Saturday, April 09, 2005

The BBC Three-Step.

All media, the state and corporate, the mainstream and alternative, the left and right alike have biases and blind spots. Ok, that was not news. The key is to get your news from multiple sources and check everything out with others having opposing biases and blind spots. But the fact that all media (and people) have this tendency is not an excuse to ignore it. If an organization is not even willing to put a little effort into hiding its flaws we should all point and laugh and throw rocks (small ones please, this is not Iran).

Get your jeers and pebbles ready for...

The BBC News online.

They have a tendency to do this:
  1. Take a news story that reports some news about the world as it is.
  2. Extensively quote some "expert" to make reality look the way you wish it was. In this case it was an economist who believes that the free-market, free-trade, free-people laws that the Americans have brought in, which would cause Iraq to be the most open modern economy on the planet once it gets running at full speed, are BAD. Of course, they are ignoring the fact that the number of economists on the planet that would agree with him is probably too small to play street hockey with. Earlier the BBC did this with a "hunger expert" with the U.N. who got his job for his anti-Israel, anti-U.S. views and has been doing a damn sad job ever since, at least as "hunger expert". (Sorry it is more like "Rapporteur to the Most High U.N. on the Rights of the Hungry to Food Which is Being Stolen By Fat Westerners" or something like that. I wonder if there is a Secretary to the Rapporteur to the Most High U.N. on the Rights of the Hungry to Food Which is Being Stolen By Fat Westerners.)
  3. Completely ignore or refuse to look up embarrassing facts about your so-called expert. In the "modern economic thought is wrong for Iraq but right in the rest of the universe" story they have overlooked the fact that this economist is a long time activist against the war. If Iraq's economy blossoms it will make his opposition to the occupation look foolish yet we are to believe that he has thrown out all of the long tested and true principles of modern economic thought with Iraq's best interests in mind? You would think that in the interests of full disclosure the BBC would mention this little tid bit about him but instead he is presented as representing some unstatedly large portion of economists. Just as the report of the Rapporteur... is presented as if it was from a credible source with no hint of the "expert's" bias.
The BBC needs to get a new act. This old three step is really old.

8 Comments:

At Sun Apr 10, 01:45:00 AM 2005, Blogger Robert said...

Are you one of Canada’s "most wanted", or am I mistaken about your countries “socialistic” leanings?

 
At Sun Apr 10, 02:36:00 AM 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

The "left-wing loony" genes are definitely overly represented in our population but we have a respectable bunch of "right-wing nut buckets" gene carriers too. Then there are the people like me with an extra sensibility chromosome.

We are more like a giant swing state that keeps swinging left because of poor quality in the right-wing camp.

 
At Tue Apr 19, 09:02:00 PM 2005, Blogger freeman said...

Where exactly are these "free-market, free-trade, free-people laws" that you claim are being brought to Iraq? You don't truly believe that the Bush administration has even a lick of interest in promoting such things at home or abroad, do you?

A more accurate assessment is that they're looting the place while also setting up some rather socialist measures. Corporate mercantilism with a dose of socialism is a far more accurate description than the "free-market, free-trade, free-people laws" Orwellian doublespeak that certain apologists for the status quo like to promote.

As a reality-based libetarian, I see nothing worthwhile being advanced by the US government over in Iraq.

 
At Thu Apr 21, 06:16:00 PM 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

First it was paranoia over "political correctness" and now people are claiming to be part of the "culture of life" and the "reality based" community. Don't you just love buzz words and catch phrases? Both the left and the right have such poetry in their souls.

If the laws and institutions that are being advanced in Iraq are not free-trade and free-enterprise then why are the left-wing, pro-state, anti-capitalist types complaining about them being too free-trade and free enterprise oriented? Why is the Economist, a publication with a strong editorial stand against corruption and in favor of free-markets and free-trade claiming that these principles are being advanced in Iraq? More "Orwellian doublespeak"? Another great catch phrase.

If the new laws are not supporting the freedom of the Iraqi people, why are there so many new and independent newspapers, political talk radio shows and Internet service providers in Iraq. Why are people criticizing and debating the state openly. When was the last time in history Iraqis could do that?

"You don't truly believe that the Bush administration has even a lick of interest in promoting such things at home or abroad, do you?"

Not at home, obviously he has too many special interests to cater to. But You don't really think Bush wants Iraq to be mired in socialist policies for a generation do you? His motivation for this being... what? To discredit his own decision to invade Iraq?

"I see nothing worthwhile being advanced by the US government over in Iraq."

That is likely because of two factors. You were likely against the operation in Iraq from the beginning and you feel that if Iraq does not spiral into economic disaster it would prove the argument for Bush's invasion. Secondly, the media does not let you see anything worthwhile being advanced in Iraq. Have a look at this and ask yourself if any of this was reported in the media. Only bloodshed makes the news. Building schools, water treatment plants and a functioning banking system don't keep people glued to the TV.

Or if you can stand to listen to the 'wrong side' of the political spectrum you might have a look at some of the news that the media only mentions in passing

As for "certain apologists for the status quo", it seems to me that that would have been a good description of those who supported allowing the Baathists to stay in charge with the hope that when Saddam finally died, one of his psychopathic sons would have improved the situation.

Thanks for your comment. :-)

 
At Fri Apr 22, 01:16:00 AM 2005, Blogger freeman said...

First off, it's so nice to know that there are folks out there who are
too holier than thou to ever engage in the use of buzzwords and catch
phrases.

If the laws and institutions that are being advanced in Iraq are
not free-trade and free-enterprise then why are the left-wing,
pro-state, anti-capitalist types complaining about them being too
free-trade and free enterprise oriented? Why is the Economist, a
publication with a strong editorial stand against corruption and in
favor of free-markets and free-trade claiming that these principles
are being advanced in Iraq? More "Orwellian doublespeak"? Another
great catch phrase.


Well, some of those lefties could also be engaging in dishonest
rhetoric, but I would categorize their complaints about "free trade"
and "free markets" as stemming more from economic ignorance than
anything else. The fact that mercantilists use free market rhetoric
to make their agenda appear rosy fuels that more than anything else.

The Economist promotes free trade and free markets??? That's a good
one! Simply railing against some forms of corruption while looking to
reduce some regulations (and only the ones that benefit big
business)here and there does not equal genuine free market advocacy.
I would say that they would end up looking quite statist and
interventionist compared to, say, the Mises Institute, for example. Just because someone/thing is labeled as or claims to be "pro-free market"
doesn't mean that it's accurate. Don't make the same mistake that
most lefties do.


Additionally, if you wish to find out how incompatible the USSA (oh
no, another buzzword!) government's Iraq agenda is with real
free markets, a good place to start would be
href="http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/01/more-wonderful-free-market-reforms.html">here


Not at home, obviously he has too many special interests to cater
to. But You don't really think Bush wants Iraq to be mired in
socialist policies for a generation do you? His motivation for this
being... what? To discredit his own decision to invade Iraq?


You apparently have not read the Iraqi constitution scribbled up by
the likes of Paul Bremer. I recommend doing so and then question
whether or not terms like "free markets", or even "freedom" in general
really apply.

That is likely because of two factors. You were likely against the
operation in Iraq from the beginning and you feel that if Iraq does
not spiral into economic disaster it would prove the argument for
Bush's invasion. Secondly, the media does not let you see anything
worthwhile being advanced in Iraq. Have a look at this and ask
yourself if any of this was reported in the media. Only bloodshed
makes the news. Building schools, water treatment plants and a
functioning banking system don't keep people glued to the TV.


You're correct about me opposing the war from the get go, but your
assertion about Iraq not falling into economic disaster proving the
neocons argument for war is hogwash. There is no justification for it
in my mind. As a freedom advocate, I'm not interested in imperialist
adventures taking place with money stolen from people like myself.
I'm not interested in that money being used to prop up despots only to
take them down when they no longer kiss the right ass, like Saddam for
example. Further, since war is the health of the state, the only
position consistent with freedom advocacy is to oppose such wars.

I also don't approve of money being stolen from people to be given
away as foreign aid, which is why that link you provide doesn't
impress me (by the way, I have heard of such infrastructure being
rebuilt over there). Whether it's given to foreign governments or to
government
subsidaries posing as private businesses
, it still reeks of theft
and corruption. What a swell racket they've got going on over there.

And what is this "political spectrum" tripe, with a "right" and
"wrong" side you're talking about? I pretty much ignore the MSM
(mainstream media) myself, except to occasionally figure out what
sorts of BS they have planned for us all and then gag. If you're
referring to a left/right spectrum, may I point out that real
libertarians are neither left nor right. On the typical political
spectrum that fools believe is all representative, libertarians don't
fall anywhere on it. Free markets and individual liberty are not
right-wing positions, nor are they left-wing positions.

As for "certain apologists for the status quo", it seems to me that
that would have been a good description of those who supported
allowing the Baathists to stay in charge with the hope that when
Saddam finally died, one of his psychopathic sons would have improved
the situation.


I was referring to those who apologize for the continuation of the
imperialist corporate state (and no, my use of the term "corporate
state" does not make me a leftie). In other words, I was looking at
the big picture here at home. As a proponent of real free markets and
individual liberty, I pretty much reject the status quo in it's
entirety.

Personally, I would go as far as to say that people who are pro-war
can not legitimately claim to be libertarian. It doesn't seem that
someone like Anthony Gregory would go quite that far, but he does seem
to imply something close to that
href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory57.html">here
.
That article of his also provides a wealth of links to other
libertarians who condemn the statist and anti-freedom monstrosity that
is war.

I am very disappointed that someone who I admire would recommend this
blog as being "pro-freedom".

 
At Fri Apr 22, 01:43:00 AM 2005, Blogger freeman said...

Hmm... for some reason, two of the links I posted didn't turn out right.

The first one, regarding Iraq and "free markets" is:
http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/01/more-wonderful-free-market-reforms.html

The second one, the Anthony Gregory piece, is:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory57.html

 
At Sat Apr 23, 05:58:00 PM 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

"First off, it's so nice to know that there are folks out there who are too holier than thou to ever engage in the use of buzzwords and catch phrases."

I never said that I never engage in their use, just as I can not claim that I never swear or get angry. Just as, if I were to start swearing uncontrollably, I would hope someone would bring that indiscretion to my attention, so I would hope that someone would point it out if I were to start using buzzwords and empty catch phrases in every paragraph and peppering my speech with emotionally laden yet unsupported terms like "tripe", "imperialist adventures" and "looting". Perhaps I should not have assumed that you would also be open to such criticism. Sorry. (I don't remember seeing Halliburton employees carrying TV's out of smashed Iraqi shops. I have no interest in defending Halliburton but what they have done seems to be against the American tax-payer and the reconstruction funds and is of no reflection on the state of Iraq) It is one thing to use a phrase to express an opinion or emotion and another to use them to support your opinion via appeals to emotion.

It might be helpful to point out that I never said that Iraq was being set up as the ultimate perfect free-market region. Is there any place you could point to on this planet which can make such a claim? The point of this post was that the BBC dredged up the one economist who thinks that free-market laws are bad for Iraq and presented him as representative of some sizable fraction of economists.

Maybe you could mention some specific ways in which the new laws that have been crafted are more socialist or anti-free expression than the former Baathist way of doing things or even the way that things are done in the Middle East in general or more to the point, how Iraq's new laws are worse than the western industrialized nations in Western Europe or the nations in Asia that have undergone their rapid rise out of poverty.

"The Economist promotes free trade and free markets??? That's a good
one!"


Thanks.

"Simply railing against some forms of corruption while looking to reduce some regulations (and only the ones that benefit big business) here and there does not equal genuine free market advocacy."

The economist never supports reducing regulations that currently harm small businesses? I guess I must have dreamed all those articles.

It might not be "genuine" enough for you but not being active enough in your support of ideas like free-markets and free-expression is not the same as being against them. Can you mention any times other than (supposedly) regarding Iraq where they have supported corruption and obstructionist regulation? If not, would it make sense to assume they are in favor of these things in Iraq?

I am not an economist or a constitutional lawyer for that matter, so I tend to look to what the economics community is in conflict on and what they agree on, as to how free an economy is and whether a constitution is freely free and fairly fair. The Mises Institute does not seem to be on anyone's radar screen, even to criticize them. I would also not be easily convinced by a blog by one person who's reputation among economists is completely unknown to me especially if they have decided to misuse the term "capitalism" in the same way that the left does, which hints at a general disconnect from the rest of the field of study.

After further looking into the Mises Institute, I found that it is an institute that feels that the south was right in the Civil War; tariffs, apparently being more of a danger to liberty than slavery. This makes their position that leaving the Baathists in charge would have been better than what is now happening seem, if not sensible then at least consistent. They sound really Libertarian. This is why no one takes advice from Austria.

"but your aassertion about Iraq not falling into economic disaster proving the neocons argument for war is hogwash."

Are all people and arguments in favor of the war neocons?

It was not my assertion but one that seems to be prevalent among those who were against the war. Many of these parties have take active steps to sabotage Iraq's recovery like those nations who were opposed to sanctions on Iraq during Saddam's time because they were unfair to the people (an argument with some merit) suddenly were against removing them once he was gone. How are we to conclude that this is anything other than a sour-grapes desire to see Iraq fail so that the U.S. will be discredited. Very few people who are against the war are willing to admit that anything close to a recovery is even possible, let alone occurring in Iraq. If I unfairly attributed this attitude to you I am sorry though I am not very convinced that I did.

In regards to the apologists for the status quo:

"I was referring to those who apologize for the continuation of the imperialist corporate state"

I know. I just found it ironic that you were against intervening in the status quo of the Baathists or in doing anything to change the status quo of the anarchic, overthrown state by bringing it up to the level of the modern western status quo (as socialist and unfree as it may seem) Did I get that right or did I miss a quo or two?

Premise "Further, since war is the health of the state,"

Conclusion "the only
position consistent with freedom advocacy is to oppose such wars."


[The only consistent position as you see it, you mean. You have an unsupported premise which even if true does not necessarily support the conclusion here.]

Would you make exceptions for states which invade their neighbors, like when Germany invades Czechoslovakia, or Poland? Was the world wrong to intervene in the former Yugoslavia since it was an internal matter and since war is the health of the state?

"Personally, I would go as far as to say that people who are pro-war
can not legitimately claim to be libertarian."


There is one way in which I can sympathize with the Christians. No matter what you believe there is always someone who says that you are not a "true Christian". You can also never be a "legitimate libertarian". To make you happy I will change my profile to read "illegitimate, pseudo-libertarian"

"I am very disappointed that someone who I admire would recommend this blog as being "pro-freedom"".

You will have to get a refund from the person whom you admire. I made no guaranty to fall within your parameters for being pro-freedom.

 
At Sat Apr 23, 09:55:00 PM 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

Oops. I forgot to answer your question about...

"And what is this "political spectrum" tripe, with a "right" and
"wrong" side you're talking about?"


I meant the anti/pro 'conspiracy to plunder Iraq' spectrum. The site which that link lead to is by someone (Chrenkoff) who is in support of the war and the reconstruction. I was hoping that you would not see that and dismiss the site without reading it kind of the way you dismissed the USAID site because it has the taint of "foreign aid" The fact is that USAID, along with other organizations has been working to get the institutions of a functioning society like banks, court systems, and infrastructure developed where it has been neglected or absent or corrupted by decades of Baathist rule. But since "nothing worthwhile (is) being advanced by the US government over in Iraq." there is probably no reason to bother reading about it.

Well I am glad that I remembered to answer that last question. I would hate to be thinking about that later tonight while I performed various... unlibertarian acts.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home



 


Day By Day© by Chris Muir.