Saturday 8 January 2022

Chutzpah from the BBC - and not in a good way

There's a new story on the BBC News website tonight with a headline that took my breath away:
Yes, it concerns the antisemitic incident on Oxford Street that the BBC has been avoiding responding to for weeks and which many people - from the Chief Rabbi to Nadine Dorries, and from the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews to Lord Grade - have been chasing the BBC over, demanding and not yet getting a swift and full response from the corporation. 

And now a BBC headline says that!

I know BBC headlines can be shorthand, but that seems to me very like spiteful 'trolling' by the BBC website. 

The article itself is here. And it also strikes me as spiteful 'trolling'. 

In fact the more I read it the angrier I'm getting.

Its opening paragraph continues to call the antisemitic attack “an alleged anti-Semitic incident on a bus”. None of the Nazi-saluting antisemites who attacked the bus and abused the Jewish youngsters on it has yet been arrested, so there are surely no legal reasons for the use of “alleged” there. There's nothing “alleged” about it. It was an antisemitic incident, full stop.

This extremely shoddy article goes on to go out of its way to misinform the public. It: 

[a] Repeats the word “alleged”.
[b] Refers to the youngsters as “people” rather than 'children' or 'teenagers'.
[c] Does a 'the BBC says a slur about Muslims was used...but the Board of Deputies of British Jews has disputed' bit, with shades of the BBC's use of language over Israel and - thus - possibly deliberately provocative.
[d] Adds a slippery bit about how the police are treating it as a hate crime 'in its entirety' [hinting that the police are investigating that 'slur about Muslims' too, which isn't the case].
[e] Ends with three paragraphs of a BBC spokeswoman defending the BBC, making it entirely one-sided.

It's all positively misleading. No one new to the story would have much of a clue as to why so many people - not only Jewish people - are absolutely furious at the BBC's behaviour over this. 

Most strikingly, everything that supports the case against the BBC - and all those concerns which we've chronicled here at ITBB in recent weeks - has been omitted. “The fullest account” it certainly isn't. 

There's nothing unintended here, I'm sure of that.

This disgraceful report will surely make things even worse. Whoever wrote it for the BBC should be disciplined. And whichever editor authorised it should be disciplined too. And Nadine Dorries should raise this with Tim Davie too.

UPDATE, 23:20 - Others agree:
Lee Kern: Oh BBC. This isn’t journalism. This is a 100% partisan puff piece to wage a PR war against wrongly maligned Jews. You don’t even quote or report the Board of Deputies complaint. You deliberately omit & give us only your statement. I thought you love balance??
     BBC, compare how you’ve reported your side of things with how you’ve reported the Board of Deputies' side? It’s embarrassing. There’s not even a pretence by you to be objective journalists here. We don’t even know what “criticism of [the BBCs] reporting” even means as you’ve hidden it.

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