Friday, September 09, 2005

Britain - BBC: Creating Authority Where None Exists

The BBC has many tricks up its sleeve when it comes to bias. Sometimes they don't even bother to hide it, as in their coverage of the Katrina disaster.

Other times they are so arrogant they just throw it in your face, as in Justin Webb's famous quote.

America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge.

I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture, and that picture is in many respects a true one.

Sometimes they are more subtle and use stealth editing to go back and change a bias they've been caught out in. Other times it's bias by omission - leaving out important information - so as to make the story mean the opposite of the truth.

There is another bias trick the BBC uses that goes largely unnoticed - except by bloggers. That trick is creating authority where none exists.

Take this BBC article where they make the claim that there are splits in Bush's administration over Iraq. What's there proof?

And in a sign of splits emerging within Mr Bush's party, a senior Republican senator, Chuck Hagel, has said publicly that the war in Iraq is starting to look like that in Vietnam.

In one fell swoop the BBC just promoted Chuck Hagel for as Powerline points out:

What exactly makes Chuck Hagel a "leading Republican senator"? Not seniority; he is a second-termer. Not any official responsibilities; Hagel is not a member of the Senate leadership, nor does he chair a Senate committee. Not legislative accomplishment or influence; Hagel has little noteworthy legislation to his name, and is more often an eccentric voice--e.g., in his call for reinstatement of the draft--than an influence on his fellow Senators.

Scott catches veteran BBC reporter John Simpson elevating far leftist, Juan Cole, to "respected US authority on the Middle East". Cole is nothing of the sort and Scott fisks Simpson good or it.

Snippet but read the whole thing:

Following the London bombings in July, Cole dazzled his readers by proclaiming with the utmost authority that “Britain's South Asian Muslim community is almost certainly not the origin of this attack.” Whoops.

Cole has been caught out at various times misrepresenting people, from falsely accusing a former Reagan official of “urging the nuking of Mecca” to claiming that the 9/11 commission had implicated Ariel Sharon's policies as an impetus to the 9/11 attacks. He's even gone so far as to misrepresent himself, altering his pre-war position on Iraq after the fact.


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