The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has said that its well-known TV host Andrew Marr breached editorial guidelines two months ago when he claimed during a program that Israel has killed “lots of Palestinian kids.”
The BBC’s decision to call out the popular TV presenter followed a string of complaints made by viewers of the Sunday morning “The Andrew Marr Show” after he made the accusation against the IDF during closing discussions about Syria’s use of chemical weapons against civilians.
“And the Middle East is aflame again. I mean there’s lots of a Palestinian kids being killed further south as well by the Israeli forces,” Marr interjected during the conversation in reference to the violent Gaza border riots.
The Andrew Marr Show
The Mail Online said that the BBC’s “extraordinary ruling against one of its most senior personalities is almost unprecedented.”
Complaining against Marr’s comment, anti-semitism campaigner Jonathan Sacerdoti emphasized that the TV made the comments even though they were entirely unrelated to the matter being discussed at the time.
‘When talking about a story on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Andrew Marr for some reason decided to talk about Israel (which was unrelated anyway). He stated there’s a lot of Palestinian kids being killed further south by Israeli forces,” he is quoted as saying in the Mail Online.
‘This is completely incorrect and is made up. This was irrelevant to the conversation on Syria … and also actually completely false,’ Sacerdoti said about the program that was broadcast on April 8.
The BBC’s latest conclusions constitute a mea culpa after the station initially attempted to defend Marr’s words, noting that five ‘younger people’ had been killed between the beginning of the year and the date the program was aired.
The BBC also attempted to back Marr by saying that several Palestinian children and younger people had been killed in the week following the broadcast.
However, Sacerdoti argued that later events could not be used to justify Mr Marr’s comments which were made prior to the cited deaths.
Eventually, head of executive complaints at the BBC, Fraser Steel, responded to Sacerdoti, acknowledging that Marr’s accusations were not based on “sound evidence”, which he said the BBC’s guidelines required.
“In the absence of any evidence to support the reference to ‘lots’ of children being killed at the time of transmission, it seems to us to have risked misleading audiences on a material point. We therefore propose to uphold this part of your complaint,” the response read.