“A Tale of Two Cities”: Contrasting BBC headlines on Homs and Bet Shemesh

A guest post by AKUS

Although the BBC has since updated its site with additional news from Israel and Syria, this morning I was struck by the way it reported on events in two Middle Eastern cities.

The BBC noted that that Israeli President Shimon Peres is supporting a rally to condemn violence by a small group of extremist ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Israeli town of Bet Shemesh. Simultaneously, it carried a report on the visit by Arab League observers to the battle-scarred town of Homs.

But look at how two events are headlined by the BBC:

On the one hand, Bet Shemesh, where indeed some unpleasant but hardly deadly events have recently occurred, is a hotbed of “extremism”:


           Shimon Peres urges Israelis to rally against extremism

On the other hand, Homs, where dozens of Syrian citizens are being murdered by government forces, is merely “restive”:


          Syria unrest: Arab League monitors visit restive Homs

Another example of fair and balanced reporting by the BBC, and the way language is used to keep a firm finger on the scales when dealing with anything in the Middle East.

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