The quality of BBC journalism varies, and is likely higher than the average (I'm a fan of Steph Flanders, for instance, though that's in no small way due to her father Michael Flanders, of "Flanders and Swan" fame.) However, their main USA correspondent Mark Mardell is a mendacious git - and we pay for his comfortable life in Washington D.C.
Exhibit one: Mardell's coverage of the Mother Jones "exposé" of Romney's remarks at a fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida:
Mitt Romney's unguarded and undiplomatic remarks may reinforce the perception that he is an ingenue in the art of foreign affairs, with harsher views than he dare express in public. Still, what he has said is more likely to provoke reactions in the region he is talking about than at home, where many conservatives may share his views.Let's review those remarks:
"The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace," he says, adding that "the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish".Hands up anyone who can name a prominent Palestinian politician who is promoting the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine problem with terms that a majority of Israeli voters may accept. Anyone? Bueller? Let's remember what happened to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat when he signed the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The two state solution has been in discussion since 1970 and has got nowhere. I think the situation is a little more subtle than Romney suggested - the main reason an Israel-Palestine peace is prevented is because those funding Palestinian politics (Iran, Saudi) have no interest in any form of solution. But as a soundbite it's not far off the truth.
The Republican candidate is shown saying that the 47% of Americans who back the president do not pay income tax and would never vote for Mr Romney.That sounds about right. US (federal and state) income tax for a nuclear family of 2 adults, 2 kids filing jointly kicks in around $45,000 gross income, which is currently about £30K. Poor families are disproportionately likely to vote Democrat. Romney's best electoral strategy is to appeal to the middle-income swing voters in the swing states of FL, OH, NV, IA, WI, CO, VA, NH. The 2003 USA median household income was $45K so allowing for 9 years of inflation that should put it comfortably north of $60K in 2012. Romney's right.
Mark Mardell doesn't care about facts - he cares about portraying Republicans as out-of-touch. He, like too many of the mainstream media, carries water for Obama and the democrats without conducting the role of his profession to hold up the statements of all politicians for examination.