Editing

Created on 22/5/2008

There is something mysterious happening with the news on our televisions in Britain. I have worked in and taught about the media, so I know a little about how it’s organized. We all realize that the running order and inclusion of stories is in the hands of the editors. They select from a multitude of sources what they want to show, and where in the running order it will be featured.

Recently one has to question whether this is being done for professional or political reasons. I don’t know the answer, but I have my suspicions. Last week, for instance, was the celebration of the 60th. Anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. There were virtually no upbeat stories on this subject to be found on the BBC, and it was very rare elsewhere. What’s wrong guys, don’t you want to see Israeli’s celebrating in the street, doesn’t it fit your depressing picture of that country?

Instead we were presented with the doleful face of Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East Editor, looking glum somewhere in Israel, and talking about the event from an almost entirely negative, Palestinian perspective. He talked about the tragedy of the Palestinian people as if there had not been a vote in the United Nations calling for the establishment of a Jewish state in 1948. I thought that Jeremy’s job was to report the news, and the news was that Israel was celebrating its birthday.

After all, for every story of displaced Palestinians one could point to a similar story of displaced Jews from Arab countries. Somehow those stories are never told. Come to think of it, why in this story of displacement is it only Palestinians that get mentioned when you could add the aboriginals of Australia, the Indian and Pakistanis, Maoris, Hottentots, Red Indians, Anglo-Saxons and so on throughout history.

This politically correct tendency appeared to be in evidence again when it came to reporting the recent terrible events in South Africa. There, mobs of South Africans, mostly in the Johannesburg area, have rampaged against the immigrant populations, primarily their Zimbabwean neighbors. There are reports of several hundred murders, rapes and burnings. This is a Cossack pogrom writ large in the African sun.

I don’t know what has motivated this lack of attention on British television. Is it because that the story simply doesn’t reflect the left leaning liberal bias of the editors who don’t want such stories to be seen?