Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 19 Media Critique: "The Power of the Pen"

The latest ‘Media Critique’ would be much more accuratley titled ‘The Power of the Poison Pen’, and HonestReporting gets what it so richly deserves – a big black eye.

This is meant to be some kind of recognition of the effect that HonestReportings’ endlessly gullible subscribers have on journalists and media organisations, when they write abusive and inaccurate emails to them.

First it’s the "The Red Cross Amblance Libel" hoax. HR wants its’ readers to believe that the Zombietime story it was promoting retains some credibility. It doesn’t, as the response of journalists demonstrated. More embarrassing for the promoters of this hoax, is that one of bloggers who was first to question the missile attack on the Red Cross ambulances, soon came to the conclusion that Zombietime was wrong. What’s more, he reached this conclusion on the same day that HR joined the empty-headed gaggle desperately trying to discredit the story. Here’s the basic thrust of his comments,

The fact is ZombieTime's post does not do what it claims, proving the ambulance attack demonstrably false …………..It isn't my intention to offend or alienate any fellow bloggers, but frankly, when it comes to the Red Cross ambulance story, we all need to get a grip.

Second, the “Kasrils - Minister of ‘Intelligence’?libel. HR gets its' ass handed to it in a paper bag, by the South African Mail& Guardian newspaper, after the latter received a torrent of spiteful emails prompted by HonestReportings' September 4th ‘Media Critique’. HR misrepresented and distorted the views of the South African Minister of Intelligence (detailed here) in an effort to provoke the bleating sheep that are HRs subscribers, to do exactly what they ended up doing – sending lots of stupid emails to try and close down free discussion of the ME conflict.

It’s heartening to read the whole M&G editorial to see that at least some media organisations have the balls to stand up to pro-Israel bullying. Here are a few highlights,
The real disgrace is the barrage of hysterical invective from the pro-Israel lobby across the world, of which we print a fraction on our letters pages this week.Most of it comes straight from the gut -- there is little evidence of engagement by the cerebral cortex. Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils is accused of lies and misinformation by people who, for the most part, offer no counter-arguments. He is accused of ignorance by some who clearly do not know he is Jewish and that he played a prominent role in South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle. One letter-writer thinks he is a journalist. Many letters are laced with anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice; others trash South Africa……

The recurrence of the same text in letter after letter -- with a photograph of Kasrils, as if lifted from a police file -- suggests rapid response networks primed for total onslaught immediately Israel is criticised anywhere. If so, it is a mistake. Israel’s cause is discredited by lobbyists who know nothing of South Africa or the Mail & Guardian, and who make their bigotry and anti-democratic instincts plain.For that is the most disgraceful aspect -- the persistent demand that Kasrils should be denied his democratic right to express his opinions, justified by the persistent canard that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism……..

The M&G will not be bullied by any of the world’s teeming enemies of intellectual diversity and free expression.

Yep, that is exactly what HR is, an “enemy of intellectual diversity and free expression”, appealing to the “bigotry and anti-democratic instincts” of its’ utterly credulous readership.

Most amusing this time around is the next section, “Remember To Write Right”. Why the need for this gentle reminder? Because of the storm of “bigotry”, specifically “anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice”, unleashed by HRs defamatory scribblings.
HR writes to its’ thoughtful fans, “state your argument in a rational manner”. You really have to laugh at this. After employing slurs and total fabrication to attack people such as Kasrils, HR wants its’ readers to be “rational” in their responses. Typically for HR, it fails to take any responsibility for its’ own role in the bigotry its’ spiteful and deliberately dishonest attacks have inspired.

Again some examples from the Mail&Guardian, so we can see exactly what kind of letter writing HRs’ dishonesty and lies inspire,

"neo-Nazi propaganda worthy of Goebbels. He clearly supports the fascists in the Middle East." - David Bornstein, Sydney, Australia

"Kasrils has no other way to channel his hatred for black people [than to] pick onJews." - N Greenger, California

"Anti-Semitic diatribes that would win Kasrils an editorial position in Der Stürmer" -Matt Topas

"There’s no point in attempting to debate with such a Nazi/Islamic pig. Do African Negroes believe he isn’t a former enforcer of apartheid?" – Nathan

"Apartheid only exists here in the minds of sick people like Kasrils. I do not see much difference between him and Hitler." - David Gershon, Israel Institute of Technology
And what is undoubtedly true, is that the blind and stupid sheep that read HR , mostly wouldn't have even heard of the Mail&Guardian before, let alone read it. And as their letters demonstrate, they don’t bother to read the original articles, they just take HRs mendacious ‘Media Critiques’ as gospel-truth.

And best of all, operating with a depth of cynicism one has to grudgingly admire for its audacity, HR warns that this is “a time when extremists are attempting to shut down debate by employing hostile language and threats of violence”.

Yes, they are, and HonestReporting is one of them, inciting its’ zombie-like followers to do likewise.