Viewers say the BBC is ‘out of control’ after it abandons procedure to vilify Corbyn

Corbyn and anti-Corbyn protest.
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Viewers are complaining of bias at the BBC after the state broadcaster appeared to abandon procedure to smear Jeremy Corbyn.

‘When did the BBC ever flag up an anti-Tory protest?’

People noticed that the BBC has extensively reported on a right-wing protest against Corbyn’s leadership while routinely ignoring larger protests. Viewers say the coverage on BBC News, BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, and in online articles displays a double standard:

On top of the disproportionate coverage on BBC News, people accused the outlet of a one-sided report on Radio 4:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews organised the protest against Corbyn, accusing him of “siding with antisemites”. Among the attendees were Conservative MPs and Blairite Labour MPs. MPs from the extremist Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which currently props up Theresa May’s government, were also there.

At the same time, some Jewish Labour members staged a counter-protest. They said that the Board of Deputies “do not represent us or the many Jews in the Party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness”.

Other viewers claimed that the BBC downplayed the counter protest, which was led by campaign group Jewish Voice for Labour:

While the BBC has covered the anti-Corbyn protest in depth, many accused the state outlet of ignoring huge anti-Brexit protests in major cities only a few days before:

Others alluded to hypocrisy from the BBC and right-wing Labour MPs. They pointed to their lack of action on other anti-racism protests:

A BBC spokesperson said:

Yesterday’s protest formed part of a wider story which included Jeremy Corbyn publicly apologising for the handling of the anti-semitic views of some within the Labour party.

Is Corbyn innocent?

The anti-Corbyn protest rode a wave of antisemitism allegations against the Labour leader in the media. The recent allegations arise from a Facebook comment by the Labour leader in 2012:

Responding to allegations that the Labour leader was defending an antisemitic mural, Corbyn said:

I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic.

In other words, Corbyn claims he was unaware that the image conveyed the antisemitic trope of an elite Jewish conspiracy theory. To judge whether Corbyn is telling the truth, one must surely look at his record on antisemitism:

  • On 22 June 2015, Corbyn signed a parliamentary motion praising the London Jewish Forum for standing up to racist marches.
  • On 9 January 2014, he signed a parliamentary motion paying tribute to survivors and victims of the genocide waged against Jewish people during World War II.
  • On 2 July 2009, the Labour leader signed a parliamentary motion celebrating Bradford Reform Synagogue obtaining Grade II building status for its “architectural merit”.
  • On 26 February 2009, he signed a parliamentary motion condemning “vile and anti-Semitic” content on the internet.
  • On 7 November 1990, Corbyn signed a motion questioning why 21 publications posting antisemitic content had resulted in no prosecutions.

Labour

Another line of attack is that the Labour Party has a ‘problem’ with antisemitism. But an anti-Corbyn parliamentary committee couldn’t find evidence [pdf, p48] that antisemitism is more prevalent in Labour than other parties. On the contrary, the report also noted [pdf, p8] that “the majority of antisemitic abuse and crime” comes from the far right. Yet only the Labour Party has ordered investigations into antisemitism. There has been no cross-party initiative to stamp out the issue.

Media group Jewish Voice joined Jewish Labour supporters in denouncing the “smears” against Corbyn. The campaigners against antisemitism posted a video of Corbyn recalling when his mother stood alongside Jewish people against fascism:

What’s the motive for the smears?

Some Jewish Labour members are saying the smears are intended to hit Labour at the local elections. Indeed, The Jewish Chronicle reported that Corbyn commented on the mural back in 2015. Yet opponents of the Labour leader have only kicked up a storm about it now. Meanwhile, polls suggest Labour is on course to take over many Conservative councils. Fearing the precedent that a great local result would set for a general election, those opposing Corbyn will be desperate for ammunition.

Unfortunately for them, the Labour leader has been on the right side of history on many issues since he was elected over 30 years ago, including on anti-racism and LGBTQ rights. So the Labour right, the Conservatives, the media, and supporters of Israeli apartheid must take a single Facebook comment out of context in order to kick up a damaging storm.

And the BBC appears all too eager to help. Viewers are saying the state broadcaster has given the relatively small anti-Corbyn protest hugely disproportionate coverage. With the BBC‘s longstanding record on anti-Corbyn bias, we must say: enough is enough.

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Featured image via Youtube / Flickr/ Garry Knight

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