Saturday 28 September 2019


What’s wrong with everybody? Can’t anyone comprehend English these days?
 Perhaps comprehension has been dropped from the school curriculum. Aren't children expected to master comprehension at about eight or nine years of age any more? I'm sure English teachers used to set a passage of text and pupils had to reproduce the gist of it in their own words to demonstrate that they’d properly understood it.

“[Reading] comprehension involves three levels of understanding: literal meaning, inferential meaning, and evaluative meaning.”

Something has happened. For some reason, it's become commonplace for politically motivated journalists and their followers to maliciously fail to comprehend ‘news’. and no-one seems to bat an eyelid at the alarming proliferation of “Quote mining”

On TCW David Keighley examines the BBC’s responses to the Emily Maitlis and Naga Munchetti  affairs. 
By way of a  personal declaration of non-interest, I can’t stand any of the BBC’s flim-flam formats which feature Hello Magazine style items sandwiched between the inane banter of a pair of BBC anchors on a sofa in a garishly lit BBC studio. Like many of you, (probably) I hadn’t been following The Naga Manchetti ruling, but I have heard it discussed in the media. 

I gather that Naga Munchetti’s Beeb colleague had invited her to opine on President Trump’s “racist” remark, which had been retrospectively revised  (‘quote-mined’ ) to infer that President Trump had told the ‘squad’ (of BAME congresswomen) to “go back to their own countries”.
I have actually seen President Trump’s whole Tweet - the full monty - reproduced on the TV screen with just the relevant words emboldened. Yet despite the entirety of the tweet being clearly visible, the crucial caveat  “and then come back and fix it ” was completely ignored. Some kind of collective blind spot? (Has Ilhan Omar hypnotised the whole world?) 

Here’s an example of the type of ‘quote mining’ we'd normally dismiss as laughable when used to promote some godawful film, play or book. 
“David Turner-Samuels (for the Eye): With your permission, my lord, I will read an extract from The Times Literary Review — "Lord Russel's works could be said to be pornographic…" 

David Hirst, QC (for the plaintiff): Read the rest of the sentence. 
David Turner-Samuels: "But they are not."

See what I mean? “Read the rest of the sentence”  - but of course no-one has any appetite for the rest of President Trump’s sentences.

Naga’s opinion concerned her personal experience of ’racism’ - all perfectly legitimate, but nothing much to do with President Trump because any alleged connection was entirely predicated on a deliberate misinterpretation of what he'd said. The whole silly business blew up because the media decided to scoop words out of a longer passage in order to paint President Trump as a racist. And it’s easily forgotten why he made that remark in the first place. It was in response to the blatantly racist conduct of the congresswomen in question.  This is getting really silly. 

Look at the relentless, malicious, politically motivated journalistic hounding of  PM Boris Johnson. 
Firstly, we have the watermelon smiles and picaninnies. All taken out of context and repurposed to ‘prove’ “racist belittling” of persons of colour by Boris.  Flippant and reductive maybe, but racist only if one ignores the context.  Then we have those wretched letterboxes and bank robbers. Racist against Muslim women? How so? Taken out of context again. (And are we really supposed to see the full-face veil as anything other than ridiculous?)   This language-related madness is being deliberately uncomprehended for political purposes. 

The most recent Boris-related hurricane in a teacup blew up over the Bill-and-Benn-undermine-Brexit-act being disparagingly referred to as the ‘surrender’ bill. To the Remain lobby that might sound flippant and disrespectful, but it’s an accurate label nonetheless. The ‘foul’ comparison between an MP and a turkey and something fictitious about traitors is so lame I can’t be arsed to go into it. Especially in the light of the long list of truly foul language thrown around by angry lefties.

To pile incomprehension upon incomprehension, I watched a snippet of a conversation about this language business on Sky News. A person of colour known as Poet George and a young conservative with a Geordie accent were invited to discuss this problem.
Poet George expressed horror over the MP whose name he couldn’t initially recall who had used the “N” word.  Here we are. 
“A Conservative MP has been suspended from the party after it emerged she used a racist expression during a public discussion about Brexit.
Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot, used the phrase at an event in London to describe the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
She told the BBC: "The comment was totally unintentional. I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused."
The Conservative Party later confirmed she had had the whip withdrawn.
Announcing the suspension, Theresa May said she was "shocked" by the "completely unacceptable" language.
"I immediately asked the chief whip to suspend the party whip," she said in a statement.
"Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today's society.”

As any fule other than Poet George must kno, in the olden days, before the N-word was censored, that particular ‘unmentionable in the woodpile’ phrase was intended to illustrate a concept: 

Back in the Enid Blyton era, when friendly gollies with waistcoats and striped trousers were objects of affection and the N-word was casually used by all and sundry to describe a shade of brown with no offence intended and not exclusively reserved for rap artists of colour to bandy about amongst themselves, anyone could freely use all sorts of phrases and metaphors. Then, with all its good intentions, along came the ‘enlightenment’, which paves the road to the kind of hell in which anyone can be caught out for unintentionally committing acts of racism such as accidentally saying “coloured person" instead of 'person of colour'.

Anne-Marie Morris MP duly apologised and grovelled and so on, and after a suitable period had the whip restored. Apologising for using such an out-of-touch phrase might have made sense, but she was probably even sorrier that she'd been unfairly accused of racism. 

Nowadays we deliberately misunderstand and mis-comprehend whatever suits us. The media cavalierly repurposes quotes and sound-bites until they’re devoid of literal meaning, inferential meaning, and evaluative meaning.  

Apologies in advance for any offence caused.


  1. No one wants to return to the racial injustices of the past. But if it's all very well people dragging up things from the past...then, we can all play that game and talk of when Nelson Mandela boasted of beating his wife, when Gandhi advised the Jews to commit mass suicide as protest against Hitler, when Malcolm X celebrated in public the mass death of American (white) children in an aircraft accident, or the gross remarks of MLK recorded by the FBI when he was assaulting a woman. Imagine if pundits were allowed to bring up these things!

    The BBC and the rest of the MSM should stop racialising everything. Nearly everyone in the UK finds the full burka sinister, or comic or oppressive (or any combination of the three). Pretending that it isn't is no way to run a country.

    Boris was right as well to have a go at the mega-charities trying to infantilise Africa. Africa's economy is growing strongly. They need a bit of help here and there but they are not the total basket case suggested by the charity ads.

    I don't like the way the BBC assumes every right thinking person in the world agrees Trump's comments were "racist". They rarely give the quote in full, or the context which is that these women are aggressive in complaining about the USA, its institutions, and harping on about the regions from which they came.

    Meanwhile Corbyn is free to suggest Jews in audience have no sense of British irony, Afua Hirsch is free to call for the destruction of the much loved Nelson's Column, David Lammy is free to call Leavers Nazis, Diane Abbott is free to suggest mothers of Caribbean heritage have a stronger maternal instinct than other ethnicities, and Dawn Butler is free to suggest only black people can make jerk chicken!


    1. I thought Boris was criticising the politicians, not the charities?

  2. BTW does anyone seriously think Dan asked those questions off his own bat...without prior consultation with anyone? Call me cynical...

  3. I didn’t see the original broadcast of BBC Breakfast, but I think there are two things going on. One is quote mining (accurately described as infantile), and the other is the apparent need that compels BBC journalists to give their own opinion at the end of a news report, rather than just reporting. This has been grossly compounded by the existence of Twitter. There is perhaps a third factor. I would imagine the desire in Naga Munchetti’s colleague to announce his wokeness in putting the question about “racism” would have been overwhelming.

    I don’t think there is anything new about quote mining. I can remember an acquaintance during my student days with affiliations to the SWP who was a seasoned exponent of the art. But It is incredibly pervasive. “Letterbox”, taken completely out of context became practically a catchphrase overnight. But it is the function of an organisation that claims to be a public service broadcaster to call this kind of shoddy nonsense out. Instead, BBC journalists are amongst the worst offenders.

  4. "Own opinion” is of course interchangeable with BBC groupthink.

  5. 'Quote mining' is bad enough but add to that the selective nature of where they start digging. Actually they just keep going back to the same spoil heap when it serves their purpose.

    Radio 3 news is usually very brief, thank goodness, but when the headline item from a world of seven billion is a call from unspecified MPs to the PM to moderate his language re. 'surrender' one has to question the motives of the editor.
    Why do some words get banned anyway? Why aren't 'fascist' and 'racist' banned? Would 'African-Americans not allowed on this bus' be OK whereas the wrong shade of brown shoe police isn't?
    The truth of the matter is that 'hate speech' has always been the USP (unique selling point) of the left, 'mining' discontent and manufacturing discontent wherever they can.

  6. A bit disingenuous to suggest that Trump was suggesting they should take a brief trip overseas and then go back to the USA... fixing several of those countries is more than a lifetime's work. And since three out of four of them were born in the USA it does sounds a bit wrong to tell them to go back to where they're "from", with the implication that they're not real Americans.

    1. Roosevelt said, "We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see the crucible turns our people as Americans."
      This was a plea to see the end of 'hyphenated Americans". These women play on their non-American roots. Do they want America to become more like the lands of their ancestors which are demonstrably worse places to live? Is it not reasonable to expect all Americans to act as Americans or is America now expected to become a 'multicultural hotel'? That is a reasonable question to ask.
      Over the border there is Trudeau declaring that there is no Canadian culture, that an immigrant is more Canadian than a Canadian, 'because they want to be Canadian', whereas the 'pure laine' are told to their faces that their kind is not wanted here. One is either for the nation state or against it.

    2. Trudeau’s declaration defies logic. If there is no Canadian culture how can immigrants want to be be Canadian?

    3. Canada seeks to become the first truly multicultural nation, bring your own culture, but keep voting Liberal!

    4. Okay I was being facetious, but essentially Trudeau is telling Canadians that they can only define themselves in terms that he approves of. The arrogance of so-called progressives is beyond belief. Sounds remarkably like the BBC.

  7. "Taking-offence" has become weaponised
    You can take-offence to claim VICTIMHOOD status
    and thus it's an effective PR technique to pushing your own agenda
    over the other sides
    It's all Alinsky.. "by any means necessary" stuff.

  8. RemainBBC has been told to stop the Benn Bill being known as the Surrender Bill. 24/7 we now have to endure their attacks on Boris for his "language". everything to stop this accurate label sticking.

    BBC were quite happy about the Poll Tax, the Bedroom Tax and the Dementia Tax.

    Fear of leaving on 31st October has drawn out all the elite's lackeys into the open.


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