For those of you who did not watch BBC TV's News last night it is easy to paraphrase the entire programme as follows:
"Former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died. While a small number of Israelis respected him, to the rest of the world he was deservedly known as a murdering bastard and war criminal who spent his entire life killing innocent Arab women and children. So let's hear from a whole bunch of Palestinians, none of whose testimonies we will challenge, how truly evil this man was and how he symbolises how terrible Israel is. And who better to lead the narration of all this than Israel-hater Jeremy Bowen."The programme was a perfect textbook implementation of the Rules and Guildeines for Reporting about Israel. The program stated as 'facts' a catalogue of blood libels that have long been comprehensively debunked (see Honest Reporting's coverage for example). What was ignored was the fact that, in total contrast to the narrative presented, Sharon was ultimately so desperate to achieve peace at any price that he uprooted the entire Jewish population from Gaza and that these 10,000 Jews were therefore his most unfortunate 'victims'. What has also been ignored in all the main stream media reporting is that it was Sharon who, in 2004, secured from the US President George Bush a binding commitment from the US that in any future agreement with the Palestinians Israel would keep the major settlement blocks, and there would be no 'right of return' to Israel of Palestinian 'refugees'. This was a written agreement that Obama has now decided to tear up.
The BBC is of course not alone. Daphne Anson discusses the generally appalling media coverage of Sharon's death. The contrast between the reporting of the death of Nelson Mandela could not have been more stark. If the media had reported Mandela's death like they reported Sharon's they would have focused on his actual role in violent armed struggle, his life-time commitment to communism, his continued support for violent terrorist groups like Hamas, and the appalling legacy of today's crime-ridden, AIDS-ridden violent and corrupt South Africa. And they would have led the news bulletins with quotes and interviews with Afrikaans who hated Mandela.
Update: I have submitted a formal complaint to the BBC about the programme.
Update 20 Jan 2014: Here is the BBC response