On the other hand…

I was surprised and pleased at some aspects of the phrasing in this feature about Israeli checkpoints.

“Since the beginning of the three-year Palestinian uprising, or intifada, Israel has significantly increased the number of roadlocks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in response to rising Palestinian violence.

“In September 2003, a group of 20 aid agencies issued a statement calling for the removal of the travel restrictions, which they said were limiting Palestinians’ access to schools and medical care, increasing frustration and destroying hopes for peace.

“Israel sees the barriers as vital to stop suicide bombers flooding into its cities to terrorise the civilian population.”

Emphasis added by me. It’s fairly unusual to see Palestinian violence described as Palestinian violence, but that use of the verb to terrorise really made me blink. Time was when I was an admirer of the BBC. The first letter to an MP I ever wrote, when I was still at school, was to ask that funding to the World Service not be cut. If there is one single thing that turned me into a maddened termagant given to adding “Ceterum censeo BBC delenda est” to observations about the weather, it was the BBC decision not to use the word “terrorist.” It made me sick. The BBC (not to mention Reuters) does not pretend to be “above” moral judgements when discussing murder, or rape, or child porn, or racial harassment. It also inserts moral judgements into reporting of poverty, war and politics; sometimes with the platitudes appropriate to a tax-funded organisation, but often in a manner so partisan as to violate its Charter. It certainly pushes the line that continued state funding of the BBC is desirable for the “public good” i.e. on moral grounds. But after all that it still frequently pretends to be “above” morally judging people who, in defiance of the laws of war, hide among the civilian population to blow up families in pizza parlours. In refusing to judge them the BBC show themselves traitors to the civilisation they claim to represent.

But if this small instance is the start of a return to the common values, I will soften my line.

In the next paragraph the writer reverts to the “militant” usage, which is a vile insult to all the extreme but basically non-violent Trotskyists and Leninists in the British Left who were the previous people designated by the term “militant”. But hell’s bells, look at it again: “terrorise”. Implying that those doing it are terrorists. It’s a start.

UPDATE: Might’ve known it was too good to last. Regular commenter PJF has observed that the reference to rising Palestinian violence has disappeared, along with the whole first paragraph I quoted.

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7 Responses to On the other hand…

  1. PJF says:

    I can’t find the reference to “rising Palestinian violence”. Is this a stealth edit made to assist us in concluding that checkpoints have increased in number in order to improve the Zionist occupation of Palestine (etc)?

    The “terrorise” term is still there, but don’t get your hopes up. This isn’t the BBC referring to the terrorising of civilians; this is the BBC referring to an Israeli opinion. Don’t be too surprised if this little chink of reality is also removed. The “British Council of Muslims” also regards the BBC as biased (in favour of the “Zionist entity”), and their views are a lot more important to the BBC than anyone’s here.

    Of course, the BBC does know what a terrorist is. If a bomb is exploded outside of BBC Television Centre (killing no one), the BBC will have no hesitation in describing those who planted it as terrorists. This is in spite of the fact that the issue of the British presence on the island of Ireland is disputed by many. The BBC attempts to justify the non-use of “terrorist” when referring to Middle East terrorists by saying the area is in dispute. The BBC is hypocritical. Dog bites man.

    I suppose we’ll have to find out for ourselves what organisations formed the “20 aid agencies” contributing to this report. BBC journalism just isn’t good enough to tell us such a fundamental aspect of this story. Dog bites man.


  2. Dan says:

    der bbc now works in the service of the Hezbollah.

    nothing much to say about the report itself, but look at the picture!
    der bbc says he is a businessman, but the picture shows an army colonolel, and the repoter makes it clear that “E.T who is also a reserve colonel”,trying to obscure the fact that a citizen was kidnapped, on a business trip (however stupid and irresponsible) and not as a soldier.
    no context of the kidnapping itself naturally.
    maybe der bbc’s current relations with the israeli government, prevented them from obtaining another pic.
    ha..yeah right
    Natalie, i don’t think that one word i.e “terrorise” or other isolated ref. makes a difference in a sea of everyday bias being accumilated to a state of propaganda by a worldwide service.
    a good start will be axing erm.. i mean sacking,all those responsible for this sham, replacing them with responsible reporters from whom one can get news without checking every little word to see ‘ where the catch is’


  3. phil says:


    Firemen’s industrial action

    Described throughout the day by BBC News industrial correspondent as a “work to rule”.
    So do firemen’s rules provide for them to do no more than respond to 999 calls? Certainly not.
    The firemen are parially withdrawing labour, continuing to draw full pay, will not be disciplined & will be supported by the BBC & Mirror.


  4. Nicholas says:

    Off Topic Post

    This is my report on a case of bias on the BBC ten o’clock news for November 4:

    The BBC reports on four “ghost ships” heading across the Atlantic from Virginia to Hartlepool to be scrapped. After repeatedly telling viewers that the ships are from America, the reporter ends by saying that the story is ultimately about “should America’s waste come to Britain.”

    Mentioning (once) that the World War II warships are American is certainly appropriate, but to hang the entire story around their point of departure is excessive and smacks of bias. What differences does it make if the ships are coming from America or Albania?

    Why not ask if Able UK, the firm involved, is actually capable of disposing of the ships in an environmentally safe manner? If the answer appears to be yes, then perhaps the real story is the economic damage being done to the company and the community by the demagogic rhetoric of the environmentalist group Friends of the Earth.


  5. Nicholas says:

    You can go to my website for more examples of bias on the ten o’clock news:



  6. lune droner says:

    Careful with word termagant! Granted: you’re probably using it as a synonym for shrewish. But in the middle ages Termagant was an imaginary deity that European Christians thought Muslims worshipped.
    ” I’le march where my Captaine leads, wer’t into the Presence of the great Termagaunt”


  7. Joe says:

    This is even funnier given that the World Service has been running a series on the evils of fencing ones’ property, and extending this cast of evil to the Israelis.