Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

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Sense of Proportion?

This article in the Jerusalem Post points to this BBC article as encapsulating a point of view regarding Israel which dominates at the BBC. Basically, it is Israel as regional bully-boy,

Such a thing is, of course, a little bit more complex than it seems at first sight. I searched Nick Thorpe on the BBC website and found that, while in the article already cited he caricatures Israel’s experience of Hezbullah missiles as ‘like pinpricks in the ankles of a giant, taunting him to stamp back with his big, US-issue army boots.‘, he was also the author of this article (back in Feb this year).

In it, he decribes the effect of Palestinian Qassam rockets falling from Gaza onto the southern Israeli town of Sderot. He himself describes a local kindergarten which had ‘lost two children – on their way here in the morning – to rocket attacks in the past few years.’

Of the kind of more deadly thing Hezbullah have been firing, Thorpe says (in the July 15th article), “Even to my untrained eye, a Katyusha rocket is a world apart from a Qassam.”

So how can a journalist who has reasonably borne witness to the anguish of children in Sderot revert to the kind of imagery which is gleefully spewed out by, among others, Guardian cartoonists? (See here for a shocking example -though in truth I have known Guardian cartoonists were sick for some years now).

Well, even in the eyewitness report from Sderot Thorpe slips all too easily into caricature: “The people of Sderot are mostly immigrants, Jews from far and wide coming home to Mother Israel for a cheap house, sunshine and prospects for the children.” (might as well be sun, sea and sand- the reason why Palestinians cling to Gaza; btw- I wonder what drives the land prices down? Can’t imagine.)

It’s obvious from this spin that he finds the concept of a Jewish home state at best rather kitsch, and at worst retrogressively nationalistic. He has slipped from observation to ideology- a slip that is so familiar and exacerbated in the current circumstances. But, really, Nick Thorpe, “pin pricks”? Didn’t you see with your own eyes the fear of the kindergarten children? Haven’t you acknowledged that the Katyusha is far worse? Where’s the proportion, man?

Last point: I do agree with the JP article that Thorpe’s mindless caricaturing is representative of the BBC’s coverage in general. How this happens amidst the BBC’s luxuriant resources overseen by an army of pretty well-qualified people is a source of fascination. One I’d rather not have though. You can find an alternative view, or rather a big waffle, at Comment is free here (thanks to commenter). In addition, here is a very good analysis of Israel’s position vis a vis Hezbullah which you won’t find on the BBC.

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Breaking the Ten Commandments

From time to time it occurs to me, and to others who frequent this site, that the BBC holds to its news managing agenda with a kind of religious fervour- with of course some more evangelical than others. Who better than the devil to break one of the commandments, then? Here he is taking on the BBC’s tenacious adherence to “thou shalt consider Britain a racist country” as it appeared last night in a BBC programme concerning the Stephen Lawrence murder case, where they reheated an old allegation about corruption in the man who led the investigation into the murder.

As the devil says “For the BBC to repeat these 10 year old allegations as new evidence in an attempt to boost ratings for a program that features a talking head that is wheeled out every time Auntie wants to bash the Met is a gross abuse of the licence fee.”

Incidentally, it was this murder case- with the Macpherson report following it accusing the police of ‘institutional racism’- and the BBC’s coverage of it, which alerted me to an interesting possibility: what if the BBC were institutionally biased? Sauce for the goose etc. Or maybe an eye for an eye would be more appropriate.

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Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

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Cowardly blending.

We have received several comments and emails about the selective BBC reporting of the comments made by UN relief chief Jan Egeland.

“EUstoned” tells it well:

Egeland visits Beirut and expresses disgust at Israel’s actions there. BBC reports his comments thus:

‘UN appalled by Beirut devastation’

A couple of days later, Egeland expresses disgust at the actions of Hezbollah militants. The BBC buries his comments six paragraphs in and gives the story a misleadingly anodyne head:

‘UN launches Lebanese aid appeal’

Hello?

Another email making a similar point, from John who helps run CBC watch in Canada:

Natalie,

I was listening to the BBC world service news at the top of the hour and they told the story of the U.N. Humanitarian Chief accusing Israel of “disproportionate force.”

But neglected to tell this one: U.N. Chief Accuses Hezbollah of ‘Cowardly Blending’ Among Refugees

Even CBC told both stories.

Best,

John

Here’s Melanie Philips. And according to Stephen Pollard, yesterday Jan Egeland’s remarks about Hezbollah’s “cowardly blending” were only to be found in the 21st and 22nd paragraphs of a 24 paragraph report.

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Disproportionality

The BBC accepts the words of a pressure group and its local Palestinian friends concerning a vague report of Israelis using ‘human shields’ against terrorists (who obviously would be mightily put off by such tactics). The pressure group has the declared aim of changing Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. Meanwhile the BBC lavishes no articles and wastes no keyboard work over the fundamental importance of human shields to Hezbullah and other terror groups.

That’s disproportionality.

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Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

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Stephen Pollard

hears from a BBC insider:

Stephen, you do well to pinpoint your frustration in today’s Times on just one programme. As a Jew (aargh) and a (whisper it) Zionist, I’m torn asunder by the way the BBC has done this. (And remember they’ve spent months addressing the accusations of bias, trying to get us all to do an online course which claims to be impartial but merely tries to impart the BBC’s take on Israel’s history.)

The unknown BBC staff member wrote in response to a Times article by Mr Pollard that evolved from an earlier post.

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Escalation, Beeb style

(Do scroll down; we’re building a nice little series on the BBC’s behaviour over the Lebanon situation. The general point seems to be that when the stress is even slightly on, the Beeb reveals its activist colours. Maybe it’s partly that yours truly awakes to them; who knows such things?)

++++++++++++++
Escalation, Beeb style

The trouble is, they’re dying to interfere, aren’t they? DFH notespossibly an even worse example where the BBC twists an interview, reporting robust Labour minister Kim Howells in a way which seems to ride roughshod over the thrust of his comments.

What he did in fact do, was to take Claire Short to task over her absurd view concerning Israel’s right to defend itself. At least part of what he said could only be read in terms of a defence of Israel. But the BBC has Howells on the Short side of things, condemning Israel. Can there be anything more absurd than a news organisation which reports the opposite of what actually happens? [I should point out to readers that my computer doesn't like the BBC options for listening and viewing for some reason- I am relying on DFH's quoted sections of Howell's interview. What I think is clear from that is that Howells supports Israel's right to defend itself- contrary to moonbats like Short and Galloway, whose demos the BBC like to patronise- even if he misunderstands the measures necessary for that. From this page you can follow links to the Howells interview, and also see that the BBC is trumpeting this meme of criticism. I also note that "UK protests over Israel actions" is the BBC's semantically confusing link to the moonbat rallies, which, as DFH also points out, they also misrepresented in a carefully sanitised set of photos]

In the comments Will and Kerry noted the detail from the report I highlighted that the BBC were claiming that the UK Govt. had condemned Lebanon but not Israel. We are agreed that this is untrue, but that the UK has condemned Hezbullah and not Israel- contrary both to the Williams report and the Howells report.

Not as a footnote but as another example of the BBC getting things diammetrically wrong- in line with their wish fulfilment- Fran drew attention to an admission of failure on the BBC’s part, this time concerning… well, Christians and Palestinians:

‘Fran W, had complained that an item in the BBC’s Sunday Programme reported by Katya Adler, suggested that Bethlehem Christians are treated by the Palestinian Authority as a “protected minority”.

In fact, Christian and other human rights organizations have reported that the Christian Palestinian minority has suffered substantial abuses of human rights dating back several years’

 

I can understand errors of fact, but manufacturing ‘fact’ is a massive step further. But what’s a lie in the service of a cause, eh?

Oh, and well done Fran! The guilty secret of all B-BBC contributors is that our commenters are often better poised than we are. All it takes is one smooth stone and a little sling (or so Glenn Reynoldsmight say)

Final point- one might call this a roundup- is to point to Stephen Pollard’s frustration over Sunday morning’s BBC coverage. I can well imagine it. I prefer the website, with all its manifest faults…

Final final point: this at Stephen Pollard’s site made me laugh, as did the Observer piecewhere they said that “The BBC is particularly sensitive to accusations of impartiality, however.”

Figures.

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Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

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The ever-helpful BBC

featured a virtual advertisment – in two senses – for demonstrations organised by the Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain, says USS Neverdock. His screenshot shows a box headed “Protest Assembly Points” and then the exact times and places for the demonstrations in Birmingham (“Outside Waterstones, entrance to Bullring”), Exeter, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kirckcaldy, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Sheffield and York. To finish it off nicely there’s an encouraging slogan across the bottom of the page saying, “Back peace call – Archbishop” But that just happens to be the headline for a link to another story. One hopes that its positioning just below the list of assembly points for demonstrations so that it appears the Archbishop is calling for people to back them is mere coincidence. And then there is the question of why the Archbishop’s remarks were reported that way which my colleague Ed Thomas has already blogged about.

Talk about public service! To place a quarter-page advert for your demo in a national newspaper reaching the same size of audience as the BBC does usually costs quite a lot, but the BBC will help out for free. Will help out some of us, anyway. For some reason when it comes to Sunday’s pro-Israel protest the exact assembly point isn’t so newsworthy.

Since then for some reason the BBC got embarrassed about their advertisment. Never mind, it was up long enough for good citizens to make their arrangements.

On the same subject, here is a Google News shot of an earlier version of the same story. The headline was “UK protests over Israeli attacks.” The same headline and first few paragraphs made up Ceefax page 108. Interesting headline, don’t you think? Could easily be read as meaning the UK government had protested over the Israeli attacks, which it has not. Or it could be read as the UK as a whole nation is united in protest over the Israeli attacks, which again is not the case. But of course it really meant that some protests were to be held in the UK against the Israeli attacks. Again, one hopes that like “Back peace call – Archbishop” the ambiguity is mere coincidence.

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Why Report It That Way?

Had an interesting time using Google News recently. An hour or two ago I saw an article about Rowan Williams, the Arch-Bish of somewhere, who was quoted saying that Hezbullah was using Lebanese as a human shield. This was accompanied by numerous links reinforcing the fact. Reuters provided the lead article, I think. I also saw this.

Later, trawling the BBC I came across a more than slightly different emphasis:

“Bishop slams UK over Middle East

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has joined calls for the UK to press for a ceasefire in the Middle East.”

I went back to the Google page and found the emphasis had changed, with the BBC and the Guardian in the vanguard. Now the newsmen were queueing up to condemn the UK for failing to pressure Israel (of course they were mainly just lifting the reports from the Beeb and Reuters, but guess what, the BBC were winning). Examining the time sequence, it seemed the BBC were pivotal in the change of emphasis, and looking at the article the people of Britain will be thoroughly ignorant of the balancing factor in Williams’ speech- there is no mention of the Hezbullah-human shield condemnation. Williams may be a kook, and Reuters may deserve the prefix “al-”, while Google in my view merit no prizes, but the BBC is the swaggering transnational bully that conforms its reportage to the latest axis of UN-French speak.

Update:I still have the original BBC article open on my computer even as the stealth edit has kicked in- radically. Luckily I quoted the intro [ edit: change of headline spins it very differently]. Anyone who can offer screen captures or Google caches and/or give me and others some simple instructions as to how to obtain them will have performed a service.

By now every two-bit media organisation has repeated the BBC mantra. Most current BBC readers will now conclude (unwittingly) that the BBC is adopting a balanced line compared to them whereas in fact much of the media, especially the British local media, has simply been following their BBC ‘leader’. This is classic BBC- spread a radical agenda and then stealth edit their way out of the blame. The question is begged as to why the BBC ran a story for such a short time before changing it radically. They neutered the Reuters line, and then modified their own. Surely they are not responding to a changing news situation but are gerrymandering the headlines for the coming 24 hours.

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Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

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Forgetting to mention the party II.

As part of the discussion of this post an anonymous commenter said the following:

So what U.S. party was Gary Condit a member of?

Chandra Levy: Accusation and denial

Hmm, no clues there. How about this page?

Condit passes lie detector test

No joy there either. Strange. How about this page?

Condit battles resignation calls

Why, no. He mustn’t be in any party. Well, let’s see what this page says – Stephen Sackur will surely enlighten us:

Levy soap opera puts press in lather

Why Stephen, you’ve not put the party affiliation. Pressure of space I’m sure.

Well, let’s try Kevin Anderson:

Mystery overwhelms US airwaves

Nope, no joy there either.

This one maybe:

Condit launches ‘PR offensive’

Er, no – nothing either.

Well, Mr Condit is mentioned here…

Levy police question park attacker

…But still no clue which party he belongs to.

Nor here:

Profile: From small town to big city

Sigh – can you imagine the BBC reporting a scandal involving a GOP Congressman with this number of stories and not mentioning his political ties?

The original comment had just URLs; I have given the titles of the BBC stories.

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