Tom Giles

Through a different camera: the source of Melanie Phillips’ discontent

It is unfortunate that Melanie Phillips based her allegations of BBC bias in its reporting of Israeli actions on a video by CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), and not on the original programme as broadcast.  The CAMERA video is a misrepresentation of Jane Corbin’s Panorama ‘A Walk in the Park’.
Following a complaint from CAMERA, this Panorama was thoroughly investigated for any evidence of bias and/or inaccuracy by both the Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) of the BBC and the Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) of the BBC Trust. In both cases, the film was completely exonerated and no bias found. The ECU is entirely independent of the Panorama team and has a track record of rigorous investigations into the BBC’s output. The ESC is governed by the BBC Trust, which as you’ll know is the body that oversees and monitors the BBC. Neither has shown any reluctance to uphold other complaints about BBC output.

The CAMERA video is a distorted analysis of the programme, editing together commentary, pictures and interviews to give a very different impression of the film than that broadcast. There are many examples of this re-editing throughout the CAMERA video, overlaid with a highly defamatory and inaccurate commentary. At best, this is a piece of crude propaganda damaging to the reputation of the reporter, Jane Corbin, the Panorama programme and the BBC.

The following examples give a flavour of CAMERA’s misrepresentations and distortions:
1) At 1’44 to 2’30, the CAMERA video edits together a series of sequences and overlapping bits of commentary, taking partial sentences out of context to give a misleading impression of the overall programme.

For example, in the CAMERA video, Jane Corbin is heard saying: “the buying up of houses, the archaeology, the tourist park — the Palestinians say they have nowhere to expand…” In fact, the sentence continued in the Panorama: “This was once a house belonging to Jawad’s family — demolished by the Israelis because it was built without planning permission”.

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