Friday, July 28, 2006

July 27 Media Critique : Sheilding Israel

I’ve been waiting patiently for the latest Media Critique from 'HonestReporting'. Usually when Israels actions put it in the media spotlight, HR is there quickly to pressure news outlets to maintain an ‘Israel friendly’ perspective, via its' media critiques asking its' readers to bombard media outlets with complaint e-mails On this occasion it has been 11 days without anything significant. Why so long I wondered, then I came across this,

Shariv [media advisor to Ehud Olmert] said that Israelis have been interviewed by the foreign press four times as much as spokespeople for the Palestinians and Lebanese. As proof of Israel's success, he also cited a poll of Sky News viewers that found that 80 percent believe that Israel's attacks on Lebanon were justified.

"We have never had it so good," Meir said. "The hasbara effort is a well-oiled machine." (Jerusalem Post. July 17, 2006)

How true. HonestReporting finds itself without a great deal to do. Despite Israels obvious breaches of the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilian infrastructure, ambulances and killing UN peacekeepers, few news stories mention this explicitly and fewer still that these are War Crimes. But before they get too confident, there is some difference between successfully getting your point out and people actually believing it. In this case Israel might find that the images of devastated apartment buildings, dead children and blown-up ambulances are more than its’ “well-oiled” hasbara "machine" can cope with.

But it’s always worth having something to complain about. There are are a horde of loyal, if gullible, HonestRepoting readers who need to have their belief in pervausive anti-Israel media bias re-confirmed lest reality, as confirmed by the Israeli Prime Ministers' media advisor, starts to intrude on their carefully cultivated fantasies.


HonestReporting seems to believe that the media has made a,

automatic knee-jerk response that has accused Israel of deliberate murder.

I can't say I've seen any examples of this in news reports. Though Israeli claims of it being a 'mistake' are well reported. Perhaps that is why they fail to offer any examples.

HR then quotes a story from the Ottawa Citizen which is their example of more in-depth and considered response to the killings,

The words of a Canadian United Nations observer written just days before he was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN post in Lebanon are evidence Hezbollah was using the post as a "shield" to fire rockets into Israel, says a former UN commander in Bosnia.

Those words, written in an e-mail dated just nine days ago….

So, the UN observer said the UN was used as a “shield”?

This is what he wrote,

The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters (sic) of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters (sic) from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity.

Hmmmm, where did the claim of a “shield” come from? It turns out they are not the words of the deceased in his email, but the opinion of a former UN Commander commenting on the email.

The Khaim area is a Hezbollah stronghold, so undoubtedly there are Hezbollah positions in the area. But the UN observer post has been there for decades, its position is known precisely. Responding to the suggestions that the Israeli fire may have been targeting nearby Hezbollah fighters, UN spokesman said,

At the time, there had been no Hezbollah activity reported in the area. So it was quite clear they were not going after other targets, that, for whatever reason, our position was being fired upon.

Quite an effort from HR – construct a straw man and then knock it down with an article that is just a little misleading. Now that’s a shield.


What evil has Hezbollah perpetrated now?

Wait for it – they have driven ambulances! The fiends. Hezbollah was allowing camera crews to film empty ambulances driving off with sirens blaring. It was an “orchestrated …media event”. They must be taking lessons from the Israelis.

I’m not sure why HR is complaining. Surely it better to have empty ambulances driving off into the distance shown on TV, than have the image of the ambulance bombed by Israel shown everywhere.