Friday, February 01, 2013

BBC’s Paul Moss promotes politically motivated stereotypes of Israelis

Can you imagine the BBC publishing or broadcasting a facile report which tries too hard to be funny by tapping into jaded Benny Hill-style stereotypes about certain national characteristics such as Frenchmen who smell of garlic, women-chasing Italians or lazy, siesta-loving Spaniards?

No? Well then prepare to be surprised…or perhaps not.

On January 24th 2013 the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ (also broadcast on the BBC World Service) featured an item by Paul Moss. The podcast can be downloaded here (listen from 22:34) or heard here. A very similar written version of the same report was featured on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on January 27th.

Moss’ piece is entitled “The Middle East conflict at 35,000 feet” and supposedly tells of his recent flight from Luton to Tel Aviv. But Moss decided to turn an account that flight into a contrived analogy for the Middle East conflict as a whole – or at least what he perceives as the Israeli contribution to it.

And so, despite admitting that he speaks neither Hebrew nor Russian, Paul Moss portrays Israeli passengers on the flight as argumentative and aggressive.
“The Israelis were arguing with the non-Israelis, and indeed with each other – over who was entitled to what territory.

Some were polite, but others more hostile. It was an ugly scene. At one point, I thought people might well come to blows.

And still they could not sort it out. Who was supposed to be in what seat? The plane had not even taken off yet, but already Flight 2085, from Luton to Tel Aviv, had become a microcosm of the Middle East.

Some argued from a point of legal entitlement. They held up their boarding passes, the seat number clearly visible.

“I have a right to be here,” they protested. But others simply pointed out that they had got there first. I felt I had heard this before somewhere.”

Predictably, Moss’ Israeli co-passengers are also pushy, rude and potentially dangerous into the bargain.
“Meanwhile, bolder passengers were simply shoving their luggage – and themselves – into the places they wanted. You might call it “establishing facts on the ground”.”

“Tensions rose and so did voices in English, in Hebrew and in Russian. I only speak one of those languages but I am quite sure I was being treated to a crash course in their finest insults and for the first time I found myself awfully glad that metal implements are no longer permitted in carry-on luggage.”

The laboured analogy and stereotypes continue, with Moss ditching all efforts to display any of that much-touted appreciation of diversity in which his countrymen take so much pride and exhibiting particular disdain for the religious passengers on the flight.

There is, of course, absolutely no point to this article whatsoever. It does not inform the reader about any particular news event and it certainly does nothing to increase audiences’ understanding of the world. All Moss achieves in his shallow, superficial piece is the promotion of stereotypes in order to advance a very clear political agenda.

However, simplistic agenda-driven reporting on Israel seems to be something of a pattern as far as Moss is concerned. In January 2009, at the time of Operation Cast Lead, he was also in Israel. In one article from the time he reported on Israeli Arabs in Haifa opposed to the operation, implying that they were representative of the whole Arab Israeli population and quoting Leah Tsemel and Ameer Makhoul without disclosing to his readers who they are or what they represent.

In another article (which does much to explain his attitudes towards Israelis) Moss showcased the opinions of the founder of ‘Zochrot‘, which he described as an “educational charity” and in a third piece Moss uses a visit to Masada to suggest that Israelis are unnecessarily militaristic.

If readers are wondering what happened once Moss’ flight landed in Tel Aviv, the answer to that is to be found in another radio broadcast from January 25th. The BBC Radio 4 programme “The World Tonight” featured Paul Moss (from 35:43 or as a podcast here from around 29:31) on the subject of “Israel’s view of its international image” in which he argued that Israelis – in contrast to citizens of other countries – should care more about how they are perceived abroad. 
“MPs in most countries will insist it’s their people that [sic] should determine who forms their government and what is in their country’s interests. But Israel, of course, is not like most countries. For a start it gets huge amounts of financial aid from the United States.”

Of course Israel has not received economic aid from the US since 2008 and the vast majority of the military aid it does receive (around 1% of the Israeli economy) is spent in the United States, thus sustaining American jobs. As the Assistant Secretary of Political-Military Affairs at the State Department put it in 2011: “We don’t just support Israel because of a long-standing bond, we support Israel because it is in our national interests to do so”.

But does the fact that Israel receives US aid at all make it – as Moss claims – “not like most countries”? Hardly: not only is Israel not the biggest recipient of military aid from the US, but if we look at the subject of financial aid in general, we see that in fact, Israel is exactly like most countries.

But Paul Moss is obviously not one to allow mere facts to get in the way of the agenda he is trying to promote.

Moss is, of course, entitled to his own political opinions and prejudices. What he is not entitled to do as a BBC presenter is to allow those prejudices to spill over into his reports, thus compromising the BBC’s reputation for impartiality – even under the pretext of supposedly trying to be funny.

SOURCE (See the original for links & graphics)

BBC accused of 'extraordinary' censorship after cutting honour-killing references from radio drama for fear of offending Muslims

The BBC has been accused of 'extraordinary' censorship by a leading playwright after dialogue was cut from her hard-hitting drama in case it offended Muslims.

Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, whose 2004 play Behzti was pulled from a Birmingham theatre after it sparked Sikh protests, says the Corporation tampered with her work because it involved an honour killing.

Ms Bhatti was commissioned by Radio 4 to write an episode of its police drama Stone.

Her episode, The Heart of Darkness, will be broadcast this Friday, but she says the BBC has caused an 'awful situation' which has led to a 'betrayal' of her work.

At the centre of her story is the honour killing of a 16-year-old Asian girl, and DCI Stone is told by his bosses to treat the case 'sensitively' because she is Muslim.

Although they have admitted removing dialogue from the afternoon drama, the BBC claims they did it to avoid 'potentially misrepresenting majority British Muslim attitudes to honour killing'.

Describing the play's final line, Ms Bhatti told The Independent: 'At the end, a character says: "There is so much pressure in our community to look right and to behave right." The compliance department came back and said, "We don’t want to suggest the entire Muslim community condones honour killings".

'It's a crucial part of that story. I was very disappointed given my previous experience of censorship. If you take out the line, the whole thing changes, it's a betrayal of the character and the truth of the unfolding story.

'It’s an extraordinary and awful situation. They said the lines were offensive but they absolutely were not. We live in a fear-ridden culture.'

Bhatti, who also writes The Archers, was forced into hiding in 2004 after her play Behzti caused a storm.  It included a scene in a Gurdwara, a Sikh temple, which involved rape, physical abuse and murder. But the play did win her awards.

That year she received death threats, including a Christmas card that read: 'Seasons Greetings. This will be your last Christmas. You are a disgrace to the race. Sending you lots of hate.'

The BBC said today the radio drama to be played on Friday was treated no differently than any other.

'This is a hard-hitting drama about the realities of honour killing in Britain. A single line in the script could be taken to infer that the pressure and motivation to commit such a crime in a family comes from the wider Muslim community, potentially misrepresenting majority British Muslim attitudes to honour killing,' a Radio 4 spokesman said.

'Gupreet Kaur Bhatti was asked to amend this line in the normal editorial process of script development.'


Blatant lies in Leftist hunger to control the internet
The Internet should be regulated as a public utility – like electricity and water or as the railroads once were – according to a new book by Susan Crawford, a professor of law and a former tech advisor to President Obama at the National Economic Council.

A basic tenet of her argument is that the broadband Internet has become a necessity, as important to everyday life as a telephone, heat or electricity. She writes in her book that “truly high-speed Internet access is as basic to innovation, economic growth, social communication, and the country’s competitiveness as electricity was a century ago; and she claims that limited number of American’s have access to it, can’t afford it, and its being run by monopolies. 

Crawford’s conclusions are heavy on opinion, but light on facts.

The idea that a “limited number of Americans” have access to high-speed Internet is absurd, when the government’s own data shows that 123 out of 130 million household have access to wired broadband services, nearly 95% of all US households. When you include wireless broadband access, it gets closer to 98% of all Americans who have fast, reliable access to the Internet. In addition, there are satellite services that can reach consumers even the most remote locations.

Her claims of falling investment don’t add up. According to the trade group Broadband for America, the industry has invested over $250 billion in infrastructure since 2008, and a recent announcement ponied up another $14 billion on a broadband network.

Another claim to bolster her argument is that Internet costs for low-income consumers are prohibitively high. This argument ignores the recently announced Connect America Fund that initially redirects $8.7 billion of subsidies to consumers. 

Crawford laments that the broadband market is a monopoly market, like the steel and railroad markets of long ago. By definition, of course, broadband providers are not a monopoly, which would imply a single market provider. Among wireline high-speed connections, the FCC reports that 96.6% of census tracks have two or more competitors and 78.8% have three or more competitors, as of June 2011. When you add in the several wireless service providers that cover each market, as well as including  satellite and WiFi services, it plain to see that consumers have at least a handful of options outside of old dialup services.

What about her claim that broadband prices are rising?  Again, not true.  According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the Consumer Price Index for Internet services fell 50% in the last 10 years, in inflation adjusted terms. Similarly, wireless service prices between 1999 and 2009 dropped by about 50%, according to a 2010 report on the wireless industry published by the General Accountability Office (GAO).

One idea Crawford thinks will solve her perceived problems is for the creation of public Wi-Fi networks, blaming the lack of the networks on industry lobbying. What isn’t mentioned is the reason these laws have been passed—it’s been tried over and over and over again, always with the same result of taxpayers losing millions on networks that don’t work. One network in Utah saw 11 cities teaming up to pay for it—it racked up $202 million in debt, 4 times larger than the entire debt obligation of all 11 cities combined. These cost overruns don’t take into account the poor performance of these networks or the fact that they “crowd out” private investments, as well as reduce competition and choice.

Her suggestion that Internet providers should become a public utility is an attempt to take private investment and make it government.  The basic premise forgets all of the economic thought pointing to public utility waste, gold-plating, averech-johnson effects and lack of innovation that regulation brings. She makes an analogy that broadband should be regulated like the railroads were, but a review of the historical evidence will find a once unprofitable regulated industry that was saved by deregulation, and that deregulation resulted in increased productivity, significantly lower consumer prices and tens of billions of dollars in increased consumer welfare.


Australia:  Critic of homosexuality survives his inquisition

A PERTH GP investigated after he led a group of doctors opposing gay marriage on health grounds has reportedly been cleared by the Medical Board.

Founder of the Doctors for the Family group, Lachlan Dunjey, made a submission to a Senate inquiry into marriage equality last year stating gay marriage was a health risk.

The submission prompted outrage from civil liberty groups because it stated that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, and if same-sex marriage were allowed it would normalise homosexuality and have "health consequences".

"We submit that the evidence is clear that children who grow up in a family with a mother and father do better in all parameters than children without," it read.

In May last year the Sunday Herald Sun revealed 22 Victorian GPs, anaesthetists, obstetricians, palliative care specialists and psychiatrists, including Victoria's deputy chief psychiatrist, Prof Kuruvilla George, joined 150 colleagues interstate to argue gay marriage posed a health risk to society.

Dr Dunjey told website Australian Doctor this week he had been investigated by the Medical Board of Australia after allegations of misconduct made by another doctor and cleared.

Dr Dunjey ran as a Senate candidate for the Christian Democratic Party in the 2004 federal election.

"It is about freedom of speech ... it was sad really as I received a lot of hate mail and I don't believe people should be vilified or targeted for expressing a view," he told the website



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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