The cycle of violence isn’t always a circle.

This one is tentative. It looks to me like a possible example of the BBC ascribing moral equivalence to two sides that are not morally equivalent, at least not recently. However I do not know much about the history of the two communities involved, and I am open to correction.

In Pakistan fifteen Shia Muslim worshippers were murdered at prayer almost certainly by a Sunni Muslim suicide bomber.

The BBC says,

The communities have a history of violence.

On 2 March, Sunni radicals killed more than 40 people and wounded 150 in an attack on a Shia procession in the south-western city of Quetta.

Last July an attack on a Shia mosque in Quetta left around 50 dead.

I don’t need telling that the Ayatollah Khomeini was a Shia, or that Sadr is a Shia. Shia fanaticism certainly exists. Nonetheless I see no warrant for the bit about “the communities” in Pakistan having a history of violence: all the examples cited are Sunni terrorism against Shias.

Indeed, the very group (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi) that claimed responsibility for an earlier massacre of Shias is also suspected of the Church bombing in January. Not for the first time, I don’t think this is a “cycle of violence” at all: it’s a group with links to Al-Qaeda and the Taleban killing randomly chosen adherents of any religion or denomination they don’t agree with.

Welcome to another new media scrutiny blog.

Eric Svane has started Le Monde Watch. It’s mostly in French, but English translations of selected articles can be found at the fine multi-lingual group blog which often focusses on bias in the French media, No Pasar&aacuten!

OK. Someone tell me the HTML code for one of those upside down exclamation marks.

I must give another mention to another media scrutiny blog, Oh, that liberal media. Two of the contributors, Stefan Sharkansky and Patterico, have come up with a phrase “The Power of the Jump™” (I’m pretty sure that TM is ironic) to describe the practice where the bit of the story that the New York Times or whoever doesn’t like is buried at the end of the column after where it says “Turn to page A64.” Your Beeb-watching will be even more productive if you bear this technique and its internet and televisual equivalents in mind.

Media scrutiny blogs are quite a sub-genre now, and I think we can learn from each other.



Selective reporting continues at your friendly Beeb.

B-BBC commenter Rob Read, and others, have noticed that BBC reporting can be selective on which stories it highlights. Why is the BBC so quick to note the endorsement of John Kerry by Warren Buffet but unable to find space for the damaging story from Kerry’s fellow Swift Boat veterans who find him unfit for office. The Beeb is happy enough to report on Air America, a liberal alternative to conservative talk radio (which pretty much owns the medium at this point). Could the BBC find the resources to update their articles of 1 April to note that the fledgling network has had, shall we say, major funding issues? Why does the BBC have so little to tell us about the latest developments on the UN Oil-For-Food scandal and current stonewalling by Kofi and Co? Why does this highly-funded media monopoly sit on the WMD story coming from Jordan over a couple of weeks when some 20 tonnes of chemicals were intercepted by authorities? Where, as Rob mentioned, are BBC stories on the opposition to al-Sadr?

Why, with all the public monies at its disposal, is the Beeb being so economical with these stories unless it is that they are simply less appealing to the palate of media elites?

We are all Westerners now.

While I’ve been away from blogging I caught what little news I did mostly from Ceefax. This comes from Monday’s Ceefax page 117:

The Western firm targeted in the shooting that killed six in Saudi Arabian city Yanbu is evacuating its foreign staff.

Two Americans, two Britons, an Australian and a Saudi national died in Saturday’s gun attack at the offices of engineering firm ABB Lummus.

Note the careful delineation of the nationalities of the six victims. Note in contrast that ABB-Lummus is merely described as “Western.” Actually it it Swiss-Swedish, having been formed by a merger in 1988 of Swedish company Asea and a Swiss company with the confusing initials BBC, standing in this case for Brown, Boveri & Cie. (Why “& Cie”, which I thought meant the same as “& Co.”, should get its own initial is a mystery to me.)

True, ABB-Lummus is a now a multinational company with a mutinational workforce. But the BBC never has any trouble about specifying the American roots of US multinationals. I rather think the reason they slurred the national origin of the company while laboriously spelling out the national origins of the murdered men is that the deaths of Americans, Britons and Australians suggest that terrorism is a punishment for the forces of those nations being in Iraq where as the targeting of a Swiss-Swedish company suggests that terrorism is directed against all infidels.