A Channel 4 documentary, “Inside Hamas”, broadcast on 10 February, gained unprecedented access to the inside of the terrorist organisation. Writing in The Spectator, film-maker Mike Chamberlain describes what went on during the filming:
There were no spin doctors in sight, as [director] Rodrigo filmed internal meetings of the police and private parliamentary discussions. He accompanied the senior military commander as his men placed booby-trapped roadside bombs. We got to see the Prime Minister in his other role as Sheikh as he dispensed advice and favours to his flock in the manner of a friendly godfather.
The police unit we tracked had only weeks earlier been members of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s frontline fighters. They were ill-prepared to cope with a population who were either their official enemies in Fatah or were hungry, jobless or just angry with the siege. Some members of the unit ended up fomenting violence, clubbing defenceless people with 4ft-long sticks.
Many of you send us the BBC’s replies to your e-mail complaints, most of which are standard responses claiming that the BBC upholds the finest traditions of balance and objectivity. The following, however, stands out as one of the more ridiculous responses we have seen.
A subscriber wanted to know why the BBC’s choice of headlines never directly mentions Palestinians as aggressors, preferring neutral descriptions such as “Rocket injures dozens in Israel”, while Israel is almost always named as the primary actor in headlines such as “Israeli raids kill nine in Gaza”. The BBC’s response was revealing:
Please understand that we try to use neutral language in all our reporting, headlines included. Our writers, sub-editors and editors are required to write headlines that are between 31 and 33 characters long, including spaces, to fit in a Ceefax (teletext) template. It means that some long words, such as Palestinian, are often avoided to get more germane information into a headline. Neither of the suggestions you make (25 and 51 characters respectively) would fit the template.
So, for the BBC, fitting the text on the page and spacing is more important than an accurate message. The BBC admits it doesn’t let the facts interfere with a good headline – even if readers get a false impression of the story.
HAMAS RABBIT: ‘I WILL EAT THE JEWS’
Credit to the Daily Mail for featuring Hamas’s latest outrage. Following in the footsteps of Farfur the Mickey Mouse lookalike and Nahul the Bee comes Assud, a Bugs Bunny lookalike who declares “I will eat the Jews”. Click on the image below to see the Palestinian Media Watch video clip from the Hamas children’s TV show that indoctrinate youngsters to become terrorists and suicide bombers.
Even The Guardian, seemingly immune to criticism, can be moved. HonestReporting subscribers succeeded in getting a one-sided video removed from the newspaper’s website following a wave of complaints. The Guardian even acknowledged that the video in question “should have included a more balanced selection of interviewees.”
See the full story by clicking here.