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).

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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.

Thank God for Hamas!

Alan Johnston, speaking after his release:

Mr Johnston said he wanted to thank everyone who signed the petition for his release, as well as the British Government, the BBC, Palestinian journalists who demonstrated in his support and Hamas.

“I am free, really, because of Hamas, I would say,” he told Today.

Cheat-Seeking Missiles has a little more on the weird world of friends and enemies in Gaza.

Breaking news: Sun rises in the East

I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but it’s now official: the BBC is biased, and it’s a left leaning bias! The horror! This isn’t just me talking. This conclusion appears in a report that the BBC commissioned about itself:

The BBC is criticised for its liberal leanings in an official report published today, leading to claims that the corporation is “institutionally biased”.

BBC bosses have been attacked for not reflecting a “broader range of views” and not thinking outside of its Left-leaning “comfort zone” in its programming.

The report, commissioned by the BBC, also attacks the way the corporation has pandered to politically motivated celebrities such as Bob Geldof and allowed schedules to be hijacked by special interest groups promoting trendy issues.

As part of the report’s investigations, senior figures at the corporation were forced to admit it was guilty of promoting Left-wing views and an anti-Christian sentiment.

***

It was also suggested that the BBC is guilty of political correctness, the overt promotion of multiculturalism and of being anti-American and against the countryside.

The report, parts of which were leaked yesterday, is believed to recommend staff challenge their own assumptions, claiming there is a culture at the broadcaster which sees it failing to reflect the views of the public on issues such as capital punishment.

***

The report, which has been in preparation since 2005, raises concerns that across comedy, drama and entertainment shows, the BBC has allowed itself to be used by some campaign groups.

It singles out the way that the BBC covered Live 8 and the Make Poverty History campaign, which was driven by Geldof, Bono and writer Richard Curtis.

As well as Live 8, the BBC also broadcast The Girl In The Cafe, a drama about an anti-poverty campaigner, and a Christmas edition of The Vicar Of Dibley on BBC1 which featured a minute-long clip of the Make Poverty History video.

The only surprise in this report, and it’s a big one, is this: ” The report finds no evidence that the BBC’s news and politics coverage is biased.”

Yeah, right. Aside from the fact that this is simply not true, it’s also not logical. If an institution is riddled with bias on this scale, it’s ludicrous to assume that this bias hasn’t also permeated its news department. More to the point, when you look at the details about the report, you discover that the report’s authors were very narrow in defining what’s news and what isn’t news. Thus, amongst the programs they reviewed was “a week-long strand of programmes about poverty in Africa and a special NHS day.” That’s not just shilling for Bob Geldorf in a TV sitcom, which was another complaint the report had about the BBC’s biases.

Anyway, it’s useful to see that the truth is leaking out. It’s rather like making a PB&J sandwich, isn’t it. When you layer all the ingredients on the lower slice of bread, and start pressing down the upper slice, you always think you’ve got a neat, leak-proof package — and that’s never the case. Finish pressing down the top slice of bread, and the leaks start oozing out the side. In the world of sandwiches, this takes seconds; in the world of exposing media bias, it just takes a few more decades.

Hat tip:  Drudge Report

The BBC takes a stand

The BBC knows a dangerous religious organization when it sees it, and it isn’t afraid to challenge that religion. If one of its reporters tangles with a religious leader, the BBC will back that reporter to the hilt, knowing its obligation in a free society to ensure that no single religion threatens the underpinings of that society. To that end, this report:

The editor of the BBC’s Panorama programme has defended a documentary on the Church of Scientology in which a reporter shouts at one of its members.

Reporter John Sweeney lost his temper during the filming and shouted at Scientology representative Tommy Davis.

Panorama editor Sandy Smith said he was “disappointed” by Mr Sweeney’s actions.

But he also said Scientology was an “extraordinary organisation” and had “no way of dealing with any kind of criticism at all”.

Mr Smith said that: “As you go in as a journalist to try and deal with that, it’s explosive.”

Footage of the argument between Mr Sweeney and Mr Davis was posted on internet site YouTube in advance of the television broadcast of the documentary on Monday.

Mr Smith told BBC Breakfast: “Very quickly, two stag beetles were locked.”

He added that it was “not a question of calling it a cult” and that the programme had not alleged that people were “brainwashed”.

See! Isn’t the BBC brave? Well, if you’re like me, you’re shaking your head right now in answer to that rhetorical question. The fact is that you, like me, probably hold no brief for Scientology but, like me, you’re not currently worried about Scientologists demanding that we impose their laws nationwide, envisioning a takeover of the world, or simply trying to outdo the Red Queen when it comes to beheading people. The worst we have to fear about them right now is really bad movies.

Things are a little bit different, of course, when it comes to the BBC and the Muslims, a tight relationship that crosses the line from respecting all religious moderates in a pluralistic society, and falls right into pandering to the radicals. In a funny way, the BBC made this slip and fall from objective grace patently clear when it started writing “pbuh,” shorthand for “Peace be upon Him” after writing Mohammed’s name in any article about religion. Here’s how the BBC explains it:

Throughout the BBC’s section on Islam you will see peace be upon him or (pbuh) after the name Muhammad.

Muslims say peace be upon him after every mention of Muhammad’s name, as a mark of respect. Muslims do the same when they write the Prophet’s name, adding pbuh.

The Arabic translation of peace be upon him is sallallahu alayhi wa sallam which is usually abbreviated as saw.

The BBC uses pbuh in the Islam section out of courtesy, and we would do the same for any other religion if they had a similar phrase that was universally used as a sign of respect.

When the site refers to the Prophet on pages that are not in the Islam section, we do not use the phrase. The phrase is only used on the first occurrence of the Prophet’s name, and not throughout each article.

We chose this position after much debate over what would be a truly impartial way to write about different faiths. The problem we faced was that religions can be so different in their underlying philosophy and world view that it could be impossible to understand them properly if we approached them from a single consistent point of view.

We decided that a less biased and more consistently fair approach would be to write about each faith from the point of view of that faith – so that our explanatory pages were in essence, a particular religion explaining itself to the reader. From that position it made sense to use pbuh on pages explaining Islam.

Hmmm. So if you right an objective piece about religion in a section of your publishing company devoted to describing the world’s religions, you have to follow the practitioners’ procedures to do so? That’s a new one. I might agree to it as just another piece of feel good multi-culti behavior, which takes journalistic objectivity and dresses it up a bit, were it not for a couple of things. First, the silly, petty thing: If you check out the BBC’s sections on Christianity and Judaism you’ll see that, when using pronouns to refer to God, the BBC uses lower case “h’s,” rather than writing “He” or “His.” As for me, I’ve hung around churches and temples enough to know that genuinely religious people accord God the special respect of a capital letter, even in pronoun form.

There are also a few more substantive problems with the BBC’s behavior vis a vis the more radical aspects of Islam. Take the bit about the BBC’s desperate (and successful) legal battle to keep secret the contents of a report allegedly slamming it for having an anti-Israel bias in its Middle Eastern reporting:

The BBC has won its legal battle to block the publication of a report into alleged bias in its reporting of Middle East affairs.

A ruling obtained under freedom of information legislation had obliged the corporation to make the internal audit public.

But that decision was overturned by the High Court.

The BBC’s decision to spend an estimated £200,000 of licence feepayers’ money to keep the Balen Report secret has been widely condemned.

The corporation was accused of hypocrisy because it has regularly used freedom of information legislation to break news stories.

The attempt to force the BBC to publish the report – compiled in 2004 by its editorial adviser Malcolm Balen – was led by lawyer Steven Sugar, who represented himself in court.

The ruling will disappoint the Jewish community which would have wanted to know whether the 20,000-word document had found any evidence of anti-Israeli bias in news programming.

Mr Justice Davis, sitting at the High Court in London, said last August’s decision by the Information Tribunal for the report to be published was flawed.

He said: “I conclude that the BBC’s submissions are well founded. The tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain any appeal.”

The judge said the document was exempt from inspection under freedom of information laws because it was held by the BBC “for the purposes of journalism, art or literature”.

After the verdict, Mr Sugar said: “It is a technical win by the BBC which has the result desired by the BBC of weighting the Freedom of Information Act in its favour.

And let’s not forget the BBC reporter who wept openly when mass murderer and embezzler Yasser Arafat died — although it’s a bit unfair to impute one dingbat’s emotions to an entire institution.

Anyway, enough about me. What do the more vocal Islamists think of the BBC? They love it! And why shouldn’t they when the unmistakable tenor of BBC reporting is to be not only an apologist for extremists, but another weapon in their arsenal against the only liberal Democracy in the Middle East (that would be Israel)?  (As an aside, one of the reasons the New York Times claims objectivity about its Israel reporting is its claim that, after every story, both sides attack.  The assumption is you can’t be a biased reporter if every side to the story feels you’re against it.  The flip side is that, if one side feels strongly supported by a news organization — perhaps it is.)

So you see, I’m less impressed than I otherwise would have been at news that the BBC is strongly supporting one of its own who had the temerity to attack a religion it perceives as dangerous.