Mad Mel’s short memory
Melanie Phillips delivers her usual denunciation of what she calls “two egregious additions on British television to the demonisation of Israel and the consequent furtherance of Jew-hatred”, one of them being a Channel 4 documentary presented by Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader and later governor-general of Bosnia:
I had a particular and personal interest in the Ashdown documentary. This is because I was originally approached to present it. The independent production company seemed very keen that I should do so. I told them that Channel Four would never permit me to front such a programme. This is because I support Israel’s right to exist, and since I am a Jew am therefore considered to be hopelessly biased; the only person Channel Four would consider objective, I suggested, would be someone who hated Israel and was either ignorant of or would misrepresent its history. Lo and behold, when the proposal with my name on it got to the Channel Four commissioning editor it suddenly turned into ‘Sorry, but it’s become a different kind of programme’. Well, waddya know.
I didn’t watch the Ashdown documentary, but for the benefit of Mel’s American readership, the reason she is unlikely to have been considered suitable to deliver anything related to the Palestinian dispute other than a pro-Israel polemic is that she is indeed hopelessly biased, as her blog amply demonstrates. Clearly Channel 4 were not interested in producing a polemic, so they did not want her presenting it. Her point of view can only be considered “unbiased” if you are the sort who considers the Arab side of the story not to be worth any consideration.
Furthermore, I did not hear Melanie Phillips complain when Channel 4 delivered a hoplessly biased documentary on climate change, entitled The Great Global Warming Swindle, directed by Martin Durkin, who himself has a history of making biased and later discredited documentaries, on climate change among other things. Phillips did not mention this in her laudatory write-up. Perhaps if Mel wants to deliver an pro-Israel diatribe on national TV, she might get in contact with Durkin or someone else with the relevant experience.
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