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Only the News That Fits: How American Media Erase Palestine – Even Alternative Media

Abdul-Rahman Mahmoud Barghouthi, 18 months. Photo from IMEMC.
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | July 10, 2017

An 18-month-old died in Palestine Friday. The cause of death was teargas inhalation from an Israeli invasion of his village two months ago.

It wasn’t a major invasion; just another of the routine ones that happen almost every day in the West Bank. U.S. media call these “incursions,” when they bother to mention them. Which is rarely.

The toddler’s name was Abdul-Rahman Mahmoud Barghouthi, a name that feels incongruously long for his short life.

When he was injured, Israeli soldiers held up an ambulance rushing to him, forcing medics to go to his home on foot and carry him back to the ambulance in their arms – a 60 minute round trip.

In the past three months, Israelis have killed 18 Palestinians, including an eight-year-old and 10-year-old, and Palestinians have killed two Israeli soldiers.

So far, I don’t see any US mainstream news media mentioning the end of Abdul’s short life, the final two months likely infused with pain. If an 18-month-old Israeli child had been killed by Palestinians, I suspect there would be headlines, and the President would go on CNN [LOL] and condemn the killers.

Perhaps Palestinians are killed so often that to the media it’s just not newsworthy, a little like the old saying that ‘dog bites man’ is not news, while ‘man bites dog’ is news. Israelis killing Palestinian children is not news. However, it is literally news to most Americans, since they so rarely hear about it.

My personal experience in writing about this issue for more than a decade and a half illustrates the very American tale of media omission on Palestine. Just last week another episode showed that the saga continues.

I’ve written about this sort of thing before, on more than one occasion.

The first time I wrote about tiny dead Palestinian children was 15 years ago. I described small deaths and quoted the words of poet Shawqi Baghdadi:

I remember the children

As dead angels

And injured sparrows

God was sad

A few years later I wrote about Palestinian toddlers killed by Israeli drones, and a few years later about Palestinian children shot in the head. I wrote stories about dead Palestinian mothers, such as Anatomy Of A Cover-Up: When A Mother Gets Killed Does She Make A Sound? and “Just Another Mother Murdered.” The titles give you the gist.

I could write stories like this over and over, if I could bear it. Because the deaths keep coming, and the misery and the cruelty, and the media keep ignoring so much of it.

And that’s the point of this story. Americans need to know important facts that they aren’t learning in the very filtered reporting we get. We need to know what’s happening in Palestine, and we need to know what’s enabling this in the U.S. The latter stories are even more covered up.

Until we expose and break through the media bias and omission, the children will keep dying, and the tragedy and carnage and injustice will grow and spread.

In the past I’ve conducted media studies that document the disparity in reporting on Palestinian deaths compared to Israeli deaths, and have deconstructed news reporting. Through the years I’ve periodically written articles describing the flawed system of reporting on Palestine, including a chapter for a Project Censored book on the subject.

This time I’d like to give a few small, personal anecdotes – one from last week.

In 2001 a reporter for the Gannett news chain interviewed me at length about what I had just seen firsthand in Gaza and the West Bank at the height of the Second Intifada, and about the founding of If Americans Knew. Gannett is a major chain and this would have been a significant breakthrough for information on Palestine to get to the general public. The reporter sent a photographer to take pictures of me and told me his feature was about to come out.

But it never did. The reporter later told me a higher-up had killed the story, saying it was “missing something.” He hadn’t explained what.

Another time a journalist at the other end of the media scale, a reporter working for a small town newspaper, wrote a similar story about me. It, too, was killed by a higher-up. The reporter told me this was the first time that had ever happened to him.

Awhile later, a letter I had written about Palestine had gone through the usual editorial process and was slated to be published in the Washington Post. At the last minute it, too, was blocked by a superior.

Most recently, Truthout, a progressive website with a large readership that publishes much excellent work, accepted an article I had submitted about government monitoring of Palestine activism. My piece went through the standard editing and fact-checking, and the next day the article was published on the website. Briefly. It was quickly removed when higher-ups saw it and the staff then told me courteously and apologetically it wasn’t “the right fit for Truthout.”

I asked what this meant, exactly, but haven’t heard back. We’ve now published the article on our blog.

Naturally, news organizations can’t publish everything that’s submitted to them, and all have the right to decide what they will publish and what they won’t.

But it’s unusual for pieces that have gone through the usual channels and passed the standard hurdles to suddenly get killed for unidentified reasons. And it’s disturbing when this fits into a pattern of news filtering that has life and death consequences, and has gone on year after year after year.

Many news media are telling us more than they used to about Palestine, but they continue to leave out important aspects. Sometimes a half truth is a whole lie.

Meanwhile, Israel and its partisans have rewritten the governmental definition of “antisemitism” to include criticism of Israel and embedded this new Israel-centric definition in governments and law enforcement agencies around the world, so that eventually articles like this one may be banned as “hate speech.”

But you won’t learn that in Truthout.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trump and Clinton: Censoring the unpalatable

By John Pilger | March 29, 2016

A virulent if familiar censorship is about to descend on the US election campaign. As the cartoon brute, Donald Trump, seems almost certain to win the Republican Party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the “women’s candidate” and the champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.

This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.

The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed. Obama based his “hope” campaign almost entirely on the fact of an African-American aspiring to lead the land of slavery. He was also “antiwar”.

Obama was never antiwar. On the contrary, like all American presidents, he was pro-war. He had voted for George W. Bush’s funding of the slaughter in Iraq and he was planning to escalate the invasion of Afghanistan. In the weeks before he took the presidential oath, he secretly approved an Israeli assault on Gaza, the massacre known as Operation Cast Lead. He promised to close the concentration camp at Guantanamo and did not. He pledged to help make the world “free from nuclear weapons” and did the opposite.

As a new kind of marketing manager for the status quo, the unctuous Obama was an inspired choice. Even at the end of his blood-spattered presidency, with his signature drones spreading infinitely more terror and death around the world than that ignited by jihadists in Paris and Brussels, Obama is fawned on as “cool” (the Guardian).

On March 23, CounterPunch published my article, “A World War has Begun: Break the Silence”.  As has been my practice for years, I then syndicated the piece across an international network, including Truthout.com, the liberal American website.  Truthout publishes some important journalism, not least Dahr Jamail’s outstanding corporate exposes.

Truthout rejected the piece because, said an editor, it had appeared on CounterPunch and had broken “guidelines”.  I replied that this had never been a problem over many years and I knew of no guidelines.

My recalcitrance was then given another meaning. The article was reprieved provided I submitted to a “review” and agreed to changes and deletions made by Truthout’s “editorial committee”. The result was the softening and censoring of my criticism of Hillary Clinton, and the distancing of her from Trump. The following was cut:

Trump is a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our scepticism. Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama … The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system … As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies– just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about “hope”.

The “editorial committee” clearly wanted me to water down my argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme danger to the world.  Like all censorship, this was unacceptable. Maya Schenwar, who runs Truthout, wrote to me that my unwillingness to submit my work to a “process of revision” meant she had to take it off her “publication docket”.  Such is the gatekeeper’s way with words.

At the root of this episode is an enduring unsayable. This is the need, the compulsion, of many liberals in the United States to embrace a leader from within a system that is demonstrably imperial and violent. Like Obama’s “hope”, Clinton’s gender is no more than a suitable facade.

This is an historical urge. In his 1859 essay “On Liberty,” to which modern liberals seem to pay unflagging homage, John Stuart Mill described the power of empire. “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians,” he wrote, “provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.” The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity of whom “implicit obedience” was required.

“It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are the peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the British historian Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open ended nature – its conviction that it represents a superior form of life [while denying its] self righteous fanaticism.” He had in mind a speech by Tony Blair in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, in which Blair promised to “reorder this world around us” according to his “moral values”. The carnage of a million dead in Iraq was the result.

Blair’s crimes are not unusual. Since 1945, some 69 countries — more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – have suffered some or all of the following. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people bombed. The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. With the demise of the European empires, this has been the project of the liberal flame carrier, the “exceptional” United States, whose celebrated “progressive” president, John F Kennedy, according to new research, authorised the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis in 1962.

“If we have to use force,” said Madeleine Albright, US secretary of state in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton and today a passionate campaigner for his wife, “it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.”

One of Hillary Clinton’s most searing crimes was the destruction of Libya in 2011. At her urging, and with American logistical support, NATO, launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, according to its own records, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads. See the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. Read the UNICEF report on the children killed, “most [of them] under the age of ten”.

In Anglo-American scholarship, followed slavishly by the liberal media on both sides of the Atlantic, influential theorists known as “liberal realists” have long taught that liberal imperialists – a term they never use – are the world’s peace brokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves warmongering power. Laying out whole nations for autopsy, they have identified “failed states” (nations difficult to exploit) and “rogue states” (nations resistant to western dominance).

Whether or not the targeted regime is a democracy or dictatorship is irrelevant. In the Middle East, western liberalism’s collaborators have long been extremist Islamists, lately al-Qaeda, while cynical notions of democracy and human rights serve as rhetorical cover for conquest and mayhem — as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Haiti, Honduras. See the record of those good liberals Bill and Hillary Clinton. Theirs is a standard to which Trump can only aspire.

Follow John Pilger on Twitter @johnpilger and on Facebook

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

Climate Change and the Magnificent Achievements of Eco-Propaganda

By James F. Tracy | Global Research | January 31, 2014

Today a good deal of what qualifies as propaganda is much more subtle than overt. When an entire civilization or way of life is to be significantly altered the tried-and-true method of “repeating a lie until it becomes truth” needs to be done over a period of many years and in a multitude of varying ways to take hold and change the very assumptions and beliefs of a people.

This process is especially vital for reaching a given society’s more elite demographic—the opinion leaders who perceive themselves as “smarter than the average bear” and thus impervious to simple appeals and indoctrination.

A case in point is the agenda backed by powerful global elites and recognizable under names such as “climate change” and “sustainability.” The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, released on September 27, 2013, came replete with an assemblage of legitimizing features along these lines (“scientific,” “scholarly,” “authoritative,” “peer reviewed,”). Also termed the “Climate Bible,” journalists and policymakers alike regard it as “authoritative” and “the gold standard” of climate science. The public is told that the official body’s findings are now clearer than ever: “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”[1]

Among the most vociferous agitators for the IPCC’s climate change orthodoxy are the foundation-funded, tax-exempt, progressive-left media that sit alongside the bevy of similarly tax-exempt, foundation-funded environmental organizations that together uphold and publicize the theory of CO2-based anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change (ACC).[2] Self-professed as “independent,” “investigative,” even “educational,” the so-called “alternative media” turn a blind eye to seriously scrutinizing the highly questionable IPCC’s “scientific” review of the climatological literature and its implications for the array of ambitious programs and policies stealthily introduced throughout the industrialized world, many of which are seldom subject to popular plebiscite. Think “smart grid” and “smart growth.”

Logical questions from such apparently independent organs might include, “How does the IPCC produce its findings?” and “Who benefits?” Instead, there is an almost knee-jerk response on behalf of progressive-left editors and readerships to trust and support the UN group’s purportedly objective and meticulous review of the peer-reviewed climatological literature.

Between August and December 2013 such progressive outlets published dozens of articles and commentaries whole-heartedly touting the IPCC report. For example, Truthout.org posted 25 articles, Alternet.org ran 40, MotherJones.com circulated 38, and DemocracyNow.org featured 11.

These were often presented with bleak headlines accenting the urgent appeals found in the IPCC publicity. For example, “International Scientists Warn Climate Deniers Are Enabling Earth’s Suicide” (Truthout, 9/13/13), “6 Scary Conclusions in the UN’s New Climate Report” (Mother Jones, 9/27/13), “Greenhouse Gas in Atmosphere Hits New Record: UN,” (Alternet, 11/1/13), and “’Africa is Being Pushed Closer to the Fire’: Africans Say Continent Can’t Wait for Climate Action” (Democracy Now! 11/22/13).

Uncritical advocacy of the IPCC’s anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming extended beyond headlines to media criticism. In December, for example, the progressive Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) observed that corporate controlled network newscasts routinely failed to link “extreme weather” to “global warming.” “In the first nine months of 2013,” FAIR observes,

there were 450 segments of 200 words or more that covered extreme weather: flooding, forest fires, tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes and heat waves. But of that total, just a tiny fraction–16 segments, or 4 percent of the total–so much as mentioned the words “climate change,” “global warming” or “greenhouse gases.[3]

What is left unmentioned is that fact that all of these “extreme weather” incidents have one common denominator that FAIR and corporate and progressive media alike consistently overlook: the sun. As University of Winnipeg climatologist Dr. Tim Ball explains (here at 35:00), the IPCC’s “terms of reference” through which the body proceeds to generate its findings exclude the sun and its many demonstrable atmospheric effects as factors in the warming and cooling of the earth’s climate. It is thus no wonder that at best fringe or nonexistent causes of “climate change”–such as minuscule alterations in atmospheric gases–are pointed to with great alarm by the IPCC and its proponents.

Despite far more unambiguous and compelling scientific explanations the notion that “carbon emissions” are the foremost cause of natural climactic events has become something of a religion, and this is especially the case on the progressive-left, where adherents mechanically accept the curious agenda and its ostensibly “scientific” basis while vehemently condemning non-believers as “climate deniers.”

As Canadian journalist Donna LaFramboise has documented in her important 2011 exposé, the IPCC’s scholarly personnel is in fact heavily weighted toward what are often third-or-fourth-rate scientific talent whose eco-political stances are strictly in accord with the IPCC’s “research” agenda pushing anthropogenic climate change. IPCC authors often include climatology graduate students and even environmental activists from organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund—indeed, figures with little-if-any scientific training but with clear agendas to promote.

LaFramboise further found that one third of the literature reviewed and cited by the IPCC in its 2007 report was–contrary to IPCC chief publicist Ragendra Pachauri’s pronouncements–not even peer-reviewed, and in many cases included citations of promotional literature devised and distributed by environmental activist organizations.

These unethical and compromising relationships are not difficult to explain if one is to recognize the IPCC for what it in fact is—a powerful political organization with the overarching objective of manufacturing consent and achieving transnational policy harmonization around the largely discursive construct of anthropogenic carbon-centric climate change.

The fact that the IPCC is capable of forthrightly carrying out one of the greatest scientific frauds in human history, setting long range governmental policies while enlisting allegedly intellectual sophisticates and “progressive” news media as its most devoted foot soldiers, is no small-scale feat. It is, rather, an immense achievement in modern propaganda and thought control that only hints at the powerful forces behind a much more far-reaching agenda.

Notes

[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Human Influence on Climate Clear: IPCC Says,” Geneva Switzerland: World Meteorological Organization. The notion of “a 97% consensus” has itself become a common mantra for climate change fear mongering and grounds for labeling someone a “climate denier.” Yet there is limited evidence of any such consensus concerning ACC among climatologists. The oft-cited 2009 American Geophysical Union survey alleging a 98% consensus among scientists on ACC cannot sustain even modest scrutiny. See Larry Bell, “That Scientific Global Warming Consensus … Not!” Forbes.com, July 7, 2012. Another study held up as “proof” of scientific consensus, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” asserts only carefully qualified claims along these lines. “A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself,” the authors point out, “the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions.” The brief paper assesses “an extensive data set of 1,372 climate researchers” to conclude that the scientific expertise and prominence of those who accept the IPCC’s ACC tenets surpass those who remain “unconvinced.” This begs the question, To what degree are the requisites of foundation funding related to espousing IPCC/ACC opinion? William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010.

[2] James F. Tracy, “The Forces Behind Carbon-Centric Environmentalism,” Global Research, November 12, 2013.

[3] “TV News and Extreme Weather: Don’t Mention Climate Change,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, December 18, 2013. It might be added that corporate media and progressive-left counterparts uniformly fail to consider other possible causes of such unusual weather events, such as geoengineering and similar “environmental modification techniques” acknowledged by the US military and undertaken in many industrialized countries. See, for example, Michel Chossudovsky, “Climate Change, Geoengineering, and Environmental Modification Techniques,” Global Research, November 24, 2013.

January 31, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 9 Comments