BBC - the Biased Broadcasting
Corporation employs 'Hamas Man'
Ha'aretz reported ("Leading Hamas preacher warns of clash with Islamic Jihad," by Arnon Regular, December 15, 2004) that Fathi Hamad, the leading Hamas preacher responsible for "Hamas' coordination with the international media,
"has been caught on tape saying that BBC correspondent Faiz Abu
Smala slants his reports to favor Muslims."
On several occasions in the past Tom Gross has questioned the
appropriateness of the BBC employing Fayad Abu Shamala (one of the English
transcriptions of his name) as a senior reporter in Gaza, for example, in
the following article:
journalists and media organizations in Gaza, INCLUDING THE BBC, are "waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people."
Another now famous story of BBC's blunt partiality made the headlines at Honestreporting's "Dishonest Reporting Award, 2004" published yesterday. One of the Dishonest Reporting Award winners is Barbara Plett, of BBC. When Yassir Arafat's health failed in November, BBC's West Bank reporter Plett openly wept real tears for the Great Godfather of Modern Terror. Plett's weeping revealed an unprofessional (and, some would say, bizarre) identification with one side of the conflict that she had been employed to cover in an objective fashion. The question arises, how could it happen that both she and her editors were incautious enough to publish this shameful fact? The answer is that such an obvious bias does not stand out of today's BBC standards for impartiality.
This admiration of BBC to Arafat which until now radiates through most BBC's reports is in very sharp contrast to the real feelings of the Palestinians, people and leaders alike. People in the streets dared to say to Jerusalem Post reporters already in the days of Arafat's death sentences like: "Are you a journalist? Then I tell you I shall cry for him. But if you are not a journalist I tell you I won't cry". Another man said: "Whatever comes after Arafat can be only better than the nightmare of the rule of his armed thugs", A visible fact today is that Abu Ala and Abu Mazen are cleaning the stables fast from any reminder to the arch-corrupt Arafat, throwing out all six ministers close to the past leader. But the most telling facts and figures about the real feelings of Palestinians to Arafat are the estimated 800 Palestinian mourners present at his funeral. A miniscule figure, particularly when you consider that in such a regime most people come not to mourn but to be seen.
For a summary, one may notice that BBC's own sentence, originally intended to clear Fayyad "His reports have always matched the best standards of balance required by the BBC" may have two opposite meanings.
It means either that "Abu Shamala's reports match the very high standards of balance of BBC", or:
"Abu Shamala's very low standard of balance, fully documented now, matches the usually unbalanced, biased and dishonest reporting of BBC on the Middle East".
Think the facts over and make your own choice out of the two versions.
* Endre Mozes is founder and chairman of Take-A-Pen Multilingual www.take-a-pen.org