Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Truth telling by U.S. newsmedia is a lost art

Truth telling is an art that, by any measure, has been relegated to the past by the U.S. newsmedia.

Members of the press, generally, no longer present the facts in an objective manner, particularly as it affects developments in the Middle East.

Pressure by right-wing Jewish groups and others on the media has been highly effective and Americans have been brainwashed into believing one side of the story while the other side is simply distorted or ignored.

The stories we get are a highly sophisticated form of disinformation.

Robert Fisk addresses this issue in an article entitled "Telling It Like It Isn't," first published in the L.A. Times. (Here is the link via Truthout.)

"I used to call the Israeli Likud Party 'right wing,'" he said. "But recently, my editors have been telling me not to use the phrase. A lot of our readers objected." And so now, I asked? "We just don't call it 'right wing' anymore."....

This is only the tip of the semantic iceberg that has crashed into American journalism in the Middle East. Illegal Jewish settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab land are clearly "colonies," and we used to call them that. I cannot trace the moment when we started using the word "settlements." But I can remember the moment around two years ago when the word "settlements" was replaced by "Jewish neighborhoods" - or even, in some cases, "outposts."...

Then there is the "wall," the massive concrete obstruction whose purpose, according to the Israeli authorities, is to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from killing innocent Israelis. In this, it seems to have had some success. But it does not follow the line of Israel's 1967 border and cuts deeply into Arab land. And all too often these days, journalists call it a "fence" rather than a "wall." Or a "security barrier," which is what Israel prefers them to say. For some of its length, we are told, it is not a wall at all - so we cannot call it a "wall," even though the vast snake of concrete and steel that runs east of Jerusalem is higher than the old Berlin Wall....

For Palestinians to object violently to any of these phenomena thus marks them as a generically vicious people. By our use of language, we condemn them.
In conclusion Mr. Pitts writes: "So let's call a colony a colony, let's call occupation what it is, let's call a wall a wall. And maybe express the reality of war by showing that it represents not, primarily, victory or defeat, but the total failure of the human spirit."

Given this biased reporting, it is no wonder that most Americans have been brainwashed into believing that Israelis are "good" and Palestinians are "bad."

The question that remains unanswered and has led to so much resentment and hatred not only in the region but all across the globe is: Given that Palestinians had absolutely nothing to do with the Holocaust, why were hundreds of thousands thrown out of their homes to make room for Jewish immigrants after WWII?

Is it any wonder that the Arab/Muslim world resents the humiliation that Palestinians have suffered for the better part of six decades given that Palestinians are seen as one of their own?

Answering these and other questions honestly is clearly taboo and one of the reasons that the war on hatred declared by members of the "Bush-Sharon Axis" will not be won anytime soon.


Anonymous Dana said...

Translation: if journalists aren't using left-wing propaganda, it's not fair. The author complained that he wasn't supposed to use "right-wing" to describe the Likud Party, but never mentioned whether the same stylebook also prevented him from using "left-wing" to describe the Israeli Labor Party.

The author clearly has a liberal bias, which, in writing an opinion piece, he is certainly allowed to have. But what he is complaining about is his inability, due to the editorial stylebook, to impose his biases on news stories. Occassionally, just occassionally, some newspapers try (not always successfully) to be objective.

11:37 AM  

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