Tuesday, November 07, 2006

October 31 Media Critique: "Seale of Approval"

HonestReporting is up in arms about an article in the International Herald Tribune. Patrick Seale performs the uncommon act of accurately describing Israels conduct in the Gaza Strip. The main problem is that it’s all “one-sided”, according to HR. This means that every Israeli act should be 'balanced' or put in context to demonstrate that it’s not really Israels fault.

Seale cannot recognize the Hamas government as that of a terror organization that refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and continues to hold Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit hostage. Nowhere does Seale mention Israel's summer 2005 Gaza Disengagement or the current round of internal Palestinian violence between Fatah and Hamas members.

See? You can’t mention the fact that Israel is killing large numbers of innocent Palestinians without reminding your readers that it’s all the Palestinians fault for abducting 1 soldier. B’Tselem has documented the recent deaths in Gaza. Of the roughly 300 killed since the capture of the Israeli soldier, 155 were innocent bystanders. B’Tselem's list of those killed gives some perspective on the dead that Israel and it’s supporters dismiss as “terrorists”.

Seale's other crime is that he is “seeking to downplay Palestinian terror and Qassam attacks from Gaza”, by describing them as “highly irritating but largely ineffectual weapons”. That Seale provides the relevant facts in which he grounds this opinion does not deter HR. It produces a story from Ynet News on the hundreds of Israelis “injured” by Qassams in the last 18 months. The Barzilai Medical Center records 300 people were “hurt” in Qassam attacks since January 2005. The article goes on to say that most were vicims of “shock”. In lay- mans terms that means having received a scare or fright. Or, in other words – not actually injured.

Shock actually is a recognized medical condition, but HR, as usual, can’t play it straight. In November 2005, HR put out a Media Critique, ‘Booms Over Gaza’. The Guardian newspaper and the BBC had published stories about Israeli jets producing sonic booms over Gaza to terrorise Palestinians. Palestinian sources were quoted on the “hurt” caused by the tactic. HR, of course, was highly skeptical about claim sof harm caused by the sonic booms, wanting to know why the media was “prepared to take Palestinian anecdotal evidence at face value?”.

Loud noises frightening Israelis is cause for serious concern, but only cause for skepticism when it comes to Palestinians.

HR finishes off with a minor spat involving one of its’ fellow-travellers ( CAMERA) and the Guardian. If only HR had paid attention to the details we could have all been saved the trouble of this latest missive. The Guardian ran a piece by Chris McGreal, in which he noted the Apartheid-like aspects of Israel. CAMERA complained (of course), taking it to the UK’s Press Complaints Commission – which dismissed CAMERAs complaint (no surprise there). This is the part of the Commissions findings that HR should have read, and re-read until it understood it,

The newspaper was entitled – in the Commission’s view – to select material, in the form of quotations (which had not been disputed by the people quoted) or statistics, that supported the clearly-stated premise of the article. It was not obliged to attempt to balance every statement with reference to a counter-argument or counter-interpretation that existed elsewhere and opposed the position espoused in the article.

This is what HR ignores in its’ ‘critique’ of Patrick Seale. They have an alternative viewpoint, and only theirs is acceptable, everything else being “anti-Israel media bias”.