Fair and balanced

– the BBC gets in its response to the US Federal Bank’s rate cut.

“One analyst said the Fed was “obviously panicked” by the threat of recession.

“Unfortunately they have no power to reverse what in my opinion is the worst post-war recession,” said Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer in New York.”

Doubtless this article [actually, as I write it has been; initially it ended with Mr Metz’s quote] will be updated, but the BBC has a strange kind of spitefulness ready for such measures- lest anyone should get the idea that the US financial system cares or is competent or anything bizarre like that. The final comment struck me as especially odd, given that only a month ago, Alan Greenspan put the risk of recession at 50%.

The BBC also say that the move is a “complete surprise”, which, er, well, surprised me having read this call for action early today. I therefore, unlike the BBC, was not surprised. Larry Kudlow also says “Much of this is panic over a U.S. recession threat that has yet to clearly materialize.

In this world of multiple sources we can see the BBC bias in sharp relief.

Studied ignorance.

The Beeb does Fred Thompson.


“The BBC’s Justin Webb in Washington says the former senator from Tennessee is enormously popular on the right of the party where he is seen as a new Ronald Reagan.
He is known for his conservative views on issues like abortion and gun control.”

Well, not really. Three things the BBC overlook. Deliberately.

Firstly, the debate on the Right is specifically whether Thompson really has Reagan’s qualities, or not. So he is not seen as the new Ronald Reagan as Webb glibly states. For those citizens as opposed to journalists who deal in comparisons of that kind, the real interest on the Right is to “trust but verify” that appearance.

Fred Thompson’s record on abortion has been questioned already, with facts about his stance, including lobbying for a pro-abortion group, having come to light.

Thirdly, Fred Thompson is not so much conservative on “gun control”, as assertive on “the right to bear arms”. He is also a constitutionalist, which means that he would see the debate not in the BBC’s statist controlling terms, but in terms of the Second Amendment.

I was also going to comment on this article on Thompson’s run by Laura Smith-Spark, but really there is nothing interesting in it- and that’s fundamentally the problem the BBC have in covering the US. Characters don’t get much more interesting than Fred Thompson, and his run-in to this announcement has been remarkable. The profile (compiled a while back; updated very recently) is also pretty naff.

More Fred Thompson stuff here, including his announcement that he is running for President.

It’s not the data, it’s how you present it…

The BBC managed the spectacular headline “US army suicides hit 26-year high”. The BBC go on to add some colour relating to psychology and the like. What they don’t mention is that “the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army.” (CNN)

In other words, the average US male of age to serve in the military is more likely to kill himself than those who actually serve. So, a big non-story to put on the BBC front page with accompanying dramatic headline.

The BBC also report that “The highest number recorded was 102 in 1991, the year of the Gulf War – but more soldiers were on active duty then, meaning the rate per 100,000 soldiers was lower than in 2006.”

Helpful explanation you’d think, except that the 1st Gulf war only lasted about 6/7 months and involved very little ground combat. So not such a helpful comparison after all. The BBC, as usual, can’t resist an anti-American story.

(main data, thrust of argument, and headline, via this site. )

An Experiment on the BBC

from a cynical one:

“I propose that the BBC is biased. No, no, hear me out. We all know the BBC is biased of course, but I propose specifically that it is biased in favour of the Democratic party of the USA. To test my theory, I will be keeping a count each day of how many stories it runs focussing on each of the two parties. If any third parties are focussed on, I will count those too. I will be excluding stories pertaining to the current regime, as obviously that will weight things in favour of the Republicans. Instead I shall only count stories on party politics, not government. I will be looking at the Americas section of BBC News to make the count and I will include video reports, ‘in pictures’ features etc. I will do this for one week, that’s 7 days including yesterday (23rd July).”

The result:

Whew! A week of BBC reporting and it seems the BBC cover the Democratic Party 1,300% more than the Republican Party. Something is not right there I think!

I think it would be better put “13 times more frequently”, but I’m no statistician. Certainly since there are campaigns running on both sides of the political spectrum, the observation is a significant one. But you just know the BBC love Obama-Hillary, don’t you?

One in 20 Hispanics ‘goes hungry’

BBC Views Online informs us that: One in 20 Hispanics ‘goes hungry’:

Five per cent of Hispanics in the US regularly go hungry and as many as 20% do not have sufficient access to nutritious food, a US report says.

Poverty and lack of awareness about state entitlements are the causes, says the study by Hispanic civil rights group the National Council of La Raza.

Hmmm, do we think that, possibly, maybe, the “Hispanic civil rights group the National Council of La Raza”, might just have the teensiest of agendas? Wouldn’t it be good to be told the origins of these claims up front, in the first paragraph, the one in bold, instead of the official sounding ‘a US report’ says?

Immigrants also face a series of linguistic, legal and cultural obstacles in accessing enough food.

Really! That’s shocking. Do you think they’d have realised that before they became immigrants? While we’re at it, compare and contrast this BBC concern for the welfare of Hispanic immigrants to the US with the BBC’s concern for British immigrants to Spain, as spotted by my colleague Laban the other day:

“It would be helpful if they could integrate a little more – why can’t they learn the language? It’s just lazy, isn’t it? Why don’t they bother to integrate more?”

To be fair to the BBC and their unvarnished reporting of this typically tedious ‘A report says…’style space-filler, I have heard that things are so bad in the US that large numbers of Hispanics apparently run, jump and swim across the border with Mexico every day. Oh no, wait, can someone remind me which way they’re heading?