Friday 31 January 2014

Bully for him!

Sticking with Thursday night's Newsnight, there was an extended section based on Ed Miliband's admiration for U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt: A report from the BBC's Allan Little, an interview with one of Teddy's biographers and a studio discussion between a Tory and a Labourite. 

Unconsciously, I suspect, the Labourite -  Rafael Behr of The New Statesman - gave us right-leaning bias-sniffers a big hint as to why Newsnight might have been covering this story. His opening words to Kirsty Wark were:  
Well, it's certainly clear that Ed Miliband would like us to be having this conversation about him having a grand vision of re-making capitalism for the 21st Century.
And here was Newsnight having that very discussion! (Ed will be sending the cheque in the post shortly perhaps.)

Ed's hero certainly came out glowing in glory from this edition of Newsnight. 

Newsnight presented Teddy Roosevelt as the heroic president who took on the 'predators', the big corporations, the multinationals of his day, using the power of the state to to do. It was left to the biographer, prestigious American liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, to point out that Teddy also gunned for the big unions. 

As a fan of Theodore Roosevelt myself - surely the most interesting man ever to hold the American presidency - I rather enjoyed all this talk about TR, but I did note a typical bit of BBC leftwingery (as I see it). 

No right-winger, surely, would have thought of putting this cringing question to Doris Kearns Goodwin: 
"But it's interesting, because can you imagine American politicians looking to British history for their exemplars?" 
Well Kirsty, I could. What about Winston Churchill, or Margaret Thatcher? Many U.S. politicians have looked to them over the years.

Doris indeed made that very point:
I would hope that at certain moments, if we were in a moment where we needed a Winston Churchill, I'd bring him back from the dead in two seconds!
Why do some BBC types, such as Kirsty Wark, always assume the worst about how Britain and its politicians are seen? Why do they seem to find it so easy to forget Winston Churchill?

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