August 02, 2006

Worst Comment Ever

In a discussion of the Qana massacre over at Karol's, the commenter known as "Jake" has this to say:

"People are blaming these deaths on Hezbollah or the Israelis while ignoring the parties that are 90% responsible for the slaughter...

These parties are the European and American MSM. The blood of women and children are on their hands and lips. They are the true murderers in this conflict. They are the essence of evil.

Without the cooperation, collusion and encouragement of Western media, Hezbollah would not have used human shields in conducting their warfare. They would not have expended the effort to cause these women and children to die. Western MSM caused these deaths and will cause many more before this conflict is resolved."

This comment has everything: Moral obtuseness. Lack of perspective. Collective punishment of an entire profession, based on no examples at all. Straw-man argumentation. And failure to understand the function of a free press.

I don't care how much you dislike the media. Hezbollah fires rockets at civilians, and the media doesn't. Therefore, the media is not more evil than Hezbollah. And once again, the media is not a single monolithic, collective, entity.

I'm a member of "MSM." I'm certainly not a "fan" of Hezbollah, and I suspect I'd love to see them destroyed by Israel just as much as Jake does. But I fail to see how in the hell the people how report on murders are somehow worse than those who committed them, much less the equal of them. By that logic, Truman Capote, instead of the two actual killers, should have been hung in Kansas. "If he hadn't reported it, it wouldn't have happened!"

I don't know who these mythical "fans of Hezbollah" are in the media. I've never heard a single American reporter or pundit praise Hezbollah.

If a war, or a massacre, or a terrorist attack occurs, why shouldn't the media report it? That's their job. This is a common canard on the left and the right, that if the media doesn't completely take my side, on every occasion and on every issue, then they're somehow evil.

The media, at least in the U.S., has actually been doing a much better job covering this current crisis than they normally do with this sort of thing. From what I've seen, all have made it clear that Hezbollah started the conflict. But hey, if one person didn't, then that means "MSM," collectively, didn't.

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 2, 2006 12:27 PM

Is it me, or is this whole "Qana Massacre" reminiscent of the "Jenin Massacre"?
Lots of condemnation, immediate Israeli apology, followed by some evidence that the numbers were ratcheted up and even faking deaths to elicit world opinion against Israel.

Check out the new numbers

Also, its amazing that they still claim Israel is targeting civilians when the building was empty until some "refugees" sought "shelter" there.


Posted by: Dan at August 3, 2006 03:29 PM

I think you are missing the mark on this one. Saying that the MSM is not aiding the cause of Hizbollah, because in part - the MSM is not monolitic misses the point.

When critics of the MSM use that term it is not intended to mean everyone, but rather refers to such anti-Israel outlets as the NYT, WaPO, AP, Reuters, ABC, CBS and NBC news etc. Of course the NEw York Post and Washington Times could be considered main stream, but do not exhibit those negative qualities, nor do you, but let's address the coverage of these main stream outlets rather than hiding behind labels, reminiscent of the classic Arab rebuff to charges of anti-semitism, because they are semites. Misses the point.

Further, a reporter does not have to outright praise Hizbollah to make them look heroic, or in what is ususally the case, to damn the Jews and Israel.

Omitting key context is not praise of Hizbollah, but slants coverage; using loaded language to convey barbarity and intentional killing of innocents to make Israel look "nazi like," while ignoring or minimizing Israeli suffering is widespread and agenda driven; playing up civilian deaths and "death counts" even where contrary evidence from anti-Israel organizations such as HRW, UN and IRC exists is another tactic of the anti-Israel media; relying on Hizbollah or Palestnian sources and repeating what they say uncritically is aiding Hizbollah.

Finally, you would not say that Goebbels propoganda was not part of the Nazi murder enterprise even though he was not throwing people into the gas chambers or onto transports, so why is doing the PR work of Hizbollah ok because the reporter is not launching a missle?

It is funny that people on the left love to deride us on the right for "balck and white" and "absolute" "failing to see nuance" yet that is exactly what you are doing. One does not need to launch a missle at Israel to make that easier (and in fact there have been reports that the media are actually tipping Hizbollah to Israeli movements). When a member of the media makes it easier for Hizbollah to win by creating feelings in the "world community" that Israel is evil, disproportionate and unjustified, it is not a far stretch to say they are causing more bloodshed.

Specifically with regard t the civilian deaths, is it a stretch to say that when a reporter plays up civilian deats at Kana using potentially staged images, inflated body counts and without critically examining why the civilians were harmed in the first place, give Hizbollah incentive to keep using civilians as shields. If the media blamed Hizbollan for the deaths by pointing out their cynical use of human shields (as even Jan Egelad was able to do) would Hizbollah have as much incentive to operate in such a cowardly manner? No the gain from that tactic is that the media will uncritically condemn Israel, hastening calls for "unconditional cease fire" which is nothing more than a Hudna.

So rather than disregard Jake's statement, you could use it as a catytlist for you to critically look at the role members of the media play in shaping the outcome of the war. To do so does not miminize the fault of Hizbollah, but may give you some explanation of why Jake would say such a thing.

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