Same Old Same Old

Q. What do you remember about the slap on the wrist given to the BBC by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee?

A. Some of the complaints about bias in the Middle east Editor’s reporting were upheld.

All well and good. What has happened since? Has Jeremy Bowen changed? Has he been demoted? Has the reporting become less biased?
The Zionist Federation and the intrepid Jonathan Turner who tussled with the BBC for almost two years over this are not happy.

On April 16th they issued a press release stating exactly why they were not satisfied with the BBC’s response. Or lack thereof.

For example rephrasing of the web article was inadequate and not in accord with the trust’s findings.
The BBC recognises that ” there is no consensus view of history” and that “there are others who have different analysis – which of course they are entitled to.”
But Jeremy Bowen does not refer to the existence of “different analyses” Does he even realise there are any?

The Zionist Federation contends that the BBC’s biased reporting over the years has contributed to overt and covert hostility towards Israel and Jews, which has led to the racist acts against British Jews which they have statistically documented.

Even those who dispute that will wonder why so little has changed, and why Jeremy Bowen is still the BBC’s Middle East editor.

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32 Responses to Same Old Same Old

  1. pete says:

    The corporation knows its target TV audience tunes in for cheap an nasty tat, not foreign news coverage. If they had any professional pride Bowen and his pals would clear off to a quality newspaper to push their version of the truth. What satisfaction can they get from working for an organisation that is in the business of making trash TV such as Eastenders and Casualty for a dimwitted and uncritical audience?


  2. Martin says:

    The BBC is just full of Jew haters.


  3. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    There are 350m Arabs and only 7m Israelis. Now which side would you choose…? And all those future well paid jobs at Al Jazeera might be in jeopardy…


  4. Millie Tant says:

    That reminds me of Stanley Holloway reciting "The Lion and Albert":

    Sorry, I don't know how to make a link live on this new incarnation of Biased BBC.

    (When is the new site going to be fixed or the old one reinstated?)


  5. Craig says:


    Any organisation that thinks it's acceptable to broadcast James Coomarasamy's hate-piece against Jewish philanthropists ('From Our Own Correspondent', Saturday) will have no qualms about letting Bowen do what he hell he likes. (See 'nrg' & 'Too True (The Old Bryan)' on Friday's Open Thread.)
    That was one of the most disgusting things I've heard in a long time.


  6. sue says:

    I did see those comments on the open thread, and I observed that the BBC might try to defend the item by saying that FooC is an impartiality-free zone (bit like the rest of the BBC one might think) because, as it says on the FooC website:

    “….. it can often be cathartic for the correspondent to sit down, compose his or her thoughts, and start writing.”
    to which Too True replied:

    Yes, FOOC is the place where BBC “journalists” let their hair down and let us know what they really feel. And no, it doesn’t excuse the bias.
    He’s quite right. It doesn’t. But carrying on regardless after a public ‘outing’ of bias as per my post is equally “ totally unacceptable behaviour” to coin a phrase, if not more so.


  7. sue says:

    Millie Tant,
    Matters pertaining to the new site are out of my hands. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I always liked HaloScan, and, as a friend of mine will say – “I’ll say no more.”
    You need to use HTML to make a live link. Pain in the arse if you ask me.

    Why does it remind you of Albert exactly?

    “What, waste all our lives raising children – to feed ruddy lions? – not me!”


  8. deegee says:

    I expect that Jeremy Bowen is fairly typical of BBC foreign correspondents.

    We notice it more because the Middle East is one of the major focuses of this Blog. That could mean the BBC generally gets it right in the other domains or (IMHO more likely) far fewer B-BBC readers and commenters have the interest and expertise in the other areas. For example, when was the last time there was an ‘African’ or “Asia-Pacific’ comment on B-BBC?

    JB came to the Middle East with an extensive background in following the ‘boom boom’ of war but no knowledge at all of this region or worse, with a knowledge of this region exclusively from the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent. He still does not speak Arabic or Hebrew so must rely on ‘helpful’ stringers and local journalists to find stories, arrange interviews and translate. Even by his own admission, those helpers have been exclusively of the hate-Israel brigade. On top of this he bears a grudge (I am agnostic on the correctness of his opinion) for the death of his Hezbollah fixer in Lebanon.

    For the BBC to seriously discipline Bowen would open the door to examination and discipline of other foreign correspondents and even cast doubt on their training and ethics. Perish the thought.


  9. Craig says:

    Very true Sue.

    The BBC is surely just hoping people will forget about Bowen's 'outing' for bias. Good on everyone who's determined not to let them – and him – get away with it. Bowen should have been punished.

    Coomarasamy should be watched. He 'outed' himself as a Jew-hater. That article's overuse of the words 'wealthy' and 'Jews' (in close proximity), & his sick use of the oldest of anti-Semitic stereotypes (in the long tradition of Shylock, Mime and Fagin) is unforgivable.


  10. sue says:

    I don’t think JB is all that typical. First, as you say, it is alleged that he has a personal grudge.
    Second, how necessary is his total dependence on ‘helpful’ stringers, as opposed to – well – unhelpful stringers? I mean he’s based in Jerusalem isn’t he, surely he must bump into Israelis from time to time. I know he regards Israelis as rude – but I hope a brave chap like Bowen could handle that. Relying on partisan stringers is somewhat a matter of choice surely.
    See how self-perpetuating the ignorance is? Armed with a knowledge of the region (and the analysis of history) exclusively from the trio you mention, what else can one expect?
    For all I know, that may apply to other foreign correspondents too, but our focus on the I/P reporting is because it has affected an entire generation’s outlook, not only that, but the theme runs right through the BBC’s output, and like the snake that devours its own tail, it both reflects and creates it.

    Jeremy Bowen is a lightweight, he’s not up to the job. Apart from the bias, even. Why the BBC want to hang onto him is a mystery, apart from face saving or pure defiance.


  11. Millie Tant says:

    sue said…
    Millie Tant,
    Matters pertaining to the new site are out of my hands. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I always liked HaloScan, and, as a friend of mine will say – “I’ll say no more.”

    You need to use HTML to make a live link. Pain in the arse if you ask me.

    Why does it remind you of Albert exactly?

    “What, waste all our lives raising children – to feed ruddy lions? – not me!”

    3:10 PM, May 25, 2009
    Sue, I didn’t mean that as a question for you to answer. Maybe it was more of a forlorn sigh or perhaps a hint, hint, nudge, nudge attempt to rattle the cage of the powers that be (er…um…David!)

    Here’s what reminded me of Albert and the lion:

    [Hoffman] …When I first saw the title of the motion I was reminded of the couple who took their six year old daughter to London Zoo. Unfortunately when they went to the lion’s cage she got a bit too enthusiastic and stuck her hand through the bars and the lion grabbed her and started pulling her towards his jaws. …

    Anyway, it was just a bit of off-topic frivolity.

    When I used to post links to Haloscan, I would just copy and paste the URL. I have no idea what to do when you say you have to use HTML!


  12. David Preiser says:


    I don’t see anything in the ZF statistics about violence against Jews that mentions the BBC or makes any attempt to connect anti-Semitic violence to the BBC at all.

    However, I do know that the entirety of the BBC’s reporting on acts of violence against British Jews can be found here.

    Yet, etc….


  13. deegee says:

    Millie Tant said…5:07 PM, May 25, 2009

    I have no idea what to do when you say you have to use HTML!HTML works mostly on the basis of two tags: one to start the formatting and one to finish.
    <b> This is bold </b>, <i>this is italic</i>, You just slip your text in between the tags. Use PREVIEW to check you have it right.

    Links are harder. Unfortunately pressing the links in the current system replaces the text you are reading.
    <a="URL">Top 10 Timewasting Sites</a> URL means the address of the site you want the text to link to. Don't forget the double quotes " "

    Haloscan, for all its foibles was much easier 🙁


  14. sue says:

    David P,
    I didn’t include the link, but on the ZF website it says:The ZF believes this (long delays in dealing with the complaint) has been a significant contributor to the recent rise in antisemitic incidents in the UK to record levels. 
    You need to scroll down to near the end of ZF news.


  15. David Preiser says:


    Thank you.

    Someone ought to document the percentage of anti-Jewish attacks during 2008 were reported by the BBC versus what percentage of anti-Muslim, anti-black, or anti-gay attacks were covered.


  16. TooTrue says:

    Craig and Sue,

    Imagine Coomarasamy writing such a vile article about Muslims. Would never happen.


  17. Grant says:

    deegee 3:26
    I find it incredible that Al Bowen still does not speak any arabic or hebrew. Is he stupid or just a lazy s*d. ?
    Still I guess nobody in the hotel speaks these languages anyway.


  18. Grant says:

    Bring back Haloscan !!!!


  19. deegee says:

    The BBC coverage of the debate in Israel over banning commemoration of Nakba Day is another Same Old, Same Old. Anger over Palestinian Nakba ban proposal

    The approach, which we have seen so often in other circumstances is to report opposition to the proposals when the BBC opposes it. Thus the BBC can claim they are reporting the opponents not themselves opposing.

    If they support one side or want to take pressure of one of their favourites they report the defence rather than the charges.

    It would be totally outside the BBC practise to report the reasoning of the proponents of such a proposal and we really don’t expect it.

    Veteran Israeli cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen has decided to start his own Nakba tradition and reprint this cartoon annually.

    BTW Can anybody think of a country other than Israel that tolerates a Nakba day equivalent?


  20. sue says:

    Harry’s Place has been lively recently, and there was a post (about the Palestinian Literary festival that was banned/postponed/ not banned) that engendered hundreds and hundreds of comments, some of which touched on the Nakba issue.

    Just heard Making History on R 4, where a listener requested info on the creation of Israel for his thesis. David Cesarani the historian gave an interestingly anti-British account, unusual for the BBC.
    Must mention that, for balance.


  21. Anonymous says:

    I clicked on your “statistically documented” link and… it doesn’t mention the BBC once. In fact, it doesn’t mention the media, or make the claim that the media are in any way to blame.

    David, with such an intellectually lazy, sloppy, and self-serving opponent like you it doesn’t need friends. Seriously. It’s a 50/50 bet that the BBC would actually be worse off if you stopped blogging this tripe.


  22. sue says:

    Anonymous 8:18.
    You are a very lazy anonymous. I bet you’re the same one who did this before. So eager are you, my anonymous friend, to fight with David Vance, that you don’t bother to read either the post, ascertain who is the poster, or look at the other comments on the thread. Let me explain.

    1. This post was by Sue, not David Vance.
    2. This point was dealt with yesterday, see David P, 6:01pm, and Sue, 7:30.
    Happy now?
    No, because it’s you that has been very lazy and sloppy this time.
    However, if you must comment on any more of my threads, please prepare some sort of argument or debate about the post, preferably something worth answering, or even reading, and no tripe.


  23. Mailman says:

    Im surprised that AL Bowen cant speak Hebrew or Arabic.

    Does anyone know if it is customary for journalists to be able to speak the language of the area they are working in? One would think that any ad for vacancies would make knowledge of local languages a vital requirement for being effective in working there.

    So can someone clarify whether Al Bowan and or cant speak the local lingo?



  24. Mailman says:

    Forgot to ask, how long as Al Bowen been working in the middle east?


  25. sue says:

    Have fun Googling Bowen. There’s stacks of it.
    Also quite a lot about the subject of this thread, the BBC and others’ responses to the findings. Try this from Stephen Pollard, dating back to 2007.

    (Sorry, live links not working for me)


  26. sue says:

    For that matter the link I gave yesterday didn’t work either:
    From Making History Radio 4. David Cesarini.
    ( Re:interestingly anti-British) this thread, above, 4:49pm


  27. Grant says:

    Surely anyone living in a foreign country would want to learn the language of that country, however imperfectly, whether as part of their job or not ?
    In Al Bowen’s case, he could at least learn the arabic and hebrew for ” A gin and tonic , please and charge it to my BBC account “.


  28. Grant says:

    I haven’t tried posting a link here, but am having trouble accessing other posters’ links. Very frustrating !
    And it doesn’t help when “techie” people give me instuctions I can’t understand.
    Just want to do a simple click !


  29. deegee says:

    Checked out the Making History Radio 4 recommended by Sue.

    I haven’t read Major Farran’s Hat and I expect Vanessa Collingridge hasn’t either, past the synopsis on a website, so I may be doing her an injustice but contrary to Sue 4:49 PM, May 26, 2009 I found it a neat fit for the Beeb’s usual narrative.

    It begins with “events (in the Middle East) led to the first international terrorist campaign”, (in context that means anti-terrorism campaign), “of modern times”. I thought, surely the British campaign against the IRA in the Irish War of Independence 1919-21 easily predated it but on doing a little research discovered the book is marketed using those very words.

    The full title of the book Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War Against Jewish Terrorism 1945-1948 by David Cesarani gave-away where this ‘history’ was going in this British perspective on the founding of modern Israel.

    Vanessa says, “To cut a long story short. At the end of the War the Brits were getting into a right old mess by appearing to offer the Arabs what they wanted and having to acquiesce to American pro-Jewish sympathies“. You see. It was the Yanks to blame as usual.

    Actually she cuts the story very short by ignoring British promises to the French (Sykes-Picot agreement dividing up the Middle east into British and French fiefdoms); to the Jews (Balfour Agreement) and by conflating promises to Adullah the Hashemite Beduin with promises (if any) to the ‘Palestinian’ Arabs. She also ignores conflicts in the American administration re: Palestine.

    All references to terrorism are to Jewish terrorism which reinforces the BBC narrative of Arab victimhood. Despite the Arab terrorism against other Arabs, Jews and against the British as late as the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt we are left with the impression that the British troops were in Palestine solely to control the Jews.

    We learn that the British brought in tough commandos to find the Jewish leaders and knock off the militants (sound familiar?) but this was completely unsuccessful. In fact, one undercover operation goes badly wrong and effectively ends British involvement in this troubled land. It’s not the immoral, duplicitous, antisemitic British policy that goes wrong but the British armed forces screwed it up leading to a cover-up.The more things change, the more they stay the same – at the BBC.


  30. sue says:

    It was the first time I’ve heard anything on the BBC other than Jewish Terrorists/King David Hotel/ civilians murdered. At least he intimated there was a reason.

    It was a short item, I didn’t recommend it, just said it was unusual for R4. Not surprised if Cesarini is another revisionist historian.

    Who isn’t.


  31. TooTrue says:

    Test to see if this will work:


  32. TooTrue says:

    Seems to work, but it's not clickable on. I used < a >< / a >, with no gaps, of course.

    This'll work, inserting the address between the quote marks, leaving a space after the first 'a' (and closing all other spaces, of course) and replacing 'link' with 'this'll work' or whatever text you choose:

    < a h r e f = " " > Link < / a >

    this’ll workGrant, I understand your frustration. This blogger is not working as it should. I don’t know if you know how to copy and paste. Here are the contortions I went through to post a simple clickable link:

    *Go to sue’s link at 11:16 am, place your cursor at one end of the link, left click, hold down and drag to the other end. The link will be highlighted in blue.

    *Right click on the blue and a menu will appear.

    *Left click on ‘copy’.

    *Now right click in the comment box here. The same menu will appear.

    *Left click on ‘paste’. Sue’s link will now appear.

    *That’s the address you insert in between the quote marks, as I’ve described above.

    *To post your own link, right click on the address bar at the top of the page you want to link to, and go through the process I’ve just described.

    I’m no techie, and if I can do it, anyone can. That said, it’s a helluvah inconvenience to have to go through this process every time you want to post a simple link.