Saturday 5 January 2019

The grievous crime of dancing

Ooh, see that girl, watch that scene, digging the dancing queen

Pulitzer Prize-winning US journalist Mike Glenn made an observation yesterday:
One of the most pernicious practices in journalism today is when reporters find something on social media (say, a video of a young woman dancing), troll for critical reactions then fabricate a trend story based on one or two tweets from relative nobodies. 

Meanwhile, BBC Trending has taken one such fabricated story and spun it to smear US conservatives as a whole. 

You'll get a sense of the piece's loaded tone from just its first two paragraphs (though the bits about 'conservatives' come later):
In the eyes of some social media critics the United States' youngest-ever congresswoman can do no right. 
To a lengthy list of past misdemeanours, including her clothes and not being rich, can now be added the grievous crime of dancing while in college.
It continues:
A day before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was officially sworn-in, near decade-old footage of the congresswoman dancing as a student at Boston University re-emerged on Twitter, apparently in an effort to embarrass her. 
On Friday Ms Ocasio-Cortez posted a new video of her dancing outside her new office in the halls of Congress to the tune of War by Edwin Starr.
"I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous. Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too!" she wrote, referring to the Republican Party. 
The whole thing reads like a partisan defence of Ms O-C.

Anyhow, a short exchange on social media now follows:
Neil Gooch: This is a nonsense story but a really good example of how subtle BBC bias works. Cleverly goes right up to the line of outright dishonesty but stays just this side. 
Steffan John: How is it outright dishonesty? 
Niall Gooch: It's not. But it gets very near to it by declining to mention for e.g. that not one single elected Republican or GOP official has been critical of the video and therefore that AOC is being a bit disingenuous.


  1. It's another variation of the BBC's stock 'some say' story. Someone, somewhere must have said what the BBC would like to turn into an issue.
    At one level it is just trivia, (or useful distraction from 'real' news), but at another it can cause real harm as they act like the nasty child at school stirring up conflict by telling tales hoping to get a reaction.

  2. Is this the same BBC that tried to smear and humiliate Jacob Rees-Mogg by having a huge blow up photo of him wearing a monocle aged 10 behind him during an attack interview by Coburn the Barbarian?

    1. I have a screengrab of that for future reference.

  3. Politics is optics these days, and young Alex is very... 'optical'.

    Quite the Anne Hathaway vibe and I doubt a bad photo ever taken of her.

    However, with audio on it starts to fade, especially when the words are decoded.

    But the video outside the office... excellent. Almost... Leni Riefenstahl in skills.

    As to Steffan above, ignoring the 'right up to the line' part right before it suggests either monumental stupidity or a belief everyone else is.

    1. Yes. She could have been an actress...but she chose politics...a bigger stage for the acting I guess.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.