Saturday, 26 December 2015

Turkish Propaganda on the BBC

Screenshot from the BBC News website. It has ads because I'm currently in New Zealand.
I happened upon the BBC News website again today and was immediately hit with this little gem on their homepage: "Erdogan talks man out of suicide". The Turkish President's Christmas PR stunt had been selected as one of the top three stories on the BBC. Now, without some context, this would bewilder most people. Even if it happened as described and wasn't staged for publicity, it doesn't seem newsworthy. What relevance does it have to anyone? This appears to be straight out of Erdogan's propaganda department: a Christmas good will story so we all think "what a lovely guy he is" as he murders journalists and props up Daesh.

To explain, Turkey has been on Santa's naughty list this year. They shot down a Russian jet, killed a few journalists, invaded Iraq, and are accused of buying stolen Syrian oil from Daesh. Nothing out of the ordinary. Unfortunately for journalistic integrity, if Turkey's image is ruined, it reflects badly on NATO, the EU, Turkish President Erdogan, and the Cold War enthusiasts who still appear to rule the Western world. It makes Russia and Assad look like the good guys, and NATO look like they'll let any backwards country join their alliance if it will annoy Russia. In the language of war: counter measures must be deployed!

Now, we know the BBC are pro-establishment and toe the NATO line on just about everything. They fed us the Iraq War propaganda, and they've denigrated all those who've stood in NATO's way down the years (Gaddafi, Assad, Putin, Julian Assange, etc). If anything threatens the established order, it's a target for the BBC hawks. So when they stick "Erdogan talks man out of suicide" on their homepage, lets just say my lack of surprise was the only thing keeping my eyebrows fastened to my head. I mean, was there really such a lack of news that they made this one of their three main stories? Was there really such a lack of positive news about Turkey that this is the slice of Turkish propaganda they decided to serve us up for Christmas dinner? I guess, with it being Christmas, a good-will story always goes down well, right?

Let's be clear: this "news" was selected to serve a purpose; that being to alter people's opinions of the Turkish President in a positive manner to reinforce the current pro-West, anti-Russia narrative desired by NATO. Let's also remind ourselves that the BBC still isn't a source of unbiased news; and frankly, it's getting worse.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The BBC Is Biased Against Russia

The 2014 Crimean Referendum Ballot.
This blog has often claimed the BBC is biased against Russia, but it hasn't provided many examples. Today, BBC News Bias will provide a blatant example.

Recently, someone told me the Crimean Referendum didn't give the Crimean people a proper choice. They cited a BBC News article called: Crimea referendum: What does the ballot paper say?.

The title sounds clear and straightforward enough. Indeed, if the article stuck to telling readers what was on the ballot with a few appending facts to define terms, it would be a fine example of journalism. Unfortunately, the BBC couldn't resist inserting the opinion of one of their contributors. The opinion is so clearly wrong, semantically and logically, that it highlights their political position.

To begin, the article helpfully explained the 1st option on the referendum ballot, which was to join Russia, followed by the 2nd option, which was "Do you support the restoration of the 1992 Crimean constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?"

What followed was the bizarre opinion that this 2nd option "does not make it clear whether this refers to the original version of the constitution, declaring Crimea an independent state, or the later amended version, in which Crimea was an autonomous republic within Ukraine".

Surely, reading the option again and noting the words "status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine" makes it absolutely clear what it was referring to. How could that ever be interpreted as declaring Crimea independent? It's in plain English!

The intention was to imply the Crimean people had no choice that allowed them to stay in Ukraine. Western nations knew the Crimeans wanted to join Russia, so they did whatever they could to subvert the democratic process that Russia was happy to use to legitimize their takeover. This subversion involved misrepresenting the options on the referendum ballot, and using the media to popularize these myths.

What can we take away from this? That the British government and its media cohorts only support democracy when it suits their interests. There are other examples of bias against Russia, such as the coverage that followed the MH17 plane disaster. BBC News Bias will attempt to provide clear evidence for this, and more recent examples, in the coming months.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

BBC Propaganda Technique #6 - Stacking the Deck

When the BBC conducts a debate in which they want a particular side to win, they'll usually bring in an educated, intelligent, erudite, and well-coached speaker to present their argument. For the other side, they'll bring in a raving lunatic who'll shout, interrupt, and lose the debate before he's even started making his point. I call it "stacking the deck".

It was especially evident before the Scottish referendum when the BBC bombarded us with rowdy "Yes" voters who were hand-picked to alienate the public. The BBC wanted Scotland to vote "No", of course, because that's what the British establishment desired.

A further example appeared on Radio 5 today. Ironically, the topic was BBC bias. The BBC didn't want the public to believe they're biased, so they brought in a calm, cogent, and witty speaker to defend the organisation. For the other side, they gave us a lunatic who writes for a blog called `Biased BBC'. The blog is a cacophony of right-wing cliches in which the BBC is blamed for being pro-Labour, anti-Tory, pro-Obama, anti-Israel, pro-environmentalism, anti-firearm, pro-Muslim, anti-Christian, pro-immigration, anti-monarchy, etc. If you were to jot down a list of what it means to be right-wing, you'd find complaints related to all of it there. In essence, the blog's resident nutters blame the BBC for not being as right-wing as they are. They're the kind of people who think the Telegraph and Daily Mail are impartial.

Sure enough, the radio debate went as planned. The blogger, who I won't name, started calling the BBC a Labour propaganda machine that needs to be privatised (because that'd make them more impartial, right?), and said the public are being "extorted" for the license fee. He said the BBC should have "its throat cut", he nailed his partisan, ideological colours to the mast, and he did exactly what they brought him on there to do: alienate the public. The other guest sat back and wiped the floor with him. Here's the stream. The "debate" starts from about 42 minutes in.

I could have named this post "narrowing the debate" because the type of bias this blogger was talking about doesn't exist. The BBC isn't left-wing or right-wing, they're pro-establishment. They wouldn't dream of letting someone on air who claims the BBC promote the domestic and foreign policy of whichever government is in office, the interests of big business, the objectives of the British and American political and aristocratic elite, a two-party system, and the stifling of real democracy. They wouldn't let such a person mention the agreement made with each government's Secretary of State and the more questionable obligations included in the Royal Charter. That would be too close to the truth.

Instead, they gave us an extremist who was so caught up in his rabid, partisan beliefs that he didn't realise he was being used as a tool to perpetuate the illusion that the BBC can only be biased along the `left vs right' political spectrum. If that's the scope of the debate, then the BBC will always win because they'll always be roughly halfway between the two establishment parties (Labour and the Tories). They're simply not biased in that way. And for the BBC, the unsupported waffling of aggrieved, partisan demagogues who instantly discredit themselves because they can't break free of this unhelpful dichotomy, a welcome shadow is cast over what is really in their interest to hide.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

BBC Burying Story About Anti-Tory Protests

After learning about the anti-government protests in London from a post on Google+ last night, I tried to find a news article about it, but, for some reason, the mainstream media weren't reporting it. Were they burying the story?

This morning, there were occasional references to someone who wrote "Tory scum" on a war memorial, and an apparent desire to tar everyone at the protest with the same brush. This seemed a little biased to me. 

So, I decided it was time to do a little digging. My first stop, as ever, was the BBC News website. Lets just say, I wasn't surprised by what I saw... or rather, what I didn't see:

BBC News Bias - via the BBC News Homepage.

Why would the BBC not give their most popular story a prominent place on their homepage? Apparently, their news editors thought anti-Tory protests deserved as little coverage as possible. The only appearance the story makes is near the bottom of the page on their automatic "most popular" system that, unfortunately for the BBC, exposes their intent to bury a story that is very much in the public interest to read.

The motive for burying the story is presumably to protect the establishment from criticism, and to prevent the protests from getting bigger. As a result, it gets prime coverage from this blogger!

Monday, 22 December 2014

International News Bias on the BBC

Particular countries are often reported on negatively by the BBC. Above are the flags of (top row) Russia, Syria, China, Argentina, Venezuela, (bottom row) Cuba, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran.
Bias in the BBC's international news is consistently blatant. Their pro-establishment position regularly culminates in news reports that support or endorse British foreign policy. As a result, countries that are enemies of Britain are routinely written or talked about in negative ways. Specific tactics used by the BBC include:
  1. A relentless dissemination of unsubstantiated gossip. For example, the Russian doping allegations, or the North Korean leader supposedly feeding his uncle to dogs.
  2. Regular criticism or misquoting of a nation's leadership, such as that against Cristina Fernandez of Argentina or Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. A common tactic is to condemn leaders for mishandling their economy and impoverishing their people. Western sanctions, trade policy, and embargoes are typically dismissed as causes.
  3. Accusations or opinions being reported as facts, such as when the BBC essentially blamed pro-Russian separatists for the MH17 disaster. This appeared to coincide with censorship of contrary views. Another example occurred when a BBC presenter assumed President Assad wouldn't let inspectors into Syria to dispose of chemical weapons. She was proven wrong within weeks.
  4. A tendency to insert the opinions of reporters, commentators, editors, correspondents, and analysts into international news reports. This allows the BBC to present a biased view of events without taking responsibility for it. For example, this article includes an `analysis' by Steve Rosenberg about Russia's economy that uses plenty of effusive metaphor, claims of desperation, and an unsupported prediction that panic will ensue.
  5. A propensity to bury or suppress stories that aren't favorable to British foreign interests. Examples might include the numerous acts of violence committed by Ukrainian fascists, or the atrocities and executions carried out by the new Egyptian government. In both countries, democratic governments were toppled in violent coups but, because Britain supported those outcomes, BBC reports were far from negative and subsequent abuses haven't been reported. Another clear example was the blackout on the Hillary Clinton Benghazi scandal. There were almost no mentions of this event on the BBC website. The only coverage was a blog by the political editor, Mark Mardell, who later had to apologize for the bias he exhibited. Mardell said he'd previously not been "persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little." This is what happens when opinions are presented instead of facts.
  6. Using pejorative or emotive words like `terrorist', `annex', `massacre' and `purge' to bias how the reader or listener interprets events.
  7. Changing the tone of a newsreader or reporter's voice to communicate skepticism, surprise, anger, concern, or another emotion that the BBC wishes the listener to feel in order to bias their interpretation of events.
The purpose of this international news bias is to turn public opinion against particular countries. This makes it easier for the British government to mobilize support for military action or economic sanctions against them. Here are some of the `enemies of Britain' that are reported on negatively by the BBC:
  • Russia opposes the expansion of NATO and the EU into Eastern Europe. They support Syria, Iran, and China, and regularly criticise Western governments.
  • Syria is one of the few remaining countries in the Middle East that hasn't been subjugated by the West. They dislike Israel, and are allied with Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah.
  • Iran threw a Western-supported dictator out of their country in 1979. They also fought against Saddam Hussein in the 1980's (when the West supported him). Perhaps most importantly, Iran has oil that Western countries would like greater control over. They dislike Israel, and are allied with Syria and Russia.
  • North Korea is a communist state and historical enemy of America. Their desire for nuclear weapons makes them a threat to Western interests.
  • Cuba is another communist regime with a history of antagonism towards the West. Their policy of socialized healthcare and education for all inhabitants makes Western corporations and politicians nervous. Thus, a US embargo has been enforced for 50 years to keep the Cuban economy poor.
  • Argentina fought against Britain in the Falklands War. They often speak out against British imperialism.
  • Zimbabwe reclaimed their country from the British aristocracy via Robert Mugabe's 1980 revolution.
  • Venezuela are a socialist country with oil that supports Cuba and other leftist nations.
  • China compete with the West for domination of trade and resources. They're also a largely communist state.
Note: Even if some of these countries are justifiably criticised at times, that doesn't excuse the biased reporting against them.

Other countries that receive criticism for being leftist include Bolivia, Ecuador, Laos, and Vietnam. However, it's important to remember that the BBC isn't right-wing. Leftist countries are simply more of a threat to the establishment than right-wing or fascist regimes.

Alignment between the BBC's international news and British foreign policy is glaring. As explained before, this is largely because the BBC is pro-establishment. However, there are a couple of other factors:
  1. Foreign policy changes little from one government to the next. This makes the BBC's international news bias especially consistent. It also allows them to be more blatant, as the public are already receptive to the desired narrative. 
  2. The British public and other independent observers are less able to verify events that are happening abroad. This gives the BBC greater license to manipulate the story.
Taken together, these factors make international news the greatest source of bias on the BBC. Unless their pro-establishment position changes, BBC broadcasts will continue to foster hatred for particular countries and, thus, lay the foundations for future wars. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The BBC isn't Left-Wing or Right-Wing, it's Pro-Establishment

Why choose when you can cater for both Labour (left) and the Conservatives (right)?

How many times have you heard someone say "the BBC is left-wing" or "the BBC is right-wing"? There are two reasons why hearing this drives me up the wall. First, both accusations are equally wrong (see below). Second, accusations like this mask the true bias of the BBC; a bias that is more insidious and dangerous than anything a conspicuously partisan institution could advance.

To understand why the the BBC has no left or right-wing agenda, we need a quick summary of how the organisation works:
  1. The existence of the BBC is guaranteed by a Royal Charter, which formally grants them the right to demand a license fee from the British public. Even though Royal Charters require the Queen's seal of approval, it's invariably the British government that proposes their granting or removal. 
  2. The government is able to change the value of the license fee. It can also change how funding is distributed to the BBC's various services.
  3. As well as following the terms of the Charter, the BBC must uphold an agreement with the current Secretary of State in order to keep broadcasting. This agreement on the `functions' of the organisation has previously been used to insert political ideology into BBC coverage, such as the 1988-94 media blackout on Northern Irish republicanism. 
These details are important for understanding how and why the BBC is biased. If it became politically worthwhile, the British government could dissolve the organisation or starve it of funding. In other words, it's in the BBC's interest to keep the government happy.

This pursuit of unrequited happiness would be easy if there wasn't an election every five years that routinely installs a new government with a new set of ideological goals. Thus, while the BBC remains consistent in its will to accommodate the political class, they're unable to adopt a permanent political position. If they were right-wing, a Labour government (leftist) would cut their funding or take them off the air. If they were left-wing, the Conservatives would do the same. Even if the BBC could change the direction of their bias every five years (and they do to some extent), anything beyond mild or subtle bias towards whichever party is in charge would be condemned by the opposition and punished at a later date.

How is the BBC Biased? 


The BBC must cater for anyone that has (or will have) the power to take it off the air. This means Labour and the Conservatives. Both of these mainstream political parties share a lot of views, policies, and agendas, giving the BBC plenty of room to bias their reporting in a consistent way. This pro-establishment bias motivates them to:
  1.  Promote and support only those parties that have a chance of winning an election, i.e. Labour and the Conservatives. They will occasionally promote other parties, such as UKIP, if it helps to preserve the status quo (read more about that here).
  2. Give almost no coverage to smaller parties or movements seeking to change the current political climate. If smaller parties are mentioned, they're referred to as "protest votes" to make it seem like there's no genuine reason to vote for them besides being temporarily disenfranchised with your natural position in the Labour or Conservative camp.
  3. Preserve the status quo by limiting the spectrum of political discourse to that which is expounded by the mainstream parties. 
  4. Make disagreement between the mainstream parties seem more overblown than it is in order to reinforce the charade of democracy.
  5. Disseminate positive propaganda for anything that is supported by both mainstream parties, such as wars (e.g. Iraq War), opposition to Scottish Independence, corporate interests, and the demands of wealthy individuals. 
  6. Restrict coverage of information that is not favorable to these objectives.
  7. Cover the Royal Family in a way that can only be described as sycophantically positive. Claim to be doing this because of some obligation to be patriotic, rather than the existence of the Royal Charter. This extends to the British aristocracy as a whole, leading to obscenely negative coverage of countries like Zimbabwe.
  8. Produce international news that supports British foreign policy. As foreign policy changes little from one government to the next, BBC bias on this matter is consistently blatant. For example, countries like Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Venezuela, China, and Cuba are routinely the subject of negative news stories, unsubstantiated gossip, and biased reporting that is intended to shape public opinion in a way that furthers British international interests. Even if some of the stories have an element of truth, the public requires honest reporting, not government propaganda.
In summary, there are plenty of ways for the BBC to be biased without being ostensibly right or left-wing. A brief look at their state obligations, funding arrangements, and reporting style is enough to expose them as pro-establishment. As alluded to earlier, this form of bias is more dangerous than any conspicuously partisan position. Everyone is affected equally by the erosion of democracy, the hindrance of change, the preservation of corruption, and the antagonism fostered around the world by British foreign policy.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Anti-NHS Propaganda on the BBC

The National Health Service. Public Domain Image.

If you've been living in Britain since the Conservative Party came to power in 2010, then you've probably heard a lot about how terrible the National Health Service (NHS) is. Whether your poison of choice is the TV, radio, or a newspaper, the fight to turn the British people against the NHS has been a long and determined one. This propaganda war has been largely unsuccessful, but that hasn't stopped the government from persistently trying to lay the groundwork for privatization of a much loved public service. In particular, the media arm of the government, known as the BBC, has been prolific in disseminating anti-NHS propaganda.

For example, BBC Radio 5 Live releases near-daily stories in which critics or complainants are given an opportunity to lambast the NHS in one way or another. Many or all of the complaints are quite genuine. However, the BBC's unrestrained willingness to meet their propaganda quota by giving every complainant airtime is truly unsavory. Due to the sheer plethora of radio segments that fall into this category, a significant number have made it onto youtube, so here's a couple for your amusement:

In the above video, the BBC starts with one of their favorite arguments: that the NHS try to silence whistleblowers. However, in most professions, if an employee publicly accuses their colleagues of being lazy, unproductive, and obstinate, it will result in some sort of disciplinary action. This escapes the BBC radio host, who then makes the bewildering claim that "the comments really apply to the public sector". What a remarkably transparent attempt to forgive, justify, and agree with the comments without any evidence. I bet she earned some brownie points with her bosses though.

Of course, the first guest on the show agrees with the comments fully and adds to them. The second guest nails it when he says "you don't hear about the good stories" but stops short of accusing the BBC of bias. Despite this belated defense, the story at hand is focused on criticizing the service, and all the host's questions for the defender are accusatory or negatively worded, e.g. at 4:35 - "Isn't it all too easy for someone who is lazy to hide in this giant machine, and it's very difficult to get them out of their job because of unions like yours, perhaps?". I like how she checked her bias after the question by saying "perhaps". The question gets repeated in the same ridiculous tone at 8:38 for no good reason.

The next video is interesting mainly for the way it starts. It seems this radio host recognizes how much she's been told to run stories about the NHS, saying "lets talk about that again". What follows is a story in which the first handpicked comment about the issue is that it's "absolutely scandalous".

Only today, I tuned in and heard Adrian Chiles running a segment about how mental health services in the NHS aren't good enough. I listen for less than 2 hours in any 24 hour period, but I hear the same thing almost every day. The only conclusion I can draw is that there's a chief editor at the BBC who's been explicitly told to get these stories on air.

There will be complaints with every service, public or private, and the NHS is no exception. The concern is with how complaints are being used to further an ideological, political agenda. The government's objective is to make the case for privatization of the NHS, presumably so they can give lucrative contracts to Conservative Party supporters. They appear to be doing this in two ways:
  1. Using the BBC and other media allies to bombard the public with negative propaganda about the NHS by giving every complaint or criticism a disproportionate amount of coverage.
  2. Starving the NHS of funding so they can make it fail. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy that puts thousands of lives at risk.
BBC bias against the NHS is as old as the current government, and while that isn't surprising, it's quite telling. Thankfully, most of the public haven't succumbed to the propaganda. Support for the NHS remains reasonably high and, if we last six more months (to the next election), the propaganda war may come to an end. The new suits in charge will probably be just as corrupt as the current ones, but hopefully they'll have different objectives.

Friday, 21 November 2014

BBC Bias Towards UKIP - Establishing A Controlled Opposition

Nigel Farage. Picture: Euro Realist Newsletter via Wikimedia Commons.

The BBC aren't known for their support of the UK Independence Party. A case could even be made for them being quite critical of UKIP. However, the volume of coverage given to UKIP and its leader, Nigel Farage, by the BBC has been excessive. Along with other mainstream media, they have ensured that everyone in the United Kingdom knows about UKIP, Farage, and their anti-immigration policy. Farage has become a celebrity, and the party has become a cultural phenomenon with daily mentions on BBC comedy shows. The question on everyone's lips should be: why? Did the Green Party or the Respect Party not warrant this coverage? Why was UKIP chosen as the new voice of opposition?

After the financial collapse in 2008, tensions began to rise against the establishment. Many people stopped trusting their political and financial institutions. Others simply followed the trend, making it fashionable to rebel against Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats. Without swift action, the establishment parties would have been be turfed out, and the institutions they prop up would have been severely threatened. Something had to be done and, as is typical, the media became the tool of choice. In all likelihood, the BBC were asked to:
  1. Ensure that anti-establishment sentiment isn't channeled into movements that could actually threaten the establishment.
  2. Promote a new political party that shifts blame for the financial crisis away from the political and financial establishment.
The result was UKIP; a party that blames immigration for our troubles. This was no surprise. Any social scientist or historian could tell you that hard times lead to xenophobia and hatred of outsiders. Just look at how sentiment in Germany changed in the 1920's and 30's after the disastrous Treaty of Versailles. UKIP represents a contemporary harnessing of temporary xenophobia in order to set up an anti-establishment movement that actually does nothing to threaten the establishment.

In terms of political and financial reform, UKIP offer nothing. In fact, they may be more extreme than the Conservatives when it comes to deregulation and maintaining the status quo. All UKIP offer is withdrawal from the EU and stricter immigration laws: an essentially irrelevant issue, but one which is inflated in the minds of a temporarily xenophobic public. People are flocking to UKIP because they're looking for something different. However, their good intentions are being channeled into an establishment-sanctioned party that mobilizes their baser instincts.

UKIP is a controlled opposition. Parties that offer real change, such as the Greens, are being excluded from media coverage. This was no more evident than in the BBC's decision to invite UKIP, but not the Green Party, to the televised election debates. More than a quarter of a million people signed a petition to get the Greens included, but this was ignored by the mainstream broadcasters. When have TV companies ever turned down a quarter of a million potential viewers? Are the political and financial establishment compensating them for it?

Democracy is not served by a leaders' debate between four former public schoolboys of similar ages, from similar backgrounds, with largely similar views on political and financial reform (or lack thereof). Democratically, there is a much bigger argument to include Natalie Bennett (the Green Party) in the TV debates than there is to include Nigel Farage. UKIP is essentially the Conservative party with slightly more extreme views, and a temporarily popular xenophobic message. In fact, UKIP are careful not to talk about their other policies because, if they did, people would realize they're almost no different to the mainstream parties.

The Greens offer more of an alternative than UKIP. Image by Another Angry Voice.
The Green Party represent the `new left' in politics, fighting for political reform, financial regulation, social mobility, renewable energy, and public services. That is why they're a danger to the establishment. That is why democracy would be served by including them in the debates and giving them as much coverage as UKIP.  Even if you disagree with their policies, most would agree that left-wing views need to be represented if Britain is to have a healthy democracy. Many would agree that, since Tony Blair, Labour no longer represents the left.

The BBC have a public duty to be impartial, but they've repeatedly shown their bias towards establishment interests. Whether it's by marginalizing smaller parties, promoting British foreign policy regarding attitudes towards Russia, Syria, Iran, Argentina, and Zimbabwe, or by sycophantically supporting the British royal family, the BBC are a tool for private, not public, interests. These are the interests of big money corporations, banks, and wealthy individuals - interests that are promoted by politicians and packaged by the mainstream media.

Monday, 16 June 2014

BBC News Bias - Headline Propaganda and Story Selection

A look at the BBC News homepage on June 16th, 2014. Included are mock comments from a fictional chief editor at the BBC to the website editor. The comments concern the choice and content of the news stories, images and headlines.

BBC News Bias

Sunday, 17 November 2013

BBC Propaganda Technique #5: Answering Your Own Questions

Recently, the British government was pushing hard for war with Syria. In order to convince the British public before a major vote in parliament, news shows were busy making the case for intervention. This propaganda war ultimately failed. The people weren't convinced, and the politicians were forced to concede defeat.

Nevertheless, the campaign for war provided some glaring examples of BBC bias. In this BBC Newsnight video, you can see Victoria Derbyshire pushing for war at the government's behest. It's worth skipping forward 54 seconds because, at this point, she simply can't take it anymore. She starts answering her own questions in order to meet her propaganda quota.

From 0:54, the Turkish Foreign Minister is talking about how he hopes Syria will allow chemical weapons inspectors to investigate the recently publicized attack. Astoundingly, Victoria Derbyshire interjects with this opinionated gem: "President Assad is not going to let them anywhere near there." The Minister explains that it's a test to see if Assad will comply. Derbyshire responds: "He doesn't care if he fails your test. He doesn't need to listen to you." She then continues to answer her own question: "He may allow them in 6 months or 10 months, but he's not going to allow them this week when they need to get there."

How could Victoria Derbyshire know what Assad was going to do? Is she a diplomat? An ambassador? Or does she just have an agenda to fulfill? Her blatant effort to convince the British public that the only option was to intervene in Syria was, quite frankly, disgusting. Within weeks, her assumptions about Syria were proven wrong. Assad let the inspectors in, and he signed a deal to remove chemical weapons from his country. So why was this "journalist" trying to convince people that the opposite will happen?

Later in the video, she attempts to cast doubt on the effectiveness of diplomacy; incredulously saying, "Another statement condemning him?" as if military intervention was the only answer. Then, she asks him to elaborate on his remark about a "coalition of the willing" because that term was used in the Iraq War for a military alliance. Indeed, from 3:30, she is clearly goading him into presenting that as an alternative.

Her efforts were transparent and laughable, but this wasn't the first time that Victoria Derbyshire had presented a biased news show about Syria. Her regular pissing-post is as a radio presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live, and in one of her radio "debates", all of the speakers were in favor of Western intervention. In fact, I only found the above video after searching for that biased, one-sided debate. Anyway, the point is that her pro-government radio bias is presumably why she got her `big break' on television soon after.

The BBC toes the government line on every foreign policy issue from Russia to Argentina (see earlier post). Its purpose is to the convince the British public that what the government wants to do is right. There has never been a clearer definition of propaganda; or a clearer example than the exploits of Victoria Derbyshire.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

BBC Propaganda Technique #4: Misleading By Misquoting

The latest enemy of the British government for the BBC to mislead the public about is Cristina Fernandez, the President of Argentina. In their propaganda piece, entitled Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez criticises `elite' you might expect to find a quotation in which Ms. Fernandez actually uses the word elite. You would be mistaken.

The intent is to suggest that Argentina's president is a raging leftie who discriminates against the upper class and uses pejorative terms like elite to describe them.

UPDATE: A complaint was sent to the BBC. Three days later, and long after the article had fallen from the headlines, the quotation marks were removed. The following reply was issued: "Our reader has a point and I have now removed the quotation marks from the story. In her interview, Cristina Fernandez referred to "privileged sectors in Argentina," saying they have done well in history, kept the lion's share and wanted the country to go back to a time when workers were poorly paid. I used ELITE simply as shorthand to "privileged sectors". But our reader is right to point out that there should be no quotation marks around a word the president didn't actually use.

Note that the BBC retained their biased interpretation of what Cristina Fernandez said. Elite is typically a pejorative term for the rich, and its use would suggest prejudice. Her actual words "privileged sectors in Argentina" refer to companies that have received an advantage via slack legislation. This is a legitimate concern.

The misleading quotation marks and biased use of the word elite are no surprise when considering the tension between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. The BBC has a tendency to toe the government line on every foreign policy issue from Zimbabwe to Syria, and this is no exception.

The article ends with further slander. For example, the sentence "protesters have taken to the streets to denounce widespread corruption" could easily imply there is widespread corruption to protest about, rather than it being an unproven accusation by those particular protesters. The subtitle "Financial Meltdown" is a peculiar claim as well because the only evidence presented is a passing comment about high inflation. Will the BBC refer to one of the many under-performing areas of the British economy as evidence for a financial meltdown? I doubt it. In Argentina's case it is meant to paint the Argentinian leader as incompetent. The same tactic was used by the BBC against Robert Mugabe (see earlier post).

Undoubtedly, the BBC will continue to denigrate enemies of the British government with bias and propaganda. In response, this blog will continue to pose the question of how these `journalists' (pun intended) can sleep at night.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

BBC Propaganda Technique #3: Elevating a Story

Occasionally, the BBC will elevate a story into the headlines that has no right being there. This was the case on August 4th 2013 with the news that Robert Mugabe had won another election in Zimbabwe. To understand why this story was deemed palatable for mass consumption, one need only read the rest of the headline: "Robert Mugabe re-elected amid fraud claims". The sole purpose of the headline was to foster unease, skepticism, and dislike for Robert Mugabe (pictured). It was BBC propaganda.

When the election was ongoing, there was almost no interest at all, and if the other candidate had won, there would have been no coverage now (fraud claims or not). Yet, despite African Union observers saying the election was fair, the BBC decided to make this their big story.

The BBC's anti-Mugabe bias is no secret. In 2002 they produced a propaganda film calling him a mass murderer. When Mugabe's regime was in economic turmoil in 2007 following strict EU sanctions, the BBC blamed Mugabe for being an inept leader. The same tactic has been used against Castro in the American media. The BBC's anti-Mugabe slant angered the Zimbabwean leader so much that he banned them from operating in the country.

The reason for the bias isn't a secret either. Zimbabwe used to be a British colony, which means a large number of the British ruling class used to make a lot of money from sucking resources out of the country. This ended when Robert Mugabe gave Zimbabwe back to the people. He is a hero to many in Africa, and no matter how much the BBC tries to paint him as a ruthless dictator, this will always be the case. 

Getting back on point, the BBC has long been a servile supporter of the British aristocracy, as evidenced by their sycophantic coverage of anything to do with the British royal family or Lady Thatcher. For obvious reasons, the left-wing facade of the BBC doesn't extend to denigrating the people with the power to take them off air. Thus, the reason the BBC has been spawning anti-Mugabe propaganda, and elevating these stories to be consumed en masse by a largely disinterested public, is because the British ruling class have told them to.