Former BBC director general admits bias

The BBC has decided not to air an appeal for aid for Gaza, to ensure it doesn’t look biased over the Gaza conflict. I think this is a good decision, but it would have little relevance to NZ were it not for this quote:

Greg Dyke, Mr Thompson’s predecessor as BBC director general, said the issue had put the BBC in a “no-win situation”.

“I can understand why the BBC has taken this decision, because on a subject as sensitive as the Middle East it is absolutely essential that the audience cannot see any evidence at all of bias,” he told the Observer.[emphasis added]

Very interestng choice of words that! He could have said “it is absolutely essential that the BBC remains clearly unbiased” or something like that, but he didn’t. It certainly sounds like he has accepted the BBC is biased, they just don’t want anyone to know! Is this a rare glimpse into the true mindset of the BBC, or just a random slip of the tongue?

Israel invades Gaza

It was just waiting to happen. Israeli troops are right now moving into Gaza, to try and stop Hamas’ rocket attacks. Aljazeera news had excellent coverage of it this morning, and the Stratos TV channel (if you have Freeview) is putting them on more often then normal to cover developments.

It is very interesting to compare the official line that most of the media are saying about this war with what the Israeli officials are saying. Although Aljazeera is certainly biased towards Hamas, they have done some good interviews of the Israeli spokespeople to cover the other side of the conflict.

Most media outlets are going on about an “Israeli airstrike on a mosque” that killed 10 people. The Israelis however say that Hamas has been using mosques as weapons caches, in breach of international law, knowing Israel will not attack them. Israel attacked some militants near a mosque, a Hamas weapons cache blew up, which killed a number of people outside a mosque. So according to the Israelis, those deaths were caused by Hamas weapons, not Israeli. It is hard to know whose story is correct, but the Israeli one sounds very plausible.

According to the Israelis interviewed, all information coming out of Gaza is controlled by Hamas and is deliberate propaganda. Hamas is feeding information about a “humanitarian crisis” to the outside world, and saying that Israel is denying access for organisations such as the Red Cross. Israel says that is nonsense, they are in direct contact with the medical people in Gaza, who have plenty of supplies and say there is no crisis. Furthermore Israel is allowing access for charities and sending in a hundred trucks a day carrying humanitarian aid! What other country would give their enemies supplies in the middle of a war?

Hamas claims there are hundreds of civilian deaths, and this is parroted by most media outlets. Israel claims most of these are Hamas militants, with only 10% being civilian – as opposed to Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel for the past 8 years where 95% of the dead were civilians.

It is clear we need to take the news reports very cautiously, as it is impossible to determine what is real and what is propaganda. But bear in mind that Israel is retaliating finally following eight years of rocket attacks aimed directly at civilians. Furthermore it is impossible for anyone to avoid civilian casualties when they are fighting terrorists who are willing to use mosques and residential areas as bases, deliberately drawing Israeli fire on their civilian neighbours.

More info.