Media insanity award-winner: the BBC

The Jerusalem Post reports:

In an uncommon act of journalistic contrition, the BBC has apologized for equating former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh as “great national leaders.”

The BBC took the unusual step after Don Mell, The Associated Press’s former photographer in Beirut, lambasted the parallel, drawn by BBC correspondent Humphrey Hawkesley in a BBC World report last Thursday, as “an outrage” and “beyond belief”…

Hawkesley’s report on what he called “an amazing day for Lebanon,” when a memorial rally for Hariri was followed by Mughniyeh’s funeral, concluded: “The army is on full alert as Lebanon remembers two war victims with different visions but both regarded as great national leaders“…

Mell, who was present when journalist Terry Anderson was kidnapped by Hezbollah in 1985, wrote,

“For you to refer to former prime minister Rafik Hariri and Imad Mughniyeh as ‘great national leaders’ in the same sentence is beyond belief. One was an elected leader who spent years and millions of his own money rebuilding his country. The other was probably the world’s second most notorious terrorist, who was responsible for, in addition to running a major criminal enterprise, destroying the US Embassy, the French and US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983; the hijacking of TWA 847; the bombing of the Israeli cultural center in Buenos Aires, [and] the kidnapping and murder of many Westerners in Lebanon, including Terry Anderson, Terry Waite, John McCarthy”…

“Most recently, Mr. Mugnhiyeh was responsible for provoking the Israeli-Lebanese conflict in 2006, which one may ask, accomplished what?”

And the BBC’s response?

“While there is no doubt that supporters of Hizbullah did regard Mughniyeh in such terms [as a great leader], we accept that the scripting of this phrase was imprecise. The description of Imad Mughniyeh should have been directly attributed to those demonstrating their support for him.”

The statement noted that Hawkesley’s report “made clear that Mughniyeh was believed to have been responsible for a series of bombings; it drew attention to his believed connection with Osama bin Laden and to the fact that he had been hunted by Western intelligence agencies for more than 20 years.”

However, said the BBC, “We accept that this part of the report was open to misinterpretation. We apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this item.”

Imprecise? Actually, it was quite unambiguous.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

One Response to “Media insanity award-winner: the BBC”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    The BBC is notorious for its moral obtuseness- The equation of Harari and Mugniyeh is not a slip, but indicative of the values of the BBC. This is the organization which time and again has shown more understanding of and sympathy for suicide- bombers than to their victims. It has presented one- sided anti- Israel reports for years. In any debate it invariably chose as representative for the Israeli side, extreme Israeli left- wing critics of Israel. The recent Oxford Union debate came out of the same value system.
    What is distressing is to know that this level of intellectual and moral dishonesty is present in one of the peoples who have contributed so much to the intellectual and cultural development of Mankind. But then again another ‘ great people’ the one of ‘poets and thinkers’ of ‘Goethe and Kant and Beethoven’ demonstrated a capacity for Evil beyond that anyone could have previously imagined.