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Date: 7 July 2014 10:15
Subject: Re: Israel/Palestine Tweet.
To: Jeremy Bowen
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate you are busy. If I may trouble you for a just a moment more...
Putting Media Lens aside then, how can you claim that, "if viewers around the world want the best account there is of what's happening, then it's on the BBC" in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary provided by Greg Philo and Mike Berry in their books, which I mentioned in the previous email? Independent studies by Media Tenor, University of Wales and Cardiff also show a clear pro-war bias in BBC reporting in the build up to Iraq. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Remember, we're dealing in evidence here, not 'agenda' (whatever it is you mean by that).
I can't fathom the blind dismissal of such strong and overwhelming evidence on this issue. Not just from yourself, but across the media spectrum as a whole.
I hope you can respond one the above points.
On 7 July 2014 09:59, Jeremy Bowen wrote:
As you suspect I'm extremely busy here in Baghdad. I'm not going to get into a correspondence on this or answer more of the usual medialens tweets.
What I meant is that medialens has a clear agenda. I'd refute medialens charges in the same way I defend our reporting against pro Israelis who think we're part of anti Zionist conspiracy. I am not saying criticism from both sides makes the BBC perfect. We're not. But if viewers around the world want the best account there is of what's happening, then it's on the BBC.
Sent from my iPad
On 7 Jul 2014, at 11:43, "Ryan" wrote:
I hope you are well.
Firstly, I must admit that I've never written to a journalist before. However, I felt compelled to after seeing the following posting from yourself on Twitter:
we don't. Medialens don't get it."
This, as you'll recall, was in response to a question regarding BBC impartiality on the coverage of Israel/Palestine. The charge levelled at the BBC here - and not for the first time - is that more weight is given (and therefore, more credibility) to an Israeli perspective/version of events than to the Palestinian perspective.
I suspect and appreciate that you're very busy. As someone who has just launched his own business and gone into the world of self-employment, I certainly sympathise! However, I was hoping that, if it's not too much trouble, you could clear a couple of points up for me.
Firstly, your comment on Twitter is immediately dismissive of the notion of a 'pro-Israeli BBC bias'. Given the vast evidence to support this charge, not just from the +10 years worth of analysis from Media Lens, but also the detailed studies from Glasgow Media Group (Bad News From.... and More Bad News From Israel by Greg Philo and Mike Berry), I was wondering how you could be so dismissive of such evidence? I don't recall anyone at the BBC being dismissive of government 'evidence' of WMDs in Iraq in quite the same way... Do you not think that our world views should be dictated by that which can be supported and substantiated through evidence? As a journalist, I would have thought so. As thus, it makes your dismissal of very good evidence - of which I'm yet to see a good counter to - hard to understand. Could you explain the immediate dismissal of the point put to you on Twitter?
The second point I hope you could address for me is regards to the line, "Medialens don't get it". The implication here - whether you meant it or not - is that if 'they' don't get it, then anyone who reads their work or 'follows' them (because it's a big anti-establishment cult, right? Like Chomsky-ites or something) must also be guilty of not getting 'it'. So what exactly is 'it' that they/we/I don't get?? As a license fee payer, who has serious concerns about that way in which certain critical issues are reported by the BBC and media in general, and the perspectives and understandings of these issues that these reports create in the public sphere, is it not a fair request to ask a journalist to elaborate on and challenge these issues? I think it's very important, given the stakes. I hope you agree, and that you would be kind enough to engage with me on this issue by answering the points above that I have put to you. Thanks for your time.