Our regular readers are well aware that the Arab Spring has been far messier and more problematic than breathless media reports would have had one believe. Now, months later, the BBC has issued a mea culpa on its own coverage. Reports the Daily Mail:
The BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring has been heavily criticised—by the corporation’s bosses.Head of news Helen Boaden admitted that her journalists got carried away with events and produced ‘over-excited’ reports.She told a BBC Trust report that in Libya, where reporters were ‘embedded’ with rebels, they may have failed to explore both sides of the story properly.Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen was among those criticised in the study into coverage of the uprisings, which found that ‘excitement’ did sometimes ‘infect’ the reporting, which some viewers described as ‘too emotive’ and ‘veering into opinion’.
It is very tempting for any journalist to report the world as they wish it to be, rather than as it actually is. One of the goals of our work here at Via Meadia is to resist this tendency, and we are glad that the BBC is belatedly acknowledging their own failings in this regard. Only with a clear-eyed look at hard realities can we begin to properly address them.