Bloggers are being arrested more and more as the importance of the Internet is realized by governments across the world, at least so warns the BBC. It seems an alarming report where community activists and democracy advocates are finding themselves being oppressed by government, arrested, and maybe even tortured because of their blogging. But, one little fact of the story is never really focussed on in this alarming BBC report on the release of the WIA report from the University of Washington. The fact that bloggers aren't threatened much in democratic nations has been glossed over by this report.
Unfortunately, a cursory reading of this piece would leave the reader with the vague feeling that people all over the world are being arrested merely because they are blogging, but that isn't quite the case. The way this report is written serves as a perfect example of a PCism more concerned with upsetting the tender sensibilities of tyrannical, undemocratic governments, than in reporting the oppression of its citizens. It's a PCism gone so far that it makes the report uninformative at least to the most important aspect of the reason these bloggers are being arrested.
Exactly who “threatens” whom? One of Friday’s headlines on the BBC’s Web site proposes “Israeli minister threatens Iran,” relating how Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz says an attack will be inevitable unless Iran ends its nuclear experiments: “If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective."
Earlier this week, however, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranians that "the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene." That sounds pretty menacing, too, but plugging “Ahmadinejad” into the BBC’s search engine finds no reports on this threatening speech.
On the April 30 edition of "BBC World," Justin Webb reported on rising fuel costs and how the increase in prices affect the American public. According to Mr. Webb, many Americans drive cars nearly the size of big rigs, and will need to spend their tax rebate on fuel, thereby doing little for the economy at large. After all, if a big rig tank takes over a thousand dollars to fill, many American cars must face similar costs. [Audio available here] Transcript below:
“Many Americans drive private cars not much smaller than this truck, and the risk is that they use their tax rebate simply to buy fuel, boosting the profits of the oil companies but doing little or nothing for the wider American economy.
Judas Iscariot was really, really torn about betraying Jesus and was just misunderstood, anyway. And Pontius Pilate? Well, he was just an honest, but beleaguered public servant who was just trying to please his wife. Both men were not really bad guys.... or at least that is how the BBC will present these characters in their newest re-imagining of the final days of Jesus Christ to air this Easter -- an effort that comes on the heels of last year's version of the Nativity that portrayed Mary and Joseph as illegal immigrants.
The producers, of course, are denying that they intend to re-write the character's history, but they do admit that they are trying to portray Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate in a "more sympathetic light" causing Christians to cringe over the PC treatment.
Update (18:18 EDT): BBC has updated their article to note the Democratic party affiliation in the 3rd graf (link). Our tipster DB informs us that the BBC's North America editor Justin Webb replied to his e-mail with a promise to "try to get it changed."
The BBC initially noted Gov. Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat, in an early draft of an online news article. The mention was in the 6th paragraph. But that stuck for all of 37 minutes as NewsBusters reader DB informs us (screengrabs shown below page break):
One could feel the disdain that Emma Jane Kirby felt toward Catholicism in a recent travel piece by BBC News. Her disgust and utter dismissal of the Catholic holy site at Lourdes, France was so thick it verged on hatred. Knocking the sentiment behind Lourdes, slamming the "fusty" feel to the place, mocking its religious sincerity and, finally, ending in condescension, Kirby was so disturbed by her visit that she exclaimed "Good God!" and did so "not in any laudatory way," as she points out. Her piece was a pure hit job on Lourdes in particular and Catholicism in general and provides another great example of European's hatred for religion and the BBC's campaign against traditional culture.
Lourdes is a massive Roman Catholic pilgrimage site with more hotels than any other French city, except Paris... It reminded me of my father's attic - small, overcrowded, fusty, and so stuffed full of junk that the minute I entered I used to panic, desperate to get out again.
Remember that touching picture of Yassar Arafat donating his blood to the 9/11 victims that was conveniently published after CNN ran footage of Palestinians cheering and handing out candy to celebrate the destruction in New York? Now France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin says that photo was staged; Arafat never gave blood.
The photos were taken by an AP photographer with a history of biased journalism and given captions that read like “a press release covering talking points.” Power Line's Scott Johnson reported Enderlin's revelation in a January 24 Weekly Standard article (bold mine throughout):
As Joel Pollak recounted online at the site Guide to the Perplexed [ed. link here], Enderlin told his Harvard audience "that Yasser Arafat had faked his blood donation to the victims of the September 11th attacks. Enderlin said the event had been staged for the media to counteract the embarrassing television images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks."
Americans catching the U.S. election coverage on BBC/World on Wednesday night found a typical dose of leftish European bias. While Katty Kay reported the Republicans were dismayed by a supposed teenage "dating game" of disappointment with candidates like Romney and Huckabee, Matt Frei had a warmer take on Hillary Clinton: "Her stump speech sounds as soothing as a bedtime story and her big selling point, experience." Hillary even claimed a role in the Irish peace process during Bill’s presidency.
MRC’s Michelle Humphrey found and transcribed these snippets of Brit bias:
MATT FREI, BBC: Hillary Clinton's people chose a Methodist church in Indianola for one of her last campaign events here. At this late, desperate stage in the Iowa campaign, every bit helps including a sprinkling of Hollywood star dust, hence the appearance on stage of actress Mary Steenburgen and her husband Ted Danson. Then its time for the real star. Daughter and mother in tow. Is Chelsea learning the family business, one wonders?
HILLARY CLINTON: Long before I was ever followed around by all these cameras.
If you thought media bias was bad in this country, flip around the international channels on your cable/satellite box and you'll see it could be much worse:
The BBC funded a paintballing trip for men later accused of Islamic terrorism and didn't pass on information about the 21/7 bombers to police, a court heard yesterday.
The organisation gave Mohammed Hamid, an Islamic preacher accused of radicalising British Muslims, a £300 fee and paid for fellow defendants to go and be filmed for a documentary.
After the botched July attacks Hamid told a BBC reporter he had worked with on the programme 'Don't Panic, I'm Islamic' that he knew the identities of the culprits - but she felt 'no obligation' to tell police, the court heard.
The journalist informed her boss and the information was passed on up to senior executives but a decision was taken not to pass it on.
As the popularity of personal web profiles continues to skyrocket, their utility as a demographic research tool has increased dramatically, both as a means of studying the general public but also to study the ideological bent of the self-described mainstream media.
On the second point (see below for a discussion of the first) a recent study of Facebook profiles of BBC employees finds, surprise surprise, that Britain's taxpayer-funded network is utterly dominated by socialists:
A survey of BBC employees with profiles on the site [Facebook] showed that 11 times more of them class themselves as "liberal" than "conservative."
Critics seized on the figures as evidence that the supposedly impartial corporation, paid for by the licence fee, is dominated by liberals. [...]
Remember that BBC-produced children's guide to 9/11 that blamed it on America's foreign policy?
It's now facing some real public pressure in the form of Pauline Neville Jones, a former British spy and now powerful member of that country's Conservative party. She's also a former governor (aka board member) of the BBC. And she wants some changes to the program:
Britain’s former spy chief accused the BBC of “parroting” Al Qaeda propaganda to children as young as six.
Even more curiously, having retrieved the original guide on 11SEP2007, watched it disappear on 12SEP2007 (page not found) to reappear as a sanitised single page version, it now seems today that the 11SEP2007 guide version is back online (compare with versions retrieved from Google's cache at Biased BBC) - or is it still not fully purged from your systems (even though the timestamps have been updated to say 12SEP2007)? What gives?
The Democrats hit General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker with the results of an ABC/BBC poll of Iraqi citizens during the two days of testimony. Barbara Boxer was so immersed in the poll results that she couldn't even muster up a question for General Petraeus. Since the poll results were not released until Monday September 10, 2007, it left little time for an indepth look at the poll, the sampling size, the surveyors and the results from all the questions.
First of all - the sample size. The number of Iraqis questioned for the poll was approximately 2100 people. 2100 people in a country with an estimated population of 27,499,638 according to the CIA Factbook. That means the poll results were from 1/1000 of the population. How can a sample size that small even be considered partially representative of the population?
Paul Mirengoff has an excellent item up at Powerline about a BBC Web site geared to kids that oh so helpfully explains the "why" of 9/11. No surprise here, the Beeb hints its American foreign policy that is to blame:
The BBC explains 9/11 in terms so simple a child can understand. It seems that "the way America has got involved in conflicts in regions like the Middle East has made some people very angry including a group called al-Qaeda." Moreover, "when the attacks happened in 2001, there were a number of US troops in a country called Saudi Arabia, and the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, said he wanted them to leave." Thus, "al-Qaeda members believe attacking US targets is something they should do."
The BBC decided to set up a website explaining 911 to kids. They have several sections set up to help the kids out on understanding the war on terror the BBC way. In one section they ask, Why Did They Do It?Guess who gets the blame?
The way America has got involved in conflicts in regions like the Middle East has made some people very angry, including a group called al-Qaeda - who are widely thought to have been behind the attacks.
In the past, al-Qaeda leaders have declared a holy war - called a jihad - against the US. As part of this jihad, al-Qaeda members believe attacking US targets is something they should do.
When the attacks happened in 2001, there were a number of US troops in a country called Saudi Arabia, and the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, said he wanted them to leave.
On the one hand, I was very pleased to see CNN's Howard Kurtz mention on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" the recent decision by the BBC to cancel "Planet Earth," a proposed daylong special to focus attention on anthropogenic global warming.
On the other hand, I was surprised when Kurtz chose not to include one of the key reasons this project was scrapped, namely, the failure of Al Gore's Live Earth concerts.
Two months later, the BBC has scrapped "Planet Relief," a proposed day-long special about climate change, specifically citing the failure of Al Gore's international concerts as one of the reasons for the cancellation.
As reported by England's Times Online Wednesday (h/t NB reader Chris Stacy, emphasis added throughout):
Andrew at Biased BBC has an excellent take on the British news agency's flawed reporting on the recent release of some South Korean aid workers. For starters, the original headline glossed over the brutal murder of two hostages. Andrew also noted that contrary to BBC's own style guide, the news agency characterized the murdered missionaries as having been "executed," which implies a legal penalty governed by due process of law.
Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has an item today about an Arabic newspaper editor pronouncing his plans to dance in London's Trafalgar Square should Iran ever use a nuclear weapon on Israel:
Has the US media turned a completely deaf ear to actual events in favor of a warped view on what they wish to occur in Iraq? It would seem so. Ever since it became apparent that the miltiary 'surge' strategy was succeeding in Iraq, both the media and the Democratic Party have been complaining that the poltiical benchmarks in Iraq were not being met. in particular, they castigated the Iraq civilian leadership for failing to make strides in rteaching out to the minority Sunnis and releasing political prisoners.
On Monday, "Good Morning America" reporter John Berman ignored any role that journalists might have in the developing scandal of anonymous individuals altering Wikipedia entries. On the ABC program, Berman alerted viewers to the fact that companies such as Wal-Mart and Starbucks have changed sections in their Wikipedia bios. However, he skipped the recent revelation that both the BBC and New York Times have been linked to derogatory, childish alterations in President Bush’s entry. (CNN covered the story on August 16.)
Berman began the segment by asking viewers how they would feel if they knew "the entry on Wal-Mart was edited by someone inside Wal-Mart? The Starbucks entry? By someone inside Starbucks." He also noted that the CIA has changed its section. However, the ABC reporter failed to explain that a new computer program, which can determine who alters Wikipedia information, traced the culprit behind the addition of the words "jerk, jerk, jerk" to President Bush’s Wikipedia profile. The source? A New York Times computer. There was also no discussion of a similar incident involving the insertion of the word "wanker" to Bush’s entry from a BBC computer.
This is certainly an initiative right-thinking people around the world should welcome: in response to identifying several instances of fraudulent audience phone calls made by staffers during some of its programs, the BBC has decided to send its employees to - wait for it! - honesty training.
You really can't make this stuff up!
As reported by England's Telegraph Thursday (extremely grateful h/t to NBer SMGalbraith, emphasis added throughout):
It appears the BBC condones faking...audience phone calls, that is.
In a not so stunning revelation, the BBC admitted to allowing employees to call in to shows either asking for audience involvement, or offering prizes, when the network wasn't receiving enough real feedback.
Gotta love it.
One truly delicious example occurred during Comic Relief back in March (emphasis added, h/t Tim Graham):
As NewsBusters reported, the BBC published an article at its website Tuesday refuting there being a link between recent increases in global temperatures and solar activity. This piece went counter to one the BBC published just three years ago.
The author of the 2004 piece, former BBC science correspondent David Whitehouse, wrote an article published in the British Telegraph Sunday which slammed the BBC for its “enthusiastically one-sided, sloppy and confused” report on this subject.
*****Update: MIT's Richard Lindzen weighs in at end of post.
Whitehouse marvelously began (emphasis added throughout):
Americans are likely not familiar with Sir Antony Jay, but may become so soon given the knighted Brit’s just-released book entitled “Confessions of a Reformed BBC Producer” in which he explains why media are liberally biased.
An excerpt of the book was published by Britain’s Telegraph Sunday, and, much like Bernard Goldberg’s “Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News,” gave a first-hand account as to what makes a television network lean so strongly to the left.
In fact, in an era when liberals are carping and whining about conservative talk radio, Jay's book should be required reading (h/t Hot Air, emphasis added throughout):
On Thursday, Jules Crittenden wondered if American media are lazy, stupid or willfully ignorant with how they’ve been reporting events in Iraq.
Given the BBC’s recent piece concerning the relationship between the sun and climate change which hysterically ignored an article it published almost three years ago with a completely diametric view, one might ask the same question of that British television network.
To set this up, as NewsBusters reported Thursday, the BBC.com published a piece concerning Mike Lockwood’s paper discrediting a connection between the sun’s activities and global warming in the past 22 years.
The efforts to overcome its self-admitted systemic left-wing bias appear not to have begun at the BBC. For two hours yesterday, the Beeb solicited residents of Iraq to send it tips on British and American troop movements (h/t Ace):
The request was removed from the website after it
sparked furious protests that the corporation was endangering the lives
of British servicemen and women.
But according to
accounts last night, a story on a major operation by US and Iraqi
troops against al-Qa'eda somewhere north of Baghdad contained an
extraordinary request for information about the movement of troops.