On May 24th 2018 an article by Yolande Knell appeared on the BBC News website under the headline “Palestinians face uncertainties over Abbas succession“.
Readers may recall that towards the end of October 2016, the BBC News website published an article by Yolande Knell with the exact same title which was discussed here.
In fact the May 2018 article uses the same URL as the one published in October 2016 and recycles the bulk of its content, with minor amendments made to reflect recent changes and events.
At the beginning of the new version of the report, Knell writes:
“Wearing an elegant dressing gown, the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is shown walking unaided along the corridor of Ramallah’s best private hospital.
A family photograph has him sitting upright in bed casually studying a newspaper.
A hospital official said the 83-year-old leader – who had surgery on his ear last week – now had inflammation in his lung but was “responding to the treatment quickly and recovering”.
The message was clearly meant to quell swirling rumours of the president’s imminent demise.
However, his latest medical scares are a reminder of how Palestinian politics remains in a critical condition.” [emphasis added]
Unlike some other media outlets reporting the same story, including the Times of Israel, the BBC did not show its audiences that so-called “family photograph” of Abbas “casually studying a newspaper”.
“Pictures and video of 83-year-old Abbas walking around the hospital and reading a newspaper were published late Monday, in an apparent attempt to calm rumors that his condition was more serious than reported. Independent media outlets were banned from entering the hospital.
Hadashot News pointed out that the newspaper Abbas was pictured reading prominently carried a large cartoon on its back page, facing the camera, showing an Israeli soldier taking a baby’s milk away from her and ramming poison down her throat instead.”
The newspaper in question is the Palestinian Authority’s official daily.
Given that during the last six months alone the BBC has on four separate occasions failed to provide its audiences with a full account of offensive speeches made by Mahmoud Abbas – and, relatedly, that it serially avoids reporting on incitement from Palestinian leaders and officials – it is not at all surprising that the Palestinian Authority president’s decision to be photographed touting a grotesque anti-Israel cartoon in a newspaper approved by his regime was not considered newsworthy.