Monday, December 08, 2008

The media weave historical distortions

Among other things, in his excellent Wall St Journal letter, Shaul Lavan draws attention to how the media projects a distorted, Eurocentric view of the Arab-Israeli conflict:

Bret Stephens's Dec. 2 Global View "Media Narratives Feed Terrorist Fantasies" hit the mark in assessing media influence on terrorism. Not only the BBC, but also many U.S. news outlets, uncritically accept every allegation from what they see as aggrieved populations, while using selective facts to destroy the credibility of Western governments and law enforcement agencies.

Unfortunately, this distortion of "narrative" goes beyond individual events, and extends to historical background. For example, the BBC Web site gives the impression that were no Jews in the Middle East prior to the 19th century. This feeds into the false claim that "the Palestinians are paying for the Holocaust." In fact, half of all Israelis are descendants of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Their 14 centuries of "dhimmi" status might as well have occurred on a different planet.

What is now called Arab East Jerusalem had a Jewish majority from the 1850s until the 1920 riots forced them out. The 19th-century plight of Jews in the Holy Land was described in detail by British officials such as consul James Finn. Nevertheless, the BBC Web site subtly implies that all Jews in Israel are of European descent.

These distortions are not unique to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In covering terrorism in India, the New York Times talks of "Hindu extremists" but use the term "militant" -- not even "Islamic militant" for Islamist terrorists. It is the Indian government, and its responses, rather than the Islamist attackers, that are held culpable for Indian victims. Again and again, deeds of Islamist militants are rationalized, while any Christian, Hindu or Jewish response is castigated.

The bias is so apparent and consistent that one might be tempted to dismiss its influence. Unfortunately it has promoted a climate of appeasement that will only lead to more atrocities like that in Mumbai.

Shaul Lavan
Sandy Springs, Ga.


Suzanne said...

Not before 1920, but East Jerusalem 1948:

Jews fleeing or evacuated by Arab troops, while later their houses are looted:

First picture is a picture of Jews in 1896 near the wailing wall, btw.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

I commend Shaul Lavan in perceiving the subtle way that the bbc has of conveying a message. If it were stated explicitly or implied too clearly, then it would be more susceptible of contradiction and refutation. By insinuating subtly, the lie enters the mind with little resistance.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

tried to get into the site you indicated but I get a message that something is wrong with the domain name. Could you check the address?

Unknown said...

Mm, it works fine for me:

Try to reach it through the main domain:

(4th article)

Anonymous said...

The BBC also uses the phrase "traditionally Arab East Jerusalem". Furthermore the renewed Jewish presence in East Jerusalem today is described by them as "illegal". The facility with which the British lie, and their malice against Jews, is nowadays only rivaled by the Arabs.

The BBC World Service also has stated that "the French colonialists in Morocco elevated the Jews to a position of privilege". This is their perverse description of the liberation of Jews from dhimmitude to a position in society where they can live in dignity.

What it boils down to is plain incitement and calumnies against Israel and the Jewish people.

Anonymous said...

"Terrorists, of all people, might actually believe what they read in the papers."

Having dealt extensively with the BBC, I am afraid I no longer join those who believe a word of what I see on that news site. Whenever I have information about the even they are "covering", their "coverage" is wrong. They even made it to Snopes with their blonds are dying out nonsense.

It is worth pondering what is happening to the BBC when an online community that debunks urban myths starts debunking the lies you spread.