The Israel reporting we have seen on TV is far worse than Gary Lineker’s tweets

There have been few more appalling examples than Sky News’ International Affairs Editor, Dominic Waghorn

November 30, 2023 14:44

Much anger has been directed, quite rightly, at Gary Lineker’s behaviour since the October 7 massacre. While he has not said a word about the Israeli victims, he has defended the “Free Palestine” marches in London and endorsed a video accusing Israel of “classic genocide”.

Lineker is an easy figure to ridicule, and his enormous social media following means it’s important to counter his ignorance. But in the scheme of things, he’s just a football pundit.

Far more insidious, however, has been the reporting of many supposed journalistic experts, correspondents in Gaza, world affairs specialists and senior reporters. These are the people whose words are supposedly informed and reliable, who are not gobby attention-seekers but skilfully cool, dispassionate observers. And while many have been just that, the roll call of those who have, in effect if not intention, acted as Hamas’s PR men — as their useful idiots, to use Lenin’s phrase — is shamefully long.

You hardly need me to point out that much of the BBC’s coverage has been grotesque in its readiness to portray Israel as the villain. It took weeks, for example, for the corporation to refer to Hamas as a terrorist organisation, and even now it always adds the caveat that the label is merely the designation of the British government.

Infamously, early on during the Israeli military operation, Jon Donnison reported an explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, saying that, “It’s hard to see what else this could be really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli airstrike or several airstrikes”. It was not an Israeli airstrike but the result of a misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, and was not in the hospital but in a car park nearby. This week, however, has provided two examples that undermine the very notion of journalistic integrity.

The BBC’s international editor, Jeremy Bowen, has long been notorious for what many perceive as alleged historic incidents of bias. But the insouciance with which he has now admitted to his inaccurate reporting is shocking even for him. Bowen reported that the Al-Ahli hospital had been flattened when it had not been touched. “Oh yeah, well I got that wrong”, he replied when this was pointed out. “I don’t feel particularly bad about that,” he added. “I don’t regret one thing in my reporting, because I think I was measured throughout, I didn’t race to judgement.”

Bowen’s deep antipathy to Israel may stem from an incident in 2000 when, as he has written, “the Israeli army killed my friend and BBC colleague Abed Takkoush in South Lebanon. They fired a tank shell into his car from their side of the border wire. They claimed we were terrorists. Abed left a wife and three teenage sons.” It seems to me that he has spent the years since then using his BBC perch to besmirch Israel at every opportunity. Which begs the question as to why his BBC bosses continue to provide him with those opportunities.

But even Bowen has not come out with anything as alarming as Sky News’ International Affairs Editor, Dominic Waghorn, who this week wrote that, “Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar met with the Israeli hostages a day after they were taken in tunnels under Gaza and told them they would not be harmed and would be returned as part of a hostage deal. Undermines the Israeli Hamas = ISIS storyline. They were held in reasonable conditions, reportedly, though those held above ground lived with the fear of being killed in Israel’s bombardment.”

Psychological treatises will one day be written on the moral degeneracy which has taken hold of so many Western minds, which credulously take the word of Hamas, a terrorist organisation, as  true whilst regarding anything said by Israel, a democratic nation state, as by definition false.

Waghorn must know that released hostages are providing accounts of their captivity which involve beatings, starvation, threats of murder and myriad other inhumanities. And yet he reports Hamas’ lie that the hostages are merely being mildly inconvenienced as if it was obvious — and equally obvious that Israel is lying about Hamas.This is much the same as those whose reaction to the IDF’s video of barbarities carried out on October 7 has been to label it as PR and to question whether there were indeed rapes and beheadings because they were not shown in full.

In 1945 the Allies filmed what they saw in concentration camps because they knew it would later be denied. Nearly eighty years on, nothing has changed.

November 30, 2023 14:44

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