Saturday, 28 February 2015

Odious Press conference

In an ideal world bloggers and Journalists would aim for clarity, brevity and accuracy. 
Anyone who deftly manages to include context or give adequate, succinct background to a complex topic in a bite-size blog post, whilst neither treating the reader as an ignoramus nor expecting too much of them deserves admiration. 

I wanted to write about ‘That-News-Conference’, but there was so much background, (Caged prisoners, Amnesty International, Moazzam Begg, Gita Sahgal etc etc.) that I couldn’t decide whether to assume the reader was familiar with it, or to start at the beginning of a tedious resume of everything I’d read, from 2010 to the present day. 

As luck would have it I saw this piece in the Daily Mail, so I don’t need to worry now.
Nauseating! An odious press conference, apologists for terror and the do-gooders who fund them
You get a good bit of history as well as the writer’s incredulous reaction to the ‘odious press conference’ that was Broadcast live for 52 minutes on the BBC and 58 on Sky News” 

I still want to add that I’m sure the BBC is growing more and more out of touch with normal people. Who at the BBC thought it was a good decision to give an unprecedented, undiluted, wall to wall chunk of exposure to those ludicrous clowns blaming our security forces for making the poor little ‘beautiful guy’ hack people’s heads off?

Apart from the BBC no-one thought it was a good move. it. Not the public. In fact several actual BBC people questioned it.  Nobody - even those in the media, apart from whoever orchestrated the coverage seemed to think it was the right thing to do.

The atmosphere in Britain is quite strange these days. Menacing in many ways. The state broadcaster constantly pumps out stultifying political correctness and pro-Islam propaganda that is so seriously at odds with the mood of the public that all sorts of people are beginning to notice it.   Not just people like me I must point out.

There was a Five Live phone-in thing. I’ve never listened to Five Live before; it was a first (and last) for me, however someone linked to it, saying that Nicky Campbell had been chatting with a professor who ‘got it right’, more or less. It turned out to be Anthony Glees.
He said that Mohammed Emwazi was radicalised before MI5 got their hands on him, not because of it, and the mysterious “radicalisation” was something to do with Westminster University, whose Islamic society hosts extremist preachers and Imams such as Haitham Haddad. 

However, as soon as these facts had been established, and Nicky appeared satisfied that they had been, people began saying that beheading and suchlike is ‘nothing to do with (the real) Islam, it’s simple criminality, and moderate Muslims mustn’t be tarred with the same brush.

Cynicism and caution makes it hard to accept that Maajid Nawaz is 100% on my wave length. I mean he’s still a practicing Muslim, and I can’t be sure if he secretly harbours his coreligionists’ inherent antipathy to the Jew. That aside, his interview with Andrew Neil was quite convincing. 
(Am I inherently anti-Islam, is he inherently anti-Jew, or both? Never mind for now.) 

The BBC is busily indoctrinating us with an extreme version of political correctness, and in its own subversive way, radicalising the passive viewer. You mustn’t say this, you must think that, you must tolerate the intolerant; your prejudices and antisemitic tendencies must be disguised as something else. These days you mustn’t reveal your ‘bigotry’ by criticising Islam. I don’t think they can report you to the police or put you on a Bigotry control order (BPIM) but they can sure give you some pretty poisonous looks. 

Even taking into account the BBC’s radical pro-Muslim position,  Asim Qureshi and Cerie Bullivant were still hard to take seriously. How could anyone fall for that bullshit? 

Their far-fetched allegations were infantile, irrelevant and plainly ludicrous. Qureshi’s saccharine plea that Emwazi was ‘beautiful’ and ‘softly spoken’ and the accusation that MI5 ‘harassed’  the poor chap into a beheading spree were as illogical as they were stark raving ridiculous. 

Their entire, simpering clownish performance was unworthy of the reverential questioning that came from the floor, and if any self-flagellating liberals were dumb enough to believe Emwaz’s knife-skills are somehow our fault, and if the implausible answers they heard weren’t enough to arouse serious misgivings about their own gullibility that would be obvious to anyone sane, surely the twosome’s appearance alone should have been enough to crack a smile in the innermost subconscious of the most ernest of a BBC /PC worshipper.

Qureshi with his materialistic, western, capitalist’s trendy suit and specs, the upside-down effect of hirsute chin and shiny bald head, the unsightly prayer-bruise, (probably a badge of honour) and his wall-eyed, buck-toothed sidekick Bullivant with the pubic-hair fuzz on his chin and the dark shirt, allegedly worn at all times to camouflage the sparseness of the beard. 
I’m waiting to hear it was all a stunt by some clever impressionists.You don’t get clever impressionists these days though, do you?

Why give these  parodies of nobodies any air time? If their ludicrousness isn’t enough to make them a laughing stock, there’s You Tube. Qureshi preaching hatred in 2006. Are the BBC aware of that? If not, they’re the only ones who aint; and if they are, shouldn’t they be putting these fools in context and treating them with the disdain they deserve?

Jihad is just ‘the right to defend oneself against the west’  claims this twit. He’s winging it here, when confronted on CNN. Watch this. He’s beginning to have doubts. He’s not completely sure anyone but the BBC is falling for it. 

The whole escapade was nothing more than a publicity stunt for these clowns. I don’t think publicly identifying “Jihad John’ makes one jot of difference. So what if we know his name  So what if we don’t. We know he’s a Muslim. Duh! 
We know he was exposed to extreme Islamist preachers at one of this country’s many traitorous universities that are rife with antisemitism and hatred of the country that has gifted them the freedom to hate it.   

Bringing back memories

As DB notes at Biased BBC, the BBC's tweeter-in-chief at the Pegida and anti-Pegida rallies has been Hannah Bayman. You can judge the nature of her tweeting today here (complete with re-tweets of Yvonne Ridley).

DB takes us old hands down memory lane to the days of Natalie at Biased BBC, and this post featuring Hannah Bayman, which you might be interested to read in full:

Happy memories for all concerned!


One story prominently featured over the Easter holiday weekend was the leftie march to Aldermaston, including various puff-pieces in advance (i.e. advertising for fellow-travellers).
Monday’s ‘News front page’ featured two links to stories about this relative non-event. The same story is highlighted a day later on the UK news page:
Deep joy indeed. The story, by Hannah Bayman, features interviews with various protestors, Giulia Giglioggi, 11-year old Leela Levitt (from Southampton “pleading with parents Malcolm and Latha”, Daniel Franceschini and Reverend Hazel Barkham.
Knowing the BBC’s rigourous and honest approach, I did a little Googling for these people.
Giulia Giglioggi returns nothing. Google helpfully suggests “Giulia Gigliotti”, from Southampton, who it turns out is a major organiser of such protests (inc. a letter in the Grauniad signed ‘Giulia Gigliotti, Nuclear Information Service’) – all omitted (or simply unseen) by our scrupulous BBC inquisitor. (‘Nuclear Information Service’ turns out to be – also based in Southampton).
Reverend Hazel Barkham (Google alternative ‘Barking’!) is also, unsurprisingly, a prominent anti-nuclear activist, popping up around the web and around the world.
So, how could our rigourous BBC reporter omit to mention the prominence of these anti-nuclear organisers whilst writing such a happy, nay joyous, report of this traditional outing?
Another spot of Googling, this time for ‘Hannah Bayman’, reveals a number of interesting Hannah Bayman coincidences:
- Revolutionary Communists “Rock around the Blockade at Guantanamo” (in April 2000 no less), inc. Hannah Bayman “I am really interested in the Pioneers and the UJC (Union of Young Communists)” (Link);
- “Operation Desert Rescue – 9.6m children in danger” – list of supporters includes “Hannah Bayman, Southampton, BBC journalist” (Link);
- Socialist Worker 26Apr03 letters page – an angry rant about Iraqi freedom, from Hannah Bayman, Southampton (Link);
- Globalise Resistance “free Nicola and Richard” petition – signed by Hannah Bayman, freelance journalist (Link);
- The Observer 21Jul02 letters page – Hannah Bayman of London N1 writes “People across the world have marched against Israel’s war in Palestine, including 80,000 in London in May, largely ignored by the mainstream British press. In September thousands more are expected to rally in London against the threat of a bloody war in Iraq. In November thousands of activists will converge in Florence for the European Social Forum, a weekend of demonstrations and debate on the future of the anti-capitalist movement.” (Link)
It seems I’m not alone in doubting the objectivity of Ms. Bayman – Robert Hinkley has posted details of his dealings with her here and here. Note also the picture here which is remarkably like the BBC picture here.
For those with long memories, I wonder if the Chris Blake in the first picture is the same as the one interviewed by Hannah for the BBC here. If so, Hannah seems to have a remarkably intimate interviewing technique – too intimate one might think to ensure the impartiality and objectivity that a Beeb-taxpayer might expect from the “World’s premier news broadcaster”, as they term themselves.

Just to be clear, BBC reporters, like everyone else, are entitled to their personal opinions. However, in the interests of transparency, when a reporter interviews a personal acquaintance (in this case Chris Blake, aformer comrade on a political magazine “Resist”), it is, at best, a discourtesy to his or her readers not to mention it.

"The revolution was very good for women"

From this morning's From Our Own Correspondent:
Kate Adie: Has the Ayatollah's revolution in 1979 eventually helped Iranian women rather than hindered them?
The answer from FOOC was 'yes', it has helped them.

Here's how Kate Adie introduced the report:
Now, the West tends to view the Khomenei Revolution in Iran in a negative light. It blames his regime for giving birth to an oppressive and conservative clerical rule which even today tolerates no opposition and not much more in the way of free speech. And yet could it be that history will judge him differently? Quite apart from overthrowing the corrupt and brutal regime of the Shah, the revolution introduced education reforms which have been of particular benefit to women. Amy Guttman's been underground in the Iranian capital to see what can be learned about the lot of women in Iran today.
And here's how the BBC publicised it on Twitter:

Again, the answer from FOOC was 'yes'.

That dress

From the 'and finally' pieces on the main BBC and ITV news bulletins, to Newsnight, the BBC News website and every newspaper in the country, both Friday and Saturday were 'Dress Day'...

Someone brought an image of it into work on Friday. I've never seen my workplace more animated. It went viral. Most people (like me) saw it as clearly white and gold. A few saw it as blue and black (which apparently it really is). People just couldn't believe that other people couldn't see what they were seeing. Some started giving possible scientific explanations. Many Googled. A handful got on with their work. It was a genuine phenomenon. And I was a part of it. 

As they say on Twitter, #realnews.

'Dateline' achieves consensus again

And talking about Dateline London...

The closing discussion was on PM Netanyahu's upcoming speech to the U.S. Congress, at the invitation of Congress. Given the strongly left-liberal composition of the panel, the way the discussion went can probably be predicted.

Roger Cohen (who's sympathetic attitude towards Iran and regular criticisms of the Israeli government perhaps explain the programme's invitation to him to appear) described it as a "deeply divisive" move and "a huge gamble". He also backed President Obama and said that Mr Netanyahu's proposals over Iran would mean (if acted on) that "we're moving down the warpath". 

Maria Margonis criticised the U.S . Republicans and Mr Netanyahu, saying "I  think he was wrong to accept" and that, in contrast, Mr Obama had been "very dignified", "very elegant" about the whole thing.

Ashis Ray said that "there is no better proposal from Mr Netanyahu on the table", that he's only going "to get  the standing ovation", and that a "rapprochement" between the U.S. and Iran would be "good for the world".

Steve Richards agreed, adding that a "rapprochement" between the U.S.and Iran would be "very helpful to Israel as well" in the long run, that "this is a hugely insensitive thing for Congress to do" and that "I don't blame Obama".

You may or may not agree with them, but this is precisely the kind of smoothly-brought-about left-liberal consensus-building that (sometimes) gives Dateline London a bad name (bias-wise). 

Much more attention should have been paid to this week's guest selection, knowing the subject, to ensure the presence of at least one strongly dissenting voice. 

Tory former Thatcher minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind...and "another former foreign secretary"

Taking about Steve Richards and BBC bias (as we were)...

Today's Dateline got off to a weird start. Steve Richards of the Independent was playing his usual "lickspittle of the political establishment" role over MPs' pay and expenses and both Roger Cohen of the New York Times and Maria Margaronis of The Nation then started denouncing undercover journalism. All four guest expressed sympathy for Sir Malcolm Rifkind. 'It's a great shame for him and terrible, dishonest journalism from Channel 4' was the general consensus among the profoundly left-liberal Dateline panel. 

Besides the biased weighting of the panel overall, the very odd thing about the programme's coverage of this story was the lop-sided way it was set up. 

If you've followed the Sir Malcolm Rifkind/Jack Straw story this week, can you see any imbalance in presenter Shaun Ley's way of introducing? (and, if you can't, please hurry along to SpecSavers):
...and a former British foreign secretary caught in a media sting insisting he should be allowed to top his inadequate parliamentary pay.
Let's talk about someone else who's been in the headlines this week: Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who was one of Britain's most prominent Conservative politicians. He was a cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher, rose to be foreign secretary and until this week he chaired the Intelligence and Security Committee. He and another former foreign secretary were secretly filmed pitching for work with a Chinese company. The company was fake, set up by journalists trying to catch out politicians. Now, it's not illegal in Britain for politicians to earn money outside the day job but Sir Malcolm's defence that "I do want to have the standard of living that my professional background, a lawyer, would normally entitle me to have" went down so badly that Downing Street withdrew its support and he's now quitting as an MP. 
Only one politician named. Only one political party named. Only one former prime minister named.

Only when Maria Margonis, several minutes later, mentioned the name "Jack Straw", did Shaun Ley feel the need to clarify that Mr Straw was the other "former foreign secretary" who'd been stung (without naming his party). 

Yes, Sir Malcolm made the most memorable remarks and held a key select committee job, but Jack Straw was, in many ways, a much bigger - and certainly better-known - political beast. Why choose not to mention him (or his political party) by name at the start?

Spot the difference

Talking about Pegida, there are some striking differences in the way their protest in Newcastle is being reported. 

Here's how the Sky New website starts its report:

A group with roots in Germany holds its first UK protest against Muslim immigration amid claims members are "right-wing nutters".

Some 400 demonstrators have taken to the streets of Newcastle to protest "against the Islamisation of Europe" in the first British demonstration organised by the PEGIDA group.
The movement was formed in Germany last year and holds regular marches in the country calling for a restriction in Muslim immigration and the preservation of German culture.
On its Facebook page the group said: "We would like to remind everyone that this will be a peaceful rally where people from all walks of life will gather together to unite against extreme Islam, nothing else.
"We all have one main aim and that is to protect our British values and our culture."
And here, quite low on its UK page, is the BBC's News website's account:
More than 1,500 protesters have demonstrated against the first rally in Britain by a group opposed to what it calls the "Islamisation of Europe".
Supporters of the UK branch of German group Pegida gathered at Newcastle city centre's Bigg Market.
Critics claimed they were anti-Muslim and had come to "promote expression of hatred", which they denied.
A counter-rally took place in Newgate Street, within sight of about 400 Pegida UK demonstrators.
Northumbria Police, which had a cordon separating the two camps, said four arrests had been made after isolated scuffles.
The force said about 1,500 had been at the anti-Pegida march though supporters claim up to 3,000 had been involved.
Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway, who had travelled to join the Newcastle Unites counter-demonstration, praised the "response from local people". 
The Sky account initially focuses on the Pegida protest, the BBC account on the anti-Pegida protest. The direct quotes used reflect the same focus. Plus, the BBC headline puts 'anti-Islamisation' in inverted commas and the Sky News headline doesn't. 

Which is the most appropriate slant I'll leave you to decide - but 'slants' they most certainly are. 

"Well, it seems to be a bit of a contradiction there."

Here's James Naughtie on this morning's Today (at 13:50), sounding off about today's Pegida UK protest in Newcastle. He refers back to the comments of a female Pegida supporter featured in the piece's introduction, asking his BBC colleague:
Well, two question really. One, why is it being held there? And the other one is...We heard what she said there - "We're not not racists. We're not fascists. We're not far-right. It's an awareness campaign to raise people's awareness of the fact that Islam is a big problem." Well, it seems to be a bit of a contradiction there. And they're bound to attract....even if they say they don't attract the far-right, they're bound to attract some people from that neck of the woods, aren't they?
"Well, it seems to be a bit of a contradiction there"? That would be news to the likes of Nick Cohen, Nawaz Maajid, David Aaronovitch, Ed Husain, the folk at Harry's Place, Douglas Murray, Rod Liddle, et al, all of whom worry about the "big problem" of Islam in the UK and none of whom are "racists, fascists or far-right". 

"I'm sick of BBC bias on terror"

Here's part of Katie Hopkins's column in The Sun. (To read the whole of her column - and the rest of this bit on the BBC - you'll have to pay The Sun). It relates to the topic of BBC bias, and may be of interest to you. (Or it may not. In which case, to each their own).

I'm sick of BBC bias on terror

                             by Katie Hopkins 
People keep telling me it's the one thing I am not supposed to write about. And my lawyer says it will be expensive. But to with it all because, frankly, I've had enough. 
I am outraged my country is changing and Great Britain is looking less great. I am also sick of holding my tongue. Enough. 
The simple fact is nearly half of Muslims in the UK think the bearded loons who spout violence against the West are pretty much in line with mainstream Muslim opinion.
According to a BBC poll, almost half - 45 per cent - believe that extremist clerics who preach violence against the West are not "out of touch". 
Do you hear that? Forty-five per cent of Muslims in the UK think that the hooked preacher of hate was dead on the money. They see bearded fanatics ranting in the street encouraging their "brothers" to machete the heads off white boys and nod approvingly as they saunter off to Sainsbury's.
When I heard the BBC celebrating that the majority of British Muslims are opposed to those who want to fight against British interests I wanted to yank my radio from the wall and hurl it through the window of the nearest halal-only Subway.
Even Baroness Warsi thinks that it's all a bit dodge. And she is basically Ken Livingstone in drag.
This is not journalism. This is not responsible reporting. This is the reason we should stop paying the licence fee. 
We must stop funding left-wingers to ingest The Guardian and make biased programmes. 
Just because you ride a bike to work, doesn't make you right, you pompous, soft-shoe-wearing fools.
It is time that BBC reporters were accountable for what they write and say.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Get over yourself

Kay Burley! 

Steve Richards on the BBC

In the light of today's parliamentary report into the BBC...

Steve Richards - the left-leaning former BBC political correspondent who went on to become the chief political columnist for the Independent - has written a thought-provoking piece for the Guardian about the BBC. 

Yes, I can guess what some might be thinking ("Steve Richards...the Independent...the BBC...the Guardian. No thanks"), but - as ever - reading a considered argument which goes against your own point of view can only be a good thing, so please give it a read.

Steve clearly still carries a torch for his former employer (which still employs him from time to time), though he's got some reservations - plus some high ambitions for the corporation:
There is no need for newspapers to explain what is happening if they do not wish to do so. The BBC is in an altogether different position. It cannot make waves by picking a side to cheer for. But in the election and well beyond, the BBC could have a distinct role. It could seek to explain, make sense of what is going on and proclaim this as its overwhelming task.
How does he get to that point? Well, recalling former DG John Birt, he has this to say about charges of BBC bias:
What [Birt] captured particularly well was the wilful misreading of “bias” by the BBC’s critics. There is no conscious partisan bias at the BBC. If journalists want to exert influence to the left or right they do not join the BBC, which is much closer to the civil service in its determined non-partisan approach.
When I was at the BBC I had no idea how my colleagues were planning to vote. I discuss little else these days with my fellow columnists. But of course the huge constraints can be frustrating for BBC journalists. They read the newspapers and the Twitter debates and want to be part of the action. As a result there tends to be a bias in favour of the latest political fashions as long as they cannot be defined as “left” or “right”.
For Steve Richards what bias there at the BBC is manifests itself in following "the media fashion". The newspapers set the ball rolling, and the BBC follows. 

The historical example he cites (from the time when he was reporting for the BBC, in the early 1990s, was the way the BBC joined in the fashion for presenting John Major as being "hopelessly weak". The Labour-supporting columnist now thinks the latest fashion is to portray Ed Miliband as "useless", and that the BBC is, again, following the newspapers. 

What the BBC isn't doing, and should be doing (according to Steve Richards), is going beyond what the rest of the media are doing and explaining. 

Instead of going along with the fashionable "cartoon" of John Major as a weakling or of Ed Miliband as goofy - or of Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind as "cartoon characters" ("one moment senior respected ministers and the next a couple of greedy villains") - the BBC should be explaining why John Major's position was difficult (in economic and parliamentary terms), or why Ed Miliband's position is difficult (the legacy of the Blair-Brown feud), or what the Jack/Sir Malcolm story tells us about what we expect from our elected representatives. These are things Steve Richards thinks the BBC tends not to do as much as it should. 

What he feels the BBC needs is "some bias in favour of understanding": 
More ambitious peak-time current affairs, longer sequences in some bulletins for a single issue, discussions that are allowed to breathe.
This Birtian "appetite to explain and analyse" is, he argues, rather lacking at the moment: 
Instead, TV reported one damned event after another, as one historian wrongly described the writing of history. No connections were made or context explored; pictures drove the story, the so-called human interest story topped others, the vox pop was hailed as giving space to real people and panels of public figures or pundits were put together to provoke wholly predictable clashes.

There's a lot to unpack there, isn't there? But how to unpack it?

Take the dodgy ad hom route that a pro-Labour, ex-BBC man would say that, wouldn't he? Or that Steve Richards has long been the lickspittle of the political establishment, its most doughty media defender (even during the Expenses Scandal)? Or that Labour supporters tend to think that - despite the odd grumble about how, say, the BBC reports Ed Miliband?  

Or make the 'populist' point that the popular fashions in the media - that John Major was weak, Ed Miliband is useless, and Jack and Sir Malcolm a pair of less than entirely honourable gentlemen - might, perhaps, have a strong basis in reality? And that a publicly-funded broadcaster attempting to explain - or, as many might see it, explain away - such things might not prove very convincing?

No, maybe it's better to  argue that, though some of the BBC's critics do advance the "conspiratorial" point that there is conscious, partisan bias at the BBC (though it's always been very hard to prove that, except in certain isolated cases), there remains an alternative, more easily demonstrable kind of bias: bias by groupthink, borne of like-minded people working together.

This is the kind of bias described by those many BBC presenters/reporters, past and present, who've admitted the BBC is basically stocked with liberal-minded types, by the BBC senior managers who've 'fessed up to the BBC's biased past (especially on subject like immigration), by that BBC internal survey which showed a massive self-declared bias towards a 'liberal' rather than a 'conservative' way of looking at things), etc.

In party political terms, where (pace Steve Richards) the BBC might very well be consciously aiming at not being partisan, that's the kind of bias that might be measured by 'unconscious' things like how often, on average, BBC interviewers interrupt politicians of a particular party. If (on average) they interrupt politicians of certain parties much more than others then a bias (borne of groupthink) may very well be discerned (as it was in 2009-10).

Anyhow, those who tend to blog about BBC bias, or comment on blogs about BBC bias, plus the vast hordes of people who comment below the line at the Spectator, Telegraph, Times, Daily Mail, Breitbart and, these days, even at the Independent and Guardian (and, if they can get away with it, on the BBC website), probably won't be persuaded by Steve Richards.

And they are even less likely to warm to his idea that the BBC should take on the role of the nation's 'explainer' of politics - given that that very role is one such people think the BBC already occupies, to the detriment of the nation.

I can see some truth in what he says about how the BBC follows the media - and not just the Guardian. In terms of investigative reporting, it's definitely more a 'follower' than a 'leader'. And it rarely breaks major stories. The few it does break seem to be handed to it by interest groups (charities, lobby groups, campaigners, think tanks, etc).

And I can see a good deal of truth in his charge that the BBC has become more concerned with "one damned event after another" these days, plus his charges about them having pictures drive stories, having human interest story top others, and endlessly using pointless vox pop, and gathering together panels of public figures or pundits were who put together to provoke wholly predictable clashes.

But the BBC is still - despite what Steve says - fully capable of 'explaining' a story, of making 'connections' and 'exploring context', as this week's staggeringly biased BBC reporting of that Today survey into British Muslim opinion shows.

The BBC tried so hard to present it as showing an overwhelmingly positive overview of Muslim opinion. Other media outlets, like the Times, spun the same story negatively. And several left-leaning commentators, from Dan Hodges to David Aaronovitch, sided with the Times.

Conscious, semi-conscious, or unconscious, the bias over the BBC's reporting of this story was - to my mind - clear. An angle was being advanced with considerable vigour - and a deeply contested one at that. And if that's Steve Richard's idea of Birtian 'explaining' then please count me out.

Further reading: 

Dan Hodges - Over a quarter of British Muslims have sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo terrorists. That is far too many

Stephen Glover - Their survey of British Muslims delighted the BBC: In fact, it contains some profoundly chilling findings

David Aaronovitch - These Muslim delusions are a danger to us all

Maajid Nawaz - Why the survey of British Muslim attitudes is so profoundly disconcerting

National Secular Society - New poll shows significant minority of UK Muslims support attacks on Charlie Hebdo

'Ows about that then?

It almost seems inappropriate to point this out...and if it is inappropriate then please feel free to say so (as I'm sure you will)...

...but the BBC's home editor Mark Easton has presented his take on the latest Jimmy Savile report, which focuses on the failings on the Conservative government in the 1980s, with three mentions of "Thatcher". Thatch was to blame, it seems.

Curiously, however, there are no mentions whatsoever in Mark's piece of Savile's incredibly lenient employer of several decades, the BBC. The acronym "BBC" appears nowhere. 

Is that simply because "everyone knows" that Savile was a creature of the BBC? Or because Mark "forgot" to mention the fact? 

Everyone has forgotten us?

I knew I’d have to write about Lyse Doucet’s report from Gaza because it appeared on BBC News 24 almost as frequently as the findings of the poll that discovered how wonderfully pro Britain the Muslims are these days.
 Specially those from Bradford, even the ones who were obviously character actors and comedians. (You can always tell)

‘When a crime is committed by a Muslim, why does the media always point out that the crimes are committed by a Muslim? “I can’t understand the logic behind that”  '  
Ho ho. Well done that lady.

Not her, though. This one: “There’s a limit wi’ foon”

 “It’s not pawkin foon tho’. It’s not pawkin foon! Foon, there’s a limit. But no’ about our prophet - there’s a limit wi’ foon.
  • it woodin’t 'ave 'appened if them people 'addn’t put that fo'o out, that car’oon, and that’s what they were pr’vawkin, a reaction, and that’s what they got.

Fast show? Harry Enfield? I bet Charie Brooker wouldn’t dare do it.


Anyway onto something completely more serious.

BBC Watch has written a detailed analysis of Lyse Doucet’s audio report, which was aired on the BBC World service.

First of all, we might wonder why we particularly need blanket coverage of this update, when all the surrounding countries are either imploding or exploding, or are about to.

Next, Lyse seemed oddly uninterested in what has happened to the money that was pledged, which (to date) hasn’t been forthcoming. Perhaps it was more convenient to let the viewer think it was something to do with the blockade.

Why did Lyse make so little of the fact that one of the victims was distinctly saying that they blamed the Arab counrties before they blamed ‘Israel and the occupation’ (and incidentally failed to point out that Gaza is not under occupation) when it appears that the delays are due to the complex internal squabbling between Hamas, the PA, the Arab League and UNRWA.

It is glaringly obvious, from Lyse’s tone of voice that she sees this devastation as the aftermath of a massacre,  and that she has no interest in the fact that the neighborhood she’s revisiting, Shuja’iya, was ’a Hamas fortress’ . There was a very good reason for targeting it, which is not to say that the civilians were asking for it  (as various people have been suggesting of ‘Jews’ with regard to Israel’s so-called aggression against the Palestinians) According to the IDF 
The IDF warned civilians in Shuja’iya to evacuate the area many days before striking the terror infrastructure within it. Dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages are just some of the many actions the IDF has been taking to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.Hamas knows that Israel is reluctant to attack areas with many civilians. The terrorist organization fights from within the civilian population and uses them as human shields.

BBC Watch will be posting more on this soon.


Gaza resident: ‘Everyone has forgotten us’

Well, not exactly everyone. Every hour or so on BBC News 24 yesterday we saw Lyse stumbling unsteadily over the rubble in a rather fetching outfit.   This series of reports, Tweets and web articles we’re told, was in honour of the six month anniversary of the Hamas  / Israel war. 

We heard and saw most of the material outlined in BBC Watch’s critique of the BBC World Service's audio report, with a rather troubling and I suspect gratuitously emotive addition.

 Lyse interviews a mother, two small daughters and their grandmother with a terribly sad story. 
“ Six months ago their first son, Wadiha (phonetic) was born.  Last month he froze to death”.
Nobody could hear those words without being horrified. The rest of the interview, where the grandmother “Points an accusing finger at all Arab countries, saying they haven’t  helped Gazans.” is all but lost in the pity one feels for the family. 
Wahida’s mother has more to say. She’s angry with the government ‘here’, who “sit in chairs, who care only for their own children and forget about ours”

Lyse returns to the issue at hand - rebuilding Gaza - “but nobody’s doing it.
For more than one reason, she says. “Israeli restrictions, Palestinian infighting, the failure of donors to keep their promises. And why would there be much rebuilding, when everyone fears there’ll be.... another war.” 

Someone from UNRWA says “Unless the situation on the ground changes there will be no action for people to take other than the resumption of violence.” 

So the inevitability of another war is taken as a given. Then we get to see why. (Not that the BBC would ever admit Hamas’s responsibility for that.)

Almost for the first time on the BBC, we get to see massed, black clad Hamas fighters, faces covered, green headbands tightly tied, weapons shouldered, proudly marching along. When the last war was raging there was nary a one to be seen. The BBC’s coverage of Operation Protective Edge might have made one think that Gaza was a civilian-only area.

“Hamas fighters are ready. They don’t hide it . I’ve seen marches like this on almost every visit in recent months” said Lyse while the marchers marched.

Then Ghazi Hamad, Hamas spokesman bearing a distinctive prayer-related head-dent, had something to say: 
“The main reason for all this catastrophe is occupation. Now Gaza has turned to be a ‘bigge’ prison, there’s no exit, no import, no export”
“But there are credible reports that Hamas is again digging tunnels, that Hamas has been test-firing missiles, making preparations for the next war.”

“This is true, that’s right but I think that Hamas is doing all to protect our people here. We don’t want to be surprised with a new war, a new aggression against us.”

Lyse seemed satisfied to disseminate this person’s untrue allegations and his reference to “Israel’s aggression.” I suppose she knows that many viewers will already perceive every escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel as just another of Israel’s devilish periodic incursions into the Gaza Strip, which they launch from time to time simply to massacre women, babies and innocent civilians for fun, just because they can.

There was one more thing worrying me. Why do you think they used, and Lyse parroted, the phrase “Froze to death” ? Could a four or five-month old baby literally freeze to death under the noses of a mother and a grandmother?
I looked it up. I think it’s quite hard to literally freeze. There are cases, mostly involving abandoned  newborn babies.

Yes I know it was cold, and they had no proper shelter. The infant might have suffered from hypothermia or a hypothermia-related condition. But the fact is that two, how shall I put it, well fed women would surely have had the means to keep such a tiny baby from ‘freezing to death’. I mean you need to attend to babies - feed them and so on - and cuddle them.

If indeed the poor thing died from the cold, surely they could have used the term hypothermia. So wasn’t that emotive term “Froze to death” deliberately used to appall us and whip up yet more hatred?

Breaking news

There's been some confusion as to who broke the 'Jihadi John' story this morning. 

The Telegraph started a live blog about at 10.50am, citing The Washington Post. A minute later came this tweet from BBC Breaking News, linking to a newly-posted BBC online article:
The early versions of that BBC article, as Newssniffer shows, also claimed the story for the BBC:
The masked Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John", who has been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of Western hostages, has been named.
The BBC understands he is Mohammed Emwazi, a British man believed to be from West London, who was known to British security services.
Shortly after terrorist expert Shiraz Maher took to Twitter to set matters straight:
Adam Goldman of the Washington Post also soon took to Twitter:
ITV's deputy political editor Chris Ship wasn't impressed with the BBC:
The latest versions of the BBC article have removed the suggestions that it's a BBC scoop:
The masked Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John", who has been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of Western hostages, has been named.
He is Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s from west London, who was previously known to British security services. 

Update:  However, later that very same day....

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

New Poll

Breaking News. 

New poll finds that  the BBC is out of Touch. 

Asked if the BBC is out of touch with the British public, 75% agree. 

75% of those questioned agree that they couldn’t care less about girls who run off to marry IS warriors.

But 25% replied ‘miaw’

The poll carried out between 8 am and 8:45 pm suggests that 100% of those questioned were not surprised at the results of this poll.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Thinking Slow

Was it Confucius, the Lord Buddha or from Norwich, it's the bishop of the week, Swashbucklingly Reverend Lord Bishop Graham James (of 'Thought for the Day' fame) who first said 'Slow down, stop and think'? 

Whoever it was, I treated myself to an international bestseller a couple of years ago by a Nobel Prize for Economics winner, Daniel Kahneman, called 'Thinking, Fast and Slow'. I've taken the 'Thinking Slow' path with it, having only read the first couple of pages of its introduction, but, being an optimist, I hope to finish it before I die.  

Blogging, however, is typically fast-moving - so fast-moving as to seem ephemeral at times. 

One of the most interesting sites on the blogosphere, Harry's Place, builds in ephemeracy (is there such a word?) by making all of its comments vanish into a black hole after a week. (I nearly did that by accident while changing hosting system a few week's ago). And Harry's Place receives hordes of insightful comments every day which deserve to be preserved forever. 

Sometimes, however, a blogger should stand back and think slowly. 

Of course, in so doing, that blogger might find that, on reflection, that his head is merely occupied by a monkey lazily scratching itself (just like Homer Simpson's).

For example, listening to this morning's Today, what stood out for me was Hugh Grant, invited on to talk about RIPA (and hacking), calling Tom Newton-Dunn of The Sun 'Tom Newton' and then getting into a right old pickle, thanks to ol' Justin Webb, over The Sun's role in something hacking related. It was a complete car-crash interview from which Hugh was only rescued by Humph, who got him to stay on to talk about fan mail and then laughed uproariously at one of his humorous anecdotes. 

And then there was a Front Row discussion (in place of Start the Week) debating whether the arts should be publicly financed or not, full of the usual metropolitan suspects (despite being from Hull) - including the infinitely pretentious Ekow Eshun and some BBC types. It also included a couple of lamb-to-the-slaughter dissenters - a contrarian Spiked writer and Philip Booth from the IEA (naturally repeatedly labelled "free market" by the presenter - the only such political label used in the programme). 

What stood out was the IEA guy, Philip Booth, causing general hilarity by his (genuinely hilarious) cock-up over the gigantic cock on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. 

Having heard mention of it earlier in the discussion, he began launching into a denunciation of it as publicly-funded "porn" only to be stopped in his tracks by his fellow panelists pointing out that it depicted a giant, blue cockerel. 

He tried to go on to talk about a pornographic piece of religious blasphemy at a museum whose name he couldn't quite remember (which didn't help either), but the audience's hilarity and the presenter's desire to bring him up short put a very quick stop to that. 

In the end Philip, with good humour, said this episode would probably go down in history... indeed it probably will, with Radio 4 show after Radio 4 show repeating it ad infinitum and Radio 4 show after Radio 4 wiseguy making puns about some right-winger or other making a complete cock of himself...

....which is a shame as Philip was talking a good deal of sense otherwise.  

Now, you see, that's what happens when I slow down, stop and think. My brain cheerfully scratches itself. 

Just in case you were wondering...

We've not have a post about BBC Sydney correspondent Jon Donnison's ultra-biased tweets for a while. Here's his latest re-tweet (surprisingly not about how wrong Israel is about something or other). It's not as blatant as usual, but - given that he only ever re-tweets things that are unfavourable to the Tories or UKIP...:
Of course, he's only passing on some information, isn't he? There's no ulterior motive whatsoever, is there? (/sarc)

I met the Ukippers

Well I sat through Meet the Ukippers last night but I didn’t really need to because it’s on YouTube.
Good grief. No wonder the BBC set out to ridicule them. They had to be ridiculed and someone had to do it.
I can only think of about five that have any credibility whatsoever. 

I’ll name them: Nigel Farage, Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless and Suzanne Evans. I’ve never seen Suzanne Evans in action, but I’m willing to take other people’s word that she can talk the talk. There’s another woman who people like too. Diane James, is it? She was vaguely passable when I saw her once on QT, at a pinch.

There’s also Louise Bours. Hmm.

I actually quite like Nigel. He has the gift of the gab, and he doesn’t wriggle and squirm like the rest of them  - My God, did you hear Rifkind and Straw this morning? - but then Nigel has got nothing to lose at the moment. He doesn’t need to wriggle till he gets his Thanet seat.

Bloody hell. Those Ukippers. What are they like? That house - the doggie hotel - was surely the most cluttered  shambles of a house in the whole of Thanet. (I hope so.) It should have starred in one of those programmes where an obsessive compulsive gets to do their thing in the hell-hole belonging to a clutter collector and filth gatherer.

Interiors like that give you serious eye-ache. 

I thought the poor woman who had a phobic reaction to the ‘negro’ was hilarious. She trundled around on a mobility scooter, a councillor and dutiful citizen, hell-bent on smoking herself to a cinder. The scene where she was rolling fags with some sort of hand-operated fag-rolling machine, churning them out as fast as she could smoke them and still have some for later,  was bizarre. 
Her bewildered confession, that she didn’t like, but couldn’t fathom out why, negroid features was car-crash self-destruction in slow motion. 

It wasn’t racist in the accepted sense, but it was technically a race-related phobia, which of course is not quite the thing for a councillor. (other than a Jew-hating Muslim, when it’s par for the course)

People all over the country (in vox pops at any rate) are saying they’ll vote Ukip. What they’re saying is that they like Nigel, and they don’t like the way this country seems to have been given away to followers of Islam. 
The unprepossessing element of the Ukippers isn’t going to put them off, particularly whilst the BBC is grossing out over the three girls who’ve run away to the circus, and every time you turn on the TV someone in a hijab is staring back at you and saying it’s our fault.

I’m Islamophobic (and that‘s the way I like it) 

Tim nice but dim

The BBC has receive a tsunami of complaints (which they’ve rejected) about Tim Willcox from people like me. But not me, and I’ll tell you why not. 
I think calling for him to resign or be sacked is ‘playing the man not the ball’, and worse, it’s playing into the hands of critics of Israel who dismiss people like me who try to defend the Jewish state by calling us “Israel Firsters” who bleat “Israel right or wrong” at every opportunity.

Well I don’t consider myself to be one, in fact I think the whole concept is simply sloganeering and meaningless.

However this is what I think is happening. Recent events (dear boy) have caused a slight sea change. 

ISIS, Paris and Copenhagen, stirrings in Sweden and Norway, Belgium, etc etc.,  the 'Trojan Horse',  grooming gangs and all manner of Islam related trouble and strife have caused a shift in attitude at the BBC and in society in general. People have moved slightly, from the extreme 100% anti Israel position to the slightly more middle ground ‘a plague on both their houses.’ 

We’re not quite there yet, but I believe that Tim Willcox and the BBC were only being what they think is ‘even handed’. 
It’s the result of ignorance, lack of curiosity, and willingness to be seduced by huge doses of Palestinian propaganda.
 The ball we should be playing is ‘the truth’, i.e., an honest understanding what lies at the heart of the Middle East conflict. They don’t understand ‘Islam’ and they can only assume that Islam-related hatred of Israel and attacks on Jews are because Jews and/or Israel have provoked it. At the same time, they are strangely blind to the deliberate provocation that travels in the opposite direction.   See here (H/T BBC Watch)

While the BBC continues to listen to, admire and give tacit approval to the likes of Abdel Bari Atwan and  other blatant antisemites who propagandise against Israel for a living, then as far as I’m concerned Tim Willcox at least can stay where he is. 

One day he and his ilk will surely come around. Perhaps when they’re on the receiving end of some of it.
All Willcox needs is a bit of a kick up the arse and I think the level of complaints has probably done that. Of course it could just harden his distrust of Jews as a whole; getting him fired would certainly do so. 

Update: Much more about this on BBC Watch.
Hadar’s points are valid and I agree with her analysis, but I still think the deeper problem is the one that must be prioritised.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hugh Sykes v Dame Jenni Murray

Dame Jenni Murray got into a bit of a Twitter spat today with veteran BBC colleague Hugh Sykes.

After her appearance on this morning's Broadcasting House (reviewing the papers with Nigel Farage and Terry Wogan), she took to Twitter, peering over her glasses no doubt (as ever), only to find that various left-wing twitterers were roundly slagging her off.

Why? Because, they said, she'd refused to slag off UKIP over the ex-UKIP 'negroes' lady, pleading that she was too "independent BBC" to comment.

Oh they weren't happy with her, they really weren't. And 'The True Voice of the BBC' (as I like to think of him), Hugh Sykes, wasn't happy either.

He shared their disapproval of Dame Jenni's failure to bash UKIP, and joined in the attack on her on Twitter, re-tweeting their criticisms and making it clear that - unlike Dame Jenni - he has no truck whatsoever with racism:

Twitter, however, is (to put it mildly) not always reliable. Hugh, as we know, isn't always reliable either. And Dame Jenni took to Twitter again this afternoon to say that her critics (including Hugh) had it all wrong:

And when you listen to BH you can see that Dame Jenni's comments could be taken either way but that she probably was saying that she wouldn't comment on the party political aspect of the story (which had just been discussed) rather than refusing to comment on racism. But I can understand why UKIP-hating people (like Hugh & Co.), who were hoping she'd denounce UKIP, could hear her comment as a refusal to denounce "UKIP's racism" and, thus, leap into Twitter action in the hope of generating a Twitterstorm. 


If there's one thing you can safely say about Hugh on Twitter is that he's hardly "independent BBC". His dislike of UKIP (on Twitter) is undisguised. You will doubtless recall, however:
HughSykes ‏@HughSykes  26 Jan 2013@4d2b Yes, Big If. But I am scrupulously objective when reporting - unlike some of my Tweets! I obey: "Hang up your opinions with your coat"
His reporting, however, has always seemed to me to belie that claim (as I've said several times before). His BH report today was plugging the need for government spending in Italy, mirroring his anti-austerity Twitter comments, and he largely critiqued the Blairite Italian PM Matteo Renzi from the left (as is his way with most things on Twitter). 

Like many a true Brit (as we were saying the other day), Hugh overestimates his knowledge about things. Today he was coming across as a great expert on Italy and Italian politics, despite having only popped over for a visit. 

And in a typical piece of Hugh Sykes' sleight-of-hand, he referred (for the sake of his argument) to Forza Italia as a "far-right" party - even though Wikipedia, and everyone else I can find who isn't "far-left", maintains that the relaunched Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi remains "centre-right" - and has recently rejoined the mainstream EPP grouping in the European parliament to prove it.

Now, by Hugh's standards Forza Italia probably is "far-right" (like UKIP) and Mr Renzi "Thatcherite", but that probably says much, much more about Hugh that it does about them.