The BBC's Middle East Ombudsman


Malcolm Balen, who was appointed last November to conduct a year-long evaluation the Beeb's coverage of Israeli/Palestine issues, is profiled in Ha'aretz. Like many news-organization ombudsmen, he is having a difficult time separating what he feels to be legitimate criticism and ranting accusation:

"I know there is a widespread belief, and it quite shocked me on taking this job, that if the BBC get something wrong, or the nuances are misplaced, there is now a virtually automatic assumption that the BBC had done that because it is biased against Israel, or worse, anti-Semitic," he says. "It is very difficult for sections of the audience to accept that it the BBC got something wrong - it is maybe because it got it wrong, and not because it is biased. This situation polarized the debate and it is very difficult to get the editorial debate back on pragmatic level."

Interesting article; whole thing here. (Link via Harry's Place.)