Baby Killers: BBC Butchers the Real StoryMarch 13, 2011 15:42 by Simon Plosker
Only days after HonestReporting’s Managing Editor wrote about the thread that links Palestinian incitement to inevitable acts of terror, Israel has suffered a shocking and brutal terrorist attack carried out by baby killers. Yet the BBC has still managed to turn this into a story about settlements.
As the JPost reports:
A mother, father and three of their children were stabbed to death late Friday night by at least one suspected terrorist who infiltrated the Itamar settlement southeast of Nablus.
The killings occurred shortly after 10 p.m., when one or two attackers jumped the fence that surrounds Itamar and broke into the home of Ruth and Udi Fogel, aged 35 and 36, respectively. The attackers went room to room, stabbing the parents, a three-month-old girl, Hadas, and two boys, Elad, three, and Yoav, 11.
Clearly, those who are capable of the premeditated murder of babies and children are driven by something far deeper than an aversion to the existence or building of Israeli settlements. There is nothing more innocent than a three-month old. Yet, many media outlets still chose to politicize the horrific slaughter of innocents by focusing less on the despicable act itself and more on making an issue of the location of the attack and dehumanizing the victims as “settlers”.
Note some of the following headlines:
- Suspecting Palestinians, Israeli Military Hunts for Killers of 5 West Bank Settlers – New York Times
- Israeli troops scour West Bank villages for killers of 5 Jewish settlers – Washington Post
But the most shocking and callous treatment of the incident was produced by the BBC. While the news cycle moved on and media outlets turned towards an announcement of approval for construction in Israeli settlements, most at least gave prominence to the appalling details of the terrorist attack even if this became part of a story relating to settlements.
The BBC, however, virtually buried the Fogel family’s massacre, once again demonstrating its obsession with the settlement issue above all other issues relating to the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
No dedicated reportage of the brutal attack was featured elsewhere on the site. Instead, subsumed in a story of settlements, it warrants only a few lines. The BBC does, however, report that the attack “has shocked many Palestinians”. Of course, the BBC failed to mention that Hamas described the attack as a “heroic operation” while sweets and candies were handed out in Gaza in celebration.
The BBC has exercised its own moral judgment that says that the issuing of building permits in settlements is the cause of terror. Otherwise, the story may have included statements from Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu attributing the terror attack to Palestinian incitement.
The BBC has a well-staffed bureau in Jerusalem with the same access as other media outlets. Yet it chose not to publish any photos or specific details of the terror incident.
In the BBC’s world, it is all about the settlements. By politicizing such a heinous terrorist crime perpetrated against a baby, two small children and their parents, the BBC is as guilty as the perpetrators of dehumanizing innocent Israelis based on where they live. For the BBC, it seems that the location of the murders and the stress on how settlements “are held to be illegal under international law” is more important than the murders themselves.
If the BBC ever had any moral compass, it has demonstrated that it has completely lost it. In the BBC’s eyes, there is no moral difference between deliberately murdering innocent babies and the construction of homes in disputed territory. Indeed, for the BBC, the settlement issue at best allows one to “understand” why such an atrocity could take place and at worst, justifies it.
The BBC is by no means the only guilty party in creating an environment where Israeli Jews living in West Bank communities are dehumanized to the point that a three-month old is merely a “settler” – the Palestinian Authority’s continuous incitement in the Palestinian media and education system bear much responsibility. But the international media have bought into this narrative of demonization and helped to create such a toxic environment that the murder of innocents is deemed to be almost acceptable and the human story behind a tragedy is cynically removed.
YNet News reports that the director of Israel’s Government Press Office, Oren Helman, has demanded an apology over CNN’s coverage of the terrorist attack:
A CNN website report avoided describing the event as a terror attack, noting that the Israel Defense Forces consider it an act of terrorism. “Only you decided to use the term terrorist attack in quotation marks, as if this were not necessarily the case,” Helman wrote. “There is a limit to the extent of objectivity regarding such a horrific deed.”
CNN has responded, as of 1714 GMT, by removing the quotation marks from the headline and the opening paragraph.
The GPO’s other complaints, however, concerning CNN’s descriptions of the terrorist as an “intruder” or “assailant” have not been addressed at this time.
The BBC covered the terrorist attack in an article that was last updated on March 12 at 15:04 GMT. The story was as problematic as CNN’s, using a headline that cast doubt on the circumstances of the terrorist attack through the use of quotations.
The BBC usually links to related materials on later stories such as the settlement one critiqued above. Instead, the story of the terror attack disappeared from the main news pages, including that of the Middle East news where such items usually stay visible online for a period of at least a few days.
So why is it that the BBC’s original coverage of the terror attack, as problematic as it was, does not even appear as a related item at the bottom of the settlement story? Having drawn a link between the building of settlements and the attack, it is extremely surprising that the original story has been omitted. An innocent slip or is there something more sinister behind the scenes at the BBC?
Why did Sky News wait over 48 hours to cover the brutal terrorist murder and only then in a story highlighting settlements?
Read more at HR UK’s latest communique – Settlements Trump Baby Killers: Sky’s Skewed Priorities