BBC as Palestine propagandist — again!

Apology for the headline but not the article

 BBC Response: We accept that our original headline did not appropriately reflect the nature of the events and subsequently changed it. Whilst there was no intention to mislead our audiences, we regret any offence caused.

Most of the discussion revolves around the appalling BBC headline. They have changed it. The article is still appalling … and, yes, it is still misleading.

My issues with article now headlined Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem.

A ‘B’ grade for the report with a silver star for improvement from the original travesty. The pattern of an original offensive BBC headline softened later for posterity is so common it seems editorial policy and not accident.


Although the replacement headline focusses on the policewoman it is ten sentences/paragraphs before they talk about her or even mention her name. The pyramid concept of journalistic prose says most people don’t read the whole article. The further down the article the less important is the information and the less likely to be read.

The pyramid concept says the most important part of the article after the headline is the leading paragraph. In this case that Israel shot three Palestinians AFTER a deadly KNIFE attack. This reinforces the Palestinian agenda that Israel is systematically targeting Palestinians for execution (the BBC would not never call them terrorists) and can be read that this was an extrajudicial killing.

BTW Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah organisation has already condemned the death of the three attackers as a war crime.

The facts are quite different. The armed attackers were shot while attacking, not after, but unfortunately not in time to save Hadas Malka, who died later of her wounds. In other words the attack was halted by shooting the attackers.

There was no issue of an assailant who had laid down weapons and surrendered or a disputed judgement call about the threat. A reader would need to reach halfway down the article to be informed that one of the attackers was armed with a gun.

Photograph has been slightly lightened from the original to make her weapons easier to identify.

The lead graphic used to illustrate is an armed, solemn soldier further reinforcing the armed occupation angle and not a picture of the dead police officer or a picture of medics removing the body, etc. which would be an image more sympathetic to Israel.

Even the caption to the photograph is misleading. ‘HEAVILY armed police patrolled the attack area’. Firstly the officer in the photograph is not heavily armed. She is carrying an M16 short rifle and wearing a flack jacket. That is standard for female Border Patrol officers. She is simply armed.

Secondly it is unclear from the BBC wording whether the patrol was before or after the attack. Surely it is not news that police are rushed to an area following an attack?

Although unusually for the BBC they mentioned forty-two Israelis have been killed in knife, gun and car-ramming attacks they not surprisingly did not say that almost all have gone unreported by the BBC.

Although quite usual for the BBC they reference the Islamic holy month of Ramadan they equally unsurprising don’t mention the surge of Muslim violence that comes with the festival, every year.

There is the standard BBC ‘most of them attackers, ISRAEL SAYS‘ meme which implies that Israel could be lying at worst or mistaken at best. As always the BBC Israel based reporters do not attempt to verify whether the Israeli claim is true or false.

As a result of the ongoing terrorism many of these attacks are recorded by cameras permanently in place and/or there are multiple eye witnesses. Checking the evidence is surely Journalism 101.

‘Accounts differed as to the names and places of residence of the three attackers.’ I guess we will have to wait until, if ever, the BBC notes that the attackers were identified by the Shin Bet internal security agency as well as Palestinian ministries as Bra’a Salah and Asama Atta, both born in 1998, and Adel Ankush, born the following year, from Deir Abu-Mashal. Various family members and neighbours have already been interviewed in media other than the BBC.

Finally they end with ‘Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks’. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.’

Why hasn’t the BBC investigated this ‘alleged’ incitement or what part of frustration due to Israeli (or any other) occupation can be blamed for terrorist attacks on British soil?

Extra credit

About the 5-in-a-star

I have lost faith in the solidarity profile pics such as Je suis Paris but if I did one it would take Hadas Malko’s face stripes as the design element.

Cartoon by Eyal Eilat courtesy of TICP – The Israeli Cartoon Project

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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