BBC staff get into a humiliating row with Owen Jones over the broadcaster’s ‘deception’

Owen Jones and BBC logo
Support us and go ad-free

Three BBC staffers have absolutely humiliated themselves trying to defend the broadcaster’s latest “deception”.

Guardian journalist Owen Jones called out the British media for its failure to give the UK’s role in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen “the scrutiny and prominence it deserves”. And following some pushback from BBC journalists in particular, Jones then turned his focus onto the public service broadcaster’s reporting.

The row that broke out after that shows how indefensible the BBC‘s position is.

“Deception by omission”

Saudi Arabia blew up a school bus full of kids in Yemen on 9 August. So unsurprisingly, its brutal war on the country hit the headlines again recently. Jones, however, took a look at what sort of coverage the BBC in particular is putting out on the war. This is what he found:

As Jones points out, the UK is arming Saudi Arabia “to the teeth”. The UK government has licensed £4.7bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since it started the bombing campaign in Yemen. Meanwhile, Britain’s Conservative-led government has staff working in Saudi Arabia’s headquarters, where its targeting rooms are located. They are ‘liaising‘ with the authoritarian kingdom on its bombing campaign in Yemen. It’s also providing “information, advice and assistance” to the country.

Bringing the BBC down?

The BBC‘s coverage, and that of other outlets, has been woefully lacking in adequately informing the public about the UK’s support. But Jones’s decision to highlight that fact led to a number of counter-arguments from BBC staffers.

The broadcaster’s senior foreign news producer, Nicola Careem, tweeted:

Careem essentially argued that, by joining the “chorus of BBC critics”, Jones was helping bring about the broadcaster’s demise. And she tried to catch Jones out as a hypocrite. Although that ‘gotcha’ moment didn’t quite work out as planned:

The producer also tried to dispute the claim that the public service broadcaster’s coverage was lacking. Careem suggested Jones couldn’t see all its coverage because some of it no longer appears on the website. And another staffer waded in with a similar argument. BBC Stories senior reporter Megha Mohan accused Jones of deceiving observers by not highlighting all its coverage:

The person involved in that interview, Lyse Doucet, piped up too. But Jones’s response to this just made matters worse for the BBC:

In fact, the BBC‘s website has a video of this interview on it. But it doesn’t even include the “brief question” on arms sales that Doucet posed to the UN envoy. That’s the part of the interview that the BBC has seemingly omitted.

Tantrums

In the face of Jones’s criticism, these staffers went on the defensive. They tried to prove how wrong he was rather than vowing to do better. But Jones is right on this – the British media has done the public a disservice by whitewashing its country’s role in this catastrophic war.

The sooner the media – particularly the BBC as a public service broadcaster – corrects that, rather than defending the indefensible, the better.

Get Involved!

Take action with Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Support the Stop the War Coalition.

Featured image via liarpoliticians2 – YouTube and Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed