A couple days ago, BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of what’s left of BBC World News America, Katty Kay participated in a panel discussion on Chris “Thrill Up My Leg” Matthews’ show on MSNBC. Unlike the BBC, MSNBC has no Charter & Agreement requiring them to provide balance and remain impartial, and the panel is even more weighted to the Left: John Heilmann from New York Magazine, Katty, Helene Cooper from the New York Times, and Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel. The host himself is now infamous for his over-emotional statement on air of devotion to the President, and has spent much of the time since His election viciously attacking any opponent.
Before we get to the video, I have to say that it’s certainly not Katty’s fault that this is a far-Left echo-chamber, or that Matthews has a specific partisan agenda to push and assembled this panel accordingly. But she is responsible for her own words and behavior. Therein lies the danger of being a talking head on these panels. It’s all opinion-mongering, and there’s no escaping that the whole point of appearances like this is to give opinions on stories. Sometimes that’s not a big deal, like when a pundit is asked to predict how things might turn out, or explain a couple of angles a politician might take on something. But that’s not what’s going on this time.
Since she’s not actually on the BBC here, and is not performing any BBC-related duty, defenders of the indefensible can claim that she has no obligation to be impartial. All I can do is present this from the BBC’s own rulebook, and let people judge for themselves:
BBC News and Current affairs staff, BBC correspondents on non-staff contracts and freelances known primarily as presenters or reporters on BBC news and current affairs programmes, must remain impartial when speaking publicly or taking part in similar events, such as a public discussion or debate.
Now to the video:
Notice how Matthews misses Perry’s joke and claims this is embracing extremism. The first words out of the New York Magazine guy’s mouth are, “The Republican Party right now is a very ideological party.” And the Democrat Party isn’t? Matthews goes on to disparage Perry, and we can see the tone from the outset. Angry, extremist, mean, ideological. Matthews really piles on, blatantly misrepresenting the message of the movement: “We don’t believe in evolution. We don’t believe in Climate Change.” He says this is the language of the Tea Party. Nods of agreement all round, and no protest at all from Katty Kay. She agrees with the characterization that this is what the Tea Party movement is about. If she thought differently, she would have said something.
This has not and has never been the language of the Tea Party movement. The last two and a half years have been about fiscal responsibility. Katty actually later acknowledges this fact, but only after she says that the movement is all social conservatives. Once again I have to state emphatically for any lurking defenders of the indefensible waiting for a gotcha moment: Of course there are plenty of social conservatives in the movement, and of course these issues concern them. Yes, social conservatives have also tried to jump on the bandwagon and co-opt the movement’s energy for their own ends. But the inspiration, the driving force, the raison d’être of the Tea Party movement is fiscal conservatism and nothing else. Remember – and I sympathize with those who get their information on US issues from the BBC who were kept in the dark about this for months – the whole thing started as an anti-tax movement and grew into an anti-ObamaCare and anti-Socialism/Big-Government movement. Nothing else mattered. No social issues inspired this, none of the hundreds of spontaneous protests around the country were about social issues. It’s simply false to portray the movement and the millions of people supportive of it as social conservatives first and foremost. Yet the BBC Washington correspondent plays right along. For her to go along with it and abet Matthews’ smear is biased behavior, and, I believe, a breach of the BBC’s impartiality guidelines for correspondents.
Since a few genius pundits have been comparing Perry to Reagan, the discussion shifts to that idea. But things are different today than they were in 1980. “There seems to be a meanness of spirit,” Katty opines. Yes, she’s making a distinction between Reagan’s campaign and the rougher tone of today, but she’s also acting as if it’s only the Right which is acting this way. When did Katty ever frown at the President for saying “Punch back twice as hard”, or instructing His supporters to argue with opponents and “get in their face”, or for crying, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”? Never, and she wouldn’t dream of doing so. In fact, she’s pretending here that it never happened. I suppose that’s to be expected, seeing as how the BBC has censored this news, not allowing you to know about it. This is a BBC Washington Correspondent revealing what she thinks about the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party, and it’s exactly as biased as we’ve all been saying about her work for the BBC.
At one point, Katty states that Perry’s joke was actually him being mean, and that the public doesn’t like that sort of thing. Clearly she misses the point, just like the rest of these Leftoids. From nearly the very beginning of the movement, the Mainstream Media and Leftoid blogosphere have tried to characterize Tea Party people as being angry and mean. People here may recall just how many BBC reports on the movement (just click on anything in the Tag Cloud on the right side of this page with “Tea Party” in it, and you’ll see what I mean) focused on “boiling anger”, etc. So this is nothing new. Then there was the racist angle, thankfully absent from this particular discussion. The thing is, many in the movement have taken the approach of humor with it.
For example, the host of one Tea Party event I attended was a black man, who greeted the crowd by saying, “Hello all you racist rednecks!”. Perry is doing the same thing here. And the Leftoids on the panel simply don’t get the joke, as they’re the very people who actually are making the smear which Perry’s playing on. The crowd in the video obviously gets it, but the BBC Washington correspondent very obviously doesn’t.
There’s also the inevitable mention of Katty’s arch-nemesis, Sarah Palin, who is never far from her thoughts. It’s much harder now for Palin to enter the race, apparently. Glad that’s straightened out.
I’ve made a quite a few posts and comments on this blog highlighting the bias of Katty Kay’s reporting and interviewing manner on the BBC. Her personal opinion revealed here in her capacity as a pundit reflects my charges exactly.