Alarming News

October 29, 2005

I must do the Christian Right’s bidding

Via Englishman in New York, I’ve discovered this great post The American Expat about the BBC’s obsession with the Christian right and its misrepresentation of its infuence:

Tonight on Newsnight, reporter Stephanie Flanders adopted the standard BBC/Guardian default position used as a stock explanation for virtally anything that happens on the political right in the US…it’s all the work of the religious right.

Ostensibly, but falsely, explaining the demise of the Miers nomination, Flanders gives us a clip of a group of people kneeling, holding hands, and praying, as she serves up this:

But by far the harshest opposition has come from right wing faith groups…

As I’ve pointed out previously, this is complete and utter rubbish, and the fact that Flanders was able to track down a Christian who denounced Miers doesn’t make it smell any better. The most immediate, powerful, and heated objections came from the likes of George Will, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and the entire staff of National Review. These people are not voices of the Christian right. They are voices of intellectual, ideological, principled conservatism, and contrary to the BBC’s warped reporting, these are the voices that influence and drive conservative policy in Washington, not Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition.

Now this reference to the religious right made up maybe 30 seconds of a 4 minute report. But these are precisely the types of small but constant characterizations that are incessantly dropped into BBC coverage of the US political scene, and which ultimately serve to give Britain a warped and ignorant view of American politics, particularly on the right. As the BBC’s relentless (and wholly false) campaign to portray the American right as subservient to and driven by evangelist Christians continues unabated, you have to ask the question: Can BBC reporters themselves be so ignorant of reality, or are they deliberately misinforming the folks back home? Well, Jeremy Paxman may have quite a few unpleasant personality traits, but he’s never struck me as stupid and uninformed. Which leaves me with only one conclusion to draw.