As readers no doubt recall, when a vehicular and stabbing attack took place in London last month, the BBC made appropriate use of the word terror in its reports on the story.
In contrast, the word terror is consistently absent from reports concerning similar acts of terrorism that take place in Israel.
A member of the corporation’s funding public, Mr Neil Turner, wrote to the BBC to ask them to explain that lack of consistency in the use of the term terror. The reply he received includes the following (emphasis added):
“Thank you for getting in touch about our report on the attack carried out on Westminster Bridge in London and please accept our apologies for the delay in our response.
The BBC sets out clear parameters on how terms such as “terrorist” might be used:
Where there is an ongoing geopolitical conflict – as in the Middle East – to use the term “terror attack” or similar might be seen to be taking sides. There are those who might consider the actions of the Israeli government to be considered as terrorist acts.
In a situation where a country that is not involved in a direct physical combat comes under attack, it may be reasonable to construe that as a terrorist incident.
The use of such terminology is never an exact science but where a continuing conflict exists, it is reasonable that the BBC would not wish to appear to be taking sides.
Thank you again for raising this matter.”
Once again we see that the BBC chooses to deliberately conflate means with ends, putting forward the obviously flawed argument that if a person commits an act of violence against civilians with the purpose of furthering a political or religious agenda in a country in which there is “an ongoing geopolitical conflict”, that is not terrorism but if he does the exact same in a country where there is no such ongoing conflict, it is.
The bottom falls out of that argument when we recall that the BBC did use the term ‘Jewish terrorists’ to describe the perpetrator/s of the arson attack in Duma, despite the existence of an “ongoing geopolitical conflict”.
The corporation’s complaints department also appears to have tried to find a way of dismissing the fact that UK forces are involved in the military campaign against jihadists in Iraq and Syria by means of use of the term “direct physical combat”. Notably, the BBC is apparently not inclined to promote the notion that those actions of a state fighting terrorism might be “considered as terrorist acts”.
While there appears to be no limit to the ‘creativity’ of BBC Complaints when challenged on the issue of the corporation’s double standards and lack of consistency when reporting acts of terror, audiences are of course likely to remain unimpressed by these repeatedly contorted excuses.