Monday 19 February 2018

Hair-raising matters (again)

Contrasting hairstyles

Whilst catching up with Mark Mardell's Twitter fan mail from the Corbynista Left and anti-Brexit hardliners, I spotted another fan (albeit a more qualified one) - this time an anti-Israeli obsessive called Richard Sunningdale

Richard was tweeting, via Mark Mardell, to the BBC's James Reynolds about a news bulletin report broadcast on the 13th February edition of The World at One

Richard began his tweet by saying:
@jreybbc Good report.
But anti-Israel Richard (as ever) wanted more: 
 - but you did not mention that Israeli troops had shot #AhedTamimi s brother in the head beforehand. Which rather contextualises Israel's acusation (sic) that Ahed was inciting violence. 
Richard, as is the way of people who live their lives on Twitter, was factually wrong about it being Ahed Tamimi's "brother" who was shot in the head beforehand. It was Ahed's cousin.

Now, what was it about James Reynolds's brief report that so appealed to anti-Israel Richard (despite it not going far enough in its anti-Israel bias for him)?

Well, this is James Reynold's brief report in full:
Ahed Tamimi arrived in court with her hands and feet in cuffs. She's being tried as a minor, so the judge ordered the session to take place behind closed doors. Journalists and diplomats were ordered to leave, to the frustration of the Tamimi family who'd wanted observers in court. Prosecutors argued that the 17 year-old is guilty of assault and incitement. Her family and her defence say that she was simply resisting occupation against a much more powerful enemy. Her trial will continue next month if found guilty and Ahed Tamimi may face more than a year in prison. 
As regular readers will know, Ahed Tamimi is a young female Palestinian activist, groomed by her hardline father since around the age of 12 to take part in high-profile anti-Israel protests. Her extended family contains two murderous terrorists and the family as a whole, including young Ahed, haven't been shy in their support for terrorism against Israelis - hence the incitement part of her trial.

So what to make of James Reynolds's report and anti-Israeli Richard's (qualified) enthusiasm for it?

Well, for starters, pro-Israeli folk could easily reverse-weasel Richard and demand that BBC James provide the context I provided in the last-but-one paragraph of this post - something that James didn't provide. 

But as for why anti-Israel Richard otherwise approved of this BBC report, well, I don't think that's hard to guess. The language of the piece gives it away. 

It starts with the image of girl being taken into court "with her hands and feet in cuffs". And then we're told that she's "a minor", and that the judge has "ordered the session to take place behind closed doors". "Journalists and diplomats" are "ordered to leave" (a loaded play on the multi-faceted word 'ordered'). The family feel "frustration" as a result. One side says that a 17 year-old girl is guilty; the other - two groups of people - say that she's "simply resisting occupation against a much more powerful enemy". And if found guilty she could "face" more than a year in prison. 

So here's the idea of a "simply-resisting-occupation" girl who slaps and kicks a soldier and who is then taken into court "with her hands and feet in cuffs" and who is subsequently prosecuted "behind closed doors", beyond the sight of "journalists and diplomats", and to the "frustration" of her family and her defence team. It really doesn't sound good at all - especially IF PUT THAT WAY. And now she "faces" prison.  

The language reporters choose and they way they frame their reports remains key and I don't believe any of it simply on trust anymore. 

That said, no wonder anti-Israeli obsessive Richard found that such a "good report". It surely raises doubts in the minds of people who might otherwise be neutral or sympathetic towards Israel about Israel's actions here. 

Omissions there certainly are, but are there any factual errors? Not that I can see. The bias is all in the framing, the loaded language and those telling omissions.

I think this James Reynolds piece pleased anti-Israel Richard for obvious reasons - i.e that it was biased against Israel - but I would appreciate your take on this.


  1. The Israelis are resisting occupation by a much more powerful enemy - the 500 million Arabs, Iranians and others who are within striking distance and wish to see Israel wiped off the map.

  2. "Context? Context? You couldn't handle context!!!!!!"

    Meanwhile, deep in the BBC radiophonics lab, a tech strums out some spooky music on her Theremin for Jezza's next 'editorial of integrity'.


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