BBC Criticizes Itself, but not for Criticizing Israel

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | BBC must become more impartial

The BBC is among a very small handful of news outlets that spend considerable resources on introspection. The results are published and highly publicized, and this year’s results are summarized in the above article from–who else?–the BBC itself. This self-examination has led the BBC to conclude that it could profit from less partial, less biased reportage.

The “innately liberal” bias is apparently the BBC’s greatest shortcoming, of course. It seems as if the BBC is paying too much attention to human rights and poverty, and this is a bent that it ought to temper because the 2008 Olympic Games will take place in a country whose government is a bit sensitive to Western coverage of its pathetic human rights record.

And, it’s just not right to criticize China. Israel, however, is a perfect subject for criticism because it gives BBC journalists total access to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Southern Lebanon. The fact that Palestinians are willing to kidnap and to threaten to kill BBC reporters apparently exempts them from any criticism. This might be an implicit statement by the BBC that they hold barbarians to lower standards than civilized democracies, but no such implication can ever be found in their reportage on Israel. Certainly, none of this fighting could be framed in the context of the borders drawn by British authorities in 1948.

In light of the British government’s foray into Shariah compliant bonds, its less than outraged reaction to the kidnapping of its reporters by Palestinian authorities, its less than vigilant reporting on Tony Blair’s halting of a government investigation into corrupt deals with Saudi Arabia, its hard line against Israel, and its total lack of vigilance in reporting the disastrous consequences of the Iraqi campaign betray something other than an “innately liberal” tilt. A slavish obedience to the Blair government is perhaps a better assessment of the BBC “impartiality”.

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