Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bias at the BBC is old news: many people have written articles documenting it and there is a blog dedicated to it. Still, I've been using an old computer with as a starting page, and I've been continuously irritated by the blatantly biased coverage of Israeli-Palestinian issues over the last few weeks.

The BBC has run the following articles in the last months (among others that I do not list):

Israel plans Gaza 'aerial siege'

Israel fires missiles into Gaza

Israel delays Gaza bus link start

Israel rounds up 19 'militants'

Israel air strike kills militant

Israel bombs Hezbollah outposts

Israel resumes targeted killings

And so on. However, if you read each of these articles, you find out that the Israeli action referenced in the title comes as a response to a recent terrorist act. The 'aerial siege' comes because,

Palestinian militants have stepped up their rocket attacks since Israel withdrew from Gaza in September.
Missiles were fired into Gaza because
On Monday, a Palestinian rocket exploded near an Israeli kindergarten.

The Qassam rocket caused no injuries but went off as children were attending a Hanukkah party at a kibbutz south of Sderot, and a second rocket also fell harmlessly south of the city of Ashkelon.

Israeli artillery opened fire in response to the attack.

Confirming its missile strikes early on Tuesday, the Israeli military said it had targeted buildings used by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades group to recruit members and hold meetings.
The bus link was delayed because
Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has agreed to resume talks on the link, but will not let it start until his concerns about security have been addressed...Israel's cabinet had suspended the talks earlier this month after a suicide bombing killed five Israelis in Netanya.
And so on. Each time, only the Israeli action is mentioned in the headline, and one has to scan the entire article to see the complete story.

To be sure, there are some stories which are appropriately titled, for example Israel strikes Gaza after rockets, but even here, to someone unfamiliar with the terms of the conflict the title is at best unclear.

In short, the headline selection makes the conflict look as if it is made up entirely of Israeli aggressive actions, even though each action described is a targeted response to a Palestinian terrorist act.


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