Chilean Mine Disaster – Newsnight Sees Pinochet’s Shadow….

As the story of the rescue of the Chilean Miners unfolded I realised that behind my hope that it would be successfully resolved lay an ever deepening dread – that the BBC would somehow find a convoluted way of placing the blame on Augusto Pinochet, one of the key figures in the BBCs pantheon of evil.

Watching Friday’s Newsnight my fears were vindicated when a breathless Wark interviewed Ariel Dorfman, an American/Chilean writer who proceeded to wax lyrical on the darkness of the mine being symbolic of the dark days of the Pinochet regime and the return to the surface as Chile coming to terms with its political past. Naturally there were clips of the Presidential palace being attacked by Pinochet’s soldiers during the coup against the extreme left wing and KGB funded President Allende in 1973 – though, of course, no mention of the protests and strikes against Allende’s policies during 1973 or the Chilean Supreme Court’s declaration of illegality of many actions of Allende’s government and it’s paramilitary formations. No mention either of the fact that Dorfman was an adviser to Allende.

Although the effusive Matt Frei and sundry other BBC hacks filled the airwaves for three days with a veritable Chile Fest two important pieces of information were either underplayed or scarcely mentioned…….the Christian/Catholic piety of the miners and their families and the fact that President Pinera, who impressed all with his handling of the whole crisis and his conduct during the rescue, was the first elected Conservative Chilean president for over fifty years….

As Private Eye would say…shome mishtake here surely….

Footnote: No mention either of Dorfman’s role in the Duke University rape scandal of 2006

Dorfman is one of the group of 88 professors who, in the wake of the Lacrosse players scandal, signed a controversial letter thanking protesters for “making a collective noise” on “what happened to this young woman” – assumed to be rapeThe letter, which was later published as a full-page ad in local newspapers and reprinted across the country, has been widely criticized as a prejudgment; later it was determined that no sexual assault had occurred. The charges against the players were eventually dismissed and the District Attorney who prosecuted the case, Michael Nifong, was disbarred and jailed.

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

John Lloyd on BBC Obama Bias

In an article published this week, John Lloyd – not exactly a voice of the right – argues that Obama supporters can’t place the blame for The One’s unpopularity simply on right-wing media outlets. It’s worth reading in full, but I can’t resist sharing this section:

…the swooning of much of the American and nearly all of the foreign media over Obama as he emerged as the most powerful candidate was bound to stimulate a reaction. Then, and even now – see the tributes to Obama in the past two weeks, including an extraordinary hagiography on his route to power on BBC2 on Saturday 16 January – the conflation between joy expressed at the first black US president and a sober analysis of his governance still goes on. It was a point I made at a self-congratulatory breakfast organised by the BBC on their Obama coverage a year ago – to widespread disapproval.

Excellent. Oh, to have been at that BBC back-slapping Obama love-in when Lloyd killed the morning buzz.

(Kirsty Wark should read Lloyd’s article. She was pushing the “blame Fox News” meme on her utterly dreadful new Review Show last night. Five self-important members of the chatterati talking over each other for an hour in a taxi waiting room. And only one token non-leftie – David Brent look-alike Ross Douthat, a middle-ground anti-Tea Party liberal conservative. There’s BBC balance for you.

Samizdata’s Brian Micklethwait wasn’t impressed either.)

Update. A couple more critical assessments of The Review Show from bloggers JC Thomson and Mantex. The reviewer for The Arts Desk at least wished the programme well but even she admitted it had been “a slightly shaky start” and noted that the panel “was perhaps a little too skewed towards liberals”. When arts luvvies are complaining about liberal bias you know there’s a problem.