Sunday 12 November 2017

And has the BBC fact-checked this too?

Honest Reporting has a post today about a BBC Travel article headlined Israel's ancient underwater treasure. 

They say, quite rightly, that it's an interesting piece, but they note something peculiar about it: there's a missing word that begins with 'j'. 

The BBC piece focuses on the discovery of 2,000 gold coins in the sea near what is now the Israeli city of Caesarea but avoids the word 'Jews', merely (and bizarrely) calling the 1st Century inhabitants of the area "the native people". 

Isn't that quite something (he says, putting it mildly)?

I have to say though that Honesting Reporting may only have scratched the surface of the historical perversity of this BBC article. 

The BBC piece says that Caesarea was "the capital of Roman 6AD", even though it was actually the capital of Roman Judea at the time. It was only in the 2nd Century AD that Hadrian changed the name of the province from Judaea to Syria-Palestina. 

And that's just for starters. The author - one Breena Kerr - also wrote this: 

The bit about the city coming under Cleopatra's control "sometime after 96BC" immediately aroused my suspicions as it's suspiciously vague, and Cleo was only born in 69BC. 

Plus, I'm not at all sure about Breena's "the infamous Roman emperor" bit. She doesn't name the 'infamous' Roman emperor, and I'm guessing she means Julius Caesar, who wasn't an emperor. Herod the Great actually named it after the actual first emperor Augustus (Caesar Augustus), who - by the standards of Roman emperors at least - was one of the least "infamous" emperors. 

Does she actually know what she's talking about?


  1. "Does she actually know what she's talking about?"

    Is it this Breena Kerr, a freelance contributor to the BBC amongst others...

    She has a degree in Media Studies - that surely is qualification enough to pronounce on anything! :)

    If it's her, then the fact she Tweets:

    "Pretty bummed to learn Aristophanes was a guy."

    would seem to chime in with your thoughts on her historical expertise.

  2. Also notice the curious term "the historical Jesus." What is that supposed to mean in the context of an article where everything mentioned is historical? But of course we wouldn't want to confuse the "historical Jesus" with that of the New Testament would we?


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