Saturday, May 13, 2006

Totten on Israel: Reality vs. Fantasy

I can't say enough about how impressed I am with Michael Totten's Middle East reporting.

Here are two entries about his visit to Israel:

City of Light, City of Dread

The Palestinians of 1948

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Report: Beeb is indeed biased against Israel

My head is spinning. Honest Reporting has reported that an independent panel commissioned by the BBC regarding its Middle East reporting has found that its reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict is sorely lacking.

Among other findings, the report wrote that there were:

“… gaps in coverage, analysis, context and perspective. There is also a failure to maintain consistently the BBC's own established editorial standards, including on language. There are shortcomings arising from the elusiveness of editorial planning, grip and oversight. In summary, the finding is that BBC coverage does not consistently constitute a full and fair account of the conflict but rather, in important respects, presents an incomplete and in that sense misleading picture.

In brief, the report recommends that the BBC:

should provide more consistently a full and fair account - taking into consideration context, the diversification of the stories available in Israel, the regional dimension, and the two narratives;

should provide better training for its Middle East staff;

should provide an editorial 'Guiding Hand' - a senior figure with sufficient executive authority to command resources and give direction should be tasked with providing more secure editorial planning, grip and oversight;

should get the language right, remedy deficiencies and ensure consistent application;

should make purposive, and not merely reactive efforts to explain the complexities of the conflict.”

I keep my radio tuned to NPR in Milwaukee, which turns into the World Service of the BBC at 11 p.m. I’ve been regularly listening to the Beeb since 1993. The Beeb’s biased reporting on Israel has been responsible for many sleepless nights, because every time I hear them “report” I get so angry that my heart starts racing and my body tenses up. After that I can’t sleep. Call me a masochist, I guess.

The other nice thing about this report is that it proves that we pro-Israelis who have complained about certain media outlets biases are not paranoid; or perhaps we are, but just because we’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they are not biased!

In short, this report is incredibly important. The Beeb has the largest continent of foreign correspondents of any media outlet in the world. It is heard by tens of millions of people around the globe and broadcasts in dozens of languages.

Maybe I'll finally be able to sleep through the night.

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