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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

ADAM SMITH BIAS IN NOTICING BIAS

A few years ago I got annoyed at the Adam Smith Institute, an otherwise estimable body, for censorship. Their boss had produced a cliched piece on how we in the capitalist/free/western/democratic whatever world are innately nice whereas those nations not benefiting from our capitalist values do all the genocide, dictatorshiping, racism, criminality etc (to be fair there is a small amount of truth to this).

He then ended what would otherwise a silly but harmless piece of fluff by saying "& that's why it is right for us to bomb Milosevic".

I entered a comment that since Milosevic was provably not a dictator, racist or guilty of genocide but a democratically elected leader attacked by racist terrorists & by NATO in a criminal war (& he had made no effort to prove otherwise) his conclusion was improper. The ASI decided not to allow the comment (I tried several variants). Of course it is their blog & they have the right to refuse to allow contrary ideas if they wish but it put me off they for a year. Since then I have commented regularly, usually on purely economic points, & have not once been censored.

Yesterday I saw an article:
Anti-American BBC
By Dr Madsen Pirie in: Media, Culture, Sport •
Permalink 0 Trackbacks 1 Comment(s) Author Archive
The Observer is among several papers which report Tony Blair's anger at the BBC's anti-American bias in its coverage of the hurricane Katrina story. In a private conversation reported by Rupert Murdoch, he apparently described the BBC coverage as 'full of hatred of America' and 'gloating.'


Bill Clinton, the former US President who was hosting the [Global Initiative] conference, also attacked the tone of the BBC coverage at a seminar on the media. He said it had been 'stacked up' tocriticizee the federal government's slow response. Sir Howard Stringer, chief executive of Sony Corporation and a former head of CBS News, said he had been 'nervous about the slight level of gloating' by the corporation.


I was told by a reporter from another network that it goes deeper, and that the BBC coverage infected the way others portrayed the story. He told me that the reporters of different stations often meet and talk together and take a common line. He said the BBC's anti-American slant on the tragedy had prompted other networks, as well as its own, into depicting the events as a crude anti-US story. The BBC said that its coverage had been 'committed solely to relaying the events fully, accurately and impartially', and in its Guardian cafeteria culture, it probably thinks it was.
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To which I commented & the comment was not allowed -

The problem is that if we are only concerned about bias one way then we are not really concerned about bias. When did Blair ever criticize the BBC for spending too much time reporting the non-existent mass graves in Kosovo (the largest mass grave in Kosovo, 210 bodies, was found at Dragodan in the UK zone & was filled by our KLA friends during our government - Minister Dennis McShane admitted this despite it being censored by our press & subsequently complained that the media were not sufficiently reporting the discovery of mass graves - in Iraq), or reporting Racak as a civilian massacre (most of the bodies had powder burns on their hands), or for saying that Milosevic ethnically cleansed Kosovo (a higher proportion of Serbs than Albanians left under the bombing).

If Blair were really concerned about being unbiased rather than being biased in the approved direction he would not have said this.

Neither would the ASI.
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Since I now have this blog I am in a position not to get annoyed at censorship. Nonetheless it is not in the interest of the ASI or any similar body & against the spirit of blogging, to suppress debate.

Comments:
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I can't find much in this post i disagree with, but my eyebrow wandered north at your reference to 'Guardian cafeteria culture'. I gave up on the Scottish papers long ago, and at least you know where you're starting from with the Guardian, then you set your compass accordingly. The Scottish papers are execrable, that's all of them.
 
It appears the Adam Smith Institute have removed me from their blogroll - I have no intention of matching such pettiness.

Three Gates far be it from me to defend her majesty's press, of whom I have said in the past (particularly of the Grauniad).

However I really think the Scotsman, despite being to Tory & having a vendetta against Holyrood on petty subjects, is a pretty good classic liberal rag. It certainly gets linked to worldwide in a quite disproportionate way.
 
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