In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2004 / 20 Shevat, 5764

Don't Bow to the ‘Beeb’

By Jonathan Tobin

Collapse of BBC's credibility isn't just a British issue | There's something about a British accent that tends to make Americans weak at the knees.

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Call it the "Masterpiece Theatre Syndrome," an affliction that runs deep into our intellectual and cultural life. It causes many of us to swoon before anyone with a "Sir" in front of their name and to consider anything originating from Shakespeare's "scepter'd isle" as patently superior to anything created here.

This dim-witted Anglophilia is a problem in the arts and it has its impact on journalism as well. In particular, the reputation of the British Broadcasting Corporation rests more on this pseudo-snobbery than the actual credentials of the powerful international television and radio network.

Like all myths, the inflated reputation of the 'Beeb,' as the BBC is sometimes called in Britain, is based on some truth. In Britain, the government-owned station was once considered an impartial source that contrasted with the highly partisan English press. And the respect and affection with which the network is regarded around the world is also based on its historic role during World War II as the free world's outlet to occupied Europe.

But that was a long time ago. The BBC is no longer the only source for news around the world. And the once impartial tone of its radio and TV news is as dead as Winston Churchill.

Any doubts about this reversal were erased earlier this month when a commission charged with investigating a controversial BBC story ruled that the network had put out information it knew to be false.

The findings of the Hutton Commission which revealed that BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan knowingly broadcast a lie about the British government falsifying information has been rehashed at length elsewhere. The main point about the story is that Gilligan's lies were inspired by his own strong opposition to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the war. in Iraq. Even more important was the fact that the leadership of the BBC was unwilling to examine the network's shortcomings until forced to do so by public pressure.

But this is far from the only example of bias at the Beeb. In its coverage of Israel, the network has proved that slanted reporting like that of Gilligan's is the rule rather than the exception. Just as there was no editorial oversight or apologies forthcoming from the BBC over their slander of Blair, so too there was none when a BBC documentary falsely accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of war crimes. Nor did it backtrack when another BBC production falsely said Israel used poison gas against Palestinians.

Those accustomed to complaining about the American media's treatment of Israel need to understand that, compared to the BBC, even the most egregious local offenders are small potatoes.

This bias has been documented in detail by sources such as the British Daily Telegraph newspaper's "Beeb Watch" ( and by media monitoring organizations such as CAMERA ( and Their findings show that in both tone and substance, BBC news programs routinely minimize stories that depict terror attacks against Israelis and instead focus on inflated reporting about the suffering of Palestinians. On the BBC, Israel's legitimacy and right to exist are always up for debate (though its defenders rarely get to participate in that debate) while the right of the Palestinians to carry on their terrorist war is rarely questioned.

But the collapse of the BBC's facade of integrity is isn't just a British story. The BBC is now widely available in the United States via satellite television networks and the use of the BBC's World Service on National Public Radio affiliate stations.

For example, here in Philadelphia, NPR is heard on publicly supported WHYY-91 FM, an all news and talk station that is — like all NPR affiliates — subsidized by government aid and individual contributions from listeners.. Indeed, WHYY has recently expanded the BBC's exposure to include not only post-midnight hours and the early bird 5 a.m. slot but also now the 9 a.m. drive-time niche.

NPR has itself come under fire for its slanted Middle East coverage, but the addition of BBC programs and the contempt for Israel that often borders on anti-Semitism, which is found in its content, raise concern about NPR stations to a new level.

How should we react to this problem? As it turns out our English cousins have given us a good example of what doesn't work. England's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks recently came under fire for defending the BBC against charges of anti-Israel bias, even though he had himself previously led a delegation of rabbis to complain to the network about its coverage. Sacks explained in an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post that what is needed is not loud protest but calm voices that can diplomatically educate the media.

Sacks is right about pro-Israel responders going off half-cocked. But when he warns us that angry Jews who are fed up with bias don't know how to speak the Queen's English to the Lords of the BBC, then it becomes apparent that what he is doing is stifling protest, not channeling it in the right direction.

Instead of a forceful response, his article reeked of an older, discredited Jewish pattern. The time is long past when we should rely on Jewish notables — like Rabbi Sacks — making personal requests for fairness when we are faced with prejudice.

American listeners — and contributors — to public radio should let these stations know exactly how we feel about their increased use of the BBC. We need to free ourselves of our "Masterpiece Theatre Syndrome," which has helped these supposedly high-minded broadcasters sneak the BBC's bias into our communities.

Tugging our forelocks in the direction of their snooty accents won't work. We need to tell the BBC and their American middlemen that we won't subsidize their anti-Israel bias — via tax dollars or individual contributions — again.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

Jonathan Tobin Archives

© 2004, Jonathan Tobin