The war of words over Israel
September 4, 2001 12:22 PM   Subscribe

The war of words over Israel continued this week as CNN instructed its journalists to refer to "settlements" as "Jewish neighborhoods." Last month the BBC agreed to stop using the term "assassination" in favor of "targeted killings."
posted by KirkJobSluder (19 comments total)
It's that darned "liberal media" at it again. Always trying to spin the news in a way most unfavorable to the conservatives....
Hold on! There's no sex in this story. Major corporate news outlets absolutely cannot be reporting on this!
Does Rupert Murdoch know?
posted by nofundy at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2001

maybe I'm swallowing the corporation line here but this is auntie's rebuttal
posted by wassock at 12:52 PM on September 4, 2001

The rebuttal's accurate, wassock, and I heard the use of "assassination" on the PM programme last week when the BBC was interviewing Jack Straw. Fisk is an old polemicist: he regards himself as the lone voice of unbiased reportage among the western media. Sometimes he's right; this time he's only partly right. (Not that the Torygraph is a reliable source itself, given the influence of its proprietor's wife over the party line.)
posted by holgate at 1:01 PM on September 4, 2001

It's that darned "liberal media" at it again.

FARKing hell. Don't tell me The Independent isn't independent and agenda-less! and all these years i thought i'd been contributing my coppers to, like, the greater good.

My eyes popped out my head when i read this bit.. 'A CNN spokesman in Atlanta said last night: "We have no response to make to you. We don't want to get into a discussion on this ... In fact we'd rather not say anything about this at all." How arrogant!. Perhaps it's high time CNN's power and influence is properly examined by governing bodies worldwide as it's obvious AOL Time Warner thinks only of shareholder profits. To be able to have so much influence in conflicts and the fate of this planet through CNN's reporting practices, practices they blatantly refuse to explain when asked important questions by groups and media, and their umbrella of shitty concerns that saturate our cultures like a medication resistant, living, breeding freak of a rash strikes me as preposterous. I often wonder whose more tied to an agenda.. CNN or Xinhua. I wish i could diss CNN more and let some proper venom flow, but that'd just make me a pure hypocrite, given that it entrances me so much for such large portions of existence. Can't stay away from the blighter when i'm in my jaw-gaped, sponge-like, coffee-slurping, armchair-inhabiting, drone-like just-got-up-outa-bed mode.
posted by Kino at 1:28 PM on September 4, 2001

So it's "targetted killing", well hey at least it ain't murder.

I reckon the BBC is about as good as it gets reportage-wise. News stories aren't turned into things resembling music videos in order to grab ratings. And John Simpson is an excellent correspondent.

They are _definitely_ dumbing down though, but maybe that's another thread.
posted by jackiemcghee at 1:30 PM on September 4, 2001

George Orwell said it all in Politics and the English Language. My view is simple: if you know someone is going to do you harm, get in a good punch or kick first. Being reactive is just plain dumb and will cost you dearly. And when Israel "merely" reacts, then they are said to be overly aggressive.
posted by Postroad at 1:40 PM on September 4, 2001

In know that in French, "assassination" and "murder" are, just about synonymous. Whatever you call it, Israel should be saluted for doing it. SALUTED!.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:02 PM on September 4, 2001

Great Paris, more level headed commentary on the issue. Its always a pleasure to read your insightful takes on the situation.
posted by buddha9090 at 3:31 PM on September 4, 2001

At it's extremes i consider them both as bad as each other Paris. One side bullying the other into submission whilst the other side is using weak-arsed lunatic tactics to win some ground. Both Sharon and Arafat are genetic fuck-ups and should be taken outside and shot. Rust on society. Men without conscience twisting territorial disputes into spasticated shapes. Winding the coil of death into a vicious, pent-up, nasty spiral of filth. As for most of the people, they appear to be just helpless programmed masses victim to the scourge of bad leadership injected, icon-tooled, millenium-old, deep set religious and cultural propaganda that prays on the minds of the species like a shit-eating parasite buried deep up a giraffes arse.
posted by Kino at 3:46 PM on September 4, 2001

Great Paris, more level headed commentary on the issue. Its always a pleasure to read your insightful takes on the situation.

Look. Bombing military targets is one thing; conspiring and planning to kill innocents, including little babies is another. I see nothing but positives coming from killing known terrorists. It sends a message to those on the fence (of becoming terrorists).

As for Sharon, I know he is accused of letting Christian militia members ("others") kill people in Lebanese Palestinian refugee camps. Even assuming this is true, I don't see the moral equivalence with Arafat. Whatever.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:13 PM on September 4, 2001

Had to chime in, though I probably shouldn't...

It's that darned "liberal media" at it again. Always trying to spin the news in a way most unfavorable to the conservatives....

This reasoning seems topsy-turvy: not calling things by their real name (real names in this case being state-sponsored assassination, illegal settlelemnts, etc.) is a favorite tool of conservatives, not liberals.

Kino had it right when references were made to AOL's share-holders who'd rather not be bothered by the inconveniences of truthful reportage. But CNN went down the drain a long time ago, in my opinion.
posted by mapalm at 5:57 PM on September 4, 2001

Basically the whole situation is lose-lose for anyone on the money-side of the media, but they have more to lose by angering the more powerful and better organized Israel-supporters, so they tend to tilt a little bit towards Israel.

The funny part is that they are called biased by both sides no matter what they do. My only real gripe with them in light of the pressures they're under is that they don't put things in historical (or even recent!) context.
posted by cell divide at 6:14 PM on September 4, 2001

Skirting about once more and I came upon this, to which I had earlier posted. I am reminded--speaking of language mangling--when I was sent to Korea in 1950 because there was a "police action" going on. Not a war. A bit later I asked if it was customary to give out the G.I. Bill of Rights for police actions.
posted by Postroad at 6:35 PM on September 4, 2001

According to the NTY's Web page, AOL is about to get some privileged access to China. No wonder it panders to Third World despots.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:13 PM on September 4, 2001

The problem is that language here means almost nothing. If you support Israel, then killing the targets of these actions (*chiheisen slips around the actual subject of the debate*) is a good thing, regardless of anything else. If you oppose Israel, then nothing Israel can is right.

If one side saved a child from a burning building, their supporters would cry "we saved a child." The opposition would cry "they are too lazy and evil to save more than a small child."

Once your mind is made up, you interpret events to fit your model of the world, pretty much regardless of what happens.

As a side note, with Arafat getting on in years and a younger generation of Israelis beginning to get into government, things should get interesting soon (not better, just interesting).
posted by chiheisen at 12:22 AM on September 5, 2001

This is not the first time Media Moguls - powers that be in global media - have censored flow of facts from Palestine. Grace Halsell writes:
On a trip to Washington, DC, I hand-delivered a letter to Frank Mankiewicz, then head of the public radio station WETA. I explained I had taped interviews with Palestinians who had been brutally tortured. And I’d make them available to him. I got no reply. I made several phone calls. Eventually I was put through to a public relations person, a Ms. Cohen, who said my letter had been lost. I wrote again. In time I began to realize what I hadn’t known: had it been Jews who were strung up and tortured, it would be news. But interviews with tortured Arabs were “lost” at WETA.

The process of getting my book Journey to Jerusalem published also was a learning experience. Bill Griffin, who signed a contract with me on behalf of MacMillan Publishing Company, was a former Roman Cath olic priest. He assured me that no one other than himself would edit the book. As I researched the book, making several trips to Israel and Palestine, I met frequently with Griffin, showing him sample chapters. “Terrific,” he said of my material.

The day the book was scheduled to be published, I went to visit MacMillan’s. Checking in at a reception desk, I spotted Griffin across a room, cleaning out his desk. His secretary Margie came to greet me. In tears, she whispered for me to meet her in the ladies room. When we were alone, she confided, “He’s been fired.” She indicated it was because he had signed a contract for a book that was sympathetic to Palestinians. Griffin, she said, had no time to see me.

Later, I met with another MacMillan official, William Curry. “I was told to take your manuscript to the Israeli Embassy, to let them read it for mistakes,” he told me.
posted by tamim at 3:11 AM on September 5, 2001

CNN can change their language - but the truth is already well known and the 50 year "pass" the genocidal Zionists have received in the popular conciousness has all but expired. Stories like the one related by tamim above only serve to reinforce the daily news that makes me and formerly non-partisan Americans like me into full out supporters of the Palestinian Arabs. I'd be very, very happy to see Israel compressed back to its 1948 borders with a United Nations Peacekeeping Force keeping the two "sides" separate.
posted by m.polo at 4:52 AM on September 5, 2001

I see nothing but positives coming from killing known terrorists. It sends a message to those on the fence (of becoming terrorists).

Our very own Steven Den Beste makes an excellent case for why you and the Sharon government are so, so totally wrong on this.

Basically, state-sponsored violence does exactly the opposite of what you like to think it does, Paris -- it only enrages people and makes them feel like they have nothing left to lose, so why not take out some of the oppressors and ensure your place in heaven if you're going to die miserably anyway? Which is exactly how suicide bombers are created.

The only thing this policy ensures is that more people are going to die on both sides for a much longer time.
posted by lia at 5:27 AM on September 5, 2001

I was going to get a bit annoyed after reading the first 3/4 of the comments here, until more level headed people started speaking up.

Does anyone really think Arafat has the real power to stop Hamas and the other fringe groups at this point? Only until Israel backs down and actually comes through on the promises that were made, like stopping the bulldozing of Palastinian homes to build a Jewish settlement, will he again be able to get a handle on the fringe groups, let alone the general populace.

Sharon I would say can be linked to purposely inflaming tensions, from his retoric to his actions.

The U.S. needs to start smacking Israel across the head. If it were any other country doing this - expanding its borders, displacing people because of their beliefs and race in favor of its own 'kind' (Arab Jews don't get treated very well, remember), and torturing detainees (the list could go on) - the U.S. would lambast them, threaten to cut off aid, and generally not be supportive.

Follow through with the previous plans to give back the Palastinian areas. Leave Jeruselum until the end. But don't tell me Israel is not the oppressive force here.
posted by rich at 7:11 AM on September 5, 2001

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