Thursday 19 April 2018

Blast from the past.

Remember a few years ago when an pseudonymical poster with the moniker “Soothsayer”  ‘leaked’ an internal BBC message to the comments field at Biased BBC? It caused no end of confusion. From November 2012:  BBC Watch summed it up thus:
“Some unidentified BBC persona, perhaps resentful at being advised to report Operation Pillar of Cloud in a fair and impartial manner rather than with the usual partisan anti-Israel  twist, “leaked” the e-mails by posting them verbatim on Biased-BBC, confusingly and mischievously omitting to clarify that they were in fact BBC internal memos.”

“The way we have been wording our paragraph on when the fighting started is causing endless complaints. It’s the specific reference in time which is upsetting people.
We have been saying:
The conflict began last Wednesday when Israel killed a Hamas military leader, saying it wanted an end to rocket attacks from Gaza. More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed.
To a lot of people, the conflict was already raging, and they interpret that as blaming or putting undue emphasis on Israel.
Can we please use the following form of words which gets round that:
Israel launched its offensive, which it says is aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza, with the killing on Wednesday of a Hamas military leader. More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since then.
Raffi Berg
Middle East desk
BBC News website
+44 203 614 xxxx

and later:
Please remember, Israel doesn’t maintain a blockade around Gaza. Egypt controls the southern border. Israel maintains a blockade around its borders with Gaza, as well as a naval blockade. It also controls Gaza’s airspace.
We’ve mistakenly said “around Gaza” in a number of recent stories, which has generated complaints.
Raffi Berg
Middle East desk
BBC News website
+44 203 614 1824

Because of the complete absence of explanation or background, at first glance these comments appeared to be questions posed by a BBC employee and apparently aimed at his critics at Biased-BBC. Messages that were eventually recognised as internal memos from a BBC journalist (presumably addressed to his superiors at the guidelines HQ) initially looked as if someone at the BBC had mysteriously begun to listen, perhaps with the intention of pandering to the 'notorious Israel lobby' at Biased-BBC.  This individual, based in the Middle East, appeared to be asking ‘our’ permission to use terminology we would find acceptable, so that we’d ease off with our constant criticism.  The pro-Palestinian bias is, and has been the status quo at the BBC for a number of years, and a complex variety of events have only emboldened the BBC and allowed it to become more openly pro-Palestinian than ever. Islamist terrorism and the cultural upheaval engulfing the western world has hardly dented the BBC’s anti-Zionist position. (What would it take?)

Who was this Raffi Berg, we wondered, and who was his pseudonymous saboteur? I don’t think we’ll ever know the identity of Mr or Ms Soothsayer, but the answer to the first question can be found in a remarkable Israel-related story has appeared on the BBC website; remarkable in that it goes against the flow. It’s a positive story about Israeli ingenuity, intrigue, suspense and even glamour and it’s written by the very same Raffi Berg.  The Holiday Village Run by Spies.
 H/T Harry’s Place, where it’s going down well.

1 comment:

  1. Nearly fell off my chair on reading an article by Rafi Berg some years ago. It was devoid of the obligatory snide BBC criticism of Israel and as such was a breath of fresh air.


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