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How the Media Enable Terrorism 
by Rachel Neuwirth
[commentator/analyst] 8/8/06

A major segment of the global media is behaving in a manner that makes terrorism and mass killings more likely rather than less likely. They enable and encourage terrorist slaughter of innocents by supplying providing a propaganda bonanza for the terrorist ause. Without the gain, there would be less incentive for the horrific behavior.

This is true now with Israeli defense measures against Hezbolla terrorism, and has been true for many years, especially during the long Arab-Israeli conflict. Not enough attention has been paid to media manipulation. It is long overdue that this be exposed and the media be confronted and held accountable.

Rachel Neuwirth

Rachel Neuwirth is President of Middle East Solutions [go to Neuwirth index]

The general public derives its perception of the wider reality beyond direct personal experience via the media. When the major media all sing a similar tune the public generally assumes it is being honestly informed. The internet and talk radio often challenge the major media, but not everyone has the time or interest to become well-informed on the many issues and sort things out, especially when the alternative media also present conflicting views of reality.

The major media can spin and color stories to suit their agenda. They can rile up the public over certain issues or hide vital information. When the media riles up the public, governments can feel pressured to act in one direction or the other. All this conflicts with honest reporting.

A prime example involves a front page photo in the New York Times. An angry Israeli policeman is seen brandishing his police club while standing over a bloodied man on the ground. The Times caption reads:

“ An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount.”

The photo suggests a Palestinian so badly beaten that blood was running down his face. Publishing such an inflammatory photo had to generate extreme outrage against Israel, and the Times had to know it.

But the caption was effectively a lie.

The victim was a Jew beaten by Arabs. The Israeli policeman was defending the victim. When the Times was forced to retract they did it grudgingly and then added another lie to the story until public outrage forced them to come clean with the real story. The action of the Times (“All the news that’s fit to print”) was so outrageous that a media watchdog organization was born in response.

Please go here and see “The photo that started it all” on the top right. Then read the details of how the New York Times prints “All the news that fits.” There is no mention that anyone at the Times was punished. If the once-prestigious New York Times can be so deceptive we are now in a new era of extreme media dishonesty and must be extra vigilant.

In the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel’s Arab enemies long ago developed an effective way to promote anti-Jewish terror and win the public relations battle in the process. Yasser Arafat early on employed the tactic of shooting at Jews from behind Arab women and children which were used as shields. The Israelis were caught in a dilemma. Not to fire back meant being helpless to respond to the ongoing slaughter of Jews. But to fire back meant unavoidable loss of Arab civilians, including children. And with a complicit media conveniently present (by appointment?) to see and film and later to edit. The resulting story would emphasize the retaliation over the provocation, making it seem as if Israel was deliberately targeting Arab civilians. Reality would be a product manufactured to suit.

This tactic required the willingness of Arab leaders to deliberately sacrifice many Arab civilians in the process of attacking Israel. Many Arabs have long been brainwashed via their schools, their media and their mosques to see Israelis, and even all Jews, as monsters bent on their destruction. This made it easier to keep them compliant with these tactics. Also, any Arabs who objected could be killed.

In Lebanon today Hezbollah is employing the same tactic. Their rocket attacks often originate from within civilian areas which will assure civilian casualties. They, and their supporters, accuse Israel of deliberately targeting civilians. If Israel really wanted to target civilians it would not take a full week of intensive bombing to kill 250 people.Many in the media have now joined the chorus of “disproportionate response” and targeting of civilians. They call, in effect, for a one-sided cease fire where Israel ceases and Hezbolla remains free to fire.

It would help if Israel and her friends would make it clear to all that Israel only targets sources of aggression. But the media, by their skewed reporting, is making it politically profitable for Hezbolla to locate rocket launchers in the midst of civilian areas. This reinforces the Hezbolla tactics and increases the civilian death toll.

The major media are thus directly complicit in enabling this tactic to continue and for more Lebanese civilians to be killed. If the major media would tell the whole truth and place the blame entirely on the Hezbolla terrorists it would no longer be politically profitable to continue this tactic. People who care might communicate to the media on this and even send them a copy of this article as back-up.

It would also help greatly if Israel would explain more clearly that:

1. It makes great efforts to not attack innocent civilians.

2. It will target every rocket launcher, no matter where it is located, and it is the responsibility of Hezbolla and the Lebanese to remove civilians from that area.

It would also help if the American Jewish leadership would finally wake up and show the complicity and culpability of the U.S. media in the killing of Lebanese civilians. This would at least take the political and public relations profit out of terrorism. CRO

copyright 2006 Rachel Neuwirth





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