Monday, 2 May 2016

The same old story with the BBC News website

Originally posted: 2:33 pm:

Thanks to Guido Fawkes, two more Labour councillors have been suspended today for anti-Semitic Facebook posts - Salim Mulla and Ilyas Aziz

One blamed ISIS and the Sandy Hook massacre on Israel and said, "Zionist Jews are a disgrace to humanity" while echoing Naz Shah's call for the Israeli population to be shifted en masse to the USA, calling it a "very easy solution"; the other also wanted Israeli Jews "relocated" to America, seems to believe that David Cameron is in hock to the Rothschilds, compares Israeli actions to those of Nazi Germany, and promoted the blood libel about Israelis drinking Gazan blood.   

The Sky News home page has an article about the suspensions, as does ITV News.

The BBC News home page, in contrast, has nothing about it yet. There's not even anything about it on the BBC's Politics page .

Given that the most lowly UKIP councillor saying something slightly off colour would used to lead to prompt 'front page' treatment from the BBC, it's puzzling why the BBC website is being so slow to report it. 

Unless it's because they are both Muslims.

UPDATEAh, they have reported it after all...

You'll find the story (among many others) on their LIVE Elections and EU campaign latest blog.

Of course, that's not the same as having a prominent stand-alone article about the suspensions, such as Sky and ITV have already published, alongside The IndependentThe Daily TelegraphThe Daily MirrorThe Daily MailMetroeven RT

So the BBC appear to be downplaying the story.

FURTHER UPDATE: And when you read what the BBC has posted on their rolling election blog (mostly lifted from the Press Association), they've  omitted the maddest, most damning stuff -especially from Mr. Aziz - and given us two examples of nice, on-message comments from Mr. Aziz instead.

That is a clear editorial choice from the BBC chaps running that live blog (Aiden James and Tom Moseley)...

...which, added to the editorial choice of more senior BBC News website editors not to make this a headline story on either their home page or their politics page, suggests that the downplaying of this story is very deliberate.

FINAL UPDATE (5.45 pm): And now, hours after Sky, the BBC has finally posted a stand-alone article on the story, Labour suspends councillors over 'relocate Israel' comments, and they've even put it on the BBC News website home page (under the somewhat more cryptic headline 'Labour suspends Israel row councillors'):

As for the BBC article itself, it continues to miss out the wildest, most damning of the Facebook comments posted at Guido Fawkes, places Labour's 'strong' actions against them and their denials of wrongdoing first, uses 'Not to do with religion' as a sub-headline, and then returns to their denials and Labour's 'strong' actions at the end.

The editorial decision-making and story-management going on at the BBC here becomes ever clearer and clearer.

I'm seriously not impressed.

FINAL FINAL UPDATE (6.00 pm): And within the last few minutes, the BBC has updated their article because - thanks again to Guido Fawkes - it's now a hat-trick of Muslim Labour councillors suspended today.

According to Guido, the latest - Burnley councillor Shah Hussain - tweeted to Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun that “you and your country doing the same thing that hitler did to ur race in ww2” and said he hadn't been kicked in the head “hard enough” by another footballer, adding "#FreePalestine" to that lovely sentiment.

The BBC's updated article (the sub-headline has changed to ''Not about religion") omits the second bit of that and gives Mr. Hussain's counter-attack against "Jewish people" who "find it offensive" instead. Mr. Hussain will be fighting his suspension and his message to any offended Jewish people seems pretty much to amount to 'Tough!'

FINAL FINAL FINAL UPDATE (6.30 pm): Given all of this, you probably don't be surprised to learn that BBC One's main evening news bulletin today made no mention whatsoever of this story. Not a word.

FINAL FINAL FINAL FINAL UPDATE (6.55 pm): And would Radio 4's 6 o'clock bulletin (BBC One's grown-up sister bulletin) mention it among its plethora of stories? No. Again, not a word.


Three Labour councillors suspended in one day over allegations of anti-Semitism, all Muslim, yet not a word on either BBC One's or Radio 4's main evening news bulletins. Remarkable, isn't it?

BBC editorial decision-making (and flagrant 'Bias by Omission') in action.

I hardly think it could be any clearer.

It's not that the BBC hasn't covered the Labour anti-Semitism row up till now (it most certainly has, especially over Ken), it's just that something about this development in the story (three Muslim anti-Semites [allegedly], all in one go) seems to have stopped them in their tracks and made them sharply apply the brakes.


  1. Waiting until the facts come out, etc. The BBC editorial meetings over this one must be a delight to behold. I hope the internal schism over this issue comes to a boil and we see some Beeboids forget themselves and express their true feelings on this. Only a matter of time.

  2. Relegating it to an election story tells you just how BBC editors view the issue - or want it to be perceived. The more important factor is how this will damage Sadiq Khan's chances of being elected mayor, rather than a larger problem of anti-Semitism among Muslims.

    I don't think any of this is going to hurt Khan at all, really. It's London. The more criticism he gets over this, the more people in Islington and Hackney and Finsbury Park and Tower Hamlets will rally to support him.

    1. Yes, as I've just put in another update, the BBC's thinking seems to be revealing itself here in where they are choosing to report this story and what they are choosing to highlight about it. Their attempts to 'manage' stories in this way feels even worse to me than them just ignoring it.

      I don't think it will harm Sadiq Khan's chances either.

    2. Re: All these updates, I think I wouldn't count the ugly tweet to the Israeli soccer player. That way we can maintain the distinction between Israeli and Jew for the purposes of defining anti-Semitism as this ugliness spilling over to Jews everywhere, not just Israel.

      But "Not about religion", then what is it about? Race? Oh dear, oh dear, BBC.

  3. Another example of editorial choice. The BBC have spent a lot of website space promoting the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and its figurehead Mr Qwame. But now he's been involved in an anti-white racist incident (he relished the fact he and his companion made a white waitress cry "white tears" (can't really get more racist can you?) the BBC just don't want to know. Or at least they didn't some 24 hours after the story broke, when last I checked.

    1. I can't see anything either. Mr Qwame's racist bullying has been widely reported elsewhere, from the Times to the Mirror, from the Independent to the Daily Mail. Metro, the Express and the Sun have also covered it.

    2. The Sykes Rule in effect, I think. Drawing attention to this story might encourage people to look unfavorably on Mr Qwabe and RMF which, in the minds of right-on Beeeboids, is a just cause. So reporting something that makes him look bad might give permission for prejudice against him and his cause.

  4. Sorry - the name was Qwabe - but still no report on the BBC site as far as I can see.

    1. Don't worry, I can't see it either. I've posted more about it above.

  5. Bearing in mind they took 24 hours to shuffle out the original Shah story in the middle of the afternoon and then buried it within hours, it seems the brakes are on permanently.