Thursday 21 August 2014

Jon Donnison is utterly ludicrous.

I don’t think the ostrich actually does bury its tiny head in the sand 'in denial', but we do. Where there is a pile of something we don’t agree with most of us find it easier to label it ‘rubbish’ and dismiss it altogether than to take even a furtive little peek at it.  So that’s what we do.

Sometimes it’s understandable. For instance I don’t trouble to check out bonkers or antisemitic websites. Also, I don’t engage with arguments wholly constructed on pro-Palestinian /anti-Israel principles because even though their reasoning may well seem credible to people whose fundamentals come from the premise that Israel illegally occupies ‘Muslim land” and who oppose Israel’s continued existence, I accept that that reasoning will never coincide with mine. I assume it’s mutual and there would be no meeting point on either side.  At a pinch, I suppose that could be classed as head-burying.
However, I do look at material that is neutral or not particularly well-informed, and don’t stick to seeking out ‘confirmation bias’ to the exclusion of all else.

That’s why I find one particular Tweet by Jon Donnison more illuminating than all the rest of his partisan “views my own” Tweets put together. Here it is:

“Always tickles me that the utterly ludicrous bbc hating @BBCWatch (1 woman in golan heights) must watch more BBC than our director general.”
I understand that Tweeting is an art. Jon Donnison deserves a Twitter accolade for packing so much meaning into the character limitations of one tweet. 

Meaning number one: “Always tickles me”  Pretending that he ‘always’ finds BBC Watch amusing is a patronising way of pulling rank. He’s above fretting over criticisms of himself but finds the antics of a lesser being amusing.
Number two: “(only)1 woman.” belittling (but desperate)
Number three: “in golan heights” insinuation that inhabiting ‘occupied territory’ equals vested interest in peddling propaganda. 
Number four: “must watch more BBC than our director general.” Sarcastically citing ‘our’ DG as the quintessential television-output monitor whose TV watching credentials couldn’t be surpassed by ‘1 sad woman in the golan heights with nothing better to do’ how very dare she.

Never mind numbers one to four. That was a mere hyper-analytical preamble. It’s number five that’s the big give-away.
Have you spotted what it is yet? 
LUDICROUS BBC-HATING is the answer we’re after. Jon Donnison dismisses all that meticulously researched and eloquently explained material as ludicrous? He rejects the lot of it and buries his head in the sand because he doesn’t want to know. 

Christening it “BBC-hating.” Calling it “ludicrous”  clearly shows where you’re coming from. “Views my own?” They certainly are. For a BBC reporter who represents the BBC’s charter-obligated impartiality your history of one-sided Tweeting makes your position look quite ridiculous. Furthermore, if anything is ludicrous it’s your reflexive dismissal of every example of biased reporting carefully set-out on BBC Watch.

Upload albums-full of emotive images of photogenic children on your Twitter feed; link to fistfuls of  bias-confirming articles. Whip up your followers into antisemitic outrage while telling yourself it’s nothing to do with you.   Dismiss every allegation of unfair reporting with one fell swoop;  no-one’s in the slightest bit tickled. 


  1. The usual contempt BBC journalists have for any criticism on display. This will just make him even more likely to spread propaganda photos or information without checking.

  2. Jon Donnison has spun out of control on Twitter during the past month or so. He's tweeting like an activist. He's gone way beyond any other BBC reporter. If the BBC's commitments to impartiality mean anything, they should take meaningful action against him - like never letting him report from the Middle East again.

    I don't mean this as some sort of flippant aside, but Jon Donnison's stationing as the BBC's Sydney correspondent doesn't seem to have been to his taste. His heart has remained with the Palestinians. You can see that in his snide tweets about Ozzies and from a scan of the BBC website. In contrast to the large number of articles he posted when in Gaza recently and before he was relocated to Australia, his articles from Oz have been low in number (except for the missing Malaysian airliner) and - though he's had the odd dig at Tony Abbott - he's seemed more concerned while in Sydney with the Sisi regime's treatment of Al-Jazeera journalists and with Israel (Israel and Australia: New best mates?: Other than heatwave/forest fire stories, Typhoon Haiyan, and light pieces on Australian slang, he has been pretty much conspicuous by his absence since his strikingly biased coverage of the Oz election [which we reported on here at 'Is the BBC biased?']

    See the evidence for yourselves here:

    The man's heart simply hasn't been in his role as Sydney correspondent. Was he originally sent there for a reason by a worried BBC? If so, they should have remembered why they sent him there before allowing him to play the Israel-bashing activist-journalist during Operation Protective Edge.

  3. God grief, the man is truly obsessed. He's heading from the UK back to Oz, but he's still firing missile after missile at Israel tonight.

    He's repeatedly attacking yet another Israeli spokesman, tweeting more verbal attacks on Israel ("Israel playing games"), and setting the death of a 4-year old Israeli child 'in context':

    "Heart goes out to family of 4 yr old Daniel Tragerman killed by Hamas mortar. 100s of families in Gaza hurting same way after death of kids."

    1. He's also disputing Israeli claims that the mortar which killed young Daniel Tragerman was fired from beside a UNRWA school:

      "Worth bearing in mind that in previous IDF claims of rockets fired from UN schools, when pushed actually was between 100-500 m from school."

    2. And he's (according to his Twitter feed):

      "Reading @Farrelltimes and Beverley Milton Edwards excellent book on Hamas. A great read for anyone following events in gaza."

      Prof Bev is, shall we say, not unsympathetic to Hamas:

    3. Also today, he quotes and glosses (supportively), the pro-Palestinian Israeli journalist Amira Hass ( making an anti-Israel point:

      "Amira Hass: How many Palestinian civilians is a single militant worth? … In at least one case the answer was 20 +"

    4. Not forgetting (also in the past 24 hours), his repeated criticisms of Benjamin Netanyahu's tweets.

    5. Though, in fairness, he's also posted a picture of a baby wombat - which is quite extraordinary. It looks like a baby with a squirrel's face and Andrew Marr's ears.

    6. Donnison has no heart. Only hate and an inflated sense of self-righteousness which fools him into thinking he cares about human life.


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