The Republican Party was victorious in two special congressional elections held in America yesterday – one in Georgia, the other in South Carolina.
Yet anyone listening to BBC radio in London this morning would have been forgiven for thinking that BBC reporter Nick Bryant felt personally aggrieved by these two results.
Indeed, Bryant even described as a “major disappointment” the fact that the Democratic Party had failed to “pull off a major upset” in Georgia by defeating the Republicans. Confusingly, he didn’t specify for whom it was a disappointment but, judging by his report, some listeners might legitimately have concluded he himself was unhappy with the result.
There was no acknowledgement from Bryant that voters in these two parts of America might just be happy enough with the Republicans that they were prepared to back them at the ballot box. Neither was there any sense from him that Trump’s party had done well in this democratic election. And there was no mention from him that the Democrats have already suffered defeats in Kansas and Montana this year. For him, it was very much a case of the Democratic Party not quite getting over the line. It seemed to be the opposite of the straight account that the BBC is supposed to broadcast.
Bryant seems to have forgotten that he is paid significant amounts of public money to report the news, not to peddle his opinions.
For the avoidance of doubt, here is Bryant’s script verbatim:
“Donald Trump’s name was not on the ballot, but this congressional contest was widely seen as a referendum on his presidency, so there’ll be great relief in the White House that the Republicans held on to a seat that the Democrats last won when Jimmy Carter was president. The Democrats had hoped to pull off a huge upset, so this is a major disappointment – especially given how much money they’d ploughed into this race. But the fact they turned it into a tight contest suggests President Trump is energising their voters. Another special election in South Carolina, which the Republicans won narrowly, was also closer than expected. That could have implications for next year’s mid-term elections, where the Democrats are hoping to win back control of Congress. The result in Georgia also suggests that white collar Republicans, many of whom never warmed to Donald Trump’s blue collar populism, have problems with his presidency. An oft-heard complaint here was that he should stay off Twitter, that he should be more conventionally presidential.”