Sunday, July 24, 2005

Maybe it's terrorism only if you blow up licence fee payers

As was widely noted on the blogosphere, the BBC has now made it clear that the 7/7 attacks in London were in fact "terrorism".

Knowing that the T word is not banned on its bulletins we should now be able to get a better idea of what constitutes terrorism in the minds of the liberal elite that consitute the ranks of our national broadcaster.

The insurgents/militants around the Moslem world have been giving the BBC plenty of opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the word.

First off, Baghdad lorry bomb targets police. No mention of terrorists here. This was apparently the actions of some "insurgents".

Meanwhile in Egypt, there was a multiple suicide bombing. We can be fairly sure that the BBC feels the T word is inappropriate here as they dont use it (except when quoting condemnation by various politicians) in any of the three articles to date. There are bombers, and militants, but no terrorists.

Those who follow such things will know that the BBC doesn't feel that blowing up Israeli bars and so on counts as terrorism. This policy is borne out by today's report on the shooting of a husband and wife in soon to be evacuated Gaza. Israelis killed in Gaza shooting. Once again it appears to have been those pesky militants - certainly not any terrorists involved.

Now the implications of Michael Grade's statement on the use of the T word are that we are all none the wiser. Apparently blowing up London tube trains is definitely terrorism. Blowing up Iraqis or Egyptians isn't. Shooting Israelis isn't. It's very hard to see what reasonable policy could explain the differences here, and I hope that someone at the BBC (and preferably Mr Grade) could let us know the thinking. To the outsider like me it looks as though the policy is that terrorists blow up British people while militants and insurgents blow up foreigners, a position that doesn't strike me as very politically correct and not one that is likely to endear the Beeb to its World Service audience.

Joking apart, if, behind it all, the BBC is worrying about its World Service audience then in adopting the approach to the T- word that they have, they must have made the assumption that there are more people in the world who want them to take a non-judgemental view of terrorism as compared to those who don't. If they're right, it tells us something pretty frightening about the world. Whether they're right or wrong it tells us something is very wrong with the BBC.