Guardian writer says new BBC news chief will have to "leave behind pro-Israel" views
So The Guardian, or at least its writers, believe that you can't be balanced and in favour of the Jewish state?
I knew that when James Harding was appointed BBC director of news this week, the Guardian would have something to say about it.
You see, the former Times editor is Jewish, and he has professed that he is a supporter of the Jewish state. He once told an audience, “I am pro-Israel” and that in reporting on the Middle East, “I haven’t found it too hard” because “The Times has been pro-Israel for a long time. I try and be as simple as this… write the news without prejudice.”
Harding also stressed the need for balanced journalism, something I feel is overtly lacking at the BBC. He stated, “We say we’re pro-Israel but we’re also pro the Palestinian state… the question a journalist should always ask himself is are you making the case before opinion is dressed up as reportage?”
Well now Harding has to deal with a BBC that has scarcely landed in the centre on the Middle East conflict, as our reporting shows. But he was also (too) fair to the Beeb. He has stated, “I think that it is not a pro-Israel newsroom – it has taken some management to set a balance.... I don’t think its coverage is as aggressively biased as the Jewish community thinks.” A new report shows that 79 percent of Jews in Britain think the BBC is biased against Israel.
Now, I'm no member of the Jewish community, and I can smell the bias a million miles off, but what really struck me is that the Guardian writer, Lisa O'Carroll, thinks that Harding cannot be pro-Israel in his outlook (and pro-Palestinian state, by his words) and "balanced". Presumably, by her standards, you can only be "balanced" if you're apathetic, or even anti-Israel? She writes:
"Harding, who is Jewish, will also have to leave behind the pro-Israeli line of the Times. In a debate at the Jewish Community Centre For London in 2011, Harding said "I am pro-Israel" and that in reporting on the Middle East, "I haven't found it too hard" because "the Times has been pro-Israel for a long time". However, he also stressed the need for balanced news reporting and said he was also in favour of a Palestinian state."
Well, we'll be watching to see just how Harding takes on the institutionalised bias at the BBC. He doesn't have to forgo his appreciation for the Jewish state to be balanced. He just has to be a decent, open-minded and fair arbiter on such matters. But I'm hardly surprised that Guardian writers cannot separate the idea of being in favour of something and not being flagrantly and blindly biased towards it. After all, this is the newspaper that continues to print terrorist propaganda.
In the interest of "balance", of course...
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