Words with Friends

Despite what my English teachers from any of my schools may tell you, I’ve always loved reading and writing. I may dip in and out a little, what with day-to-day life interfering, but still, there’s always a book on the bedside table and a pen in my pocket. Sometimes the two even meet.

These days, it’s nigh on impossible to go anywhere or do anything without some form of reading – street signs, advertising, social media, even text messages. Some may argue that the latter has debased the aforementioned skills altogether, but that’s an argument for another day.

I devour news. Spending a day without hearing something from the world around me leaves me nervous. The first thing I do after Shabbat, having spent 25 hours or so disconnected from that world, is check to see if I’ve missed the end of said world, or worse.

In today’s modern world, news is available in a multitude of forms, although I still maintain that there’s nothing quite like holding a newspaper in your hand. News outlets, whatever form they may take, bear a huge responsibility to report reality. Reality, however, is no longer what it appears to be. Or maybe it’s just made to appear real – I’m not entirely sure.

Which brings me to my point. Ah, the good old BBC. The investigation into their biased reporting has been well and truly buried and forgotten, but the bizarre style of their Middle East affairs department continues on its merry way.

Any Israeli not living under a rock for the past couple of days can not have avoided the news that Hamas have once again started lobbing their missiles at Israeli towns all around the Gaza Strip. More than fifty missiles and mortars have been fired, luckily causing no deaths, although there have been several injuries.

Actually, that’s not strictly true. A two year old girl was killed – inside the Gaza Strip – by what the BBC has called a “…botched rocket launch.” I hope that Hamas have apologised to the BBC for this misdemeanor. I don’t mean for killing the baby, I mean for botching the launch. A professional organisation with such worldwide support should never botch anything.

I’ll give the BBC its dues. The headline of the article (albeit hidden away from the main news, what with fossilised, sex-crazed turtles occupying that prestigious space on the front page) reads “Hamas fires barrage of rockets into Israel.” Straight, accurate and to the point, for a change. However, there’s almost immediately an apologetic tone to the byline which practically excuses Hamas’s actions by explaining that they were in retaliation for Israeli air-strikes that have “killed six Palestinians in recent days.”  It’s only somewhat further down the article that the BBC remembers to mention that these air-strikes were directed at “Palestinians” who were directly involved in either placing explosive devices by the border fence or firing rockets over it. Even that is under yet another mini-headline that states “Teenagers die.” In its infinite wisdom, the BBC seems also to have stopped referring to these blood-thirsty terrorists as militants (previously their one micro-concession to the Western World and its values), unless they’re quoting somebody else.

I pick on the BBC more than other news outlets for one reason – their ongoing assurances that they are an unbiased organisation, dedicated to the truth and the pure dissemination of news, and the fact that are so well respected around the world. They regularly deny any political affiliation or belief. They constantly contest any accusation of misinformation or malice.

They regularly prove themselves wrong.

This is just one article, and by the BBC’s standards, a fairly benign one. Still, the undercurrent of bias, the almost invisible, subliminal tone that their article takes, needs to be seen, read, heard and understood. And, of course, taken to task.

Playing with words should be the realm of the poet, the opinion piece and the novel-writer. Even, dare I say it, the blogger. News needs to be presented, not played

with, particularly by the BBC. If I wanted to read an opinion that got me riled, I’d read the Guardian instead.

And if I wanted to play with words – I’d stick to playing games – even if, much to the probable pleasure of our missile-throwing neighbours, they don’t like certain proper nouns.


About the Author
An Israeli who's returned home after ten years serving the London public as a Paramedic. Author of InsomniacMedic.com