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Nathalie Malinarich | 17:15 UK time, Wednesday, 22 June 2011

You may have noticed a headline in our "most popular" module about a dog being condemned to stoning in Israel. It was followed a few days later by a denial: Jerusalem court denies dog condemned by stoning. The first story has now been taken down. This is not a step we often take so I wanted to explain why we have done so on this occasion. We based our article on sources we have used in the past: Ynet, a popular Israeli website, and the news agency AFP. What we did not know when we wrote the story was that the Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv had already published a retraction and an apology. We failed to make the right checks. We should never have written the article and apologise for any offence caused. We have kept the story carrying the denial in the interests of transparency.

Nathalie Malinarich is world editor of the BBC News website.


  • Comment number 1.

    'We based our article on sources we have used in the past... We failed to make the right checks.'

    Were any 'checks' made? And are these 'sources' reviewed and vetted regularly?

    Because if the BBC is just going to use various middlepersons that those on the ground feel comfy with, then to those who get their news via a variety of online sources already, the opportunity exists to drop those services that seem compromised by allowing agenda to take precedence over professional standards and objectivity.

    It can't help that too often we in the UK get told what various editors like the sound of when they are not native speakers of the places they 'report' upon or, worse, a 'heavyweight' is flown out to add heft to things not even the guys on the ground seem to be clued up on.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think all items should list the sources. This would help the readers form their own opinion based on the type of origination (own research, news agency, PR agency, political central office etc.).

    It is very easy to include this information on a web page as there are not the space and layout constraints of a printed page.

    I know it will not happen!

    Kit Green, (individual, UK, no political party)

  • Comment number 3.

    There are three problems with this statement and action. The first is that as of now (19:42 Thursday evening) the original story with its mealy mouthed update is still very much up on the BBC website despite the claim that 'The first story has now been taken down'. The second problem is that the wording of the follow-up article does not sufficiently explain the BBC's 'mistake'. The third problem is that taking the story down and putting an explanation in The Editors section is not sufficient. The original story was the most popular Middle East news story on Saturday and Sunday, many people were misled about Israel and Israelis and will not know that the story was wrong unless they find The Editors article. I would suggest that the retraction is placed as the lead Middle East story for at least two days so it is given at least the prominence that the BBC so oddly gave the original story.

    The fact that the BBC were so willing to believe this story that showed Israel and Israelis in a bad light speaks volumes for the anti-Israel attitude that pervades the BBC. The BBC is institutionally anti-Israel and I believe the Balen report would have all but confirmed that, not that the BBC will ever let us read that report.

  • Comment number 4.

    7am and it seems that the page for the original story has gone '404'. This is not what should have happened. I wonder how many people will see that this story is still the most read Middle East story of last weekend, look for it, get a '404' and wonder why. The original story page should link to, at the very least, The Editors article but preferably a proper apology.

    The BBC are trying to minimise this evidence of their willingness to promote anti-Israeli feeling and it sickens me. If the BBC wanted to prove it was not institutionally biased against Israel it would release the Balen Report. The BBC refuses to release that report and has spent a lot of licence payers money fighting not to; I think we can therefore draw our own conclusions as to what the Balen Report concluded.

  • Comment number 5.

    Getting the hang of BBC news gathering now...

    @BBCBreakfast - Have you complained to your university about the quality of your course? Tweet us if you're happy to be filmed #journorequest

    So... the main criterion to be featured is the surfing of #journorequest to air your latest rant, and to be happy to sign the release form?


    Is this how it works elsewhere too?

    May explain a lot.

  • Comment number 6.

    Joy Wolfe writes
    This retraction needs to be explained much better and put in a very prominent way where the original story appeared otherwise it will just have
    the effect of repormoting the story.
    Let's faced it the BBC would have felt they had manna from heaven when this story appeared and because of their readiness to attack Israel in every way little of any checking would have been done And once the damage is done it can never be undone and it has appeared in papers throughout the world. A similar example is that whenerver there is a story which comes from an Israeli source that is good about Israel or factual the BBC always uses "allegedly" or "according to asn Israeli spokesperson. Why didn't this happen with the totally inaccurate story about the fatalities on the Syrian border when false figures from a Syrian source went out unchecked and where people were left with the impression that Israel had attacked Syrian demonstrators, who incidentally were paid to go and try and break into Israel ond their famileis were give $10,000 for any fatalities. This border uprising was promoted for several weeks before on Facebook calling people to gather and demonstrate and threaten Israel's sovereign state and its civilian population

  • Comment number 7.

    Could it be that you believed it because you wanted to?

  • Comment number 8.

    I dont believe a word the BBC rights about Israeli affairs anymore due to your rampant fear of appearing anti-semetic you have basically reduced yourselves to a mouthpiece for the Israeli ministry of disinformation.

  • Comment number 9.

    Still not good enough.

    Considering the reputation the BBC has for news coverage world wide, I expect the BBC to do a bit more checking before publishing a story, ensure that the story is accurate and finally, when the BBC does get it wrong, post a more public retraction. This retraction does not even appear in the main news pages of the BBC website.

    One other thing - it said in the original article that dogs are considered impure in traditional Judaism. Again, innacurate.

  • Comment number 10.

    Why does the BBC trawl the Israeli press looking for stories with which to defame Israel while regularly ignoring rather less trivial reports in the Palestinian Arab media?

    Some examples from today:

    Molotov cocktail attack on Israeli vehicle:
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Islamic Jihad reiterates that there will be no peace with Israel under any circumstances:
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 11.

    Also, don't you think it would be more honest if you were to publish your apology at the same URL as the original story? You could even turn it into a headline article about how haters will believe anything if it serves their agenda and publish it on your front page.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    The real issue here is not the lack of fact-checking on the part of the BBC but that someone on your staff could actually believe such a story.Had the story been about the sentencing to death by hanging of a dog that wandered into a British court and reminded one of the justices of Lord Haw Haw, the BBC would have either dismissed it out of hand or spent a lot resources chasing the story down. This episode shows how woefully ignorant BBC staffers are of Israeli society and the Haredi community within it.

  • Comment number 14.

    '13. At 16:39 23rd Jun 2011, MenachemP ... that someone on your staff could actually believe such a story. Had the story been about the sentencing to death by hanging of a dog..'

    Here was me thinking the move up North was to Salford.

    But when it comes to believing what was wanted, not much else seems to have changed with the separation of miles, or years, in some media cultures.

  • Comment number 15.

    Lets not forget how Israel went ballistic over the organ-harvesting story, demanding an apology from the Swedish government for this "despicable blood libel by the Swedish media".

    Presently it was discovered that this was an old story - in fact Dr Yehuda Hiss, Israeli chief pathologist at Abu Kabir, was even on tape boasting of stealing these organs from Palestinians (and others). His Israeli bosses had been faintly uncomfortable over it, they'd taken away one of his directorships and given him a pay-rise.

  • Comment number 16.

    That was a pretty weird article & I'm glad it's gone. I wish some of the anti-Semitic & other anti-religious/ethnic posts in blogs would go away,too.Or at least the posters would experience a change of heart/mind.Most bigotry is based on ignorance anyway.

  • Comment number 17.


    Your post only proves my point. The Swedish press charged that Israelis were murdering Palestinians to harvest their organs. That was patently proven untrue.

    The old story was that the head of pathology at Abu Kabir boasted about taking organs from the already dead corpses sent for autopsy to his lab. He was an equal opportunity ghoul. In your own words he took organs from "Palestinians (and others)". I find it very informative that you did not explain who the "others" were. Dr Hiss desecrated the remains of Israeli Jews as well as those of Arabs that had been sent for autopsies by removing their organs for his own purposes.

  • Comment number 18.

    The YNET article which you referenced said nothing about a death sentance. It nebtuibed stones were to be thrown at the dog to chase it away not kill it. The BBC delibrately distorted this

  • Comment number 19.

    As a Jew, I read your article about the dog and was upset. I accidentally found this blog when I was looking for somewhere to complain about a different article - the one attacking medicines.

    ALL RETRACTIONS IN ALL MEDIA SHOULD BE AT LEAST AS PROMINENT AS THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE. The BBC is only one of many offenders - some newspapers being infamous for burying their retractions. I deleted a specific reference to a east coast US rag because I do not have recent data and try to avoid spreading disinformation.

    Common medicines for elderly linked to death

    The study appears to statistically look at people taking a drug to see if they were more likely to die than someone not taking the drug. This would only be a valid study if the two groups were the same, but the need to take some of these drugs, especially Warfarin, is in itself a risk for excess death.

    "However, this study cannot say that the drugs caused death or reduced brain function, merely that there was an association."

    There have been many drugs shown to increase mortality and thankfully most of those have been removed from the market, but a blanket declaration saying that all of these medications are dangerous could lead to severe consequences.

    All people who breathe air and drink water die, therefore there is an association between those activities and death.

    A least not all of your alleged click grabbing hyperbole is antisemitic.

  • Comment number 20.

    The BBC published this anti Israel story without checking because they wanted it to be true! The BBC is institutionaly anti Israel.It is as obvious as FIFA is corrupt.

  • Comment number 21.

    The story appeared on the internet hoax website as a "verified fake" the day before the BBC published it. Well done, BBC. Nathalie Malinarich's statement is a gloss on the truth. The BBC did not make any checks on this story. Just Googling it would have revealed it was false. The best funded and resourced news service on the planet couldn't be bothered to do that with a story that clearly touched on religious, racial and political sensitivities. It is beneath contempt. Ms Malinarich's apology misses the point entirely - no big surprise there, then. No one is complaining because they're offended. What we are concerned about is the damage that has been done to the reputation of Jews and to the reputation of Israel across the world by the propagation of this hoax. If the BBC had wanted to promote anti-Semitism it could not have done a better job than it has by giving this story the approval of its trusted brand. Witness the thousands of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments the story has attracted on dozens of websites, and yet the BBC's retraction is buried in a blog far from its main page, attracting 20 comments and being shared 63 times. The original, fake story was shared in excess of 40,592 times. If there is anyone with a conscience working in BBC News Online, they should now take action to moderate the damage they have been party to.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.


    I agree with your characterization of the story as Julius Streicher-like. Unfortunately, the story first appeared in the Israeli press and not Der Sturmer.

    If anyone at Maariv or Ynet, thought that the story was anti-someone, that someone would be Haredi. Many - if not most - of the staffers of the MSM in Israel despise the Haredim and their culture. Academics and others have long complained that the Israeli MSM use Nazi-like imagery and tactics in its reporting on Haredim but the criticism has fallen on deaf ears. I am sure that no one at Maariv and Ynet had any idea that their dog story contained strong anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and anti-Israeli overtones.

  • Comment number 26.

    Blimey. Looks like the thread was well titled in advance to reflect the content (or edited extent).

  • Comment number 27.


    I think you have come to the wrong page to vent your anti-Israeli slander. The Guardians C.I.F. is elsewhere.

  • Comment number 28.

    Funny isn't it how these things pan out? The BBC is always ready to uncritically report as true Hamas or Fatah propaganda but is always very critical of the Israelis. Oh 'well a government has to have much higher standards' do they - like in Gaza where they starve their people to buy Turkish missiles to fire at farmers ( sorry 'settlers' - funny too how they are always 'settlers' - do you ever try to find out how long the Jewish victims have tilled the soil they are now watering with their blood? Many of the Israelis killed have been in Israel for - but lets not worry about the 'truth')
    When a Jewish family was murdered by a Muslim maniac - beheading a baby in the process you buried the story on an obscure page and played down the incident. But when a Palestinian child is used by French TV as a cause celebre using fake footage you showed, and continue to show, that lie as if it was gospel. Your 'comedians' still refer to Jenin as if it actually happened.
    So this story is nothing new, just a long line of hate. But you are convincing no-one but yourselves and your fellow travellers on the left. We know you hate Jews. Funny eh? Yeah hilarious.
    Publish Balen now!

  • Comment number 29.

    If this story was about an Imam ordering a dog to be stoned to death the BBC would have checked it, then checked it again, then checked it again, then if it was true they would have either ignored it or played it down.

    But it wasn’t about an Imam was it, it about the Jews, and we all know what the BBC thinks about the Jews.

    BTW note to one specific faith group that I shall not name but we all know who you are, the Jews were extremely offended by this lie, note how there were no riots and no one has been killed.

    Perhaps those in that specific nameless faith group could learn something from Jew? I hope!

  • Comment number 30.

    Little comment required on the ongoing efforts at ever higher levels as the decision seems to have been taken to just dig deeper.

    No excuse.

    Love the irony of mumbling that the correction in the source was tucked away and hence missed, given the BBC's tardy and meagre efforts thus far.

    And while one story 'not checked as it should have been' is bad enough, two in quick succession suggests institutional meltdown.

    Especially if the claim is going to be 'lessons have been learned' and the staff is going to get a good talking to, when clearly none have and words internally have no effect.

    What are you running there?

  • Comment number 31.

    The BBC has now spent 24 hours trying to decide if my comment (21) is fit to publish, which is about 24 hours more than they spent trying to decide if the dog story was fit to publish.

  • Comment number 32.

    It was only a few weeks ago that I was told by a BBC employee that “facts tend to be atheists leftist biased” on this thread:

    In my replies to the BBC employee called _Marko I tried to explain to him that many people have legitimate concerns against the BBC, and, that the BBC constantly had to defend itself on the same old subjects?

    His replies (on that blog post and others to me) have given me a fascinating insight into the BBC liberal group think. He never seemed to understand the fact that they keep on having to apologies to the same groups over and over again, or, if he did he didn’t care.

    I would say that many BBC staff think along the same line, so the next time you see a member of the BBC apologising to the Jews/Israelis don’t believe them. And believe me it wont be long before they have to.

    Lessons have not been learnt and they won’t do better next time.

    Now millions of people would have seen the original offending article that went viral yet very few people by comparison will be reading the apology.

    Now it is the different level of care and respect that they show to different groups that makes them biased.

  • Comment number 33.

    This is a truely amazing blog-post!

    The BBC did something wrong
    The BBC changed what was wrong
    The BBC apologised for its wrongdoing.

    I seem to remember some 500-600 postings during the last month or so, and thousands across all Editors' Blogs, where the online community asked the BBC - unsuccessfully - to do just this,

    but perhaps it needs a trashy 'stoned dog story' to bring the BBC to its senses (wry smile).
    How are the mighty (BBC Editors) fallen !

  • Comment number 34.

    Why all the negativity. The BBC got it wrong and have apologised. So what?

    Oh, and JunkkMale (post #5) that is probably just *one* of the many ways which the BBC (and other media organisations) can source information for articles/programmes. It's no big deal.

  • Comment number 35.

    I am sure the editor's apology is sincere. The problem is the BBC is regarded by many, particularly where I live in Australia, as a bit of a laughing stock. Not just on Israel but on many issues. Perhaps one measure might be for Nathalie to publish an article on the front page next week on Israel being one of the world's most multi cultural societies that has per capita taken in more refugees than any other country in the last 25 years. You see, in Australia we take pride in our cultural diversity and that is why we applaud Israel for its achievements in this regard. The other measure you might take is to promote peace in the middle east so that the people can prosper there. Instead of looking for articles on dogs and any other red herring, drop the hatred mantra and realise that there is so much positive that could be created by you. C'mon BBC, how about it?

  • Comment number 36.

    The BBC has appropriately recognized that they failed to fact check. The real story that they are sweeping under the rug is why that failure occurred. The story is so obviously preposterous that it doesn't pass the giggle test. A court sentenced a dog to death? By stoning? Because it refused to leave the courtroom? Because it was the reincarnation of a long deceased lawyer who insulted one of the judges? Children were ordered to carry out the execution? No one at the BBC could be that stupid.

    And it goes beyond fact checking. The original YNET article quoted a court manager who stated:

    "They didn’t issue an official ruling, but ordered the children outside to throw stones at him in order to drive him away. They didn’t think of it as cruelty to animals, but as an appropriate way to ‘get back at’ the spirit which entered the poor dog."

    The statement, strange as it is, makes it apparent that the "stoning" was not a death sentence, but a means of getting the dog to leave. But here's the BBC's account of the court manager's statement:

    "‘But a court manager told Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot the stoning had been ordered as “as an appropriate way to ‘get back at’ the spirit which entered the poor dog”, according to Ynet."

    This account omits information that exonerates the judges, and instead converts it into an out-of-context corroboration of a sentence of death by stoning.

    This is not just a failure to fact check. This is a distortion of the facts at hand. Why did the author of the BBC article do this? It's very hard to believe that such a significant omission was inadvertent. Is this why the BBC removed the original article from view?

    The article should be restored to the web site, with an explanation. If you help spread a fire, you should be willing to take the heat.

  • Comment number 37.

    '34. At 22:23 25th Jun 2011, Carl Waring
    Why all the negativity. The BBC got it wrong and have apologised. So what?

    The negativity might have had something to do with the 'apology', such as it was/still is. Mindless sycophancy tends to mean those who foul up keep on doing it, and don't care very much even if they do.

    '...that is probably just *one* of the many ways which the BBC (and other media organisations) can source information for articles/programmes.

    Very possibly. But oh, and Carl, two wrongs don't make a right, and 'sourcing' information in this manner at the expense of more traditional, tried, tested and proven professional methods of journalism seems retrograde. Not to mention not working. And I care more here because, along with many others, I am compelled to uniquely fund an entity with 'British' in its name fomenting discord either through ineptitude or petty agenda. It's vexing to me.

    'It's no big deal.'

    To you, maybe not. To me, and possibly others, it is.

    Wait until they work their magic in an area you feel strongly about in a way you don't agree with. See how it feels then.

    Meanwhile, keep paying that licence fee and demanding no one has a critical view: they need the money for where it matters:

  • Comment number 38.

    A chance for redemption:
    Israel warned foreign journalists against sailing on a flotilla trying to reach the besieged Gaza Strip, saying they could be barred from the country for up to a decade.
    Is this legal?
    Oren Helman, Director, Israel Government Press Office, to foreign NEWS organizations: "The flotilla intends to knowingly violate the blockade that has been declared legally and is in accordance with all treaties and international law."
    Is this true?
    Oren said that he wants to make it clear that participation in the flotilla is an intentional violation of Israeli law and is liable to lead to
    - participants being denied entry into the State of Israel for 10 years,
    - impoundment of their equipment and
    - additional sanctions.
    Can Israel really do this?
    @ 10 boats are set to take part in the flotilla that follows one which Israeli commandos halted on May 31, 2010, in which nine Turkish activists died.
    Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor said his country was determined to prevent the flotilla from reaching the Hamas-ruled Gaza, calling the attempt a "provocation."
    Washington has warned US nationals against taking part in the aid flotilla.
    The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists in Israel and the Palestinian territories, says this sends a "chilling message to the international media" as well as raising questions about Israelís commitment to freedom of the press."
    Journalists covering a legitimate news event should be allowed to do their jobs without threats or intimidation.
    So, may we have the BBC position, please?

  • Comment number 39.

    I reiterate what I have written before. The BBC printed this story because they WANTED it to be true.We see clips from Syria where the word "allegedly" is always used. The BBC IS as institutionaly anti Israel as much as the police were institutionaly racist at the time of the Stephen Lawrence murder.Why is this? Israel is a democracy to the point that an Israeli newspaper originated this bizarre story. In most of the rest of the middle east and Islamic World.journalists would be strung up for lieing about a religious body.I am afraid there has to be one real reason why the BBC is Anti Israel and you dont need to be a brain surgeon to know what it is.

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm afraid the BBC does not have a good track record when reporting on Israel. If the BBC is confident it has nothing to hide, why not release the Balen Report? By keeping the findings secret, the suspicion is the report does indeed show the BBC has an anti-Israel bias.

  • Comment number 41.

    To the BBC, we only have to read BluesBerry’s post to see the damage your anti-Israeli bias is doing, the constant drip drip feed and negative stories are making people totally hostile towards Israels and the Jews.

    BluesBerry what has your off topic post above got to do with the lies about the Israelis/Jews?

  • Comment number 42.

    It's interesting to see that although the original story has been removed, this one is still there:

    "Jerusalem Court Denies....."

    It's only at the very bottom of the page that readers are directed to this blog, which admits the story was false and that the BBC "failed to make the right checks"

    As the BBC now accepts the story is totally without foundation, why is the headline "Jerusalem Court denies dog condemned to stoning" still there at all? The REAL headline should be "BBC admits error in publishing a false story about Jerusalem Court".

    Nathalie Malinarich writes: "We have kept the story carrying the denial in the interests of transparency."

    Not very convincing I'm afraid. If the BBC was genuinely interested in 'transparency', it would now publish the Balen Report which investigated BBC bias on Middle East issues. Why are the findings of this report still being kept secret?

  • Comment number 43.

    Adding my comment

    So in the quantum queer magikal world of Aunty's dotage a story can not be -'Story removal'- and at the same crowded time- be!-'we have kept the story carrying the denial in the interests of transparency', which though it is an admirable confession of journo errancy (which after 80+ years is indulgently and endearingly incorrigible) is at the same time a trifle self reverentially conceited at the expense of particular Israelis with the beeb's translucent mud left sticking to them. Islamic things, and Roverish, too-one because of invidious contemporary resonance, and the other coz beeby wants dogs in the selflessness dog house (however as a model to her, if her pack of cards ever tumbled in, Rover's natural magnanimity will have him sniff her out).

    One is not saying that there is tri-plicity here-no, a no is a no, is (yawn), but Natalie, et al, must believe that where there is a 'No' there must also be a 'Yes' at one and the same 'time'.

  • Comment number 44.

    The use of the word 'denies' is a hackneyed journalistic ploy for publishing a story which is known to be scurrilous and untruthful.

    "Jerusalem court denies dog condemned to stoning"

    By saying an allegation is 'denied' the journalist attempts to let him/herself off the hook. They publish the false allegation, but because they also mention it is 'denied', the journalist avoids taking responsibility for helping to spread an untruth.

    The BBC should be ashamed of itself. Once the error had come to light, the page should have been updated as often happens with the news. Instead of 'Jerusalem Court Denies...', (which still leaves some doubt), the headline should have been 'BBC apologises for false story'.

    The apology on this blog from Nathalie Malinarich can only be found tucked away by clicking on a link. The main report makes no mention of it.

    To suggest the 'denial' story and headline should not be updated "in the interests of transparency" is laughable.

    Perhaps Nathalie Malinarich would like to answer some of these points?

  • Comment number 45.

    Amongst other things...

    'It's not permission to be sloppy -
    The ability to correct online stories should not be a licence for a kind of permanent approximation'

  • Comment number 46.

    What is this - a BBC documentary on the life of Prophet Muhammad? Do you not think it has a high potential to upset a lot of people?
    If my information is true, reprisal actions could result.
    Apparently, the BBC has announced that it will trace the journey of the prophet of Islam for a new SERIES - a first for British television.
    BBC2 "The Life of Mohammad" is expected to go on air next month. It will include events such as the prophet’s migration to Medina and the founding of the first Islamic constitution, through to his death. It will also examine his legacy and the impact of the faith established more than 1400 years ago. The three-part film has been made by Faris Kermani, Director & Producer of Channel 4 series Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World. BBC says the film raises queries about Islam’s role in the world today and explores Islam’s attitude toward money, charity, women, social equality, religious tolerance, war and conflict.
    I don't know whether to admire BBC courage or condemn its stupidity. I guess the series will give me the answer.

  • Comment number 47.

    Don’t worry BluesBerry this documentary is Shari proof.

    From a source you will trust:

    Extract (My emphasis is in capitals).


    So do you see; the BBC has put a lot of care and consideration into this documentary because it involves Islam.

    Shame they can’t show the same level of care when it comes to the Jew. Your comment has just shown how biased they are.

    Anyway I don’t know what this has got to do with the lie about the Jews/Israelis, but your comment above shows the different levels of care they show to different faith groups/communities.

    Thank you for that.

  • Comment number 48.

    Fair dinkum to the BBC in making a red-faced retraction of the ridiculous and non-newsworthy story of the Israelis stoning a dog. The story was "reporting" (not sure if that is the correct term) without thinking. Not a good look.

    However, it is good to see this rare attempt at objective self-criticism. More please. Then maybe, one day, when I read the BBC news websites I can start to take it all seriously as credible reporting, once again.
    I do miss the quality of the "old" professional and objective BBC reporting (sigh). Over my childhood years, it formed the basis for a lot of my education and thinking about world affairs.
    My mother explained to me what indoctrination was and taught me to listen to the BBC, the Voice of America, and the Chinese and Russian broadcasts in English, to compare how they "reported" newsworthy events, and ponder why they were so different. This was planned editorial ideological bias/prejudice in action.

    I still have the Beeb in my feed aggregator, but sadly it does not seem to have come up to scratch for the last few years, so I just scan it but rarely read it with the expectation that it will keep me accurately informed about current affairs.
    Never mind, the Beeb still has good value. As an exercise in critical thinking, I have taught my 9½ year old daughter to scan the BBC news and watch Al-Jazeera news as rather good and comparative sources for examples of indoctrination and extreme editorial bias. She is getting so good now, she can spot most of them and explain why they are biased. So the BBC is still being educational, in a way.

  • Comment number 49.

    47. At 20:48 27th Jun 2011, Ex-Beebiod wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

    48. At 23:17 27th Jun 2011, Slartibartfarst wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

    It's now roughly 8.20am on the 28th.

    Cheaper, maybe. Faster and better... not so much.

    But as a way of removing or delaying anything but approved broadcast-only views... perfect.

  • Comment number 50.

    You have a similar unfactual story on the Scottish news site.
    The motorway extension though Glasgow was NOT three times over budget.
    You have taken an estimate by a Labour council poitician, made over 10 years ago, and applied it to the project completed today. Please retract this silly bit of sensationalism. Try the Edinburgh trams project if you want budget problems.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ah, you're back.

    A story on 'story removal' is as good as any surely to ask why all bbc blogs went 'closed for comments' the last 15 hrs or so?

  • Comment number 52.

    Sadly, there is no way of removing this story - yet another untruth about Israel albeit due to misinformation.

  • Comment number 53.

    I just thought it was a funny story, but I guess people are at liberty to read politics into just about anything they want to.
    But I preferred the report of an Indian court issuing a summons to two Hindu gods to appear before the court in a property dispute. They sent the summons by post.

    Have the Gods turned up yet?

  • Comment number 54.

    Sorry. My mistake (#53). The court reportedly put out an advertisement in a newspaper (but it didn't say what section the advert was placed in).

  • Comment number 55.

    This is another example of the BBC's rabid, dogged anti-Israel bias.

    There is no other explanation as to how a serious news organisation could accept this plainly ludicrous story and give it such prominence without even the most cursory fact-checking.

    Unfortunately the BBC’s retraction is too little, too late. Many people will already believe these lies - spread by the BBC - to be true.

    And to top it all (at time of writing) the original story with the headline, "Jerusalem rabbis 'condemn dog to death by stoning'" is STILL available on the BBC website, with just a footnote mentioning this blog:

  • Comment number 56.

    49. JunkMale,

    I see that comments 47 and 48 have been reinstated. This is most unusual for the BBC and a day or so to make the decision is like greased lightning when you consider that "referred" comments usually stay referred forever. This will probably be the fate of comments 21 and 24, posted five days ago and still in referred mode.

    Years ago I was in touch with someone from the BBC's Internet blog who undertook to speedily decide the fate of referred comments. Of course, nothing changed.

    However, this blog is far better than the World Have Your Say blog, for example. The World Service is slowly strangling that blog, leaving posts "awaiting moderation" for days and often not even posting them at all:

    This is treating people with casual indifference at best and contempt at worst. Only a handful of die-hards still try to comment on that blog as WHYS enthusiastically directs listeners to Twitter or Facebook, as its contribution to the general dumbing-down of the short-attention-span generation.

    In this climate, whatever negative stories about Israel the BBC gleefully latches onto and spreads far and wide will stick that much more easily. And poor attempts at damage control, such as this one, will have little or no effect.

  • Comment number 57.

    55. Jez101,

    When I click on your link, I get 404 - Page Not Found. From reading the comments above, it seems they took it down some time ago. Still, it means little. The damage has been done.

  • Comment number 58.

    Why does the BBC still refuse to publish the Balen Report?

    According to leaked information, the report concludes that the BBC's Middle East coverage is biased against Israel.

    The BBC could easily resolve this by publishing the report - failure to do so does indeed suggest they have something to hide.

  • Comment number 59.

    '56. At 22:29 29th Jun 2011, TrueToo wrote:
    49. JunkkMale

    I actually pursued this via Twitter, which is, regrettably, where the BBC seems to feel its business will be sourced and conducted in future. And had a prompt reply from one avenue of enquiry:

    @BBCNewsnight - The comments were closed while a tech problem was resolved. All working again now.

    I may just have missed them, but for a major media service, this might have been worth sharing at the time and explaining afterwards.

    But the unique nature of this service may explain what actually transpired.

    In the circumstances, though I find the notion of one public sector quango as appealing as any other, I found this of interest:

  • Comment number 60.

    It has taken the BBC six days to decide that my comment (21) was off-topic and therefore broke the House Rules. The difficulty is that my comment was not off-topic. My comment was entirely on-topic. I notice that a comment (46) which concerns a projected BBC documentary about the life of Mohammed is not considered off-topic in this discussion of the dog story, but my comment about the dog story is considered off-topic. What makes things even more difficult for me is that I am unable to reply to the email telling me that I have contravened the House Rules, and so I cannot request clarification of what appears to be a perverse and unsustainable ruling. I am therefore left with no option but to post this comment, and to ask whoever construed my comment as off-topic to now explain their decision to me either privately via email or publicly on this blog. It would be a good idea to do so today.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    So you have ‘incinerated’ the story in interests of transparency?

    Hijack 'suspects' alive and well

  • Comment number 64.

    59. JunkkMale,

    Yes, I read your post about being unable to comment. Subsequently I also couldn't comment. Fair enough that that could explain the lack of attention to recently referred comments, but it doesn't explain why comments 21 and 24 were left languishing in referred mode for at least five days. I now see that a decision has finally been made and they have been removed. So someone is paying attention.

    I sympathise with madaboutbuckets on getting an "off-topic" comment removed. These blogs have this one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to removing comments. Except, of course, that one size doesn't fit all. While I can understand that moderators cannot send individual explanations to everyone who has a comment removed, it is really frustrating to be given an invalid reason for said removal.

    On the BBC complaints issue, from your link, it's good that someone is apparently waking up at last to what is required for an effective complaints system. Thing is, what are the chances of this being translated from speculation into action?

  • Comment number 65.

    & how about that?

    Can you see it? The irony?

    "Just about everything that was reported on this woman early on was untrue but no one checked or wanted to believe anything else," the source told Reuters.

    The moral of the story with regards to BBC’s decision? You don’t remove stories on demand, especially so with such explanation as above.

    So what now? You’ve failed to check reports of incredibility in the case of Strauss-Kahn, will you remove ‘just about everything’.

    Or that Day of Terror?

    How about that one? Another failure to make the right checks? Honestly, what exactly is that anyway? Pillar of shameful journalism? Some sort of ‘in depth’ propaganda?

    All the stories that should never been written…


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