July 14, 2005


When is a terrorist not a terrorist? When he is on the BBC, of course. Where – according to the corporation’s editorial guidelines – “the word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than aid to understanding”. . . .

Within hours of the explosions, a memo was sent to senior editors on the main BBC news programmes from Helen Boaden, head of news. While she was aware “we are dancing on the head of a pin”, the BBC was very worried about offending its World Service audience, she said.

BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as “terrorists” although – nonsensically – they could refer to the bombings as “terror attacks”. And while the guidelines generously concede that non-BBC should be allowed to use the “t” word, BBC online was not even content with that and excised it from its report of Tony Blair’s statement to the Commons.

A row has now broken out with a handful of the corporation’s most senior journalists and news executives, fighting what one described yesterday as a “disgusting and appalling” edict. He was particularly angry, he added, because most World Service listeners don’t even pay a penny for the BBC.

Biased BBC comments:

I wonder which parts of the World Service audience might be offended by calling a terrorist a terrorist? And why should the BBC pander so desperately to the sensibilities of people who might be thus offended anyway? Surely the BBC’s job is to tell it like it is, as understood by the highest standards of British common-sense and decency, whether or not it offends those who are so backward or primitive that they regard the random murder of civilians (in London or anywhere else) as anything less than terrorism.

Whether funded through the telly-tax or the taxpayers money given to the World Service, the BBC is supposed to be the British Broadcasting Corporation – it is high time for the BBC’s voluminous news output to reflect and represent the views, values and standards of those who are forced to pay for it – the great British public – particularly since the BBC’s enormous tax-funded dominance stifles all but the most hardy of alternative news providers, thus perpetuating the BBC’s distorted White City Goldfish Bowl view of the world throughout Britain’s broadcast media.

Read the whole thing. And there’s more commentary at USS Neverdock, which observes that the BBC isn’t taking the criticism very well.

UPDATE: “Very well?” Who am I kidding? They’re lashing out desperately.

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