Saturday, March 12, 2005

American journalists can be pompous, says Simon Jenkins (snigger, snigger), as he says that bloggers have put him on his mettle like never before (snigger, snigger). (ps. Scott knocks his p.o.v. beautifully)

Debunking and Debating.

Got to start with this outstanding pigeon-holing of Hunter S. Thompson and the cult which seems to enthrall many middle-aged and not-so middle-aged liberal Americans. Hugh Hewitt blasts thus:

'Ah yes, the Nixon wars –when journalists bravely stood tall against the machine guns and machetes of the death squads roaming D.C.

I don’t have access to Lexis-Nexis on the plane, so I can’t search “Hunter Thompson w/i 1000 Pol Pot,” but I don’t recall any “fearless” reporting on the Cambodian holocaust, or the trials of Bukovsky, Sharansky Sarkaroff and Solzhenitsyn. Just stream of consciousness paranoia brought on by too many drugs, and later idolized by mid-life-crisis-enduring salary men with editors and small expense accounts/'

If there is a 'stupid America', it's the sort that idolised the likes of Thompson. The whole 'great American Novel' thing is about as dated as flares in my view, and a massive distraction from America's real concerns.

Speaking of which, I notice a lot of floundering about concerning whether the events in Lebanon are good or bad. Syria withdraws- but with Hezbullah's endorsement for its influence in Lebanon. Syria withdraws with assurances that its power is not resented and its influence will be undiminished (notice how the BBC (above link) give a leading role in this withdrawal process to the UN's representative, Roed Larssen- he arrives, Syria withdraws, coincidentally. Just another of those little nuances about who is moving events and who has authority to do so. The BBC's transnationalism at work. Also note the way that the BBC is prepared to report the stage-managed withdrawal- 'government supporters were bussed to the frontier for a carefully stage-managed occasion',- but not so much the obviously stage-managed rally; here, they limit themselves to saying the kind of thing anyone deviously organising a vast propaganda effort would be happy with: 'Hezbollah officials handed out Lebanese flags and directed the men and women to separate sections, but the crowds were so large they spilled out of Riad al-Solh Square into surrounding streets.' . This is in keeping with its general presentation of Arab regimes and allegedly popular terrorist-entwined organisations as manipulative to some extent, but largely benign). Children were bussed in to fill the square for the Hezbullah rally, according to this report, but the level of organisation, just viewed by itself, which swamped the anti-Syrian demonstrators was clearly daunting, and intended to be daunting, to those who hope for a pro-Western democratic resolution to the Lebanon's powerplay.

In related stuff, the Economist believes that the neo-cons are on the rise again (I don't watch events in this microscopic way, but they do), which is code for saying that events in the Middle East have vindicated the neo-cons convictions about Iraq, but not completely and nor will they do so.

Overall it looks like a soft-shoe shuffle between Iran-supported Hezbullah and a tactically-minded Syria. Its the old case that among despotic mentalities, faced with a democratic superpower like the US, there is no need to even mention the saying that my enemy's enemy is my friend. All the same, I'd say the pro-democracy, anti-Syria rallies are a staging post in the power struggle that will one day- one day soon, given the spontaneous vigour of the democratic impulse in the region- produce democratic revolution, and wipe Hezbullah off the map entirely.

(Good info for the above post came from Austin Bay and Real Clear Politics)

Friday, March 11, 2005

I was going to comment on this BBC article by Justin Webb about Dan Rather, well-picked up by USS Neverdock, but I think I'll just leave you the links and the thought that this article illustrates very nicely why the words 'Right Wing'- rather than 'Left Wing'- and 'dirty tricks' have been made into a commonly known collocation. Because, I would venture to answer, the legacy media, of which the BBC is chief bastion, decrees it so.

Andrew Bowman looked at other aspects of the BBC's coverage of Rather at Biased BBC.

Webb is just too secure in his bias, almost like some Eastern European aparachik (anyone help with the spelling?) of the 1970's. (I've observed this before, I know, but it's Webb's almost brusque self-assurance, only feasible in such a cosseted organisation as the Beeb, which seems to bring this observation on).

Meanwhile, speaking of Eastern Europe, Tomas Kohl has a an opinion of Leftists in his own country of the Czech Republic which seems to ring true:

'Reagan's contribution notwithstanding, the pinkos could barely wipe their ass in 1989.'

Sometimes an opinion that has relevance for BBC journalists with anti-conservative or anti-US (same thing really) authorial diarrhea, unfortunately. They leave the blogosphere to wipe it for them. However, to summarise what both Kohl and Marc of Neverdock are saying (loosely), those who won't wipe their politicised journalistic arses will get them whipped well and truly.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Frum draws the right conclusion from the big Hezbollah march through Lebanon. It just shows what you're up against.

Instapundit pondered some viewpoints on the demo, with links (surprisingly!). At one, interesting, link, a commenter to the post came up with a criticism of the BBC which seemed very typical (right down to the misspelling of Orla Guerin's name):

'The crowd was obviously predominantly male and angry. But the BBC report by Orna Gheiron (sp?) went out of its way to show a lot of women, including mostly uncovered ones. The BBC were clearly doing a little propaganda, as usual.'

Casual observers and seasoned ones all think twice before trusting BBC reporting.

Meanwhile, The Belmont Club has a more in-depth survey and analysis of what the march means.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Seems like the below post
caught something of a wave amongst the Nionist brigade. Scott Burgess assesses the Indy's effort. Verdict? Halfbaked too, unsurprisingly. (via Instapundit)

Meanwhile, Melanie Phillips, eye to the big picture via Daniel Pipes vision, shows what serious thinkers might be doing at the moment.

The ever shrewd (I've given up calling him deceitful, it doesn't pay any) Paul Reynolds has come up with an exit strategy for the BBC. Just like those who are covering their backsides regarding the unresolved but politically dangerous issue of WMD, Mr Reynolds turns round and says, 'it wasn't just me, others believed it too' when it comes to the anti-war fervour which has mastered the BBC's coverage for so long. For the French and Italian, Russian and so on Intelligence services in this analogy, you have to substitute Fareed Zakaria, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and 'sceptics of American policy like Rosemary Hollis', who probably demonstrated different degrees of scepticism but were never a million miles from Reynolds himself in viewpoint. Throw in a disclaimer about things not being quite the same as the last time Reynolds was wrong about regime change, in 1989, and a little homily to the new entrants to the EU's grande projet, and you have a fine recipe known as 'Reynold's home baked (half-baked) climbdown'.

Of course we have to garnish with a little sideswipe at neo-con imperial hegemonistic attitudes, add a little detail about the role of the Prince of Darkness, and implicate the whole in an Israeli conspiracy theory, but after all that is completed you are about ready to eat your humble pie.

'Some are cynical about American attitudes and regard the policy of spreading "freedom and democracy" in the Middle East as a way of justifying intervention.

Khader Khader, an analyst with the Palestinian group the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, traces US policy back to a document issued in 1996 by American neo-conservatives, led by Richard Perle, called Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.'

But not quite. First you have to retain your 'balance':

'Whether you regard American policy as benign or malign, something is going on which needs watching.'

Then you have to remind yourself (before eating) that you were wrong about Eastern Europe, so that requires that you have to blame someone else for it. Find a nice anecdote to use over dinner:

'Shortly after the Berlin Wall was breached, there was agitation for the reunification of Germany. The question was when this might happen.

On a visit to East Berlin, I and other correspondents met a rather dishevelled British diplomat who seemed to spend most of his time on the streets.

He predicted that East Germany would collapse within the year.

His boss the ambassador, a rather grand man who seemed to spend most of his time in the embassy, would have none of that.

Guess who was right?'

Yes, just guess. It wasn't Paul. Bon Appetit, cher Paul.

BTW, I think I should mention that I do believe Reynolds is right about something: it isn't like Eastern Europe. It'll be much more successful than that. See Steyn on the timeline for the MidEast winds of change. (thx ATW)

Monday, March 07, 2005

Can someone tell me who on earth the BBC are quoting at the beginning of this article (maybe friendly Mr S. Editor will reveal all later)? It just seems like the Beeb breathlessly wanted to get the message out that this guy Bolton is a nutcase *BEWARE* before anyone started to complain about the 'hardliner' tag. Hardline on what anyhow? Could be one of their nameless 'correspondents', I suppose- there are plenty of candidates for anti-US paranoid outbursts out there.

Update: Ah, the quotemarked 'hardliner' has become a hardliner in fact. So the BBC is saying now they know for sure a hardliner is coming to the UN.

Ongoing BBC violence- to the notion of fairness.

They're still trying to nail this one. They're losing. But it won't stop them.

According to this report, 'Six in 10 Italians now think the war was wrong.'

'Now' compared to what, exactly? Has the death of a Communist's saviour changed the whole equation? Would they have bothered to drop this in without it carrying the implication of another in a serious of ultimately significant blunders (filed among notes for chapt. 1007, entitled 'alienating key allies', of John Simpson's fantasised epic work of history, 'How the US got it wrong in Iraq and lost their world superpower status')on the way to one of history's famous military disasters (yes, they mean the US war on Saddam, really)? Who do they think they're kidding?

They may like to talk about how 'Iraq insurgents seize initiative' but they don't talk about the gradual lessening of US troops deaths (probably due to troop tactical changes, but still specifically noteworthy). They even happily contradict their headlines with such general, deliberately vague- almost coy- phrases as 'Although figures can be misleading, the general level of attacks since the 30 January elections is thought to have dropped a little from the highs recorded in the run-up to the poll.' Initiative? What initiative? the point is that having set the tone they can afford to let their anti-war guard drop a a little. It's known at the BBC as 'balance'.

When they present the violence they decline to mention that terrorists using terrorist tactics are targeting their fellow muslims. Rather than be specific and consistent they frequently change the nature of the descriptions of violent acts and casualties to foster a sense of Iraq as they would like us to see it. They sew together a pastiche of violence- 'Violence also continued in Baghdad'- with which they seek to cloak events. You may say, 'where in Baghdad, that huge city?', or 'exactly when?', but they won't tell you. 'Violent place, Baghdad', you can almost hear the colonial broadbrush being swished from the comfort of the hotel bar.

Of course they don't think that the US invasion of Iraq will prove to have been the miliary disaster that many hoped it would be (I can recall many a journalist of all stripes hoping that the American people would 'learn a lesson' over this). What they think is that its their job to make it harder for the US, to make it painful, to make them feel that pain and us to feel they feel it. It's not. There are already people who dedicate themselves to do that, and they're Islamofascists- for whom the BBC are emotional siphons. It's my definition of being on the 'the other side'.

And of course that's what the BBC are, in the long run. Whistling anti-US tunes while waiting for the transnational cavalry to be called in, the so-called 'insurgents' will do for entertainment in the meantime.

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