BBC

“A Tale of Two Cities”: Contrasting BBC headlines on Homs and Bet Shemesh


A guest post by AKUS

Although the BBC has since updated its site with additional news from Israel and Syria, this morning I was struck by the way it reported on events in two Middle Eastern cities.

The BBC noted that that Israeli President Shimon Peres is supporting a rally to condemn violence by a small group of extremist ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Israeli town of Bet Shemesh. Simultaneously, it carried a report on the visit by Arab League observers to the battle-scarred town of Homs.

But look at how two events are headlined by the BBC:

On the one hand, Bet Shemesh, where indeed some unpleasant but hardly deadly events have recently occurred, is a hotbed of “extremism”:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16338376

           Shimon Peres urges Israelis to rally against extremism

On the other hand, Homs, where dozens of Syrian citizens are being murdered by government forces, is merely “restive”:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16340299

          Syria unrest: Arab League monitors visit restive Homs

Another example of fair and balanced reporting by the BBC, and the way language is used to keep a firm finger on the scales when dealing with anything in the Middle East.

Categories: BBC

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8 replies »

  1. On the one hand, Bet Shemesh, where indeed some unpleasant but hardly deadly events have recently occurred, is a hotbed of “extremism”:

    I’m sure the BBC would use a similar headline if the barbaric events of Bet Shemesh were seen in the UK. And it’s you who said “hotbed”, not the BBC.
    Plus the people in questions are extremists.

    And the reference to “restive” Homs is obviously relative in light of the recent violence there.

    Please spell out your problem, AKUS.

      • Now I see what you missed…

        Imagine you knew nothing about the ME (which is a pretty good description of most of the world) or came from another planet and were comparing “extremism” with “restive”.

        Reading the two headlines, would you not assume that there were really serious problems in Bet Shemesh, while there are some mild issues being dealt with in Homs?

        Not to belittle the issues in Bet Shemesh, which have resulted in some pretty ugly scenes but also a show of rationality from those opposed to the ultra-Orthodox group there, even by other orthodox Jews, but how can one possibly define a city where the army is killing dozens of its own citizens daily as “restive”?