“In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that has embarked on a strategy to get it’s own children killed in order to build sympathy for it’s cause a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters. Last week, I found a quote of many years ago from Golda Meir one of Israel’s early leaders which might have been said yesterday. “We can forgive the Arab’s for killing our children” she said “but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children”
These are the racist musings of someone in the American news media that you wouldn’t expect, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer.
It was Schieffer not Benjamin Netanyahu or Mark Regrev, not Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity who offered the world these extremely misguided thoughts on the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza on CBS’ Face The Nation last Sunday, thoughts that absolve the Israeli Government of any responsibility for the deaths of over 1,000 Palestinians and thoughts that typify the kind of coverage those of us in this country are forced fed by corporate news.
Apparently Schiffer has a brother in arms in CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. On Monday Blitzer felt it was important to literally walk the audience of his show, The Situation Room through one of the tunnels that the militant group Hamas has been using to smuggle weapons into Gaza. Blitzer conveniently neglected to mention that those tunnels have also been used to smuggle goods into the strip because Israel’s illegal blockade makes a conventional entrance of those goods virtually impossible. I will be patiently waiting for Blitzer, the former editor of a newspaper that was backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to take his cameras inside the hospitals of Gaza where many children have either died on operating tables, or have been made permanently disabled and–or–orphaned at the hands of Israeli bombs.
The freedom to express these one-sided views on the part of Schieffer and Blitzer pales in comparison to journalists who have been perceived to be pro-Palestinian while covering the conflict. NBC news pulled correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin from the region after he reported on witnessing four Palestinian boys being killed by an Israeli strike while they were playing soccer on a beach. After tremendous blowback on social media the organization did an about face and returned Mohyeldin to Gaza. MSNBC parted ways with journalist Rula Jebreal over her criticism of the network’s biased coverage. “Look at how much time Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis, I never see one Palestinian being interviewed on these same issues, I’m not saying that everybody is like this but one-tenth is given to the Palestinian voice and 99% to the Israeli voice.” Those were the magic words that made Jebreal persona non grata in the 30 Rock building.
Without social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram you would think the death toll in Gaza were upside down in terms of it figures or that the people who are being forced to inhabitant a dense stretch of land like fenced in cattle are the ones in possession of an iron dome missile defense system that provides protection, or that what the Israeli government is carrying out in the Middle East is anything other than a modern day apartheid system. Corporate media has an agenda and it is having an effect on the way people see the situation.
According to a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey many Americans see the issue in the same way that Schiffer, Blitzer, and most of the news media sees it, Palestinians and in particular Hamas are the source for everything that is wrong.
40% of those polled said Hamas is responsible for the current outbreak in violence while only 19% blame Israel. A combined 50% think that Israel’s response has been either just about right or has been too timid. While an overwhelming majority of Republicans support the Netanyahu run Government Democrats are split over the issue.
When those statistics are read one wonders whether or not the American people have a true understanding of this unbalanced and lethal grudge match.
The lack of context in terms of presenting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is and has always been reprehensible. The average American knows very little if anything about illegal Israeli settlements, restrictions on the freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza, and the inability of their refugees to return home. Very few times on a nightly newscast have we seen everyday Palestinians in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem become the victims of mob violence or scores of Israelis unapologetically shouting “death to Arabs” or “kill the sand niggers” in front of T.V. cameras. How much do we know about the horrible conditions inside Gaza that have led to an economic collapse, a climate that has made receiving needed resources like food and water next to impossible.
The United States’ ties with Israel run deep and because of that we as nation have become an accessory to a systematic ethnic cleansing and there are no two ways about that. My opinion of Hamas is not a high one but proportionality matters, and Israel can longer use it’s “We don’t target civilians excuse” when the body count continues to rise.
Like in war, proportionality matters in media. As long as the T.V. and print voices in this conflict are dominated by people like Schiffer and Blitzer the disservice that is being done to the innocent Palestinians in Gaza will continue to be lost on people here who believe in everything that is right. For some God awful reason that’s exactly the way the people who fund America’s corporate media want it..