unit. Jeremy was soooooo upset about George Osborne suggesting

the BBC’s approach to reporting the economy was relentlessly to focus on the bad news and the most gloomy statistics.

Hillman went on to produce a fistful of examples in an attempt to derail Osborne’s case, par for the course for any BBC suit when faced with accusations of bias. Then he sits back smugly thinking he has proved his point.

Actually Sarah Montague, despite Hillman’s spin about consciously downplaying Padoan, did indeed home in on the Padoan remarks so obviously she didn’t get the memo.

But we all know what Osborne was really getting at – not that they ignored positive items about the economy from third parties but the whole question of tone and emphasis which is why he used the word “relentlessly”. Ever since the Coalition took office the BBC’s overarching leitmotif has been CUTS rather than savings and one only has to watch any QT audience to see how successful that campaign has been.

However the good news is that Osborne’s comment touched a nerve. I guess that this issue has been raised at several North London dinner parties recently because Hillman and his pals realise that Charter Renewal is beginning to appear on the horizon and they cannot afford to upset a senior cabinet figure. Let’s hope that other government big cheeses start getting under sensitive BBC skins on a regular basis.

Then this abject apology re the Israeli Dog Stoning story from Nathalie Malinarich, world editor of the BBC News website

We failed to make the right checks. We should never have written the article and apologise for any offence caused.

Don’t worry, luv – we know why you failed to make the right checks…..while you were all busy filling in your expenses forms a breathless young graduate trainee rushed in and blurted out “those crazy religious bigoted Jews – as well as murdering helpless innocent Palestinians they are now going after helpless dogs…”

It fitted into the BBC’s anti Israeli narrative so perfectly you just couldn’t resist it…c’mon, Nathalie…is the Pope catholic? Those Jews aren’t they evil?


Evan Davies is running a one man campaign to inform us that maintaining public sector pension provision is both affordable and a moral imperative! Listen to the petulant tone he adopts in this interview with Treasury Minister Justine Greening as he doggedly tries to get her to say that it is wrong to suggest that the gilt-edged public sector pensions are in any way “unaffordable”. His semantic point is neither here nor there and yet he made it the main focus of the interview. Greening should have been more direct and simply pointed out that since Labour devastated private sector pension provision (to the complete indifference of the comrades at the BBC) then the public sector must now pay part of the consequences. It is immoral to expect the private sector workers to retire on a pittance in order to ensure that public sector workers – like BBC employees -can continue to enjoy their bloated pension benefits. Whatever happened to we are all in this together, eh?

The Street That Cut Everything

On this week’s edition of Newswatch:

“Alas no BBC exec available”. Well, it’s such a hassle to go down to the Newswatch studio just to mouth “You’re wrong, we’re right” in a variety of ways for ten minutes.

Hey, perhaps they’re planning a sequel in which the street is flooded with dozens of diversity officers, climate change advisers and other assorted wastes of space, paid for by taking all the residents’ money and then maxing out their credit cards for good measure. That wouldn’t be any more ludicrous than Nick Robinson’s stupid programme.

UPDATE. I see James Delingpole has given the programme a good kicking in the latest Spectator. Extract (subscriber-only until next week):

“Then, a subtitle appeared on the screen saying: ‘Do you see how vital, caring, nurturing and important a role the State plays in your lives? Well, DO you, citizen?’ And then an extendable finger came out of the side of the TV set and prodded the viewer really hard in the ribs…

[The BBC’s] default position, the length and breadth of its programming from the World Service to Springwatch to CBBC, is that Big Brother is your friend, the public sector is good and the private sector bad. And the real joke is, we actually fork out for this brainwashing, 24/7, 365 days of the year.”

BBC Economic Bias: Only The Left Has It Right

While everyone is enduring yet another full day of BBC reporting negatively about the nasty cuts forced on the poorest by the Conservative-led Coalition, it’s also necessary to check out the BBC’s reporting on budget policy developments in the US.

Barack Obama unveils US budget plans for 2012

US President Barack Obama has unveiled his 2012 budget, describing the proposal as a “down payment” on future cuts to the US budget deficit.

The budget aims to cut $1.1tn (£690bn) from the US deficit over a decade.

He said the US must live within its means and called for some reductions, but said “we can’t sacrifice our future” with drastic cuts.

The White House policy sounds suspiciously like the Labour line. It’s not a coincidence, as both Labour and the White House are guided by the same economic principles. Notice how the BBC treats The Obamessiah’s position.

After the requisite criticisms from Republicans – which sound suspiciously like the Tory statements, only without the luxury of the “we inherited this mess” card – we get more of the Labour line….sorry….White House line that we “can’t sacrifice our future in the process”. Does that sound familiar? It should.

The BBC sub-editor who put this together subtly sets you up to interpret the subsequent statement from the President with this:

Although Mr Obama is empowered to propose a budget, it is up to the US Congress to enact it into law and then to distribute the funds.

Mr Obama’s budget is seen as an opening bid in a long process of negotiation with House and Senate leaders of both parties, and analysts say Republicans will press for deeper cuts.

“Analysts” say? The Republicans themselves have only been shouting it from the rooftops since Nov. 3. Why bother attributing the notion to anonymous analysts? Also notice how the BBC makes sure to include that the negotiations will be with the leaders of both parties.

Then we get some Gordon Brown language in a summary of one of the President’s points:

At a school in Baltimore on Monday morning, Mr Obama called for future investment in education, transportation infrastructure and high speed internet, “so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker anywhere in the world”.

“Spending” is softened and sexed up into “investment”. You’ve all heard that one before, and will continue to hear it next time Ed Balls is in front of a BBC microphone.

Then the BBC quotes the President’s own words about exactly the same thing.

“While it is absolutely essential to live within our means – and while we are absolutely committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to find further savings and to look at a whole range of budget issues – we can’t sacrifice our future in the process,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to invest in those areas that will have the biggest impact in our future.”

So when the BBC writes that His “budget is seen as an opening bid…”, it’s clear that this is in fact the White House’s talking point. In other words, the people who actually see it this way are the President and Katty Kay’s personal friend, the new White House Spokesman. And the BBC dutifully toes the line. He says He’s going to work with “both parties”, just like the sub-editor set framed it above. Another White House talking point turned into BBC reporting.

The resulting impression is that He’s trying His best to reach across the aisle, and any problems will be due to intransigence by nasty Republicans, who want make budget cuts for purely ideological reasons.

Notice, though, more Labour ideology in the President’s statement: “We can’t sacrifice our future”. We hear it time and time again on the BBC when hearing criticisms of the nasty Tory boodget coots.

The bias only gets worse.

Among the programmes slated for cuts under his own plans are some that Mr Obama said he considered crucial, including development grants for poor neighbourhoods.

Hitting the poorest hardest, naturally. It’s getting to be like an echo.

Mr Obama also reiterated his call for $78bn in cuts to the defence budget.

“If we’re going to walk the walk when it comes to fiscal discipline, these kinds of cuts will be necessary,” he said.

He said he aimed to wring greater efficiency from government programmes and to sell 14,000 government office buildings and properties.

So He’s now portrayed as a fiscal hawk. If He’s going to cut the precious US military machine, He must be serious, no? The only mildly opposing view we get is from another analyst who says – wait for it – that the Republicans will want more cuts. Why not get an actual Republican to say it, BBC? None willing to talk to you off the record? Couldn’t any of the legion of Beeboids in the US get a better source? No, an HSBC (greedy banker!) analyst saying we need to cut more will do nicely. Funny how they manage to dig up a month-old quote from the Treasury Secretary about making sure we “don’t hurt the recovery”. Or was it a quote from Ed Balls just mis-attributed? It’s getting very hard to tell. It’s no wonder the BBC is leaning heavily towards one side here.

The reason I’m making this a main post and not just another complaint in an Open Thread is that the bit right before that Geithner/Balls quote highlights the BBC’s bias on economics reporting both in Britain and elsewhere.

Whereas countries such as the UK have imposed spending cuts to reduce their deficits, the Obama administration has said rapid, drastic spending cuts are not the way forward.

This one sentence reveals the massive editorial bias about economics at the BBC. Countries such as the UK, eh, BBC? The Obama administration has said the exact same thing Labour keeps saying, so it must be true. In the context of the recent – including today’s – relentlessly negative BBC reporting on the Tory spending cuts, one can only draw the conclusion that “drastic” spending cuts are disastrous, hit the poorest hardest, etc.

Censored from this and basically all BBC discussions of countries imposing spending cuts is the one country which actually did it starting last year: Germany. Worst of all for the BBC, the Germans seem to have gotten it right.

The German economy, Europe’s largest, has powered the region’s expansion over the past year as companies stepped up output and hiring to meet export demand. While governments from Ireland to Spain are struggling to revive their economies and push down budget deficits, German business confidence surged to a record last month and manufacturing growth accelerated.

Germany’s outlook is looking better and better because of the austerity measures the BBC hated on at the time. They hated it so much that they actually put up a page asking for input from people engaged in anti-austerity riots in Europe. They acknowledged Germany’s success once or twice (while still reminding you that nobody likes it and the masses are rioting anyway), but it’s quickly swept under the rug and censored when discussing policies in Britain, as if the example doesn’t exist.

Business confidence in Germany is the highest in two decades, basically since before West Germany had to absorb East Germany much in the same way that Lloyds had to (yes, had to, despite Robert Peston’s attempts to make you forget about that) absorb HBOS.

This fact is suspiciously missing not only from this report, but from basically every single BBC report or discussion about budget policy. They don’t want you to think about it, because it contradicts the Narrative: Left economic policies are better.

All you hear from the BBC is how bad these cuts are, and what cruel and unnecessary damage is being done. You never hear of a case where it’s working, and certainly are never allowed to consider how the alternative plan failed in Japan and Ireland, for example. The BBC’s partisan bias on budget policy is very clear and consistent.

As A Dog Returneth To His Vomit…

Splendid use of licence tax money again, with news that Nick Robinson is fronting a scaremongering programme dedicated to showing us how we’re all doomed. Returning the country to 2006 spending levels, as the Government is only doing, risks taking us back to a time when libraries were forced to open and the dead were  left buried. Or not, it seems….

A pack of 20 dogs were encouraged to foul a residential street for a TV programme about the potential impact of council cuts. Film producers brought the pets – complete with their owners – onto the cul-de-sac and filmed them walking a circuit for at least 30 minutes.
The programme, called The Street That Cut Everything, charts how residents would manage if council services – including street cleaning – were withdrawn.

A road in Fulwood in Preston, Lancashire, was chosen for the filming of the prime time BBC series, which will be presented by the Corporation’s political editor Nick Robinson.
One dog owner at the filming confirmed that her pets were there to foul the street. It is understood the exercise was aimed at highlighting what would happen if council staff stopped cleaning the streets.

The article focuses on the dog-fouling aspect of the story whilst missing the bigger picture…why are we paying for this sort of partisan broadcast?

Instead, how about a programme about how Britain would cope without the BBC?

Spending Cuts In Word Clouds

A fascinating contribution emailed in by All Seeing Eye reader Nick Heath which deserves crossposting here at Biased-BBC. The bias in the BBC is often by perception and not often possible to quantify – but here it is.

He has done a word cloud of coverage of the Comprehensive Spending Review from the BBC News website, Sky News website and CNN…and also one of the Hansard entry for Osborne’s speech. See if, without using the names of the graphics, you could have guessed which one came from the BBC?

So, no trouble working it out at all then, was there? In the order of BBC News website, Sky News, CNN and Hansard. The particular prominence of the word Cuts in one of them gave it away.

Justine Greening Deflates BBC Motormouth Kirsty Wark On Cuts

On last night’s Newsnight Kirsty Wark had obviously been instructed to sex up the “savage cuts will cause the death of millions of women, children and old people” narrative by wheeling in a trio of rent-a-whiners waving shrouds on behalf of defence, the police and, naturally the NHS.

As Kirsty wielded her remote each of these Duracell bunnies leapt into life to squawk about the horrors to come. Former Brown minister Lord West went Cassandra over the possibility of cuts in defence expenditure though oddly enough the Admiral, who has had very close links with the defence industry lobby in the past, clearly forgot to say anything about the financial black hole of procurement.

One tear jerker of note that had been programmed into the Police Federation robot – “Cuts = Christmas for criminals” – obviously caught Kirsty’s fancy because she threw this at the hapless coalition sacrificial goat who was tethered in the studio in front of Wark and her bunnies, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Justine Greening.

Only Justine turned out to be not so hapless after all. She ignored Wark’s Paxman-like attempts to steamroller her into pleading guilty to plunging her knife into the heroes and heroines of the frontline services. Instead she hammered home on one simple fact.

The average taxpayer is paying £1400 not on schools, hospitals or police but debt interest.

Unless we take these immediate steps to reduce the deficit the cost of servicing that debt will increase year on year leaving much smaller slices of the pie for defence, policing and healthcare.

Strangely enough, after Ms Greening made that point in a quiet but assertive manner, the Duracell bunnies sat in their chairs lifeless and silent and Kirsty quickly passed on to the next item.

Watch here from 14.43 onwards..

Game, set and match to Justine Greening…..

cross posted at The Aged P


Did you catch the item on Today @ 7.50am concerning planned government cutbacks in higher education? What struck me was the sympathetic attitude Naughtie took when interviewing Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University College Union and this contrasted with the outright hostility then shown towards Andrew Haldenby of Reform. Not a trace of bias there, right?