Saturday, June 11, 2005

The precarious state of reason at The Guardian

Today The Guardian published an article by one Katha Pollit under the heading Special Report United States of America. A more appropriate heading might have been Idiotic Feminist Screed, or at the very least Commentary, which would have had the benefit of not deceiving the curious into thinking what they were about to read was, well, an actual report about the US.

Pollit makes good sport of the unfortunate fact that, due to a not entirely well thought out law (is there any other kind?), sex offenders in New York have been receiving free Viagra via tax-funded Medicaid for the last five years. Reason enough for a few sarcastic yuks, I suppose, although her preference for seeing other states make the same mistake so as to prevent blue New York from becoming the butt of red-state jokes probably goes too far. But all this is just a lead in to the “real story” which, according to Pollit, is:
the precarious state of women's reproductive health care and rights here in God's country.
Of course, by “women’s reproductive rights” what Pollit really means is “legal abortion”. (Why can’t these people simply say what they mean? The right to an abortion is not a “reproductive” right. It is a right to destroy the result of having already reproduced.) Reading on it becomes clear that Pollit doesn’t really have a firm grip on the meaning of the word “precarious”.
British readers probably know that American women seeking abortion face an ever-increasing number of legal roadblocks in many states: parental notification and consent laws for teenagers; 24-hour waiting periods; mandatory state-scripted lectures, which in some cases include false information, such as that abortion causes breast cancer.
Does Pollit not realize how utterly foolish she sounds, talking in such dire tones about a 24-hour waiting period to customers of the vaunted British NHS, where apparently waiting times for an abortion appointment can be up to 5 weeks? Apparently not. Note also the quick switch Pollit pulls, talking about the roadblocks that “American women” face and then citing laws which apply not to women but only to teenagers.

And what about those teen laws, anyway? It turns out that, of the 50 states, 15 of them have absolutely no laws whatsoever regulating teen abortion. An additional 13 have only parental notification (not consent) laws. So in over half of the states there is effectively no legal barrier to teen abortion whatsoever. Of the 22 states which have some kind of parental consent laws, 4 of them are not enforcing the laws because of court orders. And again, such laws that are enforced apply only to teenagers, as does the “Orwellianly named” Child Custoday Protection Act. ("Orwellianly named"? Does The Guardian employ copy editors?) Women over 18 - in other words, women - face no barriers to abortion at all.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Pollit has gone over the edge. She says:
Clinics have been so harassed by protesters, and so mired in politically motivated red tape, that for many women abortion is, for all practical purposes, unobtainable: Mississippi is down to one; so is North Dakota.
The US has the second highest abortion rate in the entire western industrialized world. ‘Nuff said.

Well, it should be enough, but unfortunately Pollit’s column didn’t end there, as she switched from scare tactics about abortion into raising the spectre of a cataclysmic end to contraception in America. That, however, deserves its own treatment, which will be forthcoming soon.


In an article about possible enlargement of the UN Security Council, the BBC says that:
The Security Council - the UN's main decision-making body - reflects the balance of power at the end of World War II.
Call me crazy, but it seems to me that the last thing the UN and its acolytes want is to update the Security Council to reflect the current balance of power, for if that were to happen, the US and China would be the only two permanent members and the only members with veto power.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The mote in The Guardian's eye

The Guardian catches up with the rest of the world today in finally reporting on the fact that – shocker! – John Kerry is not in fact more intelligent than George Bush, at least if his grades from Yale are any indicator. Reporter Anna Bawden concludes:
Bush's results appear to counter the image portrayed of him in the media as being intellectually inferior. Cartoon sketches, films and books like Stupid White Men, by Michael Moore, have all picked on his supposed dimness, pointing to his at times slow speaking style and use of mid-American vernacular.
The image portrayed of him in "the media"? You mean like the portrayal of Bush as a dim-looking chimpanzee by The Guardian’s own Steve Bell back on May 27? Or on June 7? Or again on June 8? Or, indeed, in nearly every cartoon in Bell’s archive, including even today’s?

It would have been nice if The Guardian, while it was naming names, had the intellectual honesty to come clean on its own part in portraying Bush as "intellectually inferior". Too much, of course, to expect. Silly me.

Into The Guardian's looking glass

The Guardian’s Rory Carroll has a report that apparently no one else has.

US in talks with Iraqi Insurgents.

American diplomats and army commanders have held indirect talks with insurgents in Iraq, the first officially sanctioned contact between the two sides in two years of violence.

A US embassy official in Baghdad said efforts were under way to "engage" elements of the resistance in an apparent softening of the Bush administration's opposition to negotiations.

Most other media outlets, including the BBC and The Washington Post, have reported on the fact that the Iraqi government is in talks with two insurgent groups which are, apparently, ready to lay down their guns and join the political process. It seems likely, although it is not entirely clear, that Carroll’s report is simply a new spin on the same story, designed to give the impression that US resolve in Iraq is weakening.

Both the BBC and the Washington Post frame the story almost entirely as a negotiation between the Iraqi government and the insurgents, with Ayham al-Samarie, an Arab-Sunni politician, the focal point and the US, if in the picture at all, on the periphery. The Guardian, on the other hand makes the US the central focus of the story, and portrays the discussions as a significant change in US policy, clearly giving the impression that it represents a climb-down for the US.

The US has made public overtures to Iraq's Sunni Arabs, a disaffected minority driving the insurgency, but until now drew the line at contacts with the "terrorists" denounced by President Bush.

The administration has come under increasing pressure to show progress in a war which claims approximately two American lives daily and is blamed for shortfalls in army recruitment.

It seems unlikely to me that Carroll is giving an accurate portrayal of the situation. At no point does he say how this past policy of non-negotiation has been articulated by the US, nor does he reveal in what respect the contacts now have become “negotiations”. Indeed, he later goes on to reveal that “It is no secret that some US commanders on the ground have informal and indirect contacts with their opponents, mostly via Sunni mosques and tribal elders,” and that now those channels have simply become “more formalised”. How it represents a significant change in policy to formalize a process which, it is “no secret”, has already existed is quite beyond me.

It seems pretty clear that The Guardian is simply spinning what is in fact very positive news – the fact that some Iraqi insurgents are looking to lay down their weapons and stop killing people – into a story about the US getting a black eye.

Neverdock notices

Many thanks to USS Neverdock, who has given TAE some warm praise and even given the site a permanent link in his sidebar. Neverdock has been on the case of the British media, particularly the BBC, for quite some time now.


Daily Ablutions has some interesting comments on, and even a response from the author of, The Independent story that I wrote about yesterday.

CSN Journalism

Yesterday the BBC reported on a NYT article which claims that "a White House offiicial edited government reports in ways that played down links between global warming and emissions." The author of the original NYT article, Andrew Revkin, responded to criticism of his report, and interestingly he seems to downplay the importance of the report. He acknowledges that "Every White House edits reports. No brainer," and blames the high profile of his revelations on the secrecy of the Bush administration:
Sadly, the White House is so hermetically sealed on such matters that it has
essentially created such stories by making scraps of tea-leaf-like information
Apparently the NYT, like the BBC, exercises the Crosby, Stills & Nash method of journalism...if you don't have news worth hyping, hype the news you've got.

But in any event doesn't it seem the height of irony when organizations such as the BBC and The NYT find it notable and scandalous that others use subtle wording and nuance to, as Revkin said in his e-mail, "create a different tone than what was there before"?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Independent Demagogues

Today The Independent features an article comparing global expenditures on arms to global expenditures on aid. Naturally focusing on the US, The Independent says:
Once again, America was by far the greatest spender on arms. In 2004, it spent $455bn, an increase from 2003 of 12 per cent, fuelled largely by the investment in President George Bush's "war on terror". America's foreign aid spending is around 4.1 per cent of its arms bill. Britain, the second largest arms spender, spent $47bn - a tenth of the US total.
The first thing to note (apart form the blatant editorializing in giving Bush sole possession of the war on terror) is that, like the NYT yesterday, The Independent has totally ignored any non-governmental spending on foreign aid, which has the effect of cutting the more realistic figure, according to estimates, by more than half. It has also inflated the figure spent on "arms" because, according to the government's budget tables (see page 52), the $455 figure represents the entire defense budget for 2004. Needless to say, defense expenditures on salaries, facilities, medical equipment, homeland security, etc. are not expenditures on "arms". So already the analysis is flawed. Of course, saying that money has been spent on defense doesn't give quite the same (negative) impression as does saying "weapons" or "arms", which helps explain The Independent's choice of words.

But the big question I have for The Independent is this: Why does it ignore American citizens in favor of non-Americans? The US is a net payer of foreign aid precisely because it is not a recipient of foreign aid, and it is not a recipient because the US takes care of its own poor and needy citizens. Surely, in the moral calculus of government expenditures, this must be included somewhere. In fact, according to those same government figures, the US spends close to $1.5 trillion on domestic aid...things such as education, health, medicare, social security, welfare, veterans benefits, etc. In case you haven't noticed, that is over 3 times larger than the amount it spends on defense, a point apparently lost on The Independent.

In any event, ultimately the issue is a simple one of the allocation of scarce resources. What is the proper allocation of state resources amongst defense, domestic welfare, and international charity? That, obviously, can be the subject of reasonable debate, but there is nothing manifestly wrong with an allocation in which foreign aid represents 4.1% of defense spending. Especially when that 4.1% represents, in absolute terms, more than any other nation on earth. But rather than engage in that debate and present a reasonable argument for why the US ought to lower its defense spending and increase foreign aid, The Independent, as it so often does, chooses instead to demagogue the issue.

Thanks, B-BBC

Thanks to Natalie Solent at Biased BBC for taking note of the site and sending some readers this way. For those of you who are unaware of the folks at B-BBC, you should note that they were mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article to which I linked the other day.

Who's doing the concealing?

The Guardian today publishes excerpts from editorials of several newspapers throughout the world on the subject of aid to Africa. Of particularly odius note was the one from The New York Times, which was quoted as saying:
Most Americans believe that the US spends 24% of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1%.
The actual editorial went on to say:
The United States currently gives just 0.16 percent of its national income to help poor countries, despite signing a United Nations declaration three years ago in which rich countries agreed to increase their aid to 0.7 percent by 2015. Since then, Britain, France and Germany have all announced plans for how to get to 0.7 percent; America has not. The piddling amount Mr. Bush announced yesterday is not even 0.007 percent.
This is a mistaken and highly deceptive way of looking at the aid issue, particularly in terms of the US. In a relatively capitalistic and free economy such as the US, the notion of government expenditures relative to "national income" is fairly meaningless, because the government does not own or control most of the income. Individual citizens do. So it makes little sense to look at foreign aid provided only by the government, for doing so ignores the vast majority of aid provided by the US in the form of aid from churches, foundation grants, corporate charity (both in cash and goods/services...think of the big bad phramaceuitical companies that donate millions of dollars worth of medical supplies), individual donations and volunteering, not to mention the billions in personal remittances that new American citizens send back to their families in poor countries. Getting accurate figures on these is difficult, but Carole Adelman, a former USAID official, estimated that in 2000, private foreign aid amounted to over $35 billion (this compares with official government aid of $22.6 billion). And this number is almost certainly a conservative figure, as it has relied on voluntary reporting and surveys. Indeed, the Inter-American Development Bank has estimated that just personal remittances to Latin America alone amounted to over $30 billion in 2004. For more, see Bruce Bartlett's commentary from January.

The New York Times closed its editorial with the following (also included in The Guardian):
The American people have a great heart. President Bush needs to stop
concealing it.
It seems to me that The New York Times needs to stop concealing it by pretending that funds coerced from the population to be given to politcally approved causes is the only true measure - or indeed any kind of measure at all - of the generosity of a nation. And it wouldn't hurt if The Guardian stopped passing such garbage on to its British audience, too.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Now they tell us...

In April 2004, the BBC published a report claiming "Kerry releases military record", and aired a fawning TV report about the release of "more than 100 pages" of his military record which "paint a glowing picture of a highly praised naval officer" and "should end arguments about his Vietnam service."

Today, the BBC published this report, in which the Beeb fesses up, without any apparent shame or embarrassment, that:
During the presidential campaign, the Democratic candidate - awarded medals for
bravery during the Vietnam war - refused to release his military records.
No, this did not appear on the corrections page. And yes, this is the news service that most Britons rely on for their "facts".

Independent of the facts

The Independent today spreads a long-standing myth regarding Bush and the Kyoto Protocol. In a recap of recent history regarding "climate change", science editor Steve Connor writes:
2001: George Bush withdraws the US, the world's biggest CO2 emitter, from Kyoto, alleging it will damage America's economy - jeopardising the whole process.
This is false. George Bush did not withdraw the US from Kyoto, because the US was never a part of it. It is true that Bill Clinton (or, more accurately, a representative acting on his behalf) signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998. However, the US Constitution only allows the president to enter into international treaties "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate." Despite signing the treaty, Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for ratification and, acting in the absence of a submission, the Senate even passed a resolution, by a vote of 95-0, expressing strong and specific objections to certains aspects of the treaty. Kyoto, therefore, was never, at any point or in any way whatsoever, an official obligation accepted by the US government. In a spectacular political two-step, Clinton appeased his international buddies by putting a signature on the treaty, and then appeased his domestic critics by allowing the signature to remain legally meaningless. President Bush, however, knew that, like Clinton, he was not going to submit the treaty for ratification, nor would the Senate ratify it if he did. So he made a more politically honest, if less internationally popular, move by rescinding the signature. no point, ever, was a commitment to Kyoto official US policy, and therefore it is absolutely false to portray Bush has having "withdrawn" the US from it.

Saying that Bush withdrew the US from the treaty is like saying that Robert Bork was removed from the Supreme Court. In other words...entirely false.

I don't know whether The Independent is simply ignorant of US law or is trying to demonize Bush (probably both), but it is dealing in falsehoods in any event.

Increase aid, garner more blame

George Bush commits to additional aid to Africa as well as cancellation of African debt to the World Bank, and how does The Guardian headline its coverage?

Broken promises leave three million children to die in Africa

Three million children will die in the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the failure of the global community to meet its promise of slashing the death rates of the under-fives by 2015, the UN will reveal tomorrow.

The grim figure emerged as George Bush paved the way for a landmark deal on lifting the huge debt burden on Africa's poorest countries when he announced that the US will stump up extra cash that in the long term will cancel $15bn (about £8.2bn) of accumulated debt.

Of course. These children (it's always about the children) won't die as a result of Africa's political corruption, its history of socialist economics, or its backwards culture. They will instead die "as a result" of the West's failure to pump more money into these places.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Now that's chutzpah

The BBC reports that Michael Meacher, former environment minister in Tony Blair's Labour government, is urging Tony Blair to pressure George Bush on measures to counteract "climate change".
"The US cannot count, despite its hegemony and its unique power, on the automatic support - even from close allies - if the US ignores their fundamental concerns," Mr Meacher told The World at One on BBC Radio 4.

"We have been a very strong, some of us think almost too subservient, an ally over recent years and it's time, I think, for the political goodwill which has been generated by our support to be called in."

"We" have been a very strong ally? How rich coming from the likes of Meacher, who has been anything but an ally to the US. Let's take a look at the "poltical goodwill" that Meacher has offered George Bush and the US.

Check out this article, written by Meacher in September 2003, titled "This War on Terrorism is Bogus", in which he peddles the conspiracy theory that security authorities in the US knew about the planned 9/11 attack before the event, but purposely allowed it to happen in order to provide a pretext for attacking Afghanistan and Iraq.

Or consider this piece, written by Meacher in November 2004, in which he rhetorically asks "Did Dubya rig the election?" and passes on long-debunked conspiracy theories about the 2000 election as fact.

Or this one, from April this year, in which he asserts that "America is usurping the democratic will in Iraq", even as he laments the demise of Saddam Hussein, saying that "The US, having destroyed the sole major secular government in the region, is now at risk of replacing it with a theocratic regime."

Even as recently as three weeks ago, Meacher was assailing US motives over Iraq, saying "The reason they attacked Iraq is nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, it was nothing to do with democracy in Iraq, it was nothing to do with the human rights abuses of Saddam Hussein....The connection [with oil] is 100%. It is absolutely overwhelming."

Let's be clear. Meacher is not a friend of either George Bush or America. Meacher has never been a friend to either George Bush or America. It takes unmitigated gall for this man, of all people, to lecture Blair on what he is owed for the support and goodwill "they" collectively have shown towards the US.

Oh, and by the way, don't you think the BBC, as it broadcasts Meacher's lecture on what Bush owes his allies, has a responsibility to inform its audience of just how much of an ally Meacham himself has been?

Who needs better "understanding"?

The BBC today reports on the fact that Americans are snapping up Korans, reportedly out of a desire to better understand Islam.
CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] is requesting Muslims all over the
world to sponsor free copies for those who wish to improve their knowledge of
the book.
I suppose it can be a good thing for non-Muslims to better understand Muslims, but it strikes me that CAIR could do a lot more good if it urged Muslims to better understand and accept non-Muslims. Afterall, it is Muslims who are waging a holy war against the rest of us, not vice-versa.

BTW, I should mention that the BBC article, in putting the story into the context of Korangate at Guantanamo, does a fairly good and even-handed job. It accurately describes the reported incidents as "mishandling" rather than "desecration", and includes the fact that the Pentagon report detailed both detainee and guard "mishandling". Small things, true, but like a baby saying its first words, such rare things can be cause for great excitement. (The report, being unattributed, might also be a wire report rather than a BBC report, which could help explain its failure to demonize America.)

Add one more to the list

The WSJ has an editorial today criticizing Amnesty International, not just for their recent over-the-top characterization of Guantanamo as a "gulag", but also for their activities on behalf of terrorists.
We don't recount this story to suggest Amnesty was actively in league with
Saddam. But it shows that, even after 9/11, Amnesty still didn't think terrorism
was a big deal. In its eagerness to suggest that every detainee with a Muslim
name is some kind of political prisoner, and by extension to smear America and
its allies, Amnesty has given the concept of "aid and comfort" to the enemy an
all-too-literal meaning.
Could it be that Amnesty is becoming the new greatest recruiting tool...oh, never mind.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Greatest tool?

Remember when, in the days and weeks following 9/11, poverty was called the greatest recruiting tool for terrorism? Those were the days. Now there seems to be no end to the number of things vying for the distinction of being the greatest recruiting tool for terrorism.


"[With the Iraq war we] have created the greatest recruiting tool possible for bin Laden and his ilk." - Bob Boorstin, as quoted by Bob Herbert in The New York Times.

"[President George Bush is] the best recruiting sergeant ever for al-Qaida" - British Ambassador to Italy, Sir Ivor Roberts, quoted in The Guardian

"A more insulting, inflammatory message to the world's Muslims and Arabs--and a more effective recruiting tool for groups like Al Qaeda--can scarcely be imagined." - The Nation, editorializing on The Horror of Abu Ghraib

And now the latest:

"[Guantanamo] has become the greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world..." - Joe Biden, suggesting that he has a better imagination than The Nation

Like the term Nazi, it seems that "terrorist recruiting tool" has come to mean little more than "something I don't like." Your disapproval, along with your lack of originality, is noted, Mr. Biden.

Speaking of Gulags...

The Weekly Standard has an excellent article on the incoherence and moral inconsistency of the positions staked out by various human rights organizations - Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to name two - regarding the United States.

The United States government and its leadership are a gang of criminals who should be isolated, sanctioned, arrested, and condemned as in principle no better than the undeniably criminal Sudanese government--but, by the way, it would be excellent if the Great Satan would also mount its noble charger, rattle its weapons, gird up its loins, and intervene to defend the people of Sudan. Please report to the International Criminal Court's dock in The Hague to be tried for torture and war crimes and what-not--but on your way, could you stop by Darfur, using military force if necessary to protect the people from genocide, make sure the peace treaty ending the war in the south doesn't fall apart, and don't do anything that we might regard as unnecessary collateral damage (we'll be watching, and we'll add anything we don't like to the list of your crimes). And, oh yes, be sure to arrest and bring the wicked Sudanese leaders and militias along with you to The Hague, so they can be prosecuted after we finish with you.

There is something morally perverse about this.

Yes, there is. Read it all.

More misleading

In an article about Joe Biden's suggestion that Guantanamo should be shut down (more on which, later), the BBC yet again conveys a false impression of this whole Korangate business. After detailing Biden's comments, the BBC says:
The comments came two days after the Pentagon admitted that guards at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Koran.
This is misleading on two counts. First off, the Pentagon didn't "admit" anything. It reported it. Recall (as the BBC seems unwilling to do) that it was the Pentagon itself which instigated the investigation into the alleged incidents, and then issued its findings. Second, the Pentagon neither reported nor admitted to "desecration". It reported 5 incidents of confirmed "mishandling" of Korans by guards, by which it meant violations of its own very comprehensive policy on the treatment of prisoner's Korans. The word "desecration" does not appear anywhere in the report, and rightly so. Whether or not this "mishandling" represents a desecration depends entirely upon one's own beliefs. (To me, splashing water on a Koran...or a bible, or Torah scrolls, or a copy of Atlas Shrugged...hardly represents a "desecration".) Apparently the BBC has adopted the belief system of the terrorists in Guantanamo as its own.

The BBC also noted that:
Last month, Amnesty International called the detention centre for alleged terrorists "the gulag of our time", referring to the system of forced labour camps in the Soviet Union in which millions of prisoners died.

Of course, the BBC fails to tell its readers that the head of Amnesty International USA, William Schulz, has since acknowledged, in an interview with FOX News, that he "doesn't know for sure" what is actually happening in Guantanamo. Also notable from that interview, was this exchange:
Chris Wallace (FOX News): I'd like to finish, if I might, by quoting The Washington Post, which has hardly been a supporter of President Bush's and the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners. This is what they had to say in a recent editorial..."Turning a report on prisoner detention into another excuse for Bush-bashing or American-bashing undermines Amnesty's legitimate criticisms of US policies." Is it possible, sir, that you have hurt, not helped your cause?

Schulz: Chris, I don't think I'd be on this station, on this program today with you if Amnesty hadn't said what it said and President Bush and his colleagues haven't responded as they did. If I had come to you two weeks ago and said, "Chris, I'd like to go on Fox with you just to talk about US detention policies at Guantanamo and elsewhere", I suspect you wouldn't have given me an invitation.

So, there you have it. Amnesty made the "gulag" characterization not for informative purposes, but rather for it sensationalizing impact. And the BBC continues to oblige them by passing on the characterization as a serious claim rather than the publicity stunt that it was.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention....The BBC identified Biden as "a leading senator and member of the Foreign Relations committee." Its British audience might also have been interested to know of Biden's connections to the Labour party's own Neil Kinnock.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

BBC: Cox sucks

Gee, I wonder whether the BBC disapproves of Bush's new nominee to head the SEC.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to adopt a more "laissez-faire" approach if Christopher Cox is confirmed as its new chairman.

President Bush named the Republican congressman as SEC chairman, but the job must be confirmed by the US Senate.

Current chief William Donaldson quit on Wednesday, raising doubts over whether the finance watchdog will stick to its tough stance on corporate misconduct.

Mr Cox, a former corporate lawyer, is seen as close to the finance industry.

Experts say he could move the SEC towards a lighter touch on regulation.

Some commentators have claimed that his SEC predecessor Mr Donaldson quit the post having come under pressure from Republicans who objected to his hard-line reforms.

Note the constant use of the passive tense. The SEC "is expected to..." Expected by who? The BBC doesn't say. Doubts have been raised. Who has these doubts? The BBC doesn't say. Mr. Cox is "seen as" close to the finance industry. Seen by who? The BBC doesn't say. Even when the passive voice is abandoned, the actors are vague and unknown. Anonymous "experts" say this and "some commentators" say that. Hell, search the internet long enough and you can find "some commentator" saying virtually anything.

Clearly the BBC would like us to come away thinking that the current SEC chairman has been forced from his job by Republicans, who plan on replacing him with a guy who is going to turn a blind eye to corporate malfeasance. However, if we look at only the substance that the BBC has provided, it turns out that all we know is that President Bush has nominated a guy named Chris Cox to replace the outgoing SEC chairman.

The rest of the piece provides us with the following bits of information:

1) President Bush has nice things to say about his nominee.

2) An academic (perhaps one of the BBC's "experts"?) thinks Cox will be "a major change in direction". How or why we don't know.

3) Cox sponsored a piece of legislation in 1995 that some people liked and others didn't.

4) A class-action lawyer doesn't like Cox.

5) California's Democrat state treasurer doesn't like Cox.

6) US trade unions "are understood" to not like Cox. Exactly who this is "understood" by, or how they came to this understanding, the BBC keeps to itself.

Quality information, Beeb. Oh, and one more thing: What's up with the quotation marks in the headline, New SEC head 'signals big change'? At no point in the entire article is anyone ever quoted saying the words "signals big change". Who exactly are you quoting?

BTW, compare this article with the Beeb's piece on previous SEC head William Donaldson when he took over in 2003. Note how almost the entire piece is given over to Donaldson's own words, while in this recent piece quotations from Cox are comprised of a single, 6 word sentence fragment.

BBC outed by WSJ

The WSJ's has a nice article today by Scott Norvell on the problems with the BBC. He even highlights his piece with the same Justin Webb confession that I've put at the top of this site. Worth a read.