Friday, February 06, 2009

Do journalists intentionally lie about Palestine?

I don't subscribe to the idea that journalists rarely lie intentionally. In the real world, there are a lot of scumbags in the media world who WILL and DO lie intentionally. We also know that they will deliberately distort facts, miss out facts and frame the argument to suit their own viewpoint. Other journalists will do it less readily and will be uncomfortable but will follow the editorial direction all the same.

Writing an article is about planning - working out a story flow. This is a very conscious process because you are forced to think about what you want the story to convey and put it together so that the ‘facts’ are framed in the context that you want them to read. You decide what ''facts' are the 'attention grabbers' and put those at the top so they can be easily internalised by the casual reader who reads the headline and the first paragraph. Then you arrange the rest according to your story flow using what is known as the pyramid approach. The approach helps you not only to capture attention but to structure your story. It is not necessary for the 'facts' to be true; they can be controversial or attention grabbing statements. The point is to convey YOUR message according to editorial direction. If it does not meet the standards expected (i.e. is not in keeping with the house style and politics) then you will have to redo it.

Why does the BBC always remind us in virtually every article that ‘Israeli invaded Gaza to stop the firing of rockets into Southern Israel’? Why has this Israeli explanation appear to be accepted in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and why does it have to be repeated endlessly? The BBC claim not to have the time or space to add vital context for example the continuing occupation, the Hamas offers for peace based on 1967 boundaries, over 11000 Palestinians currently rotting in Israel prisons (including over 400 children) but they are OK to repeatedly include the Zionist key message that they are merely 'reacting against rockets'. This is a good example of known context that is deliberately ignored. These facts are shocking enough to be headlines. The grotesque images of dead children are available to these media outlets but they are deliberately omitted on the grounds of 'taste'. The media decide for us what constitutes good taste just as they decide what we want to read about.

The lies and distortions would not be swallowed so readily by the public if they were not reasonably credible. It is not that journalists are unaware of the occupation, or unaware of the misery imposed by Israel. Most know full reasonably well the bloody history of ethnic cleansing.Why is it then that the real history does not reach our screens and airwaves? Why are the extremists murderers of Kadima and Labour in Israel portrayed as ‘centrists’ when they order the massacres of children in Gaza? The answer, at least partially, lies in the modern face of Israel with its high standard of living, its ‘democracy’, its Western outlook and lifestyle, which is a world away from misery on the other side of the wall. It is much easier develop relations with Israeli press officers who speak good English and fluently answer questions on ‘terror’. It is easier (and cheaper) to accept the Israeli press releases and dress them up as reporting. The Arabs are difficult to understand, difficult to reach and their culture appears alien. Like people passing by a beggar averting their eyes and pretending not to notice, it is a deliberate and conscious decision to ignore the Palestinians. This is why you see many more Zionist spokespeople on TV and hear them on the radio whilst fluent Palestinians are virtually absent (even though Palestinians are among the best educated peoples in the world).

Reality is complex and the Herman/Chomsky propaganda filters are relevant but it is possible for most intelligent journalists to recognize that what their employers/editors are demanding is not the truth but an angle that favours their proprietor or their own political leanings. Many consciously take the decision to either compromise their beliefs/ethics or do not care anyway and just want to further their careers. The commercial aspect of media business plays a part too despite the usual claims that their advertising is firewalled from the journalism. Which media outlet would risk losing an important advertising account, rather than tone down or ignore a story? It is no conspiracy theory that Zionist business links are spread throughout the corporate world whether it is media, banking, insurance or retail. Many politicians fall over themselves to be ‘friends of Israel’ because this eventually translates into powerful contacts, lucrative consultancies and business opportunities. The links that have been forged with the West are powerful and allow the Zionists to control the agenda to some extent. Establishment propaganda and commercial pressures do the rest.


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