Thursday, 3 March 2016

A missing qualifier


Here's something I don't quite know what to make of...


James Naughtie gave Radio 4 listeners an illustrated talk about Donald Trump on yesterday's The World at One (beginning at 18.18).

His brief was to outline what his policy programme might look like at the November election - and he did so (using clips from the man himself) in some detail. 

Now, yes, if it's actually possible to 'impartially drip disdain' then the BBC's Jim oh-so-impartially dripped disdain here...

....but his presentation of a possible Trump programme felt as if it was 'fair' - in that The Donald's programme probably is barely-even-half-baked, and absurd and extreme and opportunistic. 

By chance, however, I then read a thread at Digital Spy headlined 'BBC bias against Trump'...

(the main split, as far as I can see, being being those who think it's wrong that the BBC is biased against Trump and those who think the BBC is wholly justified in being biased against Trump...)

...and someone mentioned this very WATO piece:
In fairness, The World at One has given him a fair say. When he ranted that he was going to bomb foreigners "to s (offensive word)", they played it in full, uncensored, even though it was just after 1pm and people of all ages and morals would have been listening.
A reply came saying:
That's not true. Trump said he ''was going to bomb ISIS to s---t''. James Naughtie's report missed that qualifier out.
I was intrigued and re-checked - and, lo and behold, yes, James Naughtie did leave out "that qualifier". 

The clip in Jim's report began from the point in the clip after Donald Trump had made it clear that he was talking specifically about ISIS (Islamic State), thus pretty much inevitably leaving Radio 4 listeners - like the first commenter above! - wrongly believing that The Donald was talking batshit crazy talk about bombing the shit out of foreigners (and grabbing their oil for the US) in general.

Was Mr T talking about the Arab World in general? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Russia? Venezuela?

Here's a transcription of what listeners heard on The World at One. Would you really have assumed straight way that Donald Trump was talking specifically about Islamic State from this?:
James Naughtie: On international security you hear The Donald in full flow. This isn't language the State Department would ever use, Nor a plan that any previous American administration would have contemplated. 
Donald Trump: I would bomb the shit out of 'em. I would just bomb those suckers. And, that's right, I'd blow up the pipes. I'd blow up the refin....I'd blow up every single inch, and there would be nothin' left. And you know what? You'll get Exon to come in there and in two months...you ever seen these guys, how good they are, the great oil companies? They'll rebuild that sucker, brand new. It will be beautiful. And I'd ring it, and I'd take the oil.
For context, here's a fuller version of what Donald Trump said:
Donald Trump: ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because they have certain oil camps, right? They have certain areas of oil that they took away. They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the shit out of 'em. I would just bomb those suckers. And, that's right, I'd blow up the pipes. I'd blow up the refin....I'd blow up every single inch, and there would be nothin' left. And you know what? You'll get Exon to come in there and in two months...you ever seen these guys, how good they are, the great oil companies? They'll rebuild that sucker, brand new. It will be beautiful. And I'd ring it, and I'd take the oil.

What's puzzling me here is that what Donald Trump actually said is pretty jaw-dropping, isn't it? So why would any critic of Donald Trump (especially a BBC one) want - or need - to gild the 'offensive' lily any more?

And yet 'gild the offensive lily even more' James Naughtie did here by failing to put The Donald's remarks in context (the ISIS context)...

...and, as we know from that Digital Spy thread, some Radio 4 listeners assumed Mr Trump was talking about "foreigners" in general. (And why wouldn't they? Even I fell for it first time round.)

Why did he do that?

Was it anti-Trump bias? Sloppy journalism? Or both?

Those are the only two (or three) alternatives I can think of. Can you think of a better one?

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Craig. Being a lazy person I still get most of my news through the BBC. I know that for Trump to get the support that he is getting there must be more than the BBC is giving us. I appreciate this site to tell us more. It was like Sarah Palin. I didn't know whether she was capable of being Vice President or not because really what I knew about her was what the BBC chose to tell us. But they had made up their mind so we didn't have to.

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  2. OFF TOPIC

    Tonight the film on BBC 2 is a heartwarming tale of simple Afghan migrant folk. Nothing unusual there. Its title? "LEAVE TO REMAIN"!!! Lol Talk about subliminal messaging! :)

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  3. It's both. Beeboids get sloppy when they let their emotions run away with them. Which is more often than not.

    The BBC is biased against Trump. Aside from the headlines cited on that Digital Spy thread, we must also count all the instances of news and current affairs shows having their obligatory two minute hate segment on him. Every time. Drip, drip, drip.

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    Replies
    1. It does seem to get into every single news programme.

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