Friday, May 4, 2007
by Patrick O’Connor
"After four disastrous years of US military occupation, Bill Moyers’ April 25th PBS special “Buying the War” attempted to hold the mainstream US media accountable for its complicity in selling the war on Iraq to the US public. Moyers documented how the US media, with The New York Times in a leading role, bowed to financial and political pressure, succumbed to an environment of patriotism and fear of terrorism, and uncritically reported false US government claims. Tragically, despite the terrible consequences of 60 years of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, there is still no significant movement to hold the US mainstream media accountable for a similar, dramatic failure in covering Israel and Palestine, and for its complicity in the US’ uncritical support for Israel.....
Renowned Israeli reporter Amira Hass has asserted that “What journalism is really about – it's to monitor power and the centers of power." The US mainstream media, with The New York Times in the lead, has failed miserably in achieving that ideal, not only in covering Iraq, but also in reporting on Israel and Palestine. Rather than any concept of objectivity, balance or truth, the US media reflects instead the imbalance of power between Israelis and Palestinians, emphasizing the views of the most powerful actors - the Israeli and US governments. Palestinians’ lived experiences - that they are under attack, being killed, impoverished, having their land taken, denied their rights, and the victims of a discriminatory system - are drowned out by the drumbeat of Palestinian terrorism, even when few Israelis are being killed. As with Iraq, this racist narrative of inherent Arab violence is being exploited to justify domination of one people by another. Lacking this analysis, Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War” represents only a first step towards exposing US media bias in covering the Middle East."