As noted here earlier this week, the BBC’s reporting on the October 3rd terror attack near Lions Gate in Jerusalem not only prompted protest on social media but was also the subject of official complaints and coverage in the media. Unusually, two Israeli media organisations also produced opinion pieces on the topic.
The Jerusalem Post published an op-ed titled “BBC bias” on October 6th.
“The BBC website headline announced: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.”
The BBC didn’t note that the murderer was shot in the midst of his killing spree. The BBC left it unclear who killed whom and who the “killed two” (mentioned in the passive voice) were. After repeated complaints, the phrasing was changed three times – yet in all the truth remained obfuscated.
Significantly, the BBC never apologized.
Its conduct was worse than al-Jazeera’s, whose re-cap was only slightly less misleading: “Palestinian shot dead after fatal stabbing in Jerusalem; 2 Israeli victims also killed.”
Clearly we expect less of the Qatar-based network than of the London one. Yet, unlike the BBC, al-Jazeera apologized and revised the headline to read, “Two Israelis killed in stabbing attack; Palestinian suspect shot dead.””
Read the rest of that piece here.
“It’s happened. The BBC, the pinnacle of quality journalism, joined a string of world-renowned news networks to have grossly misreported a terror attack against Israelis. “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” read the headline on Saturday, failing to convey that the casualty was a terrorist who perpetrated a deadly stabbing and shooting attack, rather than an innocent victim.”
Considering the reports of an unofficial BBC statement attributing the offending headlines to “the mistake of a junior editor at the desk”, Halpern’s theory is interesting.
“More than latent anti-Semites, the journalists who wrote these shoddy headlines were simply ignorant. They failed to grasp the very rudimentary elements of the story, and exhibited a shocking unawareness of the general context – namely, the “most important story on earth.”
This should set the alarm bells ringing for the network executives, whether in London, Atlanta or New York. The last competitive edge that remains for big news organizations, amid a seemingly endless flow of information that the Internet provides, is their ability to separate the chaff from the wheat and tell a story that is coherent and truthful. And in these cases, they demonstrated none of that.”
Read the full article here.