Tuesday 12 March 2013


Anyone waiting for an apology from Jon Donnison will have a long wait. When the UN released the findings that proved him, if not wrong, then presumptuous and premature in his unequivocal condemnation of Israel over the death of baby Omar Mashrawi, Donnison resorted to the default BBC defence: “I am still right. It’s all the fault of the shifting centre of gravity type of thing.” 
So, instead of the straightforward mea culpa of the kind that the wise people of the media agreed would have saved Chris Huhne,  Donny cited the “It’s not me, it’s you” defence, which, for several reasons sounded remarkably familiar. 

He has decided to cast doubt on the UN’s findings. The investigations were too little, too late, i.e. unreliable, he says. ( Where have I heard this defence before? Oh yes, after the Goldstone report, but in that case it was employed in Israel’s defence. Then, despite being initially  pooh-pooed by the anti-Israel brigade and the likes of the BBC the doubts  eventually proved valid)
So perhaps this time too there is something in that. Maybe the UN was slipshod, and came to the wrong  conclusion. It’s not the most scrupulous, reliable, impartial body in the whole wide world. But why would it err in that particular way? The UN is hardly Israel friendly. 

Again, in the scheme of things that’s neither here nor there.
The bigger picture is that as Donny himself says,A photo of BBC video editor Jehad Mashhrawi cradling the corpse of his baby son Omar became one of the iconic images of November's short war.” 
How did that come about, pray tell? Something to do with Donny and the BBC? 
So using it as another weapon in the BBC’s Operation Besmirch Israel campaign is still 
a-okay with Donny, UN findings or not.
No regrets. Je ne regrette rien. Not even a ‘sorry my latest Israel-busting bombshell went viral on the offchance’  And just to make sure no-one is in any doubt that Israel is guilty, even of things it hasn’t actually done, Donnison reinforces the message with a cluster of familiar, gratuitous little aftershocks.

“The UN report concluded that at least 169 Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks during the offensive.
It said more than 100 were civilians, including 33 children and 13 women. The report said six Israelis were killed by Palestinians attacks, including four civilians.”

He might just as well  have come clean, and admitted that in his opinion it doesn’t matter who has done what, because we know Israel is evil and anyway it does that sort of thing all the time. That’s what they said about al-Dura
I don’t know about authentic, but it is certainly a symbol.  That’s why it’s important to keep the symbolism authentic, and not cavalierly inflammatory.

In the Spectator Owen Jones has defended his outburst on Question Time. His strategy was to blame the media. I was only going by their info, he claims. Well, not just ‘going by.’
It was his starting point, indeed. It was the inspiration from which fired off one of his ill-informed pernicious flights of fancy.  My findings are that that one fell short.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, that article does Jon Donnison no credit whatsoever.

    You've pinpointed its major flaws well, so I've not got that much to add.

    As you say, it's a blatant effort to completely rubbish what the U.N. says (in this one instance) and excuse the BBC's mishandling of the story. It isn't just that there's not even a hint of any soul-searching in it; no, the whole piece sounds as if it's been written through gritted teeth, begrudging anything to Israel.

    BBC reporters were near the front of the pack in the rush to judgement to blame Israel for baby Omar's death and they were right at the front of the pack in pushing that premature verdict far and wide on Twitter, on radio and TV and on the BBC News website. No other major news organisation pushed this story so hard and so far. As you and Hadar have said before, JD's immediate superior Paul Danahar was the key figure in spreading the 'Israel-did-it' narrative to all four corners of the globe but Jon Donnison himself perpetuated it with his report on 'From Our Own Correspondent'. JD's article gives little sense of any of this and offers no contrition whatsoever. Its messages seem to be 'It's someone else's fault' and 'It's probably still Israel's fault.'

    It reads as if it's been cobbled together in a hurry. Things from the beginning of the article are repeated later, for no good reason, again and again. How on earth it got published in such a state is anyone's guess.

    There are so many things wrong with the article. There's the cryptically-phrased main headline, the far from subliminal sub-headline, the dubious strapline beneath the photo, the mismatch between the figures he quotes at various stages of the article, the illogical excuse about the Israeli military reporting no rockets "being fired out of Gaza so soon after the start of the conflict,” etc.

    It would have been far better if Jon Donnison had simply done what Roy Greenslade has done today in the 'Guardian' and printed a straightforward correction.

    We got the BBC default defence instead. Shame.


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