Kevin Connolly promotes a stereotype on BBC TV news

In a filmed report which appeared on BBC television news programmes on June 30th and which was also posted on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Teens found dead near Hebron: Israel ‘united in grief’“, the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly told viewers:Connolly filmed 1

“It’s a pretty tense scene here, you know. Around –across – Israel people will be united in grief at this news as they’ve been united in hope for the two-and-a-half weeks that the three teenagers have been missing. And in fact, just ahead of me on the road in the darkness, just a little way up the road out of sight of the camera, there’s a small protest by Right-wing Israelis beginning to gather, because there will be huge anger as well as huge grief in Israeli society at this outcome.” [emphasis added]

Connolly does not reveal to viewers what evidence he has to support his description of that group of people as “Right-wing Israelis”. Has Connolly asked all the members of that group to categorise their individual political opinions? Are they carrying any signs or banners which would provide some sort of clue as to how they tend to vote in elections or what their stances are on topics such as the welfare state or economics?
Well, we can get a clue to the answers to those questions from another filmed report by Connolly which, as well as being aired on BBC news programmes, also appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East and ‘Live‘ pages under the title “Missing Israeli teens found dead near Halhul“.
In the footage included in that report, viewers saw the frames below, with the people filmed heard singing and Connolly telling viewers in the voice-over:

“As the news spread a small group of settlers and their supporters began to gather at the scene. There will be a demand in Israel not just for the kidnappers to be caught, but for some kind of security response.”

Connolly filmed 2 pic a

Connolly filmed 2 pic b

Connolly filmed 2 pic c

So – no recorded political questionnaire was carried out by the BBC film crew and no political signs or banners were carried by the assembled people: just Israeli flags. And yet, based entirely and exclusively upon their appearance, their dress and his assumption of their postcodes, Kevin Connolly presumed that he could inform BBC audiences (within BBC guidelines on accuracy and impartiality, of course) that this group of people uniformly holds specific political opinions.

Stereotype: A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.”

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