Nelson McCausland (not online) and Peter Robinson have both called for the BBC to investigate its coverage of the Operation Banner Report. The News Letter coverage went with “Army hails its Ulster success” and the Irish News went with “Structures that ‘defeated’ IRA were in place by 1980” while the BBC went with “Army paper says IRA not defeated“. The BBC earlier this year admitted a culture of bias, is this an example?The first BBC report said:
“The Army has admitted for the first time that it did not win the war against the IRA. “
It was then substantially revised to read:
“An internal British army document examining 37 years of deployment in Northern Ireland contains the claim by one expert that it failed to defeat the IRA.”
Despite this revision the headline remained the same although quote marks in the headline were removed.
The positives in the report were ignored e.g. “defeat of the PIRA”. The ‘one expert’ view was taken from paragraph 855 which states that the operation was a “major achievement”, a “success” and a “unique” success. It also misrepresented the report’s comments about criminality and possibly invented a quote.