1/26/2009

Impartiality is hard won but easily lost - Why the BBC is right

I am heartily sick of the campaign against the BBC from the usual suspects, but also people who should know better after the BBC put its impartiality in front of taking sides in the Gaza conflict.

Now before anyone jumps in to attack me they ought to check my record on the Gaza conflict. I was and remain deeply critical of Israel, believe they were wrong to attack, I believe they have committed war crimes and I think those who supported without reservation Israel should be ashamed of themselves.

Those pro Gaza groups and politicians now protesting forget that the BBC was the only news organisation in the world getting regular news reports from its own journalists based in Gaza during the conflict. Compare the BBC's coverage of the conflict compared to the US networks and you will see why the BBC was regarded internationally as the TV station that gave the whole news as opposed to the Israeli news. Were it not for the BBC's ability to get to places where other news organisations couldn't go, the real story of Gaza may not have been told and Israel would have been able to hide evidence of its war crimes. This is the real message which has been lost by those berating the BBC over the weekend.

Eighteen months ago the BBC trust said the BBC was too willing to hand over its channels to the DEC when it ran an appeal for Darfur whilst the channel was also found to be lacking impartiality when episodes of the Vicar of Dibley ignored the idea of a plot and instead became adverts for Make Poverty History. If the BBC can be found to be wrong for supporting Make Poverty History it shows just what a fine line the BBC would have been treading if it had run the DEC disaster appeal.

I am, perhaps, most disappointed by the number of Lib Dem MPs who have joined the bandwagon against the BBC, but who ever it is signing motions or printing stories, remember that Sky News too shared the BBCs concerns whilst ITV, Channel 4 and Five had much to gain by making the BBC seem alone in its decision. If you were watching ITV News you would imagine that Sky News did not exist as the BBC are painted as the "only" channel not running the appeal.

If the BBC had run the appeal, what would have happened next time a major world event occurred where the BBC might have had the ability to expose the truth but were denied the opportunity because they were not trusted ? We'd have blamed the BBC for ruining its reputation.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Those pro Gaza groups and politicians now protesting forget that the BBC was the only news organisation in the world getting regular news reports from its own journalists based in Gaza during the conflict."

Well it wasn't here in Australia. It was castigated as a Palestinian mouthpiece, supported without question what was being spoonfed to it by hammas.

I was waiting with bated breath to hear the other side of the argument - but went blue in the face. Impartiality my foot. If they refuse to give room for this appeal then I believe that it is because they have received so much flak for their outrageous partiality.

Andy W said...

Hi Nich,

The BBC's actions are basically saying that the efforts of DEC are, by implication, partial.

It is quite frankly hogwash to believe that the Bristish Red Cross, CAFOD, Christian Aid and OXFAM amongst others are anything other than organisations that provide humanitarian aid and rise above any political agenda.

The BBC is absolutely wrong to allow the virtual politicisation of these organisations and their efforts.

The Scribe said...

This whole bbc debacle has become an embarrassment to public service broadcasting - Thompson’s stance is even more skewed considering the other major UK terrestrial channels have agreed to air it:

http://musingsforamodernworld.blogspot.com/2009/01/bbc-should-be-ashamed.html

Anonymous said...

I think you all misunderstand the difference between being partial, and "appearing" to be so. This is the distinction the BBC has made.

As for Thompson looking stupid, I actual think that those attacking the BBC are doing so for their own political purposes and post Jonathan Ross, some people just want to attack the BBC for anything.

Just my opinion.

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