Biased Broadcasting Corporation 35

I am hopeful the public outcry caused by the BBC’s refusal to broadcast the joint appeal for Gaza, will open more eyes to the immense bias in the BBC’s News coverage.

As it has slipped off the front page, I think it is worth reproducing this from my blog for 6 January:

What is Really Happening

I watched BBC World News for a timed hour yesterday. In that time I saw:

Pro-Israeli (including US government) speakers – 17

Pro-Palestinian speakers – 2

Mentions of Hamas Rockets as reason for war – 37

Mentions of illegal Israeli settlements – 0

Mentions of Palestinians killed by Israel during “ceasefire” – 2

Mentions of Sderot – 12

Mentions Sderot used to be Palestinian – 0

If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.

The BBC took being banned from Gaza by the Israelis as the excuse to focus a wildly disproportionate attention on the Hamas threat to Israel. Their choice of Sderot as their base of operations was in itself a factor of bias – and their failure to say, even once, that Sderot was once Palestinian was inexcusable.

Now journalists can get into Gaza there has been nothing by the BBC that comes close to matching the searing explorations by Channel 4, ITN and yes, Sky News, on the atrocities that happened there.

I am particularly outraged by the pusillanimity of my Dundee University and Tashkent colleague Alan Johnston, on whose behalf in his kidnapping I had been attempting to exert what little influence I have to its utmost limit (to no avail, I fear). He appears to have exhausted all his compassion on himself.

But what is truly extraordinary is the way that New Labour careerists like Alexander and Bradshaw, who have come out to ask for the appeal to be broadcast, now that Bush has gone are so instantly re-orienting themselves slavishly to follow a slightly different direction.

Do not be fooled by New Labour; they have no core beliefs but in their own careers. Stand by for them to explain they were against extraordinary rendition all along. Do not believe an of our Ministers on anything. And should you get close to any of them, I believe personal violence may be justified in this instance.

Note added 26.01.09

If you have not complained to the BBC yet, you can do so at:

PHONE: 03700 100 222

TEXT: 03700 100 212


You can donate to the appeal that the BBC is denying a

broadcast here:

35 thoughts on “Biased Broadcasting Corporation

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    I agree entirely, Mr Murray re. the BBC and the New Labour careerists. I also understand, and agree with, your anger wrt the yellow-bellied New Labour ministers. I am aware that the last sentence of your piece may have been a rhetorical flourish – or else a rumbustuous exhortation a la ‘Glasgow Kiss’ (a sore temptation, to be sure), 1968-and-all-that. It is hard to disagree with the sentiment. As a primitive thought-experiment, just imagine for a moment that someone named, say, ‘Mohammad’, ‘Hawwa’, ‘Yusuf’, or even ‘Suhayl’ had written that sentence anywhere, anytime recently – they would be opening themselves up to ‘anti-terrorist’ charges or some other equally ridiculous nonsense. I guess that also exemplifies something which you’ve very effectively been critiquing all this time – and thank you for doing so!

  • joe90 kane


    I don’t subject myself to corporate news journalism except through the prism of decent people like yourself Craig.

    Could you give me some links, references etc, to Alan Johnston stabbing his saviours in the back?

    Obvioulsy, the money got too much for him, much like his captors who couldn’t help themselves either.

    Tells you a lot about the difference in morality between Johnston and his former captors.

    all the best!

  • ken

    I’m lost for words at this terrible time for humanity, so I’ll use someone else’s. It says it a lot better than I can. “The foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of Truth.” Albert Einstein.

    And as each day goes past, we become subject to more and more Authority. And Truth dies.

  • George Dutton

    “Media Caught Lying”…

    Strange thing…We hardly have the TV on these days…My wife has taken to reading books and I spend too much time on this computer or we go out somewhere.It’s just been a progression that has happened not a protest…my wife has said “there is nothing but rubbish on these days”…she is right.

    For what it is worth there seems a lot more people like us out there and growing…The BBC/ITV/Sky etc should be getting worried ?.We have talked about getting rid of the TV and saving the TV licence money. I think that will happen sooner then later.

  • Stuart

    In relation to the appeal for Gaza. Perhaps someone at the BBC has learned about the Streisand Effect

  • Sabretache

    What is there to add? – a truly appalling decision. When the dust settles on this an FOI request is needed to ascertain the precise mechanism of the decision – one can’t help but suspect that it is another example of pervasive Israeli influence, though ‘caught-in-the-headlights’ fear and pusillanimity is certainly possible.

    Like others here I stopped watching/listening to the BBC around 3-4 years ago. Likewise the other Western MSM. I do monitor them though. Not as a reliable news source (which they categorically are not) but simply to compare editorial lines with diverse non-MSM sources. Same applies to newspapers. I haven’t purchased one for over 4 years and will not do so on principle. I also endorse the Media-Lens recommendation above. It is one of very few organisations that I contribute to financially. Their book ‘Guardians of Powers’ is an absolute ‘MUST READ’ for penetrating insight into the extent that the MSM have become precisely that ‘The Guardians of Western Power elites’ and their agendas, with all considerations of objectivity permanently subordinated to that over-riding function.

  • writerman

    I think the recent channel 4 piece by Jon Snow was interesting, facinating, frightening.

    I believe Snow’s programme illustrated how managed and controlled much of what passes for ‘news’ really is, the conflict in Gaza is just an extreme example of a wider process.

    Not only was Israel wildly superior militarily compared to the Hamas militia, it was massively more successful, with a huge resource and access advantage in the media/propaganda war. At least in the beginning of the assault. Slowly, reality and the truth began to break through the propaganda facade as the true, disproportionate, nature of the conflict revealed itself and the horrors the defenceless civilian popultion were subject to simply couldn’t be ignored.

    With rare exceptions the media reflects the attitudes of our ruling elite to an extraordinary degree. Journalists who aren’t deemed ‘team players’ are quickly seen as ‘radioactive’ and unreliable.

    One can compare the language and tone of the media coverage of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, with the Russian invasion of Georgia. Here, suddenly, journalists became real journalists and showed a critical attitude almost totally lacking in relation to Israel.

    Just one area that struck me was in relation to ‘dissent’ inside Russia vs. Israel. I remember hearing on numerous occasions reporters being very critical of the way the Russian media reported the attack on Georgia and how little space was given to Russians who were anti-war. I don’t recall hearing anything like the same ammount of time devoted to questioning the Israeli medias coverage of the conflict in Gaza, especially the Israeli anti-war movement. That’s not to say there weren’t critical voices inside Israel.

    In some respects we seem to have taken the old, Victorian concept of the ‘deserving poor’ and widened it to encompass ‘deserving victims’ and ‘un-deserving victims.’ Some lives, usually Western lives, are seen as precious, whilts the lives of non-Westerners are of almost no value at all. ‘They don’t value humna life like we do.’ A million Iraqis here, a million Iraqis there, it’s all the same to me, they don’t have names, they are not really human. One Jewish finger-nail is worth more than a hundred Arabs!

    What exactly is the whiteman’s burden today? What’s the cost we pay? We feel bad that so many people die. We feel bad that they force us to kill so many of them. It’s hard to shop with so much blood on one’s hands!

    There should be something called the ‘Imperial Ratio.’ It’s the difference between how many of our brave heroes are killed in relation to ‘native’ ‘savage’ ‘uncivilised’ ‘barbarian’ ‘terrorist’ loses. At present the ‘Imperial Ratio’ is around 250 to 1, and all the while it’s us who contend we are under threat and attack and are suffering!

    And this perverse, sentimental attitude is part of the ‘Imperial Ratio’ too. We grossly exaggerate our own suffering and loses, the dangers we face; and at the same time we ignore, play-down and have contempt for the suffering and the lives of others. Their deaths, mountains of dead, are somehow of far less importance to us, even when we are confronted with the collosal numbers involved. These excess deaths, or collateral damage, are a price we are willing to pay for our freedom, we think it’s worth it.

  • eddie

    The BBC is wrong on this one. The key question is whether any aid would go to those who need it or whether it would be purloined by hamas for their own ends.

    As for Media Lens, they are about as impartial as a sack of foxes in a hen house.

  • Pete Jordan

    It’s a characteristic of people caught within an authoritarian system to, on occasion, follow the letter of their orders whilst doing their best to subvert them.

    Radio 4 news bulletins seemed to find that the best way to report on this gagging order from above was to play the clip of Tony Benn interviewed on Today, announcing donation details for the appeal. Repeatedly. I just hope nobody has had their knuckles rapped too hard for their insubordination.

  • writerman

    Let’s look at the way the Western media, (and I’m including the Israeli media here, because we share the same values,) deals with the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and the rockets fired from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

    The Hamas rockets explain and justify a massive and ‘disproportionate’ Israeli response, one life for a hundred. Pakistan and the Pastun people along the border, a disputed border, drawn-up by the British colonial administartion, a border which the Pastuns don’t recognise, are subject to American rocket attacks, hundreds of casualties. Yet virtually no one calls these attacks war-crimes or terrorism, and Pakistan is expected to sit and do nothing in response, certainly not launch a massive offensive against the US forces in Afghanistan.

    There are grotesqu double-standards at work here. One law for us and one law for them. We opperate inside the law and they are outlaws, bring them in dead or alive, preferably dead.

    Now, we may be able to ignore our bottomless hypocracy, self-delusion and self-serving cant, but it doesn’t convince the people on the sharp end, the bloody end of our missiles. Our propaganda doesn’t wash with them, it only makes them angrier and more determined to resist us. This is what frightens me about the West, that we are both ignorant and arrogant and this is coupled with overwhelming fire-power. This is a lethal mixture. Great strength coupled with great stupidity.

    Our actions, our killing machines that straddle the globe, are forcing people to resist and take up arms against us. Sure we control their leaders, we threaten them and we bribe them, we arm and protect them; but this strategy is paradoxically undermining them in the eyes of their own people, and calling forth a reaction, a mass movement of resistance which bypasses their corrupt leaders. This development is very dangerous for Western interests, especially in the Middle East.

    Here, Hamas and Hezbollah are showing that it’s possible to fight back, creating an ‘army’ which is part of the people, integrated into the culture of the people, that one can be a citizen and a soldier. Their model is the Israeli army. This is ironic. One begins with the tactic of ‘terror’, just like Israel and slowly becomes an army of the people, the poeple become the army.

    Of course this makes the task of defeating such an army/militia very difficult indeed. Destroying such an integrated military force means killing the people as well, even the children, because eventually they will grow up to be soldiers too. A spiral of violence and hatred begins to spin out of control. Soon nobody cares or even remembers how or why the conflict started, all that matters is that it’s perceived as a war of hate, revenge and survival. One set of dehumanised beasts against another ripping each other to peices in a pool of blood.

  • writerman

    First let me apologise for writting so much. I don’t mean to hog the site, honestly. However, this question of bias intrigues me.

    I’ve just read an article in the Sunday Times, which as a newspaper has gone downhill since Murdoch got him hands on it.

    The article dealt with an agressive, new American policy of confronting Iranian ships supplying Hamas with weapons, or smuggling as they called it.

    This policy, if true, could have serious consequences.

    What struck me was how they used statistics. The article quoted a figure of 91% Israeli support for the ‘incursion’ in Gaza, but now only half believed the attack had achieved its intended goal. Previoulsy I’d heard a figure of 80% public support mentioned. A extremely high percentage.

    But how is such a figure possible? Remember, this is the Sunday Times, a paper of record? Around 20% or Israel’s population are Palestinians and this percentage is growing. Are we really supposed to believe that the Palestinians approve and support the attacks on their own people in Gaza? This is ridiculous!

    If one subtracts the Palestinian 20% from the total one gets 80%, a figure of 91% support in the Israeli population as a whole is, therefore, impossible. It has to be substantially lower, around 72%. Though doesn’t it imply that all Israeli Jews support their govenment?

    Is this article an illustrative example of bias in the British media or not?

  • MJ

    I’m rather pleased the BBC is refusing to screen the Gaza appeal. The decision exposes for all to see the very bias it is claiming to avoid.

    Like George, I have now all but given up on both TV and the mainstream press as my primary source for news. To anyone inclined to go the same way I recommend and as good starting places. The latter is particularly comprehensive and has an excellent list of links to other alternative news sites.

    Am I being outrageously optimistic to suggest that Israel’s attack on Gaza has been a global PR disaster that has probably put back its other ambitions – such as a military strike on Iran – to some quite considerable degree?

  • writerman

    They sailed me away on the censor’s ship

    They bound and gagged me into silence

    Then when we were out of sight of land

    They tied an anvil to my chest

    And without a sign or a word pushed me overboard

  • Nazi hunter

    George Dutton

    Why did you post Marcus Agius’ bio?

    Anything to do with your being a Nazi?

  • marco

    I am another one of those that no longer watch the news or read the newspapers. A mix of medialens and various European national discussion boards in their local languages provide me with the background to decipher what is going on.

    When somebody does surprise me with a tidbit of mass-media headlines, I am usually so taken aback by the gullibility of the person telling me this that I am happy to have given up on the mass media.

  • Colin

    This morning Thompson, when interviewed on the Today Programme stated the decision was his responsibility.

    His performance was a lesson on how not to conduct yourself during an interview, with poor delivery and reasoning, and it was difficult to believe he is the head of bbc.

    It is obvious that Thompson, who has a poor record of decision making, is not capable of running such a large corporation.

  • Jon

    I have just complained to the BBC (03700 100 222) and suggest everyone here does the same. The recorded menu offers an opportunity to hear a Beeb statement on Gaza, and after it is played it hangs up the connection automatically. Do by all means listen to it (they are still repeating the suggestion that aid is not likely to get through, despite it having been contradicted more recently by senion BBC figures) but don’t stop there.

    I would urge readers to ring up again and to register a complaint manually (at midday today I had to wait around ten minutes in the ‘queue’). Murdoch channel Sky may well stick to its pro-Israel line (and sadly will be able to use the current BBC position as political cover) but we can’t let the BBC get away with the same. In their recent newsletter Stop the War Coalition has been urging TV viewers to cancel their license direct debits, and to send their license back to the BBC – this would also be a good extra avenue of protest. (Wish I could do this, but I unplugged my aerial a few years back).

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