The BBC Proves That It’s ‘News You Can’t Trust’
Anyone visiting the BBC News website cannot fail to notice that Britain’s publicly-funded broadcaster likes to present itself as providing “news you can trust.”
However, the corporation appears once again to be willing to compromise its reputation as a “trusted news brand,” due to a poorly reported story that it ran on December 2.
The incident in question took place on November 29 on a busy shopping street in London, when — as reported by The Algemeiner — a group of Jewish teens celebrating Hanukkah were subjected to antisemitic abuse from passers-by.
Three days later, the BBC News website published a report on that story in which it was alleged that the teens — who by that time had been instructed to get back on the bus in which they were traveling — used “some racial slurs.”
On the same day, a filmed report on the same topic was aired by BBC London. Viewers were told that “we at BBC London did watch this footage and you can hear some racial slurs [sic] about Muslim people which does come from the bus.”
The reporter went on to claim that “it’s not clear at the moment … what role that may have played in this incident,” despite the fact that the incident actually began before the Jewish teens got back on the bus where the footage was filmed.
When asked to provide proof of that alleged “racial slur,” the BBC journalist whose name appears on the written report replied, “This was actually something picked up by my editors not me and they wanted to reflect that briefly in the piece.”
On December 13, the Jewish Chronicle reported that the Metropolitan Police “has found no evidence of the BBC’s claim that an anti-Muslim slur was voiced by one of the victims of the antisemitic abuse incident on Oxford Street two weeks ago.”
Nevertheless, nearly two weeks after its reports promoting the notion of such a slur having been used, complaints from members of the public and community organizations have yet to be answered by the BBC.
Bizarrely, the BBC appears to so far have elected to dig in on this issue rather than responding appropriately to criticism of obviously highly problematic reporting that raises many questions beyond those of accuracy.
That chosen course of action clearly indicates to BBC audiences just how committed the corporation actually is to earning and keeping their trust.
Hadar Sela is the co-editor of CAMERA UK – an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).