Propaganda Posted by: MichaelW
on Thursday, January 08, 2009
There's really no other word for what is passing as "news" out of Gaza recently.
On my way into work this morning, for example, I was treated to "reporting" of Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera correspondent, who happens to be one of the few journalists in the besieged territory. The interview was conducted on NPR's Morning Edition program and purported to bring us a look at what's actually happening on the ground. Instead I was informed that the Israeli's have acted almost indiscriminately in their campaign against Hamas terrorists, and that within Gaza "there is no safe zone."
Most striking in what was an otherwise standard anti-Israel biased report was the comparison by Mohyeldin of the early-warning systems available in Israel to the lack thereof in Gaza. Mohyeldin exasperatedly informed listeners that Gazans were essentially sitting ducks for the Israeli attacks because (a) there was no warning infrastructure (sirens, etc.), and (b) the Israelis have assaulted every square inch of the territory without mercy. Neither Mohyeldin nor the NPR interviewer mentioned that Israelis have been bombarding areas of attack with leaflets, phone calls and even sound bombs, all intended to clear the area of civilians prior to any actual explosives touching down. Of course, when your enemy actively uses the civilian population as a means towards its own ends, the results are predictable:
Israel's notifications to civilians in Gaza to leave populated locations before they are bombed are cynically used by Hamas for organizing human shields, a new study says.
The study by the Terror and Intelligence Information Center shows that when the IDF warns Arab civilians of an impending attack in their neighborhood, Hamas uses the information in order to organize the civilians into human shields in the hope of protecting the targets from the IDF's wrath.
Hamas's de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and other top terrorists, including Nizar Riyan, who was killed in the course of Operation Cast Lead, have publicly boasted of using the warnings as "intelligence" and then using civilians, including women and children, as human shields to protect the homes of terrorists.
Getting back to the NPR story, I must admit that I was flabbergasted at the sheer propaganda being passed off as "news" in that report. That not one mention was made of the lengths Israel goes to in order to prevent civilian casualties, including the early warnings that Mohyeldin helpfully informed us the Palestinians lack, all while lamenting how "there is no safe zone" in Gaza, serves to underscore just how biased the reporting has been.
And for those who would suggest that perhaps Mohyeldin was not aware of any such early warnings from the Israeli's, he's commented on them in his other reporting:
Earlier on Thursday, thousands of Palestinians fled their homes in the southern Gaza Strip as Israeli forces bombarded Rafah after dropping leaflets to warn local residents about an impending blitz.
Witnesses said that homes, suspected smuggling tunnels and a mosque were hit in the area along the Egyptian border early on Thursday.
The leaflets warned that that the Israeli military "will bomb the area due to its use by terrorists to [dig] tunnels and to stock up" on weapons.
Hundreds of tunnels are believed to cross under the Egyptian border around Rafah allowing Palestinians to smuggle in basic supplies, in short supply due to the Israeli blockade, and weapons.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said the military dropped the flyers "as in the past to avoid civilian casualties".
Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza City, said the flyers would have frightened the civilian population of southern Gaza.
So, according to Mohyeldin, Gazans are more afraid of leaflets than bombs? Interesting reporting there.
Sadly, for those who don't seek out news from sources other than MSM outlets (New York Times, NBC, NPR, CNN, etc.), this is exactly the sort of information that's being offered as the "truth" about what's going on in the Gaza Strip. Eventually, just like "I can see Russia from my house!" the narrative becomes accepted, or too embedded with factual content to ever be fully exposed as a myth. Of course, that may also be one of the reasons why the internet has surpassed print media as a source of news, and its quickly gaining on TV.
One last point for those tempted to spout the latest media narrative about why the reporting out of Gaza has been so awful. If you think that Israel is preventing reporters from entering Gaza so that it can conduct its war crimes out of the view of a responsible press corps, then please ask yourself, "Why haven't they entered through Egypt?" Even NPR's David Folkenflik had to acknowledge that the IDF was not solely responsible for the media blackout of the war zone, albeit with typical MSM spin:
Peled notes that Egypt is not allowing journalists to enter Gaza from the territory's southern border, either. Yet there may be another cause to the restrictions: Israeli officials have long complained that Palestinian activists and terrorist groups manipulate foreign journalists by claiming Israeli atrocities.
See what he did there? One of the statements is a fact (which goes unaddressed), while the other is pure speculation posing as fact. The speculation diverts attention away from the factual content, and back towards the preferred narrative — i.e. Israel bad. Nevermind that the speculative statement is a complete non sequitur (Israeli claims of manipulation may be a reason that Egypt has closed its borders to journalists?). The only important thing is maintain the narrative.