Four BBC video reports and a funeral

Taking a look at yesterday’s BBC News reports from Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison on the subject of the intense barrage of rocket fire experienced by civilians in southern Israel on October 23rd and 24th 2012 (which the BBC did not begin reporting until the second day), we find that all the items lead with similar headlines. 

In chronological order, we first have “Gaza militants killed in strikes following rocket fire”  – a report appearing on the BBC News website which includes both written ‘analysis’ and a video report from Jon Donnison in which he is still promoting the notion that it is  “unusual” for Hamas to be taking part in rocket attacks. 

The second report, also titled in the same way, is a video report which seems to have appeared on television news. It includes footage of some of the damage caused by the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, including a wrongly titled shot of the chicken house in Kibbutz Kissufim where two farm workers sustained critical injuries. 

According to Donnison:

“As ever, civilians are caught up in the violence”

What he neglects to mention, however, is that in the case of Israeli civilians, they are actually the intended targets of rockets fired by Hamas and other terrorist organisations, rather than unfortunate bystanders. 

Donnison informs his viewers that:

“This is a reminder that the ongoing conflict has not gone away”

(Does he really believe that anyone thought it had?)

He goes on to talk about the peace process, saying “Gaza and Hamas are not even part of those negotiations”, but fails to enlighten his viewers as to why that is the case. 

The third report, entitled “Palestinian militants killed in Israeli airstrikes are buried” is also a video report which was apparently broadcast on BBC news programmes in the UK. It contains the same spoken material as the two video reports above, with Donnison once again pushing the idea that it is “unusual” for Hamas to be firing rockets, but the brief footage of Israel appearing in this film is not labelled at all – which would make it very difficult for most viewers to understand what they were watching. 

The fourth and final report – which also apparently appeared on news broadcasts – is entitled “Gaza militants buried after air strikes” and shows comparatively extensive footage of Hamas funerals in Gaza. It also includes an interview with an unnamed Hamas representative who – entirely unchallenged by Donnison – bizarrely accuses Israel of wanting to “disrupt the atmosphere ahead of Eid” and suggests that Israeli military operations targeting terrorists firing rockets at Israeli civilians are some sort of election ploy. 

Against a background of an unlabelled picture of damage to an Israeli home, Donnison informs viewers that “Its [Israel’s] military power is far superior”, later going on to assert that “At some point there will be more Israeli air strikes, more Palestinian rockets”.

This last statement is typical of both the kind of equivalence which Donnison tries to convey in all his above reports and his avoidance of telling audiences the hard facts: if there are no more Palestinian rockets and terror attacks, then there will be no Israeli airstrikes against terror cells. 

From a visual point of view, readers will no doubt notice that – as is so often the case in BBC coverage – in all the above video reports produced by Donnison and his team in Gaza, one sees Palestinian people – men, women and children. In contrast, the footage of Israel shows only buildings, with an occasional soldier, police official or politician in the frame, but no civilians whatsoever.  

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have spent two nights and a day in air raid shelters (yet again) but the BBC apparently did not consider it necessary to include any footage of that. 

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