Saturday 23 August 2014

'More or Less'

I was going to do a piece on More or Less's take on the BBC's coverage of the Gaza casualty statistics. It would have involved lots of transcribing and taken lots of time.

Thankfully Hadar at BBC Watch has already done it, including all the transcribing. Her piece is well worth reading. Its focus lies less in confronting More or Less's statistical findings than in undermining the integrity of the three organisations consulted by the programme  [the United Nations High Commission of Human Rights, the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem]. She argues that the programme breached BBC editorial guidelines by failing to point out their respective anti-Israel political activities. 

Unusually for More or Less, the programme didn't do its own statistical study of the casualty figures, so they didn't actually have any of their own 'findings'. It merely asked those three organisations to defend the controversial stats, which they duly did, and then framed their justifications with little other than the background story of the BBC website article that provoked the storm in the first time. 

Thus, what we got was was the UN plus two of the very groups the UN uses to compile their figures all saying that the much-disputed UN stats are robust and trustworthy - which surely prompts the thought, "Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?"

The other two main items on the programme were much more typical of More or Less - a take-down of the UK coalition government's numbers over the Troubled Families initiative and a take-down of the Guardian and the left-wing High Pay Commission over their fatally-flawed chief executive pay stats. 

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