Friday, October 27, 2006

Oct 25 Media Critique: “French Injustice”

Those damn Frenchies are labouring under the misapprehension that justice in the courts is a matter of objective reality, ie. the truth. How terribly inconvenient for Honest Reporting’s conspiracy monger, Philippe Karsenty, who has just lost the opening of his case against France-2 TV, whom he accused of perpetrating a hoax regarding the killing of Mohommad Al-Durra by the IDF in 2000.

But it’s not quite over yet. There are several more related defamation cases being brought by France-2 TV. Karsenty and his fellow conspiracy freaks will lose them too.

In a rare show of just an iota of even-handedness, HR includes a question mark in the subheading. And then goes on to provide the answer (yes, naturally), via rumours reported in the Daily Mail. Hey, when you already know the truth, who needs facts or rigorous analysis?

The evil, anti-Israel BBC has conducted a “secret meeting” where the cabal of Israel-haters were able to freely admit their biases.

A leaked account of ………………………… the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is ... anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

The BBCs Director of News, Helen Boaden , was there and had this to say,

For a start, this wasn’t a secret meeting... it was streamed live on the web. The meeting was made up of executives, governors and lots of non-BBC people like John Lloyd from the FT and Janet Daley from the Daily Telegraph. It was planned as a serious seminar to investigate and understand better the BBC’s commitment to impartiality in an age in which spin and opinion riddle much of the world’s journalism.

Impartiality - what a novel idea. Isn’t it a pity that HR has no knowledge of this concept.

Boaden explained this further,

When I first joined the BBC I asked a very experienced and subtle journalist what was meant by BBC impartiality. ‘It means we don’t take sides,’ he said. ‘We don’t take sides either explicitly or implicitly. We test all opinion toughly but fairly and we let the audience make up their own minds.’

Hhmmmm. This is exactly the problem for HR and its loyal but misguided minions. They have a very particular and strident point-of-view. Then, along comes the BBC offering a range of opinions and perspectives, even including (gasp!) ones that HR might not agree with. But, being true zealots they can’t tolerate this. Giving a voice to perspectives and narratives that clashes with their own one-eyed partisanship is, to them, the bias of the BBC.

Gaza: Another Kidnapping
This is just delicious.

HR takes a stand on principle! Or maybe not.

An AP photographer was kidnapped in Gaza and then released a few hours later, unharmed. There have been a spate of such abduction in the last year. HR criticizes this correctly, quoting the Committee to Protect Journalists,

It all has a chilling affect on journalists' ability to report the story.*

And if this is HR standing up for principle, then it would apply at all times, to all such actions, right?

HR has kindly supplied a paired example for our consideration of their possible conversion to principles.

Example 1 is above. Outcome – total commitment to journalistic freedom.

Example 2 was in last weeks ‘Media Critique’. Remember the Reuters story “When Cameramen Attack”? HR took the opportunity of a second-hand smear of Reuters by repeating the YnetNews allegation that a Rueters car was used to “transport a Hamas-linked Palestinian”. The real story was the Israeli attack on the Reuters press car,

An Israeli air strike hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday, wounding two journalists as they covered a military incursion, doctors and residents said.

One of the Palestinian journalists, who worked for a local media organization, was seriously wounded. A cameraman working for Reuters was knocked unconscious in the air strike….

And what did HR have to say about any “chilling effect” of not just a short abduction, but a military attack on a press vehicle with resulting serious injuries? Just this,

This is not the first time that members of the media have taken an active role in the story.

Yes, how dare they insert themselves into the story by being shot at.

Outcome – not only does HR fail to defend the journalists, it attempts to smear them and their employers for having the gall to be attacked by the IDF.

Can you imagine a similar response on Example 1? Palestinians abduct a press photographer and HR berates him/her for taking “an active role in the story”. No, neither can I.

And in a curious oversight, HR has failed to tell us what the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said about this,

"We condemn this missile strike on a vehicle that was clearly identified as press,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The Israeli military must investigate this attack and hold those responsible accountable.”

It appears that HR, in this instance, has a radically different understanding of the issue, than does the CPJ.

The selective application of a principle means that it is not accepted as a principle, but only as a convenient tool to be used as required. Funny how a media monitoring organization like HR rejects the principle of freedom of the press. But then you and I know that HR is no such thing – it’s just a partisan pressure group deploying the language of fairness, accuracy and balance to attack those same principles.

* Ironically, or perhaps not, HR sources this quote from......Reuters.