A couple of ‘compare and contrasts’. The discrepancies between this BBC report on Friday prayers at the Temple Mount/al-Haram al Sharif – and this Jeruslalem Post report.
BBC – Jerusalem prayers pass peacefully
Islamic prayers at Jerusalem’s holiest site ended peacefully on Friday, a week after clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.
About 3,000 police were deployed around the Old City of East Jerusalem, and men under 50 were barred from entering the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif.
Jerusalem Post – Muslims clash with police after Salah speech in east J’lem
Dozens of masked Muslim youths and children clashed with security forces and reporters in east Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz on Friday afternoon, throwing rocks, blocking streets and burning garbage bins.
Police dispersed the rioters with stun grenades, tear gas and water hoses.
At least one of the rioters was wounded and three were arrested, Israel Radio reported.
The protesters had been listening to a sermon delivered by Islamic Movement head Sheikh Raed Salah at a massive protest rally north of the Old City.
During the sermon, Salah urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to “save al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the occupation.”
He went on to say that Israel’s history was tainted with blood. “They want to build their temple at a time when our blood is on their clothes, on their doorsteps, in their food and in their drinks. Our blood has passed from one ‘General Terrorist’ to another ‘General Terrorist,’” exclaimed the Islamic Movement chief.
It’s true that the trouble was outside the Old City, so the BBC report is not untrue. It’s just our old friend suppressio veri in action. (hat-tip – Biodegradeable, who also notes the contrast between this story and this one)
He’s little known over here, but David Hicks is an Australian held in Guantanamo after being captured in Afghanistan. The Rottweiler Puppy fisks a somewhat anodyne BBC report which again features supressio veri.
Via commenter pounce, another ‘compare and contrast’.
The BBC and how the US is insensitive towards the needs of children.
Schools shun book over one word
A children’s author has said she is “horrified” after her book was banned from some US schools and libraries. Susan Patron’s award-winning The Higher Power of Lucky has run into trouble because it contains the word “scrotum”.
Patron, a librarian herself, condemned the idea of stopping families choosing reading material for themselves. “I was shocked and horrified to read that some school librarians, teachers, and media specialists are choosing not to include the 2007 Newbery Medal winner in their collections,” she wrote in Publishers Weekly.
Those people were afraid of parental objections or were uncomfortable with the word themselves, she said. “If I were a parent of a middle-grade child, I would want to make decisions about my child’s reading myself. “I’d be appalled that my school librarian had decided to take on the role of censor and deny my child access to a major award-winning book.”
The BBC and how the UK is sensitive towards the needs of children.
School bans pigs stories
A West Yorkshire head teacher has banned books containing stories about pigs from the classroom in case they offend Muslim children.
Mrs Harris said in a statement: “Recently I have been aware of an occasion where young Muslim children in class were read stories about pigs. “We try to be sensitive to the fact that for Muslims talk of pigs is offensive.”
This seems to be a standard technique, albeit ‘unwitting and unconscious’. Some stories are ipso facto considered by the BBC to be ‘controversial’ – so opponents are wheeled out to give their views. The Today equivalent would be the ‘many people would argue that …’ or ‘but campaigners are saying …’. Another, ‘non-controversial’ story will beget no negative quotes.
An example – Two stories on immigration and asylum from 2003.
One – the Tory proposal that all immigrants to the UK should be screened for infectious diseases.
Two – an Industrial Society proposal that it should be made easier for asylum seekers to find work in the UK, as they are “skilled, willing and keen to work”.
Both of these stories could be seen as controversial. Pro-refugee and asylum groups would consider the first a disgraceful proposal. Organisations like Migrationwatch or journalists like Anthony Browne would take issue with the second.
But on the BBC, one story is considered so controversial that the reaction to it is played more prominently than the proposal itself. On Radio 4 the story is trailed – “the Conservatives have been defending their proposals”. On the BBC News web page there are four different reactions – all critical. I’m particularly impressed with the way Evan Harris remarks are inserted into a description of the report – as below.
Immigrants would have to pay for the tests and asylum seekers would be detained until it was clear the tests had been met, it said.
” This is an unnecessary, extremist, unethical and unworkable policy ” – Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat health spokesman
The document said more than 50% of TB in the UK now occurs in people born abroad, the majority of whom arrived in Britain within the last 10 years.
The other proposal ? Obviously entirely uncontroversial – no critical voices are present. And no mention of the fact that the report’s author, one Gill Sargeant, is a Labour councillor (in Barnet), nor that the Industrial Society, now rebranded as the Workplace Foundation, is headed up by one Will Hutton, Guardian journalist and New Labour guru.
And finally : 18 Doughty Street have a video interview with Robin Aitken, author of Can We Trust The BBC?.