Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Sky's "Unhinged" Botting criticised for anti-Israeli bias

Anna Botting, Sky News correspondent, has brought sharp criticism following her interview with Mark Regev, Senior Advisor to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, in the wake of an explosion at the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital in Gaza.

During the interview, Botting inferred that Israel was directly responsible and that Israel had gone too far in its response to the terror attacks on the 7th October 2023.

While there were comments on social media in support of Botting, there was a groundswell of criticism too.

"This is by the far the worst, most biased interview by a professed journalist I've ever seen," one Reddit user wrote, "Using Hamas as her news source, she acts as their mouthpiece in an interview of Mark Regev not designed to elicit facts but to demonize Israel. Kudos to Regev for keeping his cool and highlighting her obscene bias, double standards, and failure to comprehend Israel's right to self defense.

"The look in [the] eyes of the journalist is scary, like she is deranged" a comment said on YouTube where Sky News posted the full video.

"I appreciate that her job is to challenge the narrative and the interviewer, but she took it too far and lost her impartiality," another said, "It is not for her to agree or disagree with the interviewee (on camera and in public, she can agree with whomever she likes in private), but her job is to the ask difficult questions on our behalf that need to be asked when people are being killed."

Many described her as "unhinged", "angy" and "biased", having clearly made up her mind before facts had been established. "I bet she won't be that emotional and screech at any Hamas spokesman about the atrocities they committed," one Twitter user said. Others described her as a Hamas apologist [Twitter].

While it is true to say that many of the Israeli airstrikes in the week of bombardments have resulted in civilian casualties, it has to be said that such instances are 'collateral damage' and not intentional on Israel's part. Hamas on the other hand have been indiscriminate in launching terror attacks against Israel.

In the hours that followed it seemed clear that the tragedy at the hospital was not as a result of an Israeli airstrike. Still photographs showing the damage were not consistent with an Israeli missile with no visible crater on the ground and only minimal damage to the hospital itself.

Video evidence seemed to back up Israeli claims that the blast occurred after a missile fired from Gaza failed and fell short landing in the parking lot of the hospital and created a fireball. Israeli intelligence released an audio tape said to be of a telephone call between two Hamas operatives which appeared to indicate this was indeed the case and that the missile was one fired by Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery.

None of this was known shortly after the explosion had occurred. However, Botting clearly jumped the gun and went with the line issued by Palestinian sources that it was an Israeli airstrike. Moreover she, along with many other media outlets accepted the casualty count without question.

It is clear there were casualties at the hospital as a result of the explosion. But the numbers come from Palestinian authorities, that is Hamas, which has everything to gain by inflating those figures. The Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas, has said 471 were killed, but it is difficult to verify the veracity of these numbers, though the figure is well below the 800 that the ministry claimed might die as a result of the 'strike'.

The following day Botting was still referring to the blast at the hospital as an "attack" and another Sky report referred to the incident as a "strike" which precipitated anger in Bierut and the West Bank.

Sky News was not the only channel jumping to conclusions. Al Jazeera and TRT as well as many Arabic news stations were all describing the incident as an Israeli strike soon after the explosion. This has all helped to fuel the fire in a region which has strong anti-Israeli sentiments. Not all outlets jumped to conclusions. The BBC, CNN and Fox News were all cautious in their language, describing the incident as a 'blast' or 'explosion' and clearly citing claims of it being an Israeli strike as being a claim made by Hamas.

On the streets off nearby Jordan crowds gathered Wednesday chanting "All of Jordan is with Hamas". And there has been unrest across the West Bank and in Lebanon.

"I can see Anna [Botting] getting some compulsory time off very soon..." one Twitter user wrote. Whether this happens will all depend on if she makes any more missteps.

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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