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. 

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