• Lebanon
  • August 14, 2006
  • 5 minutes read

The Israeli War and American Media

“While it is politically incorrect to say that all Muslims are terrorists, it is true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim”, Mr. Danny Gillerman

The UNnatural Selection

Given the worlwilde extent of racism still today, I would not have been half as “shocked and distressed” by this statement had it not been ejaculated from the Israeli ambassador to the UN (during an interview on Fox News channel). Mr. Danny Gillerman is, in fact, a very strange creature by way of a diplomate. He does not try to conceal his outrageously bigoted point of view whilst his statement literally translates to the following: All muslims are terrorists, but since it is politically incorrect to say so, I will contend myself with saying that all terrorists are muslim, nearly. Clearly, Mr. Gillerman has no patience for all those elegant decorums which his counterparts at the UN may observe.

All the more surprising was the non reactionary stance of the media with regard to this statement. On July 28th, The australian-american actor Mel Gibson reportedly said that the  Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world’ while he was drunk. Whereas the media had a munificent coverage on Gibson’s derogatory comment and its ramifications, it did not mention even once Mr. Gillerman’s racist statement. In absolute terms, is it unforgivable to say that the Jews are the cause of all wars but understandable to say that all Muslims are terrorits? Put in their respective contexts, does a drunken actor’s disparaging statement carry more weight than that of a country’s ambassador in the midst of a war? Between Gibson’s and Gillerman’s statements, which one more naturally selects itself for the media coverage? Which one natrually deservers more attention?

The Disproportionate Coverage

The fact of the matter is, the American media is taking its own disproportionate measures by inconsistently covering the Israeli war on Lebanon. When Aderson Cooper, the host of AC360 degrees on CNN, spends the bulk of his time in Haifa talking about the effects of Katyucha rockets on the city, covering in lebanon only to prove that the Hezbollah is manipulating the western media, 360 degrees seems to be more of a 180. Were he to proportionally cover the aftermath of the bombings, he would have been focusing on the thousand civilians dead in Lebanon, the million displaced and the billions lost in infrastructure, which, I trust, are more severe an impact than a house destroyed by some Katyucha.

But the problem of disproportionate coverage does not only stem from the biased and unnatrual selection of what is being covered but also from how the events are being covered and in what light the Lebanese side is presented. When Fox News channel, after a full week of war, finally decided to bring a Lebanese to talk about the “middle east crisis”, it hosted what it called “a former Lebanese terrorist”, a psychopath that claimed he was cured from terrorism by converting to chirstianity, and that the problem of terrorism will be solved by the US invading the region and staying there. Most of the questions that are asked by talk show hosts an achors on the american news channel are rethorical and show a deliberate attempt to forge the public opinion. They are prima facie evidence of unethical behavior. Asking a representative from the Israeli government if Israel has gone too far in this war is but a tragic farce.

This is not to say that there are no good reporters in Lebanon, good anchors or talk show hosts. There are, indeed, excellent reporters that are risking their lives to relate the events they are seeing and the impact of the brutal war conducted by Israel on Lebanon. Similarly, some anchors go beyond their way to inteview all parties concerned. Nic Robertson (CNN reporter) and Contessa Brewer (MSNBC Anchor) are a prime example of proportionate reporting. However, it is unfortunately a decision made by the news channels executive to cast the blame for the war solely on the shoulders of the Hezbollah. The resulting is a view presented to the american public totally divorced from reality.

It is ironic that the Israeli media has been much more critical of the war then their counterparts in the United States. Unless some probity in the american coverage of the “middle east crisis” is restored, it is unlikely that the overwhelming majority of American viewers will change its discriminatory and opinionated view of the “middle east” any time soon.