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Media Backspin
« August 2006 | Main | October 2006 »

Thursday, September 28 2006

Backspin's On Break

The blog is on leave for Yom Kippur. We'll be back and blogging away after the holiday. The LA Daily News reports that the situation in Israel will be the topic of many sermons.

 
No Excuses For Terror

David Aaronovitch, a respected journalist and commentator aired a documentary, “No Excuses For Terror," on British TV. Aaronovitch, who considers himself left-wing, criticizes how the anti-Israel views of the far-left and far-right have permeated the mainstream media and political discourse. Channel 5 went against the grain to broadcast this. The 45-minute documentary was posted on You Tube in four parts.

Part one:


Part two:


Part three:

Part four:

(Hat tip: Harry’s Place)

 
New IDF Unit Fights Media Bias

CameramenOne lesson learned by the IDF in Lebanon is the need to document military operations. The Jerusalem Post reports that the army is setting up a Combat Film and Photography Unit "under which soldiers in infantry and armored platoons will be trained how to film and document military operations under combat conditions."

According to Maj. Tzvika Golan, who will head the unit, "This is important because it could change the way we are perceived in the world."

 

Wednesday, September 27 2006

Just A 'Political Movement'

According to Iason Athanasiadis, Hezbollah is just a “political movement.” In a feature published in the Toronto Star, Athanasiadis writes:

It is the second time that Lahham has visited the club since a tenuous ceasefire in mid-August that halted a 34-day campaign by Israel against the Lebanese Shiite political movement Hezbollah, that also targeted Lebanon's infrastructure.

See WorldNetDaily for Hezbollah's latest "political" activity.

 

Tuesday, September 26 2006

PA Press Power Play, Part 2

Palestinian gunmen kidnapped another journalist. This time, the victim is Salim Abu Amr, who hosts a popular morning talk radio show. The Jerusalem Post writes:

Abu Amr, who is known to his listeners as Abu Basel, is the host of a popular talk show that is broadcast every morning in the Gaza Strip. Sources in Gaza City described him as a Fatah supporter and a staunch critic of Hamas.

See also Part 1 for more background on the Fatah-Hamas struggle for media supremacy.

 

Monday, September 25 2006

'Divine' Billboards Target Journalists

Divine_1If you're wondering why Hezbollah's "Divine Victory" billboards sprouting across Beirut are in English, it's because the organization's P.R. blitz is targeting Western journalists. Newsweek talked to Mohammad Kawtharani, who works at the Beirut firm handling Hezbollah's ad campaign:

Part of the Islamists' new strategy: a $100,000 advertising blitz called "Divine Victory," featuring more than 600 billboards around Beirut and southern Lebanon touting Hizbullah's exploits during the 34-day war. (Cleverly, the slogan is almost a literal translation of Nasrallah's last name.) The panels line the road to Beirut from the city's international airport, and the new buy includes slogans like "America and its tools have been defeated"—in English. Last week the group expanded the campaign, adding dozens more billboards, and Nasrallah himself made an appearance at a massive rally in Beirut, standing in front of one (pictured)....

One of the striking things about Hizbullah's campaign is that many of the billboards around Lebanon are in English, crafted explicitly for foreign TV cameras. Some of Hizbullah's six-man creative team, like Kawtharani himself, studied at the American University of Beirut and are fluent enough to employ a more subtly effective English idiom—the MADE IN THE U.S.A. banners, for example.

 
Reuters' Fauxto Finish

Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, speaking publicly for the first time since the fauxtography scandal first broke, told CNN that doctored photos are pretty widespread. He added that the wire service is getting computer programs to filter out altered images. Watch the interview on Hot Air.

(Hat tip: LGF)

 

Sunday, September 24 2006

Red Ronnie Backtracks In Face of Letters

SouthafricaIts Almost Supernatural reports that South African Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils appears to be toning down his anti-Israel rhetoric with a followup commentary in the Cape Times (only available to Cape Times subscribers). Supernatural writes:

Red Ronnie comes out in pseudo-support of a two-state solution if only for pragmatic reasons.

This would seem to contradict his previous statements that the Jewish state had no right to exist. This article is also devoid of much of the extreme anti-Israel rhetoric that Ronnie so relishes. For example he did not repeat his libellous claim that Israeli’s are behaving like Nazis. This is not to say the article was not anti-Israel (as his ever present apartheid accusations confirm). But it was considerably more measured relative to his normal standards.

So why the change? I believe that Ronnie has been brought to heal by the powers that be within the South African government. And I think that our barrage of angry letters to Mail and Guardian in no small way contributed to this.

This certainly highlights the power of the pen.

UPDATE 9/28: The South African government is reining in Kasrils to follow the government's policy supporting a two-state solution. See Supernatural's latest update.

 
Terrorists Using Press Vehicles?

Danny Seaman, the director of Israel's Government Press Office, warned security services that terrorists may use armored press vehicles to carry out attacks. Seaman's warning is part of the fallout of an incident in which an armored vehicle belonging to Reuters was hit by by an Israeli rocket. YNet News writes:

According to Seaman, the incident illustrated the failures in overseeing the use of armored vehicles granted to the foreign media agencies with the permission of the State.

The vehicle's presence in Gaza in itself constituted a violation of its license terms, and moreover, the jeep was carrying only Palestinians – one with links to Hamas who was not a Reuters employee.

Licenses for armored vehicles are granted by the State to foreign news agencies in Israel for the purpose of carrying out journalistic missions in the West Bank and Gaza. The State has even agreed to extend the permits for more than the one year stipulated by the law, on the condition that the license holder is a foreign national and that he alone will drive the car.

 

Thursday, September 21 2006

Thoughts On the New Year

Newyear_1While preparing to go on leave for the Jewish new year with the usual holiday terror alerts, we were struck by the way the Canadian Jewish News addressed Israel's difficulties in the past year with dignity, meaning and hope.

We'll be back and blogging away on Monday. Happy new year to all our readers.

 

Wednesday, September 20 2006

Copy Editor Blues

Time's copy editor was asleep at the wheel. How did this subhead get by?

The Many Obstacles to an Israeli Attack on Iran

It has taken out an Iranian nuclear reactor before, but Israel doesn't have a lot of good options this time around.

The reactor Israel destroyed in 1981 was Iraqi, not Iranian.

 
An Israeli Satellite News Network?

SatelliteA private initiative seeks to set up an "Israeli Al-Jazeera" to broadcast news world-wide. Shmuel Flatto Sharon, a French ex-pat and former Knesset member described his dream to the Jerusalem Post.

"Alors, what I want to do is English satellite TV in all the world," Flatto Sharon told the Post in his distinctive French accent. "In our country, we have had success in many things. But in the media we are a total failure. I want to do something that will be an Israeli Al-Jazeera, and I'm sure it will be good for the state."

Post your comments below.

 
Indie's Demonization Campaign

The Independent relies on disreputable sources and graphic images to demonize Israel. See the latest HonestReporting-UK critique, Indie's Demonization Campaign.

 
Reading and Misreading Destruction

Beirut_3William Arkin, who blogs national security issues for the Washington Post just returned from a trip to Lebanon and Israel. His conclusions about the destruction he saw on both sides of the Blue Line are noteworthy because Arkin didn't see anything that other journalists can't see. Why haven't we seen this kind of assessment in the mainstream media?

What struck me about the bombing, in both countries, was that you could see the destruction and completely misread what it meant. In Beirut, the destruction in reality is efficient and impressive. The destruction in Israel, on the other hand, is random and scattered. When Hezbollah rockets were fired on Israel, landing meant success.

So here is the truth: Israel did not do anything close to what it was capable of doing. Hezbollah did all it could....

On the other hand, Lebanon is shocked. It is not just the destruction wrought but the powerlessness of the owners of the country. The Lebanese government complains of the destruction and the cluster bombs and the environmental devastation, exaggerating what happened to IT because it can not bear to say that most of what was destroyed was Hezbollah’s assets, assets that indeed resided and flourished inside their own country under their own noses with their consent....

Haifa_1Only a very short drive from the neighborhoods of southern Beirut though, you are back to bustling boulevards; a few neighborhoods over and there are luxury stores and five star hotels. Beyond the “Hezbollah” neighborhoods, the city is normal. Electricity flows just as it did before the fighting. The Lebanese sophisticates are glued to their cell phones. Even an international airport that was bombed is reopened....

But the fact that one can drive a short distance from Dresden-like south Beirut and return to modern life itself should signal that this is something very different: Israeli bombers did not fly over Beirut and unleash loads of bombs. Each individual building was the quarry; the intent was there, and the technology existed, to spare the rest.

See Arkin's follow up, Facts and Myths About the Israel-Hezbollah War.

 

Tuesday, September 19 2006

PA Press Power Play

Gunmen believed to be affiliated with Hamas attacked an office of the official PA news agency, Wafa. One journalist was hospitalized after being beaten. The Jerusalem Post writes:

"The attackers destroyed all the computers and laptops in the office," said a local reporter. "Before they left, they sprayed graffiti on the wall accusing the agency of not being objective."

The attack is part of a power struggle between Hamas and Fatah over the PA media. For more on that, read here, here and here.

 
Meet HonestReporting's New USA Director

Gary_kenzerWe're proud to introduce Gary Kenzer as HonestReporting's new USA Executive Director. Gary will be our contact person for all USA activities including speaking engagements and fundraising events.

For the past nine years, he served as executive director of Magen David Adom USA and has also been involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Gary's now setting up an office in his hometown Chicago.

Contact Gary at gkenzer@honestreporting.com.

 
Benedict XVI: Zionist Double Agent

BenedictxviMuslims are attacking Christians over the Pope's comments, which can only mean one thing: Blame the Jews. Joanna Francis' logic speaks for itself:

It’s really not difficult to understand why Benedict XVI is encouraging emnity between the Catholics and the Muslims. All you have to ask is: cui bono? (who benefits?). The Zionists, of course....

He is not working for the Catholic people. He is working for the Zionists. So naturally, he would be the perfect person to make a statement that could provoke a Muslim reaction against Christians and make the Islamic world start to lose the support it was gaining from the West. Also, something was needed to get Israel off the hook for its war crimes, and set the stage for a clash between Christians and Muslims. That’s what this is all about. I hope that neither Catholics nor Muslims will fall for this trick.

(Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon)

 
The Power of the Pen

See recent developments and media responses to HonestReporting subscriber e-mails in our latest communique: The Power of the Pen.

 

Monday, September 18 2006

And Nothing But The Truth

PinnochioThe International Solidarity Movement responds to controversial photos of recruits dressed as Jewish settlers and holding AK-47 rifles. The ISM writes:

At the time the photographs were taken, these individuals had not yet become ISM volunteers. They went to Jericho of their own volition without coordinating or discussing their plans with the International Solidarity Movement. They had not attended ISM’s mandatory intensive non-violence training and were new to the country.

IsraellyCool sums up our response:

You can't trust anything the ISM tell you, since they are instructed to lie when confronted with the truth.
 

Sunday, September 17 2006

How Many Wings?

Till now, we took exception to media reports dividing Hamas into two so-called political and military wings. Now, following a Hamas-sponsored mass wedding party, London's Sunday Times goes even further:

Divided into four main groups — political, military, social and governmental — Hamas knows that its grassroots organisation of mosques, schools, clinics and events such as the wedding are what have earned it a reputation for honesty and sacrifice among Palestinians ....
 
A Decision Deferred

Gavel_1The Paris court hearing France-2 TV's defamation suit against Philippe Karsenty is deferring its decision till October. The Jerusalem Post describes some unexpected developments leading up to this:

Karsenty was submitted to a very thorough cross-examination by the judge, who seemed to think that he did not bring conclusive evidence to support his assertion that France 2's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Charles Enderlin who had done the voice-over for the controversial footage was a liar and a forger.

The public prosecutor thus surprised the court when he asked for the dismissal of the case against the defendant on account of his good faith.

He said France 2 should have called to the bar the medics and reporters who were present during and after the shootout.

The court's decision was deferred to the end of October. The judge is not compelled to follow the conclusions of the public prosecution.

Developing....

 
Two Takes

Patrick Chappatte of the International Herald Tribune and Michael Ramirez of Investor's Business Daily had radically different takes on Palestinian unity talks that are anyway now crumbling. Which cartoonist got it right?

Chappatte_2

Ramirez_3

 

Saturday, September 16 2006

PA Churches Attacked, More Threatened

Nablus_1AP reports that five churches in the West Bank and Gaza were attacked today in response to recent comments by Pope Benedict XVI who condemned Islamic fanaticism. The pope somewhat backtracked in the face of Muslim criticism.

Today's attacks weren't limited to Catholic institutions. Pictured is the firebombed gate of an Anglican church in Nablus. And the Jerusalem Post reports that a previously unknown group calling itself the Swords of the Islamic Right threatened to attack all Christian institutions in Gaza. Christians make up approximately 10 percent of the West Bank population. An estimated 2,000 live in the Gaza Strip.

UPDATE 9/17: In addition to condemning the violent Muslim reaction, today's Jerusalem Post reports that Christian leaders also blame the media for distorting the pope's speech.

 

Friday, September 15 2006

An Encouraging Start

Justice_1Nidra Poller of Pajamas Media describes the Paris trial:

There were not many journalists in the courtroom, not many people in the audience…they don’t know what they missed.

It was a beautiful trial. It was held in an atmosphere of respect for justice. Karesenty’s lawyers presented solid arguments and four sincere witnesses. The al-Dura affair, which is so difficult and complicated, was presented in such a way that an outside could follow the arguments. My impression is that the judge started out with what I would call the James Fallows approach, a middle ground position safely installed in the reasonable zone. It is too radical to suggest that the Israelis killed the boy in cold blood, it is too extreme to suggest that the whole thing was a shoddy hoax, so it has to be that he was killed in a crossfire. Never mind that there IS NO CROSSFIRE in the death scene as filmed. So what’s so reasonable about dragging in all that ammunition and gunfire when in fact it is nowhere to be seen.

It is easier to see the hoax than the crossfire.

I think the judge was surprised to hear four different witnesses explain in four different ways how, as a result of extensive investigation and/or analysis they arrived at the conclusion that it was, in all probability, a hoax.

A judge who is not willing to learn stiffens when his position is challenged. And uses his power to stifle dissent. This judge listened. You could see in his eyes, in the expression on his face, that he was taking everything into consideration. Independently of the details of this particular case, whenever a lone individual is accused by an imposing national organism like France Télévisions, it is frightening. The court can take sides, can add its weight to the weight of the accusation, and crush the individual. Today, to my great surprise, I felt that I was in the presence of a commitment to justice....

What astonished me is that France 2 dared to take someone to court over the al-Dura affair and not come up with a single new argument. Everything that was said in court had been said before. It was and still is utterly beside the point.

If what we saw in court was really the trial, France 2 lost. And will certainly appeal the judgment. The only thing that could tip the balance in their favor would be orders from above.

Read Poller's full account. Also encouraged was Richard Landes, who testified. Certainly a hopeful start, but we're mindful of the Yogi Berra Doctrine.

 

Thursday, September 14 2006

Revising Revisionism

JabotinskySee The Guardian where Geoffrey Wheatcroft revises the history of Israel’s Revisionist Zionism to lend moral legitimacy to Palestinian terror. He also suggests that Israel strayed from the moderation of Revisionist leader Zev Jabotinsky (pictured), who died in 1940. Read Wheatcroft bearing in mind these points:

* Wheatcroft’s emphasis on Jabotinsky ignores the fact that the Zionist mainstream rejected Revisionism. The Labor Party and David Ben-Gurion, who opposed Revisionist Zionism, had more clout during the pre-state years and went on to govern the country for more than a quarter-century. Menachem Begin, who inherited Jabotinsky’s role as Revisionist leader, didn’t come out of the woods till 1977.

* Wheatcroft also ignores the fact that Jewish dreams of any Greater Israel are just dreams. Far from following the Revisionist agenda, Begin withdrew from the Sinai, while Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert oversaw Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, Palestinian rejectionists insist on making a reality of their maximalist dream: a state of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

* Palestinian terror today can’t be compared to Jewish resistance against the British. The Jews have ancient claims on the land of Israel. The British have none, making them occupiers in every sense of the word.

* Wheatcroft also ignores Arab terror against Jews during the pre-state years, as well as the Arab world’s rejection of the 1948 UN partition plan.

What would Jabotinsky say?

 
Setting the Stage, But Where's the MSM?

ParisPajamas Media's Nidra Poller sets the stage for today's trial. Meanwhile, Richard Landes told HonestReporting this morning that blogs have shown more interest in the proceedings than the MSM, but that will likely change:

The mainstream media was slow to pick up on France's November, 2005 riots. It took papers like the NY Times seven days to even mention the riots, while bloggers addressed the violence from day one. As each trial progresses, we'll see more and more coverage. The question isn't whether the mainstream catches on, but when.

To our knowledge, only the Jerusalem Post has picked up on the trial.

 
What's Wrong With This Photo?

Stop the ISM obtained photos including this one of International Solidarity Movement recruits who are A) foreigners B) who aren't Jewish C) dressed as Orthodox Jewish settlers D) holding AK-47 assault rifles E) in the Palestinian Authority's Jericho Prison F) with a tour guide who only identified himself as "a member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades" (far right).

Ism2_1

Lee Kaplan, with the help of a Stop the ISM volunteer who spent time undercover with the International Solidarity Movement, expose the group's tactics.

Here's a better way to spend time in Israel: join HonestReporting's mission this November. AK-47s not allowed.


 

Wednesday, September 13 2006

Business As Usual

SatellitedishesReuters reports that Muslims are being encouraged to purchase stakes in world media outlets to correct Islam's image. What will this mean for the European press? Business as usual.

 
Critics Cornered

The Mail & Guardian published a staff-ed about the letters they received about Ronnie Kasrils. Criticizing Israel is certainly legitimate. Our issue with the M&G is that Kasrils' commentary goes much further, questioning Israel's right to exist as a legitimate state. This was the same problem with Durban, 2001 where South Africa hosted a UN-sponsored anti-racism conference solely to attack Israel's right to exist.

We do credit that the paper for publishing Joel Pollak's rebuttal, which we already blogged, and we encourage readers to Write Right.

(Hat tip: It's Almost Supernatural)

 
Dissolving the PA: The Day After

Israel_paAccording to the Washington Post, a growing number of Palestinians would like to see the Palestinian Authority dissolved:

Without the authority, Jarbawi and others contend, Israel would be forced to assume a far greater political and financial role in the territories, taking responsibility for health, education and other services under international law that govern occupation. The Israeli investment could total billions of dollars annually and bring new pressure on the Jewish state to sign a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians.

If the Palestinians voluntarily dissolve their own authority, would Israel really be obligated on the day after to administer the West Bank and Gaza? And if so, to what degree?

 
The Augean Stables: Blog, Band, Or Both?

Richard Landes is blogging the Paris trial at The Augean Stables. Unfortunately, some people are confusing the site with the rock band Augean Stables which has an almost identical URL.

 

Tuesday, September 12 2006

Storm Clouds Over Paris Still Gathering

Dura_3Michelle Malkin picks up on France-2 TV's defamation suits against critics of the network's al-Dura footage. (Many thanks for the link!) Pajamas Media has picked up on the trial too.

 

Monday, September 11 2006

Ambulance Anomalies

Guardian_4The Guardian's Readers' Editor, Ian Mayes, responds to Zombietime and HonestReporting criticism of reporter Suzanne Goldenberg's coverage of the Red Cross ambulance incident. Mayes writes:

What the zombietime website, which takes issue with both of these Australian rebuttals, does show is a fairly large number of inconsistencies and anomalies in the reporting and pictorial coverage of the event across the media: whether these are larger in number than might normally be expected to occur in reporting from a war zone is a matter for conjecture. A Guardian picture archivist with a special interest in images from areas of conflict, who carried out extensive research for me, concluded that there was cause for doubt about the nature of the munitions involved and the manner of their delivery, but not in the reality of the attack. Suzanne Goldenberg told me: "I remain confident that the story was true." She points out that she and Sean Smith reported the story first hand and independently and did not rely on what purported to be amateur video footage of the incident.
 
Kasrils' 'Confused Conscience'

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian gave Joel Pollak an opportunity to rebut Ronnie Kasrils. Pollak pulls no punches, calling the Minister of Intelligence “an apologist for Iran" with plenty of skeletons in his own closet:

Perhaps the minister’s real reckoning is not with Israel, but with his own confused conscience.

Read the full commentary.

 
Hamas' 'Warning' to Christian Groups

Ymca_1WorldNetDaily reports that the Qalqiliyah YMCA was burnt down by Hamas sympathizers:

One political source in the city told WND, "The identity of the attackers is well known to Hamas. We don't expect the Hamas-controlled police, the Hamas city council or the Hamas Interior Ministry to do anything about this attack."

The source called the arson a "warning to YMCA's and Christian groups in the Palestinian areas that they are not safe."

An attack on the city’s Y earlier this year attracted scant media coverage. And Paul Marshall recently wrote that attacks on West Bank Christians have expanded in recent weeks. Referring to the forced “conversion” of Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, Marshall wrote:

These conversions illustrate the growing force of radical Islam. They come against the background of wider assaults on Christians. There have been firebombings of a parish school in Ramallah, of the YMCA office in Qalqilya, of the First Baptist Church in Bethlehem, and of the home of Samir Qumsieh, who heads the only private Christian TV station in the Palestinian areas.
 
The UK Media and Anti-Semitism

An all-parliamentary inquiry on anti-Semitism in the UK publishes its report, noting an association between media criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism. See the latest HonestReporting-UK communique, The UK Media and Anti-Semitism.

 

Sunday, September 10 2006

Storm Clouds Over Paris

Karsenty_1A gathering storm comes to a head in Paris this week as a series of lawsuits get underway. Three individuals who criticized France-2 TV’s world-famous footage of Mohammed Dura were sued for defamation by the powerful state-owned TV company. Specifically singled out for criticism were correspondent Charles Enderlin and cameraman Talal Abu Rahma. We encourage readers to see the video at Second Draft.

Associated with the trial are many powerful and uncomfortable issues, including anti-Zionism in the French media, the icon status of Mohammed Dura, Israel’s response to the affair, the disturbingly close relationship between France’s media and political elites, the fairness of French justice, the future role of France 24 (dubbed the “French CNN” due to be launched in December), and—on a broader level—the future of French Jewry.

Pesach Benson of HonestReporting discussed the proceedings with Philippe Karsenty (pictured), the defendant in the first trial, which begins Sept. 14. Karsenty, 40, is the founder and president of Media-Ratings, a professional media analysis company based in Paris. The following is a condensed version. Click here to read the full interview.

HonestReporting: People criticize the media all the time. Why are you in legal proceedings now?

Philippe Karsenty: We have a company, Media Ratings. Our goal is to analyze the media outlets. We’re not a blog. We respect bloggers very much but we are different. We’re an established company. We’re not crazy people writing in their apartments. We treat all sorts of subjects, not just Israel. So the French establishment hates us. They consider me an insider and consider Media-Ratings dangerous.

HR: What’s the significance of this trial?

PK: The significance is that we published an article saying that Arlette Chabot, the head of the information desk at France 2 and Charles Enderlin, who narrarated the Al Dura forgery, should resign because they refused to admit that they made a mistake and to correct the information. They were very upset we published this on our web site…

HR: What led you to conclude that the video was a forgery?

Talal_abu_rahmaPK: The cameraman (pictured left) offered the images to CNN, and they rejected it because Talal wouldn’t offer guarantees that it was legitimate. On the same day, Talal made another forgery filming fake scenes. Reuters filmed him filming other forged stories. On the first scene of the France 2 report before the child is killed, you see the scenes he filmed are fake.

They broadcast a scene where the guy was supposedly hit in the leg by a bullet but there’s no blood. People are dragging him on the sidewalk and there’s no blood. An ambulance comes, it takes two seconds from the time he’s supposedly wounded and the ambulance comes. Two seconds just doesn’t make sense, it’s too fast….

France 2 claims they have 27 additional minutes of footages. They invited two independent experts to watch the video. According to the two experts, 90 percent of those images were faked scenes.

HR: What was your criticism for which you are on trial? Knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

PK: It’s a good idea to have the case on the table. This forgery was done a long time ago and the Israeli government behaved very cowardly. They refused to take steps to have this forgery corrected.

Apart from damaging the Israeli image in the world, it has given a very hard time for Jews all over the world…

HR: What does France-2 want from you? What’s at stake?

France2_3PK: They want us to be condemned for defamation. We could be condemned if the judges think our words were too strong. They could say we wrote too strongly. But it doesn’t change the fact that the video is a forgery. Even if we lose, we’ll keep on saying it’s a forgery….

If they succeed, the day we’re condemned will be a great day for them. They’ll say they were vindicated. They’ll say “We didn’t lie when we said Israeli soldiers killed Mohammed al-Dura.”

HR: What does France-2 stand to lose if you prevail?

Charles_enderlinPK: So many people supported a certain view of the world, so many people were defending Enderlin (pictured left) and Rahma, it’ll be difficult to apologize without firing hundreds of people. France TV, which owns France-2, is organizing France 24, the French CNN. They’ll do what they can to avoid apologizing.

HR: The Mohammed Dura incident was years ago. Why should anyone still care?

PK: This image is carried in everyone’s brain. Everyone thinks it’s true. Daniel Pearl was killed to avenge Dura. [Pearl’s killers] put the image in the video.

The trial will help to clean up the French media and the international media and expose the lies suffered in Lebanon….

When sportsmen take drugs, they’re kicked out. I want that the people who are giving fake stories to the public be kicked out. If people are fired, it’ll be a good deterrent for any other bad guy who would like to lie or misrepresent the truth.

HR: Do you expect a fair trial?

PK: I hope so. But nothing is sure. It’ll be a very good test to see if there is a future in France for honest, decent people. We’ll see how independent the judicial system is.

HR: What’s the relationship between France 2 and the government?

French_tvPK: France TV is owned by the government. France 2 is a subsidiary of France TV, the parent company. The CEO of France TV, Patrick de Carolis is the guy who wrote a book with the wife of Jacques Chirac [Conversation, by Bernadette Chirac]. It was a big success so they made him the head of France TV. It’s completely controlled by the state and the relationships are very strong.

HR: What would you like to tell HonestReporting readers?

PK: France cannot be ignored. It’s a small country but it’s important in terms of diplomacy and media. The French government will launch soon France 24. They call it “the French CNN”. It’ll be the voice of the French officials, dispatching ugly messages. For example, you can be sure that they’ll call the people placing car bombs in Iraq or in Israel “resistance fighters.” France can be a big trouble maker in the world because of its media and diplomatic network.

 
Origin Of A Specious Evolution

Headlines & Deadlines exposes how an innocuous Reuters photo evolved into a specious Toronto Star indictment of Israel.

 

Friday, September 8 2006

Burying the Canard

9_11Al-Jazeera aired an Al-Qaida-produced videotape of Osama bin Laden planning the 9/11 attacks. Two of the hijackers, Hamza el-Ramdi and Wael el-Shemari appeared in the footage.

How appropriate that as the 9/11 anniversary approaches, Al-Jazeera buries once and for all the silly innuendo blaming Israel. Just this week, the canard was echoed by Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Ghamdi was on United Airline flight 175, which crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center. Shemari was on American Airlines flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center's north tower.

 

Thursday, September 7 2006

CBC Portrays Terrorist As Victim

HonestReporting-Canada debunks the CBC’s one-sided coverage of Samir Quntar, a Lebanese terrorist who could be released in a prisoner swap. Click here to see Nahlah Ayed's report.

 

Wednesday, September 6 2006

'Technical Issues' Kill BBC Balance

Quntar_1Blogger Edgar Davidson takes a swipe at BBC claims of evenhandedness regarding a pair of interviews with the family of an imprisoned terrorist and the Israeli widow who survived the attack. After interviewing Basem Quntar, the brother of Samir Quntar (pictured), the BBC cancelled an interview with Smadar Haran Kaiser. Davidson explains:

Basem Quntar's interview took place in full and then the BBC switched to the interview with Smadar. But seconds into the interview the production team were told that the interview had to stop because of 'technical issues'. The BBC team at the hotel could not understand this as there had never before been 'technical' issues to stop doing such an interview. So the BBC ran an interview with the terrorist's brother but 'for technical reasons' were unable to provide an interview with the terrorist's victim.

Mrs. Kaiser told Davidson:

A short time after, the producer called and said that he has received many angry mails from listeners who were not willing to accept all this kind of behaviour.

To our knowledge, the BBC has made no attempt to reschedule Mrs. Kaiser's interview; fortunately, Time talked to her without any "technical issues."

 
The Envoy

Brahimi_1The Jerusalem Post reports that Kofi Annan appointed top advisor, Lakhdar Brahimi (pictured) to mediate an Israel-Hezbollah deal for the release of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Brahimi, who once served as Algeria's foreign minister, previously referred to Israel as "the great poison in the region," and called Ariel Sharon an assassin. He most recently penned an op-ed in the NY Times calling for the world to open talks with Hezbollah.

 

Tuesday, September 5 2006

Collegians Recall Summer In War Zone

The Hatchet of George Washington U. talked to students returning from Israel and Lebanon about their experiences bracing for bombs during summer study programs:

"What I experienced was an unexplainable life-changing event," Weismann, a sophomore studying at University of Haifa in northern Israel, wrote in an e-mail earlier this week. "To articulate my emotions and how bad it all actually was would be impossible.

"I remember the first night the missiles began. I remember looking out over Haifa, and watching it get destroyed. The bombs fell extremely close to the campus. It was like watching a movie. I almost didn't believe it had happened."

(Hat tip: Campus J)

 

Monday, September 4 2006

The $6 Billion Propaganda Factory

Bbcjoke2_1In the American Thinker, James Lewis argues that a good deal of UK anti-Semitism can be attributed to BBC News:

But you don’t need to listen to imams or Hezbo-prop if you really want to hate Jews. All you need is to listen to the BBC itself. Some of its “news” stories are proven frauds. Virtually all of them are one-sided, the Beeb’s professional Inquisitors pointing their fingers at Israel and America, with none rising to their defense. Any jury would convict these scapegoats. Hatred of Israel and America has therefore become a plague, infecting the same people whose parents stood for decency against the Nazis. Most people just cannot mentally resist a 24/7/365 storyline from the six-billion-dollar Beeb propaganda factory. They are overwhelmed.

The BBC receives money from a mandatory TV license fee.

 
South African Israel-Basher At Loss For Words

It's Almost Supernatural blows the whistle on a possibly plagiarized bash-Israel piece first published on this South African site and then later in the Cape Argus.

 
Great Moments In Bungled Headlines

Ap_3We've seen some badly bungled headlines before, but AP earned itself special distinction for this headline:

Palestinian teachers' strike hurts boy

You have to read the article to find out that the 12-year-old boy was hurt by Fatah gunmen who deliberately opened fire near children to enforce a teacher's strike.

 
Kasrils -- Minister of 'Intelligence'?

South African politician and anti-Zionist Ronnie Kasrils compares Israel with Nazism. See the latest HonestReporting communique: Kasrils -- Minister of 'Intelligence'? And don't miss the critique's misleading headline of the week.

 

Sunday, September 3 2006

49 Column Inches And Still No Context

How can the Sydney Morning Herald publish a 1,975-word dispatch about Gaza poverty and not include any info about the Hamas election victory and the hundreds of Qassam rockets launched at Israel? That comes to a little more than 49 column inches, and there's no context (or byline for that matter).

 
If Your Mother Says She Loves You, Check It Out

In response to media reports accusing Israel of using biological and chemical weapons in Lebanon, Germany's ARD TV took tissue samples from a group of "victims" for independent analysis. The results discredit Lebanon's so-called "experts."

Thumbs up to ARD for the outside verification. As the old journalism adage goes, "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." Meanwhile, writing from Tyre for the NY Times Magazine, Scott Anderson notes how collusion between Lebanese medical personnel and Hezbollah affected war coverage:

In their “all front” war with Israel, Hezbollah had meticulously planned for the psychological dimension, and it appeared that a crucial component in this was to minimize the reporting of their battlefield casualties. On this front, they were able to rely on the support — or acquiescence — of the local medical establishment. While journalists were routinely allowed access to those hospital wards containing wounded women and children, other wards — presumably those housing adult males — were off-limits, blocked by orderlies or the requisite bearded young men. The same pattern extended to the dead: occasionally ghoulish public displays of the torn bodies of obvious civilians and a curious absence of those of fighting-age men.

UPDATE Oct. 22: Haaretz quotes Israeli sources indicating the IDF used phosphorous shells.

 


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