BBC again

I like ranting about the BBC because they’re an easy target. They state lots of opinions, and they never fight back. But in response to another good example of bias I’ve seen, I’d like to clarify some points.

Firstly, I do believe that the BBC contains an institutional bias on various major issues, including the Israel-Palestine conflict and the War in Iraq. I accept that the BBC contains lots of different departments and that separate news teams may not interact much. There is, however, systematic evidence of bias from a wide array of sources. I’d also argue that there is almost certainly a guiding hand, an “editor-in-chief,” at work on BBC News and for BBC Online and it’s their job to make sure that everybody toes the party line.

So what is today’s example? It’s a typical off-the-cuff remark on the website, later edited to tone down the bias. The wording was:

Hamas has largely been respecting a ceasefire, despite frequent Israeli army provocations, for more than a year, and it is unlikely to go back on the offensive now.

The key phrase, you see, is “frequent Israeli army provocations.” It sounds as if the Israelis are deliberately provoking the Palestinians. It’s like the school playground again, you call someone names all breaktime and they hit you in the queue for lessons. Myself, I think it unlikely the Israelis are deliberately shooting at Palestinians with the aim of creating more suicide bombers.

This sentence, to me, is symptomatic of a central bias in the BBC, which can be faintly discerned in many news reports.

The original link is here, and the author describes how the article was subsequently edited. The edit in itself is a tacit admission that the article was wrong.

My problem with the BBC is that people throughout the world watch it. A proportion of Americans will read the BBC online before they turn to CNN. The BBC is responsible for forming opinions of people everywhere. That’s why I wish they’d stop dancing around the terrorists, (or “insurgents” as they seem to be called) and roundly condemn terrorism of all sorts. Perhaps they could broadcast the evils of fundamentalist Islamism, and help form more liberal opinions. Tony Blair has always understood that the main terrorist battle is for understanding, as pointed out here at Harry’s Place.

I’ve had enough of commenting about them now. I don’t want to turn into a bitter person, and I’d rather this Blog moved away from criticism of a target which seems to offer itself up regularly to the slaughter.

So I promise I’ll shut up (unless something really good comes up).

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