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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No Bias at the BBC?

(Hat tip: Media Backspin)

Stephen Pollard reports on BBC reporting on the conflict between Lebanon and Israel. His comments were honest enough to get some feed-back from an insider from BBC.

Excerpt from his first comments; The BBC, Marred by Hezbollah:
IF YOU watched yesterday’s Andrew Marr programme on BBC1, you would have seen a British TV landmark. To judge from its contents, the programme was the first to have been edited by the leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Most of it was, rightly, given over to the events in the Middle East. But of the four guests interviewed, not one had anything but bile to pour over Israel. Up first was Glenys Kinnock MEP, remarking how “heartening” it is that the Middle East minister, Kim Howells, has begun “a shifting of ground away from defence of Israel”. Alongside her was Matthew Parris, who repeated the hostile views he has already made clear to Times readers. A Lebanese minister followed. Then Sir Menzies Campbell, a man whose entire career has been spent attacking Israeli policy, whatever it happens to be.
It is entirely proper for the BBC to give a platform to such views. But it is entirely improper that not one second should be allowed on what the BBC’s website calls its “flagship political programme” for the view of anyone who thinks there just might be some justification for the Israeli action.

Not that we should be surprised. The BBC’s coverage has been overwhelmingly one-sided, with presenters and reporters editorialising against what they universally refer to as “Israeli attacks on Lebanon”.

Right at the beginning it was clear how the BBC would cover the operation, when a film on Newsnight concluded with the reporter, Peter Marshall, remarking across a picture of a blown-up bridge: “All this destruction. And still more threatened” — as if the Israelis are on some kind of wilful destruction spree, dropping bombs for the sheer hell of it, rather than taking action to destroy Hezbollah’s capacity to murder any more Israelis.

Except from the response of an BBC Insider:
.... Note how Sky does much of its work from Haifa and the BBC does it all from Beirut. Note how every piece done by the BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, questions whether or not Israel has carried out war crimes. The correspondents in Israel itself haven't done a bad job. Matthew Price and James Reynolds have acquitted themselves pretty well. But they've sent out Fergal Keane and Jeremy Bowen whose clear agenda is to expose the human tragedy in Lebanon and tell us Israel is a bastard state.

There is no intelligence here, no in-depth questioning of why this conflict has erupted. No discussion of Syria, Iran and Middle East geopolitics. It's a hammer with which to whack Israel.

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