All the best clips of BBC slips, and a dose of praise for a new balance
Despite the propagandists’ best efforts, the BBC has been impressively balanced this week.
Over the past few years, Israel has been at the sharpest end of the BBC’s stick. Of course, exceptions apply. It would not be fair to say that everyone within the BBC is virulently anti-Israel. But a certain mentality has prevailed. It’s simply “not cool” to back the Middle East’s most legitimate democracy. As my friends in the BBC are quick to remind me: “It’s not all of us. It’s just a vocal minority”.
This may well be the case. The vocal minority argument certainly applies to the BBC’s Middle East coverage.
Over the past week, Jon Donnison and Paul Danahar will not have received many complaints from Hamas for their coverage.
With the IDF doing spectacular work in busting old myths, it fell to these key BBC correspondents, under the purview of Jeremy Bowen — the BBC’s Middle East Editor — to report from the front lines.
On November 19, Mr Donnison, the BBC’s Gaza correspondent, thoughtlessly tweeted a picture tagged #Gaza. Mr Donnison has nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter who follow him because of his role at the BBC.
While he was right that the image of a young girl on a stretcher was, as he put it, “heartbreaking”, it turned out that the picture was from Syria, not Gaza. A quick Google image search would have verified this.
His colleague, Paul Danahar, reaches more than 35,000 people on Twitter and he has been busy all week.
A recent tweet read: “I don’t think I have ever been in a conflict where so many media buildings were deliberately targeted by a government”.
Mr Danahar made no mention of the fact that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been using civilian buildings for cover, only that the Israelis are “targeting” these buildings.
A look at his work shows his habit of reporting what he has been told by “government officials in Gaza”. What he means, of course, is terrorists — but the BBC chooses not to employ this term when speaking of Hamas.
Then there was the now infamous film the BBC showed in which an injured Palestinian man was carried off, apparently in agony, only for him to appear fully fit later in the same footage.
The BBC has been sadly let down by some of its correspondents. But at least efforts in highlighting BBC bias over the years have not gone to waste.
And I did have the pleasure of stating, live on air, that I was in Israel’s capital when I was in Jerusalem. Previously, they might have bleeped that out.
Raheem Kassam is the Communications Director for the Henry Jackson Society and Executive Editor of TheCommentator.com