Tuesday 4 December 2012

A Slight Misunderstanding

From time to time people comment on Biased-BBC and the internet in general about the way their complaints have been treated by the BBC.
It seems that the BBC’s responses are usually cursory and smack of being plucked from stock. Off the peg. The complaints department, whoever or whatever that may be, frequently seem to miss the point. The reply either doesn’t properly address the complaint, or ignores specific issues raised, which appears deliberate rather than stupid. Surely?
Suddenly, a listener receives a long, detailed and obviously heartfelt reply to a complaint. The contrite letter painstakingly addresses, at length, each and every issue that the complaint-handler feels is being queried, along with an apology-in-advance lest any specific point had been omitted. Whatever next.

The letter contains a recapitulation of the BBC’s reporting on the subject in question, quite bizarrely staked upon the reputations of the worst proponents of overt anti-Israel tweeting and covert anti-Israel reporting, the three Ds, Donnison Davies and Danahar. It was disturbingly reminiscent of those historically inaccurate, slanderous preambles that pompous ignoramuses lay down before launching off into some venomous Jew-bashing outburst or other. 

The whole reply was full of biased statements, gleaned from thin air. “We have seen reports which looked at Israel’s tactic of deploying strikes in a heavily overpopulated urban setting,” 
What? Israel’s tactic? Whose tactic was it to launch rockets from the aforementioned heavily overpopulated urban setting?

“This was a clear message from Israel that anything or anyone associated with the militants is a legitimate target.”
And what sort of message was Hamas sending about legitimate targets ?

A few spurious claims of impartiality and accuracy preceded a right old blunder of an admission.
 “Our main news bulletins on BBC One and Radio 4 have focused on the loss of life in Gaza.”  
The blunder was not only in stating the fact that the BBC deliberately practices the biased lazy and malevolent mawkishness that substitutes for honest journalism, but in the fact that here they are actually boasting about doing so.

We have Jeremy Bowen’s speculations about the Israeli elections, and a list of Islamists and people committed to the destruction of Israel.  People who have been consulted on air for their expertise on Middle Eastern affairs are actually being cited as evidence of the BBC’s impartiality for christsssssake.

The stark contrast between the irritable, snappy boilerplate replies that are dished out by the BBC to counter complaints about anti-Israel  bias, and this  lengthy, detailed and heartfelt reply was utterly revealing. 
The fact is - it was all a misunderstanding. The complaint was, of course, about anti-Israel bias, and the responder was, of course, under the mistaken belief that the complainant had taken offence because he somehow thought the item was too pro-Israel. This was already revealing enough; it was as if it was only natural to assume that in accord with the general consensus, Israel is the epitome of evil. This is the offending passage, from Radio5 live, which the complainant set out in his complaint. 
“We’re all aware of the arguments that a lot of rockets have been fired at Israel and that the retaliation was both necessary and just, but from the outside it just looks like part of this never-ending cycle of violence. It won’t stop anything, this, will it?”“Yeah – but it’s not just this man [Jabari] who’s been killed. There’s a lot of innocent people getting killed at the same time.”“Yeah – but nevertheless, if you count it up – the casualties – it’s those inside Gaza who are suffering rather than those inside Israel.”“Yeah. You can count up the casualties. I’m sorry, you know, but the outside world would count up the casualties and see – you know – that Israel always wreaks its revenge and the revenge it takes is greater than the original – erm – suffering in this war. It does it all the time.”
A passage at the foot of the original complaint: “ he condemns Israel as “always taking revenge.” Is this his own view or the view of the BBC? - “It does it all the time”  clearly indicates to anyone with half a brain that our complainant was offended by the bias against Israel,  but even this fails to alert the BBC’s complaints department to the real nature of the complaint, so ingrained is the BBC’s anti-Israel bias and that of its complaints department. The whole concept is so antithetical to their  misguided but passionate sense of righteousness.
The complaints department handler assumed the opposite, because that is his bias, and he was blinded by it, and it’s also the BBC’s bias, and they are blinded by it. He barged ahead all guns blazing with an apology, almost a plea, that any pro-Israel bias was unintentional, and that the item in question was an impartial representation of what the impartial reporters had impartially reported, which was that  Israel was to blame.
“We’d also like to assure you we’ve registered your complaint on our audience log.” 
How reassuring.

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