Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Atrocity Propaganda in the Gaza Crisis

Just a thought from a PhD in Film/TV. What I've seen as coverage of the Gaza crisis has pretty much resembled the "atrocity propaganda" from World War I--the type of thing the British put out about Germans killing Belgian nuns. After the war, it became clear that these stories were exaggerations, if not outright lies. The skepticism about that sort of thing led to doubts about reports of mass killings of Jews and other civilians by Nazis in WWII, and may have contributed to the ability of Hitler to get away with much of his "Final Solution."

What has been noticeable in the footage of wounded children and bombed schools in Gaza has been the complete lack of any reporting on Hamas's war aims, political aims, or larger goals--as well as a studied indifference to Hamas' tactics in Gaza prior to the Israeli assault.

IMHO, this is not accidental. Any discussion of Hamas' history, ideology, or record of savage violence--a literal "reign of terror"--would reduce sympathy for the Gaza regime. So, the media must concentrate on civilian casualties to whip up anti-Israel hatred through atrocity order to help Hamas. As Marxists used to say, reporters like Julian Manyon of ITN News (whose reports from Gaza have appeared on PBS's Newshour with Jim Lehrer in the USA) are "objectively" working for Hamas, although they may subjectively think of themselves as unbiased.

Why is this the media focus? Not for ratings or to sell newspapers. Its purpose is to defeat Israel in the court of public opinion and force the Big Powers to help Hamas.

That is, the editorial rationale behind much coverage of Gaza that I have seen is obvious: not to report the war in Gaza, but to demonize Israel.

It is working, which is why there have been attacks on Jews in Europe and Canada. In this sense, Western media outlets such as the BBC and most American networks bear a responsibility for stoking Jew-hatred. Were they to actually report the war aims, strategy and tactics of Hamas, they would be forced by logic and self-interest to adopt an anti-Hamas stance...

From the Council on Foreign Relations website:
What does Hamas believe and what are its goals?

Hamas combines Palestinian nationalism with Islamic fundamentalism. Its founding charter commits the group to the destruction of Israel, the replacement of the PA with an Islamist state on the West Bank and Gaza, and to raising "the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine." Its leaders have called suicide attacks the "F-16" of the Palestinian people. Hamas believes "peace talks will do no good," said the Hamas leader Abd al-Aziz Rantisi in April 2004. "We do not believe we can live with the enemy."