Saturday, 21 August 2010

Panorama's response to criticism over Corbin's film

There has been substantial protest and a deluge of letters to the BBC over Jane Corbin's Panorama film 'Death on the Med'. The BBC refuses to say precisely how many complaints it has received.

A hastily-released BBC response, intended, it seems, to deal with and pacify the high level of objections, included these defensive lines:
"This programme intended to explore the considerable confusion about what actually happened on the Mavi Marmara on the day in question.

Israel has been accused of breaking international law by seizing a Turkish ship. Israel says they were terrorists. Turkey insists they were innocent victims. With several inquiries underway Jane Corbin uncovered new evidence from both sides in a bid to uncover what really happened."

The BBC reply repeats the film's false-flag claim that "considerable confusion" remains over the Mavi Marmara event. But Corbin's apparent "new evidence", claiming to "uncover what really happened", reveals nothing new. It's a shameless conceit intended to lend the programme 'authenticity'.

Worse, the film ignores all previously-established evidence charting Israel's brutal conduct, omits to mention the confiscation of other activist evidence and makes no reference to Israel's own edited and withheld footage.

In a token attempt at 'balance', the BBC acknowledges the accusation that Israel is accused of seizing a Turkish ship, in violation of international law. In actual fact, Israel is accused of seizing all the boats comprising the aid flotilla, in violation of international law. This fundamental fact is completely overlooked in the film and the Panorama response.

The words "Israel says they were terrorists" are also stated in the response as if to say, 'we are merely reporting Israeli claims.' Yet, left unchallenged, this permits a gross fabrication to gain respectable currency. It's one thing to note competing claims in a conflict. It's quite another to repeat, without questioning, something which 'informed' correspondents like Corbin must surely know to be hyperbolic, official spin.

The other deceitful trope here is to claim that "new evidence from both sides" was garnered for the film. In fact, the statements given by activists and Palestinian advocates are consistently undermined by selective assertion, intonation and editing.

Likewise, Corbin's flagrant inclusion of the proven-to-be-bogus "go back to Auscshitz" words in the film serve to implant the suggestion of virulent anti-semitism.

In it's front page piece highlighting Panorama's blatant bias and omissions, the Morning Star also notes this most glaring evasion in Corbin's film:

"No autopsy reports were mentioned - despite the fact that they showed that murdered activists were shot repeatedly at close range, ruling out soldiers' claims they acted in self defence."

A further claim over the film's 'fair intention' is offered in the Panorama response:

"Jane Corbin is a world renowned journalist with 20 years experience reporting for 'Panorama' on the on-going conflict in the Middle East. She is respected for her dedicated, impartial and balanced work from both sides of the conflict and approached this subject with the same level of fairness which she is known for."

This is a standard form of denial. A correspondent's "experience", and repetition of that "experience", proves nothing. In this case, it merely confirms Corbin's experience in peddling bias. As the Media Lens editors commented at their site:

"The trick is simply to assert "impartiality" and "balance" in defiance of the evidence. And to do so repeatedly, time and time again."

This relentless posture is also addressed by John Haylett in an illuminating article on BBC - and other media - coverage of the Middle East:

"That is part of the problem. The BBC, taking its lead from Whitehall, refuses to base its position on international law and United Nations security council resolutions.

Rather than accept the obvious truth that Israel is an expansionist racist state that is illegally colonising its neighbours' land with a view to annexation and site its news coverage within those political parameters, the BBC affects a "balanced" view between dispossessed and dispossesser."

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign site has collated a helpful set of points and advice to be used in pursuing the matter through the BBC's extended complaints procedure.

John

1 comment:

Maitreyi said...

Dear Sir,
I am currently involved in researching for a new w/site intent on exposing BBC propaganda/bias..
I am keen to create a petition for OFCOM to investigate the 'death in the Med' programme.
I have read the BBC Charter/Agreement and OFCOM's code and as a layperson can clearly see where they have failed in their legal obligations to report on topics with Impartiality, Fairness and Accuracy.
I would appreciate some advice and maybe some help wording the petition statement as I have no legal/journalistic knowledge.
Is this something you would consider being involved in?
Kind Regards
Sammi.