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Discussion > President Trump

I accept that Trump was on a hiding to nothing over recent events in Syria. He would be criticised if he took no action; he would be criticised having taken the action he has. Personally I regret further intervention in an insoluble problem, and I hope the UK continues to stay out. However, I can understand why others might think differently. It certainly isn't an easy problem to wrestle with, and there is no obviously correct answer.

As for the BBC reporting of events in Stockholm, my point was that while they were keen (perhaps correctly) not to rush to speculate whether the attacker was an Islamist terrorist, they were equally keen to speculate that "It's not impossible that it was someone with personal, psychological problems, rather than a political motive". So speculating that he's an Islamist terrorist is wrong, but speculating that he isn't an Islamic terrorist is fine. Huge bias on display there, hence my comment that it might be better if the BBC simply sticks to reporting the facts.

Apr 8, 2017 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Sorry Mark but I don't think the two speculations are comparable at all. The Stockholm incident is so similar to those in Nice and London, both of which turned out to be associated with people who were islamist related. It is natural for people to speculate a similar association in Sweden. The BBC were not going to fall into that trap before the facts were known. They told their audience that other possibilities could not be ruled out. To me this adopted procedure was the more correct.

Apr 8, 2017 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll


I've been quite surprised at the people I've met who've said the BBC is getting quite irksome with the whole "truck kills 4 people" thing which they spin out for much longer than it takes for some agreed salient facts to come out. You missed out Berlin btw.

In the case of Stockholm afaics they didn't desist from the "rampant truck" on the banner headline and still seek to keep the Islamist angle to the (quickly demoted sub head) body text which requires a click through to read.

As the predominant news dissemination organ in the UK they do have a responsibility not to foment hysteria and civil unrest - I'd say that that is understandably at least partly a factor in their coverage of events.

That said - there is very little indeed about the ecosystem that these attackers exist in - where these goons are protected and cultivated (and they are protected and cultivated - the is no mistake about that) . Are we to simply go along with Sadiq Khan's take on it that it's simply something of an inconvenience that we'll all have to put up with (i.e. collective punishment) Whadya reckon?


Apr 8, 2017 at 10:35 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Mark Hodgson, the media have been keen to point out everything wrong about Trump, and why he is not Obama. Trump has now done what Obama had not done. For all I know, Trump sanctioned a strike prepared under the Obama administration.

There are too many "experts" on the Syrian situation, all with different views and opinions, and probably no solutions that won't end up with major casualties. There are too many sides, and every side will have factions with varying expectations.

Trump may be preventing the use of air power by any of the combatants. This may not solve anything, but will neutralise any superiority.

There has been no apology from the BBC about claiming Syria was due to Global Warming, so that must still be a fact

Apr 9, 2017 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


It's been announced that USS Carl Vinson and 2 AEGIS cruisers will leave Singapore for the Korean peninsula.

Apr 9, 2017 at 12:42 AM | Registered Commentertomo

The BBC have shown reluctance (correctly) to presume the motives for an attack until there is some evidence.

The BBC has shown great enthusiasm for attributing bad weather events to Global warming, based on no evidence being produced by Climate Science at all.

Apr 9, 2017 at 12:44 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Apr 9, 2017 at 12:42 AM | tomo

Trump does the regime change, China keeps the peace, and the US can conclude a 2 year foray into SE Asian politics that has lasted 65 years.

99.97% of North Koreans will enjoy the benefits of being liberated by friendly Chinese. Some of them may even have a lightbulb moment, and realise what a lightbulb can do.

Apr 9, 2017 at 6:09 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

tomo. It seems to me that the BBC in many people's eyes can never do the right thing. It is damned if it does one thing, or damned if it does the opposite. However, discussing that here is usually a complete waste of time, and rather lonely and eventually boring. Only with someone like Mark, who does try to understand an alternative POV, is it worth a candle.

Apr 9, 2017 at 7:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

RR. I believe she's some sort of human rights activist. I don't know if what she's saying is true, or if it's not, what her motives could be for lying. But she's not alone, the people the West have been supporting are brutal jihadis not heroic Syrians fighting for democracy. In addition it's being said that the US administration forewarned the Russians, and hence the Syrians, of the attack, according to Patrick Lang a Middle East intelligence expert the Russians had informed the US about the upcoming bombing of Idlib telling them that there was an explosives/weapons depot there. He's also certain it wasn't sarin because the first responders weren't protected and would be dead by now.

It's certainly not as straight forward as we are being led to believe in the MSM.

Apr 9, 2017 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I have my own difficulties with the BBC and it "news" but I fail to see how they can report a lorry attack as Islamist before they have concrete evidence.

Apr 9, 2017 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Supertroll: "Only with someone like Mark, who does try to understand an alternative POV, is it worth a candle."

Many thanks for that. I do try, even if I don't always succeed.

Geronimo. I obviously haven't been sufficiently clear in what I was trying to say. I was not saying that the BBC should "report a lorry attack as Islamist before they have concrete evidence." I was trying to say that, while not doing that, they were in effect speculating that the attack was NOT Islamist by including in their early website report the words: "It's not impossible that it was someone with personal, psychological problems, rather than a political motive".

The point is that they could easily have said (given the similarity with Islamist attacks in Nice, Berlin, and Westminster) it's not impossible (indeed may be likely) that it was an Islamist attack. Now I have no problems with them not saying that, until all the facts were known. I do have a problem with speculating in accordance with their own bias before the facts were known. That's all.

Perhaps bias is in the eye of the beholder, and perhaps I'm wrong. The BBC still make some wonderful programmes, and it's probably fair to say that up to 90% of my TV viewing remains the BBC. I just thing the news output (and related areas, these days, such as radio comedy) is shockingly agenda-driven. As golf charlie points out, the BBC never hang around in speculating about Trump (or, I might add, Brexit) before the facts are known.

Apr 9, 2017 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

A President Trump thread isn't really the place to engage in a discussion of BBC news. I could open a new thread, but it would just be a re-hash of the same old anti-BBC threads of the past, so I won't do that either. I promise I'll make this my last observation here on the matter.

I saw the story today on the BBC website about the demonstrations in Holland in favour of the 2 gay men who were attacked by a group of youths for holding hands. Nowhere on the BBC website report of the story could I find any reference to the identity of the youths who carried out the attack, even though the report ended with "Five teenagers handed themselves in to police after the attack, and appeared in court on Thursday, reports say," so presumably their identity is known.

Being somewhat unhappy about BBC news coverage, the naughty thought occurred to me that if the youths had been some sort of Dutch equivalent of the NF or BNP - white fascists in other words - the BBC would have told us. So maybe the attackers were Islamo-fascists instead? A quick google search produced a report in the Telegraph which included this:

"Mr Vernes-Sewratan told NOS: "‘We don’t usually do that, holding hands in public, for the very reason that we don’t want to provoke people. But we’d had a nice evening, it was late and we thought we were alone.

"And then suddenly there was a group of six to eight Moroccan youths. Before I knew it I was on the ground fighting with three men on top of me.""

It seems to me that the BBC is censoring what it allows us to know. If so, it is disgraceful. Fake news is, to my mind, almost as much about not reporting the truth as it is about making stuff up and disseminating lies as truth.

Apr 9, 2017 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson


"It seems to me that the BBC in many people's eyes can never do the right thing."

Such is the lot of *all* news organisations.

What I have seen though goes much further than what might be described as a random bias consequent from a reporter's position in/at events being reported and the understandable reticence to attribute blame until sound evidence is to hand.

"xxxx - what you need to know" is becoming quite brazen - and particularly irritating when due to say the Internet or personal direct knowledge one knows that events are being very deliberately misrepresented for what can only be nefarious purpose.

I can actually remember when I went along with what I perceive your attitude to the BBC is - several incidents over the years have left me profoundly suspicious of the organisation's aims and their antics aimed at pushing their agenda - and make no mistake there is a largely undeclared (series of) agenda(s) - 28gate proved that beyond any doubt what-so-ever.

The BBC see themselves primarily as molders of public perception and being an honest, reliable messenger of news tidings comes in a very poor second. CNN done with an effectively unlimited budget.

Apr 9, 2017 at 10:50 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Apr 9, 2017 at 10:50 AM by tomo

While I wouldn't rule out conspiracy at the BBC (eg: 28gate), it is probably better described as a modern example of the Tower of Babel: 'special interest groups' becoming isolated and developing their own language and culture.

The quote is not to 'prove' anything other than that the problem has been with us for some time. :)

Apr 9, 2017 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Tomo is correct in my view. The BBC do consider themseleves as molders of public perception.

Trump, Farrage, Fracking, climate change, Isreal and Islam are all clear examples where the BBC takes a stance or line and no matter how the subject matter or person changes with time or event, remains the same.

The BBC thinks it knows best, it holds the establishment line.

Even Sky news is now becoming a campaigning news outlet, from saving us from plastic bags, beads and now sea water quality.

Obviously is a news outlet runs campaigns their output must by definition be biased?

Can you run any campaign by quoting the equivalent material which tries to demolish your own expensive viewpoint?

Still, in the BBC case, its only public money so Supertroll will not care!

Apr 9, 2017 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

It seems to me that the BBC is censoring what it allows us to know. If so, it is disgraceful. Fake news is, to my mind, almost as much about not reporting the truth as it is about making stuff up and disseminating lies as truth.

I'm surprised you've only just realised that the major problem with the BBC is censorship. I don't suppose they're the other ones but as a joint owner of the BBC I expect them to tell what they know.

Keeping Islamic depredations from the public is an attempt to keep the lid on Islamophobia, and to some extent it works, few of my friends are aware of what's not reported in the BBC news. Admirable though the goal is, it will backfire, and when the public gets scared, and sees Islamist thugs being protected they will turn to a hard man, or woman, to protect them, which is precisely what the BBC is trying to avoid. Better, in my view, to have an open debate with the Muslim community about integration, having British values drummed into children at school, teaching all (or none) religions in state schools. Kicking hate preachers out of the country. Facing up to the fact that all cultures are not equal, that canings, beheadings, death to gays, subjugation of women, keeping slaves, amputations for crimes are not on a par with having a few pints on Saturday night and getting into a barney.

Apr 9, 2017 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Gosh - an actual sensible take on the Sarin business - on Sky - more of this!

Apr 9, 2017 at 9:36 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Apr 9, 2017 at 11:34 AM by geronimo

"Facing up to the fact that all cultures are not equal, that canings, beheadings, death to gays, subjugation of women, keeping slaves, amputations for crimes are not on a par with having a few pints on Saturday night and getting into a barney."

I expect everyone agrees they are not equal but, unfortunately, that is not the problem.

Apr 9, 2017 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher
Apr 10, 2017 at 11:03 PM | Registered Commentertomo

One of the definitions of insanity, is repeating the same actions, and expecting a different result.

Trump has done something different about Syria. The G7 and EU want to give the same failed inanaction, another go.

Whether or not some form of peace deal or regime change occurs, or further slaughter of combatants/innocents continues, Trump can use hindsight to declare "Told You So!", he was right, and G7 and EU were wrong.

The G7/EU are keen to portray Trump as insane, so he might take his Military Toys away, and not let anyone else benefit by playing with them anymore.

Apr 12, 2017 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Meanwhile The Guardian are rattling their organic lentils together, as the US considers options about the greatest risk of nuclear weapons being used again.

Apr 12, 2017 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mark Hodgson: "It's not impossible that it was someone with personal, psychological problems, rather than a political motive".

Gotcha. Although I would say anyone who drives a vehicle at innocent people has personal, psychological problems where there motives are political or not.

Supertroll. Remember when I told everyone to be careful in blaming Hassad for the sarin attack, and you called it fake news. It didn't then, and it doesn't now, pass the sniff test. I'm not alone apparently it didn't pass Steve McIntyre's sniff test and he's just posted this link on twitter. Take a look and see what you think.

On a separate point who believes Syria will be a better place for the West when Assad is toppled?

Apr 13, 2017 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I don't seem to be able to open Steve's tweet. Perhaps you could give me the gist.
If it wasn't the regime, are you blaming the rebels? What would Trump's motives be in sabotaging relations with Russia?

Apr 13, 2017 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll


the link is to a pdf on Steve's site authored by an ex-MIT Theorore A Postel - it is now working.

Apr 13, 2017 at 11:34 AM | Registered Commentertomo

You really believe this tosh? You think the US Military and Intelligence community are so naive as to get suckered into believing the rebels could successfully hoodwink them into supporting a false air attack? That they don't know the difference between a rocket launched shell and an air-fired rocket, but MIT experts do? That radar tracking of the alleged strike aircraft was fake? And that Trump, the great identifier of fake news, would also be sucker punched or would deliberately go along with the charade?
It is simply amazing what some people can be led to believe. Occam's razor is blunted.

Apr 13, 2017 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll