Sadly, this is to be filed under the ‘serious news’ category from which everyone should draw their opinions, but few people actually care about.
Our uncompromisingly limp media is reporting over and over again that Palestinian aggression is driving the recent escalation in Gaza, but this is far from the truth.
There is an inherent danger, in the age of quicksmart news bulletins and attention-grabbing headlines, to simmer and reduce the broth of a centuries-old conflict down to a morsel comprehendible to the general public.
In fact, I’m running that risk now.
But the larger danger is not in ignoring complex issues, but simply refusing to report facts, and refusing to question the holy loudspeaker of American power.
Just today, media bulletins are crying foul at Hamas rockets landing in Israeli neighborhoods, towing the line that the onus is on either the Palestinian Authority, or the militants themselves to ensure that attacks and counterattacks are stopped and tensions reduce.
But this is a blatant double-standard, as almost all mainstream reports are failing to critique the extra-judicial assassination of a senior Hamas commander by Israel. To put it bluntly: a state, supported almost entirely through US aid, is killing the citizens of another country illegally.
Does this somehow validate the actions of Hamas and other Islamic extremists throughout Palestine? No, each rocket fired from Gaza is as morally repugnant as any missile fired from an Israeli helicopter – the crucial problem here is how filtered and distorted our news really is.
We saw the Benghazi ‘fog of war’ line that was spun from the White House nest, which unraveled in the weeks following. What we never saw was an Obama government afraid to lie outright.
The mainstream media picked this up unashamedly, and fed it to the public unadulterated – no questions, no analysis, and most crucially, no truth.
Between the White House, which insists that there is “no justification” for Palestinian retaliation, and Tony Blair and Downing Street, who both called on Hamas alone to cease the attacks, it’s perfectly understandable that the population at large doesn’t get the full picture.
For example, in five different wire reports from both Reuters and AFP on the 16th of November, the word ‘occupation’ was not mentioned once. The leading story for that day on CNN.com leaned heavily on empathy for Israeli, taking eleven paragraphs before the first Palestinian fatalities are discussed. The UK Daily Telegraph blamed Palestinian militants for all aggression outright. The AP and Reuters stories carried by Stuff.co.nz, although mentioning the volatile interactions between Israel and Syria, also failed to cast any critical eye on the situation.
This is not an issue of ‘impartial’ journalism, but slanted and misinformed reporting masquerading as a voice for the people.