I saw this BBC News Online story last week,

UK multi-culturism under spotlight, by Roger Hardy, BBC “Islamic Affairs Analyst”, but didn’t have the energy to get stuck into it at the time. Thankfully, Dumbjon has been on the case, and has done a remarkably good demolition job, Beeb Bandwagon Hits Clue Tree, Reverses, Steers Round It, in his own inimitable style. The post below it is rather funny as well.

Accuracy and precision in news speak – a quiz:

Spot the difference between yesterday’s reports:

BBC News: “Sir Edward, who took us into the Common Market…”;

Sky News: “Sir Edward, who took us into the then Common Market…”;

A hint, for those too young to remember the Common Market: it was another name for the EEC, the European Economic Community, which Britain voted to join in 1973. It ceased to exist when, without any further referendum, the EEC became the EC (European Community), and then later became the EU, that we all know and love to this day, so much so that there has been no need for another referendum.

Another link via Norman Geras, to an Observer article

in which he is quoted – Stop castrating the language, by Nick Cohen, continuing the theme that:

A misguided obsession with objective reporting is undermining the BBC’s credibility as a news organisation.

Cohen makes a number of excellent points, for example: “the relativist wisdom that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ is not as secure as the saloon-bar sages and BBC managers maintain” and “At the BBC and elsewhere, the pressure of events has pushed neutrality into euphemism and euphemism to the edge of outright falsehood. And nowhere more so than in the case of that pretty circumlocution – ‘insurgent'”.

Speaking about Iraq and the reporting thereof, Cohen says:

In theory, it would be clear to everyone that a struggle between fascism and democracy is underway, not a fight against ‘insurgents’. But in practice, this is Iraq which was invaded by the woefully unprepared George W Bush. Solidarity with the victims of fascism was suspended as preparations for war began, which was understandable. But, with the honourable exception of the trade union movement, the indifference has continued, which is scandalous.

In these murky circumstances, filled with self-deceit and double standards, the corruption of language is inevitable. The statement that: ‘Insurgents killed 24 children in Baghdad yesterday’ is entirely different from the statement that: ‘Al-Qaeda and the Baathists killed 24 children in Baghdad yesterday.’ The latter at least allows those members of the audience who want ‘to make their own assessment about who is doing what to whom’ to find out what al-Qaeda and the Baath party believe in and whether decent people should be on the side of the victims or the perpetrators.

The former is castrated language which has been emptied of precise meaning. It gives the vague impression that what we’re up against is the armed wing of Liberal Democrats: a regrettably violent force which, none the less, has understandable demands that may be met.

Cohen’s point about the use of language that discourages viewers from finding out more for themselves, ‘about who is doing what to whom’, is an especially valid criticism of a wide range of BBC News output. Pertinent details and relevant background information are so often ignored or fudged in news reports, at best, to keep things simple for the ‘dumb’ viewers – who are more sensible and intelligent than they are given credit for – or, at worst, to present a particular world view in such a way that viewers may not even realise there is more to the story than meets the eye.

Via Norman Geras, news that we’re not the only ones

Via Norman Geras, news that we’re not the only ones.

The trust that MPs had in the BBC has collapsed, with a majority of Conservatives and a large proportion of Labour members now believing that the corporation’s news coverage is biased.

Four out of ten Labour MPs and two thirds of Tories told MORI, in research conducted for the BBC, they did not believe that it was “free from influence and bias”.


The finding has unsettled BBC governors, who revealed the existence of the research in the corporation’s annual report. But it has not surprised MPs, who believe that the BBC is losing its reputation for objectivity.

Note to BBC News and Sky News:

Bombs (sorry, blasts, as you term them) take lives – they do NOT ‘claim’ them (see News Online homepage and Turkish resort blast claims lives).

Sky News’ online version, Deadly explosion on bus, is appropriately unequivocal. Unfortunately, the twerps presenting Sky News just now are also using the emollient ‘claim’ for the apparent murder and grievous injury of real people, all of whose lives mattered as much to them and their families as those of you and your families do to you. Think about it.

Update: As if by magic, the BBC News Online headline now says Turkish resort blast kills four.

As noted by our ever enthusiastic commentariat,

Tom Leonard has followed up his article in the Telegraph yesterday (see post below) with an excellent article today, BBC language that Labour loves to hear, where he writes that:

Within hours of the explosions, a memo was sent to senior editors on the main BBC news programmes from Helen Boaden, head of news. While she was aware “we are dancing on the head of a pin”, the BBC was very worried about offending its World Service audience, she said.

BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as “terrorists” although – nonsensically – they could refer to the bombings as “terror attacks”. And while the guidelines generously concede that non-BBC should be allowed to use the “t” word, BBC online was not even content with that and excised it from its report of Tony Blair’s statement to the Commons.

Ah yes, we mustn’t offend the non-tellytaxpaying World Service audience, must we! I wonder which parts of the World Service audience might be offended by calling a terrorist a terrorist? And why should the BBC pander so desperately to the sensibilities of people who might be thus offended anyway? Surely the BBC’s job is to tell it like it is, as understood by the highest standards of British common-sense and decency, whether or not it offends those who are so backward or primitive that they regard the random murder of civilians (in London or anywhere else) as anything less than terrorism.

Whether funded through the telly-tax or the taxpayers money given to the World Service, the BBC is supposed to be the British Broadcasting Corporation – it is high time for the BBC’s voluminous news output to reflect and represent the views, values and standards of those who are forced to pay for it – the great British public – particularly since the BBC’s enormous tax-funded dominance stifles all but the most hardy of alternative news providers, thus perpetuating the BBC’s distorted White City Goldfish Bowl view of the world throughout Britain’s broadcast media (for instance, almost every broadcast journalist in the UK (with a few well-established exceptions*), whoever they work for, has to stay relatively close to the BBC line, unless they want to severely curtail their future career options). For the good of our democracy and our society it is time to break-up the BBC’s enormous monopoly of broadcast and online news in the UK.

All is not lost though – there are still some sensible, decent people speaking out within the BBC – as Tom Leonard continues:

A row has now broken out with a handful of the corporation’s most senior journalists and news executives, fighting what one described yesterday as a “disgusting and appalling” edict. He was particularly angry, he added, because most World Service listeners don’t even pay a penny for the BBC.


The same senior BBC journalist who expressed contempt for the “terrorist” ban was withering about the corporation’s current Africa season. The BBC’s interminable series of programmes highlighting poverty in Africa has been a “disgrace”, he said. “We’ve simply been advancing Gordon Brown’s agenda and in an entirely unsophisticated way.”

Do read it all for the full story. Stephen Pollard has also been asking So whose side is the BBC on? Writing in the Daily Mail, he says:

But terrorism is not a value judgement. It is recognised as a crime against humanity under international law. Professor Norman Geras defines it as “the deliberate targeting of civilians with a view to killing and maiming them and if possible in large numbers”. To describe Thursday’s bombers as terrorists is merely to observe the reality of human rights law.

This is, of course, about far more than labels. The refusal to use the word terrorist goes to the heart of the BBC’s world view, in which such murders are simply a response to the West’s provocation.

It is all our fault, according to the BBC’s ‘experts’. On Friday night, a Newsnight correspondent, Peter Marshall, informed us that “What the war on terror was supposed to prevent, it has brought about.”

Turning to the BBC’s Frank Gardner, Pollard writes:

Speaking on Radio 4 on Monday, Mr Gardner declared that Western policies in Muslim countries, and ‘harassment’ of suspected Islamists in Britain and Europe, was ‘offensive’ to Wahabis. But what Wahabis find offensive is the very existence of the West, which they are committed to destroying.

He then remarked that that it was extraordinary that they planted a bomb in Edgware Road, since this was a Muslim area. Yet not only did they not plant a bomb there (it went off in a moving train), they have as long a track record of murdering Muslims as they do of killing apostates.

Mr Gardner concluded that it was “doubly tough for Britain’s Muslims…it’s more of a blow for them than for everyone else”. Really? The relatives and friends of the victims might disagree with that.

Interestingly, it seems that Peter Marshall is unimpressed with Pollard’s analysis – as demonstrated in his thoughtful response, recounted by Stephen Pollard today:

When I pointed out that I did not distort a word of what he said, he responded thus: “You fat fuck. You fucker” and terminated the conversation.

I wonder what the BBC’s PC Thought Police would make of such ‘fattist’ language? Aren’t those who are undertall entitled to the same respect that the BBC extends to the sensitivities of those who think that suicide bomb terrorists are mere ‘militants’, ‘extremists’ or ‘insurgents’?

* e.g. Andrew Neil, Adam Boulton, Nick Robinson – but they are very much the exception among the vast army of broadcast journalists reporting for the UK.

BBC edits out the word terrorist is the headline on a story by Tom Leonard in today’s Daily Telegraph,

as noted by commenters here. The story reports that:

The BBC has re-edited some of its coverage of the London Underground and bus bombings to avoid labelling the perpetrators as “terrorists”, it was disclosed yesterday.

Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC’s website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as “bombers”.

The BBC’s guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the “careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments”.

Consequently, “the word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding” and its use should be “avoided”, the guidelines say.

Rod Liddle, a former editor of the Today programme, has accused the BBC of “institutionalised political correctness” in its coverage of British Muslims.

A BBC spokesman said last night: “The word terrorist is not banned from the BBC.”

Though many of us here welcomed the BBC’s, albeit hypocritical, use of the word ‘terrorist’ (where, according to the BBC, London bus bombers are ‘terrorists’, while Palestinian bus bombers are mere ‘militants’) to describe murdering scumbags who are, clearly, terrorists, if the BBC have actually gone to the lengths of re-editing material, after the fact, to remove the word ‘terrorist’ then their hypocrisy knows no bounds – the rewriting of history, BBC Ministry of Truth style.

If the BBC is truly honest, next time (and sadly I expect there will be a next time) there is a terrorist atrocity in the UK, let them refer openly, as is their wont, to the cowardly murderers as ‘militants’, ‘insurgents’ and ‘bombers’ – then let’s see how long the BBC’s politically-correct fifth-column naifs last when their adoring telly-taxpaying public sees the stark reality of the BBC’s detachment from the common-sense and decency of the hard-working compulsory telly-taxpayers that it supposedly serves.


Update: Examples of rewrites at BBC News Online, courtesy of Harry, and an update explaining how the leftie-PC view was reimposed at the BBC.

Yesterday I watched with admiration, and a lump in my throat, as Mrs. Marie Fatayi-Williams,

mother of Anthony Fatayi-Williams, missing since last week’s terrorist attacks, gave a powerful and moving speech in London, broadcast in full on Sky News, also reproduced in full on their website.

Afterwards, Sky News’ Ashish Joshi reported that Mrs. Fatayi-Williams “reserved most of her venom, most of her anger, for the terrorists”, yet on the BBC’s lamentable One O’Clock News bulletin, their short excerpt of Mrs. Fatayi-Williams was used mostly to imply criticism of the delays in identifying victims of the atrocities. Whilst such criticism may well be merited, the main thrust of Mrs. Fatayi-Williams eloquent speech, as omitted from the One O’Clock News, was that:

“We know of New York, of Madrid and of London – there has been widespread slaughter of innocent people,” she said.

“There have been streams of tears and rivers of innocent blood. That is not the cause of God or Allah. God only gives life.”

BBC News Online’s coverage of Mrs. Fatayi-Williams was better than the One O’Clock News version, although curiously, whilst Mrs. Fatayi-Williams said “It is time to stop this vicious cycle of killing” towards the end of her speech, this line is reported at the top of News Online’s version of events (and is also included in the much abridged broadcast soundbite – see video clip, linked from the same News Online page). It’s just as well that we have Sky’s coverage to give us the full picture – both on TV and on the web.

Meanwhile, on the BBC’s subsequent local news programme, their cub reporters managed to have a good dig, with the help of a Muslim spokesman and a new Labour ministerial non-entity, at Lord Stevens (formerly Sir John Stevens), the recently retired Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, following his News of the World analysis, Young, clever… and British, in which, among other things, Lord Stevens says:

THE terrorists at the centre of the London bombing this week will almost certainly be British born and bred, brought up here and totally aware of British life and values.

Yes, I’ve heard pundits suggesting it could have been Algerian terrorists, or Moroccans, or various other nationalities. But that’s dangerous wishful thinking, a damaging illusion.

It is true that such international terrorists may have provided expertise, know-how or even possibly foot soldiers for this week’s onslaught. But essentially, sadly, this will almost certainly have been a home-grown operation.

I’m afraid there’s a sufficient number of people in this country willing to be Islamic terrorists that they don’t have to be drafted in from abroad.

We have already convicted two British shoe bombers, Richard Reid and Saajid Badat, there were the two British suicide bombers Asif Hanif and Omar Sharif who killed themselves in Israel, plus upcoming terrorism trials involving British nationals that I cannot discuss now for legal reasons.

I warned in these pages some months ago that there were up to 200 home-grown terrorists willing and able to slaughter innocents for their perverted view of Islam…and I got some stick for being so outspoken.

But today, after 7/7, I’ve absolutely no reason to change my mind.

I said in public what had previously only been discussed behind closed doors in Whitehall because I believe the public are entitled to the truth, that knowing it will help energise communities to fight back against this horror.

Given his recent experience, Lord Stevens is probably in a position to know what he’s talking about, whether or not that suits the BBC, their ‘new’ Labour minister or their Muslim spokesman. His analysis may prove to be wrong, but until we know for sure who was responsible for last week’s atrocities, it’s a bit rich of the BBC and their pet contributors to glibly dismiss his opinions without even balancing the piece with a counter view or a contribution from Lord Stevens himself. Rich, but not surprising.

Update, 4.27pm: Sky News are reporting that detectives believe four bombers died in last week’s atrocities, and that they are believed to have been born in Britain. Looks like Stevens opinions count for more than those of the BBC and its fellow-travellers.

The BBC website gave full coverage to a vigil for the victims of the London bombs

The BBC website gave full coverage to a vigil for the victims of the London bombs, organised by the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Muslim Association of Britain.

According to the BBC, “it was Dr Assami Tamimi, of the Muslim Association of Britain, who drew the biggest response from the crowd.”

The piece quotes Dr Tamimi as saying “Muslims also need to kill the ideology behind this, that justifies the killing of innocents – this is Machiavellian and is anti-Islamic”

Fine words with which we can all agree. Just one teensy quiblette.

The Rottweiler Puppy has been doing some digging, and reports that the BBC appear to have made a mistake with the speaker’s name, which is shown on the MAB website as Azzam Tamimi.

Anyone can make a mistake.

Unfortunately, as the Puppy points out, Azzam Tamimi turns out to have said – on the BBC – a few other things about the killing of innocents.

Not a single person of those who bomb themselves, bomb themselves because they are desperate or poor. It doesn’t happen because of this. They do it because they want to sacrifice themselves for a cause after all avenues have been closed before them. If the Palestinians today are given F16s and Apache helicopters …

No – please come back to my question. Please come back to my question. Why if it is so glorious and honourable to do this, why don’t you do it?

I would do it …


If I have the opportunity I would do it …

When are you going to do it?

When? If I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it. Why not?

And there’s more – from 9/11 to wifebeating.

In an interview with the Spanish daily La Vanguardia titled ‘I Admire the Taliban, They Are Courageous’ in late 2001, Al-Tamimi claimed that the September 11 attacks brought joy to the Arab world. He begins by assuring the interviewer that “everyone” in the Arab world cheered upon seeing the Twin Towers fall. “Excuse me,” says the interviewer, “did you understand my question?” Al-Tamimi: “In the Arab and Muslim countries, everyone jumped for joy. That’s what you asked me, isn’t it?”

Normal Coverage Resumes At BBC

For a few short hours, as Harry’s Place reports, the BBC were prepared to call those who attacked civilians in London on Thursday ‘terrorists’. A day later they had become ‘bombers’.

Stephen Pollard points out that Newsnight seem to have been convinced by George Galloway.

“We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq …”

Newsnight’s Peter Marshall –
“What the war [on terror] was supposed to prevent, it has brought about.”