Guardian and BBC whitewash inconvenient truths about “Rally to Restore Sanity” event in Washington (Updated)

In a report on the contrasting coverage by the BBC on the Glenn Beck rally vs. John Stewart’s recent “Rally to Restore Sanity”, Biased BBC recently noted:

“When BBC correspondent Finlo Rohrer reported on the Glenn Beck rally she made a point of mentioning the racial make-up of the crowd”:

The audience at the rally was predominantly white, but there was the occasional African-American in the crowd, some Tea Party-aligned, others without symbols of affiliation.

Biased BBC continued:

“Yesterday’s Rally To Restore Sanity was at least as white (if not more so) but Rohrer’s account of that event fails to say so. Here are some images of the crowd from the Stewart/Colbert smugfest. If you look carefully you can just about make out a couple of non-white faces in the centre of the top-right image”

Biased BBC continued:

“It serves no purpose for the BBC to highlight the overwhelmingly white nature of yesterday’s rally so the fact is simply ignored, airbrushed from the bigger picture. The only white narrative the BBC is interested in is the angry white conservative one. A rally of young white hipster liberals is just a rally. Agenda-driven bias from the BBC, pure and simple.”

“Rohrer’s account of the Glenn Beck event included this:”

Activist Jeremy Batterson, manning a stall festooned with posters of President Obama sporting a Hitler-style toothbrush moustache, explained why he was so steadfastly against the nation’s leader.

“Her report on yesterday’s event mentions only funny slogans and placards. Here’s another side to the rally – isn’t it amazing that BBC journalists never see stuff like this at leftie events?”

“One of those Hitler mustaches is on a Jewish congressman, btw. Once again it doesn’t fit the BBC narrative, therefore it is ignored.”

Well, the Guardian, in its glowing coverage of the rally, did notice the sign depicting the Jewish congressman, (Republican, Eric Cantor), as Hitler and had this:

However, the caption beneath the photo said this:

Now, I’m just wondering.  How did Guardian editors know that the protesters were merely mocking “the right’s practice” using Hitler mustaches on public figures to demonize them.  Did they talk to any of the protesters?  They don’t say.

Or, perhaps its simply beyond the grasp of the Guardian that those on the left can be just as vitriolic in their criticism of the right as the right is of the left.

Well, just to remind the Guardian of the hate directed towards President Bush by the American left while he was in office, here’s a bit of a  retrospective:

And my personal favorite:

You can see many more at this “Bush as Hitler” retrospective:

UPDATE: I’ve learned from a reliable source that the protesters at the Restoring Sanity Rally who were holding the signs equating Republicans, such as Jewish Congressman Eric Cantor, with Nazis were indeed attempting to mock similar attacks on President Obama.  While I still think that putting a Hitler mustache on a known Jewish public figure, such as Cantor, is still in bad taste, I’m convinced their intentions weren’t in any way hateful.  Further, the new information regarding these particular protesters shouldn’t detract from the seriousness of the other photos showing 9/11 truthers at the rally, as well as  at least two protesters freely walking around with “Death to Right Wing Extremists” signs.

48 replies »

  1. Wasn’t the point of the Stewart rally to express opposition to this sort of misbehavior by both sides of the political spectrum? The video montages of fear-mongering shown at the rally pointedly included Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz as well as Beck, O’Reilly and Limbaugh, and the ‘Bush is Hitler’ signs you show in this column weren’t at the Stewart rally.

  2. Adam – you are way off target on this.

    The rally was intended to mock all of this sort of extemist behavior and sloganeering that is destroying any chance of civil discourse in America. The Gen beck rally, on the other hand, was a great example of what is called Wedge-politics, using various issues such as immigration etc to divide rather tan unite.

    Everyone had a great time, and if there were a few nuts eagerly sought out by someone with an agenda and a camera to plaster on websites, they did not represent the 150,000 estimated participants. I wanted to go but the metro was so blocked with people trying to get there, and the security so tight that it became impossible.

    As for the racial makeup – it is simply a fact that the Tea Baggers are heavily over-represented by Whites and underrepresented by Blacks and Hispanics.

  3. Hi Adam, I wasn’t’ suggesting that the “Bush is Hitler” signs were present at the Stewart rally. (sorry if that wasn’t clear.) However, the other signs (such as the Eric Cantor = Hitler) were present, as were the signs (“Death to Right Wing Extremists”.) My point in showing the Bush=Hitler signs (pics taken in the U.S. sometime during Bush’s administration) were to demonstrate the broader point, that extreme demonization of one’s political opponents wasn’t – despite the narrative advanced my many – a conservative/Republican invention.

  4. Hi Akus,

    Do you think the Hitler signs, from the Stewart rally, I posted were merely an attempt to mock the right (I was attempting to ask what evidence the Guardian had for assuming this. Biased BBC didn’t seem to think that the posters represented mere mockery). It seems like, if you’re a moderate or liberal attending such a rally – whose ostensible purpose is to “tone down the rhetoric” – you’d want to stay clear of an image depicting a known Jewish member of congress with a Hitler mustache. But, again, my broader point is that the Beck and Stewart rallies were covered entirely different by the MSM.

  5. Adam – the impression this article gves – as is so easily done byselecting a few images or videos – is that this was some kind of hate-fest by the left. Actually, it was exactly yhe opposite, and the organizers were trying to show the idiocy of these extreme positions. You could equally select the signs that read “Make love not war” etc.

  6. Akus, I’m not arguing that the hateful signs at the sanity rally represented any more than a handful of protesters. Likewise, my point is that the MSM typically will take a few hateful posters about Obama (from the Beck rally or Tea Party rallies) and use them to characterize the event as compromised by racism. Both conclusions are, in my view, wrong.

  7. @Adam L: Would it be fair to say

    a) that the intentions of the Nixon-masked protester with the Hitler mustache sign were unclear and may have been satirical?

    b) that his sign was unique at the rally?

    c) that this stands in sharp contrast to the tone of the tea party rallies and some anti-war rallies where such signs were commonplace and meant to be taken literally?

  8. Jon Stewart lost my trust with his Mavi Marmara Israel bashing aside …

    Colbert had at the same time Michael Oren over and did a very good job.

    i.e. funny and fair go together well …

  9. Adam, re:

    “a) that the intentions of the Nixon-masked protester with the Hitler mustache sign were unclear and may have been satirical?

    b) that his sign was unique at the rally?

    c) that this stands in sharp contrast to the tone of the tea party rallies and some anti-war rallies where such signs were commonplace and meant to be taken literally?”

    No, I cant’ see how you can say with any degree of certainty what their intentions were. Are you really so sure? Plus, around the guy with the Nixon mask are others with the same sign. (not to mention, the 9/11 truther signs and “death to right wing extremists” sign.) Also, again, Adam, if your intention is merely to mock the right’s demonization, don’t you think you’d want to stay clear of putting a Hitler mustache on a known Jewish congressman…out of fear that folks may not get the joke? That seems like quite a risk to take simply to mock the right.

    Regarding the other point, made by Biased BBC, which I included. Don’t you find it at all interesting that the BBC failed to note the racial makeup of the “sanity” rally, yet both the BBC (and most of the msm) always makes sure to remind us how “white” the tea party rallies have been, and, how white the Beck rally was. Would you deny that there’s a double standard here?

  10. Adam,

    Your criticism may (only possibly) apply to the three people with the signs in that photo, not the >250,000 others. (Even that is uncertain.) Moreover, the photo was in the Guardian. They would best be criticized for distorting the rally with that photo to make the rally seem more leftist. Why do you accept their narrative?

    Your comment about BBC’s racial double-standard may be accurate, but your readers should know that the tea-party has a very significant racist component, whereas the Stewart rally had none whatsoever. Stewart did say at the rally that the crowd would be judged by its size and color, and he had a point. In any case, I don’t know the demographics of the rally and the BBC reporter may not have either.

  11. Fans of Stewart and Colbert have a tendancy to be younger people who are usually more liberal in their perspectives.(Part of the aging process is becoming more conservative—live and learn) My niece & nephew went, a high school senior & college junior, both very politically attuned and strong supporters of Israel. They wore red/white and blue and carried American flags. Their motivation to go had nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the USA. The message of this rally was to demonstrate that LOVE of COUNTRY does not have to result in extremist views—right or left. The Guardian could have selected multiple pictures of young rally attendees in red,white & blue, carrying flags and posters with concilliatory messages, it chose not to(not the correct agenda), just as this blog entry chooses not too. That some may have used this opportunity to express extreme views—what else is new? they represented a very small minority.
    The US is still a predominently white country, does a rally have to look like a bowl of M&M’s?

  12. How did Guardian editors know that the protesters were merely mocking “the right’s practice” using Hitler mustaches on public figures to demonize them.

    I’ve just opened this article after commenting on Hadley Freeman’s piece on CiF.

    My comment was pretty much the same and cited that very same image and caption.

    But as for this article in itself – what on earth does it have to do with anti-Semitism and Israel???

  13. Nick Cohen:

    Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity yesterday featured Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens singing “Peace Train”. Islam/Stevens previously showed his commitment to peace and sanity by saying that death was the appropriate punishment for Salman Rushdie’s “blasphemy”.

    read the whole thing but once again Colbert’s and Stewart’s remarks as to the Marmara event were very different …

  14. @Adam:

    re: our comment about BBC’s racial double-standard may be accurate, but your readers should know that the tea-party has a very significant racist component”

    please send a link, or substantiate this in some way.

    thanks for your comments

  15. I have to agree generally with Adam Levick.

    The Tea Party crowd and the Restore Sanity crowd are mirror images – expressions of populist support for the standard conservative and liberal viewpoints.

    Both have loony hangers-on.

    Unfortunately, it is the left which is becoming consistently anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, and Islamophilic.

  16. pretz: to answer your last question first. The point of my post (as in the Biased BBC report) was not to highlight extreme posters at the restore sanity rally. It was to highlight what I see as gross hypocrisy employed by the MSM in general and the Guardian in particular. In the eyes of many, those on the left simply, by virtue of their “liberal” politics, can’t possible also be haters or extremists.

    The Biased BBC post made a great point about the BBCs noting the racial makeup of the Beck rally but not noting the same thing about the restore sanity rally. If you read Michael Tomasky’s blog at CiF, I don’t know how you can’t see his extreme bias against any cause he perceives to be right of center. Moreover, the reason why anti-Semitism at the Guardian goes largely unnoticed by the MSM is due to that same political paradigm, which has a horrible blind spot when it comes to hate on the left.

    As far as your previous question, which you’ve asked before, regarding “what does this have to do with anti-Semitism at the Guardian?”

    The anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel bias, at the Guardian doesn’t occur in a vacuum. There is, without question, a world view at play – one which is inspired by many noxious ideas, such as Edward Said’s Orientalism, post colonialism, Western masochism, anti-Americanism, moral and cultural relativism, and, to some degree, the Marxist dialectic. Therefore, simply responding to anti-Semitic and anti-Israel bias doesn’t get to the heart of the matter – that most of the Guardian’s staff have been horribly influenced and compromised by such ideologies. And, Jews, Israelis, and the West more broadly, have to continually bear the burden of these bad ideas.

    For many writers at the Guardian, even if we were to present them with irrefutable evidence that they are wrong about Israel, it wouldn’t matter, as their positions are not only rigid, but reflexive, and are immune to new information. Ideas are what change the world, not merely facts. So, I see our mission at CW to not only cite the omissions, and correct the distortions, but to engage in a battle of ideas – the moral equivalent of war.

    If you, or others out there, disagree with me, fine. I’m not here to win friends, I’m here to defend Jews and defend Israel.

  17. @ Adam Levick

    How do Jews in general have to “continually bear the burden of these bad ideas”?

  18. @ Adam

    You no doubt saw my post from1:11 pm.
    I certainly do appreciate your points a) in general about the hypocrisy, double standards and dogmatism (you used more specific terms) on the left – albeit only among certain elements of the left – and b) specifically about the bias of e.g. Tomasky.

    But I find your claim that articles like this purely serve to illuminate the background to anti-Semitism OTT. You made no such reference in the actual article.

    Moreover, the reason why anti-Semitism at the Guardian goes largely unnoticed by the MSM is due to that same political paradigm

    If the Guardian really were an anti-Semitic publication, you can be sure there’d be plenty of coverage of that elsewhere on the MSM.

    Britain’s Daily Telegraph has been as swift as you to attack the rally – and they’d be among the first to attack the Guardian.

  19. These signs were definitely an attempt at mocking republicans’ trend of putting Hitler ‘staches on people. It was directly discussed by Stewart at the rally and on the Daily Show leading up to the rally, and I DID talk to people in the audience who had these signs. There was also the point made about just slapping terms onto people, such as “socialist,” “racist,” etc when they most definitely have not been earned and it’s just a knee-jerk reaction to cause fear and be loud. It’s like elementary school name-calling. One little girl held a sign that said “I am not Hitler,” highlighting how ridiculous it is to call people that. Or the signs that said “I disagree with you but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.” Or signs with a picture of Glen Beck with the ‘stache. All equally ridiculous, and it seemed to me everyone understood that point. I honestly did not mean anyone like the type of person you’re talking about. There was some anti-Beck or -Palin but no-one I saw was nasty about it. I think people realized the point of the rally, if you went through to trouble of being there. It’s of course possible, proportionally there had to have been some bad people there, but I was very proud and impressed by the integrity of the people I saw

  20. if I understand Claire correctly then Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam was another one of those ironies which one needs to understand?

  21. “There was some anti-Beck or -Palin but no-one I saw was nasty about it.”

    If the issue is nastiness, then one need look no further than the virulent anti-Semitism endemic on the left, from the Daily Kos, to the Huffington Post, to Carter’s proclamations, to Obama’s pastor, to Garofalo, to Cythia McKinney, to Maureen Dowd’s anti-Semitism, to the left’s defense of bigots like Helen Thomas, to NPR’s supression of free speech.

  22. @ Claire

    There are countless ways of criticising Beck and the Tea Party other than painting a Hitler tache on their faces.
    And bear in mind the Nazi slurs against Bush while he was still in power.

    It’s all ridiculous.

    That said: I have zero sympathy for the clearly racist Beck.

  23. “If the Guardian really were an anti-Semitic publication, you can be sure there’d be plenty of coverage of that elsewhere on the MSM.”

    Balderdash. The MSM rarely confront each other directly, and certainly will not do so on behalf of the Jews.

  24. What is the truth is that the Glenn Beck rally got zero editorial or notice on BBC in the UK.
    But the Jon Stewart rally certainly got positive plaudits.
    The BBC do not understand the USA and it is a relief that many Americans now know how biased they are.
    But like the Grauniard (a name given to The Guardian due to their past editorial mistakes) the BBC do know what they like, so Obama is in as was the most incompetent PM Britain has ever had in Gordon Brown.
    Believe it or not the BBC still hate and blame Margaret Thatcher for many of Britain’s current failings – you could not make it up.
    I can only hope the new coalition government have the guts to restructure the BBC to remove all bias, right or left, as its mandate states.
    But we should not hold our breaths.

  25. Alright, I’ll read it when I get to a computer, I’m on my phone now. My uninformed answer as of now, having not read it yet, would be that maybe they used him as a way to say, hey look at this guy, he’s got crazy ideas but even he thinks you should hear everyone and talk through stuff rather than just try to be as loud as possible and completely tune everyone out. Or maybe it was just cuz everyone loves Moonshadow and at least his music evokes a feeling of peace. I mean I would assume theres no real deep reason why they used Sheryl Crow. But ya I could be full of it so I’ll read it in a bit.

    In reference to, there’s countless other ways to criticize them: I feel like it was more of a criticism of the stache method itself, more than the people they put a stache on. Like, here’s a taste of your own medicine, how do you like it when we put a stache on YOUR people? Or that we’re doing things that establish them as “your people” and making this whole us vs. them mentality instead of working together? What you’re saying, “there are better ways of criticizing than the stache,” that’s EXACTLY what the rally people were trying to say to those who put the mustache on Obama. Anyway this is focusing way too much on the mustache idea. This topic is basically irrelevant in relation to the rally. In fact I’d say most of the conversation happening here is irrelevant. The point was laid out by the rally and to get all nit-picky and declare who or what about it was hypocritical is just so disappointing. There’s bound to be negative sides to everything that happens in the world, ever. I hope the main focus in the future can be mainly on the message of the rally. People are already bringing up topics of race and shit? Jesus Christ….

  26. I wouldn’t classify help to lynching somebody for a book as a crazy idea – I would classify it as joining the chorus of those who advocate murder.

  27. Just as curious as to Ozzie Osbourne? What the heck is he supposed to represent. Do hugs, not drugs? The following that Ozzie still enjoys in the US was not the demographic at the rally. Neither was it that of the former Cat Stevens. Sometimes I wonder if the presence of these two men plus the O’Jays was as superficial as they all sang songs about trains?Peace, Love, Crazy? (Most of the young Americans at the rally do not even know who Cat Stevens is/was other than a folk singer on a LP their parents may still have lying around the house…..let alone about the Rushdie affair, so any subliminal message was wasted on many of them)

    This is the perfect example of how the same event can be portrayed differently using separate sets of assumptions, creating opposite poles—- providing fodder for the purpose of the rally, finding middle ground!

    In re: to the mustaches, there has been alot of talk from the far right about Hitler/nazis, etc… including the use of moustaches, so it could have been a right back at ya….But then again, the old cliche may apply; that which is said in jest, may oft be meant in earnest.

  28. I consider the people highlighted here to be counterprotesters rather than representative of the Stewart-Colbert rally. The crazies show up at any large rally, and Stewart spoke out against their kind of extremism.

  29. Jane
    who hired Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens

    that is the interesting question i.e. who rehabilitates these people? Did any fóf the others call for lynching/murder?

    He added that “if Mr Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ‘I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like. I’d try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is’.”

  30. As an FYI, I just updated the post to include info I received from a reliable source (who attended the rally) that the poster of Republicans with Hitler mustaches was indeed meant merely to mock similar attacks on Obama.

  31. Goes to show again that some media act like Pravda or the Al Aqsa Daily.

    Good to see that “Yusuf” had this great platform handed to him to deny what he said about Rushdie a number of times.

    He lied to this crowd of 100 000 that it was a “joke”.

    Why can’t the left throw a party without Jihad?

  32. Silke,

    I don’t know what fof means?

    As far as who hired Cat Stevens, your guess is as good as mine. I can only comment about that which I know and I know that the majority of young people present at this rally, a demographic I am very familiar with, having 3 adult children in it and one fast approaching it, do not know who the h*ll Cat Stevens is: past,present or future!and I’ve got the LP(chuckle) Whatever subliminal message was wasted on them. They also see Ozzie as a burnt out druggie, so again , what’s that all about? & The O’Jays, mo-town?(if you want to see young adults scatter,play mo-town without a hip hop update) If we are going to analyze one entertainer, lets analyze them all—-Peace, Crazy, Love….

  33. PS: I am not saying concerns in re: to Yusef/Cat are not merited, only that the young crowd was not in on it or somehow giving it tacit approval.

  34. Jane
    fof is a typo and should read of

    and if for you a drug addict and a supporter or murder/lynching etc is all the same, good luck to you

    if Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam had converted to the KKK and advocated for a bit of lynching would you then argue the same?

    or how about a Neo-Nazi calling for some killings?

    All OK as long as he’s had a hit song which one may have loved in one’s youth?

    All OK? really?

  35. By the way – its a rare day I can find something in the Guardian I agree with, but this comment was quite correct except for the elitism bit – it panders to the lowest common denominator:

    But if there was one group the rally did take genuine aim at, it was the American media. That has long been the true aim of much – if not virtually all – of Colbert’s and Stewart’s comedy. They have relentlessly gone after the mainstream media, accusing it of laziness, elitism and pandering to power, and generally holding it responsible for a dumbing down of American life.

    Polls show a huge proportion of younger viewers get almost all their news from Stewart and Colbert, having given up on the MSM, specially the idiotic round the clock TV channels that broadcast the same myopic views in endless loops pushing some manager’s or owner’s political agenda.

    For example – we are now into 24 hours of talking heads chattering endlessly about the elections. The world could be hit by an asteroid right now and all CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS would ask is whether that will favor the Democrats or Republicans.

    There is not a MSM channel that could get a crowd this size to turn out – it takes the Comedy Channel, so help us all!! As someone said, its a sad day when the only place you can go for a serious view of the news is the Comedy Channel (well, and Bill Maher’s show).

  36. Silke,
    There appears to be a disconnect in our postings. We are at cross purposes or on two different continents? Are you willing to accept the thesis that these three performers meant very little to a large demographic at this rally? That Peace, Love, Crazy Train may be as deep as it got for them. That whatever else Yusef represents was lost on them. That the comments I made about these performers was to highlight what little knowledge a large demographic at this rally know of these performers(nothing to do with moral relativity). That more than likely your concerns and knowledge base is not theirs. I hope so, because that is what my comments are addressing, and nothing to do with the motivation of the organizers. Cat/Yusef will return to the oblivion he came from for the young Americans at this rally.

    This next statement is meant to be lighhearted:
    Maybe they’ll start singing Peace Train? Hmmmm… nah.

  37. That Stewart and Colbert would invite a documented islamofascist like cat stevens/yusef islam to appear with them at a “sanity rally”, turned it into an “insanity rally”.

  38. Jane
    for me the argument is, are the ones responsible for this rallye trustworthy on subjects I care for?

    I have seen Stewart in one episode (Marmara) which made me question myself whether at other occasions I may have been too willing to laugh about his stuff without involving the sanity controlling parts of my brain. (I found Colbert’s Marmara episode on the same? day both funny AND correct)

    I watch him rarely enough but two hits out of so few make me wonder and I think rightfully so – laughter is not only a means of toppling people from piedestals it is also a means of creating compliance.

  39. Your argument is valid, and I accept it. This wasn’t the argument I was addressing at all. I was simply referring to the knowledge base of the audience and that our perception and their perception are more than likely not one in the same…..Colbert and Stewart? Are they trustworthy? Only Walter Cronkite was trustworthy, at least that’s what I’ve been told(joke?).

    The irony on top of irony is that both ends of the spectrum manipulate their audience and that the rally was designed to address this concern by manipulating the audience. The irony on top of the irony of the irony is that in this very specific case, many in the audience simply did not know enough to take a vested interest.

  40. one of the distasteful things about Stewart’s rally is that, according to the Weekly Standard, pop singer Cat Stevens was there. Now Stevens converted to Islam more than 20 years ago and as a Muslim he approved of the Khomeini fatwa against Salman Rushdie. In other words, Stevens approved of the suppression of free speech and the free press. Rushdie even called Stewart to ask why he had invited Stevens. Stewart didn’t care and didn’t withdraw the invitation.