The BBC's coverage of the hostage situation at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas drew considerable criticism overnight from British Jewish commenters on Twitter.
I first saw tweets about it from Sky News, but it was about an hour till BBC News got round to reporting it. We're used to the BBC being cautious about such things, but others sounded surprised:
Philip Rosenberg: Still nothing on @BBCNews or @BBCBreaking…Bella Wallersteiner: Weird BBC still aren’t covering this…
When people saw the BBC's headline though their surprise turned to anger. It read: Texas police respond to synagogue 'hostage' situation. Here's a flavour of the response to that:
Tracy-Ann Oberman: What does ‘hostage’ mean @BBCNews? @BBCWorld? Are you suggesting they are not real hostages?Gnasher Jew: Enter the BBC, trying to cast doubt on the fact that these Jews are being held HOSTAGE by placing inverted commas around the word. BBC News never knowingly missing an opportunity to insult Jews…
Alan Curtis: The above news was reported by 'journalists'.
A journalist who worked for the BBC, Leonid Ragozin, intervened with an attempted defence:
A. C. Kaminski: Why the quotation marks?Leonid Ragozin: Because reporters can’t verify independently and quote the police.A. C. Kaminski: Oh, right. But why does the CNN website not use quotation marks, then, when discussing same hostage situation? Does that mean that their reporters were able to verify independently?Leonid Ragozin: Can only speak for the BBC, which I think has better standards than any network in America. Not that it doesn’t deserve criticism.
What Newssniffer shows is that, despite edits, the BBC News website still kept those quotation marks in their headline for five hours before removing them.
Anyhow, this morning brought a new headline: Texas synagogue hostage stand-off not related to Jewish community - FBI. People who aren't inclined to believe the FBI assertion (given that the hostage taker was reportedly agitating on behalf of an imprisoned al-Qaeda-linked terrorist and entered a synagogue and took Jewish hostages) aren't impressed with the BBC's parroting of that either:
Gnasher Jew: And of course BBC World news once again attempts to downplay antisemitism, picking up on a ridiculous FBI statement. They really are an utterly repulsive organisation.
Is it safe to say that BBC relations with British Jews are at an all-time low?