David Ward saga: BBC still prevaricating on antisemitism

The July 18th BBC article entitled “MP David Ward has Lib Dem whip withdrawn over Israel comment” which currently appears on the UK Politics page of the BBC News website was originally published under a different title – “MP David Ward has Lib Dem whip withdrawn over ‘Jews’ comment”. That change and the many others to the body of the report can be seen here

Ward whip

Significantly, in its latest report on this subject the BBC yet again refrains from clarifying to audiences the antisemitic nature of the statements made by Ward which began the saga. In fact the only use in the article of the word antisemitic is when Ward’s own words are paraphrased.  

“He also insisted that neither he nor his comments had been anti-Semitic.”

That was also the case in this March 2013 article and in this February 2013 article on the subject of Ward. So whilst the BBC seems to be keen to offer Ward a platform from which to repeatedly deny the racist nature of hisremarks (as he also did in a BBC Radio Leeds interview in late January), it appears to be considerably less enthusiastic about providing its audiences with the information which will allow them to appreciate exactly why Ward’s remarks are offensive and abusive

As previously noted here on February 1st:

“One of the most remarkable – and worrying – aspects of the BBC’s coverage of this affair has been its superficiality. An almost pantomime quality of “Oh yes he did. Oh no he didn’t” has dominated its reports, which have consistently tried to play down Ward’s statements rather than explaining to audiences precisely why those criticising them find them so problematic. 

One increasingly plausible explanation for that could be that the BBC itself does not properly understand the gravity of the issue and therefore is unable to provide those clarifications to its audiences. For an organisation committed to diversity, that is obviously a problem. “

That issue has obviously not been resolved during the six months in which the BBC has been covering this story.

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