Thursday, November 09, 2006

November 9 Media Critique: "Beit Hanoun in Context"

This is one of HonestReportng’s favourite phrases - “in context”. Recently we had “Qana in Context”, now it’s “Beit Hanoun in context”. I think the translation is “not Israels fault! ”. Let’s see – “Qana; not Israels fault”, “Beit Hanoun; not Israels fault”. Yeah, that’s about right.

What does HonestReporting want?

HonestReporting calls on the media to recognize the circumstances surrounding this terrible accident.

Specifically, HR demand that “the media needs to report this incident within the proper context.”

And what is the “proper context”. The proper context is that,

Nonetheless, the accident in Beit Hanoun is exactly that - an accident

Why is HR so sure? Because the IDF say so. And if that’s good enough for HR, it should be good enough for everyone else. Why doesn’t the world media understand this, when a fearless proponent of journalistic standards like HR does?

Tellingly, HR doesn’t provide a single example of media not reporting the “circumstances”. What HR really wants is for the media to excuse Israeli actions.

Lawerence of Cyberia has some thoughts on Israel and its’ “accidents”. The invaluable LoC also details the IDFs propensity for lying in these situations. My rule of thumb is that the IDFs first public statements on an issue usually have zero correlation with the truth.

This was an “accident” in much the same way that drunk drivers inexplicably are the victims of many unfortunate “accidents”. When a certain type of behaviour is repeated, despite the likely consequences of that action being known, the outcome is not an accident. Predictable, culpable, negligent, reckless, yes. An accident, no.

In Gaza , Israel knows that its' policies of shooting, shelling and bombardment of densely populated areas are guaranteed to “accidently” kill innocent men, women and children. What do you call it when a certain outcome is the known and acceptable consequence of a voluntarily adopted policy? I call it deliberate. Not the specific incident, but the general situation. Israeli policy is to punish the entire civilian population of the Occupied Territories for; a) continuing to exist, b) refusing to hand over 1 captured Israeli soldier and c) having a democratically elected government that Israel doesn’t like. Whether this is via under or mal-nutrution, deaths due to preventable disease or courtesy of ‘steel rain’ doesn’t matter much, except that the later is a PR problem.