Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Satan's Child: The BBC or Israel?

Let me state first off that I don't believe either Israel, the BBC or Iran for that matter, are the evil spawn of Satan. But if I'm to believe Bradley Burston, the BBC does indeed believe Israel is the worst kid on the bloc. Allow me to debunk.

Burston's latest piece in Ha'aretz is titled
The BBC poll - Israel as Satan's bastard child and here are a few excerpts:
A BBC World Service-commissioned poll released this week proves, if nothing else, that the nature of the question pollsters ask will determine the answers they receive.

Sure, so far so good. You can evaluate the methodology of the BBC poll here. The questions asked are indeed so broad that no insight into the respondents' motives or understanding can be gained. But as far as survey questions go, these are fairly neutral and will give an overall picture of what the respondents believe (albeit not why they do so).
It also suggested, without having to say so explicitly, that Israel is the bastard child of Satan, the troublemaking twin of its arch-nemesis Iran.

The poll, a survey of more than 28,000 people in 27 countries, asked respondents to rate 12 countries - Britain, Canada, China, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Russia, the USA, Venezuela, and the European Union - as having a positive or negative influence.

Who, in other words, is a bad influence? Who's the kid down the block you want your kids to play with, and who's the one - for whatever reason, behavior, stigma, cooties - you want your precious one to avoid.

Significantly, the poll was taken beginning in November, when the memory of the second Lebanon war, bitter, bloody, and high in civilian casualties, was fresh.

According to the BBC, the survey "gave respondents a list of 12 countries and asked whether they had a 'mostly positive or mostly negative influence in the world.
"The country with the highest number of mostly negative responses overall is Israel (56% negative, 17% positive), followed by Iran (54% negative 18% positive), the United States (51% negative, 30% positive), and North Korea (48% negative, 19% positive)."

Wait, there's more.

"Israel also stands out for having the largest number of countries (23 of 27) viewing it negatively. Iran is regarded unfavorably in 21 countries, the United States and North Korea in 20."

At this point I'm getting a little confused here. Wasn't the title of Bradley's piece The BBC poll - Israel as Satan's bastard child? But doesn't this survey show that in terms of how badly Israel and Iran are viewed, there's hardly a cigarette paper between them? The poll doesn't mention a margin of error (or I didn't find it) but it's reasonable to expect that even a small statistical margin of error would indicate that the miniscule differences in perception of both countries is indeed not statistically significant and due only to inevitable measuring error.

He goes on:
One suspects that somewhere in the BBC's august headquarters in London, the poll elicited more than one thin smile of satisfaction.

After all, this is the same news organization accused by an internal inquiry less than a year ago of painting too rosy a picture of Israel.

No further inquiry needed.

One suspects... No further inquiry needed... Blahdiblah...

When it comes to Israel, it's a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't for the BBC. It isn't that long ago that Bradley Burston berated Danny Seaman, Israel's press something, who once infamously claimed:
The way the BBC is trying to portray Israel competes with the worst of Nazi propaganda.

Bradley, I'm thoroughly confused...


At 1:31 PM, Blogger Richard said...

If that poll was one conducted for the BBC by YouGov (which is often the case), then I personally took part in it.

And surprise, surprise; Israel, USA and Iran were my own top 'negative' votes.

Just sayin' ...

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Hi Richard,

I don't think this was a YouGov poll but I could be wrong...

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Hi, Gert.

Oh, well. Whatever. A rose by any other name, eh?


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