Friday 29 June 2018


Nada Tawfik

Browsing the internet this morning, I spotted a comment somewhere else saying:
On Radio 4 about 6:40am they were talking about the [Annapolis] shooting, “…Trump has criticised the media in the past so should take responsibility for the killings….”. BBC are a total joke these days. They are not even subtle in the bias anymore.
Ah, if only it were that easy! 

Checking it out for myself, it turns out not to be an actual quote. Neither Justin Webb nor BBC North America reporter Nada Tawfik said anything quite so direct or unsubtle this morning. 

What they did do, however, was to imply the possibility of a link between the killings and the Trump administration's hostile attitude to journalists and to imply that President Trump has got questions to answer:
Justin Webb: Does highlight, doesn't it, how dangerous and unpleasant it is to be a journalist at the moment in the United States? I mean, has the White House...has anyone kind of said anything about what happened?
Nada Tawfik: Yeah, I mean it absolutely does. And, you know, across the United States and in New York, in Los Angeles, in Chicago, here in Maryland, police departments have been stepping up security at major media outlets in light of this incident. And, you know, they've said that they have been concerned for some time about the safety of journalists. Now, President Trump was questioned about this. He offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims. But he was asked if his...his Press Secretary, his Deputy Press Secretary specifically was asked...if, you know, the comments that President Trump has made about the press has made it more dangerous in this day and age. And all she would really say was that they condemn any kind of violence and obviously don't condone that. But certainly, you know, an event like this does just underscore the very charged nature which journalists are increasingly working in in this country, in America.
According to NBC, however, the suspect's grudge against the newspaper dates back long before Donald Trump's election (back into the era of Barack Obama's first presidential term):
Jarrod W. Ramos, the man identified as the suspect in the shooting that killed five people at the Annapolis, Maryland, Capital Gazette, appears to have had a longstanding grudge against the newspaper over a 2011 column that reported his guilty plea to criminal harassment, according to court records. 
So maybe this has absolutely nothing to do with Donald Trump and that by even raising and implicitly giving credence to the possibility that it does the BBC is betraying heavy symptoms of media hyper-partisanship here.


  1. There is now a siege mentality on both sides with Trump and the press, and the BBC are firmly dug in on their side of the barricades. Certainly there is media hyper-partisanship. My interpretation of the transcript would be that the BBC, and no doubt the journalist who questioned the Press Secretary are just lobbing in a few grenades. Annapolis was just the means. There is nothing new about the BBC using tragic events to make an entirely separate political point, re: Grenfell. This is a verging on the amoral, and has nothing to do with any lofty ideal like the truth - the kind of thing our world class broadcaster prides itself on. But the original comment is in its own way equally bad and not at all helpful. How can we possibly hold the BBC to account if we resort to the same kind of half-truths and exaggeration?

  2. I heard a news bulletin report on this on Radio 5 Live this morning. It was definitely "bias by silence". By not referring to the guy's background and personal grudge against the newspaper (dating to the Obama era, as you note) they left it to the listener to fill in the gap with all sorts of dark imaginings..."Probably a Trumpy taking his revenge on the media..."...

  3. I think it is a bit rich the BBC suggesting that Donald Trump has created a highly charged and dangerous atmosphere for journalists. Have the BBC and other media organisations taken a look at their own obsessively critical and insulting reporting of Donald Trump, which has generated a dangerous climate. He has a right and a duty to respond.

    1. Yes, they are hypocrites. They always have been but aren’t self aware enough to see it. For them, the liberal propaganda invading the entire BBC output is the only way to create the society they crave.

  4. All but the most demented will realise that blaming Trump here will not fly. They will deal with this by simply inserting such things as Trump's 'enemy of the people' statement into any discussion of this incident and leave it to the listener to assume there is a valid connection.


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