Monday, December 12, 2005

Simpson fulfills Reynolds' prediciton

The big news today is the release of the latest poll results to come out of Iraq. As the BBC's Paul Reynolds notes, the results reflect a rather different story than the one we are used to hearing from the MSM.
The latest survey of opinion in Iraq shows a degree of optimism at variance with the usual depiction of the country as one in total chaos.

The figures will provide evidence for supporters of the invasion and occupation to argue that the international media have got it wrong - that, despite everything, most Iraqis are wedded to a democratic future in a unified state and have faith it will come.

Indeed they do. The attitudes of Iraqis towards both their own individual circumstances and the future prospects of the country are both overwhelmingly positive. But Reynolds goes on to show that he knows his colleagues at the BBC only too well.

However critics will claim that the survey proves little beyond showing how resilient Iraqis are at a local level. They will argue that it reveals enough important exceptions to the rosy assessment, especially in the centre of the country, to indicate serious dissatisfaction.

And sure enough, along comes the BBC's relentlessy pessimistic John Simpson to prove Reynolds correct, trying to convince us that despite the poll results:
Things have changed radically in Baghdad since March last year - and not for the better.
Nevermind the 70+% of Iraqis who say that things in their life are going either quite good or very good. Despite the fact that Simpson admits that he doesn't stay in any one place for more than a few minutes, he apparently knows better than than the Iraqis who do.

Perhaps recognizing that readers are less likely to believe him than Iraqis themselves, Simpson does make an effort to portray the Iraqis as agreeing with him.
No wonder, then, that the people whose views are reflected in the new
opinion poll are so obsessed with the need for security.
Indeed. I suppose that "obsession" explains why, when asked "What is the single biggest problem you are facing in your life today?", terrorist attacks ranked, um, 8th with 2.2% of the responses, behind things like "personal problems". And also why, when asked how they would rate the security situation in their own village/neighborhood, fully 61% rated it as either "very good" or "quite good". And also why, when asked to compare the security situation now to that prior to the war in 2003, 44% said it was either "somewhat" or "much" better now, as opposed to 38% who said it was worse. That's quite an "obsession".

Simpson also helpfully points out that:
Given that the Shia-dominated government which has been in power for most of 2005 has been so unable to provide [security], it's not surprising the great majority of people told our pollsters they wanted strong government more than anything
More surprising if one believes Simpson's portrayal of things - so surprising, in fact, that Simpson decided not to tell his audience about it - is the fact that, when asked how well the current government had carried out its responsibilities, 61% of respondents thought it was doing either a "very good job" or "quite a good job".

There may indeed be obsessions in Iraq, but a review of his articles suggests that any such obsessions belong to Simpson himself, and not Iraqis. When he cannot ignore the good news coming out of Iraq, he is relentlessy trying to spin it as bad news. Given his belief that the primary battleground in the war for Iraq is over public opinion, it remains difficult for me to conclude anything other than that Simpson is doing his best to shift that battleground in favor of the enemy.


Anonymous tired & excitable said... remains difficult for me to conclude anything other than that Simpson is not doing his best to shift that battleground in favor of the enemy.

Steady now -- that's what my cranky old English teacher used to call the "academic dubitative," akin to being gummed to death by marshmallow.

Why so polite? He's a lying fraudulent propagandist paid for by the people of Britain.

A couple of years back, a wayward 500 lb bomb from an F-16 killed Simpson's cameraman and narrowly missed him. There's a kind of mordant Robert Fisk-like masochism about Simpson, so you can add guilt to the stew of pathologies that drives him forward (maybe 'sideways' is better, more reptilian). Whatever, he will lie until he turns blue.

The BBC is worried that several years of bent coverage are about to be busted wide open by the Iraqi election. The clearest sign is actually not Simpson but Hawley, who has moved out from in front of her personal, private Baghdad hotel palm tree into what looks a bit like the real world. She's frowning and blinking even more than usual, as if dazzled by the difference.

The BBC's wheels are about to come off. But the Brits will do, as they would say, sweet bugger all about it.

Time to stick a fork in that "special relationship." It's over.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tired & excitable

For a long time the BBC has not represented the views of the British public in its American coverage. The EU is your real enemy and the Europhiles within the BBC. The majority of people here still love America and support the ‘special relationship’ we have with our cousins over the pond.

By all means stick a fork in it if you wish, but you will find it is not done for yet.

Regards Tom

11:43 AM  
Anonymous tired & excitable said...

Anon Tom: I don't question your sincerity, just your judgement.

If the BBC doesn't represent the British public, why continue to put up with it?

The lying zealots at the BBC have American blood on their hands and are enemies of the American people. Your politicians cough up little except weasel words. The dismal, demoralized British people just sit there, putting up with it all, the payoff for two generations of failed social policies.

Americans are pragmatists to a degree seldom seen in Europe. There's an American saying, almost proverbial and not heard in the UK -- Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Yes, Americans to their lasting credit also retain a sense of shame.

Business as usual -- BS from Brit elites, vapid verbal games -- simply doesn't cut it any more.

Time, I think, for you Brits to pay the piper and bring your remaining troops in Iraq back home. You lose more folks in two weeks of domestic traffic accidents than you've lost in the entire Gulf confict anyway, but there's no point in losing any more in a war you don't want to fight. Those of you who don't fit that mold have clear choices.

I'm not convinced that Britain's disgrace is down to the EU. Indeed, the Britain of today belongs in the EU, as a member of a coterie of losers spiralling miserably downwards. Frankly, we have better allies elsewhere.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mistake, I thought you were commenting on anti-American feeling in the UK and not vice versa. Fortunately you are not America, or for that matter the voice of America, just a somewhat unpleasant individual.



10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's questioning your judgment-you decided to shoot the messenger

7:17 PM  
Blogger chip said...

Polls in Iraq were long ago telling a different story from the one pedalled by the media. And since our information is no longer restricted to the BBC or the newspaper that lands on our doorstep, it's really only a matter of time before traditional journalism goes the way of Pac Man and record players.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

T & E

The problem is that the BBC's political neutrality is judged by the governors. There is no external recourse, except by extreme means at the renewal of its charter every few years, through government. Hoewever the current government gets lots of positive coverage out of the Beeb, and negatives for their opponents, so no change (next year?) when the charter is renewed.

Britain itself belongs to the EU in name only. The people don't and never did. They just have never been offered any real option. The problem is again the Beeb - a very powerful media organisation, it exerts undue political influence, and there are other media arms that agree. Alongside a Labour government elected not for its views on Europe, we are stuck where we wish not to be.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous tired & excitable said...

Richard: Yes, that sounds right about the EU -- certainly, Blair's fear of referendum speaks volumes -- but it doesn't explain why you Brits don't actually DO something about it. Endless rounds of farcical negotiations, interminable studies and mighty-mouse letters to the editor are now ends in themselves.

As for the BBC, coping with a handful of self-important governors ought to be well within the "remit" (the word doesn't exist in America) of a democratic nation of nearly 60 million.

Surely, taking action doesn't amount to "extreme means." Whatever happened to the ability to distinguish word from deed?

Bottom line, from the point-of-view of an onlooker, is that Britain seems to be a nation slouching its way to irrelevance. More bluntly: If Brits can't be bothered to help themselves, why on earth should anyone else?

9:16 PM  

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