I’ve added a new category: Intimidation of the MSM. I am convinced that this issues goes to the heart of a great deal of what’s wrong — not only are the media systematically intimidated in covering the Palestinians (and beyond that, but to a lesser extent, the Muslims around the world), but they won’t admit it. Like detectives, we have to look for the traces. The case of kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston offers good material to ponder. (Hat tip: LGF)
Again the BBC has an article about the (fairly feeble) attempts of Gazans to protest his kidnapping. As one Restaurant owner Mohammed Zomlot, who is from Gaza, said:
…the Palestinian community in the UK wanted to support Mr Johnston. “I feel that we are the people who really should care about Gaza, and who should care about Alan,” he said. “Because Alan, at the end of the day, he’s one of the people who cares about us and he works for us, and that’s why we have a responsibility to protect him, and we have to ask for his immediate release.”
Now there are multiple observations we can derive from such a statement.
- Johnston was not a “balanced” reporter, but an advocate. “He worked for us.” One can well imagine that Johnston’s reporting reflected, articulated, translated the “Palestinian victim narrative” very faithfully in order to have Gazans describe him so. No foreign reporter in Israel would allow himself to fawn over the Israeli narrative the way Alan did over the Palestinian.
- If Johnston, a tireless advocate for the Palestinian cause got kidnapped by a clan of Muslim extremists, imagine what would happen to a reporter who actually showed skepticism about Palestinian claims, and wrote articles critical of Palestinians — say, something on the way they have turned their schools and media into factories of hatred. As I suggested in my essay on Steve Erlanger’s weak and misleading essay on the “lost generation” in the Palestinian territories, if he were to speak about the poisons that Palestinians administer so generously to themselves, he wouldn’t be welcome back. Johnston was not the “last foreign reporter reporting from Gaza” by accident.
- Whether Johnston was an advocate from conviction (I assume he was), or malicious (any evidence?), he was dishonest. His advocacy, if only by omitting the negative, badly misled his public, and left them with blaming Israel as the only way to explain the utter failure of Gazan society to take advantage of European largesse and getting the Israelis out of their hair to get on their own two feet. One wonders how he would have covered the Gaza Sewage Tsunami, or the current civil war.
- All the overwhelming evidence that Johnston did not even try to be “fair and balanced,” that he sided with the people who allegedly “reported back” to a Western audience about, has not harmed his reputation at all. On the contrary, the BBC article concludes this damnably revealing account by noting that “Last week, Alan Johnston was named broadcast journalist of the year by the London Press Club for his work reporting from the Gaza Strip.”
The London Press Club is, presumably, part of the same “moral” universe as the National Union of Journalists who decided to boycott Israeli products, in a remarkable display of hypocrisy, a move one member of the organization called “inane… and insulting to the intelligence.”
…The “slaughter of civilians” by Israel is condemned (no mention of suicide bombings or human rights abuses by Palestinian militias, needless to say), as is the “savage, pre-planned attack on Lebanon by Israel” and “continued attacks inside Lebanon following the defeat of its army by Hezbollah”.
What kind of language is this? It is tendentious and politically-loaded propaganda that would be rightly edited out of any news story written in a newspaper that had any pretensions of fairness. Israel “defeated” by Hezbollah? That is at best debatable – it’s the kind of wording smacks of a juvenile combination of unedifying gloating and wishful thinking.
Do citizens in Western democracies really want their MSM dominated by such inconsistently self-righteous brand of advocacy journalism? Can we afford it?
I just got an email with the text of a letter from Newton MA, in response to the BBC’s coverage of the latest violence in Gaza. Will the BBC publish it? Probably not. And yet… it illustrates well how advocacy/intimidation journalism can end up having you see things upside down:
On the news hour this morning, there was a story about fighting in Gaza.
After describing the fighting, the program aired a clip of a Palestinian blaming Israel. He said that Hamas and Fatah were fighting each other because of the Israeli blockade.
Does this make any sense?
Did the British start killing each other during the German blockade during World War II?
During any other blockades in history, did the people inside the blockade start killing each other?
Also, it is probably always worth noting that the *only* reason for the blockade is that the Palestinians insist on bringing in guns and rocket launchers instead of food and industrial equipment.
Also, it is worth noting that there is not even a “blockade,” just a careful inspection that slows things down.
I wonder…could it be that the BBC is just intimidated?
Could it be that the BBC is simply afraid to say the Gaza has descended into anarchy and clan and mob rule?
Could it be that the BBC is afraid to put the blame for that where it belongs, with the parties themselves?
- Dan Caine,
Is it possible that if you think it’s all Israel’s fault you might be led to:
Or is that just too outrageously Zionist and racist a suggestion?
Are we waking up yet? Apparently not.