What’s in a name?

Tom Gross, author of an influential newsletter about coverage of Israel, writes a wonderful op-ed in the Jerusalem Post about the BBC’s brief rediscovery of the word terrorist, which its ridiculous editorial guidelines all but ban — except, it appears, within hours after a militant-insurgent-bomber nearly blows up your journalistic ass:

Britain’s first bus bombing took place barely half a mile from the BBC’s central London headquarters, and for a day or so after last Thursday’s multiple bomb attacks the BBC, the influential leftist daily Guardian and even the British-based global news agency Reuters all seemed suddenly to discover the words “terrorism” and “terrorist.” In Saturday’s Guardian, for example, one or other of these words appeared on each of the first 11 pages.

In marked contrast to BBC reports about bombs on public transport in Israel – bombs which in some cases were even worse than those in London since some were specifically aimed at children and most were packed with nails, screws, glass and specially-sharpened metal shards in order to maximize injuries – terms like “guerrilla,” “militant,” “activist” or “fighter” were suddenly nowhere to be seen.

Nor – again in contrast to their coverage of Israel – did BBC correspondents, on either its domestic or international services, provide sympathetic accounts of the likely perpetrators, or explain to viewers that we must “understand” their “grievances.”

Tom points us to Gene’s post on Harry’s Place with screenshots of the BBC’s coverage before and after a crackdown by its PC police.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

: Tom Gross, author of an influential newsletter about coverage of Israel, writes a wonderful op-ed in the Jerusalem Post about the BBC’s brief rediscovery of the word terrorist, which its ridiculous editorial guidelines all but ban — except, it appears, within hours after a militant-insurgent-bomber nearly blows up your journalistic ass:

Britain’s first bus bombing took place barely half a mile from the BBC’s central London headquarters, and for a day or so after last Thursday’s multiple bomb attacks the BBC, the influential leftist daily Guardian and even the British-based global news agency Reuters all seemed suddenly to discover the words “terrorism” and “terrorist.” In Saturday’s Guardian, for example, one or other of these words appeared on each of the first 11 pages.

In marked contrast to BBC reports about bombs on public transport in Israel ñ bombs which in some cases were even worse than those in London since some were specifically aimed at children and most were packed with nails, screws, glass and specially-sharpened metal shards in order to maximize injuries ñ terms like “guerrilla,” “militant,” “activist” or “fighter” were suddenly nowhere to be seen.

Nor ñ again in contrast to their coverage of Israel ñ did BBC correspondents, on either its domestic or international services, provide sympathetic accounts of the likely perpetrators, or explain to viewers that we must “understand” their “grievances.”

Tom points us to Gene’s post on Harry’s Place with screenshots of the BBC’s coverage before and after a crackdown by its PC police.

  • Oik

    “Iraq Support Caused London Attack, Say Americans”:
    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/8024

  • http://www.wildfiremarketinggroup.com/blog/ Marketing tips blog

    The whole idea of trying so hard not to offend a group of people that just blew up a bus & subway (not to mention everything else over the years) is just ludacris.

  • Right of Center

    How can one defeat an enemy one can’t even name?

  • david

    A better comparison would be to see how the BBC reported on IRA bombings. Were they called terrorists? Were sympathetic accounts given of the likely perpetrators, or explainations given to viewers that we must “understand” their “grievances.” How did the BBC report on other terrorist attacks around the world? Like the Japan subway attacks, the attacks in India, or in Kashmir.
    Then again it’s much easier to just write a story about how only Israel and Jewish men and women are persecuted around the world.

  • Maureen

    Sadly, you can bet that if/when there’s another TERRORIST (yes, terrorist) attack on the US, the Beeb will be back to calling their little buddies “freedom-fighters” or “alleged perpetrators” or other such nonsense. Even on 9/11, the smug glee emanating from the Beeb was practically palpable. Some of the commentators had to almost visibly restrain themselves from gloating.

  • Maureen

    You may have spoken too soon, Jeff. Looks like the Beeb’s back to its usual PC stance.
    http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/12/nbbc12.xml

  • http://www.musiccherry.com Fenton

    1. Maybe understanding their greivances will help us deal with them, catch them, or kill them (depending on your personal skew).
    2. Does it really matter what we call them as long as we’re going after them?

  • Glyn

    If anyone does think that the Guardian is soft on terrorism and can give them specific examples then:
    “It is the policy of the Guardian to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Please quote the date and page number. Readers may contact the office of the readers’ editor by telephoning +44 (0)20 7713 4736 between 11am and 5pm UK time Monday to Friday excluding UK bank holidays. Mail to Readers’ editor, The Guardian, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER, UK. Fax +44 (0)20 7239 9997. Email: reader@guardian.co.uk

  • Glyn

    The direct opposite of “the Guardian” is the conservative-supporting “Daily Mail” with a circulation of several million and here’s their front page headline today:
    “U.S. TELLS FORCES: STAY OUT OF LONDON”
    Since it is a right-wing paper I preferred to buy the (London)Times instead: “Thousands of American servicemen based in Britain have been banned from visiting London because of the terrorist alert.
    ‘US military chiefs commanding 12,000 members of the US Air Force issues a “battle staff directive” last Friday, the day after the London bombings.
    ‘US military personnel at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk – home of America’s F15 Strike Eagle bombers and KC135 refuelling tankers – were told that London was out of bounds.
    ‘Cindy Dorfner, a spokeswoman an RAF Mildenhall, said: “The order was made in a battle staff directive from our wing commander. Military members are not allowed to go to London until further notice.”
    I suppose you can imagine the kind of jokes that Londoners are making about this, but, seriously, what kind of message is this sending out?