June 18, 2004

BBC In A Bubble

News organizations aren't supposed to have foreign policies, are they? Here's a sample of Tom Gross' critique of the BBC:

The BBC rarely misses an opportunity to denigrate Israel or its prime minister. One program even staged a mock "war crimes" trial for Ariel Sharon. (The BBC verdict — that Sharon has a case to answer — was never in doubt.)

Yasser Arafat, though, receives a very different treatment. One particularly cosmetic exercise was a 30-minute BBC profile of Arafat which described him as a "hero," and "an icon," and spoke of him as having "performer's flare," "charisma and style," "personal courage," and being "the stuff of legends." Adjectives applied to him included "clever," "respectable," and "triumphant." He was also inaccurately referred to as "President."

This was broadcast on July 5, 2002 — just two weeks after President Bush had called for a change in Palestinian leadership following revelations about Arafat's links with suicide-terror attacks. But then the BBC knew that they would get this kind of approach when they asked the notoriously anti-Israeli journalist, Suzanne Goldenberg... to make the program.

A particularly blatant example of bias, perhaps, but not an isolated one. The BBC rarely mention Arafat's dictatorial rule, his endemic corruption, or the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — the terror group he set up after launching the current Intifada, a group which, in recent months, has outstripped Hamas in the number of terror attacks perpetrated against Israeli civilians. As for Hamas, Sheikh Yassin was recently described by one of BBC radio's Gaza correspondents, Zubeida Malik, as "polite, charming and witty, a deeply religious man."

Their audience is worldwide. Small wonder we're hated. The BBC is hard at work making sure of that every day.

Posted by dan at June 18, 2004 10:30 PM