Sunday 8 January 2017

Lead story

The BBC, unlike Sky News or ITV, is leading its news website this morning with:

An undercover investigation by Al Jazeera (Qatar's answer to Russia's RT) recorded a junior Israeli Embassy employee and an MP's aide joking and bigging themselves up in a London restaurant. 

The Mail on Sunday splashed with the story under the lurid headline 'Israel plot to 'take down' Tory minister' and gave it the full sensationalist treatment ("The Israeli Embassy made a shocking vow to ‘take down’ Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office deputy, a secret film reveals today. The bombshell footage...", etc). 

The footage is taken from an Al Jazeera series called 'The Lobby'. 

The rest of the British media, including the BBC, have now followed suit - albeit in a less sensationalist fashion than the Mail

(There's more on this from Alan at Biased BBC here). 

Update 9:12 Andrew Marr thinks this story is serious (and called it "a cracking story" and "another really big story"): 
Seriously, seriously, I mean, this is crossing a lot of lines here, for a diplomat to try to destroy the reputation of quite a senior British minister.
It's very interesting. They've apologised. The government said 'That's absolutely fine'. In the old days the ambassador would have been kicked out of the country for this.
Update 10:12 Sarah AB at Harry's Place takes a similar view to me about this. She calls some of the coverage "melodramatic".

The Guardian's Michael White agrees too:

1 comment:

  1. I take the opposite view. The Westminster bubble is actually a seething cauldron of conspiracies and foreign embassies and entities are as much a part of it as anyone else. Unlike AL JAzeera and Qatar I fully support Israel's right to exist but to try and dispute the essential truth of what this report shows seems a bit silly. I am actually more concerned about the influence of countries like Saudi, UAE, Qatar who buy up media outlets, and buy influence in universities.

    Hopefully, one day, a post Brexit government will introduce controls on these external influences.