On February 14th an entry titled “Amazon accused of bias in the West Bank” appeared in the ‘updates’ section of the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.
Readers trying to click on the link in the first sentence would discover that they needed a subscription in order to read the Financial Times article that the BBC had chosen to summarise and therefore in most cases would not be able to judge its content for themselves.
The BBC journalist who wrote this item clearly read the part of the FT article which quotes an Amazon spokesman as saying that if Palestinian customers enter their address and select Israel as the country, they can also receive free shipping through the same promotion, as indicated by the fact that he or she wrote:
“Customers in the territories could get the free shipping if they selected their address as “Israel”, but not if they selected “Palestinian Territories.””
Nevertheless, the BBC elected to blindly repeat the accusations of “bias” presented in the FT’s ‘investigation’ to its own audiences – without informing them that they came from three highly partisan and politically motivated sources: Michael Sfard, the NGO ‘Peace Now‘ and Diana Buttu.
The BBC continues of course to claim that:
“Our website, like our TV and radio services, strives for journalism that is accurate, impartial, independent and fair.”