Independently Hostile

The Independent‘s headline about the flareup in Gaza is, in a word, disgraceful.

The Independent is vying for a new low in journalism standards

No-one wants civilian casualties, but outside of video games, that’s what happens in war. And, of course, none of this would have happened if Hamas hadn’t been firing missiles and mortars.

Imagine the outcry if a similar headline had been posted by the Independent about, for example, British bombing attacks in Afghanistan and their civilian casualties. (Funnily enough, you may have missed the detailed coverage. There wasn’t any of substance.) .But, because it’s Israel that is (deliberately) targeted by this vile narrative, whatever criticism is raised will be ignored, and the demonization will continue.

They hate us. And they want everyone else to as well.

Guardian’s up to its usual tricks again

Check out this article.

Note the headline. What is the message that the headline conveys?

Then read the article. Look carefully at what was discussed: aid for Syrian refugees.

It appears the Guardian is trying to put the boot in because it’s Israel, and only because it’s Israel. That twisted headline would never appear for coverage of another country’s affairs. It also appears – actually, not so much ‘appears’, more like ‘is pretty damn certain’ – that the Guardian is more interested in bashing Israel, any friend of Israel, or any potential friend of Israel, than it is in securing help for Syrian refugees. How’s that behavior for a so called liberal newspaper?

I tweeted about this. Not that it will make a difference, but somebody has to call out this dreadful narrative.

Guess who’s paying for Gaza’s electricity?

You cannot have failed to see the angst in the media about the poor Gazans due to have their electricity cut off because Hamas refused to pay for it, and the PA wasn’t going to either. You cannot have failed to notice that, with some honorable exceptions, Israel was blamed. If you ever wanted another fine example of how the West (in particular) treats the Palestinian people and their leadership as immature and unable to determine their own way in life, the electricity supply narrative is as good as any. Hamas isn’t responsible for the electricity supply. The PA isn’t responsible for the electricity supply. Neither of them has any obligation to look after their people, or pay for the electricity they consume. Or so they say. What nonsense. Would any other group of people be treated in such a manner? Of course not. It only works when you can blame the damn Jews Zionists.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the crisis. The electricity supply wasn’t turned off. Why? Because, as the Elder reports, Israel is paying for it.

Think about it for a moment: a people who hate us, who are incited daily to hate us more, and kill us at every opportunity, and yet we supply electricity to them when we have no obligation, moral or otherwise. And, since the situation does not fit the narrative, this is not reported. Arguably, that failure to report by bastions of anti-Israel hate like the Guardian, the BBC and – of course – Haaretz – is as much incitement against Israel as anything Hamas and the PA get up to. But it is a guilt and trouble free incitement with no downside. By their actions, these media outlets are complicit in stoking the fires of anti-Israel feeling. They are, indeed, the enemy.

Take care with that Fidel Castro coverage

Fidel Castro. Source: Wikimedia/Antonio Milena - ABr

Fidel Castro. Source: Wikimedia/Antonio Milena – ABr

As you will have heard, Fidel Castro has died. If you read the information at the Guardian and the BBC, you might get the impression he was some kind of sainted hero. Other views should be considered. For example, as Guido Fawkes points out:

Nothing however beats the BBC’s coverage. They are reporting Castro death more favourably than Thatcher’s. No ‘controversial’. No mention of the thousands summarily executed after the revolution. No mention that he demanded the USSR nuke the USA. No mention of the decades of impoverishment and human rights abuse. No mention of his secret police rounding up homosexuals and putting them in concentration camps. Castro gets a free pass on democratic norms – “his critics accused him of being a dictator”. Does the BBC think that is only an allegation? Particular congratulations to the BBC News Channel, who interviewed “Cuba expert” Richard Gott, without mentioning he was a KGB agent of influence. Slow clap.

In other words, he was a classical, brutal, dictator. Except, that’s not the case for the BBC and the Guardian. For example, here’s what the Guardian has as its token concession to truth:

Critics liked to argue that “General” Castro was no different in essence from any other Latin America dictator, yet such criticism was hard to sustain.

Eh? Liked to argue?  Hard to sustain? The only thing that’s hard to sustain here is the idea that this piece was an attempt at an objectiver obituary. It’s hagiography, pure and simple.

If that type of coverage doesn’t tell you that real journalism has gone nuts, nothing will.

Press to hate

Matti Friedman, writing about the international media in Israel:

In these circles, in my experience, a distaste for Israel has come to be something between an acceptable prejudice and a prerequisite for entry. I don’t mean a critical approach to Israeli policies or to the ham-fisted government currently in charge in this country, but a belief that to some extent the Jews of Israel are a symbol of the world’s ills, particularly those connected to nationalism, militarism, colonialism, and racism—an idea quickly becoming one of the central elements of the “progressive” Western zeitgeist, spreading from the European left to American college campuses and intellectuals, including journalists. In this social group, this sentiment is translated into editorial decisions made by individual reporters and editors covering Israel, and this, in turn, gives such thinking the means of mass self-replication.

Mr Friedman is clearly no Bibi fan, but his personal politics do not prevent him from whistle blowing (as he was a former AP reporter) about the almost unbelievable state of play in the press that covers this part of the world.

Some other extracts:

Confusion over the role of the press explains one of the strangest aspects of coverage here—namely, that while international organizations are among the most powerful actors in the Israel story, they are almost never reported on. Are they bloated, ineffective, or corrupt? Are they helping, or hurting? We don’t know, because these groups are to be quoted, not covered.

That last line is particularly significant. UNRWA anyone?

How about this:

In the aftermath of the three-week Gaza war of 2008-2009, not yet quite understanding the way things work, I spent a week or so writing a story about NGOs like Human Rights Watch, whose work on Israel had just been subject to an unusual public lashing in The New York Times by its own founder, Robert Bernstein.

Editors killed the story.

Around this time, a Jerusalem-based group called NGO Monitor was battling the international organizations condemning Israel after the Gaza conflict, and though the group was very much a pro-Israel outfit and by no means an objective observer, it could have offered some partisan counterpoint in our articles to charges by NGOs that Israel had committed “war crimes.” But the bureau’s explicit orders to reporters were to never quote the group or its director, an American-born professor named Gerald Steinberg. In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.

Considering the people who are interviewed, and whose interviews are broadcast (or published) this ban on Gerald Steinberg is Kafkaesque.

Try this and see if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth:

When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)

Colford, the AP spokesman, confirmed that armed militants entered the AP’s Gaza office in the early days of the war to complain about a photo showing the location of a rocket launch, though he said that Hamas claimed that the men “did not represent the group.” The AP “does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments,” he wrote. “These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news—and not themselves news.”

And the burning question? When is the press going to cover the real story set out by Matti Friedman? When will the press properly cover the press?

Matti Friedman’s piece is unmissable. Read it all here.

[Seen first at the Elder of Ziyon.]

BBC, Brand, and bias

I’m happy to ignore Russell Brand. Whatever I have heard him say, read of his writings, or seen of his appearances, has done nothing to suggest he is anything of substance, and often the opposite. Now this may be grossly unfair. The man may be a great and deep thinker, a philosopher for our times, or something of the sort. But he may also be an average personality with a reasonable stage presence, a sense of timing, solid media connections, and otherwise empty. And it’s in the latter form that he comes across to me. Further, while I have not made an extensive search, there do not appear to be any people of note promoting Brand as somebody of substance. There have however been plenty giving him the gift of publicity and media exposure. And that’s where this post is heading. Continue reading

They see no wrong?

In the public discourse that features Israel, media bias is a prominent part, including the efforts made to delegitimize and demonize Israel, come what may. (The LBI movement – “Let’s bash Israel!”)

That media bias, deligitimization, and demonization is sometimes subtle. Rarely so, but it happens.

Generally, it’s not so subtle, but is explained away with a wash of left wing or liberal (typically) weasel words.

And then there’s stuff like the Arafat Dead Discussion. The slightest, most tenuous link between Israel and Arafat’s death is given uncritical prominence and, linking to unfounded conspiracy theories, promoted without hesitation. Who cares about the damage done?

So, the recent fiasco of a crap report about polonium poisoning – a report that was poor science packaged with public relations possibilities amounting to sod all – was a perfect opportunity for the practitioners of LBI. Did they seize the moment? You bet they did.

Time moves on. There is the publication of a fact based, hard science report, refuting the poisoning and the polonium nonsense. An opportunity to put things right. Did they seize the moment? You bet they didn’t.

In the type of follow up which should see heads roll, BBC Watch offers this comparison:

Arafat poisoned

Source: BBC Watch

Source: BBC Watch

Arafat not poisoned

Source: BBC Watch

Source: BBC Watch

But get this. As BBC Watch reports about the two latter reports:

The two reports – one written (which has undergone numerous changes since its initial publication) and one filmed – both include repetition of Palestinian conspiracy theories which accuse Israel of being responsible for Arafat’s death.

Even when Israel is not to blame, Israel is to blame.

I can sort of understand this garbage from so called Pro Palestinian sites or commentators, but isn’t the BBC supposed to be several leagues above that? And independent? Can they really see no wrong in this? Perhaps they have too much management focus on other issues at the moment, but this is downright awful and inexcusable. They shouldn’t get away with it. They will, but they shouldn’t.

Who will get the BBC to face up to their crimes?

Never mind the headline…

This is the headline from a New York Times piece on the clashes that took place at Rachel’s Tomb, outside Bethlehem:


The headline suggests Israeli troops fired on protesting demonstrators. No context and no explanation up front. It’s a way of reinforcing the nonsense about disproportionate use of force.

And the article starts by reinforcing that nonsense:

“Two Palestinian teenagers were seriously injured Monday when Israeli soldiers used live ammunition to disperse a demonstration at a holy site outside Bethlehem, as clashes in the West Bank continued for a fifth day and thousands attended the burial of a 30-year-old Palestinian who died in an Israeli jail over the weekend.”

It appears the NYT shares much of the Guardian and BBC’s practices. If you read all the way down the article – to paragraph 11 out of 13 – you finally get the context and explanation:


So the hints about disproportionate use of force were bollocks. The “protesters” were throwing “improvised grenades” at “worshipers”. To put it another way, they were trying to kill Jews who were praying at a holy site.

So, the NYT headline could have been:

Palestinian rioters shot while trying to kill worshipers

But no such headline appeared. Instead, more slander and bias. Only belatedly, when most readers have long since moved on, is there any attempt at balance. And a half hearted one at that.

This story is a fine example of why you should rarely believe a Mainstream media headline. In fact, let me rephrase that: this story is a fine example of why you should rarely believe the Mainstream media.

[A tip of the hat to Love of the Land.]