BBC claims to be ‘neutral’ by refusing to call Trump’s words racist and airing his lies

BBC and Donald Trump
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The BBC has openly refused to call Donald Trump’s latest vile words out as racist. On 18 July, host Evan Davis claimed it was for the audience to “debate” whether Trump’s racism is “a matter of fact or is just an opinion”. Many listeners were outraged because the BBC also played two minutes of Trump’s “chilling and horrifying” speech and failed to counter any of his xenophobic lies.

Fact or opinion?

On 14 July, Trump issued a series of undeniably racist tweets. He told four progressive congresswomen of colour to “go back” to their “broken and crime infested” countries.

Since then, his fans have pushed the racist attacks against congresswoman Ilhan Omar further. Pumped up by another racist and nationalist attack from Trump, supporters chanted “send her back” at a rally.

Yet on Radio 4‘s PM show, Davis said:

Quite few of you have asked us to describe his [Trump’s] behaviour as racist, as a matter of fact rather than as a matter of opinion. In the end, we just strive to be as neutral as we possibly can be. You can debate what neutrality means and whether we meet that standard. You can debate whether the assertion of Trump’s racism is a matter of fact or is just an opinion. But whichever it is, the most important thing is that we report on what is going on in the US for you to frame your own judgement.

Evans then said he’d play a “slightly longer” extract from Trump’s rally on 17 July.

Barack Obama’s former speechwriter, Jon Favreau, called this rally “one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics”.

Read on...

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Yet the BBC gave this same vicious, “chilling” attack two minutes of uninterrupted airplay. “No comment,” Evans said, “no need for comment.”

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

Many people were outraged by the BBC broadcast.

Some explained why failing to counter Trump’s lies about Omar, or offer any additional commentary, was so hugely problematic:

And this is vitally important. Because as Politico reported, before the chant went up:

the president tore into Omar specifically, mischaracterizing past controversial statements by the congresswoman related to the 9/11 terror attacks and Al Qaeda that conservatives have seized upon.

Trump also said Omar – a critic of Israeli crimes against Palestinians – had “a history of launching vicious, anti-Semitic screeds” and presented a total distortion of her position on the crisis in Venezuela. He’s since claimed he “was not happy” with the crowd’s response. But for “roughly 15 seconds”, he was silent and simply watched. And he’s yet to apologise for his original racist tweets.

Others, meanwhile, pointed out that claiming to have ‘no position’ is actually taking a very clear position:

One Twitter user quoted Desmond Tutu’s famous quote: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.

Trump’s appalling response to far-right violence in Charlottesville in 2017 showed just how dangerous his racist views are. He’s also continued to fuel a terrifyingly fascist onslaught against immigrants and refugees.

This isn’t Trump’s first racist attack; and it’s unlikely to be his last. So for the BBC to refuse to call him out shows just how little we can trust its output. This broadcast wasn’t “neutral” – it tipped right into propaganda.

Featured images via Andy Roberts/Flickr and Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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  • Show Comments
      1. Oh, z.ghumman, you failed to add that the attacks were manipulated from one of Jupiter’s moons by the Lizard People. So you have no courage, either. Are you in the Deep State, too? Remember: Trust No One. The X-Files was a documentary series.

    1. Once again the BBC has shown us that they support, fully the racist comments and actions of the President of the USA.
      The BBC needs to be BOYCOTTED for their stand in promoting the hate agenda of the trump administration that only continues to grow by lack of action as shown by the BBC.

    2. By not calling out President Trump as ‘a racist’ with those said reported tweets of the president’s shouldn’t allow us to suppose (those of us who either revile or revere the BBC) that the BBC supports Trump. Our much maligned and put-upon Aunty is there, like Her Majesty The Queen, not to be seen publicly to have an opinion per se as other reportage outlets have that privilege of bias. Although, discussion within Aunty’s circle may throw up individuals who will be less squeamish to discourteously call out the president of the USA a racist and another ‘throw-up’ may balance the view counter-wise to say he is not. Such is what is ‘opinion’ versus what may be ‘fact’.

      1. “Our much maligned and put-upon Aunty is there, like Her Majesty The Queen, not to be seen publicly to have an opinion per se…”

        Is that why we get such a neutral impression of the BBC’s coverage of Corbyn – because opinions about him expressed by its pundits and their guests are so finely balanced between support and dissent, as you would expect for a man leading a party that is marginally the most popular in the country, according to the latest polls …? Is that why I have no idea whether the BBC likes him or not … ?

        Was the former chair of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, deluding himself when he expressed astonishment at the bias against Corbyn? Was Laura Kuenssberg wrongly criticised by the current Trust for misrepresenting Corbyn on a shoot to kill policy by using his answer to a separate question as though itv were a reply to another one? Is that why a report published by the London School of Economics and Political Science found strong media bias against Corbyn? Is that why the Media Reform coalition, in association with Birkbeck University, produced a highly respected report which found the media to have a “marked and persistent imbalance” favouring sources critical to Corbyn, and singling out The BBC as the most egregious:

        “We have focused our scrutiny and concern on the BBC’s coverage (and especially its main evening TV bulletins) in view of the cross-over audiences it attracts, the high levels of trust attached to its reporting, and the centrality of news impartiality and balance to the its public service mission. But its coverage on the whole did not live up to, in our view, either its reputation for balance or the spirit of its editorial guidelines.”

        Examples given include the following:

        “Whilst BBC television reports made frequent reference to the fresh allegations of anti-semitism that surfaced during and after the (Chakrabarti) report’s launch, no mention was made of the report’s actual content.”

        My my, why bother with what it actually found when you can just carry on reporting, uncritically, and without any examination, the allegations of his critics. Here’s another:

        “In contrast to the notions of hostility and intransigence, there was also repeated use of language and imagery that associated Corbyn with weakness and failure. Descriptive words and phrases such as “awkward”, “laughing stock” and “no authority” were used repeatedly without qualification. Particularly noteworthy in this respect was the closing statement of a report on the BBC News at Six which concluded that “This is a fight only one side can win. The others being carted off to irrelevance. The place for political losers”. This was set against a shot of a moving garbage truck emblazoned with the word ‘CORBYN'”. To quote your rather garbled last line: “such is what is ‘opinion’ versus what may be ‘fact’.”

        So much for our maligned and put upon “Aunty”, which I haven’t heard it called since the days of Biggles.

    3. God has created diverse human beings to live in this tiny global village of one family. Creation by its very nature is diverse with different species, different communities, different cultures and languages. These differences represent the beauty and wonder but diversity is sometimes not fully appreciated, resulting in all sorts of clashes. The British society and Establishment must learn to respect and accommodate others, as if in a family. Globalisation means that we now all live, work or communicate with people who are different. In this global village, religious faith plays a central role in the way that people understand or from their culture and identity.

      A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. The whole world belongs to a Muslim. The whole world is now become a global community. Trump is not fit to be the president of this great country. His grandparents were immigrant and he should be deported to a country from where his grandparents came from. The so called civilised West must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. Stop treating foreigners like garbage and they will stop ruining your precious country. Why did you let them in in the first place if you didn’t want them here? They left everything in their countries because of your promises. Are you so anxious to please that you can’t say “no”? I would love to see you go to a foreign land where you don’t have any friends, you don’t even know anyone and you don’t speak the language, and start from scratch.

      Migrants are people like the rest of us. Human beings have always moved around the globe from the beginning of time. It’ s part of our nature. There needs to be a sensible debate on the scale of inward economic migration. Unfortunately, the tabloids and the coalition would rather engage in hyperbole and scapegoating. Many White people under the sway of Tory tabloids don’t even bother trying to distinguish between ethnic minority citizens and recently arrived economic migrants, regarding all and sundry as ‘immigrants’. When times are tough, people do look for scapegoats and it’s up to the government and the media not to indulge this (unfortunately) primordial tendency. A fact that is usually not mentioned by politicians or the tabloids is that it’s mainly British employers (of all colours and creeds) who take on economic migrants, often in preference to British citizens. Their excuse is that citizens are likely to be lazy whereas migrants are likely to be hardworking. I suspect what these employers really mean is that citizens will not be easily exploited, humiliated and underpaid, unlike desperate economic migrants.

      Britain is in a Globalized world, Globalization has lifted millions out of Poverty and its currently responsible for the re-balancing of the worlds wealth, meaning that the West will inevitably get poorer as money rushes to all four corners of the world. So to all the people who are moaning about Globalization, do grow up. It’s here, and here to stay. As for Immigration the fears are normally stroked by Political parties as an easy cheap shot, everyone likes to beat up on immigrants, in particular every one’s favourite punching bag Asylum seekers. oh well, haters gona hate. Many French protestants came to the East End as religious refugees – are their descendants English. Many Russian Jewish people later came to the East End as refugees from pogroms carried out under the Tsar. Are their descendants English? What is English?

      Look into history and then you can cry because what goes around comes around. Don’t see why people have such a problem with mass immigration? It enriches our culture and boosts the economy! We have to stop looking at these people as immigrants and think of them as human beings. The immigrants are not to blame because they were invited and welcomed here by our successive government. We have quite large Spanish , French and Italian communities in Brighton and I believe it really enhances the place and adds to diversity of the City. Globalisation is here to stay. Britain colonised & some would say civilised half the world. It’s called Karma. Not so long ago British people colonized Asia, living like kings while locals suffering to no end. At least, these migrants do not enslave the Britons, so stop whining please.

      Multiculturalism is not about integration but about cultural plurality. It is not about separation but about respect and the deepening awareness of Unity in Diversity. Each culture will maintain its own intrinsic value and at the same time would be expected to contribute to the benefit of the whole society. Multiculturalism can accommodate diversity of all kinds – cultural, philosophical and religious – so that we can create a world without conflict and strife. Britain can assume the role of accommodation and concern for all peoples, for our planet and indeed for our survival. Multi-culturalism is even more important and crucial after 9/11 and 7/7. Muslim youths are also likely to feel alienated by a focus on shared Brutishness, rather than multicultural diversity. Rather than promoting a single British “us” teaching should acknowledge that “us” can be diverse and plural. Children should be encouraged to explore differences in appearance, history and religion to reduce social and educational fears.

      Multiculturalism strengthens a country, especially if there are programs that work towards promoting cultural understanding and eliminating racism. It also encourages all people to take part in the economic, political and social life of the society. Having a diverse mixture of cultures and people inspires people to think differently and thus enhance their creativity.

      During colonial days, British did not follow local customs or culture. They didn’t exactly “go native”. They even forced the native Americans and native Australian to adopt all the evils of their culture and customs. They are still the underdogs of American and Australian societies. At least Australian Prime Minister apologised to the natives for their evil deeds. Brits living in Spain and France don’t even bother learning the language of the new adopted country. Frankly suggesting that people don’t want to become “British” they should move elsewhere is extremely irritating. Immigrants are in UK because they are needed, it was never an act of charity. Without migration, British economy and society will bleed to death. British culture and customs will undoubtedly change as it has for millennium due to immigration. I am not quite sure why Brits would be worried about that.

      Due to the emergence of large Muslim population in the UK, sustenance of such colonial ambition of the British Imperialists faces some home grown challenge. Many of the young Muslims are determined to grow up with the core Islamic beliefs that were nurtured by the prophet of Islam himself and his devout companions. To them, these early Muslims of the prophet’s time are the true figure of highness that deserved to be followed in every aspect of the life. Hence the original Islam enters into their hearts with its inherent sharia, khelafa, migration and jihad. The de-Islamised and secularised converts to the western values and culture enjoy little honour or credibility in the eyes of these young British Muslims. This owes to the huge bulk of Islamic books in English language which is much more enriched than many of the native languages of Muslim countries like Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Malaysian, Indonesian, Somalian or Turkish languages. Hence women with hijab and youth with long beard are more visible in British universities than in the universities of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey or Indonesia. Islam is more visible in some parts of the UK like East London, Birmingham, Bradford, Oldham and Luton than many parts of the Muslim countries. One can find hardly a Bangladeshi, Indian or Pakistani youths fighting in the jihad of Syria. But hundreds of British youths have already reached there; many of them have already given their life. This has added more venom to the anti-Islamic narratives of the British neocons. They are struggling to reconcile with such harsh reality of the British society. They are raising Trojan horse hoax just to encounter that reality.

      The British colonial power has collapsed, but their anti-Muslims campaign has not ended. It still survives amongst the neocons. They are fighting the same battle with the same strategy -not only in occupied Muslim lands but in their own land with significant Muslim population. In fact, the Trojan horse hoax against 5 Birmingham schools is only the tip of such anti-Muslim campaign. They are not ready to see the Muslims grooming up with any amount of Islamisation. They label such provision as indoctrination to terrorism. But what happened in Birmingham schools is far from Islamisation. These schools didn’t provide any enhanced access to Islamic knowledge or Islamic grooming. These schools are not Muslim faith schools and not managed by the Muslims. These are secular state schools -focused only to follow the state curriculum; and were regularly monitored by the state inspection teams. Therefore how the so-called Trojan horses can land in Birmingham in the midst of so many vigilant eyes of the government? Is it not the new bogey of the neocons to frighten the local people against the Muslims? The Ofsted school inspection team couldn’t find any evidence that these schools were ignoring any part of state curriculum and teaching Islam. Instead, two of the alleged five schools made outstanding performance to meet the curriculum-based learning targets. Apart from head scarf and hijab, segregation of girls and boys during the physical exercise classes, few books on Islam in the library, congregation prayers at lunch break, absence of Christmas tree amidst 98% Muslim students and few teachers with long beards -what else could they find to suggest a deceitful takeover of British land –as the Trojan horse plot implies?

      The shocking level of targeting of the Muslim community of Birmingham is indicative of the normalisation of the dehumanisation of the Muslims of Britain. Under the pretext of “extremism”, criminal undemocratic and unethical abuse of public institutions and the Muslims of the UK can occur without much accountability. This pervasive attitude, especially amongst officials like Michael Gove needs to change. Our schools are truly trying to develop our children to do well at schools so later in life they are able to stand on their own two feet, but if we stop our schools from doing this than our country will have up rise of unemployment, benefit issues, crime levels high, I think it’s time for you apologize and allow practitioners to do their job right.

      Muslim community in all western countries need Masajid, state funded Muslim schools , Halal meat and Muslim cemeteries. West must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. Don’t these hypocrites idiots know what their ancestors did to Native American Indians they slaughtered 150 millions of Native American Indians! and also do they know that Great Britain invaded 80% countries around the world? They should call them terrorist first and as well call their ancestors terrorist! British did the same to Native American Indians and sadly they still treat Native American Indians badly! So Americans Indians know how you Muslims feel! They stole Indian land and killed 150 millions of Indians the British did! They were forced to go to the white man’s school and learn the language, culture and faith of the white man. Inspite of that, they are still the under dogs of the American society.

      1. “Muslim community in all western countries need … Halal meat … West must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different.”

        Leaving aside the rest of your post, in a secular country, which separates church from state, I’m prepared to tolerate all religions, but not all of their practices. I’m not prepared to tolerate wanton cruelty to animals in order to satisfy archaic religious rituals. You need to tolerate that. As a vegetarian, I consider eating meat abhorrent, but the slow killing of an animal in great distress is utterly unacceptable and an abomination that should, and hopefully will be outlawed. The stunning of animals before they are killed is the very least humanity that such an act should require, and you should learn to tolerate that. Kosher/halal meat should be prohibited.

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