Tuesday, August 05, 2014

5-Aug-14: How the media were expected to contribute to Hamas' war effort

Gaza: Fatah/Hamas press event, June 2014 [Image Source]
Richard Landes, who coined the term Pallywoodhas done more than most people to highlight the ways in which the owners and workers of the global media industry have become willing or unwitting dupes of some very evil forces (see for instance "Al-Durah and the tragic legacy of lethal journalism", January 2013). He has just today published an important article at The American Interest, entitled "The Media’s Role in Hamas’ War Strategy". 

Here's a brief extract:
Hamas’ strategy, what Elie Wiesel characterizes as child sacrifice, can only work if it has the sustained cooperation of the international news media, which must fulfill two key tasks in the strategy: 1) broadcast to the outside world the suffering the conflict causes; and 2) implicitly or explicitly blame Israel for that suffering. Without the first, there is no sense of outrage and urgency. Without the second, the world might not intervene on the Jihadi side.
Hamas shows full cognizance of the media’s importance. It has even issued detailed directions to Gazan “social media activists.” And although Hamas addressed them to Palestinian social media activists, the guidelines clearly apply to their media “fixers” who direct all the foreign journalists working in Gaza. One might call these directives the “Hamas media protocols."
  • not to show Hamas fighters, certainly not firing from hospitals and schools;
  • to attribute all the casualties to Israeli attacks;
  • to call all dead “civilians”; 
  • to give the statistics Hamas supplies as facts, emphasizing how the “vast majority” of casualties are civilian;
  • to show the face of Palestinian suffering 24x7;
  • to give voice—their own and those of invited guests—to indignation and outrage over the appalling carnage.
So consistently has the media played these scripted roles that it has become a mere pawn in a predictable game. Jeremy Bowen explains: Every conflict plays out between the time the Israelis go in to stop the rocketing until the time that Western outrage at civilian casualties gets them to stop. The more victims, the greater the pressure. Anticipating the ground invasion, Christiane Amanpour asks Tony Blair during Operation Cast Lead: “The civilian casualties in Gaza are obviously going to put huge pressure on Israel. How long can Israel withstand this pressure?” It is a main goal of the activist media to emphasize Palestinian suffering to such a degree that Israel will stop.

The entire article is certainly attention-worthy.

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