Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Yet more biased coverage from the supposedly impartial BBC

If you want to get an idea of the astounding levels of bias in BBC broadcasting, just consider the disparity in coverage between their wall to wall negative coverage of Jeremy Corbyn attending a Holocaust event eight years ago in which the Jewish Holocaust survivor Hajo Meyer presented a talk called "the misuse of the Holocaust for political purposes", and the absolute silence they've maintained on the fact that three senior Tories, including a government minister (Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove), had meetings with the extreme-right white-supremacist fake news merchant Steve Bannon just last week.

Why is it that the BBC is so desperate to draw the British public's attention to an event that happened eight years ago in an attempt to link Corbyn to the views that were exrpessed there, but so keen to keep the British public in the dark about three of the main front runners to replace Theresa May as Tory leader all holding secretive meetings last week with an extreme-right fake news merchant who told the French neo-fascist Front National to wear their racism as a "badge of honour" and helped unify the swastika-waving "Jews will not replace us" Alt-right maniacs with the Trump campaign.

Defining anti-Semitism

Whether you agree with Hajo Meyer's claims of parallels between the Nazi Holocaust and the treatment of the Palestinian people in Gaza, his statement obviously makes a complete mockery of the IHR definition of anti-Semitism that defines such comparisons as anti-Semitism.

If your definition of anti-Semitism is so warped that it actually categorises survivors of the Holocaust as anti-Semites for equating the suffering they endured in the past with the suffering of Palestinian people in the present, then it's obviously completely messed up, and simply intended as a method of repressing and silencing political criticism of Israel by redefining it as anti-Semitism.

Any definition of anti-Semitism that allows non-Jewish supporters of the Israeli occupation to silence and banish Jewish people who are opposed to the Israeli occupation from the Labour party clearly has nothing to do with combating anti-Semitism, and everything to do with policing political speech in order to prevent criticism of the Israeli government.

And anyone who thinks that Corbyn sharing a stage with a Jewish Holocaust survivor eight years ago is somehow far more newsworthy than three very senior Tory MPs colluding with a vile extreme-right fake news merchant just last week, well they must be absolutely cracked, mustn't they?

Why is the BBC so skewed?

Under enormous pressure from the mainstream media Jeremy Corbyn has actually issued an apology for attending the event eight years ago because, in his words, views were expressed there that he didn't "accept or condone". However absolutely no pressure whatever has been applied to Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, or Michael Gove to apologise for colluding with a bigoted extreme-right fake news merchant just last week.

There are several big reasons for this staggering disparity. The first is Corbyn and Labour's naive attempts to actually deal with the anti-Semitism allegations by conducting inquiries, consulting, debating, and expelling those who are found guilty of anti-Semitism.

One might have imagined that this is the correct type of approach, but in the modern media environment it's demonstrably not.

Witness the way the Tory party has simply stonewalled all calls for an investigation into rampant anti-Muslim bigotry in the Tory ranks. Despite pleas for an urgent investigation by the Muslim Council of Britain and the senior Tory politician Sayeeda Warsi, they simply ignore the problem, and the story barely appeared in the news, let alone dominating headlines for week, after week, after week like the Labour anti-Semitism row.

The moral of this disgusting story is obvious: When dealing with the mainstream press, outright denial and stonewalling of complaints is infinitely less likely to generate headlines than actual efforts to deal with contentious issues. Therefore the paradoxical situation is created whereby attempting to deal with the problem rather than ignoring it is categorically the wrong approach.

Another major cause of this disparity in coverage is the fact that so many anti-Corbyn Labour MPs are prepared to use anti-Semitism as a weapon to attack the reputation of their own party, and to brief the press against their own leader (even though the evidence shows that rates of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party have dropped significantly since Corbyn took over), while Tory MPs insist on turning blind eyes on allegations of anti-Muslim bigotry and the rising prevalence of extreme-right white supremacist and ultranationalist hate speech in the Tory ranks (aside from the honourable exception of Sayeeda Warsi).

A third significant reason for the continued mainstream media fixation with Labour anti-Semitism while examples of Tory anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, and collusion with extreme-right white supremacists get a total free pass is "mainstream media "groupthink".  

A lot of well paid mainstream media hacks recognise that stories that damage Labour align with the mainstream media "groupthink" that Corbyn must be stopped because he represents a threat to the four decade neoliberal orthodoxy most of them have benefited from very nicely indeed. They also understand that criticism of the Tories runs absolutely counter to that underlying agenda of protecting the hard-right neoliberal orthodoxy at all costs.

A fourth reason is the shockingly right-wing bias of the print press in the UK, which is so right-wing skewed that even a liberal publication like the Guardian that fears democratic socialism and promotes centre-right liberalism (of the Blairite & Lib-Dem kind) is considered by many to be too left-wing.

Given that many journalists, including TV broadcasters are intensely workshy churnalists who much prefer to lazily parrot bilge from hard-right propaganda rags rather than do anything resembling investigative journalism or cogent analysis of their own, it's hardly surprising that the BBC's political output has an unmistakably right-wing bias. 


Whether you agree with these attempts to explain the mainstream media's astoundingly biased coverage or not, surely you've got to accept that their efforts to smear a Jewish Holocaust survivor as an "anti-Semite" for comparing his lived experience of the Holocaust to the suffering of the Palestinians simply in order to have a political dig at Jeremy Corbyn represents a repulsive new low for the BBC and the rest of the anti-Corbyn mob?

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