BBC

The Commentator picks up BBC fact-check fail.


The now one year-old (congratulations all!) news and commentary site The Commentator brings us the story of a report by the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Yolande Knell which includes lengthy quotes from a source whose name she could not even get right. 

This is a screenshot of the original, which was later amended following the article in The Commentator:

‘Robert’ Falk is, of course, the infamous Richard Falk. Despite his position since 2008 as ‘UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories’, he makes no pretence of objectivity. Here  is Falk on his personal blog expressing support for the 2010 Stuttgart Declaration which opposes a two-state solution and at the bottom line calls for the eradication of Israel.

As The Commentator points out, his anti-Israel ‘CV’ includes much more.

“In a nutshell, Falk is so hostile to Israel that he’s a de facto anti-Israel activist. But even that fails to do justice to the sheer viciousness of his diatribes against the Jewish state. Here’s just a smattering of examples of his approach. First there are the suggested comparisons with Nazi Germany. He has sometimes claimed that he doesn’t quite mean it literally. On others he has talked of Israeli policies as “genocidal”.

He’s ambivalent about Hamas as a terrorist outfit. His language about Israel is peppered with references to “apartheid“, “criminality“, “collective punishment“ and so on. The picture is clear enough.”

Read the whole article here.

So if the BBC could not get Falk’s name right, does that also mean that they failed to run a background check on his suitability as a quotable source before publishing an article relying so heavily upon his opinions? 

And why (just like the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood only a few days ago) did Yolande Knell fail to point out that the two Palestinian prisoners named in her article – Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla (Tha’er Halahleh) – are Islamic Jihad activists

In Hebrew there is a useful phrase: ‘Itonut mita’am’ – עיתונות מטעם – which translates as ‘media on behalf of’. The British public funding the BBC through its compulsory license fee may well ask on behalf of whom or what. 

3 replies »

  1. Hamas or whaetver terrorist movement have in mind basically they are illegal organisations but as usual the world has a short memory – They have forgotten all the atrocities committed by Hamas by Arafat by any one who was associated with them – What is there to say if they meet in Copenhagen or on the moon other than it gives them a platform and allows the reporters to excelll themselves as who can write the most damning article on ISRAEL – Now we have some of the intelligentsia around the world who have also added their critical voices – All are great orators they influence some of the society to the final detriment of themselves because if they look a little further and to the future they will comprehend that Israel is their only safeguard against the ultimate ambition of these so called movements.
    Israel is not the enemy nor the perpetrator of ills – Copenhagen nor Oslo can fully understand the predicament of ISRAEL because they sleep safely in their bed and do not have to worry about being attacked as and when it pleases the terrorits – Take time to understand and take care of what is now happening in your own countries.

  2. What can one say? Three letters “BBC” say it all. Basically Bull Chit. But after the ordeal of Gilad Schalit, they should not even run stories when the topic concerns “Israel” and “prisoners” unless the story is an apology to Israel and Schalit.