BBC unnecessarily qualifies Biden reference to rising antisemitism

The January 16th evening edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ included an item (from 09:34 here) about the previous day’s hostage situation at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, which was introduced by presenter Jon Donnison as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Donnison: “Now, President Biden has called Saturday’s hostage stand-off at a synagogue in Texas an act of terror. Four people escaped unharmed after they were held for several hours. The FBI has identified the hostage taker, who died during the siege, as a British citizen named Malik Faisal Akram. We can speak now to our correspondent Sophie Long. She joins us from the Dallas suburb of Colleyville where the siege took place. Sophie, what more did President Biden have to say?”

Sophie Long is the BBC’s West Coast correspondent, based in the corporation’s Los Angeles bureau.

Long: “Well, Jon, you’re right in saying he called this an act of terror. He also praised the rescue efforts by the multiple law enforcement agencies involved and he said he’d be talking to the rabbi concerned – he said that they’d missed each other’s calls -but he said that he wanted to reassure synagogues and places of worship that these kinds of acts would not be tolerated and he said they would be focusing on what he called the rise in antisemitism.”

Sophie Long also reported on the same story for the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Today’ the following morning – January 17th. Presenter Justin Webb introduced the item (from 11:17 here).

Webb: “Two people have been arrested in Manchester as part of the investigation into the hostage siege in Texas at a synagogue. The man who carried out the attack was Malik Faisal Akram from Lancashire. I’ve been hearing more about what is being said about it all in Texas from our correspondent Sophie Long.”

Long: “Well here in Colleyville the road outside the synagogue remains closed. There are still flashing police cars there and this investigation is still really in its early stages. But the FBI now working with forces, as you said, in the UK and really trying to establish a motive. Now President Biden was speaking here earlier from Philadelphia and said that this was an act of terror and he really offered reassurances to synagogues and other places of worship and said that this won’t be tolerated and he said that they won’t tolerate what’s been seen as a rise in antisemitism.”

Long’s qualification of the rise in antisemitism is noteworthy because the statement made by President Biden in Philadelphia that she purported to communicate to listeners in both her reports includes no such qualification.

Given that she is based in the US, one might expect Long to have familiarised herself with the topic of the increase in antisemitism in recent years as reported by the ADL, the FBI and indeed the BBC itself, which last year published an article titled ‘Who’s behind recent rise in US anti-Semitic attacks?’.

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  1. says: Sid+Levine

    Radio 4 love this king of junk – especially the likes of the team of their anchors like Martha Kearney, Mishal Husain, Justin Webb and Nick Robinson.

    They are part of the BBC sick brigade of woke culture. Questioning and then putting words in to peoples mouths!

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