Where’s the truthful reporting about Gaza?

Something unusual is occurring in the coverage of the “conflict” in Gaza over the past couple of weeks, and it’s worth noting here. I’m actually beginning to see discussion about why the press automatically takes a pro-Zionist position in all things related to the Middle East. This is healthy, I believe, because it’s a very two-sided story, and it signals a shift in the authority of the status quo — including the press — to control the spin of any two-sided story.

Let me begin by denouncing the shameful slaughter of innocent people in the place known as the Gaza Strip. This brutality ranks historically with other one-sided “wars,” where one group uses force to control another. If you’re the aggressor, you’re protecting yourself. If you’re the oppressed, it’s called genocide. We never hear that word associated with Israel, because they are automatically granted the status of righteousness by the ruling class of the U.S.

The Israeli war machine takes orders from no one, and the saddest part of all is that we, that beacon of freedom on a hill, blindly support the effort. Until now, nobody’s had the balls to probe why.

Chief among the journalists with gonads is Glenn Greenfeld, who wrote last week at Salon that “Both parties cheerlead still more loudly for Israel’s war.”

The unusually worded Red Cross condemnation of Israel was prompted by its discovery, after finally being allowed into Gaza, of starving Palestinian children laying next to corpses, with ambulances blocked for days by the IDF. Even with the relative “restraint” Israel is excercising (the damage it could cause is obviously much greater), this is not so much of a war as it is a completely one-sided massacre.

As a result, much of the world is urging an end to the war and acting to forge a cease-fire — except the United States. Here, blind and unequivocal support for the Israeli attack is actually increasing almost as fast as the Palestinian body count piles up. Apparently, it isn’t enough that we supply the very bombs being dropped on the Palestinians and use our U.N. veto power to prevent any U.N. action to stop the war or even to urge its cessation. The U.S. Congress wants to involve the U.S. further still in Israel’s war.

If you give a crap about how the U.S. is viewed in the world, you’ll go read Greenfeld’s piece, and then ask yourself why the press in the U.S. feeds us an unchallenged and relentless stream of pro-Israeli propaganda.

Jay Rosen looks at this in his latest, one of his most brilliant essays. He also references Greenfeld and makes the case that the Internet has diminished the authority of the press to determine what is or isn’t worth discussing, and that is especially the case in the Middle East.

As those who’ve followed my work know, I have family in Amman, Jordan, so I’m terribly interested in what takes place there. My son-in-law’s family is Palestinian, and their view of the world is very different than ours. Many of my “family” members have Facebook pages, and they’ve turned their status updates over to a Facebook plug-in that provides daily stats on the dead and injured. As of this writing, it’s 917 dead, including 284 children and 100 women, and 4,260 injured. In their own way, they are proving Rosen’s theory, that the ability of people to connect horizontally interferes with a status quo that needs people only looking upwards.

This is why I have said for a long time that one of the future blessings of the Web is its ability to overpower the old saying that, in war, the victor gets to write the history. Today, that’s impossible, except apparently in the United States, where we go about our lives oblivious to the dreadful mess in Gaza (and elsewhere).

The Palestinians look at the establishment of the Jewish State as “The Cataclysm,” because the land — their land — was taken from them, with the support of the world’s powers. To them, the Israelis are occupiers, and we need to understand that the conflict this causes in the region will never go away.

Many years ago, my son-in-law told me of roving bands of armed Israeli citizens (not army) who would terrorize Palestinians along the West Bank and in Gaza. These people, he said, could kill Palestinians with impunity, so I wrote to an old friend who covered the region for one of the networks. “Oh yeah,” he told me. Why don’t you cover this, I asked? “We do,” he responded, “but the stories get spiked in New York.”

This is part of the controlling mechanism that professional journalism uses (and as Rosen so brilliantly exposes) to set and maintain the agenda for what is deemed relevant discussion.

The Internet disrupts many things in our world, but this one, I believe, will have the most lasting impact.

Pray for the people of Gaza.

Comments

  1. Thank you putting together this post. Very enlightening.

  2. “american media” has just handed aljazeera the story on a silver platter.

    1. the new york times had a piece on aljazeera’s coverage yesterday.

    2. the aljazeera property has taken a huge leap forward in design (not a total re-design which usually only pisses off loyal users, but simple modifications without a huge amount of clutter).

    3. although alexa hasn’t updated since jan. 7th, aljazeera’s traffic has rocketed as folks are going to “the source”.

    4. as of today aljazeera made much of their video freely available under creative commons (see their twitter feed for the link).

    5. did i mention they are making use of twitter?

    6. and youtube?

  3. Thanks for the nice writing. I would like to add that we have access to at least 20 international channels that we can watch. Almost half in the English language. They all have terrible footage comming day in and day out. This time is different than any massacre the israeli army had committed ever. They are using F16’s, naval vessels, Apache’s, tanks, arelery and white phosphoric shells. They are so angry that some young men in Ghaza are resisting the aggression, so they are killing the children and women instead.
    We wake up everymorining to footage of children burned, cut up and lying dead. We also see that demonstrations in the entire world against the aggression. In Spain, 250,000 people in the street; in London, Turkey, Vezsuall, Norway, Germany, and the entire Muslim world.
    The hate is all to Israel and to the supporters of them, such as the gevernment of the United States of America.

  4. Do I smell change in the air? and I’m not talking about Obama 🙂
    I agree with everything written here, bless you Mr.Terry.

  5. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to re=-post this in my notes on Facebook. Would that be ok with you?

  6. Sabreen, be my guest. All entries in this blog are under a Creative Commons copyright license, which means you are free to re-post as you wish.

  7. Thanks Terry, we know so little about whats going on in this area. This has helped me and Darleen a lot.

  8. Nicole Bovey says

    Thanks for this post and getting the word out there. The blockage of foreign media into the Gaza Strip during the ‘war’ especially changed how the US has seen what is going on, or more accurately, NOT seen.

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