The Flaw Pilger Doesn’t See.

I know it’s no good getting nostalgic, but in the olden days, when BBC spokespersons such as “John Reith” called in occasionally to remind us of our stupidity, they would cite a survey which concluded that the BBC was indeed biased in its Middle East reporting. In favour of Israel.

Anyway, the other day when ace reporter John Pilger was holding forth to Justin Webb about his new film, aired last night on ITV, it reminded me of those times.
“When we’re embedded,” he bleated, “we distort the news by peddling the government line.” Justin Webb, remembering that his job is to probe, ventured chummily: “You’re a bit of a polemicist yourself, my old matey”.
“I was waiting for that” Pilger countered, chuckling with feigned good humour, and with that unequivocal put-down Justin surrendered.

Anyway, the survey that showed that the BBC was biased towards Israel was something to do with this: “Bad News From Israel”. Here are some eager BBC converts:

“I wasn’t under the impression that Israeli borders had changed or that they had taken land from other people – I thought it was more a Palestinian aggression than it was Israeli aggression.”

But now, thanks to the BBC, I think the opposite of the truth is the truth! Hooray!

“The impression I got (from news) was that the Palestinians had lived around about that area and now they were trying to come back and get some more land for themselves – I didn’t realise they had been driven out of places in wars previously.”

Thank goodness for the BBC!! Thank goodness for misinformed journalists who are keen to pass on all they don’t know. Yippee!

“You always think of the Palestinians as being really aggressive because of the stories you hear on the news. I always think the Israelis are fighting back against the bombings that have been done to them.”

Until now I haven’t hated the Israelis properly. Thank you BBC.

There. Conclusive proof that the BBC is biased in favour of Israel.
The Pilger programme is on ITV iPlayer. One of Pilger’s theories seems to be: if only people knew that war is a nasty business there wouldn’t be any more wars.
Pilger is no peacemaker however. He is full of hate and malice.
The Palestinian section demonstrates why this filmette is so hypocritical. Pilger detests Israel so much that he has overlooked the fact that the thesis underpinning the whole thing doesn’t hold up when applied to what he calls ‘Palestine’. He promises to show that ‘embedding’ influences reporting. Which reporters does he think are embedded with the IDF?

Never mind though, in the exceptional case of Israel, or should I say Palestine, embedding isn’t necessary because mere phone calls from Israeli government propagandists are so terrifying that BBC broadcasters crumple up and obey.

What incenses Pilger more than anything is the hateful propagandist Mark Regev. Even the oddly dull Fran Unsworth wouldn’t swallow that. “He’s a government spokesman.” she replies bravely.
“Where’s the Palestinian equivalent to Mark Regev?” he asks her. She didn’t mention that the Palestinian viewpoint permeates every report that is ever put out on the BBC because she hasn’t noticed that.
Pilger even brings in the incontrovertible Bad News From Israel I mentioned earlier.

“Never believe anything” he says, towards the end. Wise words from Mr. Pilger, which rather encapsulate the elephantine flaw in the whole programme.

I do realise by the way, that this film wasn’t shown on the BBC, so please don’t bother pointing that out.

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39 Responses to The Flaw Pilger Doesn’t See.

  1. hippiepooter says:

    Errrm .. Do you realise that the film wasn’t shown on the BBC?

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    • sue says:

      What can I say? I know, I’ll say that it was promoted on the BBC, and it was largely about the BBC, it featured prominent members of the BBC, and, and,….
      Thanks for pointing it out though. 😉

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  2. Millie Tant says:

    Rather imperious, aren’t we?

    I do realise by the way, that this film wasn’t shown on the BBC, so please don’t bother pointing that out.

    I just thought I should point that out.

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    • sue says:

      I had to look up the definition of Imperious. Did you mean:
      1. Arrogantly domineering or overbearing.
      2. Urgent; pressing.
      3. Obsolete Regal; imperial.

      If you meant 1.  – I’m sorry you saw it  that way. I was merely preempting the accusation from a certain person who drops by to remind DV that he once blogged on a C4 programme.  You can’t have meant 2.
      If you meant 3, we are amused.

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      • Millie Tant says:

        This prompted me to look it up and hey presto! Look what I found: lots of synonyms (though not bossy) and lovely quotations:

        Imperious (?), a. [L. imperiosus: cf. F. impérieux. See Imperial.] 1. Commanding; ascendant; imperial; lordly; majestic. [Obs.] “A vast and imperious mind.” Tilloison.
        [1913 Webster]
        Therefore, great lords, be, as your titles witness,
        Imperious. Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
        2. Haughly; arrogant; overbearing; as, an imperious tyrant; an imperious manner.
        [1913 Webster]
        This imperious man will work us all
        From princes into pages. Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
        His bold, contemptuous, and imperious spirit soon made him conspicuous. Macaulay.
        [1913 Webster]
        3. Imperative; urgent; compelling.
        [1913 Webster]
        Imperious need, which can not be withstood. Dryden.
        Syn. — Dictatorial; haughty; domineering; overbearing; lordly; tyrannical; despotic; arrogant; imperative; authoritative; commanding; pressing. — Imperious, Lordly, Domineering. One who is imperious exercises his authority in a manner highly offensive for its spirit and tone; one who is lordly assumes a lofty air in order to display his importance; one who is domineering gives orders in a way to make others feel their inferiority.
        [1913 Webster]

        I must have meant 1): A vast and imperious mind. Hm… 😛

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      • john says:

        4.
        Large white or lime green mint ?

        My dictionary is from a £1 shop however !

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  3. Biodegradable says:

    Splendid Fisking Sue, or should that be “Pilgering”? 😉

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  4. hippiepooter says:

    M/s Unsworth features Jim Muir in her blog above assuring us how Hizbollah in no way interferes in journalistic impartiality.  I googled him, and sure enough this dude has form in these here very self-same pages, but I also came across a very interesting op-ed from Lebanon’s ‘The Daily Star’:-

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=122048#axzz18BpqWTJK

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    • sue says:

      That’s a very interesting article. I wonder what Pilger would have to say about that? Or his buddy who insisted the BBC was intimidated by the Israelis.

      Maybe the media is constrained by a fear of unnecessarily inflaming violent situations, but the fear of violent repercussions (to themselves) if they say something unsuitable seems a lot more credible when the threat comes from the bombing fraternity. (Rather than from the likes of the terrifying Mark Regev.)

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      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        The BBC is constrained by a fear of appearing too favorable to Israel.  I would bet a large sum of money that they get far more angry complaints about being controlled by the Jooooos/Israel Lobby than they do about pimping for Pallywood.

        They were too cute when they brought in the useful Jews as insurance policies against complaints of anti-Semitism.  This ended up backfiring on them, I think.  The coverage did improve somewhat after a demoralized Tim Franks ran off to cover football, but it seems to be slipping back to the old status quo.

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      • hippiepooter says:

        Of course Israel puts pressure on the BBC – to limit the obscenities of its blood libel coverage of Israel.  A bit of googling with searches such as ngo watch and and honest reporting shows the pressures terrorist groups exert on journalists reporting on their turf and the complicity of journalists in manufactured news by terrorists.  Of course Israel puts pressure on the BBC not to be as bent as it pleases.

        The most interesting facet of Lebanon Daily Star piece I found is that Michael Balen still works as the BBC’s internal Middle East Watchdog.  I suppose this is a quid pro quo for his silence on his suppressed Report.  Not that I think it produces many tangible results.  He’d do a lot better aa a whistleblower if he really wants to prevent bent BBC journalism.

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  5. barrenga says:

    The below article does a good job of demolishing the study. Why don’t you read it?

    There’s a particular paragraph I think you should pay attention to. See if any of it rings any bells?

    It starts:  Where audiences’ expressed opinions sympathetic to the Israeli position, this was seen as the result of media manipulation.

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d3Brennan-2.pdf

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    • sue says:

      That article, as you say, does do a good job of demolishing the study Bad News From Israel.. Wasn’t Greg Philo the chap in the Pilger film who alleged the Israelis intimidated the BBC by phone?
      I will say that both the study and the critique are at least six years old, and much water has passed under many bridges since.

      The paragraph that starts “Where audiences expressed opinions” seems to suggest that people view these things through prisms that affect their judgement and reflect their bias. Is that why you recommended I should note it in particular? If so it’s the one concession that the author seems to make in his damning critique. But If you are simply implying that I am biased, you are right. I am.

      Funnily enough, criticism of Israel is valued more highly if the critic is Jewish, but if a supporter of Israel is Jewish it is perceived as some kind of self-interest and it counts for little. By the same token, non-Jewish support is highly valued by Israel’s supporters, and unfortunately Palestinian supporters of ‘any faith or none’ are ten a penny. I blame the BBC.

      This is the second time I haven’t understood one of your comments, so in future you’ll have to spell it out.

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  6. Martin says:

    I think discussion of the film is relevant, it contained a lot of commentary from Pilger about the BBC.

    Pilger is a hard core leftie, a bit like a less fat version of Michael Moore, but Pilger seemed to fail to remember all the leftie bleating about Israel.

    Notice he didn’t interview Jeremy Bowen, I wonder why?

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    • sue says:

      Yes, Michael Moore did come to mind to me too. Pilger may be less fat, but d’you think he’s  about twice as ugly?

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      • John Anderson says:

        I believe both Pilger and Moore are involved in raising bail for Julian Assange,  that well-known right-winger.

        It would be impossible for anyone to be twice as ugly as Michael Moore.

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        • hippiepooter says:

          Pilger, Assange, this is just one huge Australian conspiracy to distract from the fact that we’re hammering them at cricket.

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  7. Martin says:

    The problem I have with Pilger and his leftie ilk is the one eyed approach he has to the issues. Sure the USA and UK have intervened in foreign Countries over the years to get more co-operative Governments, but the Chinese, Russians, French and so on are even worse. That’s not an excuse, but the left seem to turn a blind eye to the wrong doings of their commie mates. 

    When was the last time the left had a go at Castro for example for his lack of ‘uman rites’ in Cuba?

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    • hippiepooter says:

      If the post-Marxist Left at the BBC really gave a tinker’s cuss about ‘uman rites they wouldn’t be promoting Al Qa’eda terrorists Binyamin and Mo Begg as victims of its abuses but the antithesis of all human rights stands for.  They would be political lepers like Nick Griffin deservedly is.

      ‘Binyamin ‘n Mo from Guantanamo’.  A great terrorist double-act performing on a propaganda circuit near you – as seen on the BBC.

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  8. London Calling says:

    Pilger was long ago infected with the Marx Virus. This particularly nasty infection first eliminates the brain’s natural defenses – its critical faculties – and replaces them with a counterfeit world view that is entirely self referrential and entirely impervious to information incoming from the real world.

    Like all viruses, its only purpose is to replicate itself and infect as many other persons as possible. A botnet known as the “Daily Mirror” has been spreading this virus for decades.

    Recently new strains of the Marx Virus have been found infecting much of the Mainstream Media, notably the “Tory Cuts” virus, which in order to operate first blanks all memory of the last twelve years.

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  9. TrueToo says:

    The 2005/2006 report that concluded that the BBC was pro-Israel was the Impartiality Review Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

    http://www.bbcgovernorsarchive.co.uk/docs/rev_israelipalestinian.html

    I recall that part of the reason given for that conclusion was that the BBC concentrated more on Israel than Palestine. But in this selfsame report it was pointed out that quantity is an unreliable indicator of bias. So a contradiction to the conclusion was built into the report.

    The report mentions this:

    Between 3 October and 25 November 2005 the Panel invited written submissions from anyone who wanted to comment on the BBC’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Panel would like to thank all of those people who submitted a response.

    Some Biased BBC-ers, myself included, went to much trouble submitting comments, which were meant to be considered and included in the report. They chickened out though, I imagine because the lawyers got involved.

    Anyway, it’s now offical, sort of: the BBC is biased in favour of Israel.

    But they sure have a funny way of showing it. 

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  10. fyrdsman says:

    Will someone, anyone EVERYONE PLEASE publisicise this story about the k.l.a in Kosovo murdering Serbs for their  organs. It is the most EVIL thing I have ever heard.
    Whilst nato were bombing the Serbs in support of this evil ,monstrous islamic organisation our governments KNEW that this was going on.
    Whilst the b.b.c. were spewing out their vile anti Serb propaganda they KNEW this was going on.
    Whilst they were all lobbying for Kosovo to be recognised as an independant state they KNEW that the bastard who did it was the head of state.
    THIS IS THE SICKEST STORY I HAVE EVER HEARD

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    • Dez says:

      And you learnt this story from… 

      Oops, the BBC.

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      • hippiepooter says:

        Yes, I learnt from the BBC that the BBC was egging on NATO to support Muslim terrorists in ceding Kosovo from Serbia too.

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      • philipramage says:

        This WAS reported on British t.v. last night, but very matter of factly, with none of the emotion that accompanies reports on, say, Israel, and a K.L.A. spokesman was given air time to say that these people wore K.L.A. uniforms, but were not carrying out K.L.A. orders (can you imagine the Serb army getting away with that one, or even being given the air time). The perpatrators were described as a shaddowy “mafia gang”, and there were no hysterical calls for them to be brought to justice, as would have accompanied a report on, say, Milosevic.
        My guess is that they suspect OR KNOW that this is about to come out on wickileaks,and that this was a damage limitation exercise, to manage the way in which this news was released.
        AND THAT THE WESTERN GOVERNMENTS AND MASS MEDIA KNEW THAT THIS WAS GOING ON, AND YET STILL SUPPORTED THEM- AND THEY STILL SUPPORT THEM NOW!
        I’m sorry for shouting, but I NEVER, NEVER in all my days could have imagined, that our governments and media could EVER be complicit with such evil.

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    • deegee says:

      THIS IS THE SICKEST STORY YOU HAVE EVER HEARD and you heard it on the BBC? … and Dez is congratulating himself on his cleverness?  Three prior conditions for doubt 😀

      The organ theft slander has a long evil, history. Usually it is aimed at Jews/Israelis. It is literally medieval in its pedigree and is almost certain to be false! 

      SNOPES.com doesn’t deal directly with Kosovo but does have plenty of information about the organ theft urban legend that is applicable here.  

      When an equally ridiculous story arose about the Israeli medical aid team in Haiti stealing organs I received the following explanation about why it couldn’t happen.

      Organ donation requires several conditions to be practical:  
      1) An otherwise healthy donor otherwise the donation may kill the recipient from diseases. Extensive tests are not practical in a wartime scenario.  
      2) A match between donor and recipient. Patients wait years for a match and sometimes it never comes. Point one is repeated here with an additional twist. The Kosovans would be hardly likely to be connected to a worldwide database or even a database of Kosovans. 
      If a recipient is not available virtually immediately surgery isn’t performed. 
      3) A perfectly sterile, purpose built surgery to ensure the organ is removed correctly. A sharp bayonet won’t do.  
      4) A suitable means of transport or the two parties in the same hospital.
      Donate life gives the following figures
      Organs that can be transplanted and how long the organ can be out of the body before transplantation:  
      *Heart – 4-6 hours *Lungs – 4-6 hours*Pancreas – 12-24 hours*Liver – 12-24 hours*Intestine – 12-24 hours*Kidneys – 48-72 hours  
      The logistics are difficult even in Europe or America.  

      In short, I call BULLSHIT!

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  11. Dez says:

    Revealing that after a 90 minute film about news manipulation you have nothing to say apart from to comment on the 10 minutes given over to the Israeli/Palestine war.

    “Anyway, the survey that showed that the BBC was biased towards Israel was something to do with this: “Bad News From Israel”.

    The survey was not specifically about the BBC; but BBC One and ITV news. A small point, but I wonder why you feel the need to misrepresent it so?

    “‘Bad News From Israel’ is dismissed with a few fatuous remarks.

    “One of Pilger’s theories seems to be: if only people knew that war is a nasty business there wouldn’t be any more wars.

    That’s complete nonsense as you well know. He makes no such claim; and the more you exaggerate to the absurd the more pointless your argument becomes.

    “…he [Pilger] has overlooked the fact that the thesis underpinning the whole thing doesn’t hold up when applied to what he calls ‘Palestine’. He promises to show that ‘embedding’ influences reporting. Which reporters does he think are embedded with the IDF?”

    Again, this is nonsense. His “thesis” (if you want to call it that) is that Governments manipulate media reports in a variety of different ways; “embedding” being just one of them.

    The issue of embedding takes up little more than 15 minutes of the whole programme.

    Not once did he promise or even suggest that “embedding” influences reporting about Israel/Palestine. So why do you feel the need to pretend that he did?

    “Never mind though, in the exceptional case of Israel, or should I say Palestine, embedding isn’t necessary because mere phone calls from Israeli government propagandists are so terrifying that BBC broadcasters crumple up and obey.”

    Another fatuous remark; always a good standby when you actually haven’t got any argument left.

    To quote from the programme:

    “The Israeli propaganda machine, as you well know, is very very sophisticated and its own terms quite successful on occasions… and sometimes media organisations fall into a trap laid for them.”, David Mannion, Editor in Chief, ITN News.

    You think he’s lying?

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    • deegee says:

      You think he’s lying?

      YES

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    • hippiepooter says:

      >>… the Israeli/Palestine war<<

      Describing a terrorist campaign against Israel in these terms reveals your desire to legitimise the barbarity Israel has faced.

      >>”One of Pilger’s theories seems to be: if only people knew that war is a nasty business there wouldn’t be any more wars.  
       
      That’s complete nonsense as you well know. He makes no such claim; and the more you exaggerate to the absurd the more pointless your argument becomes<<

      Erm, what do you think Pilger was trying to say in the opening minute of these youtube clips?:



      >>Again, this is nonsense. His “thesis” (if you want to call it that) is that Governments manipulate media reports in a variety of different ways; “embedding” being just one of them.  
       
      The issue of embedding takes up little more than 15 minutes of the whole programme.<<

      Yes but Dezzie dear boy, you seem to be missing the point here.  That was the segment of the programme that Justin Webb addressed on the BBC’s TODAY programme (as indicated earlier, a well balanced interview I thought – Pilger to me seemed to smart when Webb made a very searching point about where he was coming from ideologically.  Pilger just can’t handle it when his own guns are turned on him.  ‘They dont like it up ’em you know’).

      Your quote from ITN’s David Mannion is intriguing.  In the pro-Israel world there is universal lamenting at the ineptness of Israeli PR, and acceptance of the superb job the terrorists do at news management – often with the complicity of sundry anti-Israeli journalists, and journalists just afraid of ‘having an accident’ if they probe to deeply the ‘stories’ that their terrorist minders set up for them.

      Is Mannion lying?  I haven’t seen the full programme and would have to see his comments in their proper context to say so.  From what I’ve just read on an anti-Jewish State forum though Mannion certainly wasn’t lending credence to Pilger’s propaganda thesis.

      How do political extremists like Pilger get on air to broadcast their anti-Western propaganda films?  The equivalent would be Nick Griffin being given equal airtime to produce a programme on the ills of immigration.  The true story behind Pilger’s film is just how compromised the mainstream media is by the Marxist Left.

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      • hippiepooter says:

        I might add that what Pilger’s ‘journalism’ shows is just how much of a thin line there is between wanton evil and being consumed by self-righteousness.

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        • hippiepooter says:



          I’m having a nice quiet day at work and have just started watching part 3/4 of Michael Coren’s fascinating discussion programme that Al-Dura was a hoax.

          If Phillipe Karsenty is right, and he presents a very compelling case that has won twice in Court, Israel doesn’t even come anywhere near producing propaganda like this.

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    • sue says:

      I’m grateful to Hippiepooter for answering most of the points Dez made, thanks Hippiepooter.

      To Dez,
      Thanks for your interest in my post. I see where you’re coming from, and as it happens I feel your pain.
      That’s partly sarky and partly sincere, because contary to what you might think, I do suffer from a disturbing need to consider the other person’s POV.

      You think I’m selective, which is true. Everyone has to be selective, but that doesn’t mean I twist everything to suit my agenda willy nilly as does John Pilger.
      As for fatuous (foolish or inane, esp. in an unconscious, complacent manner; silly. ludicrous imbecile mindless asinine foolish idiotic lunatic) well, that’s quite rude of you, but I know I often come across as flippant (inappropriate levity; frivolous or offhand impertinent; saucy ) My way of communicating.

      But-and-there’s-a-big-but.

      Revealing that after a 90 minute film about news manipulation you have nothing to say apart from to comment on the 10 minutes given over to the Israeli/Palestine war.”

      So I’ve revealed something? I thought it revealed that I was particularly interested in that segment. For the very good reason that Pilger’s poisonous anti-Israel advocacy was already known to me, and it was the part I was dreading with good reason.

      “A small point, but I wonder why you feel the need to misrepresent it so?“
      Indeed it was a small point.  I said the report showed that the BBC was biased towards Israel because only the BBC was relevant in the context in which I said it, viz: references to “John Reith” etc. I could equally have added ITV news if you like, but that’s not necessarily a beacon of perfection, if you’re implying that two wrongs make something right.

      In any case, using the phrase  “feel the need to misrepresent it so” reveals your own need to misrepresent ME (so). In other words you yourself are being selective and fatuous.

      “Bad news from Israel” has been comprehensively dismissed, demolished even,  by a lot more than a few fatuous remarks, (see link in comment from ‘barrenga’ on the previous page.)

      Throughout the film Pilger does seem to be saying that war is nasty. He does so by focusing on personal tragedies, then saying “if only politicians could see this, they wouldn’t make wars” This itself is simplistic and manipulative, and I condensed it into one flippant remark, which you call nonsense, absurd and pointless. If you don’t agree, please let’s agree to differ.

      The embedding thesis was Pilger’s ‘strap-line’. He didn’t say it was the cause of biased reporting in Israel’s case, simply because it couldn’t have been. The fella who said the Israeli government intimidated newsrooms was one of the authors of the Bad News polemic, ie. a man with a grudge.

      One threat Israel could reasonably wield is to withdraw its intelligence, science and commercial-based cooperation with the UK. The loss of which might be a considerable bargaining tool, but perhaps not quite so immediate a threat as No More Saudi Dosh, or a fatwa or two, or perhaps kidnapping Jeremy Bowen.

      Compare the Israeli Propaganda Machine with Pallywood, Hezbollywood and the fact that the BBC studios are constantly bristling with friends of Hamas, Hizb ut Tahir, and the general consensus which dominates ‘our culture’, that Zionist is a dirty word.
       
      Anyway, what IS the israeli propaganda machine? Is it government spokespersons Mark Regev and the rather glamourous IDF spokeswoman Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovitz? Or is it coz tendrils of the Jewish Lobby have infiltrated the government and Jews control the media?

      Anyway, I have to ask, do you work for the BBC? (Only joking.)

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      • Millie Tant says:

        FATUOUS  turns out to be more fascinating than Pilger:
        Fatuous (?), a. [L. fatuus.] 1. Feeble in mind; weak; silly; stupid; foolish; fatuitous. Glanvill.
        [1913 Webster]
        2. Without reality; illusory, like the ignis fatuus.
        [1913 Webster]
        Thence fatuous fires and meteors take their birth. Danham.
        [1913 Webster]

        Feeble in mind is apposite, though. Ignis fatuus = foolish fire or will-o’-the wisp. Pilger is a bit of an ignis fatuus I think. Less to him than meets the eye and it would be a bit daft to be taken in by him.

        <!– END ARTICLE CONTENT –>Look what you started, Dez!

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