Bias at the Beeb: BBC 'Hardtalk' for Republicans, softtalk for Democrats
[I]n 2022 the US continued to be afflicted by political dysfunction and polarization, the fallout from the Trump presidency and in particular his refusal to accept the legitimacy of his electoral defeat continues to divide America and Trump, don't forget, is running again [in 2024].
—Steven Sackur, BBC Hardtalk "Year in Review," Dec. 29, 2022
In his recent "Year in Review," the BBC's Steven Sackur interviewed Jamie Raskin of the illegitimately formed House January 6 Committee and Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham about the political division in the United States.
Sackur began with an unsupported causal claim that the political polarization in the United States was "due" to Trump's presidency and to Trump's "refusal" to accept the results of the 2020 election, which, by an astonishing coincidence, just happens to be the precise obsession of the Democrat party and his other guest, Jamie Raskin!
Well, that seems fair!
Raskin told Sackur that Trump-supporters attacked our constitutional process, but "the foremost responsibility of a political party to accept election results even if they don't go your way." Unfortunately, Raskin did not make similar statements when Democrat "election deniers" began squealing about Russian collusion immediately upon Trump's election in 2016 or when Stacey Abrams repeatedly stated that she had won the election for governor of Georgia in 2018, not to mention the plethora of other Democrat "election deniers" over recent decades.
Sackur then introduced Lindsey Graham with a statement made to frame (in the psychological sense of prejudicing the outcome) his discussion:
Joe Biden ... just made a very important speech to the American public saying that "the Republican Party is dominated and intimidated by Trump and MAGA Republicans and their extreme ideology. He [says] there are dark forces at work that are inciting violence and I think he may see you [Lindsey Graham] as one of them.
Sackur hereby informed the audience, before Graham had even said a word, that Biden had made an important speech, that the people in the Republican Party who support Trump do not do so freely, but because they are "dominated and intimidated" by him, that Trump's MAGA is an "extreme ideology," that "dark forces ... inciting violence" support Trump, and that Biden thinks "you [Lindsey Graham]" are part of those "dark forces."
Well, that sounds fair!
Of course, if Biden says something, it must be true, like his claims that he graduated in the top half of his law school class, when, in fact, he graduated in the bottom 11%, or his false claim that he was a full professor at the University of Pennsylvania, or his false claim that he was arrested in South Africa trying to see Nelson Mandela, etc., etc., etc.
Needless to say, Sackur gave no evidence whatsoever that Trump's refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election caused the political polarization in the United States. Anyone even minimally familiar with the philosophy of science knows that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to determine causal connections in the social world, where the variables are impossibly complex and where some philosophers, like Ludwig Wittgenstein and his disciples, argue that there are deep problems with the application of the causal model to social phenomena. Nevertheless, Sackur somehow divined that Raskin's Democrat party script about what caused political divisions in the United States was correct!
Perhaps, however, the political divisions in the United States began when the Washington Post, just a few minutes after Trump was sworn into office, stated that the campaign to impeach him had begun. Perhaps they began when Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for a fake Russian dossier, which U.S. "intelligence agencies" somehow managed not to notice, to frame Donald Trump for colluding with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
Perhaps they began when Hillary's bought-and-paid-for dossier was used to justify the massive $32-million Mueller special counsel investigation that bogged down several years of Trump's presidency, thereby cheating his voters. Perhaps they began when what passes for the American "news" media, sometimes literally with eyes bulging and distended forehead veins, chanted "the walls are closing in [on Trump]" for years. Perhaps they began when the Democrat-media colluders pushed the fake Trump-tear-gassed-civilians-in-Lafayette-Park-for-a-Bible-photo-op hoax. Perhaps they began when the media pushed the discredited Russia-paid-the-Taliban-bounties-to-kill-U.S.-troops-in-Afghanistan-and-Trump-ignored-it hoax. Perhaps they began when Biden stated that Trump had refused to condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists, a claim that even USATODAY has debunked, but which leftists continue to repeat until this day. Perhaps they began when 51 former "intelligence" officers signed a letter just before the 2020 election that falsely claimed that the Hunter Biden laptop story was probably Russian disinformation. Perhaps they began when MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace had to apologize for falsely claiming that Trump had talked about "exterminating Latinos." Perhaps it began when Big Tech colluded with our "intelligence" agencies and the Biden administration to censor the true Hunter Biden laptop story. Perhaps it began with the 157 "mistakes" made by the "news" media during the Trump era (documented by one of the few remaining actual journalists, Sharyl Attkisson). Etc. Sackur cannot, apparently, see the difference between partisan hyperventilation and actual evidence. Perhaps GWU constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, a liberal Obama voter, but an honest man, can enlighten him.
Since most "journalists" live in this comfortable navel-gazing bubble of like-minded "liberals," they easily fall into a version of the ad populum fallacy that something is true because everybody in their elite little bubble believes it. Many in the media on both sides of the pond have what Thomas Kuhn calls a "paradigm," a fundamental view about the way the world is that even informs the way one sees the evidence. The "reasoning," so to speak, goes something like this: since everybody smart and important (that is, everybody in my little elitist bubble) thinks Trump is a dangerous extremist promoting violence, any claim that he did so must be true, and any claim that he did not do it is a conspiracy theory by "dark forces."
How else can Sackur dismiss the fact that Trump's exact words to the crowd on January 6, conveniently edited out by his Democrat partisan guru Raskin, were "I know you will proceed peacefully and patriotically to make your voices heard"? How else can Sackur dismiss the fact that the Democrats and most of what passes for our "news" media have downplayed the fact that the only person killed that day was an unarmed female Trump-supporter shot by a Capitol policeman (the others not "killed" by anyone, but died by natural causes). How else can he miss the fact that, as many Republicans have been saying for months, some of them under oath, that Nancy Pelosi turned down Trump's offer of National Guard troops to protect the Capitol?
Unfortunately, once one buys into an ideological paradigm, one loses the ability to see. Everything confirms one's view, and anything that undermines it must be due to "dark forces"! The media are the same everywhere. One always gets the same pre-ordained outcome delivered sanctimoniously with an affected superiority and a total lack of self-awareness, all built on sloppy reasoning and loose language.
Well, that sounds fair!
Image: Logo via Wikipedia, fair use.