The riots afflicting London and other parts of the UK have made headline news around the world. What has this got to do with coverage of the Middle East however?
Often, anti-Israel bias or activism is but one part of an individual’s or even a media outlet’s overall world view or political slant. While reserving a particular animosity towards Israel, many anti-Israel activists are also involved in other activities that would ordinarily place them on the fringes of political debate.
Coverage of the UK riots has exposed how some individuals and media outlets with a history of anti-Israel bias are also part of a much deeper malaise that affects not only coverage of Israel but of wider issues as well.
Here are some examples that the UK riots have brought to our attention:
Anti-Israel Blogger Dumped by The Independent
Some UK media outlets have a nasty habit of giving platforms to some of the most vicious and vociferous anti-Israel activists. Take Jody McIntyre, a regular blogger at The Independent’s website, who as recently as July 2011 wrote a piece referring to Israel as a “rogue state” and advocating boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
Blogger Richard Millett expands on McIntyre’s anti-Israel activities and his media profile in left-wing outlets such as The Observer and Huffington Post, as well as his blog in The Independent. Millet also highlights a speech McIntyre made at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event where he said:
I say this at a time when people across the Arab world are setting alight to themselves in protest against their governments. We must take inspiration from them this year when we set the streets of London alight.
Evidently, McIntyre’s wish to see London burning has been fulfilled. As the rioting and looting spread, McIntyre just couldn’t help exposing himself for the extremist he is as he tweeted:
Following his recent tweets and statements on the London riots, The Independent will no longer be taking blogs from Jody McIntyre.
In fact, many in the BDS movement are professional political agitators whose wider political opinions belong on society’s fringes. Yet, the media are still content to give them a platform on issues concerning Israel while ignoring the fact that many of them are political extremists.
With anti-Israel Independent contributor Robert Fisk forced to apologize for a fraudulent story and Johann Hari suspended for alleged plagiarism, it’s clear that there is something rotten in The Independent. By removing Jody McIntyre, one bad apple is no longer there.
Shame about the rest of the orchard.
For more on Jody McIntyre, read Richard Millett’s Blog.
UPDATE: It just gets worse for McIntyre who has now been dumped by the Huffington Post and the UK’s Channel Four. See Backspin for more.
Press TV: Iran’s Unwelcome Advice For the UK
Why does the UK still allow the Iranian propaganda tool Press TV to reach British living rooms? The latest pronouncements from the Iranian regime are so absurd that it’s difficult to tell the difference between Press TV reports and material on The Onion or Comedy Central.
Responding to the UK riots, Press TV reports:
The Human Rights Subcommittee condemned the killing of Mark Duggan by British police in London, Fars news agency reported Tuesday.
Mohammad Karim Abedi, the vice-chairman of the sub-committee, said that the Majlis, as the representative of the Iranian nation, supports the rights of the British people and urged London to order the police to stop treating protesters violently.
The spokesman of the subcommittee Hossein Naqavi also condemned what he called the UK’s “double standards” towards human rights.
A senior Iranian lawmaker says the recent crackdowns on Britons in the United Kingdom are against human rights, urging the United Nations and international rights bodies to adopt preventive measures against the oppression in the UK.
And better still:
A senior Iranian lawmaker says Iran’s Majlis (parliament) is ready to send a group of human rights rapporteurs to the UK to investigate human rights violations in the country.
A case could be made for letting Press TV continue broadcasting such obvious nonsense as a means to ridicule the Iranian regime and wreck any semblance of credibility it may still have. However, Press TV has a long history of spreading hatred and incitement, particularly against Israel and the Jews.
This has included publishing Nicholas Kollerstrom’s outrageous piece of Holocaust denial, The Walls of Auschwitz: A Review of the Chemical Studies and frequently featuring Lady Michelle Renouf, a neo-Nazi and supporter of Holocaust denier David Irving.
- Ofcom, Britain’s media regulatory body, censured George Galloway, saying his show was just a vehicle for Galloway’s own polemics against Israel, breaching standards of presenting balanced viewpoints. British viewers haven’t forgotten Galloway’s fawning interview with his boss, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- Lauren Booth’s Mavi Marmara special was also censured by Ofcom. The idea of Booth — who just happened to spearhead the flotilla movement and foolishly got stuck in Gaza — making a show about the Mavi Marmara was too ridiculous for everyone but Press TV and its Iranian masters.
- Ofcom also investigated Press TV complicity in the arrest of Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. Bahari was arrested in Iran covering the country’s 2009 post-election protests.
- Press TV also lost a number of high-profile presenters who left in disgust at the station’s slanted coverage of those 2009 post-election protests.
Isn’t the latest Iranian insult to the intelligence of the UK public just another good reason to take Press TV off the air?
Guardian’s Obsession Exposed
But guess the exception:
The make up of the rioters was racially mixed. Most were men or boys, some apparently as young as ten.
But families and other local residents, including some from Tottenham’s Hasidic Jewish community, also gathered to watch and jeer at police.
Following a complaint from CiF Watch, The Guardian amended its article to the following:
But families and other local residents representative of the area – black, Asian and white, including some from Tottenham’s Hasidic Jewish community – also gathered to watch and jeer at police.
Evidently The Guardian couldn’t bring itself to remove the Hasidic reference, instead preferring to identify the backgrounds of others at the scene.
Yet more evidence of the singularly obnoxious obsession with anything Jewish or Israeli on the part of The Guardian.
UPDATE: The Guardian’s Corrections page, referring to the description of the mix of people on the streets of Tottenham, explains:
In keeping with Guardian editorial guidelines, a more detailed picture of the mix should have been given to specify some of the other groups there.
Take a closer look at your media. Can you recognize when an anti-Israel slant is a sign that a commentator or media outlet can’t be trusted to get it right on the other issues of the day?