A masterclass in subtle messaging from the BBC’s Barbara Plett

The BBC’s correspondent at the United Nations in New York, Barbara Plett, broadcast a report on BBC television news on November 29th 2012 (also appearing on the BBC News website) concerning the Palestinian Authority’s latest UN bid.

At 0:17 Plett says: [emphasis added]

“Last year Mahmoud Abbas applied for full UN membership, with much fanfare, but that got bogged down at the Security Council amidst US opposition. This time he’s coming to the UN for a lesser upgrade: from an observer to an observer state – like the Vatican.”

 Plett’s exclusive mention of “US opposition” to Abbas’s 2011 bid is of course inaccurate and disingenuous. In fact, the 15 member UN SC Admissions Committee was “unable to make a unanimous recommendation” – as necessary – to the Security Council. 

She continues:

“It’s a largely symbolic move, but Palestinians argue at least it will grant formal recognition to their state, which is practically being eroded by Israeli settlement building.”

The uninformed viewer hearing that sentence may well be left with the impression that a Palestinian state already exists and that it merely lacks “formal recognition”. But it is the second half of the sentence which is particularly interesting.

Plett does not say “but Palestinians argue at least it will grant formal recognition to their state, which they claim is practically being eroded by Israeli settlement building”. Instead, she states it as though it were fact. 

So our uninformed viewer may well now think that there already is a Palestinian state, and that it is becoming smaller because of Israeli settlement building. Of course Plett does not actually say that, but neither does she make any effort to refrain from leaving that impression.

At 1:02 Plett says:

“With such opposition from Israel – and therefore America – the Palestinian leadership is taking a risk.”

So American opposition is, according to Plett, a direct consequence of Israeli opposition. In other words, America cannot think for itself: it has to follow Israel’s lead.

That assertion sails very close to the age-old wind of stereotypical antisemitic motifs of Jewish power and control over governments and it is a highly inappropriate theme for a BBC journalist to advance – even through subtle messaging. 

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24 comments on “A masterclass in subtle messaging from the BBC’s Barbara Plett

  1. The British Broadcasting Corporation should, forthwith, be known to the licence paying public and all other viewers around the world as the British Bigotry Corporation. That would certainly simply matters without the use of subtle messaging or even so much as bending the truth… Long Live Israel!

    • If you’re the BBC I am quite sure you can be “amidst opposition” from a single entity. Judging from the BBC’s frequent and glaring spelling mistakes, as well as all of their attempts to ban the word terrorist from the English language, anything is quite literally possible with and at the BBC.

    • And not so interestingly they have the same relation to the Jews as the Vatican has.

      Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Vatican Council for Culture, commenting on the war between Israel and Hamas, delivered a severe attack on the Jewish people: “I think of the ‘massacre of the innocents’. Children are dying in Gaza, their mothers’ shouts is a perennial cry, a universal cry”.

      The Catholic Church high official equated Israel’s operation in Gaza against terror groups with the New Testament story of Herod’s slaughter of Jewish babies in his effort to kill Jesus.

      Ravasi, who is one of the most popular Catholic cardinals and the director of the Church’s policy on culture, called Israelis baby-killers in a shameless form of anti-Semitism which subtly accuses the Jewish State of trying to murder the new Jesus, symbolized by the Palestinian people.

  2. Wasn’t Plett the journalist in tears at Arafat’s funeral (clue the answer rhymes with ‘bes’).
    The BBC is beneath contempt. I don’t know why they don’t just ask Al-Aska TV to supply them with all there news from Israel.

  3. “Plett’s exclusive mention of “US opposition” to Abbas’s 2011 bid is of course inaccurate and disingenuous.”

    Not true. As Haaretz reported at the time “For any decision to pass in the 15-member Council, nine affirmative votes are needed, as well as no veto by any of the permanent Security Council members. The United States holds a veto and has promised to use it, if necessary.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/palestinians-need-just-two-more-security-council-votes-in-bid-for-statehood-1.385604

    Actually the Palestinians got 8 votes. Amongst those voting with the US was Colombia, which is a major recipient of US aid, and thus easily arm-twisted. Other small Security Council members probably came under similar pressure.

    This arm-twisting scenario nicely mirrors the voting on Palestinian partition in 1948. Again US bribery and threats obtained a tiny majority in favour of partition, as favoured by Zionists.

    • I’m happy sencar that finally you realized the truth – we Jews rule the world trough our slaves the US government.

    • Did the US twist Stalin’s arm too so that he would vote for partition? Strangely, it had no influence over all those Arab countries that voted against,

  4. I’ve been looking at BBC News 24 – anchor Julian Worricker had the splendid Douglas Murray as the studio interviewee re the UN bid, and Murray did not disappoint!
    But some time later Joanna Gosling described Ron Prosor (shown speaking at the UN following Abbas) as Avigdor Lieberman! Aw, bless!

  5. And what does Paul Danahar (retweeted by Jon Donnison) mean by this? It seems to be an anti-American dig and doesn’t look impartial to me:
    “Voted No: Canada, Czechs, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia, Marshall island, Panama, US, Israel. Looks like cast list of ‘Coalition of the Willing’ “

    • Four of these ‘No’ votes come from countries in the bottom 20 for population size. Palau, Nauru, Micronesia and Marshall Islands have together a population of 204,614. Norman Finkelstein does a running joke listing the countries voting with Israel at the UN over the years. The number is usually in single figures and generally features good old Palau and Nauru. You could probably buy their votes for a few hundred dollars.

      • And the huge majority of the yes votes come from third world members and such bastions of democracy like Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and the other Muslim countries. You must be proud of being in the same bed with them

        You could probably buy their votes for a few hundred dollars.
        And this racist dirt is whining about racism…

        • Peterthehungarian – and wasn’t yesterday’s vote proposed (on behalf of the Arab group) by Ambassador. Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, representing the genocidal country of Sudan, whose ruler is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court?

          Quite in keeping with the old, now discredited 1975 motion that ‘zionism is racism’, proposed by that well-known humanitarian Idi Amin.

          And lest we forget the calibre of Idi Amin, his self-appointed title was:

          “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshall Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, King of Scotland, Lord of all the Beast of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in General and Uganda in Particular”,

          Classy.:

        • “And the huge majority of the yes votes come from third world members and such bastions of democracy like Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and the other Muslim countries.”

          You name half a dozen undemocratic states – but Palestine was supported by the great majority of the world’s countries (many of them with impeccable democratic credentials), with another large number (no doubt with an eye to US patronage) abstaining. Israel/US has to depend on a few micro-states plus two or three US pawns. Recognise the fact: Israeli policy with regard to Palestine is held in contempt by the rest of the world.

          • Israel actually depends on over six millennia of the continual existence of the Jewish nation, the Light unto nations. There is no clearer evidence of that than the modern state of Israel out of which comes innovations and inventions that benefit all of mankind, from communications to health, music to science and more. Feed the World is truly Israel’s mantra in every respect. There have been mightier forces that have tried unsuccessfully to destroy the Jews – we hear about that at this time of year when we celebrate Hanukah – and the UN too will fail at this no matter how many terrorist states, or non states as the case may be, that it embraces.

          • but Palestine was supported by the great majority of the world’s countries (many of them with impeccable democratic credentials),

            Like Finland for example:
            While discussing the UN General Assembly vote to upgrade the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to non-member observer state status on the state television program YLE Aamu TV, Salolainen (Finland’s Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee) said: “Now about the United States, it finds it difficult to take a more neutral stance on the Israel-Palestine issue because they have a large Jewish population who have a significant control of the money and the media. The US for internal political reasons is afraid to become adequately involved. This is a sad truth about US politics.”

            Finland’s government voted to upgrade the PLO.

            Israeli policy with regard to Palestine is held in contempt by the rest of the world.
            Dream on sencar. The huge majority of the world don’t give a whatever about the Palestinians – only ninth rate politicians of tenth-rate countries (the majority of the UN) who are jealous of the Palestinians because they are much better off under the Israeli oppressors than these countries ever will be, corrupt voter-hungry politicians from Western countries and European anti-Semite governments like Spain, Norway, Finland and Sweden, supported by a minority of Jew hater citizens like you.

            You could probably buy their votes for a few hundred dollars.

            You just successfully achieved the dirtiest racist hypocrite poster title on this blog.

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