As we saw in part one of this post the BBC News website’s written report on the infiltration of Israel’s air-space by an Iranian UAV and the events that followed amplified Iranian and Syrian disinformation on the story while also implying to audiences that there is room for doubt regarding the veracity of official Israeli accounts of the various incidents.
“The Israeli military says a “combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel”.
It tweeted footage which it says shows the drone flying into Israeli territory before being hit.” [emphasis added]
“Meanwhile Iran and the Tehran-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon – which are allied with the Syrian government – dismissed reports that an Iranian drone had entered Israeli airspace as a “lie”.”
“Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying that the country’s air defences had opened fire in response to Israeli “aggression” against a military base on Saturday, hitting “more than one plane”.”
On the same day – February 10th – the BBC News website also posted a filmed report on the same topic titled “Israeli jet downed during Syrian attack: What happened?“. The film’s synopsis makes no mention of the UAV infiltration that was the cause of the subsequent strike on the mobile command vehicle that launched and guided the Iranian drone at the T4 airbase near Tadmor in central Syria.
“An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has crashed amid Syrian anti-aircraft fire after an offensive against Iranian targets in Syria, the Israeli military says.
The two pilots parachuted to safety before the crash in northern Israel.
It is believed to be the first time Israel has lost a jet in conflict since 2006.”
Viewers of the report were told that: [emphasis added]
“This is the wreckage of an Israeli jet that crashed following Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
Israel’s military, the IDF, released this footage from one of their helicopters. They say it shows an Iranian drone flying over Israeli territory.
The IDF destroyed the drone. The helicopter returned to its base. Then, says the IDF Spokesperson, Israel flew jets into Syria to strike ‘Iranian and Syrian targets’. The Syrian army launched anti-aircraft missiles in retaliation. Two pilots ejected from their jet. It crashed in northern Israel. The pilots were flown to hospital. One is in a serious condition.
Syrian media quoted a military source saying they had hit ‘more than one plane’ in response to ‘Israeli aggression’.
Iran denied it had sent a drone into Israel and defended the Syrians’ right to self-defence.”
As we see, once again the BBC opted to present a ‘he said-she said’ view of the story which – contrary to the claim made in both the headline and the body of this report – in fact does nothing to help its audiences understand “what happened?”.
The same editorial policy was evident in a follow-up article published on the BBC News website on February 11th under the headline “Israel warns Iran after launching major raids in Syria“.
“Israel launched raids against Iranian targets after saying it had intercepted an Iranian drone crossing the Syria-Israel border.
Iran denies the allegation.”
“Israel’s military says one of its combat helicopters downed an Iranian drone infiltrating Israel on Saturday. It tweeted footage of the incident. […]
In response, Israel said it attacked Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria, during which an F-16 jet was fired upon, Israel says, causing it to crash. […]
Syria’s state media say air defences opened fire in response to an Israeli attack on a military base, hitting more than one plane.”
While there is no evidence to support either that Syrian claim of having hit “more than one plane” or Iran’s assertion that it did not launch the drone , the BBC continues to amplify those claims regardless.
Meanwhile, as details of Saturday’s events were still emerging, a BBC News producer found the time to translate and amplify disinformation from another source too.