Louise Minchin, a presenter on BBC News, the rolling news channel, announced she had "breaking news", before disclosing that the creature had gone missing from a home in Worcestershire.
At the foot of the screen, a caption read: "HAMSTER THEFT - Pet stolen from a flat in Stourport-on-Severn.
Lassie, a ginger and white hamster with a closed left eye, was stolen in her cage along with a computer games console, a television and a bottle of milk.
Police in West Mercia are looking for the pet and the other stolen goods. A spokesman said: "We are surprised this has become breaking news."
And I suspect she was joking with the "breaking news" bit. But what isn't silly at all is what the BBC isn't reporting:
Israeli media reports that Hamas took over the first floor of the building that the BBC offices in Gaza last night and fired rockets from there, trapping the journalists above. Despite the fact that their reporters have now escaped the building, the BBC has so far not said anything about this.
When I was interviewed on the BBC last week, I commented on the pervasive intimidation of the MSM in Gaza, which is one of the reasons that there were none there when the hostilities broke out. I pointed out that the last journalist resident in Gaza, Alan Johnston, now the editor in chief, only survived because he was so openly pro-Palestinian, and even he got kidnapped and brutalized.
“I’ll cut that out to spare you a law suit, my interviewer said. You’re impugning the integrity of a journalist, and without his credibility he can’t practice his profession.” I was at once struck by the combination of concern for reputation and shamelessness involved in such a “favor” to me.
But here’s the BBC, used as human shields by Hamas, and they won’t let the public know.
Is it a stretch to consider that the rockets were launched in the hope that IDF retaliation would kill BBC personnel, thereby strengthening opposition to the Israelis? But somehow it isn't news to the BBC, the people in a unique position to report on what happened.