Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DEC Gaza Appeal, Emotive Language and BBC Bias

Far be it for me to comment on the merits of the BBC and Sky's refusal to show the Gaza DEC Appeal (except to note mild irony in the case of the BBC with their biased reporting), or indeed comment on the conflict in general. It's clearly a very sad situation on both sides. After all the debate about the DEC Appeal though, I decided to do what people often do not in these situations - I thought I'd actually watch the appeal, which I readily found online.

It is a series of emotive shots of children and devastation, talked over by a calm clear voice rattling off various information designed to sway you into handing over some cash. What I didn't like, aside from any questions about accuracy, is that the numbers just don't add up. I decided to make a note of them. Watch the numbers and descriptors (or lack of):

Children are suffering
Many are struggling to survive, homeless, or in need of food and water
Several hundred killed
A large number of children
Some of those survived are traumatised
60% are living in poverty
Thousands are malnourished
1 million depending on aid to survive
Thousands homeless
300,000 without access to running water
Entire streets flattened
40% without electricity

Seems to me, if we are being harsh but fair, if only thousands are homeless out of (implied) millions, this is something that could be handled without too much external intervention. There are a lot of figures being bandied about in the video without much logic to back them up. Note that the EU has just announced extra aid worth £50m on top of the 600 - 700 million Euros donated annually. Is this not sufficient to sort out a few thousand homeless and rebuilt (again) the roads and houses that Israeli has flattened?

Now the last DEC Appeal I was aware of was the Tsunami Appeal, which was aid for, what, several hundred thousand dead and millions displaced? I'm not sure whether the Burmese Cyclone Appeal (150,000 or so killed) was organised by DEC. Both, though, are of a different scale to Palestine. Furthermore this appeal excludes the civilians (or should I say "children" to keep it emotive) killed by the thousands of Palestinian rocket attacks into Israeli, which is what I suspect makes it unpalatable for the news organisations.

Further reading: The Balen Report, currently being supressed from Freedom of Information using over £200,000 of licence-payer money! That's almost 1,500 licence fees not including the cost of writing the report in the first place!

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