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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Well, I'll be damned. I got a response from the BBC

Most of the time, when I complain to these large media corporations, I feel like I'm ranting into thin air. It feels a lot like yelling into the phone after someone's already hung up on you. A year and a half ago or so, when I started pointing out bias to the media, people would actually answer me, but I don't think I've received a single response in the last several months. Until today.

Here's what I wrote about the BBC line, "Foreign activists of the International Solidarity Movement were among those detained on Tuesday" --

"Foreign activists"?? Make that ''pro-Palestinian, pro-terrorism activists,'' and you'd be on your way to accuracy and truth.

Why do you withhold information about the fundamental positions of the International Solidarity Movement? They support any mode whatsoever of Palestinian ''resistance'' --including suicide bombing of innocent civilians-- and they take direct action to interfere with Israeli army efforts to thwart terrorist attacks. Why not call them what they are?
The response I received from the BBC also addressed my complaint about how they chose to headline the news that Israel had released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners: "Palestinian prisoners head home." I think it's obvious that they refused to give Israel any credit for this bending-over-backwards "goodwill gesture" by simply not mentioning it in the headline!

So, without further ado, I give you Richard Sambrook, Director of the BBC:
Dear Ms. Lieberman,

Thank you for your email of 6 August.

With reference to the report "Israel arrests fence protesters": it is the responsibilty of the BBC to remain impartial on this as on other issues. You clearly have a strong view of the International Solidarity Movement. Other people would no doubt take a very different view. It is not for the BBC to espouse either opinion but to report events such as the ones you mention accurately and without taking sides. I believe this is what our story did.

Regarding the headline "Palestinian prisoners head home": it is the style of BBC News Interactive to keep its headlines as short as possible. This means taking out all unnecessary words. The reference to "Palestinian" prisoners made it unnecessary to refer to Israel in the headline. The fact that Israel had released the prisoners was in fact mentioned in the very first sentence of the story. I do not see how this can be construed as suggesting it was "all accomplished by the Palestinians."

Thank you again for your e-mail.

Richard Sambrook
Director, BBC News