BBC goes the extra mile to pretend that Islam had nothing to do with yesterday’s murder spree in Kenya

We know the facts:  Gunmen invaded a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that is primarily frequented by Westerners.  By the end of the attack, at least 39 people had been murdered and 150 injured.  There may still be hostages.  An African Muslim group called Al-Shabaab announced soon after the attack that this was intended to be a targeted attack against non-Muslims.  Lest anyone be unclear about this concept, it spelled it out:  “Only Kuffar were singled out for this attack. All Muslims inside #Westgate were escorted out by the Mujahideen before beginning the attack.”

Funnily enough, the BBC, which still clings to its reputation as a news service, failed to get Al-Shabaab’s memorandum.  When the inimitable Zombie went to check out the BBC’s coverage, the BBC turned out to have tuned out Islam from its reporting:

The BBC’s lead story this afternoon was almost a study in journalistic malfeasance: an archetypal example of how left-leaning Western journalists will violate their own consciences — and the basic principles of reporting — in their relentless quest to hide the truth.

 Such bias happens every day, and complaints about it happen just as often, but the sheer volume and speed of partisan reporting makes it difficult to highlight a single example. Even so, let’s pause for just a moment and dissect this typical specimen of ideological media spin.

The article under discussion can be found here — at least for now. Since media outlets often delete articles which they later find embarrassing, I can’t guarantee it will be online forever, so to preserve the evidence I took a screenshot, which you can see here.

[snip]

Right off the bat, even in the headline itself, the BBC commits a litany of egregious and inexcusable journalistic errors.

The first and most obvious blunder is the missing subject. Who did what? Well, according the the BBC, an entity called a “shoot-out” committed mass murder in Nairobi. Note how there are no human actors in the headline. It wasn’t people who killed 11, it was an inanimate and leaderless “shoot-out” that killed 11.

This is a basic grammatical snafu which even freshmen journalism students quickly learn to avoid. But not the BBC, apparently.

On a second, more subtle, level, use of the word “shoot-out” implies that there were two equal combatants involved, and that therefore blame can be spread around to everyone. But as we know, it wasn’t at first a “shoot-out” — it was a group of terrorists massacring unarmed non-Muslims. (Only much later, after police arrived, did it devolve into a shoot-out.)

Since the BBC has been one of the world’s leading media outlets for nearly a century, and in previous generations set the global standard for news-writing guidelines, they have absolutely no excuse for writing a headline like that — they can’t claim “We’re new at this kind of thing” or “We’re just bloggers — cut us some slack.” No. The BBC literally wrote the book on how to write proper headlines. And if they write a poor headline like this, it must be on purpose.

I urge you to read Zombie’s entire post, just so you know how the Left lies to people.

To appreciate the scope of its egregiously misleading excuse for journalism, imagine if, when Hitler’s troops invaded Poland, jump-starting WWII, the BBC headline had been “Scattered German Troops Engage Some Polish Citizens In Battle.”

Sending coals to Newcastle

Sadie gave me the heads-up about a new State Department initiative (on your taxpayer dime, of course):

The BBC World Service is to receive a “significant” sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China.

In what the BBC said is the first deal of its kind, an agreement is expected to be signed later this month that will see US state department money – understood to be a low six-figure sum – given to the World Service to invest in developing anti-jamming technology and software.

The funding is also expected to be used to educate people in countries with state censorship in how to circumnavigate the blocking of internet and TV services.

The logistics of this make sense.  As the article goes on to say, the BBC already has a significant presence in these regions.  However, given that the BBC is as anti-American, anti-capitalist, antisemitic, and anti-Israel as the repressive countries in which it is now about to enhance its presence, I can’t help but feel that we, the taxpayers, are being asked to pay to bring coals to Newcastle.

BBC religious program to be headed by a Muslim

Right now, Church of England officials are upset that the BBC’s religious programming department (which is, apparently, a very important department) is going to be headed up by a practicing Muslim.  It is unclear whether he got the position as a result of political correctness or employment mandates, but there he is.  Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we’ll have to wait and see whether Aaqil Ahmed carries out his new assignment with admirable even handedness — or not.  One wonders, though, what recourse there will be if the latter proves to be the case.

And now for something completely different….

You all remember how, at the MTV awards, Russell Brand, a British comedian who was completely unknown to Americans went on a wild anti-Bush rant, with a few jabs at religious people, as well.  If you don’t recall, let me refresh your recollection:

If his aim was to be noticed by America, Russell Brand more than achieved his goal last night as he ranted that President Bush was a “retarded cowboy” while hosting the MTV awards.

The British comedian, who is a virtual unknown in America, left the crème of the music world stunned as he championed Barack Obama, ran down George Bush and made lewd jokes about the Christian pop band Jonas Brothers.

I’m happy to report that Russell Brand has finally gone just a wee bit too far, and he’s taken a chunk of the BBC down with him.  Here’s the story:

Jonathan Ross is a BBC radio host who pulls in a seven figure a year (in pounds) annual salary.  He had Russell Brand as a guest on his pre-recorded radio show.  Brand was also on the BBC pay roll, earning something in the low six figures (in pounds) annually.

These two boys arranged to have an interview with Andrew Sachs.  For those of you who are not afficienados of classic British comedy from the 1970s, this name may not mean anything to you.  But for anyone who has ever watched Fawlty Towers, you’ll instantly connect him with Manuel, the charmingly incompetent Spanish waiter, who never mastered English.

Andrew Sachs (who escaped Nazi Germany in 1938) is now a 78 year old man and, significantly for this story, a grandfather.  His granddaughter, who is a Goth performer, once dated Russell Brand.

Brand and Ross thought it would be too, too funny, as a sort of preparation for the Sachs interview, to call and leave a series of increasingly obscene messages on Sachs’ answering machine.  The BBC thought the messages were pretty damned funny, and allowed this pre-recorded show to be aired.  Here’s a taste of Brand’s and Ross’ humor:

Brand: I said Andrew Sachs! Look Andrew Sachs I have got respect for you and your lineage and your progeny, never let that be questioned.

Ross: Don’t hint.

Brand: I weren’t hinting! Why did that come across as a hint?

Ross: Because you know what you did.

Brand: That wasn’t a hint.

Ross: He f***ed your granddaughter! [laughter in the studio]

[snip]

Brand: [singing] I’d like to apologise for the terrible attacks, Andrew Sachs, I would like to show contrition to the max, Andrew Sachs. I would like to create world peace, between the yellow, white and blacks, Andrew Sachs, Andrew Sachs. I said something I didn’t have oughta, like I had sex with your granddaughter. But it was consensual and she wasn’t menstrual, it was consensual lovely sex. It was full of respect I sent her a text, I’ve asked her to marry me, Andrew Sachs.

Ross: This has made it worse, you have trivialised the whole incident.

Brand: Hang up, hang up! It’s trivialised it!

[snip]

Ross: No. I’ve got a better idea  –  let’s both put on striped shirts and break into his house, merely to delete the answerphone message  –  let’s see what happens. What could go wrong?

Brand: Nothing. Literally, nothing could go wrong as we smash our way into Andrew Sachs’s house.

Ross: No. No, we break in like cat burglars tonight when he’s in bed.

Brand: ‘Yes, while he sleeps.

Ross: …and go up to the pillow to kiss him to say sorry.
Brand: Kiss him up and down his body apologising, drench him in gin.

Ross: M********e him to say sorry. Make him feel better.

(bursts out laughing)

Brand: ‘So sorry, Andrew Sachs, this will make up for it. Go on finish it, into the palm of my hand. Good girl for uncle daddy, good girl for uncle daddy. (Laughs) There we go, what a show it’s been.

Ross: What’s that noise I hear? Ah, it’s a Sony Award coming your way.

Although Ross, Brand and the BBC standards department clearly thought this was good-humored fun for all, the British public, showing that all decency hasn’t been fully leeched away by a politically correct mindset that forces the abandonment of moral standards, went ballistic.  The BBC was deluged with more than 27,000 angry calls, letters and emails.  The Daily Mail (my favorite British rag) received over 5,500 emails on the subject, with more than 4,000 of them registering complaints.  You can get a taste of that here.

Even the BBC can’t withstand that kind of pressure (and that is a good reminder for those of us contemplating the coming “bipartisan” era of a completely Democratic government that may not be subject to any Republican braking mechanisms, such as filibusters.)  Heads have begun rolling:  Russell Brand has resigned, Jonathan Ross’s job is on the line (and the complaints against him are in full flood), and the BBC has been publicly exposed (again) as a moral vacuum.

But even that’s not the worst of it.  The worst of it is that Sachs’ granddaughter has delivered the ultimate insult:

In a frank interview with The Sun, Miss Baillie described how Brand was a flop in the bedroom, despite his reputation as a lothario.

Revealing that she slept with the star after their ‘lavish’ first date, she said: ‘ I’m not going to go into detail about what happened there although I’m obviously no shrinking violet.

‘I will only say he’s a disappointment in the bedroom considering he has had so much practice’.

She also said that Brand was ‘clean freak’ and would ask her to use mouthwash before she kissed him.

The details of the affair will heap more public humiliation on Brand, who has always been proud of his ladies’ man image.

Remember, folks:  In the entertainment world, you can do drugs (as Brand did), you can get arrested, you can solicit sex from prostitutes, you can insult America, you can have a completely psychotic episode — and you will be the recipient of tearful support from everyone, including Oprah.  But you can’t be bad in bed!  In an industry completely founded on sexuality, the discovery that Brand is a failure in the bedroom is the ultimate ignominy.  He’s through, folks.

How to say “I’m a coward” in 98 words

The director of the BBC has finally admitted that, yes, of course the BBC treats Islam with unusual deference.  Mark Thompson offers a 98 word defense of the BBC’s un-evenhanded approach:

‘My view is that there is a difference between the position of Christianity, which I believe should be central to the BBC’s religion coverage and widely respected and followed.

‘What Christian identity feels like to the broad population is a little bit different to people for whom their religion is also associated with an ethnic identity which has not been fully integrated.

‘There’s no reason why any religion should be immune from discussion, but I don’t want to say that all religions are the same. To be a minority I think puts a slightly different outlook on it.’

Right.

Ben Elton, a comedian who took umbrage at the BBC’s oh-so-PC censorship, had a different take on the matter (emphasis mine):

‘I think it all starts with people nodding whenever anybody says, ‘As a person of faith …’,’ he said.

‘And I believe that part of it is due to the genuine fear that the authorities and the community have about provoking the radical elements of Islam,” he said.

‘There’s no doubt about it, the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass. They might pretend that it’s, you know, something to do with their moral sensibilities, but it isn’t. It’s because they’re scared. I know these people.’

It’s not the story; it’s the story about the story

Honest Reporting captured the first spin that the BBC put on the terrible story of the latest massacre in Israel (a Palestinian versus Israelis, of course) — and, as always, it was Israel who was spun as the brutal aggressor.  Orwell clearly understood something in the British psyche when he wrote 1984 — or, more accurately, he understood how socialism has always recognized that facts are meaningless, and outcomes are everything.

Autres temps, autres moeurs

I watched a pretty good movie last night, that was very pro-military; that showed the Iraqi military as being inefficient; and that showed Iraqis as being unbelievably brutal, both in terms of mob violence and in terms of the military’s and the secret police’s capacity for sadistic torture.  Surprisingly, it was made by the BBC.

Okay, now I’ll let you in on a few secrets to explain this weird anomaly, which has the BBC making a pro-military, anti-Iraqi movie.  It’s all in the timing.  The movie was Bravo Two Zero, and it was made in 1999 about an SAS unit that got trapped behind enemy lines during the first Gulf War, in 1991.  In other words, before fanatical Bush Derangement Syndrome took over the world, it was okay to concede that the Iraqis were capable of gross brutality and that Western military service could be carried out by honorable and humane men.

As it’s based on a true story, it’s a worthwhile movie for the Gitmo, waterboarding and Abu Ghraib crowd to watch, if only to get a sense of perspective.

There was sex, just no rape

The BBC presenter who was charged with rape was acquitted, when the judge concluded that there was no evidence of anything other than rough consensual sex (aided by admitted illegal drug use).  The whole thing is sordid, sordid, sordid, and still stands for the principle I advanced when I first mentioned the trial, which is that the media is every bit as bad as Iowahawk said it is (using tried and true NY Times statistical techniques).

Teaching kids at the BBC

I got intrigued by the BBC children’s website when I read at Power Line how that website described 9/11:

The way America has got involved in conflicts in regions like the Middle East has made some people very angry, including a group called al-Qaeda – who are widely thought to have been behind the attacks.

In the past, al-Qaeda leaders have declared a holy war – called a jihad – against the US. As part of this jihad, al-Qaeda members believe attacking US targets is something they should do.

When the attacks happened in 2001, there were a number of US troops in a country called Saudi Arabia, and the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, said he wanted them to leave.

That’s what children all over the English speaking world are reading if they naively believe that the BBC is a respectable and unbiased news source. Given the fact that the Beeb is anything but unbiased, I decided to check out some other stuff at their website. For example, I thought I’d read the BBC’s answer (for children) to the question “How do Muslims View Other Religions?

The Qur’an describes Christians and Jews as members of the family of Abraham (one of the prophets) and Muslims respect these religions because they believe that they all worship the same God.

Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but that he was one of God’s prophets, just like Muhammad.Bookworm Room › Edit — WordPress

Muslims believe in many of the stories about Jesus that the Christians believe in.

For example, they believe in the virgin birth and that Jesus will come again.

In fact, Jesus is regarded within Islam as a special prophet. His name is in the Qur’an 25 times – more times than Muhammad’s.

Muslims believe that the Qur’an is God’s most recent words and is his final message.

Isn’t that sweetly ecumenical? It seems a little disingenuous, though, when this is what the Muslims are really saying:

Following a lesson on the monotheistic faiths, Saudi Arabian schoolchildren are asked to discuss “With what types of weapons should Muslims arm themselves against the Jews?” That question is part of an official textbook for 8th grade students which also emphasizes that “Jews and Christians were cursed by Allah and turned into apes and pigs,” and that “The hour [the Day of Judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.”

***

MEMRI reports that “the textbook interprets the conversation between the prophet and his companion as follows: the most important activity is Jihad for the sake of Allah and the convocation of Allah’s religion on this earth.”

By ninth grade, students are ready for “The Promise of the Stone and the Tree” — the story of Abu Hurayra, one of the prophet’s companions who quoted the prophet as saying: “The hour [the Day of Judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. A Jew will [then] hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will call upon the Muslim: ‘O Muslim, O slave of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’ — except for the gharqad tree, for it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

And there is, of course, that little problem of Muslims being killed if they convert to another religion, a practice that really doesn’t comport well with the statement that “Muslims respect these [other] religions because they believe that they all worship the same God.” And maybe I’m imagining it, but isn’t the Bible banned in Saudi Arabia, a ban that can be imposed with the death sentence? It seems to me that the BBC isn’t being quite honest with the little kiddies, is it? The BBC should either have been honest in this little segment or, if honesty was political suicide, it shouldn’t have said anything at all. As it is, it came out with what is a pretty blatant lie, and that’s offensive.

UPDATE:  Just a little more on Islamic tolerance for other religions.  Here’s a Palestinian politician calling Jews the brothers of apes and monkeys, and calling for their destruction.  And if you’re inclined to discount this link by saying these expressions may come from Muslims, but they are separate from Islam itself, which by its express terms is more tolerant, that’s not the case.  While everyone focuses on the “Jesus is a prophet,” “Moses is a prophet,” etc., they forget that Islam goes on to say that, while these men are prophets, those who follow their religion are in profound error for not having made the switch to Islam.  And for that error, they are condemned to death or perpetual servitude (see Parts I, II and III of Andrew Bostom’s scholarly analysis of Jewish life under the Turks, going back hundreds of years).  No matter how you spin it, that is not the “respect” or “tolerance” that the BBC would have people — no, make that “children” — believe exists within Islam.  Mark Steyn, as usual, has the most pithy summary of Islamic disdain for all other religions.  A religion must be understood, not only by its words (which are discriminatory enough), but by its acts over the centuries and into the present day, which are equally discriminatory.

Let me just throw in a link about the Taliban and the Buddhas.

Here’s how the story could have been reported

Israel, which has been the victim of endless and destructive rocket attacks originating in Gaza, successfully stopped one before it happened. Taking facts directly from the BBC, this is how I would have reported the Israeli Army’s successful action:

Israel destroys several rocket launchers in Gaza

The Israeli Army reports that it surveillance into Gaza revealed several rocket launchers aimed at a heavily populated industrial zone in Beit Hanoun. Several people were clustered around the rocket launchers, apparently preparing to fire them. The Israeli Army responded by shelling the rocket launchers.

In the last four months, Gazans have launched ten qassam rocket strikes on Israel. The seventy-seven rockets fired over this fourth month period killed two people, wounded several others, and caused significant damage to a factory containing hazardous materials, requiring evacuation.

Palestinian spokespeople announced that three children were killed in the attack. This report has yet to be confirmed.

The Israeli army expressed sorrow for the deaths of the children, but said it held militant groups responsible. “The army regrets terror organisations’ cynical use of children,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

In fact, this is how the BBC reported the story, using the same facts, but with a very different emphasis:

Three Palestinian children have been killed after an Israeli tank shell hit northern Gaza, Palestinian doctors say.

Israel’s military confirmed it launched an attack, saying it had targeted people setting up a rocket launcher.

Doctors said two boys aged 10 and 12 died of shrapnel wounds. A 12-year-old girl who was critically injured in the blast died also in hospital.

The Israeli army expressed sorrow for the deaths of the children, but said it held militant groups responsible.

“We identified and fired at several rocket launchers aimed at Israel in the Beit Hanoun industrial zone,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

“We also identified several suspicious looking people fiddling with the rocket launchers before we fired. The army regrets terror organisations’ cynical use of children,” she added.

This is what I mean when I talk about spin. The spin one could put on it is that Israel successfully deflected what was shaping up to be the tenth rocket attack on it in just four months. Unfortunately, because the Palestinians place their children in combat areas, both to use them as soldiers and to increase youth casualties for propaganda purposes had, in fact, had children swarming around these rockets, which are also obvious targets.

The alternative, of course, is that the Israeli Army kills children. Then, at the back end, you note that, perhaps, just perhaps, the children were in what could possibly be classified as a combat zone, since they were near weapons about to be fired. An in the really alternative, you don’t even mention that these type of rockets have been fired into Israel unceasingly for years, with increasing numbers of civilian dead and wounded.

Sadly, the second alternative is the type most commonly found in newspapers, especially European newspapers.

By the way, if you’d like to hear the Israeli point of view directly from the horse’s mouth, you can read this article, which points out that Israel believes (as I do) that the launch sites are war zones. I’ll just add that I don’t believe that a humane people cluster their children around weapons and war zones, unless they intend to use those children as soldiers or strategic targets.

UPDATE: More on Palestinian children used as instruments of war.

UPDATE II: Here’s a report from the LA Times identifying in the lede that the children were hanging out near rocket launchers.  It also gives a bit more context for the Israeli actions, by acknowledging the fact that, last month alone, more than 90 rockets were launched into Israel from the same area.

The BBC in freefall

I used to admire the BBC. It’s role during WWII was stellar. In the 1960s, it brought us Monty Python and other cutting edge, very silly comedies. In the 1970s, it began making a series of marvelous historic dramas, many of which still represent the finest viewing TV has offered. But it’s been downhill lately. Some of us, of course, believe that the BBC is reprehensibly biased in its coverage about Israel, and that it is anti-Semitic and anti-American. You can see my short series of posts cataloging the BBC’s integrity-free conduct here.

But don’t just take my word for it. The BBC itself has acknowledged that it’s a left-wing, biased entity (although it refuses, irrationally, to believe that the bias that permeates it from top to bottom might, just might, leak into its news coverage).

And just the other day, the BBC got into trouble for insulting the Queen (how dare they?!), an insult that proved to be based, not on fact, but on media manipulation. (Hmmm . . . I wonder where they got the idea that media manipulation was a workable tool?)

You’d think the BBC’s travails would have bottomed out about now, but new depths of corruption just keep emerging. The latest report is that the BBC has had to stop phone-in competitions because of rampant institutional dishonesty:

The BBC is to suspend all its phone-in competitions after the Corporation’s Trust expressed concerns about “significant failures of control and compliance”.

An editorial review revealed viewers had been misled in shows including Comic Relief and Children In Need, some of which featured fictitious winners of phone-in competitions.

Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general, said the failures within the corporation and by its suppliers, have “compromised the BBC’s values of accuracy and honesty”.

“There is no excuse for deception,” he said.

“I know the idea of deceiving the public would simply never occur to most people in the BBC.

“It is far better to accept a production problem and make a clean breast to the public than to deceive.”

The Trust said the additional editorial failings showed “further deeply disappointing evidence of insufficient understanding amongst certain staff of the standards of accuracy and honesty expected, and inadequate editorial controls to ensure compliance with those standards.”

It added: “We have made clear that we regard any deception or breach of faith with our audiences as being utterly unacceptable.”

All phone-related competitions on BBC TV and radio will cease from midnight tonight, while interactive and online competitions will be taken down as soon as possible.

(You can read the rest of the story here.)

I wonder if Britain’s famous betting shops are making book on the specific date of the Beeb’s ultimate demise.  If I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on an early date.

Incidentally, it’s worth keeping in mind the rampant bias and dishonesty you see at the Beeb the next time you hear someone trumpeting a renewal of the Fairness Doctrine.  I know that the Left has always loved the BBC:  to them, it’s so pure, uncorrupted by those nasty market forces.  And it’s true, as I noted at the beginning of this post, that the ability to ignore the market meant that the BBC could broadcast wacky, experimental comedy, and that it could create historical costume dramas that appealed to the elite, rather than the masses.  Certainly when I lived in Britain, on the rare occasions I had access to a TV, I was charmed by the complete absence of commercials, and did appreciate that there were certain high quality shows that would not then have found an outlet in America other than taxpayer funded PBS.  There was also a lot of drek on British TV, but I was so delighted by the “British-ness” of it all, that I let it pass.

But those silly comedies and high dramas come at a high price.  Without serious competition, and without the need to respond to the public needs, the BBC has had no restraints on it.  This is quite different from what happened in America, where the free market revealed that Americans were hungry for conservative commentary.  And while it’s true that American network television has hewed to the Left, the nagging fear of the conservative market has kept network TV from becoming quite as biased and unhinged as the BBC.   Insert a Fairness Doctrine, though, and we’ll be BBC’d all over here, with all the bias and corruption that flows from a powerful organization having a stranglehold on the marketplace of ideas.

The Badlands of Gaza

The BBC is worried because one of its reporters has gone missing in Gaza, and some groups have already stepped forward to claim that he’s been kidnapping. This bad news all around. First, I sincerely hope that the reporter is safe and has not been forced to convert. Second, this is one more reminder that reporter’s who don’t toe the Palestinian/jihadist party line to the last jot and tiddle are in danger in the West Bank area. That, in turn, should remind all thinking people to take with a grain of salt any reports that come out of that neck of the woods.

Anyway, let’s just hope that Mr. Johnston is drunk and tackily dressed, rather than in any real danger.

Instant update: Immediately after writing the above, I read that, while the BBC is downplaying Mr. Johnston’s disappearance, the usually very accurate YNET news is saying that he was indeed kidnapped, and has lots of details to support this statement:

Masked Palestinian gunmen kidnapped a BBC reporter from his car in Gaza City on Monday, Palestinian security officials said.The news network said Johnston was from Scotland and has been reporting from Gaza for the past three years.

The man threw a business card on the street that identified him as Alan Johnston of the BBC, officials said. The BBC bureau chief in Jerusalem, Simon Wilson, said his news network had lost contact with Johnston but Wilson could not immediately confirm a kidnapping. Security sources said four gunmen carried out the kidnapping, and that a car was found abandoned near Johnston’s Gaza City apartment. Police found the lease of the rental car, which stated the vehicle was rented to the BBC.

YNET adds that these kidnappings are usually to get something to barter with in internecine feuds between Palestinians, that they happen frequently, and that the reporters are usually released within hours. Yeah, that kind of environment will ensure accurate coverage — not.

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