Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 17 Media Critique: “UK Journalists' Union Votes to Boycott Israel”

Another tiny tantrum from HonestReporting.

The UK’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have voted to boycott Israeli goods. Good on them.

HR are aghast at what it calls the “gross antipathy” of the NUJ towards Israel.

If any further proof was needed of the British media's inability to deal with Israel in an objective and fair manner, it arrived on 13 April as the UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted at its annual meeting for a boycott of Israeli goods as part of a protest against last year's Lebanon war.

HR are confused, as usual. Conveniently confused that is. To start with the ‘British media” does not equate with the NUJ. And journalists are allowed to have opinions. Where does this strange idea come from that journalists are unthinking, unfeeling robots, who aren’t allowed to hold personal opinions?

HR provides some pointless commentary from Tom Gross,

Just to show what disregard British (and indeed most European) journalists have for the truth about Israel "The motion called for the end of Israeli aggression in Gaza." In case they haven't noticed, Israel withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005...

Tom must have missed the elementary lessons on international law at journo school. Attacks by a nation on those outside its borders are military ‘aggression’.

NUJ member and journo with the UK Daily Telegraph, Toby Harnden, is highly critical of the move. Though it’s interesting to note this part of his reasoning,

Doing one's best to remain impartial in the most volatile and divided part of the world is incredibly difficult. Every single sentence or utterance by a journalist is scrutinised by both sides…….So what does the NUJ motion do for its members there? It helps smear them all as being biased and anti-Israel.

Exactly the kind of thing HR strives for. The problem with this line of reasoning is the very existence of groups like HR. As I’ve been demonstrating for months, HR will attack any view that is critical of Israeli policy in the OT’s . Hence, if we take Hardens' advice, the only way to avoid being “smeared as…..biased” by HR is to agree with their stridently pro-Israel point-of-view.

To put Harndens advice in some perspective, in his article quoted by HR, he actually links to one of HRs mendacious ‘Media Critiques’ (isn’t that cosy?). Someone advocating that journalists should “remain impartial” at the same time as linking to the often dishonest and stridently partisan HonestReporting, has to be taken with a very large dose of salt.

The nature of the NUJ vote (66-54) and the comments made by some criticizing the motion just highlight one simple little fact, one that HR can’t tolerate - that this is a deeply contested issue, with many varied opinions and positions. HR hates the intellectual diversity that the NUJ position represents. Again, HR can’t distinguish between diversity in opinion and bias.

For HR there is only one acceptable position – the one it holds.