When American David Bieber was convicted of killing police officer Ian Broadhurst in Leeds, BBC coverage left you in no doubt as to his nationality.
The report of his conviction opens with the words “A former US Marine“. He is portrayed as “the clean-cut, all-American boy“. We even have a report asking why UK immigration “failed to stop a killer“.
It’s not as if the BBC are suppressing his nationality – they described it back in May. It just doesn’t seem to be considered of interest or pertinent – unlike Mr Beiber’s.
The trouble with this sort of ‘unwitting and unconscious’ racial bias in BBC news coverage is that you start wondering which other stories have had the appropriate racial filter applied.
The BBC reported this morning on an investigation into the ‘grooming’ of under-age girls in Oldham. There was a similar investigation in another Pennine town a couple of years back, unreported on the BBC website but the subject of a Channel Four documentary, a BBC Five Live report and a police investigation, in which the victims were overwhelmingly from one community and the perpetrators from another. You have to assume from the BBC Oldham report that no such scenario exists there – or they would have reported it. I think.
UPDATE – anyone reading this after around 11 am this morning might not understood my reference to the grooming story, which has changed utterly since I read it at 7.50 and should really be a separate report. The title, “Inquiry into sex grooming cases” is now “Five charged over abuse inquiry” and refers to specific criminal charges against named individuals, dating back to August. Thanks to the excellent Revisionista, we can see that the BBC are currently on revision 6. I read revision 2 which was as follows :
Inquiry into sex grooming cases
Wed Dec 20 07:40:12 GMT 2006
A major investigation is under way into the sexual abuse of as many as 20 girls in Oldham, some as young as 12.
It is alleged they are befriended by older men, who buy them expensive gifts. The relationship later turns sexual and the girls are abused.
Police said while it was a big problem, they did not have evidence it was an organised paedophile ring.
They have arrested more than 20 men, five of whom have been charged with offences including abduction and rape.
The men are said to pose as “boyfriends” but they are much older than the girls.
They are not previously known to the girls, whom they approach in public places.
The men provide gifts such as mobile phones, electronic gadgets, and perhaps drink or drugs.
After a time the relationship changes and, it is alleged, the girls – a small number of whom are in local authority care – end up being physically harmed or forced into sex.
The council and police believe as many as 20 girls – aged between 12 and 17 – could have been abused.
The joint inquiry was carried out by police, Oldham council, Oldham Primary Care Trust and the charity Barnardos.
UPDATE – the Telegraph reports on the same issue. Any differences between that and the coverage of the £3bn tax-funded BBC ?
“Suppressing uncomfortable information (unless it’s about America or Israel). It’s what we do.”