Monday, July 16, 2007

Exposing the BBC

The BBC has declined from a once well respected organization to its current position as the mouthpiece of the Left.

The following is an excerpt from BBCWatch.Com

The recent Iraq War provided a unique opportunity to examine the BBC’s ability to report news in an accurate and impartial manner.
The coalition forces in Iraq were widely accused of invading Iraq in breach of international law. They faced opposition from the local defending forces who frequently fought from or hid within densely populated urban areas. As part of their defence the Iraqi army employed suicide bombers.

The Israeli army faces some similar problems. It too is widely criticised for alleged breaches of international law. It faces an enemy which fights from densely populated urban areas and employs suicide bombers.

The coalition forces, although claiming to be defending the security of their own countries, singularly failed to convince popular opinion that Iraq posed a real threat. By contrast popular opinion clearly accepts that the Israeli army is defending its civilian population from a very real threat which does constantly claim Israeli lives[1]. This difference between the two conflicts, if it affected an impartial news provider at all, would logically tend to result in Israel receiving a more sympathetic coverage than did the coalition forces. The opposite is in fact the case.

The BBC has a legal obligation to report news in an accurate and impartial way[2]. A comparison between the way in which coalition troops and Israeli troops are treated when dealing with such similar military problems provided a rare opportunity to compare like with like in a more direct way than our earlier studies have allowed.

What emerges from this study is the marked contrast between the way the BBC reports the two conflicts. Coalition troops are described in warm and glowing terms, with sympathy being evoked both for them as individuals and also for their military predicament. By contrast Israeli troops are painted as faceless ruthless and brutal killers with no or little understanding shown for their actions.

The BBC goes to considerable lengths to explain, excuse and mitigate any civilian deaths at the hands of coalition troops. Israeli troops receive totally different treatment; little sympathy is shown for their situation, and mitigating arguments are brushed aside or scorned if voiced at all. At times the reporting of events in Israel amounts to distortion and at times to what appears to be discrimination against Israel.

We are aware that, during the Iraq conflict, the BBC was heavily criticised in the UK for being too harsh in its treatment of coalition motives and tactics. This report does not seek to comment on that criticism. However the fact that the criticism was widely voiced only serves to emphasise the correctness of the argument at the centre of this report. Had the BBC responded to public pressure to report coalition actions more favourably than it did, then the contrast between its reporting of coalition and Israel’s forces would have been even more stark than it actually was.

We consider that this report shows conclusively that the BBC’s claim to provide impartial news coverage is unsustainable. Our two earlier reports[3] showed that the BBC’s coverage of the Middle East was infected by an apparent widespread antipathy towards Israel. However those reports were based almost exclusively upon a comparison of the media treatment of the Israelis and Palestinians. This current study, which compares treatment of Israelis with that of coalition forces, suggests that the partiality of the BBC’s reporting quite possibly infects its coverage of all politically sensitive issues.

The British public continues to pay for this partial and inaccurate news service through the licence fee. We wonder whether it is healthy for Britain’s democracy that such huge public funds should be provided to what is an essentially monopolistic and unaccountable body. The BBC cannot provide impartial news coverage. It has no legitimate call on public funds when they are used simply to promote the BBC’s own prejudices.

[1] Clearly there is lively debate about whether Israel’s tactics for dealing with the military threat are either wise or justifiable. No-one disagrees that the threat exists
[2] See The BBC and the Middle East An Analysis December 2002 – (“the Second Report”) – section 4 – Legal Duties of the BBC
[3] These can be found at and are referred to in this report as “The First Report” (March 2002) and “the Second Report” (December 2002
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