Thursday, 7 January 2010

Pick of the Decade

Honest Reporting has picked ten significant articles, blog posts, cartoons and videos about Israel from the Noughties that reveal the state of the western media.

1) Retraction Required
After 9/11, Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz obtained a copy of a now-famous Reuters memo. News chief Stephen Jukes told his staff not to use the word "terror”:

“We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist…"

2) My Beating By Refugees is a Symbol of the Hatred and Fury of This Filthy War
After narrowly escaping a lynching by Afghan refugees, veteran journalist Robert Fisk – who stated on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in October 2006 that the most important element in journalism is “passion” (NB: not “accuracy” or “integrity”) – took moral confusion to dizzying heights:

“If I was an Afghan refugee in Kila Abdullah, I would have done just what they did. I would have attacked Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.”

According to Fisk, Afghans, Iraqis and Palestinians are so victimized by Israel and the West that they may be permitted to get away with murder – literally – including his own.

3)Three Bullets and a Dead Child
France 2's horrifying footage of Mohammed Dura and his father caught in Israeli and Palestinian crossfire inflamed the entire Arab world and provided a pretext for further Islamic terror. Esther Schapira, in her film Three Bullets and a Dead Child produced for German TV, became the first Western journalist to seriously question whether Israel killed Mohammed Dura.

4)How Two Lives Met In Death
Newsweek drew a repellent moral equivalence between suicide bomber Ayat al-Akhras and her victim Rachel Levy.

5)Even Journalists Have to Admit They're Wrong Sometimes
Phil Reeves of The Independent had to come to terms with his flawed coverage of the battle of Jenin. The veteran journalist lamented that the baseless charges of a "massacre" let Israel off the hook for other "atrocities" when he wrote:

"Only a few brave Israelis on the left – notably, Uri Avnery – continued to challenge the legitimacy and purpose of the army's conduct in the West Bank irrespective of the fact that the massacre allegations were false.

"It is to this issue – as the killing of nine Palestinian children in an Israeli air strike proved so horribly last week – still remains unresolved. It – and not false charges of massacres – is what the international community should be address its attentions."

6) Ariel Sharon Eats Babies
Independent cartoonist Dave Brown’s cartoon, based on Goya's Saturn Devouring His Children, was named political cartoon of the year.

7) I Was a Naive Fool to Be a Human Shield for Saddam
Daniel Pepper was shocked by the reaction of ordinary Iraqis when he told them why he had come.

"Of course I had read reports that Iraqis hated Saddam Hussein, but this was the real thing. Someone had explained it to me face to face. I told a few journalists who I knew. They said that this sort of thing often happened – spontaneous, emotional, and secretive outbursts imploring visitors to free them from Saddam's tyrannical Iraq…

"We just sat, listening, our mouths open wide. Jake, one of the others, just kept saying, 'Oh my God' as the driver described the horrors of the regime. Jake was so shocked at how naive he had been. We all were. It hadn't occurred to anyone that the Iraqis might actually be pro-war."

8) The News We Kept to Ourselves
CNN executive Eason Jordan admitted that the network sat on stories to preserve access to government officials and save lives:

"Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for ''crimes,'' one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family's home.

"I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely."

CNN and Saddam Hussein benefited from the games they played with each other. CNN got great ratings and Saddam's sins were whitewashed; it's a shame the network didn't have the guts to pull out and say, "We have no freedom to operate in Iraq, we won't be complicit in covering up the bloodshed."

9) Photo Op
Associated Press photographer Eric Marti captured the story behind this picture.

10) Reuters Doctoring Photos From Beirut?
Little Green Footballs blew the lid on "fauxtography" during the Second War in Lebanon. Here's the post that started it all.

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