When did the BBC lose the plot on terrorism?

h/t Tsipi Kuper-Blau

Readers are no doubt familiar with the tortuous wording of the BBC’s editorial guidelines on the subject of terrorism. 

“We must report acts of terror quickly, accurately, fully and responsibly.  Terrorism is a difficult and emotive subject with significant political overtones and care is required in the use of language that carries value judgements.  We try to avoid the use of the term “terrorist” without attribution.  When we do use the term we should strive to do so with consistency in the stories we report across all our services and in a way that does not undermine our reputation for objectivity and accuracy.

The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should convey to our audience the full consequences of the act by describing what happened.  We should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as “bomber”, “attacker”, “gunman”, “kidnapper”, “insurgent”, and “militant”.  We should not adopt other people’s language as our own; our responsibility is to remain objective and report in ways that enable our audiences to make their own assessments about who is doing what to whom.”

But if perhaps we were under the impression that “value judgements” were a product of the 21st century European fashion for political correctness, the document below shows that in fact the BBC has adopted an ambivalent attitude towards domestic and foreign terrorism for at least twenty-five years – with the resulting public impression concerning its bias and double standards having been recognised even then.  

Letter Prof Kuper

Twenty five years. That means that a whole generation – and more – of BBC audiences have been imbibed with the propaganda of whitewashed Middle East terrorism. And still it goes on. 

Related articles:

Where can terrorism be named as such by the BBC?

Stop press! BBC uses word ‘terrorist’!

8 comments on “When did the BBC lose the plot on terrorism?

  1. Absolutely fascinating.

    Duvidl believes more than one generation has imbibed the beeboid tacit approval of terrorism through the use of language. He personally recalls the distinctly lukewarm BBC reportage of the Black September aircraft hijackings in 1970, the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes in 1972 and the subsequent attempts to erase it from the public memory by omission. Then there was the distinctly sparing beeboid use of the word terrorist to describe the activities of Carlos the Jackal around 1975. Later came the murder and throwing overboard of the body of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer from the Achille Lauro cruise ship by PLF terrorists in 1985. Duvidl remembers the BBC’s coverage being extremely muted and late in bringing the details of the murder to public attention.

    The list of terrorist outrages around the world sugared by the BBC for more than fifty years is comparably lengthy with the life of Methuselah.

  2. The BBC never disapproved any murderous acts against Israelis not then, not now and I don’t expect them to change their worldview in the future either. Their staff members are the loyal consumers of the Guardian and graduated from elite British universities. Their hate of Western democracies, the Great Satan, the traitor Little Satan who after abandoning its original socialist stagnation became a huge economic success and a technology powerhouse, their disappointment seeing that their ‘anticolonialist” idols like Nasser and Assad have been crushed by the much smaller IDF – all of these emotions combined with their built in worshiping anything non-white and/or Muslim makes their behavior completely understandable and unchangeable. Naturally their independence from the pressures of the market and their success rate independent funding by the taxpayer only helps to keep they ideological and spiritual “purity and objectivity”.

  3. Pingback: BBC regular Abdel Bari Atwan explains why Bin Laden wasn’t really a terrorist | BBC Watch

  4. Pingback: More evidence of BBC double standards on terrorism | BBC Watch

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