BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ provides a platform for disinformation

The lead item in the July 9th edition of BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ was presented as “Joe Biden Fights For Political Survival”.

Presenter Victoria Derbyshire asked her studio guests – including “climate change activist” Mikaela Loach (from 06:03 here) – for comment on that topic.

Derbyshire: “Mikaela Loach: you, as a climate activist, you’ve got a network of contacts across New York and Texas in particular. How do your co-activists there look at the choice that they appear to have when it comes to this presidential election?”

Loach: “Yeah, I think, I think what’s getting lost in this conversation about…ehm…maybe Joe Biden’s mental state is the policy itself. The fact that I think a lot of votes are being lost because Joe Biden is now known as ‘genocide Joe’ to a lot of people. The fact that he has aided and abetted Israel in their assault on Gaza, which the Lancet said yesterday in one of their reports…ehm…that the death toll is probably more likely to be 186,000 people. That’s 186,000 loves – like immeasurably sacred and important human beings – whose lives have been lost in a huge way because of arms that have been sent directly from the US and money that’s been given from the US. And I think it’s really important that we don’t forget the policy issues that people also care about around this conversation.”

Despite the heads up that Loach’s politicised choice of earrings should have given to the Newsnight production team, Derbyshire failed to challenge either her predictable employment of the ‘genocide Joe’ slur used by both the far-Left and the far-Right or her promotion of disinformation concerning content published at The Lancet and instead simply moved on to the next contributor.

As explained by the Jewish Chronicle and others, The Lancet did not publish “a report” about the death toll in the Gaza Strip. On July 5th – rather than “yesterday” as claimed by Loach – it published a letter.

“Last week, the Lancet, a well-respected British medical journal, published a letter from three academics – Rasha Khatib, Martin McKee, and Salim Yusuf – discussing the death toll in Gaza.

The letter, which is not peer-reviewed, suggests that, if the death toll in Gaza is 37 396, then it is “not implausible” to estimate that up to 186 000 deaths could be attributed to the war at some point in the future. […]

The letter, which is speculative, and not a peer-reviewed article, makes the estimate that up to 186,000 deaths could be attributable to the current conflict due to “indirect health implications”.

This figure was decided by multiplying the current death toll, as reported by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, by five. The forward-looking estimate does not suggest that 186,000 have been killed in the 9 months of war so far.”

In other words, Loach’s claim that “186,000…lives have been lost” is pure disinformation.

Since its publication, that shoddily researched letter has been employed by numerous anti-Israel activists including academics, journalists, British MPs and a particularly notable BBC contributor to promote a false narrative.

Even one of the writers of that letter to The Lancet  had already stated the day before the Newsnight item went on air that “our piece has been greatly misquoted and misinterpreted” and “the figure we gave is purely illustrative”.

Victoria Derbyshire and the Newsnight production team however provided ‘activist’ Mikaela Loach with an unchallenged platform from which to promote her entirely foreseeable disinformation to domestic BBC audiences. CAMERA UK has submitted a complaint on the matter to the BBC. 

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1 Comment

  1. says: Grimey

    Will the IPC (aka BBC) EVER have the guts to bring an Israeli Jew on as a studio guest to the tell the truth about the war in Gaza ? To misquote the poet Burns – “When a’ the seas gang dry, my dear”.

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