Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The BBC's subjective blatherings in the name of "news"

Sipping my pint (a Brakspear bitter if you're interested), and mercilessly beating my wife at backgammon, I was inwardly fuming. It wasn't my pint, which was delicious, and it wasn't the taste of winning, which was as sweet as ever. It was the BBC and their reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that made me fume.

The BBC's report on the conflict consisted of lamenting the loss of Palestinian lives, which was over 300, interviewing a tearful Palestinian mother who had lost two children, and lambasting Israel for their use of force. Their report, in essence, was basically saying that Israel is the big bully with guns who, consumed with blood lust, is needlessly and mindlessly blowing up Palestinian civilians for no apparent reason, apart from perhaps a bad mood and a warped desire to destroy.

I too lament the loss of Palestinian AND Israeli lives. I too am sympathetic with the Palestinian mother who lost two children. And I don't deny that the situation is dire, complex and difficult. But I'm furious with the BBC for flushing objective reporting down the toilet in such shameless idiocy, and instead going for a blatant pro-Palestine report, which will no doubt drive up anti-Israel and pro-Palestine feeling in viewers.

And listen, I am pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. But I'm also in favour of news reporting to be as objective as possible. Sure, nothing reported is truly objective, but I'd like the BBC to at least try, rather than spewing out content akin to the puerile wining of a spoilt three-year-old.

The BBC failed miserably to mention that Hamas and Israel had been observing a six-month ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians. Israel was prepared to resume trade with Gaza if the violence ceased, which it didn't. Even at the quietest period 15 to 20 rockets were still raining down on Israel each month.

The BBC failed to mention that Hamas ended the ceasefire, firing 70 rockets on Israel.

The BBC also failed to mention that Hamas deliberately embeds its fighters and weapons amongst the civilian population, hence the high Palestinian death toll. In fact, one of its own rockets misfired and killed two Palestinian schoolgirls. I didn't hear the BBC mention that in the report.

To be fair on the BBC, maybe the above were covered in other reports which I did not see. But that's the point I suppose, each report should have some objectivity, just a smidgen if you please. Is that too much to ask?


badly dressed boy said...

I unreservedly agree with you.

Well said.

badly dressed boy said...

I am glad for the existence of the words "at backgammon" in the first sentence...

Vodka Mom said...

those bastards.........

bernthis said...

You are spot on my friend. I'm tired of the "blame the Jews" argument. I feel sorry for the citizens of Gaza that are being governed by a bunch of sadistic, school yard bullies.

The Friday Joker said...

Most of the BBC (and other) news broadcasts which I have seen have also reported on the victims of Hamas rocket attacks on Israel as well, so there is some balance out there.

A major issue for me with regard to the conflict tends to be those who unreservedly support one side as the 'good guys' and blind themselves to the complexities of the dispute.

A good example of this tendency can be seen in those on the political left who chanted 'we are Hezbollah' at peace rallies during the last conflict between Israel and Lebanon, despite Hezbollah's decidedly illiberal views on many issues. Another example is found in those on the right who automatically support Israel in whatever it does, regardless of the consequences for Palestinians.

I am not wholly in despair with regard to a just and peaceful resolution to the present conflict, by the grace of God, but, sadly, I doubt that it is going to come anytime soon.

The Friday Joker said...

Just in case my previous post is misinterpreted as indicating any support on my part for Hamas, or as a criticism of mo.stoneskin's post or any of the other comments, I would like to indicate that I am pro-Israel and completely support their desire for security and an end to indiscriminate attacks on their civilian population via rockets. I am also pro-Palestinian and completely support their desire for a viable state free from economic blockade and an end to illegal settlements.

A good example of the complexities of the current situation can be found in an article on the BBC website seeking to address the question, 'who is an innocent civilian victim?'

Clearly, dead Palestinian children are innocent victims. Equally clearly, Hamas fighters killed while preparing to launch rockets at Israeli cities are not innocent victims. However, are Palestinian police officers killed in bombing raids on the Hamas controlled government infrastructure of the Gaza Strip innocent victims or legitimate targets?

This conflict raises many difficult questions, which is why I unreservedly agree with mo.stoneskin's desire for objective and detailed news coverage.

As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!