Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently made clear that he intends to shake things up at the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), which has come under intense scrutiny for its systemic left-wing bias. Nowhere is the network’s lack of objectivity, and lack of truthfulness, more evident than when it comes to its reporting on the Jewish state and its conflict with the Palestinians. Using a program aired just two weeks ago to illustrate the point, Melanie Phillips writes:
The most recent example of this BBC mindset concerns a Jordanian-born Palestinian terrorist, Ahlam Tamimi. In August 2001, she handed a guitar case filled with explosives to an accomplice who detonated it in the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, murdering fifteen people, seven of them children, and wounding more than 130. Tamimi has repeatedly gloated over what she did. She was given sixteen life sentences, but was released in a prisoner swap after only ten years. Since then, she has lived in Jordan, where she hosts a talk show on the Hamas-affiliated al-Quds TV.
Last week, BBC Arabic TV broadcast an item which sympathetically presented the story Tamimi wanted to tell about herself. This six-minute item, titled: “Ahlam Tamimi, your voice is loud and clear,” was framed as a sentimental human-interest story which whitewashed the murderous activities by both Tamimi and her husband, [who murdered an Israeli civilian in 1993], and presented them as victims of censorship and the Americans. . . . This is hardly an isolated example.
The BBC is regarded around the world as a byword for objectivity and accuracy. That’s why its departure from those ideals is so pernicious. . . . But [its executives] are simply unable to process the fact that they view Israel, among other issues, through a profoundly distorting ideological prism. And that’s because they believe implacably that the positions they hold are unarguably objective and fair, that they do represent the middle ground, and that therefore by definition those who claim the BBC is biased are themselves extremists and can be safely disregarded.
Which is why, if whoever takes over at the top wants to restore the once-iconic BBC to elementary standards of objectivity, fairness, and decency, they will have their work cut out for them.