Alan at Biased BBC has already covered this, and DB has also covered it (for Twitter), but I still think it's worth gathering together and adding to...
Here are a pair of statements from two leading U.S. politicians:
It wasn't always easy for new immigrants. Certainly, it wasn't easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves. There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more.
That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.
Both describes African slaves forcibly taken to America as "immigrants" and both talk of the "inspiration", the "dream", that they had that their children would do better.
Only one, however, provoked righteous fury - and critical media reporting from the BBC. (If you're new to this story, please try and guess which one got panned).
Well, here's the answer from one of the BBC's US correspondents, getting hot under the collar about just one of those statements on Twitter:
Yes, the second quote comes from Republican Ben Carson. The first quote came from Barack Obama. The fact that the second got a free pass while the former causes Aleem Maqbool's jaw to hit the ground says something about media bias, doesn't it?
And that's even before you read this:
...an anonymous BBC website hit job on Mr Carson, prompted by his slaves/immigrants remarks, whose first paragraph reads:
And, frankly, it's all downhill for Mr Carson thereafter,
It's a spiteful little piece of BBC reporting, as far from BBC impartiality as it's possible to be.
The fact than Ben Carson appears to hold a lot of utterly ridiculous views (in my opinion), doesn't get away from the fact that this astonishing BBC article is clearly not an unbiased piece of reporting. It's a gleeful take-down, making its target appear as ridiculous as possible.
Wonder which BBC reporter wrote it? Were they afraid to put their name to it?
Your analysis is poor here, and also possibly dishonest.ReplyDelete
Why do you have the word 'dream' in quotation marks, with the assertion that the word appears in the Obama speech, when it doesn't?
There is a significant difference in saying that the slaves 'in their own way were immigrants' rather than just merely referring to them as straightforwardly 'immigrants'. Carson's speech de-emphasises the reality of forced relocation and accentuates the aspiration nonsense. That is why it is objectionable.
You're right that I should have written "both talk of the "inspiration" OR the "dream", that they had that their children would do better". That would have made the point clearer and prevented confusion.Delete
You think Carson's "who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less" is really de-emphasising the reality of forced relocation?
And how is Obama's "found inspiration in all those who had come before them", "were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more" not lacking in "aspiration nonsense"?
Is 'possible dishonesty' anything like BBC 'truthiness'?Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
As you yourself so often point out, it is a question of emphasis. But also it is of representing things fairly according to the words used.ReplyDelete
Obama's speech: 'Finding inspiration' (it is not merely 'inspiration') implies that inspiration is manufactured as a response to specific conditions, just as 'mustering faith' implies faith comes out of adversity. This is - yes! - aspiration nonsense, but it at least isn't nonsense that occludes the black experience in America as being based on a 'dream'. Carson used the word 'dream', Obama didn't.
In your quote above you miss part of the sentence out. He says 'the immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships'. This does de-emphasise the reality of forced relocation, yes. It is most important that they were slaves rather than immigrants. This is the de-emphasis.
The whole point is that Carson is talking about the slave experience in the context of 'dreams and opportunity'. That is what is obnoxious.
'the immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships'. This does de-emphasise the reality of forced relocation, yes.Delete
Only if the reader doesn't know and understand what a slave ship was. Otherwise, it doesn't de-emphasise anything.
Obama didn't use the word "slave", unlike Carson. By using the term "slave ships", it's likely that Carson didn't feel that he really needed to spell out the fact that slaves were shipped to America against their will, and that he would probably assume his listeners were already well aware of that fact.Delete
I'm still not sure why "dream" is so obnoxious. From the words chosen by Carson, "they too had a dream" is surely an allusion to Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech?
Ben Carson has in past said some very wise things about aspiration and the evils of PC, yet he is also on the crazy wing of Christian fundamentalism. I’m a bit ambivalent. But you would really have to be deliberately looking for offence to find this statement offensive.ReplyDelete
Unlike Carson, Obama is the descendant of slave owners, not of slaves. Unlike Carson, Obama had only one black parent, who didn't even grow up in the US or have any connection to 'the Black Experience'.ReplyDelete
Unlike Carson, any criticism of Obama must be racist.