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Sunday, August 31, 2014

David Harris: Media Lies and Bias in the Conflict Zone

What’s heading our way, in this terrorist-bloodied world? We depend on international media to help us find out.

So it’s time to look at some dirty secrets, foreign correspondent edition.

Trench coats and panamas have given way to sat phones and moral ambiguity. An ideal starting point in understanding this media ambiguity – and its occasional, sinister undertones and implications for us – is the Israel-Hamas war.

The penny should have dropped well before today’s Gaza crisis. No later than April 11, 2003, in fact.
That day, CNN admitted in the New York Times that it hid and manipulated reality, though the wording was more delicately self-regarding. Prior to the 2003 defeat of Saddam Hussein, CNN couldn’t reveal fully the monstrous excesses and threatening nature of his Iraq, because, said chief news executive Eason Jordan, the network’s Iraqi staff risked retaliation.

Problem: Jordan didn’t explain why, having been prevented from reporting honestly there, CNN nonetheless insisted on keeping its financially rewarding Baghdad post operating before and during the 2003 war. Some critics concluded that an appetite for big, wartime money-making ratings outstripped CNN’s taste for truth, with some ambitious journalists playing along.

Have media done similar things in Gaza?...

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