August 21, 2006

Same old story.

Between this and an overdose of Lou Dobbs in the airport, I've had about all I can take. Here's my response to a video on the doctored Reuters photos that my friend forwarded me from Aish, a conservative Jewish org:

This makes my blood boil. There's nothing I detest more than misinformation in mainstream news media. But I'm afraid press misinformation is a much broader pandemic, and not in the way one might believe after seeing that video (which was not surprisingly produced by a right-wing religious organization). The video deliberately avoids a much more significant point to push its own agenda.

The truth is, mainstream media in the US is in no hurry to rush to Hezbollah's defense (or the defense of the Lebanese, Palestinian, or Iraqi people, for that matter). What most Americans see and read and hear is utterly uncritical of Israel, just as it is uncritical of the conservative DC establishment--which along with even the most "left-leaning" democrats voted by a huge margin last month to unconditionally endorsed Israel's attacks (that means you, Babs). Israel's role in the instigation of conflict is often neglected by allegedly "liberal" papers like the Times and the Post, and network television leaves considerably more out of its coverage. That's what happens when you've got NBC's parent company building the bombs Israel imports from the U.S.

The organization that created this video is using a time-honored conservative technique--maintaining power by propagating their image as a weak and embattled minority. Think of Christians--"the war on Christmas," or even our friends at The Fund for American Studies--because everyone knows there are too damn many liberals in econ and polisci departments out there, and not enough money in conservative think tanks to raise a whole new generation of conservative leaders!

Regardless of whether those pictures were doctored, the fact is that Israel was responsible for that destruction, teddybear in the foreground or not. Nearly a million have been displaced and over a thousand innocent lives have been taken (many many more on the Lebanese side), and the "Paris of the Middle East" has been decimated. The capture of a soldier does not violate international law. The murder of civilians does, and an Israeli life is no more worthy or news coverage than a Palestinian one or a Lebanese one.

You're certainly not getting the whole truth when outlets give no coverage to the disproportionate toll of Israel military actions on the Lebanese people. Or what about when antiwar viewpoints were silenced in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq? How about the recent ruling by a federal judge that deemed Bush's warrantless wiretapping program unconstitutional--it was ignored entirely (or only discussed by conservative legal experts) in favor of coverage of Ramsey developments. Jon Stewart did the math--10 year old murder of rich white beauty queen>Israel breaking the ceasefire>occupation of Iraq lasting longer than the US invovlement in WWII.

I have a million bones to pick with the media. That's why I want to be involved in its reform. But if one is criticizing the media, it should be for a tendency towards infotainment and the shuttering of opposing views that's so symptomatic of concentrated ownership and conservative corporate domination. So before jumping on the "liberal media" bandwagon ("Reuters is helping the terrorists!"), please consider the much more sophisticated smoke and mirrors techniques employed by the media at large.

P.S. Here's a story on the blogger from LittleGreenFootballs that challenges some of his accusations.