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Conflict in the Middle East

BBC journalists accuse the broadcaster of bias

71 replies

Ohlalalalala · 23/11/2023 07:30

As Israel pounds Gaza, BBC journalists accuse broadcaster of bias https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/23/as-israel-pounds-gaza-bbc-journalists-accuse-broadcaster-of-bias

The BBC has been accused by its journalists of failing to tell the story of the Israel-Hamas conflict accurately, investing greater effort in humanising Israeli victims compared with Palestinians, and omitting key historical context in coverage.

In a 2,300-word letter written to Al Jazeera by eight UK-based journalists employed by the corporation, the BBC is also said to be guilty of a “double standard in how civilians are seen”, given that it is “unflinching” in its reporting of alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

“The BBC has failed to accurately tell this story – through omission and lack of critical engagement with Israel’s claims – and it has therefore failed to help the public engage with and understand the human rights abuses unfolding in Gaza,” the letter reads. “Thousands of Palestinians have been killed since October 7. When will the number be high enough for our editorial stance to change?”

As Israel pounds Gaza, BBC journalists accuse broadcaster of bias

In the latest newsroom fallout over the war, BBC journalists say the corporation is failing to humanise Palestinians.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/23/as-israel-pounds-gaza-bbc-journalists-accuse-broadcaster-of-bias

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Ohlalalalala · 23/11/2023 07:31

The BBC journalists said that across British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) platforms, terms like “massacre” and “atrocity”, have been reserved “only for Hamas, framing the group as the only instigator and perpetrator of violence in the region. This is inaccurate but aligns with the BBC’s overall coverage”.

They claimed that the broadcaster carefully portrays Israeli suffering by, for instance, telling audiences the names of victims, covering individual funerals, and interviewing affected families.

“In comparison, humanising coverage of Palestinian civilians has been lacking. It is a poor excuse to say that the BBC could not better cover stories in Gaza because of difficulties gaining access to the [Gaza] Strip … This is achieved, for example, by telling and following individual stories across weeks. Little attempt has also been made to fully utilise the abundance of social media content from brave journalists in Gaza and the West Bank.”

Further critiquing the BBC’s storytelling, the journalists argue that while Palestinians have been asked whether they “condemn Hamas”, the same cannot be said for guests who defend Israel’s actions.

“[They] are not equally asked to ‘condemn’ the actions of the Israeli government, however high the civilian death toll in Gaza.”

On October 9, the BBC was criticised as lacking compassion over its interview with Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian Mission to the United Kingdom, who lost several members of his family during the early days of Israel’s bombing campaign.

The letter also claims that the BBC is failing to provide audiences with important background about Israel’s occupation and the history of Palestinian suffering.

“For Israel’s bombardment to be considered ‘self-defence’, events must begin with the Hamas-led attack,” they said. “News updates and articles neglect to include a line or two of critical historical context – on 75 years of occupation, the Nakba, or the asymmetric death toll across decades.”

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Ohlalalalala · 23/11/2023 07:33

The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to the displacement and dispossession of Palestinians between 1947 and 1949, when Zionist paramilitaries and then Israel’s newly formed army destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages and towns. About 15,000 Palestinians were killed, and more than 750,000 were forcibly displaced from their land.

Today’s crisis evokes memories of the Nakba for Palestinians in Gaza, many of whom are descendants of those who were uprooted decades ago.

“The BBC has often called the ongoing conflict ‘complex’. It is no more complex than any other conflict,” the letter reads. “It is our job to cut through rhetoric and misinformation; to explain what is happening and what has led to this.”

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Whataretheodds · 23/11/2023 11:52

I'm surprised : of all the BBC reporting I've seen it's the stories from Gaza that have been most affecting. I heard the Israeli spokesperson being challenged repeatedly on the Today programme yesterday morning.

“The BBC has often called the ongoing conflict ‘complex’. It is no more complex than any other conflict,” 

The BBC is hardly alone: I can't think of another world conflict that I have seen so consistently described as "complex" by outside observers.

ScrollingLeaves · 23/11/2023 12:03

The trouble is that the BBC itself is under threat and probably has to try to remain cautious and within the government line.
They are seen in some quarters to be rampantly left wing, and robbing the people through the licence fee to boot.

Then they were too quick to make a judgement about the first hospital bombing, and had to apologise, so they may be wary now. (n.b. new evidence says that what Israel said about the source and direction of fire is incorrect - even though this does not mean they were responsible, and Hamas never produced the proof they said they had.)

Jeremy Bowen has got very close to calling out IDF lies.

ScrollingLeaves · 23/11/2023 12:10

The letter also claims that the BBC is failing to provide audiences with important background about Israel’s occupation and the history of Palestinian suffering.

Even if it does not aim to look at Palestinian suffering in isolation, I really recommend:
BBC4 Fifty Years War: Israel and the Arabs made in 1998 it benefits from first hand accounts. It is being shown at the moment and can be watched on iPlayer.

Queucumber · 23/11/2023 12:12

An anonymous letter sent to Al Jazeera. Right.

stormy4319trevor · 23/11/2023 13:54

Sorry @xenia TalkTV is not journalism, is this reported by a reputable broadsheet or news outlet?

XDownwiththissortofthingX · 23/11/2023 14:12

ScrollingLeaves · 23/11/2023 12:03

The trouble is that the BBC itself is under threat and probably has to try to remain cautious and within the government line.
They are seen in some quarters to be rampantly left wing, and robbing the people through the licence fee to boot.

Then they were too quick to make a judgement about the first hospital bombing, and had to apologise, so they may be wary now. (n.b. new evidence says that what Israel said about the source and direction of fire is incorrect - even though this does not mean they were responsible, and Hamas never produced the proof they said they had.)

Jeremy Bowen has got very close to calling out IDF lies.

This is the way of it, sadly.

The BBC has been running scared of reporting the objective truth since Cummins and Johnson threatened to ex-communicate them entirely if they went with anything other than the lines they were fed from Downing Street, always attributed to an anonymous "source", of course.

The BBC has long lost its way, seemingly labouring under the delusion that "impartiality" means never scrutinising what they are told, or reporting objectively for fear of offending someone.

It's little more than a government propaganda outlet now, and dutifully toes the line with whatever nonsense the Tories are peddling at any given moment. I never had much interest in their drama output, but I did used to appreciate their news coverage. Their total disregard for reporting accurately if it poses awkward questions or challenges the official narrative is the main reason why I will no longer pay the licence fee. Regional BBC news output is biased to the point of absurdity, as they are now in the habit of inventing speculative nonsense and inviting comment upon it as if it is fact if there is no genuine "news" to report.

It's a sorry state of affairs, but the corporation allowed itself to be bullied into submission by this appalling, unscrupulous shower of venal idiots we have in government, probably through fear of being dismembered right enough, but still, that does not excuse it.

firstpasttheposter · 23/11/2023 14:26

This is the first post I've come across accusing the BBC of bias in favour of Israel. It's refusal to call Hamas a 'terrorist' organisation and its heavily implied scepticism concerning the Hamas headquarters under the hospital hasn't gone down well in pro-Israeli circles. Today it's running a story about a UK woman who has lost 12 relatives in an Israeli strike on Gaza, with pictures of two beautiful young girls, and the claim that the family were targeted because her brother is an aid worker and journalist.

Trulywonderful · 23/11/2023 22:23

Whataretheodds · 23/11/2023 11:52

I'm surprised : of all the BBC reporting I've seen it's the stories from Gaza that have been most affecting. I heard the Israeli spokesperson being challenged repeatedly on the Today programme yesterday morning.

“The BBC has often called the ongoing conflict ‘complex’. It is no more complex than any other conflict,” 

The BBC is hardly alone: I can't think of another world conflict that I have seen so consistently described as "complex" by outside observers.

This

Trulywonderful · 23/11/2023 22:25

Queucumber · 23/11/2023 12:12

An anonymous letter sent to Al Jazeera. Right.

Aljazeera the dip feeder of Jew hate around the world says.......................

Trulywonderful · 23/11/2023 22:30

stormy4319trevor · 23/11/2023 13:54

Sorry @xenia TalkTV is not journalism, is this reported by a reputable broadsheet or news outlet?

If posters can post links to Aljazeera, Instagram and Tiktok on these threads then anything goes. Plus there are available online videos, so it isn't like it is made up.

Trulywonderful · 23/11/2023 22:31

firstpasttheposter · 23/11/2023 14:26

This is the first post I've come across accusing the BBC of bias in favour of Israel. It's refusal to call Hamas a 'terrorist' organisation and its heavily implied scepticism concerning the Hamas headquarters under the hospital hasn't gone down well in pro-Israeli circles. Today it's running a story about a UK woman who has lost 12 relatives in an Israeli strike on Gaza, with pictures of two beautiful young girls, and the claim that the family were targeted because her brother is an aid worker and journalist.

This

stormy4319trevor · 23/11/2023 22:47

Trulywonderful · 23/11/2023 22:30

If posters can post links to Aljazeera, Instagram and Tiktok on these threads then anything goes. Plus there are available online videos, so it isn't like it is made up.

I'm old fashioned, but of course you can read/watch what you like. I was only asking as don't rely on anything like that myself.

feralunderclass · 23/11/2023 22:56

The BBC went down the drain years ago, I wouldn't even watch it now. I do listen to R4 though, I think it's been quite balanced.

feralunderclass · 23/11/2023 22:59

firstpasttheposter · 23/11/2023 14:26

This is the first post I've come across accusing the BBC of bias in favour of Israel. It's refusal to call Hamas a 'terrorist' organisation and its heavily implied scepticism concerning the Hamas headquarters under the hospital hasn't gone down well in pro-Israeli circles. Today it's running a story about a UK woman who has lost 12 relatives in an Israeli strike on Gaza, with pictures of two beautiful young girls, and the claim that the family were targeted because her brother is an aid worker and journalist.

Is this about Jeremy Bowen saying he wasn't convinced the evidence Israel produced was proof of a Hamas command centre?

firstpasttheposter · 25/11/2023 16:08

feralunderclass · 23/11/2023 22:59

Is this about Jeremy Bowen saying he wasn't convinced the evidence Israel produced was proof of a Hamas command centre?

You can go read yourself - it's all on the BBC website for free.

Ohlalalalala · 25/11/2023 18:22

BBC journalists 'crying in toilets' over Israel-Gaza output
https://www.thenational.scot/news/23881014.bbc-journalists-crying-toilets-israel-gaza-output/

The BBC is for sure not the DailyFail but once you get used to detecting the sometimes very subtle bias you will never unsee it.

There is what is called bias through selection and omission, as well as through placement and story selection.

Here's a link explaining that:

https://study.com/academy/lesson/media-bias-criticism-definition-types-examples.html

BBC journalists 'crying in toilets' over Israel-Gaza output

BBC journalists have allegedly been “crying at work” over the corporation’s “dehumanising” coverage of Palestinians.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/23881014.bbc-journalists-crying-toilets-israel-gaza-output

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Trulywonderful · 25/11/2023 18:28

The BBC have banned their journalists from attending a anti hate rally because it is about Antisemitism

Whereas they didn't ban their journalists from going to the protests every Saturday that were political and often had people present with antisemitic signs and Megaphones shouting hate speeches and chants

We all know how bias the BBC and a lot of their staff are. It has been very clear for years. Ever before the horrific slur incident.

Toothyfruity · 25/11/2023 18:38

I have never trusted BBC news since as a child the coverage of the conflict in Northern Ireland horrified me. I figured if they could lie so blatantly about that God only knows what else they were lying about.

Ohlalalalala · 25/11/2023 18:49
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Toothyfruity · 25/11/2023 19:02

Thanks for that. None of it is a surprise unfortunately, other than I wasn't aware that they openly celebrated the 12th at the BBC though it shouldn't come as a surprise.

The biggest surprise is that it was reported in the Belfast Telegraph which is also very pro-unionist 😅

Edited to add: these biases have very real consequences. Irish people in Britain were treated as terrorists in the 70s and 80s and beyond even. Also a large percentage of British people have very unfortunate attitudes about the conflict that follow the BBC line. Obviously it's not just the BBC who caused this but they are certainly part of it. And these attitudes persist to this day.

Ohlalalalala · 25/11/2023 19:09

Toothyfruity · 25/11/2023 19:02

Thanks for that. None of it is a surprise unfortunately, other than I wasn't aware that they openly celebrated the 12th at the BBC though it shouldn't come as a surprise.

The biggest surprise is that it was reported in the Belfast Telegraph which is also very pro-unionist 😅

Edited to add: these biases have very real consequences. Irish people in Britain were treated as terrorists in the 70s and 80s and beyond even. Also a large percentage of British people have very unfortunate attitudes about the conflict that follow the BBC line. Obviously it's not just the BBC who caused this but they are certainly part of it. And these attitudes persist to this day.

Edited

😆

Thanks for making me smile. It has become so rare for me to do that while on Mumsnet these past weeks.

👍

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