Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The BBC and Russian aircraft - a small but telling example.

Since nothing dramatic is going on (thanks God for that!), I can mention little things which want to share with you.  This time, yet again, its the BBC which triggered my disgust.  This is the BBC article about the airplane crash which took place in Algeria today:
An Algerian military transport plane has crashed in the north-east of the country, killing all but one of the 78 people on board. The Hercules C-130 crashed into a mountain in Oum al-Bouaghi province, en route to Constantine, in bad weather conditions. One survivor is being treated for head injuries, reports said. The government and military say 78 people were on board - not 103 as reported by officials and local media. Most of those on board were military personnel and their family members. "I saw the military plane crashing, and it was cut into two pieces," a firefighter, Mohamed, told Reuters news agency at Ouled Gacem, near the crash site. Women and children were among the 77 bodies recovered from the crash site. Dozens of rescue workers reached the scene, despite the mountainous terrain and wintry weather conditions (...)
Nothing special, right?   True.

And yet, there is something very obnoxious here.  The article says "Hercules C-130".  It does not say "US-built Hercules C-130".  So what?  Why should the BBC specify that the C-130 is build in the USA?  I don't see a reason for that too.

But my question is this: why is it that when a Russian-built aircraft crashes the BBC always, always, absolutely *always* writes "Russian-built Tupolev" or "Russian-built Antonov".  If you do not believe me, look in the BBC archives for yourself.  Western-built aircraft are always designated by model only, but if the aircraft is Russian, then it is always referred to as "Russian-built".  Why?

To associate Russian aircraft with crashes, of course.  Nevermind that in fact Russian aircraft are mostly more reliable than their western equivalents, that they are easier to maintain, and that they can take infinitely more abuse.  And nevermind that the Russian air transport industry has a safety record pretty much on par with the West.  If it crashes, its because it is Russian-built.

Think I am paranoid - check for yourself.

I even wrote to the BBC a few years ago.  Never got a reply.

Does that mean that the BBC has some kind of minder which sits there and makes sure that every time a Russian-built aircraft crashes its country of origin is mentioned? Of course not.  It's much worse than that.  This has become a cultural automatism.  Reporters do that automatically, without even thinking about it.  

It's a little thing, of course, but it is typical of an imperial, of not racist, mindset.

Next time an aircraft crashes, see for yourself is this "Saker law of BBC coverage" holds or not.


The Saker