News? Or propaganda? Posted by: mcq
on Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Interesting opening paragraph in a Washington Times story by Betsy Pisik:
Every morning, visiting journalists gather at a bombed-out roadside cafe in southern Beirut to be escorted by Hezbollah operatives through a bewildering wasteland that used to house 50,000 people.
And the escorts are going to take them where? Show them what? What is the price of such an escort?
Pisik notes that life goes on, almost normally, in northern Beirut and even the center of the city has some sense of normalcy. The attention of the Israelis has been concentrated in the southern part of Beirut, where Hezbollah operates.
The ruined streets of Dahiyah are about 15 miles from Beirut's business center, but they feel like another planet.
The apartment buildings still standing are mostly evacuated, and the streets are empty of children. The only locals visible when three dozen journalists visited yesterday were the young Hezbollah guards on their scooters and a single man sweeping up glass.
"The Israelis bombed civilians ... because they have run out of targets and the resistance is still strong," said Hossein Naboulsi, the de facto spokesman for Hezbollah.
The guards shoo photographers off the rubble and back onto the street, where twisted metal, chunks of fallen concrete and the detritus of broken lives create a dangerous carpet.
Mr. Naboulsi said he has no idea how many residents have been killed in the air strikes, nor will anyone until all the rubble is carted off and the grim search mission undertaken. He said most residents were evacuated before the explosions, but that some obviously chose to remain.
Of course, what Mr. Naboulsi fails to mention is Hezbollah has purposely based itself among civilians so it can make that exact charge. Hezbollah sees mixing itself with the civilian population as a type of weapon, one that can be used, and apparently effectively, in the propaganda war. Willing reporters and photographers eager to accept invitations from Hezbollah in order to report first-hand from the devastated areas of Beruit, listen to the one-sided story as the price of admission. And, unfortunately, many report it to a watching world as fact.
Ms. Pisik seems to understand that to some degree as much of her report dwells on that part of Beirut, the seeming majority of the city, which remains undamaged and is, for the most part, resuming a level of normal life. But if anyone has watched or read various news reports from Beirut from other sources, this is hardly well known. It doesn't fit well with the emerging meme of Israeli overreaction or that of Lebanon's devastated infrastructure.
As you watch and read these reports about Beirut in future days, see how much of Ms. Pisik's balance shows up in them. It will be a good indication of how effective Hezbollah's propaganda effort has been. Make no mistake, the terrorists know how to play this game as effectively as any state.
Hmm, I wonder what it would take for the MSM to start sourcing anonymous journalist’s stories. They have no problem doing anonymous reporting from unnamed government sources and it would help unhinge the access problem where they don’t get access if the minders don’t like what they are writing. I don’t think it is the best scenario, but since they are making similar arguments anyway, shouldn’t they be using that technique to get a bigger picture in more circumstances?
Of course, what Mr. Naboulsi fails to mention is Hezbollah has purposely based itself among civilians so it can make that exact charge. Hezbollah sees mixing itself with the civilian population as a type of weapon, one that can be used, and apparently effectively, in the propaganda war.
I guess I have a different analysis: it’s not so much that Hezbollah hides among the civilians, but that Hezbollah comprises the "civilians". I think the situation with Hamas is similar. When "civilian" support for a militant group is so high that the group is a successful political party, and "civilians" participate in taking up arms against the enemy on a given night because they just have nothing better to do that night, the model of "terorists hiding among civilians" doesn’t really fit.
It’s a very hard problem to deal with, in terms of rules of engagement. What do you do when a third of any crowd is perfectly willing to attack you, but are peacfully going about their business unarmed and unthreatening this afternoon? The traditional (and very helpful) distinction between civilian and combatant seems to be missing entirely in these cases, unless you simply look at who’s holding a gun right now.
Willing reporters and photographers eager to accept invitations from Hezbollah in order to report first-hand from the devastated areas of Beruit, listen to the one-sided story as the price of admission. And, unfortunately, many report it to a watching world as fact.
Give me a break.
Last Saturday, Israel knocked out television transmission station owned by LBC, a station that has often been critical of Hezbollah. From the AP:
In Lebanon, Prime Minster Fuad Saniora said he was not surprised by Israel’s hit on LBC, one of the most profitable TV stations in the region.
"They want to blot out the voice of the Lebanese, and hide the truth from Lebanese citizens," he told reporters. "They want to impose a darkness on the country and its media."
If it were up to Israel, no news would be coming out of Lebanon. It would seem that if you were really concerned that the whole story was not coming out of Lebanon, you would direct your criticism at Israel. After all, it is Israel that took out the opposition’s ability to transmit the news out of Lebanon, not Hezbollah.
But something tells me that is not really what you are concerned about.
Well, except for a broadcast by one of the major networks that was watched by tens of millions of viewers.
Watched CNN lagely Pogue? NBC is podunk compared to what that network draws and it’s been right in the middle of broadcasting nothing but smoke and devastation and breathless accounts of Lebanese civilian deaths from Beruit.
Reading the Washington Times, as I point out, shows more balance. I simply ask those observing the coverage to note whether in fact most other news soruced did or didn’t do so. The fact that one network did one story on "two Beiruts" doesn’t invalidate the point.
If Pogue is attacking McQ "attacking" the media, it must be Wednesday.
If Pogue is attacking McQ "attacking" the media, it must be Wednesday.
Fair enough. Perhaps “attack” was the wrong verbiage.
Ya’ know, this* kinda’ crap is really beginning to annoy me much more than usual. This “meme” that the press is somehow skewing the news in favor of our opponents. And they’re not reporting the so-called “good news” from various hotspots. Well, what do you expect? They seek stories from bombed out neighborhoods, not stories of someone peacefully getting a coffee.
And people like Laura Ingram, who constantly chide reporters as lazy, biased, and cowardly. When in fact, people like Kimberly Dozier and Laura Logan voluntarily risk their safety to bring news to you*.
I saw Laura Logan put on a vest and climb into a Humvee to go with soldiers on a patrol of Baghdad. That takes balls, dude*. And for people* to suggest that she is a lazy coward brings cause for me come to her defense.
These reporters are just doing their job. Of course they’re going to go to the devastated areas of Beirut, that’s where the news is.
Ms. Pisik seems to understand that to some degree as much of her report dwells on that part of Beirut, the seeming majority of the city, which remains undamaged and is, for the most part, resuming a level of normal life.
Pfft. So there are areas that the Israelis are not bombing. Great, thanks for the update. I’ll be sure to remember that the next time I see a photo of a child with his head blown off. It’s not so bad. There are areas of Beirut that aren’t being bombed.
WTF does that have anything to do with anything? Propaganda? Couldn’t one see pictures of people peacefully getting a coffee in Haifa as propaganda? It’s not so bad. There are areas that Hezbollah is not bombing.
This “meme” that the press is somehow skewing the news in favor of our opponents.
"Skewing" ... how about a balanced report or two?
You know ... both sides.
Instead all we get are:
They seek stories from bombed out neighborhoods, not stories of someone peacefully getting a coffee.
Ya see, buddy, balance, perspective, a sense of context would demand the inclusion of the fact that in some areas some are "peacefully getting a coffee." That gives you a sense of the overall picture instead of just the bit they decide you can see.
** - Mostly you, McQ.
OK, I’m p*ssed ... I looked all over for ** and zip, nada, none.
So was this just a general rant with ** to keep my attention or did you actually have a point?
Oh and this:
And for people* to suggest that she is a lazy coward brings cause for me come to her defense.
Yeesh ... who said she was a coward? The complaint is the quality of the coverage, not her personal bravery. Sounds like the "he’s questioning my patriotism" canard.
Ms. Pisik’s article is a waste of ink.
I would say something about you and pixels here but it would be a wasted effort. But I love you anyway Pogue.