BBC Silent about being Terrorized in Gaza: Discretion or Cowardice?

Israeli media reports that Hamas took over the first floor of the building that the BBC offices in Gaza last night and fired rockets from there, trapping the journalists above. Despite the fact that their reporters have now escaped the building, the BBC has so far not said anything about this.

When I was interviewed on the BBC last week, I commented on the pervasive intimidation of the MSM in Gaza, which is one of the reasons that there were none there when the hostilities broke out. I pointed out that the last journalist resident in Gaza, Alan Johnston, now the editor in chief, only survived because he was so openly pro-Palestinian, and even he got kidnapped and brutalized.

“I’ll cut that out to spare you a law suit, my interviewer said. You’re impugning the integrity of a journalist, and without his credibility he can’t practice his profession.” I was at once struck by the combination of concern for reputation and shamelessness involved in such a “favor” to me.

But here’s the BBC, used as human shields by Hamas, and they won’t let the public know.

Now on the other hand, the Foreign Press has decided to boycott the visual material released by the Army Spokesperson’s Unit (Dover Tzahal) because they object to not being allowed to go into Gaza and — get this — to the Israelis shelling buildings that hold press offices in Gaza. (I kid you not.)

From: The Foreign Press Association

Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 2:27 PM

Subject: Urgent notice to members

The FPA rejects and condemns the IDF policy of controlling the news coverage of the events in Gaza. by preventing the entry of foreign journalists into Gaza and bombing buildings housing offices of international media - contrary to IDF assurances that these media buildings would be safe – the IDF is severely violating basic principles of respect for press freedom.

As a result of these unconscionable breaches, the FPA calls on all its members not to broadcast or print stills and videos the IDF provides as a substitute to independent reporting – until such time the IDF issues a formal apology for the attacks on the media buildings and offers assurances that no such event will occur in the future.

The Foreign Press Association

It’s hard to find a finer illustration of the sad truth that the media will behave in craven fashion towards those who will hurt them if the journalists displease them, and in arrogant fashion towards those who won’t retaliate. Despite the many and vociferous denunciations of the Israelis in their statements during the current conflict, not one discusses misbehavior by Hamas.

And the righteous indignation of the letter further illustrates my belief that, unable to admit to either their public or themselves that they are intimidated, they hid behind a pseudo-ideology that permits them to wax morally eloquent. Alas for the state of journalism. Alas for the MSM’s Western public! Alas that Israel won’t denounce these hypocrites.

40 Responses to BBC Silent about being Terrorized in Gaza: Discretion or Cowardice?

  1. Barry Meislin says:

    Discretion or cowardice?

    Neither.

    It’s merely good practice.

    If the BBC would report anything like this, anything remotely like this, it would mean that its listeners and readership might (just might, mind you—no guarantee) begin to understand why Israelis are firing at certain buildings in Gaza.

    And the BBC can’t have that.

    Remember: the responsibility of manufacturing truth is a great one. Only rank amateurs yield to impulse.

  2. oao says:

    not to mention that they may be losing access in ghaza.

  3. Sophia says:

    IMO this is baloney.

    Journalists have a duty to report without preconditions.

    If they don’t they’re hiding the truth or shading it – in either case they are creating prejudice and instead of clarity, obscurity or even worse, complete distortion.

    Bottom line, this is a sellout and should be condemned utterly for what it is: institutionalized lying – probably with both ideological and commercial agendas attached.

    Humbug.

  4. [...] Richard Landes notices the BBC is being silent about being terrorized in [...]

  5. E.G. says:

    For those who have not yet seen it, there’s an Israeli skit on the Beeb’s reports from Gâza:
    http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/must/entry/the_on_line_battle_part

    Barry Meislin,

    I believe you captured the essential difference between the Beeb and France2: manufacturing vs. tailoring. A cultural thing, you know.

    Tinker, Tailor,
    Soldier, Settler,
    Rich Man, Poor Man,
    Anchorman, Thief.

  6. B. Trotwood says:

    Such ations by BBC and the rest of the MSM are crimes against humanity. Try to find the speech by Geert Wilders (in New York, 25 Sept.08). Worth reading.

  7. Chaim says:

    Can anyone here please post a link to the story from Israeli news sources that show BBC journalists were trapped by Hamasnikim firing rockets on the floor just beneath them in their own office building?

  8. David Preiser says:

    Good effort on the BBC interview, Mr. Landes. You even caught the BBC presenter playing the old “We got one complaint about favoring Israel, so we can’t be biased” game.

    What’s sickening about their censoring of your remark about Alan Johnston being pro Hamas, is that the BBC has not problem when the Palestinians themselves say it, and will publish that on the BBC website:

    UK Palestinians in Johnston plea

    Restaurant owner Mohammed Zomlot, who is from Gaza, said the Palestinian community in the UK wanted to support Mr Johnston.

    “I feel that we are the people who really should care about Gaza, and who should care about Alan,” he said.

    “Because Alan, at the end of the day, he’s one of the people who cares about us and he works for us, and that’s why we have a responsibility to protect him, and we have to ask for his immediate release.”

    Also, you might want to check out the blog Biased-BBC.

  9. Slevdi says:

    “Can anyone here please post a link to the story from Israeli news sources …”

    … or from anywhere. Making a statement like that in your first sentence absolutely demands a verifiable reference.

  10. oao says:

    Journalists have a duty to report without preconditions.

    given the reality this would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

    Such ations by BBC and the rest of the MSM are crimes against humanity.

    this is nothing. just watch as the UK is being islamized. if the british army has surrendered (iran) and the police (to islamist thugs), should the bbc be different?

    britain was anti-semitic and worked against israel in 1948. should anybody expect any better when it is held by the balls by their own jihadi population?

    just include the uk and france with the jihadi block. they don’t exist as europeans anymore.

  11. Inverted Cowardice…

    Cowards tend to loathe themselves for their cowardice. It is a natural reaction. When the cowardice is shared by a large group, it becomes easier to deny one’s cravenness and externalize the self loathing onto a designated and shared scapegoat…….

  12. Cynic says:

    Bottom line, this is a sellout and should be condemned utterly for what it is: institutionalized lying – probably with both ideological and commercial agendas attached.

    This should have been obvious a long time ago; The Media and its Agenda.
    Of course all those demanding their freedom of speech have been ripped off as far as their freedom of opinion goes cause the media has denied them the facts to form an independent opinion and sold them a pig in a poke.
    As I said in a previous post “it has moulded their thinking” (pun intended).

  13. Sophia says:

    On the subject of “freedom of speech” – our nation is also founded on the idea of a free press – in fact it’s considered essential to any free people, any democracy.

    There’s nothing free about a press with an agenda.

  14. Cynic says:

    Shrinkwrapped,
    Unable to comment on your post (in Firefox I just get a blank text box with no ability to log in or submit)
    You wrote:
    Yet, the Palestinians, and Islamists everywhere, have convinced themselves that killing unarmed and undefended women and children is somehow heroic; they have convinced themselves that hiding behind their women and children is heroic. I’ll make it here hoping you’ll see it.

    And unfortunately the West has done nothing to disabuse them of this behaviour but has done everything to pump billions of dollars into maintaining this state of affairs. 2008 saw almost 1.4 billion provided by the US and the EU.
    They have done nothing constructive with the funds, which must amount to the tens of billions of dollars if not more, they have received from the time Arafat scribbled on paper on the Whitehouse lawn.

    The media have played a large part in protecting this behaviour and the BBC, not so much from cowardice but in lieu of its agenda will help out at any cost.
    By the way Reuters was also in part of that building hit by Israeli fire in return for Hamas “militants” fire.

    Ending the West’s Proxy War Against Israel

  15. a says:

    for the story look on galatz (israeli radio) or ynet. the international press did not touch this. the israeli press only made minor mention of it. and as it is the BBC has kept entirely mum – cant endanger your standing with hamas now can you.

  16. Jem says:

    Here’s my response, via the “contact us” link at their website:

    Having read your multiple statements of concern regarding Israel’s limitation on your members, I am shocked and appalled as well I am appalled by your organization’s craven acceptance of intimidation by Palestinian terrorist groups and shocked at your willing facilitation of their use of your members and their own women and children as human shields. I am further appalled at the dishonesty that marks your coverage of events in the region–embracing enthusiastically every tyrant and mass perpetrator of war crimes while relentlessly opposing those who actually make even a pretense of obeying the laws of war and Geneva conventions. Yours is indeed a deeply corrupted and sick organization.

  17. [...] in Gaza Stadt geschossen hatte. Wie können die? Unverschämtheit! Nun, die IDF wurde aus dem von der Hamas übernommenen ersten Stock heraus beschossen. Davon hört, sieht und liest man natürlich in unseren Medien nichts. Statt [...]

  18. Slevdi says:

    So no verification of this rumour then? I guess the BBC offices in Gaza weren’t compromised after all. That kind of makes this whole article worthless.

  19. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    What’s Heinsohn’s (excellent) paper got to do with the Beeb?

  20. Derek says:

    I share Slevdi’s concern that you have not yet provided a source for your main assertion that “Israeli media reports that Hamas took over the first floor of the building that the BBC offices in Gaza last night and fired rockets from there, trapping the journalists above.” This might explain why the BBC has not yet said anything about it… This kind of failure is unworthy of the Augean Stables – please either confirm or withdraw. Remember that William Blake also wrote: “When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.”

  21. To put it mildly: Johnston’s Hamas propaganda was (or better: is-) as revolting as his Jew hatred, and his kidnap story fake. Now it is confirmed that this son of a whore was in the enemy camp all along, but neverteheless gets awards and recognition from Britain’s dhimmi government. Why?

    http://sheikyermami.com/2008/11/11/fooled-again-did-you-know-al-bebeeceeras-kidnap-victim-alan-johnston-was-a-muzz/

  22. Memphis says:

    Can you provide a link to the Isareli media report the BBC site? Keep up the great work you do!

  23. Derek says:

    I echo Slevdi’s concern. At present, the only source I can find for this story when searching Google is this weblog… We have to have higher standards than the terrorists when reporting news stories, as I said in my earlier post which has since been removed…If anyone can supply a reliable source, please do so. I will then be first in line with criticism of the BBC in this matter.

  24. Derek says:

    Sorry everyone,my post was not showing when I first logged in again a few moments ago, but appeared again when I posted #20. My apologies to the Augean Stables.

  25. Chaim says:

    I still can’t find anything in the Israeli press about this incident. If someone can provide a link, that would be great.

  26. [...] BBC Silent about being Terrorized in Gaza: Discretion or Cowardice? [...]

  27. [...] BBC Silent about being Terrorized in Gaza: Discretion or Cowardice? [...]

  28. Cynic says:

    Here’s a video or two from Israel’s equivalent of SNL taking the mickey out of the BBC.
    a skit on the international press’ coverage of Gaza.

    E.G.
    And unfortunately the West has done nothing to disabuse them of this behaviour but has done everything to pump billions of dollars into maintaining this state of affairs. 2008 saw almost 1.4 billion provided by the US and the EU.
    …………………………………..
    The media have played a large part in protecting this behaviour(both the Arab’s and the West’s) and the BBC, not so much from cowardice but in lieu of its agenda will help out at any cost.

  29. Cynic says:

    Slevdi,
    What are you on about?
    You sound like you wouldn’t believe any report coming out of Israel anyway, just like the MSM who only give credence to what the Arabs say.

  30. Solomonia says:

    The MSM is the Enemy…

    How can you trust the press when they don’t even report on their own limitations? A revealing look at Augean Stables: BBC Silent about being Terrorized in Gaza: Discretion or Cowardice? Note Richard’s description of being “saved from a lawsuit”……

  31. [...] Seraphic Secret says Goodbye (Elite?) Iran Unit. The Augean Stables offers BBC Silent about being Terrorized in Gaza: Discretion or Cowardice? [...]

  32. a says:

    for those of you who were not paying attention, max already provided a link – but here it is again

    http://glz.msn.co.il/newsArticle.aspx?newsid=33871

    again, no one has picked it up, i will leave you to surmised why. however, i will say that if an idf soldier so much as step foot inside a press building in gaza, the story would be all over the msm for days.

  33. DB80 says:

    If this were the case it would be on every single Jewish and Israeli website/newspaper/blog/tv channel
    and the BBC’s rivals would have a field-day with it as would many Countries

    Instead it seems nothing more than insubstantiated rumour, most likely used as an excuse for the IDF continuing it’s history of attacks on journalists

    This article does nothing but fuel the blind, self-righteous hatred that is unfortunately becoming so common on the internet

    The BBC never followed up on,

    Reports of attacks on the Red Crescent by the IDF

    The murder of a Red Cross driver by the IDF

    The attacks on UN installations in Gaza by the IDF

    The recent cases of the IDF being cleared of responsibility for murdering journalists and cameramen

    Israel’s previous funding of Hamas to counteract Fatah’s influence

    The US’s demands that Hamas be included in the Gaza elections before refusing to acknowledge their win (which has ultimately led to the recent slaughter)

    Reports that the US supplied Fatah with money and arms to try and oust the democratically elected goverment

    There’s just a few for you, don’t get too carried away with this BBC hate campaign, just because the BBC is not pro-Israel does not mean that it’s anti-Israel

    (That wasn’t an anti-Israel/USA list, it’s just to show that a lot of things were completely ignored by the BBC but most people will believe what they want to without any facts or knowledge of the situation)

    90% of the BBC’s coverage that I seen, day and night, of the recent “conflict” was from Israel’s point of view

  34. Eliyahu says:

    DB80 seems to consider the Nazi-like, jihadist ideology of Hamas to be irrelevant. Or he is ignorant of same.

  35. British Watchdog’s Report: BBC Coverage Less Than Impartial…

    Just Journalism is a British NGO that tracks inaccurate and irresponsible reporting about Israel in the British media. They’ve got a new report out and – shockingly – it turns out that the BBC hasn’t been entirely objective [PDF]……

  36. [...] the Human Rights community spare him (and us). Everyone knows how dangerous conditions in Gaza are: one of the reasons that Western journalists were unable to cover the war in Gaza was because few even visited, and [...]

  37. [...] Landes, “BBC Silent about Being Terrorized in Gaza,” The Augean Stables, January 16, 2009, http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2009/01/16/bbc-silent-about-being-terrorized-in-gaza-discretion-or-c…. Note also that the journalists admit that their ability to work in Gaza came from a combination of [...]

  38. [...] points to a depressing and maddening story at Augean Stables, where Richard Landes asks if it is Discretion or Cowardice that keeps the BBC from reporting the [...]

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