BBC Gaza

As the crowds began to gather in Buchanan Street to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza, it was clear that the demonstration would be vibrant, diverse and loud. About an hour before the assembly time, you could see groups of people arriving. Young, old, mixed. A group of young women started the chanting in earnest, rallying shoppers to the cause. Speakers from faith organisations, political parties, campaign groups and trade union leaders addressed the huge crowd that had taken the entirety of the top end of Glasgow’s main Saturday thoroughfare, before it set off on a march to the BBC which dominated the city centre in a sea of colour and solidarity.

As we approached the BBC, the pace quickened, and the mega phones cranked up a notch. People, thousands of them, had been enraged by the BBC coverage of the bombing of Gaza. There are reams of material which detail this. The BBC use Israeli talking points to framework the overall narrative. They depict the situation as an equal conflict, they fail to press Israeli spokespeople, or to expose the true horror of the situation in Gaza. As we arrived at the BBC Hq, the crowd erupted ‘BBC Shame on you.’

Well, it would be interesting to see how the BBC would report the event. For those who have been to lots of demonstrations, there is a fairly standard format for BBC reports. Firstly, the journalist wont usually stay for much longer than half an hour or so. So you can guarantee the BBC figure on attendance will be far lower than the reality. They claim, yesterday that ‘hundreds’ bothered to turn up. The picture below shows the crowd before it set off being addressed by speakers.

This is the normal sub-standard reporting on demonstrations. The BBC have been notorious for this. A few weeks ago 50,000 people took to central London as part of a Peoples Assembly demonstration to oppose austerity. Not a word, or single reference to this event existed on the BBC. So under reporting demonstrations, numbers and so on, while infuriating, is not surprising.

It is also not surprising that the coverage of demonstrations is concise, to put it mildly. There is never any interaction with the crowd, no scene setting, no capturing of the atmosphere and so on. So again, it was no surprise to find the BBC article dedicated just 152 words to the event.

But this time the BBC hit a new low. In the article they publish just one quote out of an array of speakers which included Dave Moxham of the STUC, Peter Tatchell, Aamer Anwar, Pauline McNeill and Sandra White. There was a solid hour of speeches before the march set off. Each one of them listened to and cheered to the rafters. Apart from one.

Anas Sarwar, was the only speaker to get heckled. As soon as he was announced, he was in for a rough ride. People were angry, genuinely angry, with Labour’s failure to stand up to Israel. They wanted, thousands of them, to show that they were not going to be bought off. After a few minutes, they’d had enough and chanted ‘off, off, off’ until he had to stop and step down from the podium. The video below captures some of this.
And the BBC’s one quote goes to? Anas Sarwar. No political balance, not the good grace to take quotes from the other distinguished speakers, or the organisers of the march. Nothing. Anas was the main act for the BBC. And worse than that, he is quoted as if his speech went without a hitch. No mention of the fact that he didn’t just receive a bit of light booing, but that he was so roundly derided he had to remove himself from the stage early.

This is more than disgraceful. And it is not bias. It is a lie, plain and simple. It is misinformation of the worst sort, and it is an insult to journalism. It is an insult to the communities who pooled their resources to organise the demonstration. It is an insult to every single person who attended the demonstration. Yet it is worse than an insult. It is politically calculated. It is a deliberate and it cannot be anything else. The only other possibility is that the level of journalism is now so low within the BBC that even elementary principles of reportage are not being met.

But that would be letting them off lightly. In truth, the BBC are tail spinning into decline for a reason: they are closing ranks with an establishment in crisis. We have a chance to expel that establishment in September. And after that the opportunity to replace the BBC with a public broadcaster, worthy of the people it is meant to inform.
BBC story in full:

Comments (0)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. bringiton says:

    When the media get into bed with the establishment,they can no longer call themselves “free” and deserve to be ignored and in the case of the tax payer funded broadcaster,put out of business.
    If the BBC in Scotland are still in business after September,there will be mass refusal to continue funding them and they have only themselves to blame for that situation.

  2. Tog says:

    Disgraceful using real human misery as a rod to further your own anti BBC agenda and other goals. This is a mirror of the Daily Mail in which you both hate the BBC for very similar reasons but have exactly the opposite views on Independence and support Hamas who have a morality that makes the Israeli state almost look reasonable which is some feat. The left have taken too simplistic an approach to this which does them no credit using it too fight your own little battles. It is time the left woke up

    1. yesvote2014 says:

      Nonsense. This excellent article doesn’t offer any support for Hamas and only mentions Scottish independence in the context of the very real opportunity that we have to create something better than the BBC. When thousands of people demonstrate in solidarity with the people of Gaza, we expect fair and accurate reporting.

    2. tartanfever says:

      Tog, I’ve got a question for you. It’s a question I’m sure that many have considered yet one I have not witnessed being put to any Israeli spokesperson whatsoever.

      If the aim of Israel is to block these alleged smuggling tunnels from Gaza into Israel, then why don’t they block them off from the Israeli side ?

      Why the need to invade Gaza and murder innocent civilians ?

      1. Tog says:

        A good question and one we don’t neccesarily have an answer to except these tunnels are numerous, very expensively constructed and not always very easily discovered from accounts I have read. indeed if the huge expense and effort that is put into these tunnels was put into shelters for the people we would likely not have the huge disparity in deaths between the two sides.
        Both sides are far too keen on provoking the other at the cost of huge human suffering. I also object to the portrayal of this conflict in a black and white way. Bringing this subject into the independence debate almost overwhelms that debate as these are such important issues and it makes yes/no seem insignificant. Also the iSG and SWP line on Gaza offers no practical solution to this problem and indeed may make things slightly worse by making people take up very entrenched opinions that get us nowhere and gives less scope for a peaceful solution. Demonising either side does not help things

    3. John L says:

      We, the left, support Palestine. And for many of us, including the author, that involves support for Palestinian resistance, including resistance conducted by Hamas. Just in case you thought you were shaming anyone.

      1. Abulhaq says:

        Hamas dear John is a fundamentalist Islamist organisation with attitude. Is the “left” that desperate?

      2. Illy says:

        And Israel is an enforced, invader/crusader state that was established against the wishes of the natives by the winners of WW2, and supported by those same states to this day.

        So who’s to blame here?

        Of course, that was 60 years ago, and there are people who were born, lived and died since Israel stuck it’s great boot into the middle of Palistine, so the solution isn’t easy.

        But going by history, crusader states never last.

    4. tartanfever says:

      Tog – any chance you could answer the question.

      Why the need for a military invasion into Gaza and the murder of innocent civilians so that Israeli forces can ‘apparently’ look for smuggling tunnels ?

      Why not look for the tunnels on the Israeli side ?

      It’a not a difficult question, I mean, a tunnel has to have an entrance and exit right, otherwise a dead-end tunnel is a bit of a waste of time. Wouldn’t it surely be easier to look for those entrances/exits in the open land on the Israeli side ? Wouldn’t that be easier, less dangerous etc etc ?

      As for your comment about alienating one side doesn’t help, I suggest you read your first post again.

  3. thisgreenworld says:

    the BBC would appear to have turned into a western european version of Russia Today…

    For many people, they can’t believe that their (beloved) BBC could POSSIBLY be biased, because the alternative is a black hole of doubt for those who genuinely do not want to think for themselves or stand up for themselves.

  4. Abulhaq says:

    Indeed Israel Must Stop, but how many on the march know anything about Hamās, or to give its full title, the Islamic Resistance Movement and its virulently anti-Jewish charter which quotes from the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion and which even the ultras in FATEH, the rulers of the West Bank consider extreme. Are these marchers marching for a humanitarian cease-fire, rejected by Hamās by the way, or marching blindly into something entirely darker. Anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe. In France the situation is serious enough, street violence, attacks on business property and synagogues for Jews to leave. The BBC is “shy” of reporting that too. There is opposition to Hamas in Gaza but the thugs, some multi-millionaires, who control the region silence them in their own particular way. There is no democracy in kleptocratic Gaza. Like the Muslim Brotherhood, of which they are an offshoot, their agenda is rigorously Islamist. That involves suppression and repression of individual rights and turning the socio-cultural clock backwards. Gaza is just one element in a far more intractable problem of the future of the post-Ottoman, post-colonial, post-dictator “Arab world”. The so-called Arab Spring, a Western coining, has turned arctic. “Khalifa Ibrahim” and his sword-wielding simplistic solution, currently killing Christians, Yazidis, Shii’i and Turcomen, will drench that world in even more blood. Nothing to do with Gaza? In the Middle East there is no such thing as a hermetic seal on the black comedy that passes for politics.

    1. joseph O Luain says:

      Listen pal, it’s much simpler than you choose to make. It’s this simple: you don’t go after non-combatants with F16 fighters and you don’t indiscriminately and gratuitously bombard residential areas (that is most of the Gaza strip). If you choose to do so you are engaging in war crimes.

    2. muttley79 says:

      I see you are back having a go at Arabs again. You never talk about the disproportionate killing of Palestinians in relation to Israelis, you never mention Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, you never talk about the illegal settlers in Palestinian lands, you never mention how the West has thwarted the Arabs from building democratic states time and time again. You are an apologist for Zionism, and war criminals like Sharon and Netanyahu. Your contempt and hostility towards Arabs is evident.

    3. Abulhaq says:

      Joseph + Muttley
      It’s like addressing a brick wall. Neither of you has direct experience of, or has any in depth knowledge of the complex history of the Middle East.
      Like many in the west you are I think armchair observers, rather unconcerned by the awkward realities of life in the region. Far from being an apologist for Israeli action, the deaths of innocents or يا سلام for the imperialist British (Scots included) or French, I am concerned about the direction the world I know and love descending into barbarism led by criminal organisations such as Hamas, that neither of you would last five minutes living under, which have little concern for human life, democracy, conscience, life-style etc much preferring the supposed eternal bliss that comes from “martyrdom”. Marching for Gaza may salve your troubled conscience but it will not bring peace to the entire region any closer as this is just a symptom of a far greater malaise. Google Constantin Zureiq, some of his ideas on the existential problem are relevant even today.

      1. Illy says:

        Israel is currently Hamas’ best recruitment agent.

        The situation *really* isn’t that complicated: Israel was established by force, against the wills of the locals, in the aftermath of WW2, in the area of the world where *no-one* has managed to invade effectively. (The Romans failed, Alexander failed, the Crusades failed… The region is called “the Graveyard of Empires” for a very good reason)

        The only reason that it’s at all complicated is that it’s been going on for over 60 years, so some people have lived and died since Israel invaded their land. So now we have the problem that most of the population of the invading state were born after the invasion, so kicking them out becomes problematic.

        The only solution I can see that is at all fair, is for Israel to dissapear, and Palistine to recover the land stolen from them. But they would *have* to be accepting of the previously-Israeli citizens living in their borders. It wouldn’t be pretty for probably around a decade or two, but it’s the only way that will produce a long-term peace.

      2. muttley79 says:

        Given Hamas was only founded in the late 1980s, what is your excuse for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land in the decades previous to this? Hamas are a by product of the Israeli occupation as far as I can tell.

      3. Gordon says:

        The barbarism is roughly in the ratio of 1000:1, Israel being the Champion Barbarians. They do even better than Hamas – they get children as well.

    4. tartanfever says:

      Abulhaq – Reading your post is remarkably similar to listening to Tony Blair defending his decision to invade Iraq.

      1. Crubag says:

        “in the area of the world where *no-one* has managed to invade effectively. (The Romans failed, Alexander failed, the Crusades failed…”

        You’ve missed out the Arabic/Islamic conquest! After 1300 years I’d say that was a pretty successful invasion (though if it goes on long enough, and the previous inhabitants are assimilated, then I suppose it ceases to be an invasion – see also Scotland, South America, or anywhere really)

      2. Illy says:

        I followed a link on the first page to here:

        That’s the battle you’re talking about, and guess who lost? The Eastern Roman Empire.

        Palistine has changed hands so many times over the centuries, here’s a silly cartoon that goes through some of them:

  5. David McCann says:

    The BBC have morphed seamlessly in to the UK version of Pravda.
    I watched C4 News tonight, in what was a decent try at balance, reporting on the death and mayhem in Gaza. Pictures of five little children, traumatised by witnessing the death of their mother. Meanwhile the relentless shelling and death of over five hundred innocent civilians in Gaza, goes on, while Envoy Blair parties with Milliband in London, telling the adoring Labour throng that his earnings of ONLY £5M, help him to offer his services to the Middle East for free!
    How Scottish Labour can live with themselves is beyond comprehension!

  6. Dave W says:

    The BBC have been the mouthpiece for the British Establishment since they were founded in 1922. Their coverage of the General Strike in 1926 was totally one sided for the owners and their treatment of the news ever since has been run on the same lines. Glasgow Uni brought out two very good books (Bad News & More Bad News)in the 80s/90s which showed how the BBC was run as a propaganda appendage of the Tory Party. This is more of the same only it’s the pro Zionist tune of the Westminster Parliament they’re playing this time. Presumably if Nigel Farage could only be persuaded to climb into a jet and bomb Gaza the ensuing multiple orgasms in Portland Place would be reading at 10 on the Richter Scale

    1. muttley79 says:

      The BBC fitted up the Miners in the mid-1980s as well. They were also secretly members of the CBI, a right wing Tory business group.

  7. Ken MacColl says:

    BBC Scotland appears to have deserted any attempt to report news accurately even when it is happening on their own doorstep. Two demos about concern in their referendum reportage were mentioned briefly and with not even a concession to accuracy or balance. When a substantial crowd appears on the forecourt of your HQ it does not require organisation or initiative to photograph that assembly from a height and arrive at something approaching accurate numbers. Apparently this is too difficult a task for BBC “journalists”

    The reckoning will come inevitably post September whatever the result of the referendum. The genie is now out of the box and our broadcast and printed media will never again be accorded the trust, or the custom, they used to enjoy.

    Will there be a further demos at Pacific Quay? It would not be inappropriate if this were to happen while Glasgow is in the world’s eyes.

  8. gonzalo1 says:

    What I don’t understand is where have the protesters been during the horrendous massacres by Assad and his thugs in Syria. Their silence has been deafening. The situation in that country is far, far worse than in Gaza. 200, 000 dead, 10 million refugees. You can hardly blame the Americans or the israelis for that. Now we have a metamorphosis of the situation in northern Syria and Iraq where ISIS are now running amok. IN Mosul, a city twice the size of Glasgow, they have driven out anyone who does not convert to Sunni Islam and have threatened them with beheading. Nice guys, these Islamists.Yes, Israel should be condemned for overdoing the hitting back against the rockets (1700 of them) from Gaza (Hamas) but surely the real outrage should be against the murderous and barbaric human rights abusers in the rest of the M.E.

    1. Abulhaq says:

      Your comment is much appreciated.

    2. Illy says:

      “the West” does not have the moral high ground (they *created* the current problem with Israel), Gaza has been an open prision for over 60 years, Syria is new, and the news organisations are being kept out for the most part.

      Basically, people are complaining that their government isn’t fixing the problems it created, rather than sticking their noses into a situation that they don’t know much about.

  9. hank_says says:

    Reblogged this on Everything Sucks and commented:
    The Beeb is notorious for underrepresenting anti-establishment views. Read this post today.

  10. delboy1978uk says:

    I have live streamed the BBC bias protest for the Yes campaign, and the two Gaza marches also. After seeing the first gaza march got zero coverage, it convinced me beyond any doubt that they are completely biased in their reporting! You can watch all 3 events at 🙂
    Also, i interviewed Aamer Anwar the following day, he and a delegation went up to speak to the head of BBC Scotland, so you can keep up with developments 🙂

  11. TurkeyHead says:

    I can’t make out what the guy is saying. Does anyone have a quote?
    Was he likening Scottish Independence to what was happening in Israel, or was he booed off just because he is a member of Better Together.

  12. Mark Rowantree says:

    The bias shown by the BBC over the issue of Israel/Palestine is neither novel or unexpected: essentially, the Corporation is a fully signed up member of the establishment. Ipso facto, it is highly unlikely to be seen to be taking any actions that would undermine Western (American) policy, in what we are often reminded is an area of vital geopolitical importance. Cutting through the misinformation and official double speak, it is difficult to argue that Israel is waging a fairly obvious asymmetric war in Gaza. Furthermore, it is clear to anyone with an open mind that the supposed causus bellum for Israeli action is actually a smokescreen for a premeditates assault by Netanyahu to once again teach the Palestinians their proper place. Of course, this does not mean I support the horrific murder of three Israeli boys any more than I can stomach the murder of a Palestinian in so-called revenge.It ill behooves supporters of Israe (in whose ranks I would include myself)l to try and make their case by engaging in simplistic catcalls of “whit abootery*

  13. sievs says:

    it seems there are strong arguments on both sides, albeit from radically different directions. i can’t see a solution unless people can put the past behind them, lay down their weapons and start to really care for the future of their families

  14. gonzalo1 says:

    What I find sad about Gaza is the fact that it all happened before about 5 years ago. This is a repeat situation with little difference in events: Arab casualties are running at about ten times the number of Israeli casualties. It started with Hamas rockets and soon continued into widespread casualties especially amongst the civilian population and little concern being shown by the Israeli authorities. And so it goes on….

  15. Trying to establish the truth of anything is becoming nigh impossible for people relying on the mainstream media. The Guardian’s reporting on Ukraine and Gaza is so incredibly biased you might think you were reading The Daily Telegraph, or The Times. All the real news seems to be coming from alternative sources on the internet. I, like many others, look to RT to bring some balance to the picture. I don’t believe everything I see and read there, but there is far less hysteria.

  16. Jock Scot says:

    Having been born in the 50/60’s, the team at Yew Choob are genuinely saddened by what the BBC has the opening line in the song says..”When we grew up we looked to you, for entertainment facts and News..” This music video has been released in support of the people who have taken to the streets or gone online to protest at the bias and mis-reporting of events beyond our shores….BECOME THE MEDIA

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.