Saturday, January 31, 2009

The BBC's Gaza appeal debacle

The BBC last week made a strange decision not to broadcast an appeal to help Gazans. In their words, "We decided not to broadcast the DEC's public appeal because we wished to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in the context of covering a continuing news story where issues of responsibility for civilian suffering and distress are intrinsic to the story and remain highly contentious."

Anyone who ever watches how the BBC covers Israel cannot but laugh at this absurd logic. Israelis and Zionists have no problem with the millions of dollars being spent to help Gazans; only with the millions being given to Hamas, directly or indirectly. Israel itself spends incredible amounts of time, effort and money to help Gazans. Israel has never protested aid going to Gazans from WHO, the Red Cross or any other charity group.

In a weird way, the BBC in making this decision seems to have betrayed its own genteel anti-semitism. While no Jewish or Zionist group asked the BBC not to air the appeal, the Beeb assumed that the selfish, powerful Jews would be upset at giving money to Gazans. Rather than deal with those imaginary protests the BBC thought that they should throw the Elders a bone, deny the appeal and use it as "proof" of their objectivity.

One reason that the BBC is so skittish is because of the Balen report that showed the BBC to have anti-Israel bias. While the BBC has spent enormous amounts of time and money to keep the report secret, it appears to have made an impact on the BBC - but in the wrong way. Rather than actually improve its reporting, the Beeb instead decided to make cosmetic decisions like quashing the appeal for Gazan aid.

The BBC's vaunted "impartiality," of course, mistakes evenhandedness for reality. The BBC made the assumption that Zionists would be as upset at aid being given to Arabs as Arabs would if the BBC appealed for bomb shelters for Sderot. That may be evenhanded but it is hardly impartial. It betrays the BBC's biases.

And now, instead of dealing with imaginary threats from the all-powerful Jewish lobby, they have to deal with very real threats from very real people.

From News of the World:
NEWSNIGHT hardman Jeremy Paxman was chased onto a tube train by a raging Palestinian supporter.

Shocked commuters watched as the presenter leapt into a carriage, pursued by a protester who was outraged at the BBC’s refusal to broadcast a Gaza appeal.

‘Rotweiller’ Paxman ended up on the receiving end of a verbal rant at London’s Green Park station.

After fleeing down the escalators, Paxo, 58, managed to squeeze in between the closing doors of a train.

He told a friend: “A man started shouting at me, ‘Paxman, you are a Zionist agent’.

“He pursued me down the escalators, moving very quickly to get me. I turned round and told him I’d tell him my opinions on Gaza if he settled down but he carried on shouting.

And this is not an isolated incident. There have been protests outside BBC buildings over the past week.

So now the BBC will have to bend over backwards to prove to anti-semitic, anti-Zionist idiots that they are not the Zionist tools they appear to be to protestors. One example is a former BBC journalist and now government minister:
Others, including Health Minister Ben Bradshaw, pointed the finger at Israel. Insinuating the BBC had bowed to pressure from the Jewish state, he said: "I am afraid the BBC has to stand up to pressure from the Jewish state occasionally."
It would be nice, of course, if the BBC would actually start to be as fair and impartial as it pretends to be.