Monday, June 14, 2004

Lying news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

From an article by Nigel Parry damning the U. S. media, and in particular CNN, for its wildly unbalanced coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

"Palestinians and Israelis continue to die because citizens of the US — the country that intervenes more than any other to perpetuate the status quo on the ground — are offered a grossly distorted account of events on the ground that gives them no real sense of the imbalance of power between the two sides in the conflict, no idea of the extent of the US role in the conflict, and little impetus to call for a more even-handed US foreign policy in the Middle East.

It is hard to quantify in absolute terms, but most regular readers of the extremely detailed Palestinian Center for Human Rights' Weekly Reports on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories would be willing to make a safe guess that somewhere in the region of 98% of the violence perpetrated against all civilians in the conflict is violence perpetrated by Israel against Palestinian civilians, their property, and their land.

Consumers of the US media can be forgiven for concluding that the majority of violence is perpetuated by Palestinians against Israeli civilians, as this violence receives grossly disproportionate coverage.
In the same way that Serbian state television was considered complicit in Serbian war crimes by communicating a distorted view to its people of the decade-ago conflict in the former Yugoslavia, it is time that people begin to consider the culpability of the US media."

What I've always wondered is why absolutely massive amounts of Israeli state terrorism applied by an army heavily armed with the most modern in lethal military technology (paid for by the American taxpayers) against an essentially unarmed and destitute Palestinian civilian population is considered to be unworthy of even the slightest notice or comment, but the smallest possible retaliation by a suicide bomber - the most unsophisticated and least efficient form of response imaginable and used only because of the utter lack of an army or proper weapons to effect a military response - who manages to kill himself and possibly a relatively small number of people, is the front-page headline in all the American papers and the first item in all the American news broadcasts. It can't just be official American government support for Israel or Christian Zionist religiously inspired hatred (although both factors are certainly a large part of it). It can't be because civilians are the target of the suicide bombers, as civilians are also the predominant target of the Israeli state terrorism, and the Palestinians suffer in far, far greater numbers. The imbalance in the actual terror applied to civilians is so extreme, and the news coverage so absurdly biased the other way, that there must be another explanation. I think that people instinctively side with the alpha dog, the side which currently holds the most power, and at this time that dog is Israel (with conservatives more likely to support the overdog, and progressives the underdog). It's the same reaction which causes winning sports teams to have more fans. The reason people don't support the Palestinians is simply because nobody wants to side with the inevitable loser. This belief system is so ingrained that we don't even see state terrorism as being real terrorism. Since a winning state wouldn't terrorize civilians, the losing Palestinians must have some other, no doubt evil, basis for their attacks on innocent civilians. Of course, Americans also have moral feelings which would cause them to feel sympathy for the oppressed, and to be outraged at the massive amount of suffering paid for with American dollars and encouraged by the American government, but the one-sided news coverage of all American news outlets, including CNN, means they just see plucky Israel defending itself against terrorism, fighting a fair fight and winning despite all the odds. The fact that it is Israel that commits the predominant number of terrorist acts, and that the suicide bombers are a response to this state terrorism (and you can connect almost every suicide bombing to some specific prior Israeli attack against Palestinians), is simply never mentioned in the American news coverage. This news coverage is a lie, and people ought to be held to account for it.