Friday, March 07, 2008

How LBC reported the massacre in Jerusalem

This is how LBC Radio this morning presented the news of the
massacre of Jewish students by a Palestinian terrorist.

“8 people have been killed in a religious school in Jerusalem when a gunman opened fire. It came days after Israel fired rockets into Gaza.”

In a later broadcast the newsreader added the comment

“It was the first militant attack in Jerusalem for 4 years.”

I have made a complaint to LBC about their reporting. Here is what I said to them:

If you knew little of the details of the Israel Palestine Situation (like 99% of the public) you would have assumed from the report that the 8 dead were probably Palestinians and that they were killed as a direct result of some rocket attack by the Israelis. For those who found out from other sources that the dead were Jews and the killer was a Palestinian terrorist then the later broadcast would have assured them that this kind of thing has not happened for a long time.

As a news channel LBC ought to report the news in a clear and understandable way, not in a way that is deliberately misleading and biased. LBC also ought to be aware that it is the Palestinians who have been firing rockets into Israel not the other way round as stated. In fact over 8,000 have been fired against civilian targets in southern Israel since Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005. Of course, LBC has never once reported on these attacks, nor on the suffering in Israeli cities like Sderot that are attacked every single day. Nor of course did it report on last night’s scenes of wild celebrations by thousands of Palestinians when they heard of the massacre in Jerusalem. And of course they did not report on the Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri declaring it as a ‘heroic attack’.

What LBC has reported of course many times are the previous Israeli responses to rocket attacks. Israel’s responses have, in the main, been pinpointed and accurate strikes against the rocket crews and other terrorists. By focusing only on Israeli responses to Palestinian terrorism rather than on the terrorism itself, LBC in common with other news media are becoming part of the problem. The terrorists are comforted to know that their actions will never be properly condemned and that instead the condemnation is reserved for the very victims of their terrorism. This in turn encourages more terrorism.

And as for the comment about this being the first ‘militant’ attack in Jerusalem for 4 years, this is complete nonsense. As recently as 25 Jan 2008 a Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem result in Israeli killed and six injured in Jerusalem. There were also deadly attacks in Jerusalem on 6 Nov 2006, 8 Oct 2006 and 25 Aug 2005. Moreover, during this period Israeli security forces have stopped dozens of major attacks in Jerusalem.


I received the following response (very fast I must say):

----- Original Message ----
From: LBC Complaints LBC Complaints
To: Davidson Edgar
Sent: Friday, 7 March, 2008 5:20:02 PM
Subject: Re: Write Your Complaint or Feedback Here ENTRY

Dear Mr Edgar

I'm sorry you were unhappy with our news coverage. We always strive to be fair and balanced, obviously you feel we failed in this case. It's a shame you also didn't hear James O'Brien this morning between 10 and 1 who presented an excellent hour on the conflict in which both sides put across constructive words about the terrible situation with the aim of discovering if there could be a solution. I found that debate refreshing because it offered hope.

Kind regards,

Jonathan Richards
Programme Director
LBC 97.3


And here is my follow-up reply:


Thanks for replying.

I did not hear the James O'Brien show, but even if I had that hardly excuses the appallingly misleading, inaccurate and blatantly anti-Israel presentation of your main morning news (which I assume is the part of the programme the vast majority of your listeners would have heard). There is no doubt that whoever was responsible for the text provided to your newsreaders this morning spent considerable time massaging the words to ensure that listeners were not aware that:

a) the victims were Jews
b) the attacker was a Muslim Arab terrorist
c) the attack took place inside Israel
d) the attack was supported (and indeed later claimed) by the Hamas government of Gaza
e) the attack sparked scenes of wild celebration by many thousands of Palestinians.

All of these facts are crucial to the story and all were provided by other news agencies as long as 10 hours earlier (even the notoriously anti-Israel BBC managed to give relevant information). Yet somebody at LBC made the very deliberate and conscious decision not only to doctor the story, but to introduce the false and irrelevant point about Israel firing rockets into Gaza. In other words somebody at LBC has a very clear and spiteful anti-Israel agenda and I find that unacceptable.

Edgar Davidson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, I listened the the James O'Brian 10-1 slot which talked about Israel and Gaza...and quite frankly, I found James O'Brian's comments quite offensive and certainly rather close to the edge of anti semitism. I normally love his show, but his continued comments, recently, have made me wonder if I shall be listening to him again.