Sunday, 13 August 2017

Charlottesville


I read a tweet last night:


Well yes. Here's something I saw cited at B-BBC:


I assumed the B-BBC link would take me to a blog-post by someone like the ever-righteous Katty Kay or the ever-sarcastic Anthony Zurcher - BBC journalists who appear to have carte blanche to be as opinionated as they like (for some reason) despite that whole 'BBC impartiality' thing - but no, the link took me to a bog-standard, byline-free BBC report instead.

So even bog-standard, byline-free BBC reports about President Trump now read as if they are blog posts by opinionated BBC journalists.

(Ed - Shock horror! As if that's really something new!)

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Laura Bicker

Those self-same BBC types have been going into a frenzied overdrive against Donald Trump after what the BBC's Laura Bicker (on BBC One's main news bulletin) called his "failure" to denounce white supremacists for yesterday's violence in Charlottesville. 

I happen to agree with Laura there. I think it was a "failure" too.

That said, I'm entitled to express my opinions. I'm not a supposedly impartial BBC journalist. She is.

Yes, President Trump should have specifically slagged off the neo-Nazis, whilst acknowledging that, yes, the violence did initially come in roughly equal amounts from both sides until the neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of protesters from the other side, killing a woman and injuring many more, of course - something which changed that equation considerably.

Slagging off people who bellow Nazi slogans ("Blood and soil"), give Nazi salutes (and yes they did give Nazi salutes!), spew antisemitic chants, march with torches, and tell black women to their face to 'go home' (complete with swear words), etc, is something a democrat ought to be happy to do - indeed consider it their duty to do (whilst simultaneously granting their right to free speech).

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Back to the BBC though...

I'd challenge anyone who wishes to be considered fair-minded or objective to read any of the following Twitter feeds and then say that these BBC journalists are tweeting and re-tweeting as neutral, disinterested, purely objective reporters: Laura Bicker, Anthony Zurcher, Nick Bryant, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson, Hugh Sykes, and Katty Kay.

Each and every one of them expressed (or 're-expressed') strong opinions galore there, and all of them said (or 're-expressed) pretty much the same things. They've been anything but impartial on Twitter.

Is this BBC groupthink in action? Of course, but shouldn't the BBC, which ought to promote democracy, be taking sides against neo-Nazis? Isn't it their duty to promote and protect democracy at the expense of totalitarians of all shades? So isn't this 'good' BBC groupthink?

Yes, of course, the hardcore 'antifa' types are deeply violent and have strong anti-democratic strains too, and it's significant (and predictable) that their violence, despite being much more pervasive, isn't dwelt on by the BBC anywhere near as much...

...but still Donald Trump should have distanced himself from the neo-Nazis - and questioning why he appeared to go all 'Jeremy Corbyn' by criticising violence from "all sides" (quite right actually) without adding that he personally abhors white supremacists (and any other shade of modern-day Nazi) and wants nothing to do with them, is surely appropriate questioning, isn't it?

Well yes, if it doesn't go beyond questioning into outright editorialising.

How fine a line is that?

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Heather Heyer

As I wrote earlier, until a white supremacist terrorist, aping Europe's Muslim terrorists, repeatedly rammed his car into a crowd of protesters, killing a woman (Heather Heyer) and injuring many others, the equation of violence at yesterday's 'alt-right' rally in Charlottesville appears to have been fairly evenly spread between the fascists and the anti-fascists - both sides brawling, and clubbing each other, and chucking pepper spray.

A lot of the BBC's early reporting, from what I saw of it, acknowledged that in passing.

Only later did reports like Joel Gunter's begin appearing on the BBC website, painting a different picture of largely one-sided violence (from the violent far-right against peaceful anti-fascist protesters who, according to Joel, only threw bottles and chucked pepper spray).

And then came the terrorist attack from James Fields Jr.
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Joel was a candle in the wind. By this evening any sense that the 'antifa' crowd had any violent intentions has vanished - if the reporting I'm seeing on the BBC News Channel is anything to go by. And it was all Democrats (not that the BBC report itself declared any of them as such):
Newsreader: One of the organisers of Saturday's far-right rally in the U.S. city of Charlottesville that resulted in a woman being killed by a car has been forced to abandon a media briefing following protests. Meanwhile the White House defended President Trump after it was claimed he didn't go far enough in condemning violence by white supremacists. Our North America correspondent. Laura Bicker reports.
Laura Bicker: After a violent day of division, Charlottesville has come together to pray, to show that this city condemns the hate brought here by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The Virginia governor went from row to row, hugging worshippers in this Baptist church. He promised to keep politics out of the pulpit, but there is a message he felt he had to give:
Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia (Democrat): It is about politics in that the political rhetoric in this country today is breeding bigotry.
Laura Bicker: The streets here simmered with tension yesterday before finally erupting into violence, as white supremacists gathered for a rally. The group, which included members of the Klu Klux Klan, said they wanted to take America back. Counter-protesters and anti-racism activists challenged them. Police tried to disperse the crowd but this day was not to end peacefully. A car, at speed, rammed into protesters. Shocked witnesses captured the aftermath. The crash killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who'd fought racism all her adult life. Many others are still being treated in hospital. Those who captured the scene on camera said they were not shocked the day ended in tragedy. The police have charged a 20-year-old James Alex Fields Junior with second-degree murder.
Brennan Gilmore (former Democrat aide): The Nazis who came to town yesterday clearly had the intent of causing violence. You don't come to town with shields and helmets and weapons and have a militia with automatic or semiautomatic weapons around their shoulders if you are here to peacefully express an opinion.
Laura BickerOthers, who have lived here all their lives, say the scenes do not represent Charlottesville, and they want politicians to challenge those responsible.
Dr. Wes Bellamy, Charlottesville deputy mayor (Democrat): It is important to call these people what they are - white supremacists. I don't understand why that is so difficult, that is what they are. They're not hiding this behind a statue, they didn't come here because of a statue, they came here because just as David Duke said yesterday, they came here to fulfil the promise of President Trump and take their country back.
Laura Bicker: This city did not want bigotry on its streets. Its people now want to remember those who died trying to challenge it and to keep the peace. Laura Bicker, BBC News.
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(Is this a coherent post? Answers on a postcard to the comments thread below.)

18 comments:

  1. One really has to question the BBC's news prioritisation. They led today with Charlottsville...a minor riot between two sides of the political divide leaving one dead in a foreign country. Meanwhile...how many died in Venezuala, Kenya or Kashmir on the same day? And then we were treated to a very biased view of events. There was no suggestion the far left were there looking for violence. There was no mention (at least initially - I turned over before the report was finshed) of the ostensible reason for the right demo (the removal of a statue of a Confederate General).

    All this while we are teetering on the brink of nuclear war, and while there are major conflicts going on around globe.

    We should remember that people frequently get killed in demos on mainland Europe - it's just the BBC hardly ever report that.

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  2. BBC 10pm news - John Sopel quivering with, possibly genuine, anger because Donald Trump has failed to utter the words 'white supremacists.' He is filmed from a very low camera angle to make him appear taller & more authoritative - he, and the rest of the shabby crew, would possess a great deal more authority if they reported dispassionately, or if that is beyond them, if they were equally angered by the attacks in Manchester, London and Paris - now, what two words did the BBC fail to utter on those occasions?

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    1. Strangely they can take a bit of Islamic supremacism...the odd beheading in the desert...a five year kidnapping with people beaten and kept in solitary confinement...or Iranian MPs chanting "Death to America"...a suicide bombing in a Shiar mosque in Pakistan...none of that agitates the tear ducts for some reason.

      But utter the word "Trump" and they come over all funny...

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    2. It must be pointed out at every opportunity that Obama was never required to condemn the ideology behind the violence, vandalism, and murder perpetrated by BLM activists, Bernie Bros, or any other Left-wing group.

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  3. We all know that the BBC abhors racial supremacism and editorialises strongly against anyone who proposes it, don't we?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/recent/civil_rights_america_04.shtml

    Except when it's someone like Malcolm X of course...

    Of course this kind of double standard is itself a subtle type of racism.

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  4. There is a coordinated Democrat and left-wing strategy going on here.
    The removal of statues of General Lee upsets the post civil war settlement and is designed to provoke.
    When the protests come, the usual media suspects (CNN, BBC) will associate the extreme elements with Trump.
    It's thought out, it's clever and it's all got the aim of undermining and removing a President who won't do their bidding.

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    1. I think you're right Ozfan. I've no time for slavery, slave economies or slave owners. Slavery is an horrific instution whether it exists in Alabama, Arabia, Africa or a nail bar in Aldershot. I can't imagine why anyone would have fond memories of the benighted slave-owning South. But the statue removal campaign is designed to get a reaction and is part of a political plan by the radical left.

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  5. Trump called out white supremacists and the KKK today. Of course, this will never be good enough for the BBC and their fellow haters on the far Left, because he didn't do it immediately.

    I will remind everyone that Trump has never spoken out in support of white supremacists or the KKK or anything of the sort. He does not have form. Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, has a long history of speaking out in support of the IRA, Hamas, Chavez, and Maduro. Yet he has never singled out any of them for condemnation. I mention this, of course, because of the recent sick attempts at moral equivocation by the BBC and others between Corbyn and Trump condemning "violence on both sides". Trump has now openly condemned the white supremacists, so that game is over.

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    1. The question is, though, did the driver REALLY drive into the crowd deliberately? Or, as this piece suggests, he was scared: http://www.departmentofmemes.com/article/protesters-attacked-charlottesville-drivers-car-baseball-bat

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  6. There's a documentary here which tells the story in a way that the BBC wouldn't chose to:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=P54sP0Nlngg

    I watched this with utter dismay. Views are so deeply entrenched that any sort of compromise looks near-impossible. The only encouragement I saw was that as a matter of fact, the rule of law was maintained - probably as a result of the overwhelming power the Police and National Guard can bring in when it is required.

    Thomas Jefferson 'The Master of Monticello' is a figure of hate to African Americans - though he was a slave-owner himself. I understood that the City was proud of their Founding Father(s): Jefferson, Madison and Monroe all have statues in the city. If all symbols of slavery from the bitter bygone age are to be removed, there will be very little of C’Ville’s history left.

    I expect that this type of stand-off will continue. There is an even bigger statue of Robert E Lee in Richmond isn’t there? I’m afraid a solution which engages both sides will be hard to find.

    The only option I can see for the citizens of Charlottesville is to play the NIMBY card. I really don’t think it’s about their statue anymore.

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    1. Of course, it was never really about the statue! The disinterring of history is always about a present day power grab.

      BBC R4 Today presenter (Webb?) this morning was free to postulate that these events prove that Trump's supporters are far right, racist, Nazis, etc..

      For further "insight" he chatted with an American professor of politics whose recent book "has taken America by storm" (never heard of it).

      She was unaware how much she gave away - this is all about continuing and deepening the left's "identity politics". The BBC presenter and the professor were clearly talking from the same pro-democratic, left-wing, identify driven viewpoint.

      Under identify politics, Trump's speeches that the nation should bind together as Americans are unacceptable.

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    2. This event has been a broadcasters' gift to the Biased BBC - with intruding ill-mannered, uneducated rednecks with guns - Trump lovers of course, up against fair-minded, well-educated, articulate chattering classes of all nationalities, Democrats in the swing State of Virginia. All the BBC needed to do was to cut and paste a few comments and videoclips, and there we have it - as on-message as it could be. A free hit at Trump as well.

      If we compare the Trump vote in the US with the Brexit vote here in the UK, then these extreme points of view around the Charlottesville experience are relevant so far as BBC bias are concerned. We can substitute the Charlottesville liberal elite for the London equivalent, and hey-presto, in the BBC corporate mind, Brexit voters must equate with these American extremists, so Brexit voters must be racist uneducated etc etc.

      The BBC will not trust us with information such as is contained within the above documentary. They consider that we are not capable of making our own judgement as to the horror of what we have seen. Instead they filter out any coverage of views which conflict with their own. ITBBB? On the basis of what we have seen here - Yes.

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    3. The BBC has consistently linked the Trump phenomenon to Brexit and moreover linked both to the 2008 crash and this all being about people feeling "left behind".

      As usual the BBC have got it wrong. Discontent has been growing a long time. Mass immigration, disregard for the existing culture, pandering to migrant sentiment, allowing illegal immigration, signing up to free trade deals that disadvantage your home country...this was all taking place before 2008 and has continued after it.

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    4. Interesting in the above documentary when asked what the extremists' tactics were, the spokesperson referred to the 'European Model'.

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  7. There can be no doubt there is a deliberate plan of provocation by the radical totalitarian left:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4789478/Several-Confederate-memorials-vandalized-one-removed.html

    I checked out the website of the group advertised on the banner...seems they think the DPRK is being "oppressed" by the USA, they think what's happening in Venezuala is justified and basically they want to see American democracy replaced by a "dictatorship of the proletariat"

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  8. Quite extraordinary statement from our pretend PM May saying there can be never be any equivalence between Fascists and those who oppose Fascism.

    Really? No equivalence between Stalinism, responsible for the deaths of millions of people, and illegal occupation of countries like Poland, Finland and the Baltic States in 1939/40 and Fascism? Really? No Equivalence between the Alt Left that seek to deny free speech on University campuses, by any contrarian voices (not just Fascist) and Fascism itself?

    Very odd. In any case original Italian Fascism although unpleasant, never got anywhere near the bloodletting levels of Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot or even Tito.

    May again seems to be calling for suppression of freedom of speech. Just what you'd expect from a Vicar's daughter I suppose.

    Why can't we have a principled stand against totalitarianism whether right, left, Islamic or any other form without infringing people's right to express their liking for such totalitarianisms?

    I've come to the conclusion that May is probably very, very stupid. It sometimes does happen that such people get to the very top.

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    1. No, not stupid; probably bright in my view, but very, very limited life experiences. Fragile, aloof and introverted whilst very convinced of her own intelligence and rightness. Shouldn't be in politics, never mind PM.

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  9. So, only the far-right can harbour violent thoughts. If the liberal elite have similar thoughts then those have 'no equivalence' and therefore are justifiable! She's lost me on this one.

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