Wednesday 16 July 2014

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe nearby...

There's been a demo against BBC bias. 

The Graun, the Indie and the Indie-owned Evening Standard have all reported it, though no one beyond these left-wing/local papers seems to have bothered with it. 

It was staged by a few hundred noisy anti-Israeli activists (or, if you're credulous enough to believe the figures posted on social media, a few hundreds more). 

This morning's Today (about a quarter of an hour before the end) dealt with the protests by inviting on one of the protest's supporters - Glasgow-based far-left media activist/academic, Greg Philo - and putting him up against the Guardian's soft-left Jonathan Freedland. 

Greg Philo is strongly anti-Israel, while Jonathan Freedland is a friendly critic of Israel. Greg Philo thinks the BBC is biased towards Israel, Jonathan Freedland doesn't think it's biased at all. 

Such was the strange set-up to this morning's discussion. 

You will note the absence of anyone who thinks that the BBC is biased against Israel, which (I would suspect) is the more widespread opinion (though not the noisiest one). 

Greg Philo has previously 'proved' that the BBC is pro-Israel. He's the author of books on the subject with fellow far-left academic Mike Berry - the main spokesman for that BBC-funded Cardiff University report which 'proved' that the BBC is right-wing, anti-Europe, pro-business, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim. 

On this morning's Today he made the bold statement that pro-Israeli speakers outnumber pro-Palestinian ones by 2:1 on the BBC. 

My recent study proves that to be complete b*llocks - and it's free to read and completely transparent, should you wish to check it out. 

For an academic, Greg Philo came across as being far more concerned to spout anti-Israel rhetoric than to provide a cogent case in support of his claims of BBC bias. His activist side was showing. So much so that he sounded rather deranged at times, trying to talk over Jonathan Freedland, clearly in order to dominate and stifle the debate. (Quite the Zhdanov, our Greg!)

Jonathan Freeland, in contrast, was all meekness and mildness, merely pointing out that others (pro-Israelis) think the BBC is biased in the other direction. He himself didn't seem to share that opinion, but at least he pointed it out on Radio 4. 

Mishal Husain, doing the interviewing, was clearly not happy with Greg Philo, giving him as good as he gave when it came to interrupting other people. BBC interviewers hate the BBC being accused of bias on their watch.

She quoted Jeremy Bowen's mortuary reports at him as proof that the BBC is doing the sort of thing he wants (which - just possibly - suggests that she knows as well as we do just how biased against Israel  Jeremy Bowen really is).

Mishal ended by reading out a BBC statement saying they'd got it about right, and then ended the discussion, very firmly.

A strange listening experience all round.

1 comment:

  1. And tonights "Feedback" continued the same theme.
    To be fair, it wasn`t as biased as I`d been expecting.
    But there again, the lead item to this "platform for the license fee payer" was-the loss of BBC staff from Panorama.
    We`ve been speaking of nothing else here on Planet ever, it`s always about the BBC itself.


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