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Covering the Middle East

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Alistair Burnett Alistair Burnett | 10:11 UK time, Monday, 17 July 2006

The World TonightThe World Tonight has been covering the crisis in the Middle East, along with the rest of the media, in recent days. And as usual when we cover this story, we get a lot of audience comment on our coverage - a lot of it critical. Here are two examples from the past week:

    • "Does the fact that the missiles fired by Palestinians into Israel are "primitive" (as you allege) make those acts more or less grave? Does the fact that Sderot is the home town of the Israeli defence minister make it more or less appropriate that Israel defend herself. Or are these bits of spin just part of the BBC's stance against Israel?"
    • "I felt your report in the World Tonight this evening on events in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon was completely unbalanced. Yes you had an Oxford based academic criticise Israeli policy but your interviewer did not challenge any representatives of the Israeli government in their interviews about violation of Geneva conventions and international law. Why do you not hold them to any account? If you can’t do a serious interview don’t give them airtime."

The curious thing is that they were both written to us in response to the same item (hear it here). There is an old adage in journalism that if you're getting complaints from both sides in a polarised debate such as that over the Middle East conflict, you must be doing something right. But in case you think we take a flippant attitude, we take complaints more seriously than this adage may suggest.

The BBC Governors recently commissioned an independent report into the BBC's coverage of the Middle East which concluded there was no intentional bias, although we could give more context to events - which is why we are now telling listeners and viewers about the BBC News website in-depth background site, as well as taking other measures to improve our coverage, such as appointing a West Bank correspondent.

But even before this report we have always spent a lot of time carefully considering how we cover this story and the language we use. Central to our journalistic ethos is our duty to report and analyse all sides to a story, so our audience can make sense of what is going on the world.

Alistair Burnett is editor of the World Tonight

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 11:00 AM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Spot on.


with regard to the BBCsn coverage I think the saying 'if it aint broke, don't fix it' should be kept in mind here.

I think the reporting is hardly 'flippant'.

  • 2.
  • At 11:36 AM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Ed wrote:

People will attack you however hard you try. If you start spelling things out any more you'll be accused of "dumbing down". The current crisis and the ongoing situation is hugely complex, text books, let alone 2 - 3 minute reports are never going to explain it in its entirety to the satisfaction of every side.

  • 3.
  • At 12:07 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Aaron McKenna wrote:

What annoys me about the BBC, and others (though we don't directly pay for them), coverage of the Middle East, and conflicts in general, is a lack of understanding – or perhaps just explanation - of the situation from a military point of view. There is rarely an explanation, in detail or otherwise, of why something is happening. Why, for example, would Israel be cratering roads and runways.

Why, for example, is the Lebanese army so reluctant to get involved – you talk about Lebanon not disarming Hezbollah, but don't spend much time speaking about the civil war this could entail, and the ethnic tensions – the Lebanese army is made up of a different sect of Shiite than Hezbollah, and also contains Christians which, if you recall the Lebanese Civil War, causes quite a problem.

There is no explanation of all this history, or of military matters, preferring to concentrate on vivid pictures of war and the suffering of civilians. All well and good, but this being the news reporting on the conflict it would be nice for the BBC to fill in the "why is this happening" (or not happening, as the case may be), as well as the straightforward "this is what is happening right now" (ohh look, another missile hits Haifa… what type of missile has that range? Where did it come from? What can Israel do to shoot down these missiles? Why can't Israel find the launch spots? Why can't Israel find the ammunition dumps? Etc, Etc, Etc.)

The BBC isn't biased in the Middle East, it just isn't explaining the whole picture.

The situation leaves journalists in a difficult position. Anything which could be deemed to be bias is picked up on by people, and they complain. Listening to any of the radio phone-ins just show how divided opinion is, personally I find the couverage as neutral as it can be considering the circumstances.

  • 5.
  • At 01:06 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • J.G. wrote:

“if you're getting complaints from both sides in a polarised debate such as that over the Middle East conflict, you must be doing something right.” is the classic BBC cop out when challenged about its bias, and is simply not true. If you get 1000 responses decrying bias in one direction and 1 decrying bias in the other you are not doing something right. Why is it that there are literally hundreds of blogs exposing the anti-Israeli bias at the BBC but very few (if any) listing bias in the other direction?

And as to the report the BBC commissioned, you seem quite happy to accept its finding that the BBC was not biased, yet the main finding of the report, written multiple times in bold type, was that the BBC should call a terrorist a terrorist. As usual, the BBC selects the parts it agrees with and ignores the rest. This is unsurprising as it reflects the selective spinning of its news output (if you can call the collection of opinions that is now broadcast news output).

  • 6.
  • At 02:04 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • name wrote:

well there's a surprise, the only comment the BBC have allowed is a sycophantic one

  • 7.
  • At 02:35 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

By its nature, reporting the news in exceptionally complex matters having a long tortuous history is very difficult because of the impossibility of presenting current events in complete historical context however, this is one instance where the events speak for themselves and the facts of recent history could hardly be clearer or simpler to understand. It is also difficult to present what everyone who has an emotional stake in the outcome would see as a balanced view especially considering that the perspective on at least one side is not usually entirely rational. We are talking about the survival of nations and the clash of very different cultures here and so far, humanity has found few satisfactory answers as to how they can peacefully co-exist.

  • 8.
  • At 03:40 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Ed wrote:

name: Censoring the comments appart from for outright abuse would be entirely against the point of this blog. Look at some other posts, they're hardly sycophantic.

  • 9.
  • At 04:01 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • M wrote:

Never mind the bias, no-one can actually agree what bias is!

Did you check the Lebanese blogs?

So bias in number of voices probably depends on:
Number of English speakers.
How well coordinated the group is.
How well financed the group is.
etc etc.

You can't really prove bias by doing a simplistic Google search.

  • 10.
  • At 07:45 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Kieren McCarthy wrote:

Of course, there is a third possibility - that the whole piece was poorly put together. :-)

No, I've listened and I think it was a professional, well put together piece.

I really think you should consider a more permanent (and hence faster) method of outlining the criticisms of bias that you get and connecting it to the piece itself. Ask the technical boys - you could then roll it out across the whole BBC blog CMS.

The Israel/Palestine issue is, of course, one virtually characterised by people's entrenched positions, but by pointing out that the same piece draws accusations of bias from both sides, you could just cause one or two people to consider the situation from outside their own perspective.

And let's be honest, until that happens, if it ever happens, there will never be an end to this cycle of violence.

Kieren

I can quarrel over what you choose to cover and what not to cover with the best of them, but let me say that I do appreciate the fact that BBC maintains its world-class level of fuss over the minutiae of the common language that separates us -- the closely reasoned debate over the neutrality and technical precision of key terminology, for example, as over & against the rise of such garish and Orwellian neologisms as Mr. Murdoch's "homicide bomber."

I do hope there will be no erosion of that tradition of standard-setting as you move futher along into this newfangled, hedge-funded "new public service media" quango mode of yours.

  • 12.
  • At 09:51 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Donna wrote:

While I don't believe it is your intent to be biased, you are. I have been watching BBC World most of the day and have seen endless interviews with Israel officials complete with much airtime for propaganda. Very little from the other side. Also, when comments are made re: Syria, Iran etc. supplying weapons, why do you never mention the weapons, nuclear weapons and WMD supplied to Israel by the USA (and UK)for decades? Why is one different from the other? Or more justifiable? Why are Israel's actions always "in defense" and everyone else's are an "act of terroism" (a highly misused and overused term)?

  • 13.
  • At 02:17 AM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • SP wrote:

To those who advocate the view that J.G. does above - "call a terrorist a terrorist" - when criticising the BBC, I say: Please offer a precise definition of "terrorist", and then let's see how much consensus you can muster in favour of your definition.

  • 14.
  • At 08:47 AM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • Andy McMenemy wrote:

The BBC News at 10, last night, gave what I thought to be the first balanced view of the conflict.

What worries me is the emphasis on the damage that IDF is doing to Lebanon, but other than a mention of the rocket hitting Haifa there was no mention of the 1400 rockets that have been fired at Israel since 12th July. 1400! Surely that's newsworthy.

I refer you to: http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Government/Government+Secretary/Press/govmes160706.htm
for details.

  • 15.
  • At 10:34 AM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • Michele Chrabieh wrote:

SOS Lebanon.

Tuesday 18 July, 2006.
10h30 a.m.

Seven days of bloodshed, obliteration, hostility and aggression and the law of terror goes on and on. Following more than a decade of national, economic and civil reconstruction, Lebanon is at this moment compelled to relive the atrocities of its 1975 civil, regional and international war; and that with more refined and vicious weapons and minds. The Lebanese people are now lost in a swamp created by Israel and Hezbollah, two dreadful belligerents who had had both the time to strengthen their strategic military tactics, their arsenal and missiles, their regional and international alliances as well as their quest for annihilation in the name of a land, in the name of a people and in the name of God.

Lebanese citizens are now dying, missing under the debris, trying to survive in remote villages without food, medicine, water, shelter and help, being forced to go into a sort of exile to different cities, villages or countries, abandoning their lives to fate, regional and international verdicts and of course God. It is as if the Lebanese were doomed to reside in this world only to go through a series of genocides.

Now, the bombardments have got to cease. Haven’t we all had enough? Haven’t we all learned from previous wars throughout history and from current bloody mistakes? Haven’t we all learned that violence begets violence, extremism and death? Don’t we all crave for peace, freedom and love?

Mark these words: The Lebanese have the right to go on living in their homes, with their families and friends and to enjoy practicing their lately earned yet so suddenly taken away freedom and independence as citizens of the Republic of Lebanon.

We thus urge the International community and the citizens of our world to help us put an end to this tragic and calamitous situation. Only when the violence stops can we go on looking for solutions no matter how complex, improbable and dubious they might seem.

Michèle Chrabieh
Beirut, Lebanon.

  • 16.
  • At 02:01 PM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Donna, if you check the "Middle East Crisis" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2001/israel_and_the_palestinians/default.stm)section of this web site you will find that more of the coverage and interviews are with Palestinian's and Lebanese.

There are many articles about the hardships that the Lebanese and the Palestinian's are suffering under, but very few about the hardships the Israeli's are suffering under.

Innocents on both sides are suffering, yet it seems at times that the BBC forgets about the suffering of the Israeli innocents

  • 17.
  • At 02:07 PM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • jce wrote:

to those who ask for a clear definition of a terrorist, have you not heard _any_ of the Israeli officials? Obviously, terrorist is a man, woman or child who attempts to harm any property belonging to citizens of Israel or those of Israeli descent. Humour aside, I am deeply troubled by the abuse of the English language going on between bush and Olmert... axis of evil for crying out loud. their PR people have devised a plan that makes people subconsciously link muslims to the word terrorism, and it's very dangerous. In a war, both sides unfortunately are going to be killing each other. I think a terrorist is someone who attacks civilians in a time of peace...

  • 18.
  • At 10:45 PM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • Albert wrote:

Hizbullah attacks Israeli hospital (July 17) you see no headline on the BBC about it, Hizbullah fires 125 rockets (July 18) indiscriminately targeting innocent civilians the BBC has no headline about it. Every headline you see is "Israel" did this or "Israel" did that. The BBC showed outrageous anti Israeli bias reporting on this conflict, if you can call propaganda "reporting".

  • 19.
  • At 11:32 PM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • Regina wrote:

Today is July 18 and I just finished watching the BBC World here in the US. In the end of the program the BBC showed five minutes report from Southern Lebanon with Mure, we saw all "the horrors" of Israeli bombing. But during all the program we did not see even a second of reporting from Israel even after Hizbullah fired 125 rockets in to northern part of Israel today. I am not saying the BBC is biased against Israel I think this is something much more horrific then just a bias.

Regina
Virginia
USA

  • 20.
  • At 09:17 AM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

There is an old adage in journalism that if you're getting complaints from both sides in a polarised debate... you must be doing something right. But in case you think we take a flippant attitude, we take complaints more seriously than this adage may suggest.

I should hope you are, and I wish your editor colleagues all would, especially since you misundertand the adage. What it referred to was not anything that should matter to the BBC, nothing related to editorial accuracy. It referred to the selling of more copies of printed news media, when a vibrant letters page and need to see if one's own side was being fairly represented sold copies. And if you sold more copies, you made money. That was definitely "something right".

Maybe some people switch on broadcast news to see if the coverage is fair, from their point of view, but I would guess more switch to other sources or other broadcasters if they persistently feel that coverage is biased. Well, with the exception of the audience of Fox News in the USA.

Surely even the smallest child knows that anyone can generate false claims of unfairness, and that volume of noise is no indication of greater truth? If all Lebanon's international commications were bombed away, would that make Israel's domination of the world of the Internet and the other airwaves by their many skilled spin doctors the truth?

How does a body that organises itself professionally to ensure it's legitimate viewpoint is represented then handle itself when it has the opportunity to totally drown out other viewpoints?

  • 21.
  • At 11:13 AM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

In less than three weeks, about 150 people have been killed in Lebanon in a war started by a well armed militia attacking another country. The principal targets at least in Lebanon were military. In the last three years in Darfur, well over 150,000 people were killed and 2 million displaced by the government and militias they backed committing what the US Congress called genocide. There the principal targets were the helpless civilians themselves. Yet there has been at least a thousand times as much coverage devoted to Lebanon as Darfur by BBC. Why BBC? What is your agenda?

  • 22.
  • At 01:44 PM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

BBC has trotted out an endless parade of preposterous scenarios wherein diplomacy will somehow halt the fighting in Lebanon, UN troops would separate the warring parties, and humanitarian aid will be delivered. Why would BBC neglect to mention the historical fact that just such a UN force was tried and failed when it ended as Syria threw them out and attacked Israel starting the 1967 war? And who would these troops be? The only likely effective force trusted by Isreal would have to be American. But not only would entertaining such a proposal be political suicide in the US, the last time American troops went to Lebanon to keep peace, Hezbollah masacred them. The only way they are going back is for revenge. Why has BBC failed to mention this too? Furthermore, who in their right mind would try to deliver humanitarian aid to an Arab country? The last time that was tried was in Iraq and the insurgents targeted the aid workers forcing the UN to withdraw them for their own safety. Besides, both warring parties are intransigent at this time. There are no viable peaceful solutions even remotely in sight. Why not report this grim truth instead? For the foreseeable future, the fighting, destruction, and dying will continue on unabated. Lebanon in all likelihood is as doomed as Darfur.

  • 23.
  • At 02:55 PM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Stal wrote:

You suppose to be blind not to see a deliberate anti Israeli propaganda waged by the BBC. It does not matter how many rockets Hizbullah fires in to Israeli towns all you see on the BBC's website and BBC world news are pictures of Lebanon. I do think the BBC deliberately minimizes the suffering of Israeli population trying to present completely distorted picture of this conflict.

  • 24.
  • At 06:31 PM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Once again BBC demonstrated on its "Have Your Say" program of July 19, 2006 its one sided method of interviewing people, harassing a member of the Israeli Knesset with the help of an obviously hostile and bellicose audience while it customarily passively allows those with whom its own political views coincide to use their forums as a platform for making propaganda speeches virtually unimpeded. This is why BBC cannot be considered an impartial reporter of the news, it is a participant in a global debate invariably taking the wrong side. The BBC is to be condemned as a badly flawed news organization and as a traitor to British values and culture. Just as Lebanon has been hijacked by Hezbollah, BBC has been hijacked by anti-American anti-Israeli staff which use its voice to advance their own political agenda.

  • 25.
  • At 09:22 PM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Sometimes I wonder if all these posts here by Israeli spin doctors might actually have a little truth behind them. Like, for example, when, yesterday, a report showing terrified women with babes-in-arms being taken on-board warships to escape the bombing in Lebanon, leaving friends and relatives behind "to their fate", was followed by another where Israeli refugees were interviewed whilst sunbathing under a parasol on a beautiful beach, smoking in a relaxed manner. Surely, one fleetingly wonders, there was evil intent in those selections? Were there no Israeli children with schrapnel wounds to be seen, no headless children's corpses at roadsides, made that way by sophisticated guided weaponry?

But then I read Mark here say The principal targets at least in Lebanon were military and say the BBC should be covering Darfur instead. Since when has Hezbollah had anything to do with Lebanese coastal radar posts, Beirut airport, petrol stations, roads, bridges, power stations, children in fleeing family cars? None of those are Hezbollah targets, and many are utterly civilian, attacking which is a war crime. He goes on to try to discourage interest and concern by stating For the foreseeable future, the fighting, destruction, and dying will continue on unabated. Lebanon in all likelihood is as doomed as Darfur, and ...all you see on the BBC's website and BBC world news are pictures of Lebanon.

At this point I start to wonder if Mark is an undercover Hezbollah spin doctor, trying to make Israel look like it has a massive persecution complex and no human feelings for any but Israelis. But then one would have to have the same suspicions about the Israeli military in Lebanon and Gaza, and the Israeli premier in public speeches, which would plainly be impossible. So I guess Mark must be a real Israeli spin doctor and the whole crew must have gone that way. Woe, oh woe for anyone not Israeli within reach of their weaponry.

The BBC needs must abandon all hope of anything but criticism from people in that frame of mind.

  • 26.
  • At 09:35 PM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Darryl wrote:

Why would any Government allow an armed group within it's own territory to fire on it's neighbours?

Any country in the world that allowed this would expect it's neighbour to eventually take the matter into their own hands, which is what Israel has done.

If a disgruntled group in New Zealand started firing missiles at Australia and the New Zealand Government did nothing to stop it, how long would it be before Australia took the matter into their own hands?

The Government of Lebanon either agrees with what Hezbollah are doing or they are powerless to stop them. The media is flooded with pictures of suffering Lebanese and they ask the international community for help - but not to stop Hezbollah.

Surely if they (the Government of Lebanon) really want peace they should stop Hezbollah or ask for help to stop them.

  • 27.
  • At 12:10 AM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • Regina wrote:

Tonight July 19, again, I watched the BBC world (6PM ET. USA) and again I would like to report how outrageously biased the BBC is. First 10 minutes were exclusively devoted to Lebanon. The BBC provided highly emotional pictures of Israeli bombings, Lebanese refugees, foreign evacuees filled with personal stories, analeses and etc. After that the BBC with Matthew Price gave us little more then 2 minutes of mostly numbers, no personal stories, absolutely dry and unemotional information even when it was one of the bloodiest day in Israel with 2 little children killed in Nazareth and 2 more soldiers dying in a battle plus over 100 rockets fired indiscriminately and deliberately in to Israeli towns. I do think the BBC deliberately using its "talents" to vilify Israel trying to portray Israelis as aggressors.

  • 28.
  • At 02:22 AM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • gerardo lopezd wrote:

These days I´m terrified once again due to what happens with our world from time to time. The war over and over killing our dignity and provoking chaos, pain and desolation everywhere. I need to say Israel is making a massacre over Lebanon that will take to nothing good.
Israel has to recognize The Palestinean State and stop from killing inocents. I think they should be a bit humbler and peaceful. Because of their selfish and primitive beheavor I feel ashamed about our human race.

Is the BBC biased? No idea. But what I do know is this: the BBC news machine, wherever it is and whatever medium it may be, is unaccountable.

It gets away with anything because it knows the funding will always be there through the BBC poll tax.

Well enjoy it while it lasts. Because a time will come when the BBC's funding is stopped and then ordinary hard working men and women will be able to spend their hard earned on shoes for the kids or fuel for the car. Not on a bunch of arrogant lefties who have never and will never, grow up.

  • 30.
  • At 02:09 PM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

In response to Jenny (post #25); I'd heard reports that the Lebanese coastal radar was used to guide the Hezbollah missle which damaged the Israeli ship. It is not for me or you to second guess every Israeli military decision but where a terrorist organisation embeds itself into the entire civilian population and infrastructure and uses it as a human shield to hide behind forcing its victims to choose between not defending themselves or risking injuring or killing innocents on the other side, then there is no logical alternative. Having heard nearly universal support for Hezbollah by the Lebanese civilians interviewed in the media, they seem willing shields. Why aren't they instead protesting that Hezbollah is setting them up to be killed?

  • 31.
  • At 02:18 PM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

I was surprised today to hear the tone of voice of BBC reproters and presenters this morning had changed very subtly to one of exasperation and even panic realizing that there is no cease fire in sight according to those interviewees I heard. Where were those voices of panic and exasperation in Darfur, Ruwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cambodia, and everywhere else there have been large populations at risk? Why is BBC so doggedly selective in having made this issue their own cause and having taken one side? Why have they become an electronic soapbox for human shields protesting not those who have taken them hostage but their kidnappers' other victims come to disarm them however they must?

  • 32.
  • At 02:43 PM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • Magyar Hettie wrote:

Was that the World Tonight that had an item on how suicide bombers are getting ready for action? It was a female journalist, she went to Gaza, and talked to the "militants" who also showed her a suicide belt and she also reported that she could see the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint from where she was with the "militants".

I stopped listening to the World Tonight that night.

  • 33.
  • At 07:42 PM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Where are BBC's reporters in Grozny and Darfur? Reassigned to Beirut to help find footage of Lebanese war victims with which to further skew its news reports no doubt.

  • 34.
  • At 03:32 PM on 21 Jul 2006,
  • Albert wrote:

The BBC should drop the slogan "Covering the Middle East" and replace it with "Unrelenting anti Israeli propaganda". Today (July 21) Lebanese terrorists fired rockets in to Haifa injuring 30 Israeli civilians the headline on the BBC's website "Israel calls up army reservists". "Covering" is a wrong word "propaganda" is a right-one.

  • 35.
  • At 04:47 PM on 21 Jul 2006,
  • jack oatmon wrote:

Well call me naive. I'm truly amused/confused at how many people thought that the BBC's coverage of this invasion is anti-Israeli. I think that the BBC could do well to hire a discourse analysis expert to just watch the website. Seriously, "the medium is the message." The very fact that so much energy gets focused on conflicts involving Muslims is the telling point for me. The rotational use of weightless jargon such as 'militant', 'terrorist' and 'insurgent' is key. The Israelis are "defending" themselves against "militants." Nevermind the fact that Israel had been intermittantly occupying Lebanon until just 6 years ago. The newsmedia has no memory, but oppressed peoples do.

  • 36.
  • At 07:47 AM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Eyad wrote:

Ummmm... the bbc is made up of people so of course there will be bias.

it's difficult not to portray Israel as an argressor since, generally, it is.... and it's also difficult not to portray Hezballa and Hamas as agressive anti-Israeli since they are.

But the reports do lack context and history and some statements don't seem to make sense (my own bias might also play a part here).

Example: almost every report on the currect war has a sentence to the effect that "the current crisis is a result of hezballa kidnapping 2 israeli soldiers"..... true but incomplete. The statement seems to justify israel's attack, the claim seems ridiculous given that a few weeks earlier israel arrested (detained) almost half the palestinian cabinet! Does the BBC feel that the palestinians would be justified in blowing up gas stations and food storage facilities and roads in response???

To Regina, posts 19 and 27:
So two Israeli civilians died that day, and you expect this to receive as much coverage as the many tens of palestinian civilians who died? Israel's aerial obliteration of southern Lebanon bears no resemblance to the handfuls of rockets Hezbollah are returning. You are being unreasonable.
Should the BBC be reporting proportional to suffrage? I don't think this should be the case either. The BBC should report what it deems newsworthy. The daily attrition in Iraq over the past six months is at an astonishing high, but this is no longer news.

Personally I think that the Israel issue gets far too much of the world's attention, while other areas, for example Somalia, where the Islamic Courts have banished many warlords and restored law and order to Mogadishu, receive far less coverage.

I'm watching BBC World around the clock. I still have seen NO ISRAELI PEACE ACTIVISTS with a viewpoint counter to Israelis you've featured -Peres, Barak, Herzog et al., apart from Palestinian Israeli Members of Knesset. Nor have you yet covered any demonstrations - another tonight in Tel Aviv - will you be there? And can we please get an Israeli voice of sanity expressed on the Beeb? Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom or Jeff Halper of The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, for example. Not all Israelis favour this mad destruction of all our futures.

  • 39.
  • At 11:43 AM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • James Denselow wrote:

For a insiders account of events on the ground in the region from the perspective of a British NGO check out www.unipal.blogspot.com

  • 40.
  • At 12:41 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

It seems that the BBC will not change it Agenda. It is all about supplying news that is dramatic not really accurate!
It is always the strong Israeli against the weak arab.
The Basic facts are forgotten. The state of Israel remains in threat since it has been established in 1948.
The general notion in Israel is that peace with any of our neighbors is of the highest priorities and we do not attack those that do not attack us.

So why does the BBC get it all wrong again and again. Because the mare simple truth is that this would not be dramatic news!

And this is why they have lost most of the Israeli listeners and by this can not do much to effect, making the BBC a non worthy source to Israelis and others that want a balanced information source.

  • 41.
  • At 03:11 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Nadim Gol wrote:

I am following your coverage of the Lebanon crisis, and as an ardent follower of BBCWORLD news I am so appalled that you are not covering the atrocities committed in the name of peace and fighting terrorism in bombing civilian targets which very clearly is aimed at fuelling sectarian conflict. I compare your coverage with 5 of the major regional stations, and it seems you are covering a war on a different planet. What has happened to your unbiased editorial policy, why is it not OK to show the mutilated remains of young children. Is it possible that no one is even thinking of charges of war crimes? Why is it important that Israeli citizens should be safe but not at all relevant that Lebanese villagers be given equal considerations? Israel has destroyed the infrastructure of a country that was given no mechanism by the resolution 1559 to achieve what was required of it, whereas all other UN resolutions which Israel did not comply with was within its power to do so. Seen from this perspective it is clear that the picture is not so rosy for Israel. If this small patch of Shib’a was returned to Lebanon along with a few prisoners that they have, Hizballah would have no pretexts to snatch soldiers for exchange. Perhaps this is the balanced view you should be showing in your coverage. I hope you will also show the plight of the defenceless people of Lebanon. For your information I am neither Lebanese or harbour any animosities to the people of Israel. I am only asking that you give equal considerations for both sides of the argument. The blood of neither side is redder. The children of neither side are less worthy of being given a chance to grow and develop into better human beings than the previous generations.

Hope that you will give all a better coverage and make your viewers world wide better aware of the realities that face these tormented people that governments and militias are playing havoc with their lives. They did not ask for this conflict, but when the whole might of Goliath is set upon them then they will have no choice but to support the nearest David that they can find.

  • 42.
  • At 04:49 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Mark wrote: Why aren't they instead protesting that Hezbollah is setting them up to be killed?

Because it is the Israelis who do the killing. People are funny that way, they tend to blame the people who actually do the killing, fly the nice new Apaches, fire the hellfires, drop the bomb, hold the smoking gun.

  • 43.
  • At 05:29 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Bai Bureh wrote:

What I don't get is the way and manner in which the BBC presents its news on the hezbollah-israel conflict. it seems the BBC is allowing itself being used as a propaganda instrument by the israelis.All the interviews are done with the israelis who make all the fantastic claims of success and sweeping accusations.Why is the same facility not given to hezbollah or Syria or Iran?
On the battle-front,the israel casualties report have to undergo a lot of metamorphosis:it starts with slight injuries,develops to life-threatening injuries to one dead and finally half the number of the actual.I think the BBC needs to grow up or lose credibility!

  • 44.
  • At 06:14 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

Correspondents like Jeremy Vine, John Simpson [and Matt Frei] are doing a great job in delivering balanced journalism. Not always easy when the Zionist lobby is far better resourced and organised to pressure organisations like the BBC. You shouldn't fall prey to temptation to move away from your balanced position based on the quantity of complaints. That way lies the road to Fox 'fair and balanced' [sic] News

  • 45.
  • At 06:59 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Mike Druttman wrote:

Let's try to get some balanced reporting on the BBC.

Of course it's more interesting to cover the plight of the Lebanese than what is happening on the Israeli side. The numbers are much greater. That's why the Israeli angle hardly gets any exposure.

We are doing all these terrible things to the Lebanese. I wish so much that it was not necessary and that innocent people were not suffering or dying. Yet the larger picture is often missed completely (and conveniently).

Hizbullah, a law unto itself and feared greatly throughout Lebanon, decided to conduct its own private war against Israel. It did not consult the Lebanese government - why should it when almost everyone in the country pays it lip-service?

Yet far too many people expect Israel, a sovereign country for over 50 years, to just turn the other cheek, to do as little as possible to annoy Hizbollah. There is not one case where such a situation, transplanted to a critic's own country against his/her national borders, would generate a different reaction to that of Israel.

Israel is using all means at its disposal to neutralize and defeat Hizbollah. That is legitimate and nobody can call it 'disproportionate action' How do you judge what is 'disproportionate'? What about when there is an existential threat to your own country? People like Chirac can make value judgements about other countries - so long as France is not threatened in this way!

The present war is all about what conditions are you able to tolerate (as a country) for the sake of leading a quiet life. Israel retreated to international borders six years ago and two months later Hizbollah crossed the border in their first attack to capture and kill our soldiers. Since then the attacks have not stopped. What are we, sitting ducks?

I don't care less whether the Lebanese and Syrians and Iranians hate my guts as an Israeli. But they have to respect international borders and keep their hands off. When those hands reach over my border to grip my throat, I have every right to fight back visciously.

It is about time that the BBC understood this basic requirement about national self-preservation.

  • 46.
  • At 09:03 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Margo wrote:

May I say I agree heartily, with Christopher and Edward (the top two comments). I find this blog rather interesting, it gives me a great insight into the "world of Editors today!" I think this was a great idea and an innovative idea at that.

May I also state that the author who names themself "The Daily Pundit" has offended me most gravely and I shall not be reading any of that person's comments again.

So far I have noticed that the coverage of recent events in the Middle East has not been biased atall, and I must say I listen to the programme quite often. More than once a day, this may seem excessive, but I think it makes me quite a valuble judge.

Thankyou and keep up the good work.

  • 47.
  • At 09:29 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Mike Evans wrote:

BBC’s coverage is better than most of the other media channels.

Anything said against the Israel is regarded as anti-Israeli by the Jewish people and their friends.

Israel is keen to ensure that UN resolution 1559 is enforced.
Why does no BBC correspondents or any other correspondents or for that matter ask how many UN resolutions Israel has not acted on??

I think you will find that there are many.

I am not a supporter of Lebanon or Hezbuallah, but dislike the very one sided press coverage.
Israel is bombing the whole country, roads, bridges and airports ……….and what do we in UK and USA say??? Nothing

Our leaders are supporting the bombing by their silence.


  • 48.
  • At 11:23 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Charles wrote:

Having just read the Slate site and picked up on current press from Time, Newsweek and CBS, I realise more than ever before how much we need the objectivity of the BBC. The US media takes the same situations and evidence and views them ONLY from a Zionist perspective. In the last 48 hours, Gingrich's 'Third World War' phrase is all over the US media. Pray they don't get what they seem to want.

  • 49.
  • At 12:17 AM on 23 Jul 2006,
  • mim wrote:

i find the bbc bias towards the zionist,
but its not as bad as fox news, they have no shame.

  • 50.
  • At 08:13 AM on 23 Jul 2006,
  • sam wrote:

Your correspondents from the middle east are acting like Israeli govrenment spokesmen in the way they are reporting."Israel said this and Israel said that " and even when what the Israelis are saying is not true,your correspondents do not challenge those statements.
The report from northern Israel by your correspondent on 14/07/06-I think his name was something Rynolds-simply sucks because it portrays the suffering of the Israelis as if it was the Hollocost again! and failed to show the mamed and shredded children of Lebanon and Palestine as a result of Israeli bombing.
Not a single correspondent of yours that I know of mentioned why Hizbulla captured the 2 soldiers and that the Golan Hieghts is a Syrian land that hase been occupied-cum-stolen-cum-invaded by Israel since 1967.You owe your audience the truth so tell it.
I still think that your BBC is one of the most objective broadcasters in the world and I ,like millions of audience, would like you to live up to it

  • 51.
  • At 12:23 PM on 23 Jul 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

Conversation with my 8 year old daughter..

Daughter: Dad are these people going to war religious?

Me: I cant speak for all of them but yes the leaders of the wars claim to be religious.

Daughter: Why do they allow wars Dad?

Me: to stop horrible people killing innocent people.

Daughter: the news said that innocent people die in wars.

Me: yes true

Daughter: You told me Dad that most religions teach that you dont do bad things to people who do bad things against you and others!

Me: mmm yes this is true.

Daughter: What will happen if religious people do bad things back?

Me: Well.. Most relions believe that if you do bad things you will not go to heaven or come back to life as something nice.

Daughter: I was told at school that Jesus was treated badly but did not do anything bad back. Is he right for doing this?

Me: In the eyes of his religion and belief, yes he was good and now in that place where he belived he would go to (heaven).

Daughter: That means that those who are riligious and do bad things will go to a bad place.

Me: yes.. if that is what is being taught in their religion.

Daughter: So why does the leaders do bad things if they beleive they will go to a bad place?

Me: not sure.. maybe they are not really religious.

Daughter: Bush said god bless every one sometimes and says god look after us all. He is religous and goes to war!

Me: mmmm

Daughter: our leader said on the news god will judge him when the time comes. Does he know that he will go to a bad place?

Me: mmm yes if he really beleives in his religion.

Daughter: why do you keep saying if they really belive in there religions?

Me: Because if they did then they would not go to war and cause directly for innocent people die.

by Alex and my daughter.

  • 52.
  • At 04:50 PM on 23 Jul 2006,
  • Albert wrote:

What is truly outrageous that the BBC does not hesitate for a second to repeat what the Lebanese are saying about so called "civilian casualties". Everyone knows that Hezbollah is not a uniformed army it hides and operates among civilian population. So, how exactly the BBC can verify that "most of the casualties are civilians" and not Hezbollah? Hezbollah never, during 18 years of the conflict, reported its casualties and the terrorists rely on the BBC to repeat what they Lebanese are saying to the BBC. I think the BBC deliberately does not want to verify who is who in regards to the Lebanese casualties.

  • 53.
  • At 05:58 PM on 23 Jul 2006,
  • Richard Crowe wrote:

The lack of true balance is hard to establish when it is so deep seated. I've just watched 2 hours of BBC News 24 and I've seen an Israeli diplomat putting Israel's case, a rabbi at a rally in Middlesex doing the same and an interviewer talking to a Human rights organization speaker who had seen what had been done and the carnage caused constantly putting the justification for bombing on Israel's part. So well balanced?? I have seen no representative of Hezbolah nor of the Lebanese fovernment nor of supporters of Palestine or speakers from Gaza, nor civilians from Tyre or anyone one else putting a contrary view. Earlier they had an Lebanese civilian who the presenter was trying to get to condemn Hezbollah. Balance?
To tell the truth its the pictures of the carnage that speak loudest. Filmed by those just showing what has happened. This appalling lack of balance will be shown and proved eventually by organizations such as Glasgow Media Watch who make a real irrefutable analysis. But meanwhile the bias will continue. And balance is not having an equal number of letters. Its well known in the media how the Israeli support groups target the BBC if they whisper a word of criticism. Balance is telling the truth! If this were any other country acting this way I doubt there would be the same extraordinary posturing to avoid telling it as it is.

  • 54.
  • At 01:21 AM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • Regina wrote:

The usual bias from the BBC. Today (July 23) Hezbollah fired 93 rockets killed two Israeli civilians and injured close to 100 but all day the BBC has only one headline "UN appalled by Beirut devastation". It is truly a joke when the BBC is saying that it has a "balanced" reporting of the conflict.

  • 55.
  • At 11:09 AM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • pete wrote:

Sorry, but I think you are all loosing the plot.

If you are a 5 stone weakling and you hit a 15 stone hunk and as a result you get pummeled what did you expect?

If you are a goverment and you do nothing to contain rebels or terrorists what do you expect?

If you are a journalist you either write fiction or tabulate facts. The trouble here is journalists believe they have a right to mix fiction in facts. Ethnic minorities, political correctness, political commentators, lobbists, opinion formers all need to get a proper job instead of being overpaid to inflate their own ego's and opinions.

Yes I am deeply sorry about the loss of life for the "civilians" but in one BBC report such a civilian said the leader of hezbelah would protect her???

  • 56.
  • At 04:29 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • Gareth wrote:

I wonder if those who accuse the BBC of bias for or against one side, actually read the postings of the other side, accusing the BBC of exactly the same thing.

Let's face it, in any conflict, both sides are going to think that they're not getting fair coverage. All that the Beeb can do is keep trying their best to be imparttial - at which, I think, they generally succeed.

  • 57.
  • At 09:08 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • Mike New wrote:

No BBC member of staff, who has Jewish or Arabic connections, can comment objectively or fairly on the Jew-Arab conflict.
Surely ?


Also, if viewers comments have to
" be approved by the site ownner", isn't this pure censorship at its purest ?

  • 58.
  • At 10:26 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • M wrote:

Israelis are unlikely to complain that certain coverage (e.g. the American press) is too pro-Israeli.

  • 59.
  • At 10:52 PM on 24 Jul 2006,
  • nick welch wrote:

Your reporting of Lebanon constantly refers to 'civilian' casualties without stating how they (at least men of fighting age) can be distinguished from Hezbollah fighters.

The practice of blending in with women and children has been carried out by Hezbollah, a fact which was highlighted by the UN, but not the BBC.

  • 60.
  • At 02:29 AM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Miguel wrote:

"Today everyone is a loser."

Quote from a guy in charge of WTO negotiations on July 24, 2006. The talks were suspended indefnitely. Meanwhile, Iraq entered into Holy Civil War and the US Secretary of Defense called for enduring solutions to the new Israeli v. Hizb'allah war. Welcome to WWIII.

Copyright PEP, Ltd. 2006

  • 61.
  • At 04:47 AM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Tom Snow wrote:

In reply to posting number 54.

10 times more Lebanese than Israeli have been killed. Nearly half those killed in Lebanon are children. People fleeing and ambulances have been targetted. This is totally unacceptable to any decent person.

Israel is the one claiming it is attacking the terrorist, but it is killing the most innocent people. Israel is the one decimating another democratic country and slaughtering the people. So yes of course the BBC will report the casaulties in Lebanon most.

Nick Robertson questioned Blair on the ridiculous position of refusing to call for a ceasefire. Blair was utterly humiliated and made a fool of himself. If the BBC were not bias IN FAVOUR of Blair, they would put that on this website and it would be the lead story.

It is obvious Blair and Bush and Condi Rice will not demand a ceasefire and they won't condemn Israel's excessive force, that has already killed over 150 children. Why? Because, I suggest they want the killing to continue so they can draw Syria or Iran into it as they have been, in order to attack them next. The whole thing is a pretext for USA to attack Iran. You don't have to believe me. Just wait and see.


  • 62.
  • At 02:57 PM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Regina wrote:

In reply to posting 61.

Hezbollah operates from civilian areas deliberately using Lebanese civilians as a human shield. What do you expect Israel suppose to do? There is a matter of intent - Israelis are targeting terrorists and terrorists deliberately target Israeli civilians. Blame Hezbollah for the casualties on Lebanese side. Jan Egeland, the U.N. humanitarian chief, said ""Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children."

  • 63.
  • At 04:34 PM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

In reply to posting 57.

"if viewers comments have to 'be approved by the site owner', isn't this pure censorship at its purest ?"

It might minimise the amount of spamming, don't you think. Appropriate really. I guess news editing requires constantly resisting being unbalanced by the dizzying imprecations of spin. I get, erm, highlights of U.S. network news on the Daily Show. It's funny how the same themes and buzzwords seem to travel from network to network, studio to studio, almost as if all the experts and pundits and 'inside sources' were singing from the same hymnsheet. I'm grateful the BBC doesn't entertain that, and does some 'editing' instead.

- meanwhile, we'll see if they accept this :)

  • 64.
  • At 07:44 PM on 25 Jul 2006,
  • Tom Snow wrote:

In reply to 62

If 400 British were killed, rather than Lebanese, I dare say your position would be different.

Ambulance convoys have been attacked TWICE, a family of 7 were killed in their own home yesterday, hospitals have been hit, office blocks while people work and cars have been missiled as the people have driven away. That is all totally unacceptable.

Peter Bouckaert, an investigator from Human Rights Watch, an organisation based in New York has stated "The Israelis seem to make no discrimination between military and civilian targets."

There can be no acceptable excuses made for the slaughter of innocent people. As soon as we condone it we become no better than the terrorists. Instead of making excuses for killers we should condemn it.

  • 65.
  • At 03:02 PM on 26 Jul 2006,
  • Lee Aitken wrote:

Re: The IDF attack on a UN observation post killing four observers.
I listened to the BBC reporter questioning an Israeli official about the tragedy when the observation post was destroyed by aerial bombardment after several requests by the UN to the IDF to stop. I know that the post was used by Hezbollah as an observation area frequently without UN interference. Also, this same post would have been able to observe the Hezbollah raiders that killed eight IDF soldiers, capturing and carrying off two of them right under the noses of the UN observers. The UN personnel utterly failed in their responsibility to intervene in the cross-border invasion and didn't even alert the IDF that two soldiers were kidnapped just below the UN's site. I believe the UN observers were complicite in the successful raid into Israel, and I believe Israel believes that too.

  • 66.
  • At 03:51 PM on 26 Jul 2006,
  • Regina wrote:

In reply to 64

You wrote :"Instead of making excuses for killers we should condemn it" - I agree, I strongly condemn the terrorists and the killers from Hezbollah, I condemn this genocidal terrorists, I condemn their use of civilians as a human shield, I condemn their indiscriminate and deliberate firing of rockets in to Israeli towns and cities, I condemn those who support terrorists.

  • 67.
  • At 05:54 PM on 26 Jul 2006,
  • miika wrote:

On the subject of comments moderation being used to avoid spamming, that's a redundancy.

Whilst spammers have discovered automated ways to spam blog comment blocks, the technology already exists to automatically reject such spam, it's called Akismet.

Unfortunately, the BBC is still lagging far behind in their re-invention of the wheel, and so is unable to take advantage of existing technologies while they muddle through making something of their own.

Outside of automated blocking of spam, for accessibility reasons the BBC probably is unable to implement Captcha-like "prove you're human" systems, and given the emotive nature of some of the topics their blogs discuss, having manual moderation to filter out emotive comments that may be inappropriate is a necessity.

Is that censorship? Probably (almost certainly) - but it's their system, their bandwidth, and their liability under the incomprehensible police state legislation in the country they operate in (the UK). Censorship by government is A Bad Thing. Censorship by private entities (which the BBC is for the purposes of web publishing) is simply their right.

  • 68.
  • At 11:11 PM on 26 Jul 2006,
  • kiq wrote:

I complain about your oftentimes biased and sometimes dishonest reporting of the middle-east crisis. The case in point is the news item titled "High death toll in Gaza clashes". On reading the headline one assumes that militants and/or soldiers might have been killed in fighting. The details of the story however reveal that 23 palestinians including children and infants were killed in the day long Israeli air raids over Gaza. This is a perfect example where objectivity is sacrificed by the reporter and/or editor bias towards Israel in the middle east conflict.

  • 69.
  • At 08:06 AM on 27 Jul 2006,
  • Erikson wrote:

It appears that BBC, like the US Congress, has joined the Likud party. BBC.com has blasted its main page with the death of nine Israeli soldiers all day today (27 July 2006), but never paid the same level of attention to the death of hundreds of Lebanese civilians - not to mention thousands more injured and half a million displaced.

Is there a limit to BBC’s moral bankruptcy?

IE

  • 70.
  • At 11:02 AM on 27 Jul 2006,
  • Matt Brown wrote:

Keep things going the way they are folks, I'm actually rather impressed with the way all this has been reported thus far. No bias, and any nonsense on air has usually just been soundbites of so-called statesmen (or stateswomen, in the case of "Condi"!).

  • 71.
  • At 06:19 PM on 27 Jul 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

@ post 67

(I think) you may be referring to my earlier use of the word spam. To clarify I meant spam that is specifically political.

It has the following familiar spam ingredients: unsolicited (at odds with the general topic), delivered in bulk, emphatic and one-dimensional message. Where it's purely inflammatory it might also be called trolling. It may be referenced in an online community by for example the phrase "these people are spamming the forums".

It is roughly analogous with spin; the sustained delivery of a particular point of view. I apologise for not making that entirely clear.

  • 72.
  • At 03:37 AM on 28 Jul 2006,
  • Sean M wrote:

I'm shocked at the media's reporting on the deaths of the 4 UNIFIL observers.

Where is the reporting on the email from the now dead Canadian Forces Major Hess-von Kruedener UNIFIL peacekeeper?

Living in California I apreciate having BBC news. I look to BBC for a rounded perspective on world events.

But now I'm wondering if there is a bias.

If Major Hess-von Kruedener sent an email explainig that Israel was not bombing near the outpost deliberately but for neccessity why have you not mentioned this?

It didn't make sense that Israel would purposly bomb the U.N. as Koffi Anna stated.

After some research I found an article by a Canadian Newspaper published a few days before the bombing of the UNIFIL outpost in South Lebanon.

Here is an excerpt of the email from The now dead Canadian Forces UNIFIL peackeeper Major Hess-von Kruedener:

"What I can tell you is this: we have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both artillery and aerial bombing. The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but has rather been due to tactical necessity."


I will continue to watch the BBC but my faith in your objecivity is not what it used to be.

  • 73.
  • At 11:37 AM on 28 Jul 2006,
  • Adriaan van der Flier wrote:

bbcworld is continue on my TV-set in my office and is my favourite news supplier.
To the Lebanon reporting I have to say that the last two days there is a better balance, in favour of Israel. But why nobody tells the simple reason for this conflict and all the conflicts in this region: the refusing of the State of Israel to be a modern multi cultural society. Israel has to be a modern State and not a Jewish State. There is no god-given right to anyone in this world to claim a territory only for himself. UN and NATO intervened fast and hard in the Bosnia and Kosovo problem, EU and NATO pressed the Government of Macedonia to accept the Ochrid agreement about the Albanian minority. Macedonia now became a modern state and Bosnians and Albanian Kosovarians could return to their homelands.

Israel to be a State of Arabs and Jews and the whole problem is over!I am Dutch and I live in Skopje Macedonia since 1991.

  • 74.
  • At 01:45 PM on 28 Jul 2006,
  • Albert wrote:

To say that the BBC is not biased is outrageous.
Just take the morning of July 28 - Palestinians fired rockets from Gaza in to kindergarten near Ashkelon injuring 11 children, Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets in to Israel striking Israeli Magen David Adom center in Safed (equivalent of the Red Cross), July 27 more then a hundred of rockets fired in to Israel and Israeli citizen was killed in a west Bank (his body burned and mutilated was found in a car outside of TulQarem area) --- If you are reading the BBC's news website you will not find any information about those attacks, absolutely none! Instead you will find a detailed information on how many Palestinian casualties are in Gaza and information about every attack inside of Lebanon.

  • 75.
  • At 07:29 PM on 28 Jul 2006,
  • miika wrote:

Philip @ 71

Point taken, I misunderstood what you were referring to, my apologies. And yes, I also agree with moderation on that principle.

I'm reminded of Monty Python's Argument Sketch, and how online imitates art :)

On two of the forums I control, I cheat - I just split off repeated stuff to /dev/null and block the posters :)

But I still note in a non-spammy way that the BBC hasn't yet re-invented enough wheels :)

  • 76.
  • At 10:53 PM on 28 Jul 2006,
  • Regina wrote:

I challenge you to find the following information on the anywhere on the BBC's TV or BBC's websites.

1. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility Friday for a rocket attack on a Negev town that wounded two children, who were hit by shrapnel. Islamic Jihad fired those rockets in to Israeli kindergartner.

2. A Katyusha rocket directly struck a hospital in Nahariya on Friday, damaging an upper story. The floor in Western Galilee Hospital - this was a war crime as usual unreported by the BBC.

  • 77.
  • At 12:02 AM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • M wrote:

RE #74:
Albert, for "outrageous" balance, did you total up all the attacks not mentioned on the Palestinian side?

  • 78.
  • At 03:42 AM on 29 Jul 2006,
  • Albert wrote:

RE #75
It is not about "total" - on the BBC you will find every attack reported against Palestinians and Lebanese but not Israelis.

  • 79.
  • At 05:26 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • James McCann wrote:

I think anyone covering the Middle East ought to be required to study WWI for a term, focussing on how the war began; primarily so they'll learn that words have consequences; secondly so that they'll learn how colossally & culpably stupid legitimate & responsible statesmen, politicians,& generals can be. Those exposed to the historical truth of WWI would then examine facts & situations of today afresh & with more better independent perpectives; the second- and third-hand thinking handed out by governments & bureaucracies & corporate entities might not then dominate mainstream media. I'm sympathetic to both sides of the present conflict,but greater things are at risk: we might slide into nuclear war while bickering over these delusional tribal feuds. Myself, I think the young people on both sides must cast off their parents' hatreds and discover nonviolent direct action.

  • 80.
  • At 07:38 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • john trevail wrote:

This morning's BBC news coverage of Lebanon featured Robert Fox. His expert insights made me realise how superficial reportage otherwise is - surely the BBC can do a little more than repeat single/double sentence headlines over and over - it's analysis that is needed. Give Robert Fox a job quick. And why so little use of historians and other academics to give perspectives and context. The BBC desperately needs to move away from it's rather uninquisitive, bald headlines and dig deeper - or employ those who can.

  • 81.
  • At 08:39 AM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Judith Welsh wrote:

Come on BBC!I have just been watching your News24 broadcast of Lebanese refugees fleeing a village. The same forty-second (or so) piece of film was relayed continuously at least eight times, supported by dialogue.

There can not be any excuse for this - it is surely bordering on "brain washing".

I have no axe to grind with regard to the protagonists in this Middle East conflict, but I did find this particular piece of reporting unacceptable.

Judith Welsh

  • 82.
  • At 06:55 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Paul Patrick wrote:

Well I think the recent events show that Israel is now completely out of control, it's nothing more than a state backed terror campaign.I've never taken sides I'm an atheist but enough is enough, Israel should be ashamed of itself. I would like to make it clear that not all the people of the UK support Israel, actually far from it. More and more people are turning against Israel, does the Israeli government not realise it's breeding even more hatred against their nation and people.

  • 83.
  • At 09:28 PM on 30 Jul 2006,
  • Dima wrote:

It amazes me when some say that there are too few casualties in Israel and this is why it's not worth the news. Israel lives under a permanent threat of hamas rockets which shoot randomly every day when they feel like having fun. Imagine that Syria does that to England. Will you go on showing poor starving syrian children on TV too? I doubt that.
Hizballah crossed the Israeli border, killed 8 israeli solders and kidnapped 2. What we see on BBC all day long are the consequences of this act. Not the cause. It's understandable, - showing air force bombing "sells better" than stating that nasrallah is a murderer which hides behind innocent civilians. Is it possible that BBC journalism is hired by hizballah? I'd say what looks like a cow is likely a cow...

  • 84.
  • At 11:09 AM on 29 Aug 2006,
  • Don Campbell- Thomson wrote:

When is he BBC going to change its pre news captions ?
If I hear Bill Gates telling me that companies will need to re-invent themselves or Lord Young telling me he is going to resign in 2008 or that female going back to Burundi one more time I am going to switch news channels.
You have running these for 3 weeks now! Give us a break.
Don

When are we going to hear the news about the death of the "Bushlied" garbage now that we know Saddam tried to acquire uranium and sponsored al Qaeda....

When will the BBC step outside its little bubble and take all the facts seriously?

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