The P-word, and an evolving story.

A reader* wrote this email on Saturday. He or she included the original version of the story. Since then the story has changed, and it does now include mention of who carried out the mass-murder – nonetheless I think our reader makes some valid points about the first version. And the headline is still as ambiguous as ever:

I spotted this story on the BBC website this afternoon (Saturday). It’s the first section of their report on the latest suicide bombing.

Israel suicide attack kills 18

A suicide bomber has killed at least 18 people and injured up to 50 in an attack at a restaurant in the northern port of Haifa, Israeli police say.

The explosion occurred in the Maxim restaurant near Haifa’s beach promenade on the southern edge of the city.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which comes on the eve of the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday.

“There was a security guard outside but the attacker managed to enter and blow up,” Israeli police chief Shlomo Aharonishky said.

“There was a very big explosion, which blew out the windows. It was horrible,” a witness told Israeli TV.

Three children are reported to be among the dead.

It is the first such attack since 9 September, when 15 people were killed in twin suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Is it just me, or do others also find that headline misleading? Notice too, that the “P” word is missing from this part of the report. I suppose the Beeb cannot bring itself to admit that its Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs’ heroes could even contemplate harming Jews. Even in the final paragraph, which discusses the back-to-back suicide bombings in August, they omit to mention that they were carried out by Palestinians. With any other organization, I’d attribute this simply to bad journalism. In the case of the BBC, however…..

On a related subject, look at the comments to the previous post for a quick comment on how the BBC dealt with the retaliatory strike.

*Let us know if you want your name used.

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6 Responses to The P-word, and an evolving story.

  1. JohninLondon says:

    Monday’s Times carries a story about bias in the Panorama programme over the past 5 years –,,170-843674,00.html


  2. dan skapol says:

    I appologise in advance for the grammer and errors in writings that may follow. I’m an Israeli and English is not my native language, thanks.

    The ‘bbc’ rarely identifies the victims of a homicide (‘suicide’) terrorist (‘militant’) attack as Israelis.
    usually it uses a passive languge structure, for instance :
    “Israel decided in principle to “remove” Mr Arafat after 15 people were killed in twin suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on 9 September.”.

    In the same report (, I noticed the use of an active structure:
    “A Palestinian female suicide bomber killed herself and 19 others when she detonated explosives in a restaurant packed with lunchtime diners. “.

    Get it? she killed herself, oh yeah and some 19 others.

    Following your story, i’d like to bring an outrageous BBC story guised as an analysis:
    (I saved the page in case of later changes)

    Now to the story. It is so full of anti Israel bias i dont know where to start.

    “There have been more than 100 suicide bombings during the three-year Palestinian intifada, many carried out by Islamic Jihad.
    So why did Israel respond to Saturday’s attack – a devastating explosion in Haifa – by targeting Jihad’s Syrian-based leadership, deliberately extending the conflict beyond the borders of Israel and the occupied territories? ”

    The answer to the 2nd paragraph lies within the 1st paragraph, however notice the ‘fine’ choosing of words. to make it short : israel is DELIBERATELY extending the conflict…we go on understanding israel’s fault in causing the entire conflict in the next paragraph:

    “Syria is, of course, Israel’s enemy. The two countries are still in an official state of war, caused by Israel’s occupation and illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights.”..

    Hear this:The state of war is the fault of israel ! leaving aside the territorial issue which is very much disputed, this statement is a distortion of historical facts to say the least, and a blatant “taking sides” by the reporter in what is supposed to be an impartial analysis.

    under the title ESCALATION the analysis lays down the reason for this escalation, i.e Ariel Sharon:
    “The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, had already indicated he was ready for direct confrontation. After assuming office in 2001, he attacked Syrian targets in Lebanon in response to a Hezbollah raid.”

    The first thing Ariel Sharon did after he took control of the country was to attack Syria. not to mention the great extent the ‘bbc’ reporters go to make it look like Israel is half a dictatorship led by one powerful man.

    “In recent weeks, media reports have again raised the ante by suggesting that Israel might assassinate the leaders of Palestinian groups in Syria and Lebanon.”

    If “media reports” suggest that, it must be true.

    “They allege that in the northern West Bank, some


  3. ed says:

    In the report highlighted, as in so many instances, the problem is the BBC’s desire to give an impression rather than report the news. This makes them into writers rather than journalists, artists rather than artisans. Basically, they’re ‘up’ themselves.


  4. Michael says:

    Almostly agree


  5. Lucy says:

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  6. dan skapol says:

    Hello again, continuing the 2nd comment, the same article goes on…
    (i couldn’t fit everything in the first)
    “They allege that in the northern West Bank, some cells of Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – a militia loosely tied to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement – receive support from Iran and Syria via Hezbollah.”
    Now notice how the reporter describes the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades which introduced to the world the first female suicide bomber and which carried out a vast number of suicide attacks as”a MILITIA LOOSELY tied to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement”. What was in previous reports an “offshoot of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement”, is now loosley tied to him.
    “In response to Syria’s anti-war, anti-occupation stance, the US has demanded that it clean up its act to fit the new regional order – one that increasingly defines all armed resistance, whether in Iraq or other occupied Arab territories, as “terrorism.” ”
    This paragraph is beautifully constracted to summarise ‘bbc’s balance. syria is anti-war/occupation (no mention of course of the more than 20 years of Syrian “presence” in Lebanon), the US forces its new world order. and to top it off we get the “”””terrorists”””” as freedom fighters of the occupied arab lands. I think the above paragraph is without a doubt the ‘sexiest’ i have ever seen.
    “With the spectre of Iraq hanging over its head, Syria has taken measures to close down the political offices of the Palestinian groups; it says none of the military wings are operating in the country.
    According to diplomatic sources, Damascus also urged the exiled Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaderships to accept the unilateral Palestinian ceasefire declared in June. ”
    It must be true then. “diplomatic sources” is a very reliable source.
    “It is in this climate that Israel has chosen to go on the offensive, to send what Israel Radio called a clear signal that Damascus must stop its support of Palestinian “terror groups”.
    I don’t know if it’s a typing error but the quotes seem to have been narrowed to the last 2 words. funny.
    I think this ‘analysis’ could be a great start for the ‘bbc watch’ guys, if and when they decide to write thier next report.