Saturday 29 September 2018

Give Your Story a Voice

Remember this post? Perpetually funding Gaza?

I wrote it in a reflexive, knee-jerk fit of disgust.  Here’s what BBC Watch has made of it - it’s a much more knowledgeable take-down of Ed Stourton’s Sunday Programme than mine - starting with the missing ‘d’ in the name of one of Stourton’s two interviewees, the representative of Embrace the Middle East, Nigel Varndell,
I didn’t check the name, and I didn’t research the organisation in question, Embrace the Middle East.
 “Headed by Jeremy Moody, who has an extensive history promoting anti-Israel sentiments. “
As a relatively well-informed (obviously not well-informed enough) pro-Israel listener I merely reacted to the interview, having spotted enough bias in Ed Stourton’s approach even without the facts I neglected to ascertain.

The interviewees’ partisan interests were not properly identified. Sarah Elliot was defined dismissively as a “Trump supporter”, While Nigel Varndell was presented as a ‘do-gooder” from a Catholic charity. While doubting the veracity of Sarah Elliot’s assertion concerning UNRWA textbooks (by demanding ‘evidence’ of antisemitic content) Ed Stourton failed to question, let alone challenge an allegation about child mortality, which appears to have been based on selective information sourced from Chris Gunness of UNRWA. 

To sum up - BBC Watch:
“Radio 4 listeners heard more than an academic discussion. They heard a significant contribution from the “head of marketing and fundraising” at an NGO that is raising money for this particular cause – a cause that was repeatedly portrayed to the Sunday morning audience as the right “moral” choice.”

It also seems that a PR firm with the slogan: Give your Story a Voice describes ‘Embrace the Middle East’ as one of its clients and claims to have been involved in the item’s production – shouldn’t listeners have been made aware of that?

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