Here are some interesting comments about the BBC's reporting of Israel from former Daily Telegraph reporter Tom Gross, taken from an interview featured on the Israeli media site Nana 10.
He was speaking about the mistakes made in media articles about Israel in the wake of the terrorist murders at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem:
- Of course the media should be critical of Israel when it's deserved but they shouldn't hold Israel to a standard that they don't hold to any other country in the world, even to themselves.
- The mistakes have a context. Often the bias is subconscious, so that people are not even aware that they're being biased. In the past there was an analysis done of mistakes in the New York Times about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Every single mistake was against Israel. Something like 17 mistakes were made against Israel. Zero mistakes were against the Palestinians. The journalists themselves and the news anchors need to try and be balanced or fair. I mean that's part of the job.
- I'm in touch which quite a lot of senior editors and I myself pointed out mistakes to them in private meetings and they kind of brushed them aside. They don't care. It's not only errors to do with today. We saw on the BBC an interview with morning with Naftali Bennett and the BBC presenter said "Take that down. Take that down. We don't want to see that picture". Now, you have to understand, the BBC this summer showed pictures of dead Palestinians day after day, hour after hour. Much worse pictures. And there is a kind of unspoken policy at the BBC that when Palestinians are victims they show the pictures in their bloodiest form but when Jews or Israelis are victims they don't want to see any pictures.
- Certainly Israeli government officials could do a better job at public relations. There's no doubt. However, the amount of coverage, the amount of attention this small country receives is out of all proportion to the size and importance of the country. So even with the best spokespeople in the world Israeli spokespeople would still have a difficult job at dealing with the sheer quantity of journalists asking questions. Part of the questions have to be asked: Why, for example, this summer, the BBC had more reporters in Gaza than they had when Britain helped to invade Iraq in 2003, and Baghdad and Basra? In other words, the BBC had more foreign reporters in Gaza than they sent to Iraq and Afghanistan in wars that British troops were fighting in. And they would say, some of them, that it's not because they are against Israel. They would say it's because they care so much about Israel. Maybe that's what they say but I have my doubts about it in many cases.