Friday, November 21, 2008

Media Lies Through Omission

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

Graphic courtesy of Free Canuckistan!

As Democrats gear up to silence the voices of Conservative radio through a so-called Fairness Doctrine, the main stream media continues to report and lie through omission. This is a nasty little habit that has become all too prevalent.

We were barraged with Obama's plans for hope and change, but there was nary a word of the depths of his seedy associations, valid questions about his citizenship, his connection to Raila Odinga's Kenyan philosophies, for which he campaigned, his philosophy of Black Liberation theology, or his well-documented ties to ACORN.

Press omissions affect international news, too, and of course they would - if not so, there would be no need to omit actual facts.

These omissions are often used to show Israel in a unfavorable light, and to hide the successes in Iraq. Curious that the half omitted always reflects favorably for Conservative causes.

Official statements issued by the United Nations condemning both Palestine and Israel are brazenly reported as a criticism of Israel only. These reports affect a world view of Israel and Palestine: Palestine the victim, Israel the war monger. These reports are designed to misrepresent. And, misrepresent...they do.

Comments from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have been reported by half. If Ban condemns both sides, the condemnation is reported as against Israel alone. Just to be clear, the "criticism" or "condemnation" of Palestine is often swept under the rug.

Two examples in 2008 alone from CAMERA:

The United Nations Secretary-General last March issued a brief statement condemning Palestinian rocket fire as "terrorism" and condemning Israel response as "disproportionate and excessive." Subsequently, in a dramatic violation of journalistic ethics, a number of prominent media organizations relayed only his comments about Israel's response and ignored the portion dealing with Palestinian terrorism. (See CAMERA's full analysis here.)

Several months later, the media had a second chance to get it right. In November, after Palestinians resumed rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns and Israel shut down its border crossings into Gaza, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon again delivered a statement condemning both rocket attacks and measures that increase hardship for Gaza civilians. But again, several reporters chose to inform readers only about part of Ban's statement.

Associated Press reporter Ben Hubbard, for example, quoted only the portion of the statement expressing concern with measures that may harm Gaza civilians. The Secretary-General's condemnation of rocket attacks was ignored completely — an omission all the more glaring because his article, "Rockets from Gaza strike deep into Israel" (11/14), was primarily about Hamas's rocket attacks.

A Nov. 16 news brief in the Los Angeles Times also selectively reported on Ban's statement: "U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to open the crossings to humanitarian aid. Measures that increase the suffering ‘are unacceptable and should cease immediately,' he said in a statement." Readers have no way of knowing that he condemned the rocket fire.
Reading Hubbard's account and the LA Times, in these instances, an unaware reader will ask "what rocket fire? Readers would have no clue.

There were journalists who got it right, and reported factually. We are in the odd position of being gratuitously grateful to those who choose to do the job right. Poor reporting is first, accepted, and then ignored. Subverting the truth has become common place in 2008.

Where is the outrage?

The Background: On November 4th, Israel received information on a tunnel built to abduct Israeli soldiers. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) forces entered Gaza, located the entrance to the tunnel INSIDE a residential home and neighborhood, and entered the structure. They encountered Hamas militants who opened fire. Israel replied. Injuries ensued on both sides. The tunnel was destroyed.

Israeli's are familiar with Hamas tunnels. On January 25, 2006, 19 year old Gpl. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and two soldiers died. The Hamas tunnel stretched 300 yards under the border, into Israel. Shalit is still missing. Israel doesn't plan to lose more of its own to tunnel kidnappings.

CAMERA pointed out that China's state-run wire service got it right and asked this question: "If the Chinese state media can get it right, shouldn't the independent U.S. press do the same?"

Read other incidents of blatant disregard of Palestinian culpability here and here.

There is no shame attached to blatant misrepresentation in the press. Some in Congress are trumpeting their support for a Fairness Doctrine, where only a few months ago, it was only admitted behind closed doors. The Left has a confidence now that issues may be distorted, misrepresented and even lied about at will.

There must be a consequence that concerned American's can impose. How do we keep up the energy to write, email and boycott? It's a good question. If you have ideas, I'd love to hear them.

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