As we regrettably frequently have cause to note on these pages, BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality include the following:
All too often, however, BBC audiences are not given the required insight into the “particular viewpoint” of an interviewee which would allow them to put his or her contribution into its appropriate context.
One such example was seen last December when a contributor to a BBC World Service radio item concerning what was at the time still a potential announcement by the US president concerning Jerusalem and the US embassy in Israel was introduced as follows:
“We’ve been getting opinions from Israel, from America: now for a Palestinian view of the implications. We’ve been speaking to Professor Saree Makdisi. He’s based in California. He’s the author of ‘Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation’. So, Professor Makdisi, how significant is this move?”
As noted here at the time, listeners were not informed that the US born professor of English literature is a proponent of a bi-national state – and the resulting elimination of the Jewish state – and a supporter of the BDS campaign.
“Three Palestinians were killed Sunday during an IDF airstrike near Khan Yunis after they were identified placing a suspicious object, believed to be an explosive device, on the border fence.
The Palestinians were spotted by a Gaza division observation post while they were crawling in the dark towards the security fence with the suspicious object.”
Makdisi however equated that incident with the deadly attack on Jews in the Pittsburgh synagogue by disingenuously claiming that both cases come under the heading ‘racial violence’. He equated an anti-Semitic murderer with members of the armed forces tasked with protecting civilians from cross-border attacks which have been going on for seven months.
And that is the mindset behind the ‘expert academic opinion’ heard by BBC audiences around the world last December: the obviously highly relevant “particular viewpoint” which the BBC – despite its own editorial guidelines – made no effort whatsoever to clarify.