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Media Backspin
« February 2008 | Main | April 2008 »

Monday, March 31 2008

Must Be Sweeps Week in Gaza

Child stabs President Bush to death and turns White House into a mosque in a Hamas TV puppet show. Via Memri.


Our Next Generation of Journalists

You have to wonder about the next generation of journalists when you see a headline like this:

School's Plagiarism Code Plagiarized
State Dept. Whitewashes PA Media Anti-Semitism

Rafael Medoff wonders why an 84-page State Department report on anti-Semitism (pdf format) omits problems with the Palestinian Authority, particularly its media, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas:

The omission is especially surprising because just a few days ago, the American Jewish Committee released a study showing the PA’s schoolbooks characterize Jews in “hateful” and “derogatory” language, cite the Protocols of Elders of Zion as a legitimate source of historical information, and omit any mention of the Holocaust. (State’s report did contain one vague mention of the fact that in the 1990s, Holocaust denial “became commonplace in popular media in the Middle East, particularly in the Palestinian Authority” — without any acknowledgment that most of that so-called “popular media” is government-controlled).

The State Department’s report defined anti-Semitism as including “allegations about Jews such as . . . Jews controlling the media” and “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to the Nazis” (pp. 6-7). Yet among the numerous anti-Semitic cartoons that the report reprints, one did not find, for example, the August 13, 2007 cartoon in the official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, of a hook-nosed Jew with prominent side-curls controlling the Arab media, or the March 4 cartoon, titled “Gaza’s Holocaust,” featuring an Israeli attack helicopter with its propeller in the shape of a swastika. (Expanding on that theme, a new Holocaust Exhibit has just opened in Gaza, featuring depictions of Israel throwing Arab babies into crematoria.

Hat tip: Daily Alert

Sky Interviews Hamas Head

Tim Marshall questions Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. See the video at HonestReporting UK's latest communique: Sky Interviews Hamas Head

Awesome Interview

I've seen so many fawning interviews with Palestinian terrorists that I was jolted by Sky News. Tim Marshall had tough questions -- quite a few, in fact -- for Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. A great example of what the MSM is capable of when it sets its mind. Click below to watch.


Marshall describes the interview too.


Sunday, March 30 2008

March 30 Links

We Must Learn More About Our Enemies
Listen to Israel's enemies? The MSM doesn’t report what Hamas says about itself.

3 Interlocking Peace Negotiations Put Israel, Palestinians at Impasse
Too many tracks spoil the broth.

View Of Israel Under Wider Lens
Facets of Israel you haven’t seen.

Arab Disunity in Damascus
With a healthy dose of cynicism, Andrew Lee Butters blogs a very dapper Arab League summit.

A Crude Tool for Teaching Students to Hate Israel
Essay contest perpetuates the myth of what organizers call "the ethnic cleansing of Palestine."

Life In A Time of Rocket Attacks

When Zola Wrote 'J'accuse!'
Jeff Jacoby revisits the media's role in the Dreyfus affair.

Are the Al-Dura Critics Anti-Semites?
Al-Dura controversy takes on a life of its own.

NY Times Falls for Hoax Video

Name That Capital

KnessetTel Aviv served as Israel’s temporary capital until the Knesset relocated to Jerusalem in December, 1949. This development apparently never reached Scotland On Sunday:

Abbas Attacks Tel Aviv and Urges Arabs to Send Peacekeepers

Related reading: Where's Israel's Capital?


Friday, March 28 2008

Qassam Explodes On Pre-School Grounds

Haaretz: A Qassam rocket exploded directly between a children's house and nursery school this morning. No injuries -- children and caregivers managed to reach shelter first.

Al-Jazeera Anchor Quits, Cites Anti-American Bias

Dave_marashAl-Jazeera English's Washington-based anchorman David Marash quit:

Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network.

Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English.

"Given the global feelings about the Bush administration, it's not surprising," Marash said.

But he found it "became so stereotypical, so reflexive" that he got angry.

Marash, who previously worked for Nightline, plans to write a book and teach.


Thursday, March 27 2008

Success: Reuters Removes Anti-Israel Blog

Reuters Responds to HR subscriber complaints. Read more at HonestReporting's latest communique: Success: Reuters Removes Anti-Israel Blog

AFP Digs Up Inappropriate File Photo

Palestinians in Silwan, adjacent to the Temple Mount, are protesting archeological work by the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Although the IAA digging is taking place south of the Temple Mount and outside the Old City walls, this file photo accompanying AFP coverage suggests something different:


File photo shows a trench being dug as part of an archaeological dig in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. A tunnel that is being dug to access a Jewish temple and which passes under many Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is causing new conflict in the city. (AFP/File/Ahmed Gharabli)

The implication is that the nasty Israelis are digging up the Temple Mount itself. Moreover, the caption omits that the excavation shown here was actually carried out by the Islamic Waqf when it dug a massive trench last August.

Related reading: The Latest Damage to Antiquities on the Temple Mount

Blood Libels 2.0

Richard_landes2_2See the Jerusalem Post for nice meaty Q&A with Professor Richard Landes (pictured) about Pallywood, hasbara and blood libels in a Web 2.0 world.

HonestReporting Canada Secures Excalibur Apology

York University student newspaper apologizes for article justifying Mercaz massacre. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: HonestReporting Canada Secures Excalibur Apology


Wednesday, March 26 2008

The BBC Goes Native: Your Tax Money at Work

Trevor Asserson's newest report (pdf format) is an analysis of BBC Arabic's radio programming. The report points out various examples of Israel's demonization, dangerous and absurd comments, plus hostility to the USA and generally providing a respectable platform for terror organizations.

The BBC Arabic radio appears to be out of control . . . .

The relative lack of Arabic speakers amongst those who pay for the BBC means that the BBC does not benefit from the criticisms of the general listening public as it does for its English speaking programmes. The corrective influence which those complaints normally provide is necessarily absent.

Having rejected the Independent Panel's reccomendation to appoint a "guiding hand" to monitor its own Middle East output, the BBC has no systems in place to know what its own journalists think. We are not aware of any systematic method it has for monitoring programme content. It seems that the BBC has less control of its Arabic programmes than of any others, because it appears that relatively few of its senior staff speak Arabic.

See his other reports at BBCWatch. And consider this comforting thought: the BBC recently launched an Arabic TV channel.

Sounds similar in some ways to last year's problems at the US-funded Arabic channel Al-Hurra TV. Al-Hurra's former director was recognized as 2007's Worst News Director.

Jamal al-Dura's Scars From the Past

Scars Mohammed al-Dura's father claims were from IDF gunfire really came from an operation several years earlier. So says Dr. Yehuda David who operated on Jamal al-Dura in 1994 at Tel Aviv's Tel-HaShomer Hospital.

"A Similar Inversion of History"

One reason to be concerned about media bias: news services skewing coverage of Israel are just as capable of botching coverage of other places in the world. Like Tibet, as Ira Rifkin points out:

It took Jews almost two millennia to re-establish an independent state in their homeland. During that time, later-arriving Arabs settled in the land and claimed it as their own. Despite Judaism's numerous ritual reminders of Zion's centrality, Jewish historical ties to the land were conveniently forgotten by most of the world, which came to view modern Jews as having no connection to the ancient Israelites who once populated the same land. As a result, returning Jews were regarded as colonialist interlopers and Arabs were seen as indigenous innocents suffering at the hands of Jewish pretenders.

Tibetans now face a similar inversion of history.

Related reading: "Non-Events as Far As TV News is Concerned"


Tuesday, March 25 2008

Report Slams BBC Arabic For Supporting Iran, Hezbollah

Bbc_arabicA soon-to-be-released report by Trevor Asserson slams BBC-Arabic's radio for biased commentary during the Second Lebanon War. YNet News explains:

The research team observed the station's main commentary program "Hadith al-sa'a" (Talk of the Hour) during the Second Lebanon War, and concluded that commentators supporting Iran and its views were given preference.

The station's commentators, the report said, did not even try to hide their clear sympathy for the Lebanese side and Hizbullah fighters.

Asserson's previous studies of the BBC are impressively thorough and online at his web site, BBCWatch.

Hezbollah: Looking For a Few Good Kids

Time magazine takes a startling glimpse into the world of Hezbollah recruiting:

The two phases in the development of a Hizballah fighter are like Boy Scouts and Boot Camp. During the first phase, Hizballah recruiters keep an eye out for young Shia Muslim students in both Hizballah-run schools and the national school system. They look for energetic kids, violent kids, and smart kids, from the age of seven into the late teens, and begin taking them on field trips and workshops where they are given a through ideological indoctrination, and then as they get older, a brief introduction to the AK-47 assault rifle.

Why not Teach Kids Peace?

"Non-Events as Far As TV News is Concerned"

Cameraman_2Dennis Prager enumerates a few reasons why the Palestinians get more attention than the Tibetans. Here’s one reason directly relevant to the MSM:

Aside from its leftist tilt, television news reports only what it can video. And almost no country is televised as much as Israel, while video reports in Tibet are forbidden, as they are almost anywhere in China except where strictly monitored by the Chinese authorities. No video, no TV news. And no TV, no concern. So while grieving Palestinians and the accidental killings of Palestinians during morally necessary Israeli retaliations against terrorists are routinely televised, the slaughter of over a million Tibetans and the extinguishing of Tibetan Buddhism and culture are non-events as far as television news is concerned.

Read the whole thing.

Reuters Removes Offensive Blog Post

Thanks to all our readers who contacted Reuters, the wire service removed yesterday's odious blog item from their web site.

If you missed the noise, Reuters picked up on this entry at The Largest Minority.

Why Not An Israeli Satellite News Channel?

SatelliteOn the heels of an appearance on Iran's Press TV, UK activist Gavin Gross pushes for an Israeli satellite news channel.

Battles are now fought not only in the military field but in the arena of public opinion. With all the ingenuity and resources available within Israel and the Jewish world, and expertise in hi-tech and communications, isn't it possible to fund and produce a credible, serious TV channel presenting an Israeli viewpoint? Without it, we will remain preoccupied with scrounging around for fair coverage on other people's media outlets, and Israel's global image will deteriorate further, with negative consequences for the country's future security and prosperity.

Is an Israeli satellite news channel worth the investment? Post your comments below.


Monday, March 24 2008

Reuters Promotes Anti-Israel Blog

Why does Reuters give credibility to a one-sided and hateful blog story? See HonestReporting's latest communique: Reuters Promotes Anti-Israel Blog

Soapbox for Terror

SoapboxIt's hard to miss the critical headlines about the Trinity United Church's controversy for reprinting Mousa Abu Marzook's commentary. So I have to ask:

How is a church newsletter any different from the soapbox for terror provided by mainstream US newspapers like these?

LA Times
Washington Post
NY Times
Newsweek/Washington Post
Washington Post (again)
Sacramento Bee
Salt Lake Tribune
NY Times (again)

Bungled Headline of the Weekend
Hamas Activist Killed in Gaza Blast

You have to read the article to find out that the so-called activist died in an explosion "in a camp of the armed wing of Hamas." What kind of "activist training" goes on at these camps? Telemarketing?

God's Warriors: "Television With a Conscience"

Emmyaward_2Ugh. In addition to her Dishonest Reporter of the Year Award, CNN's Christiane Amanpour is to receive a special Emmy Award for God's Warriors.

John Shaffner, chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said Amanpour and other winners exemplified "television with a conscience."

Without conscience would be more apropos for Amanpour.

(Hat tip: Newsbusters)

Catching Up On Weekend Reading

I'll probably add more items over the course of the day.

Power of Symbolism
Hasbara fails to respond to the emotive symbols Hamas wields.

NewspupPalestinian Exhibit Depicts Children in Crematorium
Guess who the Nazis are.

Jewish Group Seeks to Purge YouTube of Anti-Semitic Videos
German Jewish organization charges Google with "aiding and abetting racial hatred and discrimination" on YouTube.

Expel the Journalists!
Since nobody's outraged by Israel's boycott of Al-Jazeera, Noah Pollak suggests Israel go a step further.

Land of Milk and Start-Ups
Aaah, some good news.

Lone Blogger Takes on the UN
UN corrects web site after Liza Rosenberg reacts to a chain email.

Website 'To Connect All Jews Around the World'

Final Farewell
Anti-Racism Blog says "Enough is enough," shuts down.

Ten Biggest Newspapers Should Team Up to Buy Yahoo
Is it time to replace traditional editors with algorithmic managers who can get articles into high search rankings?

Mubarak Heads to Moscow for Nuclear Deal
Reactor would be operational in 2017.

Saddam Collected Info On Israeli Targets From PA
Documents show that Force 17 and Hamas representatives were in contact with Iraqi intelligence.

Turning the Tables on the Associated Press
What would the Duke want?


Thursday, March 20 2008

Purim Exclusive: Prince William Serves in IDF

Prince_william3It can be revealed that British editors are maintaining a self-imposed conspiracy of silence over the fact that Prince William volunteers for the IDF in the spokesman's unit.

Prince Harry, who just returned from 10 weeks in Afghanistan, exclusively told Backspin that his older brother gives regular press briefings under the pseudonym, Capt. Benjamin Rutland.

Senior IDF spokesman Charles Philip Arthur George Wales would neither confirm nor deny speculation that Prince William also authored an article in the New Statesman defending the IDF's Marva and Gadna programs.

Happy Purim to all our readers.

Purim Exclusive: HR Launches VIP Service

HonestReporting launched a new initiative called HR-VIP Services. For $5,500 a night, friends of Israel can discreetly shmooze with HR's USA director Gary Kenzer about media bias and hasbara issues. Kenzer says:

"Most of our clients view themselves as moderate-to-liberal, but they also have right-wing fantasies they don't want to share with their wives."

Happy Purim to all our readers.

Excalibur Writer Justifies Seminary Terror Attack

Campus newspaper justifies Mercaz massacre. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: Excalibur Writer Justifies Seminary Terror Attack

What Ethnic Cleansing?

Israeli ethnic-cleansing Jerusalem? Ha.

But according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Jerusalem Institute of Israel Studies, Jerusalem's Arab population skyrocketed 266 percent between 1967, when Israel annexed east Jerusalem, and 2006 (the last year for which figures are available). That is almost double the Jewish population's growth during those years (143 percent); consequently, the city's ratio of Jews to Arabs shrank from 74:26 in 1967 to 66:34 in 2006.

Even during the intifada, which prompted the fence and the closed institutions that Abbas decries, the Arab population continued ballooning: It rose from 208,700 at the end of 2000 to 252,400 at the end of 2006, an increase of 21 percent in six years, or 3.5 percent a year. Jerusalem's Jewish population grew by only 4.7 percent during those years, or less than 1 percent a year. In absolute terms, the Arab increase (43,700 people) was double the Jewish increase (21,100).


Wednesday, March 19 2008

Our Peace Partners

Khalil_shikakiDo the Palestinians really want peace? The NY Times picked up on a survey whose results shocked even veteran pollster Dr. Khalil Shikaki (pictured):

A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

The pollster, Khalil Shikaki, said he was shocked because the survey, taken last week, showed greater support for violence than any other he had conducted over the past 15 years in the Palestinian areas. Never before, he said, had a majority favored an end to negotiations or the shooting of rockets at Israel . . . .

“The anger that this poll is registering is about equal to that at the very height of the second intifada,” Mr. Shikaki said, referring to the years just after 2000 when suicide attacks on Israel and Israeli strikes on Palestinian forces reached new heights. “I am very worried about what is coming.”

What kind of people approve of a massacre in overwhelming numbers?

Shikaki's findings are online.

All In the Question

Two polls of Israeli attitudes on talking to Hamas -- one by Haaretz, the other by the Tami Steinmetz Center -- generate conflicting results.

Digging for answers with both pollsters, Fugitive Peace finds that it's all in how you phrase the question.

(Hat tip: Soccer Dad)

PA Spins the Revolving Door Prison

Revolving_doorSeeking to dispel rumors that Ali Dandanes and Amar Taha escaped from prison, the PA yesterday invited an Israeli camera crew to film the pair in custody. The Israeli footage, which the PA billed as an exclusive interview, should have quelled the escape rumors.

Well, yes and no. YNet News explains what really happened:

The Palestinian terrorists who murdered two Israeli hikers last December were granted a furlough from a Hebron prison and were asked to return a few days later.

Dandanes and Taha opened fire on a group of Israelis hiking near Hebron in December, killing two.

Related reading: Reuters' Jailhouse Crock

Ban Bari Atwan

BBC & Sky News talking head justifies terror. See HonestReporting UK's latest communique: Ban Bari Atwan.


Tuesday, March 18 2008

NGOs and the Tibetan Intifada

TibetJonathan Kay mulls the Tibetan intifada:

Even as I write this, Sid Ryan and his CUPE colleague presumably are hard at work drafting a resolution aimed at boycotting all Chinese products. Student activists are smashing their Leonovo laptops. Engineering departments at campuses all across North America are tearing up their partnership projects with colleagues in China. There will also presumably be a flurry of anti-China resolutions put forward by the United Nations assembly and the UN's various agencies -- especially the Human Rights Council. Jimmy Carter, one supposes, is hard at work on a Tibetan-themed follow-up to Peace Not Apartheid.

Read it all.


Monday, March 17 2008

Video: Islamic Jihad's Insight into Pallywood

See how terrorist groups examine each other's work for doctored footage. See HonestReporting's latest communique: Video: Islamic Jihad's Insight into Pallywood

Bungled Headline of the Day
Border guards open fire at group of Sudanese crossing into Israel, wound one man

You have to read the article to find out the border guards opening fire were Egyptian.

How Inevitable a Consequence, Part 2

Dry Bones takes on China. Follow the link and see how he challenges the MSM.


Related reading: How Inevitable a Consequence?

"The Core Audience"

There's a smarmy subtext to BBC producer Hilary Salmon's comments about an upcoming Passion show the Beeb is pesenting jointly with HBO. She told The Guardian:

[HBO is] more sensitive than we are to the Jewish angle. Many of its core audience are Jewish liberals who set the cultural agenda much more than here, so we had a Jewish consultant, as well as experts on the gospels. You had to be careful not to tie yourself in knots though.

Winston Pickett finds this astonishing:

[It] startles because of the ethnic-saturated stereotypes it contains, and because it presupposes a kind of wink-and-nod agreement by the readership of the publication in which it appears . . .

(Hat tip: Stephen Pollard)


Sunday, March 16 2008

In the Line of Fire

AFP photographer Abbas Momani clearly put himself in harm's way to get this photo. Imagine the hollering from Reporter Without Borders had he been hit by an IDF bullet.

Question: How come we never hear about photojournalists inadvertently hit by Palestinian rocks?


A Palestinian demonstrator hurls stones at Israeli soldiers during a protest near the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 7, against Israel's separation barrier and the raids on the Gaza Strip that have killed more than 120 Palestinians. US Vice President Dick Cheney leaves for the Middle East hoping to help revive the battered peace process and get Saudi Arabia to curb Iran's influence in Iraq. (AFP/File/Abbas Momani)
March 16 Links

The Care and Feeding of an Angry Territory
Blame the victim . . . .

Freedom of the Press, Moderate Palestinian Arab-style
Moderate police loyal to moderate leader harrass moderate paper's moderate editor.

AP Hypocritical on Photo Copyrights?

Hizbullah to Support Assassinated Jihad Man's Family
Nasrallah's glaring fingerprints on the Mercaz massacre.

Bracing For the Big One
Policymakers wonder if a regional Mideast war is in the offing.

Might Google Buy the NY Times?

BBC, Sky News Analyst Lauds Mercaz Massacre.

AtwanAbd al-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, wrote that the Mercaz massacre was "justified" because the seminary is responsible for "hatching Israeli extremists and fundamentalists."

Atwan (pictured) is a regular talking head for BBC and Sky News who generated outrage last year when he told Lebanese TV he would dance in Trafalgar Square if Iranian missiles hit Israel.

Send your comments to Sky News viewers' editor Paul Bromley - and the BBC Complaints website (direct your official complaint to News 24).


Friday, March 14 2008

The Hamas "Death Industry"

Hamas lawmaker Fathi Hammad proudly talks about the Islamist group's death industry, which includes women, children and human shields. Watch this Memri clip.


Transcript here.


Thursday, March 13 2008

"Administrative" Violence

Haniyeh2_3Violence is now an "administrative" matter. The Guardian writes:

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's administrative arm in Gaza, said the group would end violence if . . .

This is what happens when the MSM buys into the fuzzy distinctions between a terror group's "armed" and "political" wings. Or even "media wing."

Related reading: Debunking the Irish Model

The Lost Lull

At least 15 rockets have been fired at Sderot and the western Negev this morning. Haaretz says nobody was injured in the attacks.

The Gaza Two-Step

Victor Davis Hanson explains that the Mideast's so-called "cycle of violence" is really a "two step" in which the MSM is complicit:

We all now know the familiar Gaza two-step. The Israeli Defense Forces respond to Hamas rockets with air strikes against terrorist leaders or small-rocket factories. Hamas makes certain both these targets are intermingled with civilians in the hopes of televised collateral damage.

Hamas counts on the usual sympathetic European and Middle Eastern media coverage. Terrorists deliberately trying to murder Israeli civilians are seen as the moral equivalents of Israeli soldiers trying to target combatants who use civilians as shields. To the extent that the IDF kills more of the terrorists than Hamas kills Israeli civilians, sympathy goes to the "refugees" of Gaza.

Related reading: A "Seamless Continuum" of Violence


Wednesday, March 12 2008

HR's Israel Spring Mission

A few spots for HonestReporting's upcoming Israel Spring Mission are still available. See the country for yourself and meet the newsmakers, journalists, and insiders involved in Israel's media battle (including the HonestReporting staff).

• May 28-June 3

• Study today's issues and receive training to act on Israel's behalf in your community

• Celebrate Yom Yerushalayim in Jerusalem!

• 5-star accommodations

For details, see the mission home page or contact us.

No Modicum of Sympathy

Unlv_rebelsAn editor at UNLV's student paper, The Rebel Yell, explains away the Mercaz massacre to a "cycle of violence" fueled by Israel.

You'd think a fellow student would show at least a modicum of sympathy for the grieving campuses of Mercaz HaRav Kook and Sderot's Sapir College.

Fighting Al-Jazeera Bias

DahlanWhile Israel boycotts Al-Jazeera, Haaretz reports that Mohammed Dahlan (pictured) is also taking legal action against the Qatar-based news station:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement has also spoken out against the station. One of its leaders, Mohammed Dahlan, has of late organized a law suit against it for its alleged support for Hamas.
Has Zapiro Hit Rock Bottom?

Back in 2006, we thought the South African cartoonist known as Zapiro hit rock bottom.

We were wrong. And he's probably still digging . . . .


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