Friday, July 22, 2016

22-Jul-16: Who says the BBC never calls terror terror?

Currently appearing on the BBC website (if it has changed by the time
you click, here's the archived version)
Regular readers of this blog, and of the much-more focused and excellent BBC Watch, will be aware of the infuriating and ultimately dangerous practice at the BBC to (a) Never use the word terror outside of quotation marks and (b) To use it when it suits the editors.

Then there's another option: (c) To change their minds once or twice on a single day depending on... well, in truth, we don't know on what such editorial swings depend.

But they certainly happen. We watched it and then described it in "22-Mar-16: At the BBC, they're challenged by terror in quite revealing ways" when the BBC decision-makers couldn't quite determine whether their news consumers could be entrusted with knowing that terror played a role in the Brussels Airport terror massacre.

(In the end, they decided that it did not, then that it did, and eventually, later the same day, that it did not. We documented the silliness here.)

Rule of thumb: it almost never suits the editors and has not suited them for years, to use the word terror when describing any act of savagery, no matter how transparently jihadist in nature, when such acts are directed at Israelis. Check it out.

Knowing this, and understanding how much double-talk and hypocrisy lie behind it, take a look at this morning's BBC report from Brazil and the events we ourselves mentioned yesterday ["21-Jul-16: As the Olympics approach, Brazilian jihad comes into focus"]. The screen shot above show how that BBC item is currently headlined.

Click to see how very seriously the BBC
takes its own editorial guidelines - on paper
What's obviously going on is that, while BBC editorial guidelines are one thing, the decisions taken by the editors at the BBC on a given day are frequently another. 

We tried to lay out our view of those double-standards (we're being polite) in this post: "06-Jan-16: Perceptions and realities at the BBC". It includes a revealing (though discouraging) list of our earlier comments on this important issue, all of them addressing the BBC and its terror strategy from a critical perspective.

There's also the disturbing way the BBC pays what we consider to be self-evidently inadequate attention to the frequency and nature of terror attacks (whatever the BBC chooses to call them) against Israelis compared with its comprehensive and often up-close coverage of Israeli actions against the Arab side after those terror attacks happen, 

Over at BBC Watch, they address this very matter on a monthly basis via a statistical review, and in March 2016 provided this summary chart ["Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel"]:
From BBC Watch
As you mull over BBC's editorial practices, think of its standing as a publicly-funded (to the tune of an unparalleled billions of dollars each year), globe-straddling radio/TV/web/print colossus with a mission
to ensure that the BBC gives information about, and increases understanding of, the world through accurate and impartial news, other information, and analysis of current events and ideas.
Yep: Accurate and impartial, and it's clear that many people buy that. '

But closer inspection, and some informed knowledge of what goes on in Israel, and a person realizes this is how ideology-driven journalism works. All those well-rounded vowels, the pompous self-justifications and the serious-sounding guidelines don't change that. 

We can take comfort from the fact that today's BBC headline doesn't read "Violent extremism arrests in Brazil".

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