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Given that the Conservative Party has been completely unable to alter the BBC and has not actually tried, and couldn't do it if it did try, why is it the GOP's responsibility?

Does America have to bail us out of everything?!

If we can't solve this problem here, it is unlikely that Republucians in California are going to make it their top priority...

Umbrella man

Even if the BBC can't be changed 'A' - Americans should at the very least be warned about what is coming...


Don't get too excited about "Brit-power" in the states. It might take root with the coastal elites, but the last time they swung the election, it was for Bush! Remember the Guardian's campaign in Ohio? The county they focused on swung heavily to Bush after their smarmy self-righteous letters, most of which sounded like; "Dear stupid American: The reason you are reviled around the world is your incredibly ignorant selection of leaders."

They will be a source of hilarity as well as bias. Just keep hitting the tip jar for your favorite bloggers.


The BBC has no charter obligation to political balance in its coverage of foreign affairs.

Umbrella man

Fair point about the Ohio campaign, Sam S! It was a disaster for The Grauniad but I think they've probably learnt from that.


*its coverage of the politics of foreign countries.

Yet Another Anon

I doubt the BBC will have much effect on the balance of opinion, although they might have an influence on the way that the Democrats and Greens approach policy formulation and how they tackle elections and the balance of opinion amongst Liberals, Socialists and Anarchists. They could affect turnout perhaps and might provoke a reaction from Conservative Democrats and Republicans.


For two months prior to the presidential election of 2004, the Guardian newspaper made a conceted effort to convince the good people of Clark County, Ohio to vote for Kerry rather than for Bush. The effort backfired. Clark County, Ohio went for Bush over Kerry by a margin of 57 - 43. Let the British Marxists have another go of it in 2008. It will only help the Republican Party.


I basically agree with you Tim that most influence will be with our so-called moderate and independent voters but I doubt it will be significant. If Susan Hansen wants to angle it as Americans wanting a more "feisty scrutiny" of our politicians she's largely preaching about the quire. There is no lack feisty scrutiny here. As others have said most of those reading Guardian or BBC sources are already converted to the anti-American secular-socialist ideology. These are the people who are more concerned about our international image and globalist agenda than what is right for our country. Our 'citizens of the world'. Every bit of criticism which of course Susan agrees with can easily be found in our media every, single, day. Every hour of every single day.

Good point Sam. I read they also made phone calls. Yes maybe we can thank them for the final vote as it was sooo close :-)


This is just another step towards the Anglosphere. I read many British and many Australian papers, among others. Conservatives in ries shall the Anglo countould pool their resources, because in the media sector they are sorely outnumbered. A great sports section would be icing on the cake.

Alan S

I think omvi and sam s are dangerously complacent. One campaign failed but do they really think that millions of hits every month won't eventually make a difference?

Matt Davis

Gerard Baker is totally correct; in the USA the BBC and Guardian are simply preaching to the converted. Various American left wingers, who are so very out of step with their own voters and media, turn to our wildly biased broadcasters and papers in order to have their particular world view reinforced when they have real trouble finding American mass media outlets that will do that for them. That analysis also puts the lie to any suggestion that British media will influence US political outcomes a concept which is in my view a complete red herring.

Ryan D.

I like the Times and find their coverage to be fair most of the time. The BBC is so obviously biased - an increasingly mundane and tabloidish - that I have a hard time seeing thoughtful readers being influenced to a significant degree. I continue to read the BBC simply to stay informed about the issues affecting Britain and the world, but I certainly don't take their analyses seriously.

ken in sc

I usually click on British websites to see the latest anti-American outrages that are being being put out. They influence me to be less concerned about what those outside the U.S. think about us. They already live in La-la land and there is nothing we can do about it except disregard their ravings.


While most of this is true, the assumption seems to be that we go to these news sources for political coverage, but that isn't necessarily true. I go to the Guardian's webpage every day, but only for coverage of English football. I almost never read their political coverage. I would be interested to know just where people go when they visit these English webpages -- what percentage is for political coverage and what percentage is for other information? And I agree with others who suggest that there is a certain self-selection among those who do seek out these sources for political coverage.


I remember reading the many responses of the Ohio voters on the internet. Most were very angry at the Guardian and voted for Bush just out of spite, whether they really liked Bush or not. They didn't like being told by an overseas paper who to vote for. That's a big no no. Only a few were influenced to vote for Kerry. But those people were probably going to vote for Kerry anyway. I, too, think the Guardian and BBC are preaching to the converted but I'm also concerned about the independent voters who can be easily swayed one way or the other. And I'm not suggesting that all independents are easily swayed. It's just that unfortunately, there are some people in this country who believe everything they hear. It's those people the left wing media of Britain (or US) would brainwash. Many US conservatives like myself are too strong minded and set in our ways to fall for it. We aren't as stupid as the Guardian, BBC, etc. like to think.

David, you bring up a good point. People may not even be reading the political section.


What is this lately with conservatives and trying to spook people about what people read on the internet? First it's "Scary Google conspiring with scary Wikipedia," and now it's people reading "scary BBC"?

Look, I agree, the Beeb is biased. No kidding. But people, in general, aren't stupid. If they're turning to the Beeb, they're doing so not because they're being brainwashed, but because they want to. If conservatives are worried about not being heard, they should speak up and offer more news sources/opinions/blogs. Oh wait, they are. So what's the big deal?

This argument didn't hold water when my Commie buddy was trying to argue that America was "forcing" people to watch "morally degrading" soap operas ("Cultural Imperialism!"), and it doesn't hold water now that it's coming from a different part of the political spectrum. People aren't blind to political bias, and I THOUGHT the consensus was that political bias was one factor in driving the downfall of the MSM. Now, suddenly that the MSM we're talking about is BRITISH, we should be worried again?

And since when was the NYT Conservative friendly?


Remember "operation Clark County"?

You you won't swing anything, trust me.

The Americans who would be "swung" by British media are already of an overwhelmingly leftish political bent.

The swing voters, the undecided voters you need to swing get their info from blogs and alternative media sources, not foreign MSM.

But go ahead and feel free to puff your own importance up if you wish!


I'm a libertarian (in Ohio, no less) and a Mormon, and I read the BBC because it's written in a less "you, the reader, are a total moron who can't understand complex sentences" format than most US online sources. And it's an easy place from which to find stories about the entire English-speaking world -- and they even translate their stories into Russian (which I study.)

Also, the BBC may or may not hate conservatives -- but they're not nearly as obsessed with taking potshots at the current US presidential administration as many US commentators are. And I don't mind potshots at Tony Blair (perhaps because I don't hear them constantly the way I hear the Bush stuff.)

Anyway, people are reading the BBC in America, but I doubt we're being swayed further to the left than any of us are already willing to go. And unless the metrics are a lot fancier than I think they are, I've contributed at least two unique visits to each of those sites mentioned above (once at work and once at home) every month for the last two years. Well, except USA Today, which I've always hated and I'm still not sure why, exactly.


On a side note, the FT is hardly pro-American. Tim, have you read the editorial pages and letters to the editor? After subscribing to the US version for over a year and reading it every day alongside the WSJ, I thought it was horribly tilted against the United States, and I have stopped renewing the subscription. The editors (and many of the readers, apparently) are afflicted with economic nationalism that bleeds into criticism of the US outside of the FT's mandate. Why should the FT be qualified to comment on the Iraq War, for example? It should confine itself to the latest M&A and news on the credit markets. If a business publication can't bring itself to show some restraint, I have little hope for the other newspapers.

That said, I agree that The Economist (with some exceptions, like last week's issue on the 1967 War) is extremely professional in its coverage and is by far my favorite magazine. It is also up front about its left-of-center bias, but still flexible enough to have endorsed Bush in 2000.


Sarah, they do hate conservatives and do hate the US. It's been recorded and studied for years (see the book by Robin Aitken above). Those who believe the BBC is fair in its coverage should examine their own biases. Didn't you hear about the BBC's treatment of the US Ambassador on September 12, 2001? And how about the BBC vs. John Bolton?


I may not read BBC, but I read the Economist and the Financial Times every week.

tom swift

I wouldn't give up The Guardian for anything. It's like the funny pages, and it just keeps getting funnier, year after year. In contrast, another favorite, Pravda, is declining - it's now good for little except flying saucer sightings. The Economist isn't as funny as The Guardian, though it's gradually getting there.

But don't be deluded into thinking that online visits mean that a propaganda organ is taken seriously as a news source. The Guardian and the BBC simply aren't news, and over here I think most of us know it.


Tom Swift, good point. I'm just waiting for The Guardian to start calling US politicians "human scum" and "capitalist running dogs," and then I will know that its conversion to North Korean propaganda department is complete. Until then, you're right, it's good for a laugh or two.


Yeah, sure, the Brits will have influence on our elections. Liberals go to the Brits for affirmation of their worldview. No one who isn't already convinced will be swayed by what the teabags have to say about anything. Besides, we all know what happened the last time the Brits had any influence over America.

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