By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
When I was in Iraq, one of the things that happened in my camp was the arraignment of Saddam Hussein, which took place in Saddam’s personal mosque; a building I was able to go into the day before the arraignment. The next day, Reuters published the location of the arraignment, which put us all at risk because there were insurgents who wanted to rescue him, and enraged country men who literally would have gnashed him with their teeth. In case you are wondering, this was not the last time I saw news organizations seemingly defy what had been put in place with everyone’s safety.
Before we talk about the latest bit of egg on the BBC’s face that caused a hue and cry, and rightly so, it must first be pointed out that in the first few days of the attack on Israel which began October 7, the BBC refused to call Hamas a terrorist organization. This was when the images of the atrocities committed by said organization were fresh on the minds of a stunned planet. Interestingly, there was a demonstration outside of BBC headquarters in London, and placards that said, “If the king can call Hamas terrorists, so can you.” Prior to that, Hamas had been referred to as “militants” by the BBC. So, in the latest gaffe, a news presenter said two times during her segment that the Israeli Defense Force “was targeting medical staff and Arab speakers.” What was supposed to have been said was, specially trained forces were accompanied by “medical teams and Arabic-speaking soldiers [who] are on the ground to ensure that [medical] supplies reach those in need.”
OK, how does one get “targeting” out of “accompanied by”? Search me, but first, it’s Reuters, and nothing with them surprises me. And, the BBC continues to use Reuters, and have also shot themselves in the foot repeatedly with reprehensible reporting. Below is the BBC’s apology, which at least had a crumb of contrition available for public consumption:
“This was incorrect and misquoted a Reuters report,” an anchor for the UK broadcaster later said. “What we should have said is that IDF forces included medical staff and Arabic speakers for this operation.”
“We apologize for this error which fell below our usual editorial standards. The correct version of events was broadcast minutes later,” the BBC said.
I don’t know to what the BBC is referring when they talk about “usual editorial standards.” According to the Times of Israel:
“The BBC has come under attack for its coverage of the war between Israel and the Hamas terror organization, which former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett alleged was ‘lacking moral clarity.’
In particular, the broadcaster was slammed for its rush to report unverified and later-refuted claims that an Israeli airstrike was responsible for a deadly explosion at Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital on October 17.
Initial reports citing only Hamas said hundreds of people were killed in the incident. Israel and the US later said they had clear evidence the blast was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket that fell short in the hospital’s parking lot.” Analysts have also assessed the rocket likely killed dozens, and not some 500 as Hamas claimed.”
I watched as the morale of American soldiers was assaulted by reporting that was irresponsible. I can only imagine what this kind of stuff does to Israeli soldiers, and, for the record, I stand with American soldiers, and I stand with Israeli soldiers. Why? Because at the end of the day, they both want peace, not beheaded babies.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner