BBC Reporter Accidentally Files Pro-Israel News Item
Gaza City, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – Paul Danahar, a veteran correspondent with the British Broadcasting Corporation, erroneously submitted footage and voice-over that could be construed as pro-Israel today, raising tensions with Hamas and calling into question the professionalism of the BBC. The BBC has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks over various scandals at home and abroad.
The report, a two-minute clip showing Hamas militants firing rockets toward Israel from within residential areas, included mention of the deliberate targeting of civilians by Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces’ efforts to avoid civilian casualties in aerial attacks on Gaza. It also correctly identified several filmed locations as Israeli cities and towns, instead of using the scenes as a backdrop to the continuing violence within the Gaza Strip.
The BBC was quick to retract the report, noting that such a clear bias toward Israel is unbecoming of a BBC reporter. Official BBC policy calls for Israel to be cast in as negative a light as possible, even if that requires the fabrication or blatant misrepresentation of footage.
“The BBC regrets the harm it may have caused to the public relations efforts of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” said the organization’s statement, using the full name of Hamas. “We will redouble our efforts to prevent such sloppy reporting, including a thorough reexamination of our procedures to ensure that sympathy for
Jews Israelis never takes precedence over rage at them for daring to populate the Middle East. Or anywhere else.”
This is not the first time a BBC reporter has mistakenly let the facts get in the way of a good anti-Israel story. In August, an explosion rocked a house in the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Eager to pin the blame on Israel, which denied involvement, BBC reporter Wyre Davies rushed to the scene to interview the father of a boy killed in the blast. But the father refused to cooperate, insisting the explosion resulted from the misfire of a Hamas rocket, and loudly lamented the militants’ use of his neighborhood as a launching point. Davies personally apologized to Hamas for failing to prepare properly, and has since learned to clear every report with Hamas’s Ministry of Information before airing it.
The BBC is not the only network to run into difficulties maintaining a consistent anti-Israel bias. American network CNN must reckon with US public opinion staunchly in favor of Israel, and must tread a delicate line in its attempts to foment anti-Israel sentiment. The network had to issue a watered-down correction for reporting that a boy was killed in an Israeli air strike; in fact he was most likely killed by a Hamas rocket that fell short, and CNN was one of several networks that took the anti-Israel accusations at face value. Only after their dishonesty was pointed out did CNN attempt to backtrack.
Asked about whether he sees a worrisome media trend in these developments, Hamas spokesman Yahya Fakir questioned whether they had even occurred. “Nothing happens unless we say it happened,” he explained. “The missiles that everyone said hit a field several miles south of Jerusalem actually hit the Knesset. And millions of Israelis are cowering in their bomb shelters, urinating in their clothes in fright. The country’s economy is quickly crumbling.” The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange index rose for the second straight day, according to Bloomberg Business News, a notoriously non-anti-Israel outlet.
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