Monday, 19 August 2019

News plus v News minus

As we know this kind of thing crops up all the time but a few days ago we had another interesting pair of news items around a story which has rumbled on.

Firstly the BBC

Israel is blocking two US Democratic lawmakers, who are prominent critics of the Israeli government, from visiting.

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were due to visit the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem next week.

Both have supported the boycott movement against Israel, but Israeli law allows supporters of the campaign to be banned from visiting.

President Trump earlier tweeted it would show "great weakness" if the pair were allowed entry.

Ms Omar described Israel's move as "an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation".

Secondly the amusing satirical site Babylon Bee

Women Who Don't Believe Israel Has Right To Exist Not Sure Why They Got Banned From Israel

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar reported Thursday they were bewildered that they got banned from Israel, a country they seem to believe shouldn't exist at all.

"It's racism," said Omar in a press conference. "It's all due to racism. Well, that and a Jewish conspiracy. The Jews are behind this, for sure." (The evidence indicates she's correct on this assertion, a first for her accusations against Jews).

Tlaib agreed, saying she wanted to ask Jews about the Holocaust so she could relax and get a "calming feeling" while she was there.

"It just doesn't make much sense for this country that shouldn't even exist to ban us," she said. "What have we ever said against them, besides suggesting they are terrorists who deserve to be pushed into the sea?"

For those who are already familiar with the story, the Babylon Bee's satirical piece added something important, something the BBC missed out even though this is supposedly the serious news site and Babylon Bee isn't. That something is the extremely low possibility of the visit being constructive and the correspondingly high probability that the visit was not intended to be constructive.

The BBC isn't being inaccurate here because it offers hints about the futility of the visit. Yet in an important sense it is being inaccurate because the futility is perfectly obvious and may as well be admitted. Without such an admission the story is incomplete. 


James Higham said...

I’m just waiting for those two and extended - those four - to be taken out of calculations either nicely first ... or not so nicely later.

Sam Vega said...

Yes, and whenever Trump says something that might be criticised, or our Conservative government announce something, the BBC are quick to find someone who is opposing it and prepared to speak out. There is of course a narrative which the BBC only makes explicit for certain news stories; it normally remains tacit.

It's a positive sign that the BBC is often the story, rather than the purveyors of the story. They need selling off.

A K Haart said...

James - Yet Trump almost certainly wants them to remain on the front pages as a reminder.

Sam - yes the Beeb does need to be sold off. Maybe the ludicrous nature of BBC funding will eventually force the pace of change but I'm not holding my breath. Yet I sometimes wonder if the Beeb has recruitment problems and cannot attract the best people because it is now seen as a relic of the past.