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Thursday, March 24, 2011

British MP blasts BBC coverage of Fogel massacre

British MP Louise Bagshawe has blasted the government-funded BBC for their lack of coverage of the massacre of the Fogel family of Itamar (Hat Tip: Honest Reporting).
As the mother of three children, one the same age as little Elad, who had lain bleeding to death, I was stunned at the BBC's seeming lack of care. All the most heart-wrenching details were omitted. The second story, suggesting that the construction announcement was an act of antagonism following the massacre, also omitted key facts and failed to mention the subsequent celebrations in Gaza, and the statement by a Hamas spokesman that "five dead Israelis is not enough to punish anybody".

There were more details elsewhere on the net: the pain and hurt, for example, of the British Jewish community at the BBC's apparent indifference to the fate of the Fogels. The more I read, the more the BBC's broadcast silence amazed me. What if a settler had entered a Palestinian home and sawn off a baby's head? Might we have heard about it then? On Twitter, I attacked the UK media in general, and the BBC in particular. I considered filing a complaint.

The next morning, the BBC's public affairs team emailed me a response that amounted to a shrug. The story "featured prominently on our website", they said. It was important to report on the settlements to put the murder in context, they said. In reply, I asked a series of questions: for how long did the massacre feature on TV news bulletins? On radio? On BBC News 24, with all that rolling airtime? Why were the Hamas reaction and Gaza celebrations not featured? And what about the omission of all the worst details?

It was only when I tweeted about their continued indifference that the BBC replied. Then they informed me that the Fogel story had not featured on television at all. Not even News 24. It was on Radio Four in the morning, but pulled from subsequent broadcasts. The coverage of Japan and Libya, they said, drowned it out. Would I like to make a complaint?

Do you know, I think I would. The BBC has long been accused of anti-Israeli bias. It even commissioned the Balen report into bias in its Middle Eastern coverage, and then went to court to prevent its findings being publicised. As a member of the select committee on culture, media and sport, I was at the confirmation hearing of Lord Patten of Barnes as chairman of the BBC Trust. I asked him about political neutrality. In reply, he said that he would give up his membership of a Palestinian aid organisation. Both I and another member asked about bias against Israel. Lord Patten denied any existed. What would he do if shown an example of it? He would ultimately take it to the BBC Trust, he said.

The day after Lord Patten uttered those words, the Fogel children were butchered to almost complete silence from the BBC.
Did Lord Patten suddenly become less hostile to Israel the morning after he resigned from the pro-'Palestinian' organization as demanded by the MP's?

The only thing that stuns me about this story is that Bagshawe was stunned. The BBC's bias against Israel has long been known and has been extensively documented. Perhaps, if she has a right to do so as a Member of Parliament, Bagshawe should demand to be shown the Balen report. Maybe she can even publicize some of it, so that either the BBC can be embarrassed into change, or the British public can know how its tax shillings are being used.

No, the BBC doesn't care.

Read the whole thing.

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At 11:38 PM, Blogger Ariadne said...

Carl, I see that you do know that the British public and not the government pays for the BBC.

The FCO funds the World Service but it is no longer funding the Arabic service.

I don't think an MP could affect the sequestering of the Balen Report. The ground on which it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act is that it is advice for BBC staff, thus an internal document.

The BBC is hopeless but interestingly last night on Radio 4 news, the early report was the BBC 1-2. First, Israelis were bombed. Reason, the IDF had killed Palestinians. The BBC is great at lying by omission.

I caught the end of the news, however and heard to my suprise a discussion on Syria. The Hama massacre was described. A Syrian academic described how "class -ridden" and cruel Syrian society is. The escalation of violence against Israel was mentioned and attributed in some degree to Syria's supplying Hamas with weapons.

Not the whole story but it made me wonder who had given the progamme a bit of advice as it ran.

At 2:49 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I see your point, but then I doubt the BBC would ever cover a story of a palestinian family being murdered at all on the international website! So you guys have done pretty well actually.... I mean, if you look at it this way: Families get murdered around the world every day, yet this family got a mention.

So maybe there isn't such an anti-israeli agenda at all? Maybe put things in a bit more context before you let off steam...


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