Sky News anchor Kay Burley went viral on social media last week following what could only be described as an utter car wreck of an interview with Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy.
In the segment in question, veteran journalist Burley probed Levy about the deal in which Palestinian prisoners are exchanged for Israeli hostages who were captured by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Burley’s unbelievably asinine question went thus:
I was speaking to a hostage negotiator this morning and he made the comparison between the 50 hostages that Hamas has promised to release as opposed to the 150 prisoners that are Palestinian that Israel has said that it will release, and he made the comparison between the numbers and the fact that does Israel not think Palestinian lives are valued as highly as Israeli lives?”
Levy’s wide-eyed look of incredulity was the most natural initial response.
Managing to compose himself after a few milliseconds, he was able to reply, which, to paraphrase, went something along the lines of: Israel doesn’t want to set free any of the prisoners and the only reason Palestinian terrorists are being released is to secure the release of innocent kidnapped women and children.
Perhaps indicative of how much Sky News values at least the appearance of impartiality on the Israeli-Hamas conflict, Burley has refused to row back on her question or even acknowledge its sheer absurdity. “We often put one side of an argument to a guest so they can offer a counterclaim. Yesterday, I raised a controversial view from an earlier guest to allow another to respond,” Burley said in her defense.
The first question that left me speechless (but only for a second): pic.twitter.com/P4Bh0SKtl9
— Eylon Levy (@EylonALevy) November 23, 2023
Sadly, the Burley-Levy interview debacle isn’t the only time Sky News has seriously flubbed its coverage of the war.
A review of the broadcaster’s output over the past six weeks reveals numerous embarrassing blunders and displays of overt bias.
Indeed, Kay Burley’s line of questioning with Eylon Levy isn’t the first time her interview style has raised eyebrows.
Last month, Burley invited Palestinian academic Ghada Karmi to give her view on the current conflict, which could be best summarized as holding Israel entirely responsible.
While Karmi is entitled to hold her own opinions — however misguided they may be — Burley should have pressed Karmi to explain some of her more shocking and inaccurate remarks, including when she failed to challenge her guest’s despicable assertion that Israel is “taking advantage” of the Hamas massacre.
Israel is not “taking advantage” of Hamas’ despicable crimes. This is a war that Hamas forced on Israel & there is simply no “plan to expel the people of Gaza.” https://t.co/FW69ZlNppQ
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) October 17, 2023
Meanwhile, another interview earlier this month saw the combative Burley take IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner to task about the Israeli military’s tactics in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Citing the armchair opinion of London-based pediatric neurologist Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan that white phosphorus has been deployed by Israel on the battlefield, Burley asked Lerner, “Is it?”
Despite Lerner attempting to explain that the use of white phosphorus is not prohibited, Burley continued to repeatedly ask him the same question.
– Every army in the world uses phosphorous smoke shells
– The laws of war allow them to be used to create a smokescreen to cover troop movements
– Israel does NOT use phosphorous as a weapon
But you weren’t interested in hearing @LTCPeterLerner‘s answer. https://t.co/3x4dA1ehsl
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 1, 2023
Indeed, so troubling has Burley’s coverage been that commentators are questioning whether she harbors some personal antipathy toward Israel, especially following a video that Burley herself posted online.
In the clip, Burley can be seen discussing the contents of her upcoming show with a producer who tells her they will be covering the hostage situation in Israel. On being reminded of the Israeli hostages, Burley visibly sighs and makes what appears to be an exasperated noise.
This is from Kay Burley’s own Twitter. Watch what happens when the woman who I presume is her producer mentions the hostages held by Hamas, at around 0:28.
— Daniel Sugarman (@Daniel_Sugarman) November 24, 2023
Sky News’s UnDiplomatic Editor
Sky News Diplomatic Editor Dominic Waghorn has been one of the high-profile journalists spearheading the broadcaster’s coverage from within Israel and, despite his many years of experience, has made several reporting errors of judgment so far.
Among them was his decision to compare Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas to the release of Palestinian prisoners who were jailed by Israel for various violent and terror-related offenses. “While Israel’s hostages are coming home in a blaze of coverage,” Waghorn observed, Palestinian prisoners on the other hand face a “police crackdown on journalists trying to talk to them and a ban on any celebrating.”
Beneath this, he posted a link to a Sky News piece headlined, “Israel-Hamas war: ‘We were treated like dogs’ – released Palestinian prisoners complain of mistreatment” and invited people to watch him interviewing Palestinian prisoners and their families.
It goes without saying that there is nothing comparable between innocent hostages and jailed terrorists and Waghorn’s suggestion that there is just shows how bent his moral compass apparently is.
The roving reporter was also embarrassingly called out on social media after he was apparently taken in by Hamas propaganda about the release of Israeli hostages when he claimed details that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar met with hostages before they left Gaza “undermines the Israeli Hamas = ISIS storyline.”
Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar met with the Israeli hostages a day after they were taken in tunnels under Gaza and told them they would not be harmed and would be returned as part of a hostage deal. Undermines the Israeli Hamas = ISIS storyline.
— Dominic Waghorn (@DominicWaghorn) November 28, 2023
And on another occasion, Waghorn’s mask well and truly slipped when he referred to the Israeli security services as the “Israeli occupation authorities” in what was clearly a breach of the Ofcom rules, which apply to broadcast media in the UK.
Would you care to explain how calling Israeli security services “Israeli occupation authorities” is not breaking @Ofcom rules?
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 24, 2023
But not to be outdone, numerous other anchors and journalists on the Sky News roster have also had their fair share of mess-ups throughout the conflict.
Samatha Washington brazenly putting words in the mouth of IDF spokesman Lerner, for instance, should be taught at journalism schools as an example of how not to paraphrase people.
15 minutes later, Sky’s military analyst falsely claims Lerner “had to admit that they haven’t achieved… pic.twitter.com/KqcIzGLzuW
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 19, 2023
‘Star’ Reporter Instantly Loses Her Shine
Yalda Hakim was rolled out as a “marquee signing” from the BBC as Sky’s brand new Lead World News Presenter. It didn’t take long, however, before she took a leaf out of her colleague Dominic Waghorn’s book on how to draw grotesque moral equivalencies.
Congrats on your new gig, @SkyYaldaHakim.
Now that you're not at the BBC have you considered trying to be objective and accurate? Asking for literally everyone who is sick of false moral equivalencies.pic.twitter.com/Ae5helaPJJ
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 24, 2023
This was also followed up by an interview with Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, who had to practically fight with Hakim to be able to answer a question.
This is not how to interview your guests @SkyYaldaHakim. If you ask @FleurHassanN a question it is common decency to allow her to answer as she wishes. It might not be how you want it be answered but as Fleur says context is important pic.twitter.com/nq1uLfFwUB
— We Stand With Israel (@SussexFriends) November 27, 2023
Sky News was generally considered one of the better outlets when it comes to reporting on Israel in a fair and balanced way.
Let us hope recent errors are not the start of a new trend by Sky of broadcasting anti-Israel bilge.
Thank you @SkyNews for swiftly correcting the error in response to our tweet.
(The post now accurately refers to the “Israeli city of Tel Aviv.”) https://t.co/n9rL6kIBFI
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 27, 2023
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