Tim Llewellyn

The story TV news won't tell

Since the Palestinians began their armed uprising against Israel’s military occupation three years and eight months ago, British television and radio’s reporting of it has been, in the main, dishonest - in concept, approach and execution. In my judgment as a journalist and Middle East specialist, the broadcasters’ language favours the occupying soldiers over the occupied Arabs, depicting the latter, essentially, as alien tribes threatening the survival of Israel, rather than vice versa. The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is shown, most especially on mainstream bulletins, as a battle between two ‘forces’, possessed equally of right and wrong and responsibility. It is the tyranny of spurious equivalence. That 37 years of military occupation, the violation of the Palestinians’ human, political and civil rights and the continuing theft of their land might have triggered this crisis is a concept either lost or underplayed. 

Why the BBC Ducks the Palestinian Story

Watching a peculiarly crass, inaccurate and condescending programme about the endangered historical sites of “Israel” - that is to say, the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories - on BBC2 in early June 2003,(1) I determined to try to work out, as a former BBC Middle East correspondent, why the Corporation has in the past two and a half years been failing to report fairly the most central and lasting reason for the troubles of the region: the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom. In this excerpt from a new book from Pluto Press, Tim Llewellyn looks at the BBC’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

False witnesses: A shot across the bow of mainstream media

“Since the creation of Israel in 1948, its supporters have been highly successful in ensuring that Israel’s version of its and its neighbours’ histories has been accepted as received truth. Dents have been made, notably by Israel’s own historians as they have had greater access to official documents, in the Zionist myths. But they have usually been hammered out with alacrity, both by Israel and our domestic broadcasters.”
Tim Llewellyn, welcoming the ITC’s acquittal of John Pilger’s film “Palestine is still the issue” from false charges of undue bias, raises unsettling questions about mainstream media compliance with offical Israeli spin.