Tuesday 26 December 2017


I think I'd put this one down as an example of 'Bias by Vocabulary Choice', though perhaps 'Bias by Insinuation' might cover it too...

It was Steph McGovern reading the autocue on BBC Breakfast at 6:07 on Christmas Day:
Guatemala will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, echoing a move by the United States of America. It was one of only nine nations to vote against a UN resolution urging America to reverse its decision. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to nations that voted against America. The US is an important aid donor to Guatemala, an impoverished Central American country
Doesn't that make it sound as if the Guatemalan decision isn't a pure and principled one? In fact, through vocabulary choice and implication (i.e. it's all about US aid), it makes it sound as impure and unprincipled as can be. 

Well it might be, but it also might not. Guatemala has an unusual history as regards Israel. It's been particularly close to Israel since before its inception. (This is something I've been reading up on - and very interesting it is too). 

Many towns and cities in Israel, including Jerusalem, have Guatemala Streets and streets named after the Guatemalan diplomat Jorge García Granados. Guatemala, through Señor Granados, cast the first vote at the UN for the creation of the State of Israel and was the first Latin-American country to recognise Israel. Without Guatemala's campaigning on behalf of the new state, the UN might not have backed it. It also was the first country to open an embassy in Jerusalem back in 1956, with Señor Granados as ambassador (though they later moved it to Tel Aviv). Israel continued to be unusually close to successive governments during the Cold War (closer even, by some accounts, than the US). Pro-Israel sentiment remains strong in Guatemala. After natural disasters, it's Israel who invariably first comes to Guatemala's aid. When Jimmy Morales - the present Guatemalan president - made his first foreign trip beyond the Americas he went to Israel. 

I've not read or heard a word of this in any of the BBC's coverage. 

Did anybody at the BBC bother to do any research on this, or did they just go with their guts and think 'Oh, it's all about US aid and Trump!'? 

1 comment:

  1. Also, I note the BBC never likes to distract from the "Israel is a creation of the USA" meme. In fact the Soviet Union recognised Israel before the USA and Communist Czechoslovakia was its main arms supplier at the outset.


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