Following on from David’s post Defeated in Iraq…

Whatever your own view of the Iraq War, the BBC constantly campaigned against it. The BBC also loves Obama. So how to report the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq?

Clare Spencer, the left-winger who writes most of the Daily View pieces for the BBC website’s See Also column, is back from her holiday today. Her first post is Daily View: US troops leaving Iraq.


If you were a biased right-wing reporter, who would most want to ignore on this issue? Robert Fisk of the Independent probably. If you were a biased left-wing reporter, who would you go to first? Robert Fisk of the Independent probably. Clare Spencer goes first to Robert Fisk, quoting some of his usual anti-Western, anti-(this-)war bile.

After Fisk comes Steve Benen, a JournOLista at the Washington Monthly (Clare is fond of quoting JournOListas), who ‘balances’ Fisk by taking “some satisfaction” in this milestone being achieved. Bad war yes, but well done Obama!

After the left-wing Fisk and the left-wing Benen comes left-wing blogger Juan Cole of Informed Comment who synthesizes the two views to get the perfect BBC opinion:

What Obama has done is stay true to US commitment to get combat units out by September 1. That should reassure Iraqis – and Arabs and Muslims in general – about US intentions. It is a symbol of a turnaround in US policy, a repudiation of the Bush administration doctrine of preemptive war.

Fourth comes Roula Khalaf of the Financial Times who “argues…that the Iraqis have little to celebrate about the US withdrawal”. (This could be read as a criticism of Obama’s move, but isn’t.)

An article in Foreign Policy by John Negroponte, ex-ambassador to Iraq, is quoted next. His quote offers advice for the future, so it doesn’t really counteract the one-sided appraisal of the war of the article so far.

Clare then quotes the Daily Mail. That’s odd. But when you read the quote you find that the Mail article attacks Bush and Blair and calls the war “shameful, without any winners” – which is exactly what beeboids wants to hear!

The one bit (out of seven) that genuinely does provide balance comes from the Daily Mirror, where “the director of the Iraqi Association, a charity for Iraqi refugees in Britain Jabbar Hasan argues “that the Iraq war was worth it”.

However, it’s back to the far-Left anti-war campaigner Rose Gentle (who lost her son in the war and then joined Galloway’s Respect Party) to finish the article in the same Fiskian spirit as it began:

Life in Iraq hasn’t got any better. It’s got worse. Nothing has been achieved there which is very disappointing. There is still no stability despite thousands of innocent Iraqis being killed during the war.”


Kevin Connolly had a wonderful piece of veiled Obama worship here at 7.49am. Poor Obama – all that spending and it still isn’t enough. Don’t think Irwin Stelzer’s suggestion that the US needs to take the path to austerity went down too well!

Exclamation Mark!

Here’s the blurb to a Mark Mardell report about Obama’s first year:

In a BBC/Harris Poll 20% of Americans would give President Obama an ‘A’ for the job he’s done in year one.
But an equal number of people give him a ‘C’, and the same percentage gives him an F! Mark Mardell reports.

An F! About Obama! Beloved Obama! It’s inconceivable! It’s outrageous!

Update. I see the BBC has flown heavyweight political analyst Richard Bacon over to the States to celebrate the first anniversary of O’s inauguration (written into his latest R5L contract, no doubt). Let’s hope the voters of Massachusetts give him something to really talk about.

Younge Americans

In September, when US-based left-wing Guardian columnist Gary Younge popped up as a bona fide voice of the BBC on From Our Own Correspondent, I pointed out that he had recently described followers of the Tea Party movement as “(a)nnoying, bizarre, incoherent, divisive, intolerant, small-minded, misinformed, ill informed and disinformed…” In other words, just the sort of prejudice against the American right which finds favour at the Beeb. I noted also the irony of a Guardian/BBC journalist accusing others of living “in a politically parallel world where everyone they know believes the same as they do.”

We’re in the middle of a mini Obamafest at the moment as the BBC celebrates the first anniversary of The One’s inauguration. To balance the many pro-Obama films and programmes made by adoring fans, the Beeb has commissioned a couple of documentaries about Americans opposed to Obama. Amazingly, this project was given to someone with a sympathetic view of the subject matter.

I’m kidding, of course:

In this two-part documentary, author and journalist Gary Younge tells the story of the other side of the Obama phenomenon; the story of those who say that the Obama presidency is nothing but bad news. Younge asks who these people are who feel they have been marginalised by the Obama revolution. He also asks what they don’t like about him and what Obama could do, if anything, to win them over.
Younge spends 10 days travelling through rural Arkansas and Kentucky, talking to anti-tax protesters, fundamentalist Christians and libertarians, country club members and local dignitaries to find out how they view the last year under Obama and what their hopes and fears are for the coming year.

Obama Worship

The BBC’s creepy Obama obsession continues on Radio 4 with Obama’s Babies:

In Swahili Obama means ‘blessed one’ and mothers across Africa were quick to bestow the name on their offspring. ‘Obama babies’ followed in America and across Europe as parents grasped at the hope that the President Elect’s magic could rub off on their children. But one year on and with the President’s dreams being tested by reality, how have some of the babies named after him fared?

Peter White explores the hopes and fears of five families and follows their lives as the babies approach their first birthdays. For the babies – including Nancy Otieno’s son, Barack Obama, and Sasha Fisher’s baby, Sanjae Obama – it will be years before they fully comprehend the hopes and aspirations imbued in a name.

The programme focuses on five very different families, examining how our changing world, in part shaped by the man they so admire, is having an impact on their experiences.

I’ve just heard the saccharine-filled trailer for the programme – it sounds even worse than the above blurb suggests.


Obama’s another guy the BBC will need to work hard for in 2010, and true to form we have the news that The One has been hung in Plains. Georgia. Most be those white supremacists, I guess. Or just a stupid puerile prank unworthy of international news? Or a useful way to ensure that critics of Obama are categorised in the right way? Good to hear the secret service is looking into this, it’s not as if they have anything else to distract them these days….


It’s so sweet to be back and enduring BBC coverage of world affairs. Take the news that Obama just suffered humiliating defeats in the US. Headline stuff, you might think. Nope. On the BBC US portal the big news is that an Italian judge convicts 23 Americans and two Italian secret agents over the CIA kidnap of an Egyptian cleric in 2003.

I heard Mark Mardell drooling about Obama and how “cool” he still is even after this bit of a a setback on the PM programme. Utterly pathetic. Did you hear him – he spoke as a fan, not a journalist.
The radical leftist agenda pursued by Obama the Cool is going to cause huge alienation in the coming year and it will be informative to watch the BBC do all that it can to try and protect the image of their man in the White House.

Quick one off the wrist

Watching the latest video from the excellent Evan Coyne Maloney (“Rise and Fall of ObamaMarketing“), in which he contrasts the goofy support for Obama on inauguration day with the subsequent dramatic fall-off in sales for Obama merchandise, reminded me of a couple of BBC correspondents who were very keen to display their own celebratory items following The One’s election:

That’s Anita Anand in the Obama hat and Richard Bacon admiring his new Obama wrist band. (Bacon: “Even though I’m technically impartial I’m now allowed to wear one of these”. Love that “technically”.) And before anybody asks, I have no idea whether or not Mr Bacon wears his dainty fashion accessory while vigorously enjoying himself to Obama’s speeches.

Obama Beat These To The Prize….

From Ace – who else was up for the Nobel Peace Prize?

Chinese Human Rights Activist Hu Jia – imprisoned for campaigning for human rights in the PRC, not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China’s communist system. — not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama. (Not to mention the symbolic value of awarding a Chinese dissident on the 20th Anniversary of the Tianenmen Square Massacre.)

Greg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute has built nearly 80 schools, especially for girls, in remote areas of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past 15 years – not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, a philosophy professor in Jordan who risks his life by advocating interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims, also not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

Afghan human rights activist Sima Samar. She currently leads the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and serves as the U.N. special envoy to Darfur and is apparently also not as worthy as Barack Hussein Obama.

What do all of the above have in common? Courage, dedication and scars on their back…

What do none of them have? A hot line to George Soros and a crease in their pants sharp enough to excite David Brooks…

And, of course, little or no mention at this time from the BBC – too embarrassing?

Actually, to be fair, Kirsty Wark was not overly gushing when she interviewed the Obama mouthpiece on Newsnight – and John Bolton was the perfect antidote to Charles “OBN Obama” Powell….