BBC’s Middle East Coverage
In response to a complaint filed by CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), the BBC has checked into its coverage of the Middle East conflict. Its report found that there was slight impartiality and some minor inaccuracies in the reporting.
Melanie Phillips writes in The Spectator that although the criticisms were muted and ignored a lot of the bias against Israel in BBC’s reporting, the reaction of “Israel-bashers” was extreme. Philips says the reason for this is the recognition that this is just the beginning. If BBC admits to some bias now, it is paving the way for reports of more bias down the road. BBC can no longer claim that perceived bias is a result of the political views of those who are complaining.
Phillips is right that this is just the first step for BBC. The BBC has shown courage in investigating the complaints properly and showing willingness to admit its mistakes. No one expects that tomorrow morning the entire Middle East desk will be replaced by more “objective” staff, but some small changes here and there could really make a difference. For people who are not living the Middle East conflict, the only way to get news about is through the major media sources around the world. Public opinion is strongly influenced by networks such as the BBC. Maybe this report will teach people to take the news with a grain of salt. Educated people should know that the media can be slanted and that a true picture of events can only be formed by getting information from as many sources as possible.