Friday 3 December 2021

Antisemitism on Oxford Street - a further update [featuring BBC edits]

And there's more today on the story of the BBC's reporting of the antisemitic incident on Oxford Street - especially that claim from the BBC's Harry Farley that “some racial slurs about Muslims can be heard from inside the bus” ...

The indomitable GnasherJew has questioned the BBC's Harry Farley about this and posted this about what happened next: 

GnasherJew, as you can see, attached the audio the BBC is using as proof. 

Please listen to it. What do you hear? 

I can't hear any such slurs either. Can you? 

Apparently, the BBC is claiming to hear the phrase ''dirty Muslims''.

This is something that the Jewish Chronicle is also reporting, and it's clear that the BBC appears to be rather 'unique' in hearing that.

Some people think they might hear the word ''dirty' though - a word which if said would surely be entirely understandable and appropriate given that the young Muslim 'gentlemen' attacking the bus were literally spitting at the bus and its young Jewish occupants.

So the question is: Is the BBC right that the phrase ''dirty Muslims'' was used?

The Jewish Chronicle is just as sceptical as GnasherJew about the BBC's version of events, so the JC contacted a sound and audio professional who told them he couldn't distinguish the alleged slur either, saying  “I think even a audio forensic specialist would struggle to get something useful [from the clip] ”.

Moreover, neither the Board of Deputies nor the Campaign Against Antisemitism can hear what the BBC claims to have heard either. The former says:
It appears that the BBC has a very serious case to answer here. Incorrectly accusing those experiencing antisemitism of being guilty of bigotry themselves is adding insult to injury.
The latter says:
The audio from the footage is completely indistinct. If someone was shouting abuse from inside the bus then of course it should be investigated, but we cannot discern any voice in the video saying what the BBC claim was said.
This is getting very serious. 

And, in a remarkable twist,  the BBC has already had to water down BBC Harry Farley's original BBC News website piece:

The original piece talked of ''some racial slurs''. As Newssniffer shows, this then got changed to ''a racial slur'' and then got changed again to ''a slur''. 

That says a lot already. The BBC is backtracking.

The BBC, however, is still claiming that ''a slur about Muslims'' happened though. 

A lot hangs on whether they're right or whether they're wrong. 

So why are they sticking so tenaciously with claiming to hear what others can't hear? 

And why are they fixating on asserting and insisting on this when the story ought to be what this story is actually about - the story of a grim antisemitic incident in the very heart of London?

Almost immediate Update, 18:50: Well, after posting this and then re-listening to the audio for a sixth time I do now think I hear a male voice using the phrase ''dirty Muslims''. And now, on re-listening several more times like an obsessive-compulsive, I can't stop hearing the phrase.

If I'm right, this complicates matters. 

So here's how things stand now, in my mind [so far]: 

The Jewish youngsters out celebrating a Jewish religious festival were being abused in the heart of London by aggressive Muslim men giving Nazi salutes and chucking shoes and abuse and - very vigorously - spitting at the bus's windows, while one male voice on the bus was caught by the BBC saying ''Dirty Muslims''. 

The BBC, after holding off reporting the story and then squirreling it away, then went with an online report that went with ''allegedly'' caveats about the antisemitic nature of the attack but then asserted, without caveats, claims of ''racial slurs about Muslims'' and was then forced to backtrack and drop first the plural element of the charge and then the racial element of the charge. 

Depressing and complicated as this story is, it's still a classic example of how BBC reporting's agenda-pushing works and how divisive it can be - and how hard it can be to capture it it all its slipperiness. 

Further Update, 4/12: The BBC has now added a correction to the bottom of the piece:
Correction 3rd December: During the editing process a line was added to this article reporting that racial slurs about Muslims could be heard inside the bus. This line has been amended to make clear that "a slur about Muslims" could be heard.

They added that at 21:56 last night.

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