BBC takes a stroll down the tabloid journalism side of the street

In between feverishly promoting his own book via his Twitter account, former BBC Jerusalem Bureau chief Paul Danahar (now based in Washington) found time on October 6th to make his thoughts known on an issue of dire international importance – at least for people who don’t do metaphors.

Danahar tweet jeans

Danahar tweet jeans 2

The following day, October 7th, the BBC News website saw fit to produce an entire article on the subject of what some people were posting on Twitter. 

Jeans art

Not to be outdone, on October 13th BBC Middle East Editor (and no less prolific book promoter) Jeremy Bowen Tweeted his own second-hand scoop.

Tweet 2 Iran porn

The following day the BBC News website published on its Middle East page a non-event of an article – cribbed from another media source – titled “Israel PM Netanyahu Twitter account ‘in erotica gaffe’ “.

article twitter iran porn

Tweet 1 Iran porn

Whilst visitors to the BBC News website remain in the dark with regard to issues such as missile attacks and terror attacks on Israeli civilians, Palestinian Authority incitement and glorification of terror and the phenomenon of billions of unaccounted-for Euros, they can at least rest assured that they are au fait with the latest earth-stopping developments as far as who wrote what and who followed or unfollowed whom on Twitter is concerned – just as long as it can somehow be linked to Israel’s prime minister. 

Related articles: 

What makes a story newsworthy for the BBC?

11 comments on “BBC takes a stroll down the tabloid journalism side of the street

  1. Interesting that the BBC weekend skeleton staff didn’t have time to report an attack on a Jewish child in her home but somehow managed to spend time regurgitating gossip and rubbish over the weekends leading to the articles and tweets mentioned in this blog.

    I guess derogation is creating a workforce of facile infantile journalists protected by a screen of secrecy and navel gazing better suited to the tabloids they decry.

  2. We went to the Frontline Club tonight, as I mentioned in our email exchange yesterday, to hear Danahar. He was plugging his book “The New Middle East”.

    We were surprised that when he got on to the topic of Israel (his interlocutor was from BBC Arabic), because so clearly the great and terrible problems of the ME have nothing to do with Israel, that what Danahar said didn’t disturb us. He told an anecdote about a candid meeting between the foreign press and an MK. Fundamental to it was that Israel is a functioning democracy with a truly free press and a belief in free speech.

    He said other things that I hadn’t expected; that Israel wants stability, worries about what might happen and based on its history that’s to be expected. He cautioned the audience that Israel isn’t a colony of Europeans, many of the people are from the ME. Danahar contrasted the hostility of secular Israelis towards the ultra-orthodox with the attitudes towards the very religious in neighboring countries. He also said that it’s wrong to view Israel through the prism of the conflict with Palestinians, the last Israeli election wasn’t about that at all and went on, “to understand Israel you’ve got to live there”.

    I’d be interested in your observations. Perhaps I should have bought his book but I will wait until it is remaindered. I saw this man as obdurate and partial, a reasonable view based upon his form, but this evening he was far more balanced than I expected.

    I am also sending this to Luke Akehurst of We Believe in Israel and with any comments you might have we will brief the AJC, Gaby, my wife remains on the New York Board, as Mr D is now in Washington.

    Regards,

    Howard

    >

    • So is it a possibility that whilst in BBC employ journalists, who are otherwise intelligent and independent, are bound by guidelines that create the kind of bias we see coming out of its Jerusalem bureau? Or is it that Danahar simply wishes to sell his books to a wider Jewish audience?

      • Sharon, I once attended a talk given by the amazing Khaled Abu Toameh, during which he said that he’d suggest stories to journalists who told him that they’d love to do this or that story but the editors wouldn’t accept it because it wasn’t the kind of thing they were looking for.

        So in some cases, they really are reflecting their own viewpoints, but in other cases, the higher-ups simply won’t LET them give a more balanced picture.

  3. BBC World Service also ran an extended report on this story about the Iranian porn feed, making it look as if Netanyahu personally had made the link. Absolulely ridiculous, but it does show whose line the BBC WS prefers to take.

  4. Meanwhile, back home in blighty, the Daily Mail today gives us a new story of BBC child rapist and abuser the late Sir Jimmy Savile. The newspaper actually damns the British police for taking no action after questioning him in 2009.

    The BBC itself does not currently appear to be featuring or discussing these further atrocious revelations, which bring its own disrepute down to a new low.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2461443/Jimmy-Savile-tapes-damn-police-The-special-treatment-allowed-DJ-escape-justice.html

  5. NB. In the context of the publication of these tapes, BBC Watcher Duvidl has a couple of questions for the government:

    1. Why did Maria Miller, the culture secretary, refuse to undertake a public inquiry into the Savile child rape scandal, but instead let the BBC spend £5 million of TV taxpayers’ money on three separate and essentially useless internal inquiries? Has the time not now come for prosecutions of BBC employees and police officers still living?

    2. Why has Isra-hater BBC boss Lord Chris Patten been allowed to hide from public scrutiny all BBC records for the 52-year-era (1959-2011) during which BBC child rapist the late Sir Jimmy Savile was operative, and has the time now come to reveal them?

  6. and even if Netanyahu was interested in adult material and followed it out of personal interest why does it concern the BBC? After all Netanyahu is an adult and as Israel is a free country people can follow all kinds of media.
    As long as he doesn’t spend his working time following it I can’t see the big issue.

    This incidence reminds of the Egyptian media which claimed that Livni was seducing high-ranking and influential Egyptians to obtain sensitive information in return.

  7. Pingback: BBC’s Paul Danahar at the Frontline Club | BBC Watch

Comments are closed.