I've posted before examining the pretty shameless ignorance and bias in the BBC's coverage of the presidential election. It is clear that all the the BBC Washington-based reporters Matt Frei and Justin Webb are doing, and have been doing for months, is regurgitating what the US Networks decide is important.
There are a couple of current major stories which those networks are deliberately ignoring and which Frei and Webb therefore ignore as well. I think both British license fee payers and Americans need to forget the idea - which is especially popular with Democrat Americans - that the BBC is somehow superior to the justifiably maligned US media in covering US politics, when in reality they have been reduced to being just another part of the 'beltway' circus.
[Here's their main elections page]
On April 20th, the New York Times published an expose of how the Bush administration had a program of paid-by-the-government, Pentagon-approved "military analysts" to appear on TV to help sell the invasion of Iraq, and then put a positive spin on the occupation. Propagandists in other words.
"Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse - an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks," the newspaper said.This is a good video excerpt.
Due to their refusal to comment, there's reason to believe the TV Networks were actually in on it. The analysts were sold as objective but were far from it. Not for nothing has the expose of this major propaganda operation been compared to the release of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.
Hillary Clinton said it raises questions of "credibility and trust at the Pentagon", Barack Obama was "deeply disturbed" that the administration "sought to manipulate the public's trust." A Senate investigation has started.
Needless to say the story got absolutely no mention anywhere on those same networks, Fox News, CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC, nor in newspapers.
Nor on the BBC.
As Arianna Huffington put it;
This near-complete blackout imposed by the culpable news organizations is a despicable abdication of their central role in our society.Said Glenn Greenwald at Salon:
Do I need to spell out how the use of propaganda in relation to misrepresenting the 'surge' might be of interest to the BBC's UK audience, given our Iraq presence and how tied it is to American actions?
Whatever one's views are on the media's proper role and its obligations to its viewers and readers (if any), this is a major story by any measure. These media outlets were either duped by the Bush administration and their own sources into feeding government war propaganda to their audience, or were knowingly complicit in doing that.The fact that they simply refuse to account for their behavior -- hiding behind "no comment" walls of obfuscation or issuing cursory, empty statements -- demonstrates rather conclusively that they are in the business of doing everything except revealing relevant news to their audience. It's really the height of hubris, and unmistakable proof of their core corruption, that not even a front-page, lengthy NYT expose can cause them to address their central, ongoing role in uncritically disseminating government propaganda about the weightiest of matters.
The next campaign issue ignored by the BBC is the endless recycling of the Rev. Wright story and how this will affect the selection of the next American President - again, not something irrelevant to UK license fee payers - Vs. the complete silence over McCain's own "crazy preachers". There are several of them. You will have heard and seen Rev. Wright's "god damn America" on the BBC. You won't have seen either Rev. Falwell or Rev. Pat Robertson blaming 9/11 on America's "sins" or the others Reverands.
One is Rev. Hagee, a truly loony fundamentalist whose endorsement McCain sought, was "glad to have" and has refused to disown.
- Hagee thinks poor people should be left to "starve".
- Hagee thinks the Catholic Church is "The Great Whore".
- Hagee thinks "New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that."
- Hagee thinks "The End Times - Rapture - is imminent and the U.S. Government must do what it can to hasten it, which at minimum requires: (a) a war with Iran and (b) undying, absolute support for a unified Israel, including all Occupied Territories."
Here's a Montage of McCain's Reverends.
None of this is being replayed endlessly on US TV news. Therefore the BBC isn't telling us about Hagee et al. Most shockingly, even when McCain was, finally, asked about Hagee's attacks on catholics (because they'd understandably kicked up a fuss) on Network news - he's keeping the endorsement - the BBC didn't mention it.
The difference with Rev. Wright? These are white preachers who don't throw their arms around and yell in a way which the likes of the BBC's Justin Webb admit to having difficulty 'relating' to and which the American media is refusing to focus on, whilst Wright has now been a huge story for two months.
As Frank Rich explains in today's New York Times, there is a word for the sort of hypocritical double-standards we're seeing in US media coverage of the election - it's racism. And the BBC is unquestioningly bringing it to you.