Whatever happened to the term 'statistically insignificant'?
It was with interest that I heard about a small furore about the presence or absence of Gays in the area of Teignbridge in Devon, as reported by the Mail. It's so funny to watch the public information scouts at the Beeb scurrying to produce absurd lines like this:
'A market research company says it did find gay people living in Teignbridge, contrary to reports.'
Having myself a bit of contact with market researchers, I am reminded of a survey that was done about religious belief in a small region of the Czech Republic. Out of a thousand surveyed, two were Protestants- thus they didn't figure in the report's conclusions; they were considered 'statistically insignificant'. As a Protestant myself I thought that a little harsh, but on reflection perfectly reasonable.
There are other possibilities of course. One is that there were Gays but these ones, reasonably enough, didn't wish to be part of the 'Gay community', hence their fleeing to the wilds of Devon to escape from the miserable platitudes of the Left. I personally don't buy the idea that they feared the rural savages' backlash. Oh, and by the way, maybe Kinsey was wrong 'an all (of course, he was, but a real culture war is still being waged to minimise the extent to which this outrage is understood and the conclusions from it properly drawn).
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Posted by ed thomas at 1:30 PM
I wrote a long post yesterday and saved it as a draft because I thought I might regret posting it the morning after. I'm going to post it below this one, as this one can add valuable detail. I should reiterate that the Ramadi affair is not the BBC's fault. What they were at fault for is drawing on the most dramatic parts of the reports available at the time; or at least drawing up reports which covered the most extreme interpretations of events- flying in the face of so many examples of insurgent propaganda which should have made them pause for thought. But the real criticism revolves around the fact that they were highlighting supposed/alleged, and in my view highly disputable claims of US propaganda- while comletely missing the real propagandists of the piece, the Islamofascists. It's the same old straining at gnats and swallowing camels which has made me dislike the Beeb so much.
Bill Roggio- in Iraq at the moment - describes this as 'The Ramadi Debacle'
I also want to link the Opinionated Bastard (via the professor)- whose analysis of the battle situation in Iraq is great to read, and encouraging- and even more this post at Security Watchtower, which presents a really encouraging analysis suggesting a real erosion in the power of the Islamofascists.
That said, there are real tragedies out there, which should cause us to rally round and consider how we can help the forces of democracy and civilisation to win uneqivocally against the forces of savagery and wickedness. Since the battle is a real one there can be no need and no excuses in our media for fake-Ramadis.
Posted by ed thomas at 12:19 PM
Friday, December 02, 2005
I groaned a little at the headline on the Beeb: 'Insurgents attack Iraqi city' (not sure if there were quotemarks there at the time). I glanced morosely at the article: Ramadi- one of the usual suspects. Yet I knew that when the BBC reports an 'insurgent' 'attack' it usually means something like a a few discharged weapons, a suicide bombing, and somebody's little brother starting a fire somewhere. And so I moved on.
And then I came to another article: US 'admits' propaganda drive. The article said that the US had 'implicitly admitted' paying for positive articles in the Iraqi press. Yet an 'implicit admission' is not an 'admission', and the two are not made equivalent by the insertion of a couple of quotemarks- rather, it is a matter of interpretation. I choose to intepret this 'BBC infers propaganda from US commander's comments'.
The only interesting part for me was whether the US was directly planting articles, and this actually could not be 'inferred' from the commander's comments. I would think it amazing and actually incompetent if the US army did not have some close links with the Iraqi media. However, why not just pay Iraqis to write positive articles under US direction? And, surely we know by now, to be an Iraqi known for a positive stance towards the US in Iraq is to risk one's life. Some danger money and life insurance would be only sensible. It is a difficult issue; yet there is no doubt there are Iraqis positive about the US' presence there, and relatively few who oppose it except by the violent option favoured by Islamofascism.
And so, with that reflection, it seemed just the usual negativism where the worst interpretation is placed on the US' words and the highest value placed on the terrorists' actions.
And then I noticed this. And this.
According to one report,
'An AP Television News video showed the insurgents walking down a shuttered market street and a residential neighborhood, as well as firing four mortar rounds. The masked men, however, appeared relaxed, and the U.S. command dismissed the video as little more than a publicity stunt.'
According to another,
'Insurgents launched a brief assault west of Baghdad on Thursday, firing mortar rounds and rockets at a U.S. base and local government buildings' (nb there are specifics here)
Yet according to the BBC:
''Insurgents attacked US bases and government offices in Ramadi, in central Iraq, and then dispersed throughout the city, reports say.'
The BBC, it's clear, is reporting the worst case they can. I could 'infer' that ('heavily armed'- see report) insurgents launched a multi-pronged attack on military and government targets and then spread out around the city. I am not informed that they were not in charge of the city. I could infer that too.
But what about those 'reports'. One, unmentioned by the Lebanon Star, and the BBC, seems to have been the video tape. The other seems to have been based on the civilian witness accounts. But am I alone in being extremely sceptical of the first (the insurgents are well-known for staged videos), and being struck by the 'duh' moment in the Lebanon Star report:
'Residents said that heavily armed men wearing masks attacked a U.S. garrison in the center of Ramadi, a rebellious city 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, and fired on nearby council offices before seizing several streets'
So, were those the unrebellious ones then, whom we should be trusting? All a bit confusing.
The bottom line is and will be this: attacks on US and Govt. installations in Ramadi by hundreds of heavily armed men should, no, must, have caused casualties. If the US military can hide those from the US press and the presumably interested families, then woahhh, they are certainly real propagandists. If not, then the video was a little stage-managed, the attack was a squib, and the trustworthy residents of the rebellious city were gilding the lily, backed up by helpful leaflets- and the BBC bought it hook, line and sinker with their usual quotemarking disclaimer and their 'reports say' bullshit. It's all about the casualties, stupid!
There is a clearly a major propaganda effort going on somewhere. I wonder if the BBC know where. They seem to think this is the right place to start.
Of course, I should note that the BBC has used multiple sources for their report. But that just really demonstrates an important point: it seems that the so-called insurgents are well-capable of launching multi-pronged propaganda offensives targeted at multi-media. The BBC is channelling even the mose baseless of these minor propaganda lies into a narrative of doom. As I said: where are the bodies?
Posted by ed thomas at 8:14 AM
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I think I know why I haven't been wholly determined to read about Scott Burgess' investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood.
For one thing, I feel a sense of anti-climax. Ken's friend Qaradawi (a man I've previously noted as an Islamofascist being cossetted by BBC coverage of his sophisticated views) wants to take over the world- through political and other kinds of action- surprise!
For another it would be easy to dismiss it or paint it as a kind of Protocols of the Elders of Zion moment- even though that was a fake and this is likely to be real. However the important point is that he has a plan, and, when you read about it, it rings as true as anything I've read concerning the Islamic strategy (which logically active Muslims must sort-of have as a minimum). It's truly fascinating. All I could do with is a reasonable combined printable form of Scott's posts on the subject...
Posted by ed thomas at 7:01 PM
The contribution of freakoids to public life.
Yes, it shouldn't be overlooked. Today we have all manner of weird and pushy types who don't appear to have too many stable brain cells to rub together clamouring to be heard (and paid) by the public.
I was reminded of this by the ever-stable and unfreaky Adloyada, who did a nice job of fisking (so to speak) celebrity freakoid of 'real' experience Yvonne Ridley. Just because Yvonne's been to a few odd places she thinks she knows a thing or two- and better than everyone else. Perfect columnist material, you might think, but I'd say that this is going too far.
You may also remember a guy by the name of James Brandon- another kidnappee of the WoT, this time a DT freelancer (which means sort of interesting fantasist but unemployable- an IFBU). The excellent Viking Observer took this one apart in a pricelessly titled post so true for today's journalism: 'when a journalist can't help but lie'
Posted by ed thomas at 11:43 AM
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
As Mr Ledeen says about Iraq, faster please.
I'm linking to this post from Powerline because as of now the Memri site is non-functional. However, we live in hope, don't we? And I hope to read an article from an Iraqi journalist claiming that Galloway will follow his indefatigable role-model Saddam into the courtroom.
Update: Here's the article (translated excerpts from it)
'I want to say in this article: George Galloway, leader of the Respect party - you defend your friend and benefactor Saddam and you will yet be tried just like your friend and benefactor Saddam'
Posted by ed thomas at 7:19 PM
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Like, Really up-to-date, like.
Ok, a post against the BBC's being modern. How popular that will be (and does one care, really?)! Well, to be modern is one thing; to be stupidly so is another. To reflect the views of modern people one thing; to reflect the views on a certain kind of modern person another completely.
The BBC is often replete with ridiculous tales of modern science. Often British science, sad to say. Take this one: fatness can be 'in the mind'. I'm not at all sure it wasn't more tabloid than that, even, earlier on- but with the BBC's stealthy editors one never quite knows. Yes, there's a vague possibility of some assistance for eating disorder types, but speaking as a person who goes up and down in weight (with significantly differing responses from the opposite sex a not unnoticeable result), and knowing others similar, I can most certainly say it's not in the mind that one is fat or not. One speaks as a potential fatty, very sceptical of the mental explanation for all ills, having made perhaps too much use of a long and introspective memory of one's ups and downs. I also have contact with science-types in central Europe for whom British 'science' (thanks mainly to the Beeb's presentation of it) is a running joke (they make allowances, but find it all hilarious).
But also there's the priority thing. The Beeb's rationalism only goes so far. When it comes to the great homosexual debate they're treating it as though some real and tangible 'type' of person were being persecuted by the Catholic church. Evidently it's not a thing that's, so to speak, 'treatable'. Nor is it just a choice, evidently. I think the BBC is the confused party (and I do mean 'party'), not the Catholic church (for all its sins).
The Beeb article about the RC's latest pronouncement has been up all day, and immediately points out that 'it treats homosexuality as a "tendency", not an orientation'
Well, why not? What's the big deal? There's ample evidence out there it's just one of those personal choices. Some like blue, some like green; some like soft things, others hard ones (I mean it- they do). Girl says, I don't like men, they cause wars etc., plus Dad's a b******; later becomes lesbian. Ditto boy says he's too clever to be like other men and settle down- 'a-hole's a-hole'- and besides women are too cagey about sex (ie. he fears not getting any of any quality); so he becomes a bit gay. I say a bit, because so often we have alot of this bi-talk, and where does that, er, fit in?
Oh, and while we're about it- a mention for Justin Webb, the BBC's chief moist-eyed I-love-to-Hate-America journalist, and now scientific expert:
'The dinosaurs, he informs me with great authority and aplomb, are millions and millions and millions of years old. I could have hugged him and his parents; we are, after all, inhabiting the same mental planet.'
I am sure few will take the trouble and the angst of tendering a refutation of his statements, but the passion is just a little like a perverted religious fervour: loving only the Chosen. The idea that the feelings of a BBC journalist about a source hang on the agreement of that source (and the source in this case is just a child) with his own views is such a telling one. As so often Webb just tells it like he is. And that makes it rather like the rest of the BBC's 'science': long on prejudice, short on patient judgement.
Posted by ed thomas at 4:05 PM
Just a couple of items.
One- how sad it is that Mark Steyn is 'working out his notice' at the Daily Telegraph. How short-sighted of the Telegraph. This latest article has an air of a valediction about it. He comments on so much it's as if he were trying somewhat sadly to compress three months' commentary into one article. I don't know how long his contract will take to work out, but I'd guess not too long.
Two, a little poetry. One of my favourite poems from one of my faves John Donne. It's a tad risque, which makes the use of one famous line 'Oh my America, my New Found Land' (which, in mho, in context, is a line of pure genius) as the heading for a cruise liner article just extremely funny. The essence of the poem is why one needn't travel at all when one has it all in front of one, so to speak. Good advice really, at bottom.
Posted by ed thomas at 9:01 AM
Monday, November 28, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
There are many ways to look at history, so it's sad that the dominant model the UK follows is one where the British past is something either embarrassing or shameful. There are many other ways of looking at it, and we should explore them. Why? Not only because we can, but because the enemies of the West thrive on our guilt and our ignorance. They care more about history than we do- they believe they're still living it.
That's why I recommend this essay from Dr Andrew G. Bostom on the American Thinker. It's basically an analysis of history focussed on the role of Islamic factions, dominated by the Ottoman Empire. When you read it carefully you can find numerous Islamic apartheids to completely overshadow the South African one. You can find forms of slavery more profound than the Western one (from a cultural origin, I would argue, which set the scene for and was foundational to the modern slave trade we so abhor in our own history), and a pure relish in sadism which rivals Europe's most shameful episodes. This is the history which the Islamic world has to live down- and guess what, they're proud of it!
I wish people could try for a while and reverse their assumptions about the need to apologise for our own history, and get angry about someone else's. It's crucial to get our historical priorities straight, to recognise the truth the enemy is trying to forget (and make us forget) and the outrageous evil he is trying to emulate. Dr Bostom's article is full of fact and detail which we should perhaps try to memorise- it may help keep the BBC-shameful-Britain-bogeyman at bay, scare off the moonbats and even send a shudder of recognition down Islamofascist spines (yes, yes, I know, an oxymoron to have an Islamofascist with a spine, but there we are).
Posted by ed thomas at 3:44 PM