Israel Alone or The Grand Coalition?

I make no apologies for comparing a Fox News report with a BBC one. The success of Fox speaks for itself, and as Peter C. Glover argues, it’s about time we saw something similar in the UK.

But one of the biggest slanders going today is that Israel is an aggressor, a source of trouble, an arrogant ungrateful unilateral go-it-alone bully.

So I think that a responsible media outlet would look carefully and be wary of reinforcing that impression (which any sane person must see is extremely far-fetched).

That’s why I really didn’t like this article from the BBC, because, for an article concerning an international issue like Iran’s nuclear program, it’s all about Israel.

The contrast I said I’d offer was with this Fox News article:

Yes the lede is about Israel, but the headline indicates the multilateral approach that is in fact taking place. We all know about Chirac’s threat this week to use nuclear weapons to retaliate against a terrorist state- Fox also points out the German Defence Minister’s avowal that “Yes, we need all options.”.

So what we can see from Fox that we can’t from the BBC is that Israel isn’t in fact out of step, that the precisely stated Israeli position is consistent with everyone else’s precisely stated position within the concerned western alliance. It’s obvious there is a concerted effort going on- that is the news, rather than Israelis on the warpath.

Of course, if I were pro-mullah Iranian I would want the headlines to be all about Israel. There’s enough anti-Israeli feeling out there to fuel a pacifist movement towards Iran if Israel is seen to be the cause of an impending war. Not only that, Israel has both a track record (Osirak ’81) and is widely considered the most imminent realistic threat, militarily-speaking, so any pressure that could be applied to her through the media would be welcome.

But I’m not Iranian, and I don’t like the BBC adopting the talking points of the Iranian leadership. In allowing Israel to be in the foreground, and similarly worried (though less directly threatened) nations to fade into the background, the BBC wittingly or unwittingly wields the spotlight for Iranian security.

Bookmark the permalink.

136 Responses to Israel Alone or The Grand Coalition?

  1. Rob says:

    Ed – I’d say “wittingly”, given their past record.

    On reading a news report about Nepal I came across this friendly write-up of the Nepalese Communists:

    Not a single mention of China as a cause for their growth, although any idiot can see that China must have a hand in it. The BBC don’t even speculate, which is unusual for them (if there is even the merest hint that the US is involved, of course).

    Note this paragraph:

    “Although they participated in the country’s first parliamentary elections, their disenchantment with ceaseless political squabbling – and their anger at the plight of the rural poor – prompted them to take up arms.”

    So, they realised they were getting nowhere via democratic means in their aim of overthrowing the state, so they became a terrorist organisation, while throwing a sop to liberals by claiming to care about the plight of the poor. Communist societies don’t have a great record on the poor – they tend to create an awful lot more of them (although they do keep the numbers down via mass genocide).

    Another good one:

    “They argue that what makes them different from other communist parties in the country is that they want a complete revamp of the multiparty democratic system as part of a programme aimed at turning the country into a Marxist republic.”

    A “complete revamp of the multiparty democratic system” meaning its abolishment, and “Marxist republic” means Marxist dictatorship. The writer of the article didn’t even put “Marxist Republic” in scare quotes which is odd, given how often the BBC use scare quotes and also the fact that a “Marxist Republic” wouldn’t, of course, be a republic at all.

    Finally, this:

    “Unquestionably there is a substantial number of people in Nepal who see the Maoists as the only genuine alternative to the old, repressive social order.”

    Again, Marxism doesn’t have a good record on “oppressive social orders”. The writer could have mentioned this, and said that in effect they would replace one “repressive social order” with another, with the same people at the bottom but different rulers.


  2. Rob says:

    That article could have been written by a seventeen year old member of his local public school’s Sixth Form. Perhaps it was.


  3. stoatman says:


    Just heard on the politics show:

    ” in London, one in seven parents DEFECT to private education”

    One small throwaway comment giving an indication of the way the BBC thinks.


  4. Rick says:

    BBC “World This Weekend” Radio 4 spending a whole programme on “elections” in the PA – it is hardly as if they are free, fair, or even purposeful elections and the BBC gives them more coverage than they ever give German elections


  5. Shearer says:

    The Fox report has its head buried in the sand and the BBC report is living in the real world.

    The Fox report gives the illusion that multilateral action will be unified – whereas everyone knows it won’t be French or Russian planes attacking Iranian targets.

    The Fox report is `on message` for the Bush administration – Rupert is happy not to probe the reality of the situation: that Israel and the United States will be the focus of action against Tehran.

    As for “time we saw something similar in the UK,” don’t we already have Sky News?


  6. Rick says:

    ” in London, one in seven parents DEFECT to private education”

    What proportion of those parents work in the BBC ?


  7. ming the merciless says:

    “The Fox report gives the illusion that multilateral action will be unified – whereas everyone knows it won’t be French or Russian planes attacking Iranian targets.”

    you are forgetting the security services and intelligence gathering aspects. Politically, German, French or Russian planes hitting Iran would be an impossibility – but they could very well be working with the Israelis in intelligence gathering.

    thats the message i’m getting from that Fox News report. And thats where the critique comes in of the BBC – giving the impression that its the Israeli’s going it alone.


  8. Rick says:

    I have not heard the BBC interview anyone from CND or the “Peace Movement” telling us how terrible it would be if Iran becomes another proliferator of nuclear weapons.

    Funny how they can protest against Trident or Poseidon or Cruise Missiles but never when states like North Korea, Pakistan, Iran get busy on nuclear weapons


  9. Ritter says:

    BBC boss’s £21,000 expenses,,1692305,00.html

    “Also detailed were costs claimed by Alan Yentob, the corporation’s creative director whose expenses were the subject of an internal investigation of which he was cleared. Anybody looking for signs of his rumoured extravagance will be disappointed. His expenses totalled £2,722, largely made up of the cost of paying the congestion charge.”

    Is that standard in London, that your employer picks up the tab for the cost of your journey into work? Or do tv tax payers have ‘suckers’ stamped on their foreheads?


  10. ed says:

    Hi Shearer. Big issue you raised there.

    I have a short response- should the BBC ignore the on the record statements of Germany and France which complement the Israeli’s position just because it’s the Israelis who in the real world are likely to act?

    If so, and the BBC should basically read between the lines for its audience’s sake, why does the BBC give prominence to the Iranian’s claim that they want nuclear development for peaceful, energy based needs? It’s clearly head in the sand to allow that assertion, yet the BBC do.


  11. Charlie says:

    have not heard the BBC interview anyone from CND or the “Peace Movement” telling us how terrible it would be if Iran becomes another proliferator of nuclear weapons.

    That just about sums it all.


  12. GCooper says:

    shearer writes:

    “As for “time we saw something similar in the UK,” don’t we already have Sky News?”

    Yes, we have – and it is indistinguishable, politically speaking, from the institutionally biased BBC.

    A Fox equivalent would, if nothing else, provide an opposing point of view to the BBC’s pervasive Left-liberal slant. And one that we weren’t forced to pay for on pain of imprisonment.


  13. paulc says:

    ‘..have not heard the BBC interview anyone from CND or the “Peace Movement” telling us how terrible it would be if Iran becomes another proliferator of nuclear weapons.’

    This is Darwinism in action.
    If members of the peace movemnts or CND went to Iran to protest, they wouldn’t be listened to: they’d likely end up in prison as spies or saboteurs or even :-)shot.
    The people who lead such movements are smarter than that*, so they stay at home in their democracies to parade their consciences and celebrate their ‘moral superiority’ by exercising their right of free speech, where it is nice and safe.
    All the while knowing that it is easier to disarm a democracy than a totalitarian state.

    *saying that; where is Mr Kember, and what is the BBC doing about him?


  14. Ashley Pomeroy says:

    OT, but yet again the President of Iran has said that the population of Israel should move to Europe, and again the BBC either hasn’t reported this, or did so very briefly.

    Google news’ news aggregator is dead handy in this respect, because it shows how widely a story has been reported. To be fair to the BBC, this particular story hasn’t made many ripples (there are only 31 related stories, mostly from the middle east), although it was originally reported by Islamic Republic News Agency:

    Jan 20:
    “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad advised western countries to open the doors of their own countries to Jews to prove their sincerity in supporting people’s freedom.”

    This seems to be the official news agency of Iran. I have no idea if it really is, or if it is an anti-Iranian news organisation along the same lines as Radio Free Europe. It contains a story headlined “Palestinians accuse Israelis of carrying out mass killing” in which Palestinians do not accuse Israelis of carrying out mass killing:

    The upshot of this lack of coverage is that whenever the BBC runs a poll with the question “Do you think that it is right for the US to bully Iran into giving up the right to research alternative energy sources?”, the majority of responses agree that no, it is not right, because they have no more information on the background of the discussion than contained in the question and the BBC’s own reporting.

    Again, and to be fair, there are some people who would probably not even bother to read the BBC’s reporting when answering a question like this – the talking heads in nostalgia television programmes, answering questions about things that happened before they were born, generally don’t bother – but still.


  15. Rick says:

    “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad advised western countries to open the doors of their own countries to Jews to prove their sincerity in supporting people’s freedom.”

    Does he really want Europe to export the 23 million Muslims currently living there to Iran ?


  16. TAoL says:

    “Does he really want Europe to export the 23 million Muslims currently living there to Iran ?”

    There are those on the left-hand side who openly talk of ‘dismantling’ Israel and ‘removing’ Jews from Israel, so ‘returning’ the land to the Arabs. Erstwhile Beeboid Tim Llewellyn recently complained that it is terribly unfair that Israel’s demolition is considered a ‘taboo’ subject. Poor dear.

    Now, politely asking 5.1 million Jews to leave their country is one thing; forcing them to leave is another.

    Fine. A little radical, perhaps. But here is a compromise that should be put to Israel-abolitionists.

    The UK should allow, say, two million the Jews full citizenship; in return, Britain’s 1.8 million Muslims should take their place in the newly-established ‘Palestine’.

    After all, Palestine is a sacred land (for Muslims) and such a move would allow Muslims to escape the Infidel land of the UK and allow them to be at the very heart of Dar-al-Islam.

    Actually, this is no compromise whatsoever but serves as a nifty rebuttal to those who seem unaware that by calling for Israel’s ‘demolition’ they are effectively supporting ethnic cleansing. But if those who advocate the forcible removal of the Jews from the Middle East are not extremists, then neither are those who support the compulsory eviction of Muslims from the UK, surely?

    In short, what is good for the halal goose is good for the kosher gander.


  17. TAoL says:

    Ah, yes. I remember these comments well.

    Shortly after his words came to light, one wag on the BBC message boards re-christened him ‘Dhim Llewellyn’.

    Cruel. So cruel.


  18. will says:

    News24 interviewers seem to be encouraging people who plan to discriminate against the immigrant grey squirrel in order to preserve the habitat of the native red.


  19. Peregrine says:

    Very interesting from Tim Llewellyn. I spoke to a BBC news writer over Christmas and not only did he describe Fisk as a pro-arab nutter but was quite clear on how bias is perceived within the BBC. The problem, from a specific angle, was that alot of news is rebalanced to be acceptable for an international audience. He admitted for example that the word “terrorist” would only be used domestically.

    This doesn’t excuse their views on what the international audience should receive and to me shows over-compensation following needless white middle class guilt. But it did tell me that people like Tim Llewellyn are in the minority within the BBC.


  20. Ritter says:

    Peregrine – that’s an interesting phrase – the BBC indulge in ‘re-balancing’ the news! You are right though, the BBC have an eye on the international audience. Look at the hand-wringing going on here:

    Thursday 24 November 2005
    At Broadcasting House, Glasgow, Scotland

    Click to access govsmins_day2Nov05.pdf


    132.1 The Board considered proposed guidance on the use of the word ‘terrorist’ to
    accompany and be published alongside the Editorial Guidelines. The Director-
    General had asked the Journalism Board to consider the application of the
    Editorial Guidelines with regard to the term following the bombings in London
    on 7th July.

    132.2 The Director-General explained his view that the Guidelines themselves did not
    require amendment but that guidance on their implications and application
    would help ensure consistency across all BBC output. He did not consider that
    a ban on the use of the term ‘terrorist’ was appropriate but guidance would help
    journalists choose between terms such as ‘terrorism’, ‘terrorist’ and ‘acts of
    terrorism’. While the Board’s approval was not required for Guidance notes to
    the Editorial Guidelines, Governors were asked to endorse management’s
    proposed approach.
    132.3 The Board discussed use of language when reporting terrorism, including
    implications for perceptions of the BBC domestically and overseas.
    The Board
    agreed that it was right to allow editors to use the term ‘terrorist’ but that its use
    should be subject to the exercise of caution and judgement in individual
    circumstances. The Board agreed that the Editorial Guidelines should not be
    changed but should be supplemented by a Guidance note from Editorial Policy.
    132.4 The Board endorsed the proposed Guidance subject to a number of drafting
    amendments to differentiate between usage of the terms “terrorist” and
    “terrorism” and use of bold text to clarify and emphasise key points. The lead
    Governor was delegated to endorse the final version.

    The BBC ‘worldview’ is a product of ‘re-balancing’ where (due to sympathies with left-wing groups worldwide) ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorists’ simply do not exist. Period.

    I wouldn’t care, but I am being forced to pay for it.

    Shearer – Have you ever seen FOX News? It’s like the BBC but interviewees get a drubbing for not being right-wing enough, that goes for them all, democrat or republican, and discussion panels are skewed to the right-wing viewpoint rather than the left. Honestly it is nothing like Sky News which is the BBC without the sneering or obvious bias. Actually Sky News is mainly fairly impartial to all sides, I only occassionaly pick up biased reporting, and Sky has few polictical axes to grind. Finding left-wing bias on BBC News broadcasts is like taking candy from a baby most days, as this site attests.


  21. paulc says:

    ‘The problem, from a specific angle, was that a lot of news is rebalanced to be acceptable for an international audience.’

    Do what!!

    An International Audience is given a different version of the news ‘cos they might not like our version?

    And which version is correct? Theirs or ours?
    Or perhaps neither?
    I’m imagining a left-wing BBC apparatchik declaiming Jack Nicholson’s words from his Reithian heights; ‘The Truth! You can’t handle the Truth’

    ‘and nation shall speak cobblers unto nation’


  22. Rob Read says:


    What part of British don’t the BBC understand


  23. disillusioned_german says:

    OT: US navy captures Somali ‘pirates’

    “…The guided missile destroyer USS Winston S Churchill went in pursuit of a suspect vessel after receiving a report of piracy, the navy said…”

    So the Yanks have a warship called Winston Churchil? Remind me – I’m in no mood to visit the Royal Navy website – is there a HMS Winston Churchill at the moment? I don’t think so.


  24. Anonymous says:

    As has been remarked before, Israeli actions leave people “killed”, whereas in Palestinian activities people merely “die”.

    Also, according to al-Beeb “It is not clear whether the dead man was a militant or a bystander”.

    Well, it seems that the individual was “Muhammad Abd Aal, a member of the Popular Resistance Committees, (PRC)”.,7340,L-3204570,00.html

    Who are the PRC? Well, “the PRC is made up of many former Fatah members but today identifies itself with the Islamist stream of Palestinian factions.

    PRC members have enlisted themselves in Hamas’ favor ahead of Wednesday’s Palestinian elections.

    The PRC is thought to be responsible for the second largest number of rocket attacks on Israel, after Hamas.

    How come the £3bn/yr publicly financed meejay giant hasn’t been able to update their account pf this incident since its 16:38 time-stamping?


  25. Anonymous says:

    “In the past, members of various Palestinian groups have been killed on several occasions due to ‘work accidents.'”,7340,L-3204570,00.html

    Let’s hope for more of these ‘work accidents’ amongst the Hamas-supporting Paleosimians.


  26. Lee Moore says:

    OT : The BBC is running “a new [weekly] series of environmental opinion articles” called The Green Room. So far we have heard from three people • the first is from the “Stop the World I want to get off” movement • he would like us to take steps to reduce the global population by about half; the second is puffing the importance of trade unions in environmental matters (!) and the third article is mostly a long sneer about rich tourists pouring money into the hands of the noble Inuit. What are the odds against hearing, by the end of the series, the views of someone to the right of, say, Jonathon Porritt ? Or may we expect a series of articles called The Gold Room wherein, weekly, a capitalist sounds off on the evils of socialism ?
    Earth is too crowded for Utopia
    Labouring for a greener planet
    Time to return the Arctic favour


  27. will says:

    QM2 passengers make mutiny threat

    Can paying passengers “mutiny”?


  28. Susan says:

    So the Yanks have a warship called Winston Churchil?

    Why not? He was half-American after all.


  29. disillusioned_german says:

    Susan: That wasn’t my actual question. My question was “Why doesn’t the Royal Navy honour the great man in similar style?”


  30. disillusioned_german says:

    Let’s say the question wasn’t posed specifically but it was at the back of my mind.


  31. Susan says:


    Sadly if Winnie were alive today he’d no doubt be standing in the dock alongside Nick Griffin for the nasty things he wrote about the RoP in The River War.


  32. Rick says:

    What part of British don’t the BBC understand
    Rob Read | 22.01.06 – 7:29 pm | #



  33. Rick says:

    “Why doesn’t the Royal Navy honour the great man in similar style?”
    disillusioned_german | 22.01.06 – 9:12 pm | #

    The Royal Navy is shrinking so fast that it is becoming shore-based. What about the famous traditions of naming – HMS Nelson, Rodney, Hood, Victorious, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, ?


  34. Allan@Aberdeen says:

    Would Sir Winston’s pronouncement on islam be something like “a backward retrograde doctrine which induces in a man a fervour as dangerous as hydrophobia in a dog” or words to that effect? Drafted from memory but we get his drift. Of course, Sir Winston Churchill had excellent form when it came to recognising tyrranies for what they are, and always contrary to the beliefs of the BBC. In the 1930’s he was marginalised by the BBC as he attempted to warn us of nazism. And following the defeat of Hitler, his warnings on the nature of communism were ignored until his great call to the power of the US made in Fulton Missouri.
    Would his description of islam ever pass the lips of, say, James Naughtie on Radio 4? No chance!


  35. Robin says:

    Its getting to be a badge of honour if the BBC doesnt like you personally or the group or sector that you are in.
    Cant make your mind up about a debatable subject?Just take the side of whoever the BBC is sneering at.


  36. TAoL says:

    Maybe the BBC should run a competition inviting its punters to come up with a name for a new warship? Here are your ten BBC options:

    HMS Toynbee;
    HMS Beckham:
    HMS Monbiot;
    HMS Kofi-Annan;
    HMS Alibhai-Brown…

    Oh sod it. This is too depressing. I am going to rink myself into a stupor.


  37. TAoL says:

    Erratum: “rink” should read ‘drink’ .


  38. Ashley Pomeroy says:

    “the first is from the “Stop the World I want to get off” movement • he would like us to take steps to reduce the global population by about half”

    Surely this is being achieved in western democracies, whereby the birth rate is dropped as people put off having children (in some cases forever). Mark Steyn has written about this.

    I haven’t read this environmentalist chap’s screed but I doubt he calls for the sterilisation of the world’s fastest-growing populations, i.e. the people who live in non-western democracies where women cannot choose to not have children. I doubt he calls for an end to immigration, which is helping to increase the population of western democracies. The BBC would never give that sort of view a voice.

    (reads link)

    In fact he doesn’t call for anything, he just flaps his hands. I don’t trust the director of the British Antarctic Survery to tell me about anything other than Antarctica; I picture Wilford Brimley from John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, locked on his own in a hut and quietly going ga-ga. “I’d like to come back inside now”:


  39. Ashley Pomeroy says:

    …whereby the birth rate drops… or alternatively …whereby the birth rate is dropping… or even …whereby the birth rate has dropped…

    I think I was thinking of all three at once. Also, “survey” rather than “survery”. Is there a carvery at the British Antarctic Survey? Frozen polar bears… penguins… polar bears. One or the other.

    I did however spell Wilford correctly.


  40. Susan says:

    Here you go Alan:

    How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.…A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
    Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities … but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome. [The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pp. 248-50.]

    Definitely not BBC material.


  41. Robin says:

    It cant be HMS because thats old and royalist.Its got to have the word “EUropean in it.How about the EUropean Green Vessel-EGV.Powered by wind farms and other renewable energy,keep goats in the hold to s*^t and produce methane gas.
    So the next Spithead review would be

    I can see the EGV`s Diversity and Multiculturism coming into view,their hulls in approved Health and Safety dayglo yellow.These are powered by burning landfill site rubbish,they`re at full speed doing 4 knots.


  42. ming the merciless says:

    iranian president met up with the terrorist in damascus on friday

    was this covered by the bbc?


  43. ming the merciless says:

    oops – typo – should read “met up with the terrorists”

    islamic jihad, hamas and PFLP-GC


  44. Angie Schultz says:

    Disillusioned German, you might want to take a look at this story about the Winston Churchill. It involves the German ship Lutjens. Of course, that was four years ago.


  45. Anonymous says:


    The election of a leftie in far-away Bolivia leads BBC V


  46. ming the merciless says:

    slight OT (nothing to do with the bbc) –

    UBS have announced that they will no longer do business with Iran or Syria.


  47. disillusioned_german says:

    Angie: I’d be surprised if your average German sailor were that pro-American but you never know. I’m not disillusioned for no reason but then I’ve never considered myself to be your “typical German” anyway. I’ll definetely have a Cross of St. George on my window when England play during the coming World Cup.


  48. Rick says:

    It will look nice your St George flag amid all those banners hanging out of apartment windows “Heisse Luft statt Russisches Erdgas”


  49. Eamonn says:

    The Lib Dems

    The BBC seeks to understand, to sympathise. It is an attitude never extended to the Tories when similar scandals broke. What we do know is that the Lib Dem leader lied more than once on TV about his problem, whilst their Home Affairs spokesman must have lied to his wife about his “other” interests. It is hard to imagine the Tories being handled in such an understanding way by Naughtie and co.