All those readers received the exact same reply from the BBC News website’s Middle East desk, the body of which reads:
“The attack on Noam Glick was not reported on the BBC News website at the time it happened, due partly to our smaller operation at the weekend when fewer stories are covered. However, we recognise it should have been reported and we subsequently followed it up when arrests were made.”
The term “fewer stories” is difficult to quantify, but at least thirteen new items appeared throughout the day on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on Sunday, October 6th.
Hence, some may be wondering in what way a “smaller operation at the weekend when fewer stories are covered” differs from a “very busy news period“.
Notably, when the BBC did get round to reporting this story, it ignored the subject of the praise for the attack which was posted on an official Fatah Facebook account.
This report once again underscores the all too prevalent phenomenon of ‘last-first’ reporting – as seen so often in relation to missile attacks from the Gaza Strip which are frequently ignored unless Israel takes action, and with subsequent reports focusing on the Israeli response rather than the cause of that response.
This report also of course prompts the question of whether BBC audiences would have found out about the incident in Psagot at all if no arrests had later been made, as well as raising the issue of an editorial process which apparently only finds an attack on a child newsworthy when it comes as context to an Israeli action involving Palestinians.
At around 21:00 on the evening of Saturday, October 5th, a nine year-old girl named Noam Glick was attacked by a masked man outside her home in Psagot in the Binyamin area.
She was evacuated to hospital in Jerusalem where she underwent surgery during the night. The village of Psagot was placed under lock-down, with residents confined to their homes for several hours whilst soldiers searched the area to ensure that the terrorist was not still at large and a breach in the fencesurrounding the community was later found.
Over twelve hours later, there was still no mention of the incident on the BBC News website’s Middle East page, which was updated on October 6th at 07: 57 GMT, at 09:52 GMT, at 10:10 GMT and again at 13:05.
The day after the incident, October 6th, a message praising the attacker was posted on an official Fatah Facebook account. Despite the fact that the head of Fatah is also the president of the Palestinian Authority and chairman of the same PLO which is currently conducting negotiations with Israel, the BBC apparently does not find this story newsworthy.
The details of the Fatah Facebook posting are now available in English – see here.