Thursday 18 December 2014

Moving on

Following on from the previous post...

Though there's doubtless a general tendency in this direction among the mainstream media as a whole, it surely says something significant about BBC reporting in particular that this morning's Today programme didn't follow up on one of its main stories from yesterday. 

After trailing the ruling of the Al-Sweady Inquiry on Wednesday morning's Today - featuring a discussion with BBC reporter Caroline Hawley at 6.35 and interviews with John Wilkinson of Public Interest Lawyers and General Sir Mike Jackson at 8.35 - this morning's Today opted against featuring a follow-up discussion. Very brief mentions in the newspaper reviews were all Today listeners heard about it. 

So, we had plenty of pre-report speculation yesterday but no post-report analysis whatsoever today. (And, yes, I've checked).

Today had clearly decided to move on.

And that process of moving on started yesterday. On Radio 4 the story was covered on both The World at One and PM but by the time of The World Tonight it had been dropped as a topic for discussion. On BBC Two's Newsnight, which only last week was majoring on the findings of the U.S. report into 'torture' and the U.K's possible complicity with torture, also decided against discussing it. (Where was Newsnight regular Phil Shiner last night?) They too had clearly decided to move on.

And yet on certain stories, such as the Delilah rugby row, they can take at least two or three day to move on - not just around six hours.

Other media outlets aren't moving on so quickly though. As pointed out on the last thread, the Telegraph's defence editor Con Coughlin believes that the BBC owes the British Army an apology for its own past coverage of this story. He targets, above all, a 2008 edition of Panorama where Phil Shiner & Co. were given a platform to peddle what the programme itself, at the very end, conceded were somewhat extreme claims

Curiously (and somewhat surprisingly) the BBC, at the time, featured a large-scale collection of viewer reactions on its website, and it makes remarkable reading. Typically, it begins by concentrating on supportive comments by British Muslims and craftily crowds a 'balance' of opinions at the top before revealing as you go further down the page what the vast bulk of commenters actually thought - that the BBC had utterly disgraced itself by broadcasting a piece of sensationalist rumour-mongering. There were plenty of accusations of anti-British Army BBC bias too.

Moving on...

After reporting on the siege in Sydney, the BBC's reluctant Sydney correspondent Jon Donnison also appears to have quickly moved on.

After one day of coolly dispassionate tweets about the attack (all avoiding any mention of the perpetrator's name or any hint of an Islam-related motive), he's now back to emotive tweeting on the subject that really matters to him - the Palestinians: 
Despite being moved to Australia by his BBC bosses, Jon Donnison evidently refuses to be made to move on from Gaza. 

He is obviously obsessed. (As am I by his obsession), #notmovingon.


  1. Well, despite these two intervening posts, this really will be all you'll hear from me until after Christmas Day - unless the three-month-old twins (arriving tomorrow) keep me awake all night, every night, for the next six days.

    It's time to close my eyes then for a few happy days to all the incomprehensibly evil massacres by men of religion (well, men of one religion in particular), and to all the misdeeds of BBC news, and time to wish you a happy Hanukkah and the merriest of Christmases - and let not the family feuds, the inevitable indigestion and all the endless BBC repeats bite!

    (And thanks for all the jokes).

  2. And, just before I go, one for David from Ol' Justin, behind the 'Times' paywall. If you have time, I'd love to know what you make of all this:

    Havana will be home to the American dream
    Justin Webb
    Published 1 minute ago

    After Obama’s volte-face, Cuba can challenge Miami to be the heart of a new power centre
    Before long the Americas will have a new axis — Miami and Havana. It will change everything: politics, diplomacy, economic policy, but most of all it will change the social lives of millions of Americans, Latin and non-Latin. The whole of the US needs to learn to dance and to speak Spanish. A republican presidential candidate a decade ago sniffed that Miami “felt like the third world”. Well, no longer: it will be the funnel now for billions of US dollars heading to Cuba and beyond.
    Miami, and soon Havana, just a hundred or so miles across the shimmering sea, will be the vibrant, throbbing, hedonistic, sun-kissed heart of a revolution that will be felt all the way to the Canadian border.
    And in Latin America? Not just in Cuba but around the whole region. Ah yes, a revolution here too. They must dance less, get up earlier and quit blaming the gringos when things go wrong.
    Let’s get the US political angle out of the way first. President Obama’s announcement of diplomatic normalisation was not brave politics; it was obvious politics. Forget the elderly anti-Castro crowd playing checkers in Little Havana; go to where the hipster Cubans hang out, with their bling, cashmere and designer denim and ask them about the old country. Increasingly their view is: they need soap and potatoes? Let’s sell them the damned soap and potatoes. Castro stole daddy’s night club? Let’s move in a build ten new ones. Or maybe not move in until there’s toilet paper in the shops; let’s stay in our happy, established US lives and do business across the sea.
    A recent Florida International University poll found that 90 per cent of young Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County supported having diplomatic relations with Havana and lifting the travel ban that keeps most Americans out of Cuba. Ninety per cent! Seriously, it is over.


  3. And it’s not just the very young — less than half of Cuban registered voters in the US now identify with or lean toward the Republican party, down from the 64 per cent a decade ago. They are going Democrat, embracing without apparent displeasure the softer line on Cuba that most Democrats have long been suggesting. In 2012 Mr Obama won the support of most Cuban Americans in Florida. They knew perfectly well what he wanted to do. Good luck to Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and other Republicans who greeted the news with knee-jerk reactions of horror. If Jeb is to have national appeal he will have to ditch the anti-Castro crowd in his campaign. It is worth noting that Rand Paul — another serious GOP candidate — backs Obama
    But who really cares? This is small-bore stuff compared with the ultimate prize of a Cuban island at the heart of a new Latin American vibe. Already when you go to Miami you realise that many Latin Americans, inside and outside the US, regard themselves as roughly one people. The breakfast TV shows beamed out of Miami in Spanish might be seen in Florida and Texas but they are seen as well in Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia and even as far south as Argentina.
    This is one American world, at the moment dominated by Miami because of the freedom, the transport links and the lifestyle, but Havana could soon compete and the competition would be good for both.
    The joint Havana-Miami media market would dominate a continent. It would introduce South Americans to their North American cousins (literally their cousins, often) in ever greater numbers, with a result that they would see themselves as truly connected. Socially, economically, politically. Every month 50,000 people of Hispanic origin turn 18 in the US. This was already their moment — they were about to climb into the driving seat — but now with Havana in the mix they can drive faster and with the roof down.
    All of this will change the US but it will change the Latin nations too. Otto Reich, the Cuban-American former US ambassador to Venezuela, once told me that Latin Americans needed the bogeyman of the United States to cover up their own inadequacies — which he claims stem from the absence of the protestant work ethic and the rule of law.
    Mr Reich will not be a fan of the Cuba volte-face but in many ways it plays into his hands: now the gringos cannot be blamed for all that is wrong with the Latin lands. If US money comes to Cuba (and surely before long to collapsing Venezuela too) then the challenge is laid down to the locals: make something of it, make something of yourselves.
    A top tip for people interested in modern America: forget about New York, Washington and San Francisco. Go to Miami. Speak Spanish, drink tequila and know that this is where the new American dream resides. If he follows it through, this can be the greatest legacy of the Obama years.

    1. Clear political advocacy, well-couched in analysis. Naive as well. A violation of BBC rules of impartiality, but he'll get away with it because they no longer do what they did to Rod Liddle.

      Note to hate-monger Justin Webb: Cuba isn't South America. And the Latinos/cousins thing would be considered a racist stereotype if a Tea Partier said it.

  4. I am not going to celebrate the opening up of commerce and transport links with any dictatorship. I believe the democratic world should severely restrict ties with non-democratic countries.

    The Nixon-Kissinger rapprochment with China was one of the great historical errors of the 20th century.

    The Cuban affair is not on the same scale and I doubt this nonsense about Havana becoming a kind of capital of Latin America.

    Dan Read

  5. Let's suppose the Pinochet regime (under Pinochet's brother - if he had one) was still running Chile. Do you think for one moment that one of the BBC's finest would write an encomium to the prospect of a US-Chilean axis around which Latin America would trun? Just to ask the question is to recognise the impossibility of such an article being contemplated, let alone written.

    1. Cuba has been open to essentially the rest of the world for years. No progress because the Castro dictatorship keeps it that way. They enrich themselves and the elite, and keep the rest of the population in virtual chains thanks to a facade that all the right-on Leftoids swallow whole. I get sick to my stomach every time some Leftoid acquaintance comes back from Cuba mesmerized by the 100% literacy rate and universal health care. It's horror movie stuff and would be laughable if it wasn't so very real.

  6. Got to be a longitudinal study to show that when it suits the liberal agenda-the BBC will nurse squat, fan the flames, add fuel to the fire for as long as it suits them...say Leveson.
    Yet when it`s the wrong outcome-say Balen, Al-Sweady, Sydney, MacAlpine...they sneak off in the dead of night, leaving their tents vacant like Occupy/Glasto glampers-and rather hope we`ll not remind them of what craven, biased, agitprop leeches and liberal suckups that really are.
    Thankfully-as your links to BBC webpages show above...the REAL people of this country now know what exactly the BBC are up to. A perpetual adolescent spitball aimed at the decent, the aspiring and the lawful by prep school self-loathing blowhards from Oxbridge with familiar names and old school ties..Flanders, Rusbridger, Monbiot, Toynbee yada yada.
    Lord Haw Whores all of them...and until we burn these leeches off the body politic, we deserve Anjem and Yasmin...

  7. The BBC have fuelled this particular fire for years and yet now one of them is saying this...

    1. That is quite something though, typically, he doesn't think the BBC has done anything wrong.

    2. The irony of a Beeboid expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain at a conference about how to use TV shows to influence the public is, well, I can't think of enough swear words to do it justice, and I know plenty in several languages.

      More proof that the BBC absolutely has editorial directives for content and propaganda in their programming. As for the rise in anti-Jewish attacks in the UK, I assume Cohen blames Israel, like the good little establishment tool he is.

    3. The irony of a Beeboid expressing concern about rising anti-Semitism in Britain while attending a conference on using TV shows to influence public thought is, well, I can't think of enough swear words to do it justice, and I know plenty in several languages.

      This is also more proof that the BBC does have an editorial policy to infuse ideology into programming with the specific goal of influencing the public on a given issue. As for the increase in anti-Jewish sentiment and physical attacks on Jews, I bet Cohen blames Israel, good little establishment tool that he is.


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