Wrong number: how the phoneline farce unfolded

November 24, 2016 23:26

Confusion and anger met the BBC’s story on Sunday morning about the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s plans to launch a new incident helpline — or ‘action line’.

The proposal was attacked on social media by critics who called it “ludicrous” and accused the CAA of promoting a split in the reporting of antisemitic incidents.

The Community Security Trust, which had no prior knowledge of the idea, responded by telling Twitter users: “We help over 1,000 potential victims every year. No need for CAA to duplicate our work.”

When the BBC later pulled the story from its site, readers were told only that it was because of “confusion” over the CAA’s proposals.

So how did this shambolic situation come about?

Sources within the BBC insist that the CAA had indeed briefed that it was setting up a line that would go into operation on Monday.

That claim is lent credence by the appearance of a Jerusalem Post report on Sunday which also reported the emergence of a helpline.

But after the group was roundly attacked for the idea on Sunday, its chairman, Gideon Falter, attempted to switch the focus to the BBC — which, he claimed, had ‘misunderstood’ what it had been told by the CAA.

BBC sources remain adamant that there was no misunderstanding and it faithfully — and, it thought, helpfully — reported what it had been told by the CAA earlier in the week.

November 24, 2016 23:26

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