BBC efforts to damp down criticism do not address the real issues

After spending two weeks in ‘Al Jazeera with tea and biscuits’ mode, the BBC is now trying to damp down the considerable public criticism – such as that from the President of Israel and a former member of its own staff – of its recent reporting from Israel and the Gaza Strip.

On October 20th the Board of Deputies of British Jews met with the BBC Director General Tim Davie and others. As reported by the Telegraph:

“The BBC will no longer describe Hamas as “militants” by default after complaints by Jewish leaders about the broadcaster’s coverage. […]

The broadcaster revealed on Friday that BBC journalists would no longer use militants as the “default” term for Hamas, and will describe them as a group “proscribed as a terror organisation by the UK Government and others”

The Jerusalem Post noted that:

“Although Davie announced that Hamas would not longer be referred to as militants he clarified by saying “What the BBC does not do is use the word terrorist without attributing it, nor do we ban words.”

“We also confirmed that for some days we had not been using ‘militant’ as a default description for Hamas, as we have been finding this a less accurate description for our audiences as the situation evolves,” he continued.”

Notably, just three days earlier the BBC had described the murders of two Swedish nationals in Brussels as a “terror attack” and – despite Davie’s claim – it has used the term “without attributing it” on numerous occasions in the past. Until the BBC starts accurately describing Hamas as a terrorist organisation and its atrocities as acts of terror in its own words, Davie cannot expect his ‘Fireman Sam’ pose to dispel what the deputy head of BBC News has described as a “difficult situation on impartiality“. 

No less remarkable is Davie’s claim that only now has the BBC arrived at the conclusion that the term ‘militant’ is “a less accurate description” after over two decades of fatal Hamas rocket attacks, bus bombings, shootings and stabbings.

Another issue on which the BBC is currently trying to do damage control is the October 17th filmed report by Jon Donnison relating to the explosion at Al Ahli hospital in the Gaza Strip – caused by a shortfall PIJ rocket – in which BBC television audiences were told that:

Donnison: “The Israeli military […] have said that they are investigating. But, you know, it is hard to see what else this could be, really – given the size of the explosion – other than an Israeli airstrike or several airstrikes…ah…because, you know, when we’ve seen rockets being fired out of Gaza, we never see explosions of this scale. We might see half a dozen – maybe a few more – people being killed in such rocket attacks but we’ve never seen anything on the scale of the sort of explosion on the video I was watching…”

Donnison’s speculations were rooted in the fact that he promoted fake news by taking  the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry’s claim of at least 500 dead at face value, without bothering to investigate or verify that allegation made by the terrorist organisation which started the war.

However, a ‘clarification’ put out by the BBC completely fails to address that point and even amplifies the notion of “competing claims” of apparently equal weight in BBC eyes:

Notably, despite that ‘clarification’ from the BBC, its social media posts directing audiences to reports on “an Israeli strike on a hospital in Gaza” have not been taken down. Amazingly, the BBC continues to lecture its audiences on ‘Israel-Gaza war: How to spot disinformation on social media’.

The BBC’s reliance on – and unquestioning amplification of – information provided by ‘medics’ and/or the usually inadequately identified ‘health ministry in Gaza’ (as well as additional sources) has long been highly problematic.

BBC CONTINUES TO PROMOTE HAMAS SUPPLIED GAZA STRIP CASUALTY FIGURES

BBC COMPLAINTS DEFENDS ITS USE OF HAMAS SUPPLIED CASUALTY FIGURES

In short, the fact that Jon Donnison took completely unverified Hamas propaganda as read and, on the basis of that, promoted unevidenced speculation as to the cause of the explosion at Al Ahli hospital is indicative of a far deeper and long existent problem within the BBC echo chamber rather than just a slip-up in a “fast-moving situation”.

That is one of many issues which need to be urgently addressed by the BBC if it really seeks to avoid the repeated embarrassments that compromise its reputation as an accurate and impartial news organisation. 

One of the public purposes defined in the BBC’s charter reads as follows:

Here in the Middle East there is no shortage of media outlets producing content tailored to specific ideologies such as Al Jazeera, Al Mayadeen and Al Quds al Arabi. In years gone by the UK government and the British people, who fund the BBC both through the licence fee and via the Foreign Office, could take pride in the fact that their national broadcaster served as an antidote to that sort of deliberate disinformation. That status is seriously eroded by the BBC’s ongoing failure in both English language and foreign language services to implement the standards of accuracy and impartiality to which it purports to adhere.

Related Articles:

DOES THE BBC REALLY WANT TO BE KNOWN AS ‘OBJECTIVE’ ABOUT THE MASS SLAUGHTER OF ISRAELIS?

ANOTHER BBC ‘EXPLANATION’ OF ITS REFUSAL TO NAME TERRORISM

WHY BBC REPORTING ON THE AL AHLI HOSPITAL INCIDENT SHOULD NOT SURPRISE

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3 Comments

  1. says: Neil C

    It is high time the BBC news was shut down in the Middle East. If they are unable to call a terrorist a terrorist. Over the last four decades they have introduced ridiculous notions and excuses such as ‘Yehud’ does not mean a Jew. They break their own guidelines and rules on a daily basis and are never ever held accountable by management who just look the other way. The British public are forced to pay a license fee for this rubbish and to pay for the extraordinarily high salaries of bigoted ex sportsmen. Either close the newsroom or shut down the lot, we are sick of their exposed lies and hatred towards Jews and Israel. #defundthebbc #bbcanotherformofjihad

  2. says: Grimey

    The government should initiate an investigation into the BBC accounts to check what funds are clandestinely injected indirectly from Iran and Qatar.

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