Sunday 31 May 2015

Is the BBC Trust biased in favour of anti-Israel complainants?

Moving onto the latest batch of Editorial Standards Findings (every complaint and appeal being, as usual, "not upheld")...

Among the published rulings, there's one attacking the BBC for being pro-Israel (p.38) and another for being anti-Israel (p.25) - just the way the BBC seems to like it so they can claim to be 'getting it about right'.

The BBC has thrown both complaints out, but there's a notable difference between their rulings:

The one criticising Jeremy Bowen's reporting (the one where he said “After the attack on the centre for the disabled it is clear that the Israelis have some serious questions to answer”) is firmly rejected, while the one quibbling about how Douglas Murray was introduced on Newsnight includes the following emollient passage:
In considering the appeal the Trustees had some sympathy with the complainant’s view. While not agreeing with the complainant that the Henry Jackson Society should have been described as “an extreme pro-Israel organisation”, and considering it to be an organisation which expresses views on a variety of issues, Trustees felt that it was unfortunate that the introduction to the discussion had not included more detail and were not persuaded that most viewers would have been familiar with the work of the Henry Jackson Society. However, they did not consider that this would amount to a breach of editorial standards. Mr Murray’s viewpoint was clear in the interview and so the Guidelines had been complied with. 
I've been reading a fair few of these complaints in recent months and a proper study of the BBC's rulings is needed. (When time permits, I'll put it together). It's my strong impression that the BBC gives more ground - even to the extent of upholding some complaints - to the anti-Israel side. 

Hadar's dogged work at BBC Watch must have detailed scores and scores of examples of the BBC not giving "more detail" about anti-Israel organisations that "most viewers wouldn't have been familiar with" (and some with very dodgy links to extremist organisations). 

Complaints doubtless go into the BBC based on them. I've not seen a single one receive "some sympathy" from the BBC Trustees yet.

Is the BBC Trust biased in favour of anti-Israel complainants?

1 comment:

  1. "(every complaint and appeal being, as usual, "not upheld")..."

    Careful... that can lead to a lot of effort being committed to oddly well-resourced folk to argue what 'as usual' means:)

    "Among the published rulings"

    I too am now reading these a lot.

    Sadly few do.

    Hence the value of summaries from fine fellows and fellowettes who may take a brief moment to read such things and offer a precis, with links of course to the full glory of a BBC data dump.

    I think a feature to include in a certain magnum opus teetering on moving from omega to beta if not yet alpha.

    In passing I still wonder about all the valid, relevant efforts that of course do not see public light of day having fallen at earlier hurdles, the BBC having devoted many person-hours to grinding down any from pushing up the greasy totem.

    On matters Israeli, and complaint, it is good to see such as Fraser Steel now getting teased around about for where his sympathies lie, and where and when less so, as his busy schedule demands.


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