Tuesday 16 October 2018


Cologne railway station

Kaiser at Biased BBC linked to two reports of the same event (a violent hostage-taking incident in Cologne) and observed that "one of these days does not seem to agree with the other". 

The Breitbart report sharply amplifies the 'radical Islamic terrorism' angle while the BBC report suppresses it.

They are the two extremes. If you then turn, say, to Deutsche Welle you'll find a report which sits somewhere between them.

So in the Breitbart report we get the headline Cologne: ‘Islamic State Sympathiser’ Takes Hostage, Sets Fires, plus "The suspect is reported to have spoken in Arabic about the Islamic State" and "German magazine Focus reports sources who claim that...the suspect is indeed a sympathiser of the Islamic State" and a paragraph mentioning the Cologne sex attacks by migrants at New Year 2015/16, though there's also a paragraph saying "There is presently no indication of the identity of the hostage taker, nor motive".

In contrast, the BBC, whose headline is Hostage safe after Cologne railway station drama, makes no mention whatsoever of Islamic State or Arabic speech. The closest it comes to mentioning a possible terrorism aspect is to cast doubt on it: "Local media say the incident does not appear to have been terror-related."

As for DW, whose headline is German police search for clues in Cologne hostage-taking, it says "Authorities believe with "high probability" that the suspect is a Syrian man with a German residency visa", "During their search, [police] discovered the identity documents for a 55-year-old Syrian migrant with a German residence visa valid until 2021", "Authorities have yet to clarify the suspect's motive. 'The investigation is considering all possibilities and we are not ruling out terrorism,' said Cologne deputy police chief Miriam Brauns" and "Witnesses have reportedly described the man as professing allegiance to the "Islamic State" militant group while committing the attack. But police have not independently verified such testimony."

When you read the DW report you can see just how far the BBC has gone to downplay any possible Muslim terrorism angle. And they are even more brazen in their agenda-pushing than Breitbart as Breitbart at least have the decency to add that bit saying "There is presently no indication of the identity of the hostage taker, nor motive".

Incidentally, Newssniffer shows that the BBC actually edited their report to make it even less about terrorism. An earlier version said "It is not clear whether there is any terror link. No details have emerged yet about the hostage-taker or any potential motive". This was removed and ""Local media say the incident does not appear to have been terror-related" added.

Returning to Biased BBC, after Kaiser pointing out the 'worlds apart' nature of the Breitbart and BBC reports, Roland Deschain observed:
Well, I guess they both have their agenda and report accordingly. However one charges me £150 before I can watch any other channel on condition of its impartiality, whilst the other does not.


  1. The BBC often makes reference to "local media" as though they haven't got their own German and European correspondents covering the area. Don't they have contacts? Can't they find out for themselves?

  2. Note the concrete detail and precision of the German report: National origin, age, immigrant status and visa details. They even quantify the degree of belief: with high probability - and whose belief and who has said what. How about that, BBC?

    1. Yes, that German report puts the BBC to shame.

    2. The logical conclusion to the BBC reporting style is "Man did something. Things happened as a result. Now it is over. All's well. "


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