Thursday, 2 September 2010

Bias By Omission

BBC Breakfast News this morning reported this story about a man was shot dead in Washington after taking 3 hostages:

A gunman who took three hostages at the Discovery Communications headquarters in the US has been shot dead by police and his captives have been set free.

The man had canisters strapped to his chest and a handgun when he entered the building near Washington DC, police said.

Officers opened fire because they thought the gunman was about to detonate his explosives, they added.

The police had held several hours of talks with the man.

Ok nutter gets shot, move along, not much to see here. But wait! Or is there more to this? There's a detail that was conspicuously absent from the BBC report this morning, and only very briefly mentioned online. Now what could it be (my emphasis):

The emerging portrait of the gunman - identified by authorities as 43-year-old James L. Lee - is one of an extreme environmentalist who was obsessed with the Discovery Channel and wanted to force the network to air programs that sought solutions for global warming, posited the view that humans should stop reproducing and generally saving nonhuman forms of life.

"Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture," Lee wrote in an 11-point manifesto outlining his demands for the network. "For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition ... THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!!"

He also appears to have been inspired by books by the environmental novelist Daniel Quinn, notably Quinn's "Ishmael." He singled out pages of that novel in his manifesto, saying that Discovery should create programming based on its message. He said he also was inspired by Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."
The BBC seem very reluctant to mention any of this. I wonder why?

Update: I've just seen that Biased BBC has spotted it too. I think it's worth noting that a mere blogger like myself found this information out in seconds, but the BBC with its vast budget appears not to have. Surely the first question of any incident like this is why? As omissions go this one is pretty blatant.

Update 2: And this on a day when the BBC Director General Mark Thompson admits that the BBC is biased.

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