“In the absence of any evidence to support the reference to ‘lots’ of children being killed at the time of transmission, it seems to us to have risked misleading audiences on a material point,” the BBC said of Andrew Marr’s reporting.
The BBC has found its senior presenter Andrew Marr guilty of breaching editorial guidelines with a “misleading” claim that Israel had killed “lots of Palestinian kids” while it defended its southern border with Gaza from the onslaught of rioters.
The UK’s Daily Mail, which reported on the BBC’s ruling, underscored that the Corporation’s “extraordinary ruling against one of its most senior personalities is almost unprecedented.”
The ruling comes following a complaint submitted by journalist Jonathan Sacerdoti about comments Marr made on his program on April 8, during which he alleged at the conclusion of a discussion of the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attack on civilians that “the Middle East is aflame again. I mean there’s lots of Palestinian kids being killed further south as well by Israeli forces.”
Sacerdoti, a founding trustee of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, explained, “When talking about a story on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Andrew Marr for some reason decided to talk about Israel (which was unrelated anyway). He stated there’s a lot of Palestinian kids being killed further south by Israeli forces. This is completely incorrect and is made up. This was irrelevant to the conversation on Syria… and also actually completely false.”
BBC producers initially tried to defend Marr’s comments by pointing to the fact that five “younger people” had been killed between the beginning of the year and the date of the program.
They also said several Palestinian children and younger people were killed in the week following the broadcast, but Sacerdoti argued that later events could not be used to justify Marr’s comments.
His complaint has been upheld.
Fraser Steel, head of executive complaints at the BBC, wrote to Sacerdoti that the BBC’s guidelines require that output is “well sourced” and based “on sound evidence”.
“In the absence of any evidence to support the reference to ‘lots’ of children being killed at the time of transmission, it seems to us to have risked misleading audiences on a material point,” he added, according to the Daily’s Mail’s report.
The report did not say if any action would be taken against Marr or if he would issue an apology.
In July 2017, former chairman of the BBC Lord Michael Grade blasted the network for its biased coverage of Palestinian terror attacks.
Specifically, Grade took the BBC to task for its outrageously misleading coverage of the murder of a 23-year-old Israeli policewoman by Palestinian terrorists, which the BBC reported under the headline, “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem.”
“If the BBC can get this wrong,” Grade said, “it is little wonder that Israel finds it so hard to put aside the idea that some critics are motivated by something more sinister than political commentary.”
While the media has denied its bias against the Jewish State, numerous documented incidents of media bias and unprofessional journalism demonstrate that there is indeed systemic bias on the part of the foreign press in Israel.