Sunday, May 17

Politicisation gone mad?

There comes a time when you’re watching some political event such as prime minister question time and you stop and think… What is the point? Do they really care? Is it all just one-up-man ship and point scoring? Some will argue that this is traditional and the confrontational style of the House of Commons is how it has always been and is in fact British politics and politics in general. I would like to question whether in fact now people go into politics out of a genuine passion based on beliefs, politics is increasingly becoming a career choice. Along with this there has been a rising obsession with political “correctness”, what can be said, what can be shown, what is suitable, is something biased?
In particular the idea of the media and especially the BBC being “balanced” – another ambiguous word - in their reporting is ever more coming to the front. The problem with such words is that everyone has a different conception of what is a balanced story based upon our own feelings and ideas. Last month the BBC special correspondent to the Middle East Jeremy Bowen was criticised on two counts by the BBC trust for his reporting on the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Bowen is one of the most well respected journalists that covers the middle east and has been reporting from warzones for over twenty years and has never once came under significant criticism for his reporting up to now.
Have we gotten to the point where a story cannot be told without moderating it to appear even handed and balanced? Regardless of your beliefs with regards to Israel and its actions in the Gaza strip on who was to blame and whether Israel acted with due force it is unquestionable that many civilians were killed on both sides, however, the overwhelming majority of these were within the Gaza strip with estimates varying from between 1,000 to 3,000 dead and thousands more homeless.  The BBC refused to show an appeal from a coalition of charities to raise money for humanitarian support for injured and homeless Palestinians due to the recent conflict. BBC Director General Mark Thompson said that showing the ad would;
“Call into question the public's confidence in the BBC's impartiality in its coverage of the story as a whole.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza has been well documented by the UN with 1 million Palestinians thought to be reliant on foreign aid, the advert itself makes no mention of the conflict or how people has died and is in many ways was more neutral than the standard coverage. If you look at the DEC appeal, yes its emotive, yes it shows people suffering, that is the point of an appeal for donations, they want to stir up peoples emotions by showing the plight of the people involved. It is not some kind of anti-Israeli propaganda demonising their actions.
The BBC’s decision to not show the appeal by the Disaster Emergency Committee is simply an example of an issue where the point has been forgotten amid the political furore. The question of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank is one of the most highly sensitive issues in politics where passions are easily roused. Supporters of both sides often claim that the same article or journalist is biased towards the other which just highlights the difficulty on reporting in these areas.
I may have gone of track a little but the main point is that things should not be politicised for the sake of it. Some times it is better to simply ignore the fact that an appeal for Palestinians hurt in a conflict could potentially be seen as showing Israel as the aggressors. Perhaps the focus should be on the people that are in need of our assistance and not on making a stand for the “Independence” of the BBC or any other media outlet purely for the sake of it.  

1 comment:

  1. When you see people going straight from universities into politics its obvious what theyre seeking is not a lives ambition to benefit the state and its people.

    on the subject of the media, it also needs to take responsibility for encouraging voter apathy, which has contributed to the rise of certain parties like the BNP.

    Yes, report when the government has got it wrong, acted shamefully, brought politics into disrepute etc.

    but when something is done well, report it, and refrain from insisting on tying it into a "but.....".

    All this achieves is discouraging voters, leading to a democratic deficit, exacerbated by outdated, tried, tested and FAILED voting systems.

    This also discourages the RIGHT people from getting invloved in front line politics, or leading such people, if they persue their political ambitions, to feel the need to compromise on their principles, and to accept that you have to play "the game".

    Labour said they wanted a classless society, and while theyve displaced the old orders of class, contemporary society has seen the birth of new classes, the political, the celebrity and the non-working class.

    -jataylorlfc (linked here from the student room forum :)