Have you read this post from the new Justin Webb, Mark Mardell? He ponders on the “special relationship” between the UK and the US in the light of Obama snubbing McDoom at the UN meeting. (No mention of the Megrahi issue, of course) I think Mark provides an interesting insight into BBC elite thinking, Naturally there is denial that any such “special relationship” exists. It only did exist because of all those WASPS, apparently, but now we are the aged and puny relative unworthy of any special attention from the White House occupied by the first black President. (“Born in Hawaii” Mark confidently asserts. Has he seen evidence of this, I wonder?) Liberal self-loathing and depreciation of Britain is an essential asset for those such as Wardell. In fairness, Nick Robinson has a better take here.

Dowd’s Political Quotes

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed that when Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” during Barack Obama’s speech to Congress, what he really meant was “You lie, boy”. This made quite an impression on BBC correspondents Kevin Connolly and Mark Mardell who both quoted it approvingly. They therefore might be interested in the Ace Of Spades Top Ten American Political Quotations (As Recollected by Pulitzer Prize Winning NYT Columnist Maureen Dowd). The number one quote is particulalry interesting, and unlikely to be repeated by a BBC correspondent for the usual partisan reasons.

Update. BBC correspondents were very keen to highlight Joe Wilson’s past as an aide to one-time segregationist Storm Thurmond. In 2005 one-time segregationist and ex-Klansman Robert Byrd opposed the confirmation of the first female black secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. If you can find that mentioned in the BBC’s news reports you will have done better than me. Byrd is of course a Democrat and Rice a Republican, so naturally racism can’t have been an issue.

Mardell OBNs Obama

The President of cool, calm and thoughtful

If there was a message, it was about tone. Opinion polls seem to show that whatever people think of his policies, people like the president. His calm and thoughtful manner, the impression that he will look at a picture in the round, rather than make a knee-jerk judgement, seems to go down well. This interview showed him as almost professorial, like a distinguished figure from a think-tank, compared with the Obama who roused the troops when he talked to the unions, or indeed when he addressed Congress. The message is that Obama is still keeping his cool, and sticking to long-term goals.

Mardell has only been BBC blogging for a few weeks but it is quite clear that he is attempting to out Dionne E J Dionne himself in reaching for that coveted place in Private Eye’s OBN spot. The gospel according to Mardell is crystal clear. Here is a cool,calm, reasonable guy just trying to do his best to keep his fellow Americans healthy by setting up a government controlled insurance option and a handful of wingnuts were dominating the media and drowning out reasonable debate

Indeed, in the four or five speeches I heard on the radio, details of tax rises and healthcare were hardly mentioned: the theme was “recapturing America” from “tyranny” and regaining “freedom”.

Mardell’s answer? Obama needs to “rise above” the 24 hour news cycle, focus on strategy and leave his “foot soldiers” (orchestrated, one assumes, by David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel) to deal with things at the tactical level.

The implication here is that the US media (TV and print) is allied with Obama’s opponents in ferociously undermining the administration’s healthcare proposals….if only! The big guns of the US media (with the exception of Murdoch’s Fox channel and his papers) are as dominated by the left as the BBC over here. The Tea Party healthcare protests stemmed from a similar spontaneous grassroots movement opposing the magnitude huge burden of debt being placed on future generations by the Obama/Pelosi/Reid stimulus. The Tea Parties had been happening for months, well reported in the blogosphere but generally ignored by the US media (and, naturally, the BBC)

Whilst painting the opponents of Obamacare as a noisy, angry minority Mardell conveniently forgets the fact that most polls are currently reporting the USA as either evenly divided or with a slight majority against the proposals..

But then the US networks and the Beeb, so meticulous in reporting anti Bush demos, Hurricane disasters and corrupt Republican politicians, suddenly developed tunnel vision once the Democrats took over. Hence little or nothing was reported about the background of Obama’s prospective “Green Czar” Van Jones until the blogosphere pushed it forward. To be fair to Mardell it was bubbling just before he arrived (ignored by Justin Webb, of course, until Jones resigned) but nothing about the current ACORN scandal from either Mardell or, apparently, BBC News.

No doubt about it – apparatchnik Mardell toeing the BBC line in the USA as diligently as he did in Europe….