Channel 4 News watch

I'm a fan of C4 News. At its best, it can be offbeat, prepared to offer a different perspective, and at ease with a diverse and multiethnic Britain. This occasional blog, though, will be largely devoted to the matter which grates on some viewers even more than some of Jon Snow's ties: the programme's tendentious reporting of Middle Eastern politics.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Purpose of this blog

As an article on the Guardian's Comment website recently noted, just as our media holds the government to account, there is also a need for someone to hold the media to account. This blog started during tension in the Middle East in June 2006, when I saw a Jon Snow interview in which he heatedly argued that 'The Palestinian people are powerless' to release Corporal Shalit. Well, no, Jon - that was the old dispensation, when terrorist or militant groups were non-state actors whom the Palestinian Authority couldn't, or chose not to, control. Now, the people taking hostages are the armed wing of Hamas, who are themselves the government. In a democracy, which the PA apparently is, we usually work on the basis that the elected government is answerable to its people.

Luckily, it's not just I who found fault with Mr Snow's treatment of the area: Gene at Harry's Place had some issues too, as did many C4 News viewers (audio file).

(This blog will mainly be about correcting factual inaccuracies, rather than taking a wider view on the conflict.)

To kick off ...

... an example from last night's show. Judy Aslett, in her report, which can be found here (about six & a half minutes in), states that the current tension in the Middle East began when Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit was 'kidnapped in Gaza' by Hamas (and another group). Actually, as we all know, they tunnelled out of Gaza under the internationally recognised border of Israel in order to capture him.