Lo and behold, what did the notoriously anti-Israel Guardian carry on the day preceding Christmas Eve twelve months ago?
Why, a gratuitous piece by Ana Carbajosa featuring the same Carlos Serras entitled "In Bethlehem, shepherds watching their flocks by night are a dying breed".
It was subtitled: "Jewish settlements, Israeli army checkpoints, closed military zones and the separation wall make them an increasing rarity" (I'm grateful to an anonymous reader for alerting me to this.)
The two articles are not the same (there's no plagiarism), but the remarkable similarity of theme and title shows as did this outrageous mocking of Judaism which both the Guardian and the BBC featured so closely as to defy the odds of coincidence, that the supposedly objective national broadcaster sings from the same carol sheet as the horrendously biased leftist Guardian. And it suggests that Al Beeb looks over Al Grauniad's shoulder to keep up with the score.
Update: Another specially-for-Christmas shepherd (with more Israel-bashing, and more dejudaising the origins of Christianity by featuring a cast of Palestinian "nativity characters" including, partisanly, a Wise Man in the person of Bethlehem's deputy mayor) from Al Beeb here
On her online "editor's blog," Lebanese-born Liliane Landor, languages controller of the BBC Global Service, states:
"New independent research shows that people across the Middle East have increasingly turned to the BBC during the Arab uprising with an unprecedented rise in audiences. Overall audiences to the BBC's Arabic services have climbed by more than 50% to a record high of 33.4 million adults weekly - up from 21.6 million before the Arab Spring.BBC Arabic TV's audience has risen to 24.5 million from 13.5 million - up by more than 80%. Weekly reach across Egypt, Iraq, Saudi, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco has nearly doubled to a weekly reach of 18.4% from 9.8%.
The biggest increases were seen in Egypt, where the BBC Arabic TV audience quadrupled to a weekly reach of 16.2%, reaching 9.3 million people.
BBC Arabic TV also saw its weekly audience increase by almost a quarter in Iraq to a weekly reach of 26.6% (from 21.5%) reaching 4.9 million people. In addition, its weekly audience more than doubled in Jordan (weekly reach of 22.4% from 8.8%) and in Saudi Arabia (weekly reach of 24.6% from 12.2%).
These figures show that, in turbulent times, the BBC's aim to provide trusted news and impartial information is as valued as ever. [My emphasis] International audiences in the Middle East are turning to us for independent, dependable and unvarnished news that they can trust.
Behind the numbers, and in an increasingly competitive media market, this is proof that there will always be space for high-quality journalism that seeks to inform all, even-handedly. [My emphasis]
I am proud of our journalists and staff for never losing sight of the BBC's core purpose and hope our journalism makes a practical difference to people living through fragile times and sometimes frightening change."Liliane Landor has also declared:
"We do news well here at the World Service - those who listen vouch for it and those who don't still think we're "a good thing".
We've finessed impartiality down to a fine art.... We do not boost, we do not label, we do not "belong" and we certainly do not take sides. We pursue "neutrality" with a vengeance. So much so that it's the only thing we're not neutral about ..." [My emphasis]That may or may not be true of the World Service. It certainly isn't true of the rest the BBC's news operations, particularly in coverage of the Middle East.