Eye on the News - All Entries

Eye on the News entries 1 to 20 of 77.

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US bombs Afghan hospital, and BBC News asks if it can be legal

BBC News - 5 October 2015

After the US bombing of the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, BBC News have for some reason decided to ask in a headline whether it can be legal to bomb a hospital.

The BBC habitually asks questions such as this when war crimes are committed by allies of the UK government. It is hard to imagine that similar questions would be asked, if, for example, Russia had bombed a hospital.

Headline: Afghan conflict: Is it ever legal to bomb a hospital?

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BBC News asks whether Gaza hospitals and schools are legitimate targets

BBC News - 4 August 2014

A BBC News website page has asked whether hospitals and schools (in Gaza) can be legitimate targets during a war, a question that rightly is normally not open to debate during conflicts. The article opens with an endorsement for such war crimes from an Israeli student who "explains why she thinks hospitals and UN shelters are legitimate targets for Israeli rockets"

Update (5 August 2014 10:30): BBC News appear to have changed the headline for this page to "Gaza conflict: Contrasting views on targeting". The updated headline can be seen on the article's page.

Headline: Israel-Gaza conflict: Are hospitals and schools a legitimate target?

Introduction: Sophie Tal, 23, is a history student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has two brothers and a boyfriend serving in the Israeli army and explains why she thinks hospitals and UN shelters are legitimate targets for Israeli rockets.

Quote: "In this case targeting those buildings is the moral and right thing to do."

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Contrary to BBC Headline, no Evidence for Snowden/Moscow Link

BBC News - 20 January 2014

Following the claims of some US politicians that they believe Edward Snowden had help from Russia, the BBC have created a headline entitled Edward Snowden 'may have been working with Russia'.

No evidence is offered by these politicians, and it is noted in the article that the FBI believes Snowden acted alone.

In light of this, by quoting these sources, the headline represents the facts inaccurately.

Headline: Edward Snowden 'may have been working with Russia'

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Headline Suggests Widespread A&E Abuse (on basis of 150 people)

BBC News - 7 January 2014

A headline on the BBC News website suggests that Accident and Emergency departments are overstretched because of patients visiting too often. The headline suggesting that people visit too often implies a culture of abuse, by suggesting that 'some people' visit '50 times a year'.

The article itself says the number of people who visited 50 times or more in a year is just over 150. This is 0.00024% of the UK population.

Nick Triggle's analysis does not explore the effect that cuts and closures could have had on the NHS A&E system.

Headline:A&E: Some patients visit units 50 times a year

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BBC Present Baseless Accusations as Fact on Syria Chemical Weapons Use

BBC News - 26 August 2013

Since the reports of chemical weapons use outside Damascus in Syria began last week, all attribution of blame has been based entirely on speculation, and has usually been made by western governments. This BBC report which mentions the 'use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government', after a week of baseless accusations, presents speculation as fact.

No evidence yet exists to prove which side may have carried out the attack in Syria's civil war.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned what he called the "moral obscenity" of the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons against its own people.

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US Arms that will 'Fix' Problems in Syria

BBC News - 14 June 2013

Note the headline of this BBC analysis of the US decision to arm the Syrian rebels, which assumes that the US intervenes in countries to 'fix' problems - a common perception of US foreign policy in UK news. The article goes on to note that Obama's decision was 'characterised by caution'.

Once again, US intervention in other countries is not only accepted as normal, but also, through the use of such a headline to frame a discussion, perceived as a force which primarily acts only for good and peace in the world.

Headline: Will US arms fix Syrian 'problem from hell'?

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Language Creep as BBC Discuss Chemical Weapons in Syria

BBC News - 6 May 2013

The BBC, reporting on the various suggestions that the rebels or regime have used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, report incorrectly that 'evidence that government forces have used chemical weapons' has been found by western governments. In reality, what western governments have found, according to David Cameron, is 'limited, but growing' evidence - clearly not conclusive evidence.

Such reporting can easily mislead readers - a correct report may have referred to evidence that government forces may have used chemical weapons.

In recent weeks, Western powers have said their own investigations have found evidence that government forces have used chemical weapons.

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Iran's 'Nuclear Weapons Programme' Mentioned Again with no Evidence

The Guardian - 21 April 2013

In their story about Glencore's trading with Iranian state-owned company Iralco, The Guardian mention a 'Nuclear Weapons Programme' in the headline for the story.

In addition to this, another unfounded claim of weapons being developed is present in the mention of Obama putting 'pressure on Tehran to end its atomic weapons programme.'

As in numerous cases in the past, no proof beyond speculation is provided to demonstrate the existence of the 'weapons' part of this programme in Iran.

Update 24/4/13: The Guardian have now corrected the headline, but the reference to Tehran's 'atomic weapons programme' remains in the text.

Headline: Glencore traded with Iranian supplier to nuclear weapon's programme

...The question surrounding Glencore's role in unintentionally potentially helping arm a nuclear Iran comes as Obama ramps up pressure on Tehran to end its atomic weapons programme.

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Obama's Threat to Iran Reported as Responsible Diplomacy

BBC News & The Guardian - 18 March 2013

Barack Obama's New Year message to the leaders and people of Iran for Nowruz was little more than obvious blackmail and threats. At the BBC and the Guardian, however, it has been hailed as the US President's offer of a 'practical solution' to a country that Obama has repeatedly threatened will military attack over the last two years.

The language of his address, coming from the most powerful country in the world which has invaded several countries near Iran in the last ten years, should be seen by journalists as fairly loaded blackmail, with statements such as ‘if the Iranian government continues down its current path, it will only further isolate Iran. This is the choice now before Iran's leaders’, and ‘the people of Iran have paid a high and unnecessary price because of your leaders' unwillingness to address this issue.’

The term ‘I hope they choose a better path’ should, in particular, raise alarm bells for journalists reporting on this message, given that Obama has recently reiterated that ‘when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table’ with regards to the US use of military force on Iran.

Obama’s speech, reported with headlines such as ‘Obama sends holiday message to Iran’ in the Guardian, has a clear message that if Iran doesn’t bend to the US’s demands, they will be ‘isolated’ and denied ‘greater trade and ties with other nations’. Only through conforming to the demands of the US, to ‘reduce nuclear tension’ as the BBC headline reads, will the ‘future of peace’ offered as ransom by Obama be possible for the people of Iran.

The Guardian: Obama sends holiday message to Iran
BBC News: Obama Nowruz message: Iran must 'reduce nuclear tension'

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BBC Misinforms about Venezuela's 2002 Opposition Coup

BBC News - 5 March 2013

In their 'look back' at the life of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the BBC have been quick to rewrite the events of the 2002 coup.

James Robbins summarised:

In 2002 the whole country was embroiled in a general strike and Chavez was briefly pushed from office. But just two days later, after his supporters, mainly the poor, took to the streets, President Chavez was back in the palace.

The events during which Hugo Chavez was ‘pushed from office’ were, contrary to Robbins’s claims, not the result of a general strike. Rather, the footage shown by the BBC was filmed during a violent coup attempted by opposition parties. The general strike occurred in December 2002, 7 months after the coup attempt, during which Chavez remained in office.

See more of our analysis of the UK media's reporting on Venezuela here.

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BBC Removes Gung-Ho Headline on French Military Action

BBC News - 14 January 2013

A headline from 14 January, early in the day, 'France upbeat on Mali military campaign', has been removed entirely from the BBC website. The report, revised seemingly with updated information, now appears under the headline 'Mali Islamists seize town amid French intervention'.

The original headline reveals a somewhat gung-ho attitude on the part of the BBC in relation to France's military bombardment of Mali. France's mood seems a curious aspect to emphasise, given that the reality of the situation involved the bombing of another country.

France upbeat on Mali military campaign

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BBC: 'Early' End to a Ten Year War and Occupation?

BBC News - 11 January 2013

Following Barack Obama's announcement that US troops in Afghanistan will have 'a different mission' this spring, noting that 'our troops will continue to fight alongside Afghans when needed', the BBC have misleadingly headlined the story with 'Early Afghan combat handover agreed' and 'US to end Afghan combat role early'.

If, for example, Russia had occupied a country for over ten years and then made an announcement that they would change mission in a few months, promising to still fight 'when needed' and leave 66,000 troops there until 2014, it would be hard to imagine the BBC citing this as an 'early' end to the occupation. The headline, apart from hardly representing the reality of the story, appears to identify with the rhetoric of the US and UK governments.

Early Afghan combat handover agreed

US to end Afghan combat role early

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Telegraph's Dan Hodges Says BBC News Didn't Mention Hamas Rocket Attacks. They Did.

The Telegraph - 19 November 2012

Dan Hodges has written in The Telegraph that BBC Radio 4's Today 08:00 news report was 'totally and utterly biased' towards Palestinian viewpoints. Hodges took issue because the report discussed the 18 Palestinians killed overnight, but didn't mention, he said, the 'Hamas fighters bombarding Israel'. 'How can that, from any objective viewpoint, represent balanced reporting?', he asked.

Quite simply put, Hodges is incorrect in this claim, and has either ignored or not heard the whole report. For his article he transcribes a quote from the radio news report, but this ends before correspondent Jon Donnison's report from Gaza which follows, and does mention the return fire.

As part of his report, Jon Donnison points out that:

...for a second night running, fighters in Gaza have returned little fire since midnight. But as was the case over the weekend, the rockets may resume later in the day. On Sunday, Tel Aviv was targeted by Hamas. A long-range rocket was shot down by Israel.

[The report can be heard by visiting the iPayer page for the show which will be available until 26 November and skipping to 2 hours].

Clearly, the report mentions what Hodges claims it did not.

Note: Almost a year ago, Dan Hodges called for the Creation of a 'Start the War Coalition' to lobby for an attack on Iran.

This morning there was no such ambiguity. No room for argument, or debate. The top of the BBC bulletin was totally and utterly biased...

...in the 08.00 bulletin the BBC chose not to report the Hamas attacks at all. Not one word...

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Deceptive Headline in Telegraph Makes Claims of Iran's 'Bomb-Building Capacity'

The Telegraph - 16 November 2012

On Friday evening, Alex Spillius of The Telegraph reported on a leaked IAEA document under the headline 'Iran expands bomb-building capacity, says UN agency'.

This headline is both alarmist and misleading, stemming from a report that describes, in Spillius's words, that 'Tehran could soon double to 1,400 the number of centrifuges capable of producing 20 per cent enriched uranium, which is close to weapons-grade'.

The IAEA’s investigations have never produced evidence that Iran has a ‘bomb-building capacity’, with Spillius himself concluding in the same article that ‘Tehran […] appears not to have decided to make that final dash for a bomb’.

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Iran, War, The Telegraph, -

Headline: Iran expands bomb-building capacity, says UN agency

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When are Jihadists not Terrorists? When they Attack 'our' Enemy

BBC News - 2 August 2012

A recent example of BBC reporting in line with the views of UK foreign policy can be seen in an article about the role of Jihadists in Syria.

As the report points out, both the UK-backed 'FSA and jihadists want an end to Assad's regime'. However, in this context, the BBC does not refer to the Jihadists as 'terrorists' operating in the conflict (as the media normally deems such groups), but rather refers to the 'struggle' in a sub-headline within the article.

It seems 'terrorist' is a label reserved specifically for those considered 'enemies' of the UK and its allies. In this, the media is very much in step with the position of the government once again.

Sub-headline: "Urbanisation of the struggle"

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Mitt Romney Doesn't Threaten, He Just 'Woos' Others

The Guardian - 27 July 2012

The Guardian's headlines about Iran continue to deceive. As Mitt Romney talks to Israel about the idea of a military attack on Iran, the Guardian interpret this not as a threat, but rather quite positively, stating that he "woos Israel" by considering such an attack.

Imagine if Iran was 'considering a strike' on Israel - would The Guardian feel the need to report such a threat in a positive way?

Headline: Mitt Romney woos Israel by considering US strike against Iran

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Misleading Guardian Headline Portrays Iran as the Aggressor

The Guardian - 4 July 2012

The Guardian has run an article about Iran's statement that they will respond, in the Guardian's words, 'within minutes of an attack on the Islamic Republic'. The text of the article clarifies that the statement was about retaliation, however the headline given to the report is "Iran 'ready to fire missiles at US bases'", which falsely portrays Iran as the aggressor in the situation.

Headline: Iran 'ready to fire missiles at US bases'

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Telegraph Headline Labels Untried Guantanamo Detainees as 'World's Most Dangerous Terrorists'

The Telegraph - 9 June 2012

Curiously, the headline promoting The Telegraph's upcoming video report from Guantanamo Bay depicts detainees as 'dangerous terrorists', despite, as noted by Amnesty International, 'the vast majority [being held] without charge or criminal trial'.

Proof beyond the claims of the US government is apparently unnecessary for The Telegraph to pronounce the detainees guilty.

Headline: Guantánamo Bay: behind the wire at the controversial prison with the world's most dangerous terrorists

The Telegraph has been given unprecedented access into the world's most controversial prison – Guantánamo Bay – where, according to the United States Government, some of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet are being held.

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Deceptive Headline: WMD Accusations about Iran in the Telegraph

The Telegraph - 6 June 2012

In an example of a headline being summarised to the extent of being strongly deceptive, the Telegraph ran a story entitled "Businessman 'exported WMD chemicals to Iran'"; a title which may leave a reader with little doubt that Iran has a chemical WMD programme.

The article itself points out that in reality there was a 'risk of diversion' of these chemicals to a WMD programme when in Iran (i.e. that there is no WMD accusation), which makes the headline appear quite misleading.

Additionally, the image chosen for the article is irrelevant to the material, but potentially serves to further demonise Iran.

Headline: Businessman 'exported WMD chemicals to Iran'

A businessman exported chemicals to Iran which could have been used to create weapons of mass destruction, the Old Bailey heard today.

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