Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 28 Media Critique: “Special Report: The Hamas Propaganda War”

“How the MSM handed Hamas a PR victory.”

This is the problem with fanatical partisans like HR, they simply can’t accept that media coverage which creates a negative impression is a function of the events themselves, rather than media perfidy. Hence the following contortions as HR desperately tries to shoot the messenger.

"A 'cycle of violence'?"

I’ve no idea what the quotes are meant to indicate as HR attribute the quote to no-one.

HR attack AP for a summary of recent events that begins,

It started last week with what Israel says was the inadvertent killing of a son of Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar in an Israeli arrest raid.

HR fume,

Why did the media fail to add the vital context? Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007 until the end of December 2007, 475 missiles and 631 mortars were fired at Sderot and the surrounding region

But as usual, HR were being very careful with the editing to fit the story they want to tell. These are the 2 preceding sentences from the AP article that HR conveniently omitted,

Yet, a more relaxed Gaza border regime could entice Hamas to halt rocket fire, and this in turn could buy Abbas and Israel the necessary calm to make progress on a U.S.-backed peace deal. The current border crisis developed at breathtaking speed, typical of Gaza's volatility. It started last week with what Israel says….

"Who turned off the lights?"

And this is just rehash. HR can’t even find any evil media stories to demonstrate this, but just quote the esteemed Jerusalem Post ruminating on the blackout conspiracy.

Again, HR seek to strenuously avoid the basic facts to look for storms in tiny tea cups. And the basic fact is that Israel cut fuel supplies which led to the shut down of the only generator in Gaza which supplied much of the electricity to Gaza City. And Israel did this as a form of collective punishment against a civilian population, a crime under international law.

"A 'spontaneous breakout'?"

The confected allegations are now straining credulity, even for the idiots at HR.

Again we have quotes in the headline from HR, but the phrase “spontaneous breakout” doesn’t appear in the Telegraph story HR is criticising, which is about a betrothed couple who can now wed. They had been separated due to the closure of the Rafah crossing. Good to see HR tackling hard-nosed journalism in its media ‘critiques’.

That’s hard to beat for dishonesty. If any of the media that HR likes to criticise tried a stunt like that, HRs shrill denunciations would be long and loud.

" 'Starving' Palestinians and a humanitarian crisis?"

Hamas and the media conveyed the distinct impression of a humanitarian crisis as Gaza's Palestinians 'starved'.

So how many examples does HR provide of media reports claiming that Palestinians are "starving”. Zero. I think it’s safe to assume that is because that's how many they could find.

What crude sophists this lot are. Even Orwell would have trouble believing the extent of their mendacity.

To cap it all off, HR amazingly ask,

"Will the media relent?"

From what exactly, is not clear. Perhaps from not saying the kind of things that HR would wish they would say so they could accuse the media of anti-Israel basis, and so forcing HR to make it all up?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jan 21 Media Critique: “Lights On, Nobody Home”

The media leaves the false impression that Israel has completely cut Gaza's electricity.”

Does it?

HR says so,

Today's headlines include the LA TIMES's 'Gaza dark amid Israeli blockade' and The Guardians's 'Gaza plunged into darkness as Israeli fuel blockade takes effect'. Similar headlines appear in many media outlets. You could be forgiven for thinking that Israel has cut off the entire electricity supply to the Gaza Strip.

The first 3 words of The Guardian story that HR link to suffice to demonstrate the total dishonesty of their allegation,

Parts of Gaza…..

You could be forgiven for thinking that Israel had cut off the entire electricity supply”, but only if you are a complete idiot (or shameless liar) and don’t understand what “parts” means.

And the LA Times story,

GAZA CITY -- The Gaza Strip's only electric power plant shut down Sunday evening after Israel halted the shipment of diesel that fuels it, plunging most of this city into darkness…………….The power plant supplies electricity to 70% of Gaza City and about one-third of the Gaza Strip, which has a population of 1.5 million. ……. Officials in Gaza said as many as half of Gaza's homes were hit by blackouts Sunday.

Yes, you could be forgiven for believing what you want to believe so that you can fabricate allegations of media bias. That’s another 2 lies from HR.

And this is just plain sneaky,

Despite ongoing Qassam attacks from the territory, Israel has not switched off the electricity. In fact, Hamas itself shut down Gaza's only power station after inviting the media to watch it do so.

Nothing's wrong, Hamas just shut down the power plant for a photo op, or so HR would have its dim-witted readers believe. Yes, the power plant was shut down – before it stopped due to lack of fuel, a necessary move to prevent ‘brown-outs’ that occur as the power falls while demand doesn’t, a situation that can damage electrical equipment. (And why would it shut off the electricity? Israel sells the power to Gaza.)

HR then uses this deliberate misrepresentation to criticize other media stories for having failed to mention this alleged “fact”.

It’s a non-stop feast of self-serving fantasy from HR,

While Gazans are undoubtedly suffering, the dark picture painted by the mainstream media is different from the reality.

Perfectly reasonable, as long as you avoid actual reality, which is that the various media agencies quoted by HR have covered the story accurately by noting that Gaza receives 75% of it’s power from Israel and Egypt. HR can only make this bizarre statement by completely ignoring the content of the stories.

HR again trips over itself, and casts the truth aside, in its rushed attempt to draw attention from what Israel does, to how the media reports what Israel does. The constant refrain from HR is that there is no blockade/siege/humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by Israeli actions, it's all media bias.

Read the latest UN report and see otherwise.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 16 Media Critique: “A Barrage of Bad Reporting”

Many media outlets fail to add significant context to a day of violence.”

A barrage of bad behaviour is more like it. HR is up to it’s old tricks, resorting to blatant lies to fabricate charges of bias.

HR says,

Too often, major media outlets downplayed the salvo of more than 40 missiles that hit Sderot that day and wounded four people.

It links to a Ynet news item which actually says,

More than 40 rockets were fired at southern communities Tuesday afternoon and evening….

Only 4 rockets hit Sderot. Lie No.1

HR then provide a list of what it calls the “worst offenders”,

Incredibly, The Scotsman failed to acknowledge the latest Qassam barrage at all, while at the same time omitting the crucial detail that the majority of those Palestinians killed in the Israeli raid were armed Hamas terrorists.

Here’s The Scotsman story doing both,

Hamas immediately stepped up its involvement in the daily barrage of rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel. While allowing other militant factions to attack southern Israeli communities with impunity, the Islamic militant group has not taken the lead in the assaults in recent months……The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that five civilians were among the dead.

Lie No 2.

The Times of London,

muddied an otherwise good piece of reporting by not giving enough detail regarding the nature of the Palestinian casualties.

Not enough like this?

Israeli troops targeted the Hamas units that operate close to the border fence as a first line of defence. As they fought them, more Hamas fighters rushed to the scene and the fighting spread….

Clutching at straws. Lie No. 3.


in a dreadful case of moral equivalence, The Daily Telegraph's Tim Butcher makes it clear just how lightly he perceives the suffering of Israeli civilians targeted by Palestinian missiles:

It simply won’t do to note basic facts, such as that less than a dozen Israelis have been killed, while hundreds of Palestinians have. Apparently that is “moral equivalence”, which following from HR’s use, must be the assumption that an Israeli and Palestinian life are of equal worth. HR seems to think this is “dreadful”.

And AFP “barely acknowledged the issue of Qassams”. Which means that it did just that,

Hours after the operation Hamas claimed for the first time in several months that it had fired rockets into Israel, saying it had fired 11 rockets and lightly wounded eight Israelis.Witnesses and the army said one projectile had landed in the coastal city of Ashkelon and several in Sderot, without causing casualties.

Lie No. 4

And the BBC,

muddled the situation even further, leaving the mistaken impression that Sderot had been spared from attack for many months:

Well, not really. HR “muddled” the situation by displaying a total failure of reading comprehension. The BBC made it quite clear that it was saying that this was the first time Hamas had targeted Sderot, not that Sderot had not been free of rocket strikes,

the first time in several months that Hamas has targeted the town.
Disingenuous and Lie No. 5.

For some obscure reason Britian’s tabloid wastepaper the Mirror was deemed to be the absolute worst for a tiny 3 para item that is typical of its almost non-existent international coverage.
Media distortion” screamed the twits at HR!

And after HRs five lies noted above, criticising others for "distortion" takes the prize for audacity.

A striking feature of HRs ‘media critique’ is how it carefully avoids explicit mention of the chronology of events on Tuesday, only hinting at it by the repeated calls for “context”. The sequence of events were that an undercover IDF unit (“cowardly blending” anyone?) was spotted inside Gaza. The IDF then sent the tanks in to support them which left over 20 Palestinians dead. Hamas then launched its barrage into Israel. The only “context” HR wants is that the IDF unit was targeting Qassam launch crews. But as usual with HR, calls for context are strategically limited. The context of Palestinian groups vowing to continue rocket launches while Israel maintains its siege of the entire population of the Gaza Strip cannot be mentioned. That would be too much context.

Friday, January 11, 2008

January 10 Media Critique: “One Year Analysis: The BBC in 2007”

New year, same old shit.

HonestReporting have decided to extend the pretence of serious media critique by subjecting us to an extension of their 6 month “study” of BBC coverage.

The last one was a scream. My favourite part was the penetrating analysis of headlines. HR was claiming that BBC stories on Palestinian violence used “softer” language in the headlines. One of the examples they gave was this headline, “Fresh Violence hits the Gaza strip”, but the violence in the story was that Israel had killed 8 Palestinians in a bombing! HR, in their earnest pursuit of accuracy, claimed this as an example of the BBCs bias against Israel.

So what can we expect from the year long study? More of the same………..rubbish, that is. And they don’t disappoint.


It’s always wrong, of course. But it is a great demonstration of HRs disdain for accuracy.

Did you know that, “the IDF recorded almost 1,500 separate rocket and mortar attacks for the year”?

Separate attacks?? Or did they mean 1500 individual rocket and mortars? 1500 attacks sounds much more ominous though. The attacks actually often consist of several, sometimes many, rockets/mortars falling in a single “attack”. The IDF, where HR got the stats, is a bit more accurate in its description of the situation,

During the year there were almost 1500 impacts of Qassam rockets and mortars

Yet there were only 6 BBC stories about Qassams. HR can smell the bias in the water,

It would be reasonable to expect that more than 0.4% of the rocket attacks and resulting damage would receive the BBC's attention.

We could apply similar logic to the attacks on Palestinians, except that while the number of rocket attacks on Israel are relatively low enough that they can be counted, we have no idea of the number of projectiles fired by Israel into Palestinian areas. I’d suggest it would be in the tens of thousands, but the IDF, who so carefully count and publish the Qassam figures, aren’t telling. And remember, every single Israeli tank shell/mortar/bomb is, according to HR, a separate….attack”. If it's around 14,000 do you think HR will 'expect that more than 0.4% of attacks.....would recieve the BBCs attention'?

So we’ll go with the other figure we have. We know that 2 Israelis were killed by Qassams in 2007. So that’s 3 BBC stories for every dead Israeli. 373 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, and HR tell us that 56 BBC stories covered these operations. That is 0.15 stories for each dead Palestinian. Or put it another way, it takes 20 dead Palestinians to elicit as much BBC coverage as one dead Israeli. Let’s call it the BBC Pro-Israel Bias Factor – and it’s 20. Not 20%, or 20 items, but a factor of 20, ie. the BBC is 20x more sensitive to Israeli deaths than Palestinian deaths

Yeah, I know , all this moral calculus is crude bullshit, but it just goes to show what a pile of crap HR is.

Headline Style

They stuffed this up last time, so I have great faith that they will again.

Same argument as last time – Palestinians not named in the headlines as the agents of attacks.

And what a mess they make if it, again. This headline, “West Bank clash leaves three dead” is one of the examples,

This one was extremely egregious since it was describing the ambush and murder of Israeli hikers by Palestinian terrorists. Since terrorist groups took responsibility for the attacks, why weren't they named in the headline?

Why indeed? Perhaps because the only thing “extremely egregarious” about this is HRs mis-representation of the story.

The two “Israeli hikers” were actually 2 off-duty IDF soldiers in the occupied West Bank who went for a walk, HR strangely leave this bit out, with their IDF-issue assault rifles. Armed soldiers, albeit off-duty, were attacked by armed Palestinians. The BBC could have called them terrorists in the headline, but it would have been entirely false to do so .

Again, this is the kind of thing that HR presents as ‘proof’ (an "extreme" case, no less) of the BBCs “anti-Israel bias” – that the BBC won’t lie in its headlines!

Tell me, are they utterly and comprehensively dishonest, or just totally imcompetent?