Ben Brown, BBC News 24 headlines at 9pm

Ben Brown, BBC News 24 headlines at 9pm:

“Nine men are in custody in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap a British Muslim soldier and film his execution”

Note to all BBC journalists (and some at Sky News too):

‘Execution’ implies a legal or judicially sanctioned killing. You cannot be charged with conspiracy to ‘execute’ someone. These people are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to murder (along with conspiracy to kidnap and torture).

Update:I was pleased to see at the end of the BBC 10 O’Clock News and at the beginning of Newsnight that Fiona Bruce and Jeremy Paxman, respectively, used the word ‘murder’ in their headlines. It’s a shame about all the other journalists who’re too biased or, more likely, too ignorant to realise that ‘execution’ is not a synonym for ‘murder’.

Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:

Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

Bloody sincing*.

A BBC report headed Iraq blasts kill Ashura pilgrims contains this sentence:

Ashura, the most important Shia festival, has witnessed serious sectarian violence since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

That, alas, is true.

But the BBC should have made clear (as it did in the report from 2004 I am about to link to) that the reason for the relative absence of of bombings of Shia pilgrims at Ashura prior to the US-led invasion was not that the Americans had not yet arrived to spoil the bucolic peace. It was because Saddam Hussein suppressed Ashura. In the same way, his Sunni-dominated regime suppressed as dangerous to his rule many other expressions of the Shia branch of Islam followed by the majority of Iraqis.

These public commemorations of the death of Husayn Ibn Ali – the self-flagellating aspect which I admit I find somewhat distasteful, but if the practice is meaningful to these pilgrims, then it’s (literally) no skin off my back – have only freely taken place at all in Iraq since the OK-BBC-we-get-it “US-led invasion.”

*For an explanation of “sincing”, see here.

Belated sense, belated reports.

The BBC banned then unbanned one of its message board threads discussing Little Green Footballs. There is a detailed post discussing the affair at Augean Stables: On the Politics of Silence.

The latter post led me to this post from Daniel Pipes’ blog, mentioned by Laban here, in which he said how odd it was that his recent debate with the mayor of our capital city, Ken Livingstone, in front of a capacity audience at a conference held yards from the Houses of Parliament was all but ignored by the media. There has been one BBC report on it, although, for a reason Laban pointed out, this report was of limited utility to most of the licence-payers. This silence despite the debate being chaired by the BBC’s own Gavin Esler. Perhaps a report is in preparation.

I still am terribly busy, and haven’t even had time to do more than skim the blogs – even Biased BBC! So apologies if this has already appeared and been discussed to bits.

Along with various Biased BBC commenters

, I couldn’t help but notice how this BBC Views Online story, Three dead in Israel suicide bomb, about the tragic murder yesterday of three people in Eilat, had this paragraph tagged on to the end of it:

The last suicide attack was at a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing 10 people. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in that time, mainly in the Gaza Strip.

The first of these sentences is of course wrong. They mean the last suicide attack in Israel.

The second sentence is just plain irrelevant to the story, although the cub journos responsible for this addition will doubtless claim that it adds ‘essential context’. Hogwash. Unless every story of ongoing Middle East violence is to be accompanied by a potted history of recent Middle Eastern events (which this one sentence just isn’t) or a scoreboard of deaths going back till who knows when, then that line just shouldn’t be tagged on to the end of this story apropos of nothing else in particular.

The second sentence doesn’t even read sensibly. When they say “Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in that time”, what time do they mean? Do they mean ‘since then’, since the last suicide terror murders? If so, wouldn’t it make sense to say that clearly? (They do mention April 2006 waaaay up at the top of the piece, but the two don’t seem to be otherwise related). Bleedin’ amateurs – can’t even propagandise clearly!

For anyone interested in following the development of this tawdry BBC Views Online attempt at news reporting, the wonderful News Sniffer Revisionista is the place to go (for some strange reason the BBC refuse to provide their telly-taxpaying customers with this information themselves).

The successive versions revealed by News Sniffer are quite illuminating, particularly the differences between versions 11 & 12 (see the News Sniffer page linked above). Notice how the story is massaged and a couple of chunks are excised, as if to downplay the horror of this incident – for instance, this line:

The force of the explosion left body parts scattered around the bakery, while outside trays of bread lay on the blood-stained pavement.

magically disappears, as does this sentiment from the UN’s Middle East envoy:

I feel deeply for those killed and I share the pain of their families. I send them my deepest condolences.

I wonder why these chunks were cut out. Reasons of space perhaps? No more room on the BBC’s servers?

While we’re on the subject of the Eilat murders, earlier, on BBC News Twenty-Bore, the BBC’s reporter on the spot (‘Going live!’) was making much of this being the first suicide terror attack in months (although he didn’t use the word ‘terror’, natch) and that things had been relatively quiet until today.

Hogwash, again. This is the first successful suicide terror attack in months. According to the former Labour MP, Lorna Fitzsimons, interviewed in Eilat by Sky News, there have been 62 foiled attacks over the last nine months. Whatever the exact figure, there have been many, many attempted attacks, with only Israel’s high state of security and the vigilance of Israeli citizens and security services preventing the indiscriminate murder of many more civilians – not that these failed attacks were mentioned on either BBC Views Online or on BBC News Twenty-Bore. Strange that, since the Beeboids are so keen on adding ‘essential context’.

BBC Miscellany

Nigel Farndale in the Telegraph takes issue with the BBC’s Diversity Tsar.

Sooner or later she was bound to feel the need to justify her salary. So, just six months into the job, she has made a pronouncement. It is about the BBC’s coverage of Saddam’s execution. When BBC reporters expressed horror at the manner of it they were being “culturally insensitive” she says, because doing so imposed Western values on a different culture.

Mary, Mary, Mary. Where to start? The Nazis were a “different culture”. Does that mean we should have been more sensitive to their robust views on race relations? Or what about the Taliban? Is it insensitive to say that we find their enthusiasm for stoning adulterers a bit hard to stomach?

Another term for cultural relativism is moral cowardice. It means you don’t have the courage to stand up for what your culture believes in. As it happens, our culture believes in liberal democracy, freedom and tolerance. It also believes in equality for women. But when confronted by cultures that don’t believe in those things the BBC, or Mary FitzPatrick at least, wobbles.

In London last weekend the hottest ticket in town was the debate “A World Civilisation or Clash of Civilisations ?” hosted by Ken Livingstone and attended by around 5,000 people and 150 media representatives.

Extensively covered by the blogs, it was surprisingly ignored by the BBC. With the exception of this report. In Arabic.

Lastly – I wonder how the BBC missed this story. I bet they’re kicking themselves.

Bolton Council has scrapped its annual Holocaust Memorial Day event at its town hall on Sunday in favour of organising a National Genocide Day and claims by doing so “does not mean that the holocaust is being ignored”.

The north west England council will still mark the day by flying flags at half mask but has decided instead to host its own event in June which it claims will be supporting an interfaith council idea.

The move has been seen by some groups as bowing to local Muslim pressure for a renaming of the day which the Muslim Council of Britain has called for.

In a statement, the council said: “Following consultations with the town’s Interfaith Council and other faith groups it has been decided to take part in Genocide Memorial Day later this year in June when a bigger, outside event, in which more people can take part, is planned. Victoria Square outside the Town Hall could be the venue.”

(kippot-tip – FW)

The reason is the death of hope

The reason is the death of hope, caused by a cocktail of Israel’s military activities, land expropriation and settlement building – and the financial sanctions imposed on the Hamas led government which are destroying Palestinian institutions that were anyway flawed and fragile.

The “death of hope”, eh? Sounds pretty comprehensive to me.

I thought about the leaked email from Jeremy Bowen when I made comparison between this November 2006 BBC report of a Christian exodus from Bethleham, and this January 07 articlefrom the Jerusalem Post. What you notice as the BBC journalist attempts to explain a massive lurch from Christian to Muslim domination is that somehow Israel is to blame for it. Two thirds of the article is devoted to the actions and restrictions meted out by Israel.

Most pathetic is the attempt made to tick the old “public/private” box when interviewing the locals:

“Publicly Christians here insist there is no friction with the Muslim majority.Earlier this year though the Islamist Hamas movement came to power.

And in private some say they now dress more conservatively. There have also been fights between Christian and Muslim families.”

Mmm- it would seem these “fights” were a little one-sided, given statistics which show that what was once an 85% Christian town is now 15% Christian (must be all the Jews moving in and grabbing land as usual, eh, Jeremy?).

Maybe the BBC could learn a little more, and so could we, from attending to the report (a second link here to the JP’s eyeopener) of Palestinian Muslim Khaled Abu Toameh. The brutal truth is out there, Aunty, but you don’t care.

“A number of Christian families have finally decided to break their silence and talk openly about what they describe as Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in this city.
The move comes as a result of increased attacks on Christians by Muslims over the past few months. The families said they wrote letters to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Vatican, Church leaders and European governments complaining about the attacks, but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.”

How the BBC buried the cash-for-honours story

from Saturday’s Daily Mail:

The BBC faced more claims of New Labour bias Friday night after giving prominence to Downing Street’s instant denial over the latest twist in the cash-for-honours scandal.

Rival ITV News led its 6.30pm bulletin on Thursday with allegations that police had found deleted e-mails on a second computer system linked to the probe.

The Mail was also working on making the story its front-page splash Friday.

But the BBC’s Ten O’Clock News spent less than 20 seconds on the story Thursday evening. When it did get round to the story at 10.20pm, the broadcaster decided to focus on the Government’s instant rebuttal.

On Thursday night’s programme, Dermot Murnaghan told viewers: “Downing Street has denied new claims about the cash-forhonours inquiry.

“ITV News and the Daily Mail claim that the police had uncovered a second computer system within Number 10 in which e-mails appeared to have been deleted.

“This evening Downing Street denied the existence of the system and said the story was untrue.”

A BBC spokesman said: “The story was reported extensively and the coverage was balanced and impartial.”

The criticism comes a week after Newsnight faced accusations of bias over its treatment of the story. The show led on an embarrassing e-mail between two Conservative Party members rather than the news that Ruth Turner had been arrested in the cash-for-peerages case.

Hat tip to commenter Alan-a-gale.

Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:

Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.