Monday 13 February 2017

Bear of Very Little Brain

I’ve been wondering lately, what is all this blogging for? It’s time-consuming, and the effectiveness is disproportionate to the effort expended. However, someone's got to do it, and it might as well be us. 

Firstly, how many of us force ourselves to stay awake for Newsnight these days? It hasn’t been worth the sleep deprivation for quite a while, has it?

I started preparing a couple of half-hearted pieces about Newsnight recently, but they didn’t get very far.
One was about a Newsnight scoop about David Cameron and Paul Dacre, which roughly amounted to the BBC acknowledging, disapprovingly, that the press has a considerable influence on events. However it hadn’t occurred to Emily Maitlis as she strolled along the Embankment delivering her piece-to-camera in a mini skirt and fetching military style pea-coat that the BBC too has considerable influence on opinions (and therefore events.)

Another embryonic article, which I aborted and abandoned was about Evan Davis’s chairmanship of a discussion between an extremely belligerent Stella Creasy and Oliver Letwin. (whom Evan certainly didn’t  ‘let win’.) 
I wrote: “Evan’s wispy beard makes him look more unkempt and spectral than ever. If I’m not mistaken I’ve seen him sitting on the pavement with a dog, a sleeping bag and a few empty cans.”

Not very nice of me, was it, but I can understand why he succeeded Paxo. However, LBC’s James O’Brien’s appointment is a different kettle of fish altogether. 
The mystery is, did Ian Katz pluck O’Brien from relative obscurity to the harsh glare of ’national T.V.’ simply to be as objectionable on Newsnight as he is on LBC?  What does he have going for him? He is argumentative - maybe that’s it? He’s also partisan, potato-faced and petulant. His LBC interview with Haneen Zoabi made me think of David Brent surreptitiously scuttling off into his office to quickly Google “Israel and the Palestinians” .

Much more unprofessional than any of the above was / were the now infamous John Sweeney interview(s) with Geert Wilders. The BBC and Sweeney himself must have known how bad this looked because the BBC virtually gave him the right-of-reply-by-stealth, with that creepy FOOC

Bear of very little brain

“We sent our bear in a duffle coat John Sweeney in hot pursuit.” was how Emily Maitlis introduced the item when it went out on Newsnight.
The bear in a duffle-coat looked absurdly inappropriate riding a bike in pursuit of typical Dutchmen to use as selective ‘vox-pops’ before confronting “the great man” with that mischievous “Some say you’re a bit of a fascist”

He opened with the Mishal Husain manoeuvre, adapted to fit. Not quite “How many Israelis have been killed by those homemade contraptions?” but “What’s the biggest cause, by terror, of the loss of Dutch lives?” 
Same trap, different location.
With this approach, Sweeney is inferring that you can’t justify opposing the Islamisation of Holland until sufficient Dutch lives have been lost. 
All this was the lead-up to a massive ‘whataboutery’ -  the allegedly Russian-inspired downing of a passenger aircraft which killed hundreds of Dutch nationals, and Sweeney's accusation that “Myopic concentration on one thing (Islam) blinds you (Wilders) to ‘another’.  
To add insult to injury, in his subsequent FOOC, he falsely claimed that Wilders hastily “changed the subject’ when this was put to him.  In fact it was Sweeney who ignored, (rather than changed the subject) Wilders’s patient explanation as to why all religions and cultures do not merit moral equivalence.  

Sweeney and his fellow defenders of Islam face a huge conundrum. How to condemn Islamic terrorism without condemning Islam? The favoured  get-out strategy is to assert that ‘good’ Islam has nothing to do with ‘bad” (perverted) Islam. The same contortion is used to avoid appearing antisemitic. ‘Good’ Jews  - some of my best friends - have nothing to do with ‘bad’ (Zionist) Jews. 
Hugh Sykes squirmed to avoid being seen to be Islamophobic as Craig showed earlier .

The most offensive argument being used to denigrate opponents and critics of Islam like Geert Wilders who've been conveniently labelled 'far-right' and who seek to defend their country’s values, (democracy, liberalism, freedom of expression etc etc) against Islamisation is that they are Nationalists or white supremacists, and are behaving like Nazis. If Muslims are their victims then Muslims are the new Jews and the ‘nationalists’ and the Zionists are the new Nazis.

John Sweeney firmly elevated this twisted non sequitur into the headlights when one of his interviewees  elaborated on his opposition to Wilders, ending with a cryptic “I’ve been to Auschwitz….”  So the implication is that Geert Wilders’s political fulfilment will culminate in mass  government sponsored extermination of the world’s Muslims, will it? All 1.6 billion of them? 
Sweeney’s loaded postscript confirmed what we already know. The world has been turned upside down. 

And finally, Sweeney’s closing op ed demonstrates a staggering moral inversion : 
“Many Dutch find his views not just repellant but dangerous. So will Geert Wilders take power? This man is changing what was once the most liberal country in Europe into something different. “
No, it’s not ‘this man’ who’s changing liberal countries into something different. It’s Islam, stupid.

Not that John Sweeney will read this unless he spends his life Googling himself. We bloggers are renowned for preaching to the converted. Sad but true.


  1. You say "I’ve been wondering lately, what is all this blogging for? It’s time-consuming, and the effectiveness is disproportionate to the effort expended..."
    My response? The body of evidence collected by you and other similar sites showing the manipulation of public opinion by organizations like the BBC have been instrumental in chipping away at the mainstream media's credibility - in your case the BBC specifically.
    Someone, somewhere, is reading every post. People who have never been polled, who have never spoken out, and have never been listened to, who once put their absolute trust in the World Service or Blessed R4, now listen with deep skepticism.
    While the media may not have changed, the perception of the AUDIENCE has. Your hard work will continue to bear fruit in the years to come.
    In the case of the UK, I predict the next election will be very different to all the elections that have gone before. The Brexit vote is only the start of a different kind of dialogue. A REAL dialogue. The proof of real change will be evident in the anger and animosity between friends and within families, something that didn't happen with previous elections when votes didn't count, we exchanged governments like Box and Cox, and we sleep walked to another faux administration. This is 'a good thing'.
    The true effect of recent rise of the aggressive alternative media will be evident when that happens. I've witnessed this first hand here in USA during the last bruising election. Trump v Hillary was soooo different to the first election I observed first hand in the BBC (Wilson vs Heath). By the way, I was stunned to watch how chummy Harold Wilson and "tough' Robin Day were off camera. Wilson who smoke a cigar with a lighter, till aides gave him his prop pipe and matches for the TV interview. Fake interview. Fake questions. Fake answers.
    This next election mattered. Blogs and bloggers and alternative voices made it matter. You point out "inconsistencies" in BBC practice. Good. More please.
    So what is the BBC's place in this forthcoming major media battle? The result is obvious. Think CNN, which now has no audience worth counting and is treated with derision. Their perfect story will no doubt combine their two major themes. Chris Cuomo will appear one night blaming Donald Trump with the disappearance of the Malaysian airliner.
    Compare that to bloggers with cell phones and internet connections, funded by subscriptions, who garner hundreds of MILLIONS of clicks.
    The difference between the two countries is that here in the US, CNN may be sold off as it is a drag on the bottom line of the Time/Warner portfolio, while the publicly funded BBC will simply become a shadow of its former self, drowning in reality shows, cooking programs and crime dramas with depressed policemen chasing serial killers.
    So when you tiredness bites, or the task seems pointless, take heart. The best is yet to come.

    1. Good women and men do it because, if they do not, evil will triumph.

      And while they may often feel alone or unappreciated, they are not.

  2. One night, I was watching Newsnight with my Dutch wife (whose English
    is perfect, but with a very slight accent.)
    Evan Davis was be-suited and tie-less, and was introducing an item. In
    a bid at informality he had perched himself on a table, arms folded
    and legs dangling, swinging slightly as he talked.

    My wife said "He looks like Frangelicus Poppet"
    My first thought was that the name 'Frangelicus Poppet' somehow suited
    Evan Davis very well. It's a great name. I assumed it must have been a
    character from a Roald Dahl book.

    "Who's Frangelicus Poppet" I giggled.
    She said "You know, one of those dolls that people perch on their knee
    and pretend they're alive and can talk".

    Evan Davis is now known as Frangelicus Poppet in our house - not for
    the sake of any personal attack, I just find it really funny.

    .....and Sweeney's appalling interview has been torn to shreds by
    readers of the Dutch alt media site Geen Stijl which is read by a lot
    of Dutch people.
    The BBC is propelled by a massive publicly funded hubris / diesel
    engine and it ploughs on regardless, but The Cuzz Buzz is right - it's
    just starting to get interesting.

  3. " hadn’t occurred to Emily Maitlis... that the BBC too has considerable influence on opinions (and therefore events.)"

    If not, she is even thicker than she seems. I'm going more with delusionally venal.

    "..he falsely claimed that Wilders hastily “changed the subject’ when this was put to him. In fact it was Sweeney who ignored, (rather than changed the subject) Wilders’s patient explanation"

    Or, as some outside the BBC oversight bubble (inc. Complaints, Trust, OFCOM and most of Westminster) might put it, he lied.

    No wonder James Harding and Co. are still desperately trying to pitch their fake news unit as a solution to the problem mostly embodied by his own UK media dominant corporation... if with less success at each attempt.

    Duly shared on my feeds.

    You never know; others may read and agree... and do the same.

    Not in a populist way, of course.

  4. Just to say I'm one of those who read this blog just about every day and would like to salute Sue and Craig for their sterling, tireless and good-humoured work. You're not alone!

    1. I'll second that. I am sure the blog's influence is much wider than a cursory glance might suggest. Quality counts!:) The only thing I would suggest is a change of title because the way things have been going, I am not sure "biased" quite cuts it. Perhaps it should be:

      "Is the BBC a threat to national security?"

      It seems they are actively promoting civil conflict and removing our borders.

  5. Did anybody else see Mark Easton on the 6 o’clock main news earlier? Reporting on prisons, in which he was somewhat critical of prison numbers, he closed with:

    “Why have our prison numbers doubled in recent decades whilst our crime has more than halved?”

    I guess you can all see how he spun that there.

    1. I wonder what the increase in prison numbers in recent decades are for grooming gangs and thwarted terrorists?

  6. Mark doesn't seem to know how to do his undemanding job.

    So I'll help him out with the answer to his question:

    "Because burglaries and car theft have become extremely difficult thanks to technical improvements in security, and there has also been a cultural change in teenagers staying in their bedrooms playing computer games in the warm, rather than setting fire to the local primary school. However, at the same time there has been a growth in serious crimes, particularly violence, that do require prison terms."

  7. I remember this place when only a couple and then myself regularly contributed.

    Please keep it up, by the comments here and elsewhere that the snowball is gathering size and momentum against the BBC and MSM.

    1. I can't give you an up-tick, but consider it done

  8. Ps housing, prisons, infrastructure, NHS etc etc and yet the BBC nevermentions that the population has increased by 1/6 or 1 million people since 2006.

    Even without austerity and with a concentrated building programme, any country would struggle to intergrate and house that many more people.

    1. Newsnight devoted a special programme to the housing crisis last week. They didn't mention population growth (500,000 pa) or mass immigration (700,000 pa) once!!! This is why the BBC's credibility has taken a nose dive - because they've decoupled from reality and decided to make News like a branch of Hollywood, dedicated to constructing an alternative reality.

  9. I used to watch so much BBC News; now just the headlines. Blogs like these keep me informed about the world, not just the propaganda the BBC spews out. Interestingly I was in a shop in one of the poorest parts of my city. The lady behind the counter and the other customer can't wait for Brexit, they said. When the BBC got mentioned for their reporting, the immediate response from both was, 'the BBC is the worst for their bias'. The BBC must know how it is haemorrhaging audiences who no longer believe them

    Craig and Sue keep up the good work, but I don't think your readers expect you to put yourselves through too much Newsnight as hardly anyone watches it these days.

  10. I make a point of reading two blogs every day: yours and The Conservative Woman. So thank you so much for giving your time and insight to this. It really is appreciated.

    I used to listen to the BBC regularly, particularly their radio plays. Now they are increasingly a vehicle for the BBC spreading its 'Brave New World'.

    llegitimi non carborundum!

  11. More regional (!) news from the Fake News Central (aka the BBC):

    Regionalisation of important terror and other "sensitive" news that may impact badly on the image of the religion of peace is clearly now a key element in the latest iteration of the BBC's implementation programme. Such things do NOT happen by accident. There must have been meetings at which this has been discussed. Who was involved?

    1. Lets get this straight then - a man is found with a pipe bomb in his luggage but he isn't to be charged under the terrorism protocol!! So what was he doing with it? I suppose those wasps nests can be quite difficult to get rid of.

      It seems to be more than the BBC who is covering up for the religion of peace

  12. "No, it’s not ‘this man’ who’s changing liberal countries into something different. It’s Islam, stupid."

    Preaching to the converted? Quite.

  13. "Just for information".

    Evan Davis shopping.

    PS - With the spelling of his surname he ain't Welsh


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