Impartiality fail from BBC’s Barbara Plett

The Tweet below was sent by the BBC’s US State Department correspondent Barbara Plett on January 14th 2016.

Plett tweet

Why Ms Plett found it necessary at this time to use her BBC branded Twitter account to resurrect an article unrelated to her field of reporting nearly three years after its initial publication remains a mystery. What is clear however is that the article promoted by Plett is about a study that is by no means “new” and which was shown at the time to be highly controversial.

The Israeli-Palestinian Textbook Study Fraud

The Palestinian Textbook Fiasco

The Whitewashing of Hate

Study on incitement ‘another Goldstone Report’

Giving incitement the stamp of approval

BBC editorial guidelines on “Personal use of Social Networking and other third party websites” state:

“Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC.”

BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality state:

“Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC – they can have a significant impact on perceptions of whether due impartiality has been achieved.  Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC output the personal prejudices of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on ‘controversial subjects’ in any other area.” 

The promotion of a discredited study with distinct political overtones by a BBC journalist would clearly undermine the corporation’s reputation for impartiality at any time. When such promotion is done by a journalist who has already been shown to lack an impartial approach to the subject matter concerned, it is obviously all the more problematic.

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Recommended reading from BBC’s Jon Donnison

Behind a Jon Donnison recommended article

12 comments on “Impartiality fail from BBC’s Barbara Plett

  1. Plett obviously feels that other events in the Middle East are distracting too much attention away from her jihad on Israel, and wants to refocus. Too bad she chose a three-year old discredited report. Oh well, that just shows the standard at today’s BBC.

  2. Of course, Ms Plett is on record as having shed tears for Arafat, and her late husband, also a journalist, was not exactly a warm fan of Israel. She wrote in the latter’s obituary of his political radical tradition and her own raising in a religion emphasising social justice. Which religion would that be, I wonder? The one that emphasises Tikkin Olam?

  3. This isn’t surprising. Referring to Arafat’s last flight out of his compound in Ramallah in 2004, Plett reported “When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose from his ruined compound, I started to cry,”

  4. Can you explain exactly how it is an “Impartiality fail” for the BBC, when it is simply posting the results of a study? Who said it was “discredited” or “has distinct political overtones”, other than you? If you want to accuse an organisation of not being impartial, at least back it up with some evidence! From what I can see, it is bbcwatch that is blinkered, when it is obvious to all that the BBC is heavily weighted to the Israeli cause already. I will supply you with evidence of such, once you supply yours from your initial assertion! But I very much doubt you will…

    • It’s an impartiality fail because, for no apparent reason, she has repeated a story from three years ago, citing a survey which shortly after it was published was shown to be incorrect, but without either (a) showing the relevance of the survey to current reporting or the current situation, or (b) including the fact that the report was subsequently disproved. If I keep repeating news items from Rotherham or Bradford that cast Muslims in a bad light, whether or not they were correct and whether or not they were relevant, I’m sure you’d accuse me of bias, or even “distinct political overtones”. And I’m an individual, for whom nobody is paying, and who owes no duty of care to anyone who cares to read my posts. How much more does that accusation apply to the BBC, for which I and any other reader from the UK are paying?

      Now – I showed you mine. As promised, therefore, now you show me yours.

  5. Some possibilities on her timing: Release of American “prisoners” from Iran LESS the only Jew amongst them Former FBI Agent Levine abducted and held for several years. Then the release of of 7 nuclear spies from Iran who were sent back for the 4 Americans. Remember the US does negotiate with terrorists just States that Sponsor Terror and Obama’s identification of the released Iranians as terrorists. Perhaps it was to deflect any last minute GOP criticism of the Iran Deal or Obama’s nemesis BiBi. Obama has so many pots on the fire who knows? He needs to be able to a rabbit out of a hat at a moments notice

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