July 29, 2003

HERE’S MORE ON BIAS AT THE BBC:

As the first round of explosions rocked Baghdad, for example, the World Service’s on-air “Middle East analyst” was a chap from the Arab-funded, pro-Palestinian agitprop group called The Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) — an affiliation never disclosed to listeners. A rough equivalent: CNN hiring an “analyst” to comment on an invasion of Israel without disclosing the fact that he’s from the Jewish Defense League. So when the World Service anchor asked him for his analysis, the man promptly pronounced the bombardment “an example of pure American imperialism.” Nobody challenged this assertion, was he challenged on any of his volatile comments during what became fairly regular World Service appearances. In fact, during it war coverage, the views of guests like the man from CAABU were very rarely balanced with opposing viewpoints, and World Service anchors almost never offered a differing opinion. Instead, the convention is to ask patently biased “analysts” to simply restate their propaganda in more detail: “So, Mr. Hussein, you think this is an illegitimate war, then?” He did, he does and he will tomorrow, too.

This insistent bias isn’t limited to the World Service’s English-language broadcasts, unfortunately. The all-news Arabic service is perhaps worse-and with consequences far more potentially harmful.

It’s too bad that the BBC confuses “adhering to the nation’s enemies” with “independence.”