The Independent has devoted itself, today, to a defence of Jeremy Bowen:
The decision of the BBC Trust’s editorial standards committee to censure the BBC’s Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, for breaching the Corporation’s guidelines on accuracy and impartiality demonstrates a terrible absence of good judgement. Mr Bowen’s work has always been scrupulously unbiased. The BBC Trust needs to learn that accountability does not mean swallowing every complaint uncritically. When a good journalist needs to be robustly defended, it must not be afraid to do so.
And to emphasise the point, the scrupulously unbiased Robert Fisk weighs in as well:
The BBC Trust’s report on Jeremy Bowen’s dispatches from the Middle East is pusillanimous, cowardly, outrageous, factually wrong and ethically dishonest.
But I am mincing my words.
The trust – how I love that word which so dishonours everything about the BBC – has collapsed, in the most shameful way, against the usual Israeli lobbyists who have claimed – against all the facts – that Bowen was wrong to tell the truth.
How do we solve this problem? Well I can certainly advise viewers to turn to Sky TV’s infinitely tougher coverage of the Middle East and – I admit I contribute to this particular station – I can recommend the courage with which Al-Jazeera English covers Gaza and the rest of the Palestinian-Israeli war.
Here’s the sort of thing you can watch on Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera English is, in some ways, better than the BBC. It is less smug and self righteous.