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BBC editor explains “Dunkirk” analogy

The BBC has been getting some flak for describing the evacuation of British citizens from Beirut as being akin to Dunkirk. Amanda Farnsworth, editor of daytime news has the job of explaining the crass analogy on the beeb’s Editor’s blog. The explanation: A government minister made the comparison first.

Kim Howells, a foreign office minister Talked about there being at least 22,000 British people in the Lebanon. “If these numbers have to be evacuated, it becomes the biggest evacuation since Dunkirk,” he said.

Besides the huge difference in size — 340,000 at Dunkirk — the evacuation from France was under heavy fire, as the BBC Middle East editor told his colleagues this morning.

Farnsworth says: “Some have asked if we are doing too much on the British evacuation and not enough on other aspects. We are constantly asking ourselves this question and at the moment I think we’re getting it about right – but we need to keep asking.’

It is good to have this transparency from the BBC. I would love to see similar explanations of some of the Sun’s headlines and stories from Rebekah Wade.

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  1. Beirut and Dunkirk: a BBC explanation from Greenslade says

    […] Amanda Farnsworth, editor of BBC’s daytime news, has been explaining in her blog the reason for Dunkirk being mentioned in the same breath as Beirut. Evidently, some listeners and viewers were upset by the inappropriate comparison. In fact, she says, the first mention of the relationship came from a government minister, Kim Howells. But she agrees that the Beirut exodus is not on the same scale as the evacuation of 340,000 soldiers from Dunkirk. She adds: “Some have asked if we are doing too much on the British evacuation and not enough on other aspects. We are constantly asking ourselves this question and at the moment I think we’re getting it about right – but we need to keep asking.” As blogger Andrew Grant-Adamson says the BBC’s transparency is commendable. (Via bbc.co.uk/blogs)   […]