Friday, 9 March 2018

BBC partisans

The news about Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un's agreement to meet for talks has drawn some interesting reactions so far. 

So is the BBC being "partisan" over this? Well, all I can say is that their main BBC News website report about it waits for Paragraph 21 to devote one paragraph alone to citing someone giving President Trump credit.

And the usual suspects are being sour about it on Twitter. 

Anthony Zurcher's Twitter feed (so far) is particularly "partisan" and, yes, he gives North Korea all the credit for a possible "diplomatic triumph":

As for Katty Kay, well, she's been very quiet about it (so far), simply re-tweeting a rather sour comment from a former Clinton Era Democrat defence secretary: 

Take a look at Laura Bicker's prominent 'analysis' piece on the BBC News website, and you'll see that her take is just as jaundiced as Anthony Zurcher's.

Her write-up of South Korean president President Moon Jae-in's role is measured in tone and full of respectful language. He's the one she's giving credit to.

When she deals with Donald Trump, however, a disrespectful tone crashes in:
  • "His administration has had very few victories, despite promising his voters there would "so much winning".
  • "Reporters say he casually mentioned in the White House briefing room that he hoped they would give him credit for Kim Jong-un's offer. His voters certainly will".
  • "...his Art of the Deal book will not be the guide he needs to deal with Kim Jong-un".
  • and an expert whose quote begins, "Trump doesn't study or even read. He tends to fly wildly off script....".
How typical this is of the BBC's reporting of the story I'll try to find out after getting work out of the way today.

Update (17.15): And what's the first thing I see on my Twitter feed after getting in from work? This from the BBC's ever-so-impartial World Affairs Editor (his one tweet on the subject):

I can't help but think that if President Obama had done what President Trump has done John Simpson would be praising him as a peacemaker rather than damning him as a dupe.


Further update (20:28): From last night...

Who indeed?


  1. Excellent exegesis Craig! The BBC simply cannot disengage from its Trumpophobia.

    I wasn't surprised by this development re N Korea as it had been signalled some weeks ago on what the BBC likes to refer to as "conspiracist" websites (and which I prefer to think of as "alternative news" websites).

    Incidentally I heard on BBC World Service Rory Cellan Jones promoting the idea that You Tube should withdraw advertising from Info Wars (echoing an ongoing CNN campaign - no conflict of interest there then!). The rationale was that Info Wars had aired some distasteful theories about school shootings.

    The BBC airs distasteful conspiracies about Trump - none of which have been found to be real yet. It also publicises distasteful lyrics on stations like Radio 1 Extra that abuse people on the basis of their race, gender and sexuality and comics who call for assassination of democratic leaders.

    But the BBC doesn't think it should be shut down.

  2. Very partisan reporting on BBC radio 2 news today in my opinion. I think the BBC have been doing this more recently.

    Firstly the report headlines are read out, in this case - the meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

    Then a ‘credible expert’ is introduced with a sound bite.

    He said “ The danger is - it’s like a dog barking and chasing a car but once he catches the car he doesn’t know what to do with it”.

    So it ends with an overtly negative message about Trump and his diplomacy ..and of course the aim is to leave listerners with that message..
    The sequencing, tone and soundbite all crafted to create a political message rather than report the facts.

  3. The current headline on BBC News website is worth noting now before it gets updated as the story develops.

    "US triumphant over N Korea nuclear talks"

    The sub-headline reading:

    "Vice-President Mike Pence hails the "maximum pressure, zero concessions" US strategy on North Korea."

    Their take appears to be based on this tweet by Pence:

    Triumphant? Really?

    Clearly the BBC are insinuating that the Trump regime are overplaying their hand here, despite a distinct lack of evidence to support that position.

    Closer to the truth is that it's the BBC's editorialising that is actually being overplayed.

    It's a sad sight to see a once respected organisation treating a major news story with the potential for significant global impact in such juvenile, and yes, Craig: 'partisan' fashion.

    1. Yes, I saw that and thought the same.
      The BBC is always careful in its choice of words when reporting stories, especially if they concern Trump.
      So triumphant is good for damning Trump with faint praise.
      It’s a trick used so often by BBC to support their narrative.

    2. I (slyly) sneaked a look at the BBC News website at work this afternoon and thought 'That's suggesting hubris on the Trump Administration's part', so we all read that headline the same way.

  4. And another one in the next Radio 2 bulletin.

    This time it’s about the nerve agent story. Firstly the current state of the investigation is reported.

    Then a soundbite from ‘an expert’ from the Litvinenko enquiry.

    He said “it just goes to show how weak our response is to Russia. All we can do is threaten to refuse to send out our football team to the Workd Cup which is being held in Russia”.

    So there we have it - it ends with a negative comment about the government response when the facts havent been established yet. But the BBC are happy to publish this amateurish rubbish.

    It beggars belief - it’s certainly not responsible journalism.

  5. It's an interesting thought experiment to imagine how the BBC would report things if everything goes well and eventually as part of an overarching deal, North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons and ICBMs...

    Should such an unlikely scenario eventuate I guess the BBC would go with stuff like this:

    "Korea turns its back on war rhetoric - no fire and fury after all."

    "China's secret diplomacy pays off. US grateful for their help. "

    "Will an overconfident Trump now try his luck elsewhere? Fears about where he will turn now."

    "Obama hails eventual win for his strategy of engagement. Glad Trump returned to negotiating table."

  6. As someone at B-BBC said, I think they were clearly wrong-footed by the Trump-Kim news and that it's "visibly stuck in their craw" to give Donald Trump any credit for doing the very thing they'd have fawned over Barack Obama for doing.

    I've added a tweet from John Simpson that I'm sure he would never have posted if Barack Obama was still President.

  7. Thanks for the words of sanity here. I’ve been getting increasingly angry with the BBC all day.

    An interesting question “How can Trump win in the media’s eyes”? It seems to me that if he engages in talks, they don’t like it and if he goes to War they don’t like it.

    PM on Radio 4 had a segment on stating these leaders were apparently comparing the size of each other’s Nuclear weapons, was it just me who picked up the increasingly frequent anti (white) man vibe from this?

    1. He can't ever win with the MSM. He stands for everything they don't. The liberal globalists who populate the MSM will never give him credit, the John Simpson tweet is a perfect example of the mindset at work. This is an existential battle for them.

    2. You're not wrong - despite the fact that Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto and Hillary Clinton all backed their countries having nuclear weapons.

  8. I see John Simpson in the tweet thread says that "the key" is to get NK to abandon their nukes, not just to have negotiations...well thanks for that pearl of wisdom, John and how exactly would YOU go about achieving that object?

    1. Here are John S's Twitter exchanges so far, displaying his latest opinionations:

      John Simpson: All Kim Jong-un ever wanted was attention - to be one of the big boys. Pres Trump has given him this, before Kim makes a single concession.
      Jock Macuddy: John, do you see anything positive coming out of this?
      John Simpson: Yes, but the key is to get Kim to give up his nukes, not just to meet for talks & carry on threatening.

      John Simpson: All Kim Jong-un ever wanted was attention - to be one of the big boys. Pres Trump has given him this, before Kim makes a single concession.
      John Farebrother: He's an important player, like it or not. Talking to him can only be a good thing. What's the alternative?
      John Simpson: Meeting the President is the highest achievement Kim can dream of. So Trump is playing his ace at the start of the game.

  9. BBC News at Ten
    Nick Bryant - Like a schoolboy who cant keep secret....
    Laura Bicker - Is he (Trump) just being played by North Korea?

    They just can't help themselves - virtue signalling to each other in their echo chamber.

    I suspect if any BBC journalist played it straight and reported a Trump story without the digs, jibes and name calling they would be done for. You know how it works - a long term whispering campaign behind their back by their peers and colleagues - the worst type of bullying

    1. This is a very important thing, being part of the groupthink and not being suspected of thoughtcrime. As you say, if any BBC reporter stated on BBC news (rightly or wrongly) that in their view this was a stunning coup by Trump that had completely wrongfooted his critics in the media and politics, that would very likely be the end of their career - it certainly wouldn't help it.