BBC forced to remove Jesus “bastard” slur (& CrackBerrys “bad for the soul”)

August 23, 2007

* BBC staff show their true colors on Wikipedia
* Scent of a scandal at the New York Times?



1. The BBC is terrified of radical Muslims
2. BBC forced to remove Jesus “bastard” slur from its website, but anti-Semitic comments remain
3. BBC cuts F-word from Thatcher drama
4. BBC staff show their true colors on Wikipedia
5. Indian Muslim delegation flees Palestinian rocket attack in Israel
6. Scent of a scandal at the New York Times?
7. “World's oldest human footprint” found in Egypt
8. “Harry Potter” author spotted in Scottish cafés working on a new mystery novel
9. Mobile email gadgets: “Bad for relationships, bad for work, and bad for the soul”

[Note by Tom Gross]

Below are some of the recent entries I have posted on the National Review’s Media Blog. Several of these entries concern the BBC.

Additionally, since a number of items below concern the UK, you may wish to read this new report, Britain remains a major source of publishing and distribution of Hamas incitement, compiled by The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

The authors state: “Despite increasing public awareness of the threat posed by radical Islam, the British authorities do not stop the distribution of hateful propaganda against Israel and the West and publications glorifying suicide terrorism.”



(August 20, 2007)

Apparently terrorism works. Or at least Islamic terrorism works. The BBC had no such compunction during the years of IRA bombings, when they portrayed Irish terrorists in fictional dramas.

The Evening Standard, London’s main citywide newspaper, reports today:

“The BBC has dropped plans to show a fictional terror attack in an episode of Casualty to avoid offending Muslims.

“The first show of the hospital drama’s new series was to have featured a storyline about an explosion caused by Islamic extremists.

“Now the bomb will be set off by animal rights campaigners instead.”

Sounds like the BBC has no qualms maligning animal rights campaigners. I don’t recall the last time they blew up a London tube train.



(August 21, 2007)

While regularly censoring criticism of Islamic extremism (see, for example, the post above), the BBC allows highly offensive slurs about Christians and even more so about Jews, to remain on its website for weeks at a time, points out the (London) Daily Mail.

But now, after a campaign by the Daily Mail and its sister newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, “The BBC has been forced to remove statements from its website referring to Jesus as a ‘bastard’.”

The remarks about Jesus were left as part of a discussion about the death of the Archbishop of Paris.

However, the BBC editors have allowed anti-Semitic comments posted by the same person who wrote the Jesus “bastard” remarks, to remain. Among those still up by him on the BBC’s publicly-funded, award-winning website are “The jews in much remembered concentration camps had even better qualitity of freedom that these palestinians have”.

The Daily Mail wanted to test whether the BBC would disallow remarks critical of Muslims, while allowing anti-Semitic remarks. So one Daily Mail reader posted: “No one can surpass the Muslims for denial of their role in Terrorism and Suicide bombing.” The post was “almost immediately deleted by the BBC,” reports the Mail.

The Mail points out that the BBC has, by contrast, allowed “anti-Semitic posts” to remain on its website for over a month now. Among these is: “Zionism is a racist ideology where jews are given supremacy over all other races and faiths. This is found in the Talmud... which allows jews to lie as long as its to non-jews.”

Even after the official Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote a polite letter to the BBC pointing out that the comment had been lifted from a notorious 19th Century anti-Semitic text, “The Talmud Unmasked,” which is still sold by neo-Nazi booksellers in London, the BBC has refused to remove it, citing freedom of speech.

The Daily Telegraph today runs a lead editorial criticizing the week-long refusal of the BBC to remove the Jesus “bastard” remark and says that the BBC’s continuing refusal to make public the independent Balen Report (which is widely rumored to reveal anti-Israel bias verging on anti-Semitism in some BBC Mideast coverage) is “disgraceful”.



(August 22, 2007)

The BBC has ordered the writer of a new television drama about the young Margaret Thatcher to drop a scene that depicted her using the F-word, reports The Daily Telegraph.

In the forthcoming program, “The Long Walk to Finchley,” the future Prime Minister screams “F***ing establishment!”

After protests from supporters of Baroness Thatcher, the BBC has decided to remove the offending passage. They maintained she never used expletives even when under huge pressure as prime minister.

One said: “Ladies of that generation simply did not use words like that. Ever. I have never ever heard Lady Thatcher utter a profanity even when I have heard her get cross. Very cross.”

Thatcher’s daughter Carol added that her mother did not use bad language even if the BBC writer claimed she did. Carol has also written an article in The Daily Mail titled “How the BBC disgraced my mother”.

Filming on the drama, which will be broadcast next year, has already started but the disputed scene has not yet been shot.

The BBC is now on the defensive about their biopic. “The film is a positive portrait, not negative. It makes clear right from the start that Margaret Thatcher, a trained barrister, chemist and mother of twins, is a phenomenon,” the BBC’s controller of fiction, Jane Tranter, told the Daily Telegraph.



(August 21, 2007)

Little Green Footballs readers have located some telling edits on Wikipedia, by someone using an IP computer address belonging to the BBC. For example, here is the entry for George W. Bush, where it is almost certainly an anonymous BBC employee who changed the W as shown in this illustration.

Then we have the entry for D-9 Caterpillars, where a BBC employee changed the word “terrorists” to “freedom fighters”.

[The second illustration from Wikipedia is on the same link as above.]



(August 21, 2007)

A delegation of Indian Muslims, on a rare visit to Israel yesterday to see for themselves why the Jewish state so often says it has security concerns, came under fire themselves from a Hamas rocket attack.

They had to flee for their lives while visiting the working class southern Israeli town of Sderot, which is regularly bombarded by Palestinian Qassam rockets, some of which have killed and injured Israeli women and children. The delegation was rushed to shelters until the danger had passed. There were no injuries.

Yahoo News India adds:

“We heard a warning shot which was followed by a siren. We were immediately rushed to take shelter behind the mountains where we heard the sound of another rocket attack which hit the city,” Maulana Umair Ilyasi, leader of the delegation, told the Press Trust of India after the attack which took place yesterday.

“Rockets were fired from the Hamas-controlled territory,” Ilyasi, General Secretary of the All India Organisation of Imams of Mosques, said.



(August 21, 2007)

Apparently, it pays to write a rave review in The New York Times.

The New York Post reports:

The New York Times’s perfume critic, Chandler Burr, admits accepting free samples of a French fragrance to which he’d given a 5-star writeup last year – and then giving the perfume to patrons of a $200-a-head dinner he hosted this month.

Burr, author of the best-selling book, “The Emperor of Scent,” hosted a six-course “Scent Dinner” – pairing various fragrance scents with gourmet entrees – beginning with one on Aug. 6 at the Carlyle Hotel, with more to follow at other Rosewood Hotel properties around the country.

At the end of the meal, Burr’s diners received swag bags that included the fragrance he’d been given without charge, which led one fuming journo to write us: “Has Mr. Burr recused himself from ever critiquing those fragrances in the Times? … As a journalist, it outrages me that Mr. Burr is permitted to prostitute himself and the New York Times in this manner.”

In his maximum five-star review in the Times’s style magazine, T, last December 3, Burr calling Sel de Vetiver “riveting… as unearthly as a god born in the cold under an eerily bright star.”

He later got the free samples.



(August 22, 2007)

Egyptian archaeologists have found what they believe might be the oldest human footprint in history. They discovered the footprint, imprinted on mud and then hardened into rock, while exploring a prehistoric site in Siwa, a desert oasis in the west of the country.

“This could go back about two million years,” speculated the head of Egypt’s antiquities council, Zahi Hawass. “It could be the most important discovery in Egypt.”

Previously, the earliest human archaeological evidence from Egypt dated back around 200,000 years, Reuters reports.

Archaeologists said it is even possible that the footprint could date back further than the 3.2 million year-old fossil Lucy, the partial skeleton of an ape-man, which was unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974.



(August 20, 2007)

J.K. Rowling has been spotted in cafés in the historic Scottish city of Edinburgh working on a detective novel, The Sunday Times of London reports.

The paper quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling’s, as saying the creator of the Harry Potter books is turning to crime fiction.

“My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel,” Rankin said at the Edinburgh literary festival.

Rowling may be entering a genre dominated by some of Scotland’s greatest storytellers, including Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Rowling famously penned initial drafts of her first Harry Potter book in Edinburgh cafes in the early 1990s. She was then a struggling single mother who wrote in cafes to save on the heating bill at home.

Now she’s Britain’s richest woman – worth $1 billion, and ahead of the Queen, according to Forbes magazine – and her seven Potter books have sold more than 340 million copies worldwide.

For more on the Potter success, see: “It’s Hurry Potter: Newspaper editors employ speed-readers to review new Potter book,” and the note “Harry Potter is a Zionist agent” on this dispatch.



(August 23, 2007)

Email, it seems, is the scourge (and blessing) of our age.

Nice article from my friend Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian on BlackBerrys. He writes:

The first casualty is home life. The BlackBerry user is never really at home. He may be in the room, but his mind is at work.

… Nor, strangely enough, is portable email much good for your work. BlackBerrys encourage the instant, brief response, when often a longer, more considered answer is required.

… Above all, these machines are bad for your soul. I came to that admittedly extreme conclusion on a recent night at the theatre. At the end of each scene, a double glow appeared from the row in front: a couple were checking their BlackBerrys. No matter what emotional depths were plumbed on stage, these two could not be reached. The gadget was a barrier to their hearts.

Users boast that once you have a BlackBerry no time is dead time. Ten minutes waiting for a train are no longer lost, but used to plough through the email backlog. I asked one Crackberry head how he would spend those minutes in the past, before he was hooked. “Watching the crowd go by,” he said, wistfully.

… Yet now we are living in what the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls the “age of interruption”, in which we “interrupt each other or ourselves with instant messages, email, spam or cellphone rings. Who can think or write or innovate under such conditions?”

… The line you almost never hear is “my employer makes me carry this thing”. The truth is, we’re doing it to ourselves and this is surely the BlackBerry’s most pernicious feature.

-- Tom Gross

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.