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May 12, 2006

Governing Board Find BBC Biased On Israeli-Palestinian Dispute

Biased, that is, in favor of Israel.

THE OFFICIAL REPORT for the governors of the BBC on its coverage of the Palestine-Israeli conflict found predictably that there was “was little to suggest systematic or deliberate bias” but then went on to list a series of measurements by which the BBC could be said to be biased in favour of Israel. This produced mocking guffaws in my own newsroom, where some of the BBC’s greatest hits — or perhaps misses — remain fresh in the memory. There was the hagiographic send-off for Yassir Arafat by a BBC reporter with tears in her eyes and that half-hour profile of Arafat in 2002 which called him a “hero” and “an icon” and concluded that the corrupt old brute was “the stuff of legends”.



There was Orla Guerin’s unforgettably inventive spin on the story of a Palestinian child being deployed as a suicide bomber, which most journalists saw as a sickening example of child abuse in the pursuit of terrorism. Guerin had it as “Israel’s cynical manipulation of a Palestinian youngster for propaganda purposes”.

There was the disturbing case of Fayad Abu Shamala, the BBC Arabic Service correspondent, who addressed a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001, and was recorded declaring that journalists in Gaza, apparently including the BBC, were “waging the campaign shoulder to shoulder together with the Palestinian people”. Pressed for an explanation, the subsequent BBC statement said: “Fayad’s remarks were made in a private capacity. His reports have always matched the best standards of balance required by the BBC.”

Yup. The BBC is too pro-Israel, and the damn American media is too pro-Bush.


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posted by Ace at 12:00 PM

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