Tuesday, November 11, 2003

BBC Denies Pro-Arab Bias, Hires 'Mid-East Monitor'

Not that I think a British Royal Charter buys objectivity anyway, but the BBC can't turn a blind eye to charges of bias any more. To those who read multiple sources, BBC coverage bias was nothing new. Heck, no one who listens to Peter Jennings thinks they're getting straight news if they have a brain ... but the BBC got so far out of control, buoyed by European anti-Semitism anyway, that even they had to do something about it.

So they brought back Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the Nine O'Clock News. Well, it's unlikely that an aging Brit who worked for the BBC during its anti-Israeli heyday is the guy to make sure things stay balanced, but at least they're acknowledging the problem. Not that they had a choice, since they were tired of being shut out of Israeli news conferences.

Relations between the BBC and the Israeli government hit a low point this summer when the latter "withdrew co-operation" in protest at a BBC documentary about the country's weapons of mass destruction.

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, later barred the BBC from his meeting with the British press during a visit to London.

The BBC has also been the target of Downing Street accusations that it toed a pro-Baghdad line over the Iraq war and that it influenced the Today program's handling of the dossier story that is the subject of the Hutton Inquiry.

Article Here


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