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Hey BBC, call a spade a spade! - Phil's Rambling Rants
September 4th, 2006
10:50 pm

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Hey BBC, call a spade a spade!
I understand how journalists have this bee in their bonnets about being "objective" and "balanced" and not making judgments, but sometimes their linguistic attempts to be impartial actually have the opposite effect.

While I was driving today, I heard the BBC news talk more than once about  Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization  (or some words very close to that).  Now, look:  Hamas IS a terrorist organization.  They not only admit to many suicide bombings of buses, restaurants, and other purely civilian targets, they take pride in them.  When you misapply your desire to be seen as fair by qualifying Hamas' terrorist status as just Israel's opinion, you sound much more biased, not to mention less factually accurate, than if you said  the terrorist organization Hamas .  Perhaps that's not a lawyerly interpretation of things -- it is certainly true that Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organization -- but to a normal person, going out of your way to specify that it's Israel's opinion implies that you think it would be inappropriate to say that it was a fact; and if a news organization is reluctant to say that something is a fact, that should mean that they have doubts as to whether it is a fact.

I have great respect for the BBC, but my respect for them isn't infinite, and it is diminished when they insist on giving those who take public pride in their villainy the benefit of the doubt that should be reserved for cases where the facts are actually in doubt.  I don't think they are actually trying to be sympathetic to Hamas -- but it sure sounds like it.

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From:catalana
Date:September 5th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
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I gotta agree with you here.

It reminds me of the friend of mine who got in trouble for saying that someone was African rather than African-American. Except that he was from Nigeria. He was African. He was not African-American because he was not American. But this didn't seem to phase the person giving her grief at all. *sigh*
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