Thursday, March 01, 2007

March 1 Media Critique: "Missing the Big Picture"

HonestReporting have come up with some pretty thin pretexts for its’ Media Critiques, and this one is right up there with the thinnest of them.

We highlighted how many media outlets were prepared to take the libels surrounding Israeli excavations at the Mugrabi Gate at face value…… the meantime, the media has taken its eye off the ball and has still not corrected its coverage.

Highlighted”? This must be a synonym for 'alleged', as HRs February 11 report could provide not a single example of what it claimed the media was doing wrong.

This is an emerging favourite HR strategy – self-referencing claims. The original report makes allegations with no evidence to back them and a few weeks later a subsequent report references the old report as the source of an established fact.

The media “has still not corrected its coverage”, because there is nothing to correct.

This is the gaffe that isn’t.

Several ultra-Orthodox Jews protest against the excavations at Al-Haram al-Sharif and about the Israeli state in general. This is accurately reported by Reuters. What’s the gaffe?? That this fact was reported, apparently. All HR can complain about is a lack of “context”. The context that HR would seem to prefer would be if they were totally ignored. Reuters took a photo and gave it an accurate caption and the Times of London gave the story 2 paragraphs, which is a “full news brief” according to HR. I wonder what their partial news briefs look like?

Yes, what??

The mainstream media has reported claims by the Russian Foreign Minister that Hamas has pledged to end missile attacks and violence against Israel. While Hamas supreme leader Khaled Mashaal attempts to project a "moderate" image in order to persuade the Russians to help lift the international boycott of the Palestinian government, the media has virtually ignored the steady stream of Qassams that continues to fall on Israel, launched from the Gaza Strip. This, in addition to other Palestinian terror that includes the murder of Erez Levanon in the West Bank.

HR has a flexible approach to the truth, which allows them to fabricate the assertions above. The article linked to about the visit to Russia is headlined “Russian official: Hamas may halt attacks”. Not much of a “pledge” is it? The article quotes Khaled Meshal which makes the “maybe” quite clear,

First of all, Israel has to end its occupation of Palestinian territory and put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people.

And the “steady stream” of Qassams amounts to one incident where Islamic Jihad fired 5 Qassams in response to the IDF killing 3 of it’s members in Jenin, with a few other episodes of smaller numbers of Qassams landing inside Israel, with no injuries reported.

Finally the killing of a West Bank settler didn’t get much coverage, but it was reported in The Independent.

By selectively reporting events in Israel, the media contributes to creating a distorted picture of the reality.

HR demonstrates that its extremely selective attention enables it to claim whatever it likes, despite the facts.

It’s still very unclear what parts of the “big picture” are being missed. Maybe that the Israeli Occupation will reach its 40th anniversary this year, or the general humanitarian situation in the OTs, the travel restrictions, or the ongoing human rights abuses.

All very important, and under-reported, parts of the “big picture”, but probably not what HR meant.