Saturday, February 05, 2005

The BBC: market leaders in conspiracy theories.

I was interested, first of all, by USS Neverdock's impassioned plea to the more traffic-laden parts of the blogosphere to become more directly involved in exposing the BBC's biased journalism.

Then came the well-known story of how Eason Jordan has accused the US military of targeting journalists, which Roger Simon reports with a link to a Washington Times article, 'CNN's line of fire'

Then I remembered the name of the BBC journalist who helped create this meme about 18 months ago: Nick Gowing, a senior BBC hack. BlogIrish reported this.

Where the BBC have been unafraid to tread, and often commended for so doing, the US' premiere news channel now follows.

What this shows, I think, is that if you want to fight in the war of ideas, you must take on the BBC.

Austin Bay, meanwhile, has a terrific post reminding us of something else: CNN's Eason Jordan's murky history regarding Saddam's Iraq.

Anti-American language. Norm has a classic example of Yankophobic behaviour. Indoctrination of speakers of English as a second language thanks to Michael Moore.

Meanwhile Norm also has a nice observation that surely many of us had about the Bush SToU speech. Don't forget, now is the time for diplomacy, which means that later... we'll take tea and cakes, naturally.

Friday, February 04, 2005

While the BBC reports Gordon's swanky stability and poverty party, and has this to say:

'Mr Brown is expected to push for extra aid and debt relief for Africa, and again there is slim hope that a firm agreement will be reached during the two-day summit.

Among the G7 finance ministers, the Europeans tend to agree with Mr Brown's arguments while Japan and the US are expected to be harder to convince.'

Claudia Rosette has her eyes fixed on GWB, leader of those stingy Yanks we've all heard about:

'To whatever extent Mr. Bush's vision of ending tyranny is realized, it will do more to end poverty than any amount of aid, including the $195 billion the United Nations now proposes to pour into development over the next decade, following the advice of a 3,000-word study put together by 265 experts (which works out to about 11 words, or $730 million in recommended spending, per expert).'

It seems to me that Europeans don't know what they're missing with their phobic behaviour towards the US and their actual inertia when it comes to changing the unjust equilibrium in the world's division of comforts. (Link from Frum's diary)

This is indeed a superb profile of Charles Johnson, of LGF fame. All I knew was that he cycled, and played music- until now. He's actually quite cool, in a hippy sort of way, not that I really care about that kind of thing. (via Roger Simon)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

So, The food was only tainted with oil. Presumably not very good for the system.

I think Iraq only seemed like a gamble.

I mean, I suppose, that the gamble in Iraq was seen as a gamble mainly because of the sceptics, the antis, the Stoppers, and so on. Really, how much of a gamble is it to say that people want to be a)Free of oppression and b) With a say in their own futures? A no-brainer, I would say (insert joke about W., if so simple-minded, here).

I feel that this 'guest contributor' to the Times would agree (via RCP)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Steyn strikes a blow for Ali and IraqtheModel (as though they needed it) and at least one for every type of freedom lover everywhere. Great article in a publication where I sense he's comfortable:

'"These elections are a joke," Juan Cole, a professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan, told Reuters. Sorry, professor, the joke's on you. And the modern Middle East history is being made by the fledgling democracy of the new Iraq.'

Read the whole thing. (via Real Clear Politics)

More Excellent Thoughts from Nicholas Vance- not least on two characters of our age, Galloway and Simpson. Contrary to what I was saying about the clear water between Galloway and Simpson in the below post, Nicholas notices their affinities:

'Simpson's argument was repeated by Newsnight favourite George Galloway, who said the violence in Iraq is not about "terrorism versus democracy" but "occupation versus resistance." When a morally grotesque figure like Galloway is on your side, it's time to rethink your position.'

I think it's possible both that Simpson and Galloway retain affinities, and that Simpson is preparing his way to a more conciliatory position. Simpson actually never closes any door behind him that he might need to exit by. Galloway- well, we all know where he stood, and the doors he closed firmly behind him. Only the patronage of the likes of the BBC stands between him and utter discreditation (I am sure most readers will consider discreditation a done deal, but there he is, basking in the attention, still).

The Left Turns as One (almost).

Some people claim the BBC isn't biased. That's why it's interesting for me when the BBC and such publications as the Guardian execute what appear to be almost synchronised maneuverings.

Brownie from Harry's Place has a terrific conclusion to his latest post, where, having ridiculed The Galloway's latest blunderings, he says

'People of Iraq, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability…

And you can quote me on that.'

Yes, but, the point of Brownie's post is to say that not everyone who is/was a 'stopper' is as stupid as Galloway. In fact, he notes

'the emergence of a new breed of Stopper: the ‘I wouldn’t have done it like that’ strain. Unlike the Stalinist celebrities that lead their cause, it’s not that these people don’t want to arrive at a democratic Iraq, it’s just that they wouldn’t have started from here.

This variety of Stopper appears ready to concede that, whilst much remains to be done, and whilst nothing can make the war ‘right’, the future of Iraq suddenly doesn’t look quite so bleak as it did 48 hours ago. There are some real giveaways, but one line more than any appears to dominate post-election, moderate Stopper discourse. Today’s Guardian editorial, quoting Kofi Anan, is perhaps the finest exemplar:

This election is…only a first step in deciding Iraq's future.

How many times have you heard that line today, or something like it, from Stopper friends and family desperately searching for a cloud to go with the election’s silver lining?'

If I might paraphrase this latest Guardian wheeze: 'it's taken us TWO WHOLE YEARS TO GET TO THIS BLODDY ELECTION!'

Meanwhile, Niall Kilmartin at B-BBC makes an interesting point along similar lines, describing the BBC's exit strategy as he noticed how John Simpson ended his Panorama programme on an incongruous high by saying, of the Coalition effort in Iraq, "I think it is bound to succeed. It’s just a pity that it has been so badly botched by so many people along the way.” :

To quote Kilmartin,

'If, a few years hence, Iraq has not subsided into chaos or a brutal regime like Saddam’s, they could still claim that the process of moving from Saddam to the present was so badly botched by so many people that it nevertheless fully merited all the hostile coverage it got.'

That's how the Guardian and the BBC think alike, aided by weighty public figures like Annan in discerning which way the political weather is blowing. Of course they shouldn't get away with it, but they do.

Monday, January 31, 2005

A Time to Crow (not eat crow)

After the success of Iraq's elections, John Podhoretz does it like a New Yorker.

Ok, ok, ok, there's still lots to do, but I personally am thinking about Paul Reynolds dismal chime every second week for a year or so that elections would be next to irrelevant, never mind impossible (near-randomly sampled pessimism in those links). Every hurdle they set the Iraqis and coalition jump. Then they think of another one. Reynolds is one of the shrewdest obstacle setters out there.

A time for Arthur, I think, if you want to do it like an Polish/Australian.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

On a humorous note- good to see that the invaluable blog the Iraq war was wrond is getting the attention it deserves- finally. (via Tim Blair)

Meanwhile, back at the BBC ranch... even the most senior journalists just keep blaming other people.

Anyone with an ounce of commonsense could see that the Iraqi Government may not be making the transparency of their statistics to western journalists their first priority.

Anyone with half an ounce could see that terrorists kill whereas US troops retaliate very effectively to the threats they face.

Here is the BBC's original report in cache form- thanks to Marc at USS Neverdock.

Yet the Beeb can only say that 'Iraqi health ministry figures for deaths in violence cannot differentiate between those killed by coalition forces and insurgents, officials say', by way of excusing a gross overstatement of US responsibility for death rates in Iraq- this despite the scepticism expressed initially to them by John Negroponte.

The most crucial statistical fact seems to me to be buried at the end of the report:

'The deaths recorded included those of militants as well as civilians, officials said.'

Today I saw, on Sky I think, that a suicide bomber had exploded at an Iraqi polling booth- killing 'one'. Which one was that I wondered, preparing for a little inward celebration if it was just the idiot bomber himself. Unfortunately I haven't found out if the suicide bomber had laughably killed only himself- but it points up the crucial issue that deaths of so-called insurgents don't count, or if they do then they are an unquestionably good news from Iraq.

I wish the decent people of Iraq every blessing and millions of peaceful voting moments over the coming hours.

(Post Updated)

What's happening to the Conservatives?

Nothing good, is my usual rule of thumb. Glenn Reynolds seems to have worked out what has become the fate of the Conservatives in Britain in his analysis of the Republican/Democrat battles in the US:

'It does seem to me that Karl Rove wants to do to the Democrats what Tony Blair's Labour has done to the Tories. And it also seems to me that the Democrats are helping Rove a lot, just as the Tories helped Blair'

On the other hand though, Richard North has noticed some of those fabled green shoots of recovery- the result, he says, of Michael Howard's hard line on immigration, with its eurosceptic implications- just poking up in the latest YouGov poll. I'm personally a little wary of YouGov, since it is the polling group of choice for the Torygraph. He comments as part of his regular Booker appreciation post:

'The really fascinating thing, though, is that there has been no backlash from the Europhiles in the Tory Party – of the type that plagued Hague. Kenneth Clarke has stayed silent in his lair and none of the other "usual suspects" have uttered a word in public.

The only reaction, in fact, has come not from the Europhiles but from the public – which have heavily endorsed Howard’s stance, and given him his first boost in the polls for a long time.'

Let's hope Howard knows when he's onto a good thing. It's seemed to me as though he mainly enjoys tinkering with his political agenda to score short term points on a register above the hearing of the electorate- but I hope I'm wrong and that Howard is just bracing himself for some bold and decisive public policy actions.

Update: Meanwhile, Eursoc has a fascinating hard-headed look at these issues.

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