What Middle East Bias?

Anyone with even a scintilla of intelligence who has endured the BBC report on the Middle East will wonder if it is Hamas that directs editorial policy! Listening to the likes of Jeremy Al-Bowen, for instance, whinge about the plight of those poor oppressed Palestinians even as they kill each other in their desperation to kill innocent Israelis, is to listen to the voice of bias unfettered. I’m just surprised he doesn’t wear a kaffiyeh! And which of us will forget Barbara Plett’s award winning performance as she wept copious tears even as she bravely reported the death of the repulsive thug Arafat?

So anyway, today comes the news that the BBC continues to seek to suppress the results of the internal study it did on alleged Middle Eastern bias. Three Court of Appeal judges rejected a challenge by Steven Sugar, a commercial solicitor from Putney, south-west London, to overturn a High Court ruling which rejected his claim that the contents of the report should be made public under the Freedom of Information Act. Mr Sugar may now decide to take his case to the House of Lords. He argues that the 20,000-page report by Malcolm Balen should be published as part of the debate about a perceived anti-Israeli bias at the BBC. But the BBC argues that, under the Freedom of Information Act, it is exempt from disclosing information held for the purposes of “journalism, art or literature”. The broadcaster contends the report was always intended as an internal review to help shape future policy on its Middle East coverage and was never intended for publication. (Why, did someone think it was too generous to the Israeli point of view?)

But why so coy? Where is the transparency? What is it that the BBC seeks to withhold from our view? As the people who pay for the BBC, I believe we have a perfect right to see the report that the BBC seeks to hide away. It is my view that ANY objective report into BBC coverage of Middle Eastern affairs will have revealed a systematic failure to apply the necessary professional impartiality of a news reporting organisation which is precisely why the BBC will continue to use public money to fight the gallant efforts of Steven Sugar.

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46 Responses to What Middle East Bias?

  1. GrimlySqueamish says:

    That report is ours. We paid for it, we have very right to see it.

    But the BBC won’t show us, because they know its contents will embarrass them.

    Far better to spend even more of our money preventing it from seeing the light of day.

    BBC. Hiding the truth. It’s what we do best.


  2. NotaSheep says:

    If the report didn’t accuse the BBC of bias against Israel I doubt that the BBC would be so keen on suppressing it. If I am wrong then I will happily apologise but only if the Balen report is released in its entirety first.


  3. Bryan says:


    The weepy Plett didn’t spill tears on the death of the repulsive Arafat but as she witnessed him being helicoptered out of his compound to France for treatment. To her there was obviously something profoundly moving about the bloated old terrorist thug being elevated. I can’t imagine why. Actually, I can.

    Aside from that quibble, I agree with all that you say above.


  4. Tom FD says:

    Here’s an easy one for you.

    Original interview:

    Unbelievable BBC article:


  5. David Vance says:


    Yeah, you’re right. I was welling up myself so much – with tears of laughter as the wicked Arafat approached his maker -that I got the order wrong. I still feel Plett should have got an Oscar.


  6. pounce says:

    Dave Vance wrote;
    I still feel Plett should have got an Oscar.

    I think you will find the BBC version is called a ‘Mohhamed’


  7. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    Pounce: Erm, but then what shape would be make the little gold statue? 😉


  8. Bryan says:

    Shape of a bomb?


  9. Steve_Mac says:

    David Gregory (BBC):
    Pounce: Erm, but then what shape would be make the little gold statue?

    How about Theo van Gogh holding a copy of Jyllands-Posten, knife optional.


  10. pounce says:

    Pounce: Erm, but then what shape would be make the little gold statue?



  11. onanthebarbarian says:

    Pounce: Erm, but then what shape would be make the little gold statue?
    David Gregory (BBC) | 26.01.08 – 12:53 pm | #

    What about a wee golden teddy bear ?


  12. Chuffer says:

    Surely the same as an Oscar but with an explosive belt round his midriff….


  13. EssexBoy says:

    I’m very surprised it hasn’t been leaked in its entirety, there must surely be more than one copy.


  14. Alan says:

    I don’t know how important is Balen report anymore. BBC now sides with Hamas even against Fatah and Egypt on many occasions. They are more extreme and less balanced than Al-Jazeera, as we’ve clearly seen from footages Pounce has posted.
    The good old times when BBC actually cared about being balanced and commissioned the Balen Report are long gone.


  15. WoAD (UK) says:

    Da Comrade Beeb, you win the Mohammed Prize.


  16. meggoman says:

    David Gregory (BBC):
    Pounce: Erm, but then what shape would be make the little gold statue?
    David Gregory (BBC) | 26.01.08 – 12:53 pm | #

    Come on David G. Some serious comment on the views of an insider as it were? What’s your view on David Vance’s comments? True? False? Over the top? Wrong? Right? Misinformed? A raivng fascist?


  17. meggoman says:

    I don’t know how important is Balen report anymore……….

    Alan, it is crucial that the Balen report be relaeased to the people who paid for it. End of story and argument.


  18. Martin says:

    Ken clarke is an arsehole. He used to be my MP (he was crap). He’s a fat knob. When he ran for Tory leader the last time the BBC loved him. Simon Mayo almost sounded as if he wanted to make love to him. Why?

    Because at heart Ken is a soft liberal. Belives in the European state project, loves the BBC and is generally left of centre.


  19. David Vance says:


    The BBC ONLY loves those on the right whose heart lies mired in the left.


  20. pounce says:

    The BBC, how it defends Hamas and half a story..
    Egypt watches Gaza traffic go on
    Thousands of Gazans have poured into Egypt for a fourth day, despite Egyptian attempts to reseal the border…..
    Unconfirmed reports quoting the Egyptian foreign minister said that at least 38 Egyptian security personnel had been injured in incidents with Palestinians on the Gaza border.

    And here is how everybody else is reporting it;
    Nearly 40 Egyptian security personnel injured by Palestinians at Gaza border
    CAIRO, Egypt – At least 38 Egyptian security personnel have been hospitalized, including some in critical condition, due to incidents with Palestinians on the Gaza border, the Egyptian foreign minister announced Saturday.
    Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters following a meeting with the Egyptian president and several cabinet ministers, that between 10 and 12 riot police and 26 border guards, and two senior officers, were all in the hospital, some in danger of losing their lives, due to “actions by Palestinian elements” over the past two days.

    The BBC, how it defends Hamas and half a story..


  21. pounce says:

    Bloody hell, Hamas shooting police, rockets hitting Isreal and the BBC takes its time. Have a terrorist die of Old age and the Report is up there faster than Abu Bowen can say “I hate Israel”.

    Palestinian radical founder dies The founder of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), George Habash, has died in Jordan, associates say. Habash died of a heart attack, one of his former colleagues said. He was around 80 years old. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called three days of national mourning.

    I wonder if the BBC flag will be at half mast.


  22. Peregrine says:

    Much as I loathe most of the BBC’s output I believe that it is right that the Balen report (whatever is contained within it) is not subject to FOI rules.

    It might contain an unflattering picture of the BBC’s coverage of the Middle East or it might even say that the BBC should support Hamas and other extremists against standard liberal thought so that the BBC can become the propaganda arm of choice for the future world government. It matters not.

    What is important is that an organisation, whether supported by tax payers or customers, is allowed some formal method of internal reflection that can open doors to real criticism without it having to answer to its critics.

    The problem for the BBC is that it has admitted that this report, and I assume some follow-up actions, exists but they have not bothered to run any consultative process after it. Even the current nu-lab shower pretending at running this country bother to make an effort at so-called consultation, even if they ignore the results.

    So the court was right to reject the appeal but the BBC have failed to dampen the opprobrium that is direct at them. As tax payers we retain the right to be angry about that.


  23. dave t says:


    But you read the tribute to Habash and it mentions killings, shootings, bombings, hijacks and death death death delivered by him and his fellow Palestinians.

    NOWHERE does it say the word ‘terrorist’. Radical militant but never terrorist.

    Says.It.All. about the BBC.


  24. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    meggoman: Frankly no opinion at all. I have limited understanding of the Israeli situation and am really not qualified to discuss it.
    I just couldn’t resist the tiny chance at a joke. Apologies.
    I do think the BBC has the right to keep internal documents secret. If it compiled a list of the BBC’s best video journalists it would be ridiculous if a local newspaper could use the FOI act to get hold of that list and then poach said reporters for it’s website. Or how about my personnel file, should that be released under FOI?
    As a journalist currently using the FOI I can tell you the BBC is much easier to get information out of than other bodies. I thought Government rather than the Beeb was really the intended target of the Act.
    But as for the Balen report, well I leave that one to those who really understand all the issues involved.


  25. Joe (The Netherlands) says:

    The BBC can hide behind whatever legal device it wishes to, however it cannot hide from the central truth that the more the BBC spend licence fee money on stopping the release of this report the stench of something wrong will continue.

    The argument put forward by the BBC is pathetic, how the BBC dares to have a blog called ‘Open Secrets’ when it refuses to be open itself beggars belief.

    I personaly support a licence fee, however, the BBC must be held accountable when it’s reporting is found to be open to accusations of bias, after all what was the reason for getting Mr Balen to perform a review if you do not publish the findings?.

    Perhaps the BBC should take another look at it’s own survey in which only 7% of participants felt that they can trust the BBC.

    Examples of bias which are known are the reporting styles of most of your Middle East reporters with obvious examples such as Barbera Plett and her infamous crying over the death of Arafat.

    I imagine that the report advised the BBC to strive for a more balanced approach in it’s Middle East reporting, however, I doubt very much that it shows a totally clear bias against the Israelis, however by not releasing this report you are allowing the stench of bias to fester and grow.

    A quick trawl on the internet brings up over 2 million hits regarding BBC bias, so it is clear that they have a huge problem with it’s reputation.

    Indeed on one site it lists all the BBC employees who have worked for Labour, the number of these employees is amazing, so for the BBC to not relase the Balen report seems to reinforce the perception of bias which if it keeps ignoring could be the plank that loses the BBC it’s licence fee as more and more people feel that the BBC is out of touch and untrustworthy.

    And that would be a pity, we do need the BBC but it needs urgent reform.

    And yes I pay a subscription fee so bugger of John Reith.


  26. tom atkins says:

    You now simply have to listen to the typical weekday output of Radio 4(anyone but the English) to hear the BBC’s pro-muslim bias.

    Or is it rather a pro-apeasement bias?

    The liberal (international white trash) elite really are rattled -just have a look at today’s London Times outrageous article on Martin Amis on page 3.

    It seems that these days you can only be part of the intelegencia if you DON’T think for yourself or speak your mind.

    If you do they trash you.


  27. TheTruth says:

    Beating the BBC is so stupidly easy it beggars belief.

    DON’T PAY THE TV LICENCE! Most people have been brainwashed (NuLiarbor style) into thinking not paying the BBC (sorry, forced subscription) is a crime.

    If the BBC is starved of cash then it’s daily volume of crap will surely end?

    Sites have already been published on how pathetic TVLA (Capita) really are.

    The bias WILL stop if you refuse to pay:



    The problem with this country is… too much moaning and not enough doing.

    Proud non-payer of the BBC/NuLiarBor for 6 years.


  28. WoAD (UK) says:

    Martin Amis is a degenerate. I lost all respect for him after his “muslim states must evolve” comments. Idiotic in the extreme. Liberals can’t think. Which is why they form packs, and when one liberal leaves the pack it is suddenly revealed with horrifying clarity just how degenerate liberals are. For this reason the liberal press baa in unison in a futile effort to return the lost fukktard back to the herd.


  29. Peter says:

    Greggers old chap, here’s a subject that a science correspondent can get his teeth into.The EU emissions policy which is so off the wall as to be deranged.Surely a suitable case for treatment by the BBC?


  30. Tom FD says:

    The title of the Ken Clarke article has now changed. (It was previously “Cut the soundbites, Cameron told” – it’s now “Clarke warning over soundbite use”)


  31. Tim Almond says:

    David Gregory,

    “As a journalist currently using the FOI I can tell you the BBC is much easier to get information out of than other bodies. I thought Government rather than the Beeb was really the intended target of the Act.”

    Well, you’re receiving the income from a tax, therefore you are part of Government, and should be subject to the same rules.


  32. Biodegradable's Ghost says:

    The BBC reveals that Palestinian terrorists launching rockets don’t really want to harm civilians – it’s all Google’s fault!

    Witnessing Gaza’s rocket militia

    Not far away, in a small room with peeling walls and pictures of past so-called martyrs, is a 23-year-old called Mohamed.

    He is excited because, after three years with the group, this is to be his very first rocket-firing mission.

    A university-trained computer expert, he is peering at a screen, looking at Google Earth maps on the internet.

    He is searching for the best target for their short-range rockets.

    But Mohamed has a complaint: these Google Earth map-makers, he says, are deliberately hiding Israeli military installations.

    Israel has claimed repeatedly that these rockets are not targeting anything military but are just fired indiscriminately to kill civilians.

    So, let’s get this right. If only Google didn’t hide military installations the terrorists would fire at them. Israel claims the rocket attacks are indiscriminate, but the BBC says they’re not – they deliberately fire at civilians because they can’t target the military.

    The BBC forget to tell us that the firing indiscriminately at civilian areas is a War Crime.

    They could also have mentioned that Google’s founder is a Jew – they missed that one!

    Abu Haroun’s rocket-firing militant group is from Fatah, the previously dominant movement which lost control of the Gaza Strip to its rivals Hamas last June.

    That’s Fatah, led by the moderate Abbas, aka “Abu Mazen”, Israel’s “partner for peace”.

    Abu Haroun is disappointed. He says only a few Israelis have died as a result of the rockets fired by all the different militant group. According to Israel there have been 13 fatalities in the last six years.

    The BBC are disappointed too, their excuse for hardly ever reporting the rocket attacks is because there aren’t enough dead Jews to justify the coverage.


  33. Sue says:

    What is happening?
    There are too many threads on this website now.
    I would prefer some consolidation. Am I alone?

    If no-one replies I won’t know if they disagree or haven’t noticed this amongst the muddle.


  34. The People's Front of Judea says:

    The Truth:

    “Beating the BBC is so stupidly easy it beggars belief.
    The problem with this country is… too much moaning and not enough doing.”

    Everytime someone cuts to the heart of the problem up here it does give me a chuckle. The inevitable sounds of tumbleweeds that follow such comments, are proportional to the silence that greets BBC boardroom meetings when somebody mentions Bias.

    Forget it TheTruth, as I’ve mentioned enough times before, DOING something proactive against the BBC is somebody else’s job. We have jobs to keep, mouths to feed, bad feet etc. etc.

    Just sit back and “join us brother”. We can smash the BBC during our lunch hour and tea breaks if we post enough of our disgust on the internet.

    I reckon a 5 to 10 year blog campaign is realistic.


  35. Simon says:


    Brilliant. JR?


  36. Simon says:

    Oops, meant to address that to Biodegradable’s Ghost!


  37. Bryan says:

    Biodegradable’s Ghost | 27.01.08 – 4:49 pm,

    Great fisking there.

    I listened with disbelief yesterday to that From Our Own Correspondent on the World Service as the BBC tried to present the rockets as errant firecracker-type things. I also found this bit particularly disgusting:

    Israel has claimed repeatedly that these rockets are not targeting anything military but are just fired indiscriminately to kill civilians.

    Why does the BBC present this as a claim. Is it not obvious that it’s a fact? Well, we know the answer to that question: since Israelis are making the statement, it must be suspect. Who cares that it can be easily verified by anyone who’s been half-awake during this conflict. The BBC will do anything to divert attention from the atrocities of its terrorist friends.

    So here we have the BBC embedded with the Islamic barbarians who are waging war on civilization. What would have happened if that rocket that Martin witnessed had killed somebody in Sderot? BBC subversives should look at their conscience, if they have one, to answer that question.


  38. Biodegradable's Ghost says:

    Bryan, worse still is I’ve just discovered that it was an old report no doubt specially recycled for International Holocaust Memorial Day.
    Caught In the Act: BBC Regurgitates Old News

    Talking of International Holocaust Memorial Day, has anybody seen any coverage of it on the BBC?

    Searching the website yesterday I could only find reports of it in regional news sections.

    A few years ago a rabid antisemite boasted to me that “in ten years time everybody will have forgotten about the Holocaust”. It looks like it’s happened even sooner than he could have hoped for, thanks to the BBC and it’s bias by omission.


  39. Sarah-Jane says:

    The People’s Front of Judea | 27.01.08 – 6:26 pm | #

    and TheTruth, somewhere earlier.

    Even as a beeboid I also find the lack of discussion of (well-behaved) non-payment puzzling.

    It did for the poll tax? Why not the license fee?


  40. Sue says:

    Our regional newspaper has a regular columnist, a great admirer of George Galloway and a rabid Israel hater. Zionism is a word he uses pejoratively with the confidence of one who assumes everyone else agrees with him.

    Next to his column on Saturday was a reader’s letter. Banner headlines proclaimed Never Forget Lesson of the Holocaust Throughout the whole thirty centimeter column occupied by his letter the writer managed to avoid mentioning the word he could not bear to say. Yes, Jew. He forgot to mention the Jews.
    It was from a gent named Fareed Ahmad, President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Devon & Cornwall.
    After kindly lifting their boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day, this man reminds us not to forget a lesson, which to him appears to mean ‘Don’t gang up against the Muslims.’

    The letter was aptly placed next to an article by the aforementioned columnist, in support of Hamas who he thinks are unjustly named ‘terrorists’. To him they are brave freedom fighters. He provides a list of statistics on the total Palestinian death toll. He feels that showing that there are more deaths amongst Palestinians than Israelis is sufficient to justify his case. Perhaps he wishes there were more dead Israelis? Or the exact same number.
    Hatred for Israel is rife in this country. Does the BBC acknowledge any responsibility for their contribution?
    The BBC article in the Honest reporting ‘regurgitation expose’ is a typical example of slanted use of language. All the Palestinians are named, seen cuddling children, empathised with, while the Israelis are distanced. The language is so OTT that I wondered at first if it was a spoof. It would work well as one, with practically no alterations.


  41. The People's Front of Judea says:

    Sarah Jane:

    “Even as a beeboid I also find the lack of discussion of (well-behaved) non-payment puzzling.

    It did for the poll tax? Why not the license fee?”

    Careful Sarah Jane, don’t start giving them ideas. There are potatoes to be peeled and a good docco on Discovery tonight, so as much as I’d like to arrange an organized march against the TV license fee…uhm…

    Funny really, as much as lefties are railed upon up here, at least they know when to get off their unwashed arses and kick up a stink in the middle of Trafalgar Square, get lots of news coverage and even more support for themselves.

    But I think maybe if we all started typing with the caps lock key down, we could crush the BBC in maybe 9 and a half years instead of 10.


  42. Sarah-Jane says:

    But I think maybe if we all started typing with the caps lock key down, we could crush the BBC in maybe 9 and a half years instead of 10.
    The People’s Front of Judea | 28.01.08 – 7:23 pm | #


    Well, as the Charter expires in 2017 in any case, typing louder may be enough.


  43. Dr. Irene Lancaster FRSA says:
  44. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Irene, this is off-topic but how do you feel about the Red Cross boycott against admitting MDA as a member for all those years? I have always found their excuses virtually Beebian, vile and cowardly at the same time.