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Gaza, Israel and terrorism - are you entertained?
I'm a UK resident, so I don't often get the see the news or current affairs programs from the US (and I don't go out of my way to see it on the net). However, recently I watched a video on Youtube of Sean Hannity of Fox News talking to some guests about Israel and Hamas etc. (Actually, talking isn't really the correct word, as you will see). As I watched, I was shocked at his manner and over-simplified logic. I was thinking to myself, do people in the States really go along with this guy? It reminded me of how easy it is to talk carelessly about intricate subjects. As ever, the media over-simplifies for the masses, and important things get lost along the way.
Things like the truth.
Or maybe, Sean Hannity was doing it on purpose to cause a stir. I sincerely hope that that was all it was.
This hub isn't meant to be exclusively about Gaza, but really about other conflicts where decent information is hard to come by. You can be assured that what the main news channels feed you, are pulped and re-packaged pieces of information. The Israel-Palestine conflict, and how the whole dialogue is shaped by the media, is no exception. In fact, the Gaza conflict sits perfectly into that position.
In the case of Sean Hannity, it's obvious that his oversimplifications don't help the debate. The following video is extremely interesting as it also puts into question the whole 'terrorist' concept and how using this term is now bandied around in often ludicrous ways. The video is a commented version of the Hannity interview, by the Young Turks network which does a great job of dissecting the problem with the "Hannity approach".
The Young Turks analyse Sean Hannity
UK reaction to Sean Hannity
Here in the UK, there was also a strong response to Hannity's interview by the comedian Russel Brand. Personally I like his quirky approach, and it also feels a lot more open-ended than Hannity's. As The Young Turks network point out, even the position of questioning whether Hamas might have a point (even if they're going about it the wrong way), is instantly seen as siding with 'terrorism', like some kind of witch hunt. Ridiculous.
Anyway, take a look, and see how it compares with the Young Turks analysis of Sean Hannity's offering on Gaza.
Russel Brand on Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity responded!
The Media weave continued, because Sean Hannity, obviously a little offended by Russel Brand, felt a need to respond in another show, with different guests. This time however, he allowed a guest with a more reasonable voice to say something on the subject, without shouting him down instantly.
Is this all part "Sean Hannity's fun playtime", without any genuine desire to understand the truth about the Gaza conflict?
Take a look and decide for yourself.
The user who uploaded the video must either believe, or is keen to give the impression that Sean Hannity OBLITERATES Russel Brand, but that isn't exactly true. What's interesting is that the guys on his show, as you'll see, feel a need to criticize Brand in a really personal way, regarding his appearance etc. Brand's criticism of Hannity, wasn't on his appearance, but on his behaviour. Brand threw the first stone, as it were, but it certainly wasn't an attack on Hannity's appearance.
Two very different things. Does being extra-rude constitute obliterating?
Not so much. See the show and see what you think.
Sean Hannity's response to Russel Brand
So what have we learned?
The funny thing is, is that we've learned absolutely nothing about the Gaza conflict from Hannity's program. At least Russel Brand throws it out there, that everything isn't possibly as it seems.
And he possibly has a point.
Of course, this small spat between two people is a tiny fragment of information out there, in terms of discussion on the Gaza conflict. But in a sense, it's also representative of the emotions this whole subject stirs up. Also, it shows the media circus and lack of clarity on the issues. Thousands of individuals worldwide contribute everyday to the news channels, and really, what do they really know?
So not only do we have opinion wars that fly across the ocean - and the web is full of those the whole world over - but we also have the news channels, that don't really tell you what's happening. In fact, a news channel has the power to bias and skew public opinion, by simply choosing to show one type of content over another. This is pretty amazing really and at the same time worrying.
Here is an example. The UN and the world now recognizes that Israel have been purposely killing civilians, and that it simply hasn't just been 'self defense', despite all of the assurances from Israel that they have not. The UN told the military 17 times not to bomb a school (and the Israelis did anyway, with 1000 people inside, killing children in their sleep). See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28590103
Update (03-08-14 18:00) - it's just happened AGAIN, another UN school safe shelter has just been hit despite 33 warnings this time. 10 innocent people seeking shelter were killed. Robert Turner: Head of UN Operations in Gaza has just said:
'It's incomprehensible. How can this continue to happen with all of this information. We have told them 33 times exactly where this shelter is, the last time an hour before the strike this morning.
How does this continue to happen? I mean, we've called for an investigation we'll call for an investigation again, we'll condemn this outrageous act of violence. But how can it keep happening?"
Actually, Israel has fallen out of favor many times on the world stage in the way it treats Palestinians, but somehow the world forgets (For example, Menachen Begin's PLO assault in Lebanon in 1982 - many, many civilian Palestinian casualties. And many more since, in various other operations).
This is not something relayed on the news currently. Suddenly, history has been as it were erased. The News channels provide no real context for the current situation. The foundation of Israel had, as its inception, incidentally, groups that the UK regarded as 'terrorist', so isn't it ironic that the tables have turned so far. In fact, Albert Einstein himself was concerned about the right-wing Zionist groups linked with the creation of Israel.
Albert Einstein warned about fascist 'terrorist' Zionism
Here is an extract from Einstein's letter sent to the New York Times in 1948, Protesting about the visit of Menachem Begin to America. In it, he warns of Zionist Facism In Israel.
Here are a couple of extracts:
“...the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement. The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future. “
Did Albert Einstein say terrorist party?
“A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants - 240men, women, and children - and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party. Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.”
For the full letter see http://www.rense.com/general59/ein.htm
Everything we hear and read is without context. Hamas are the ONLY terrorists about, in this situation, and Israel is entirely free of causing terror in any way, and presumably always has been.
But obviously, that really honestly can't be true.
In a sense, the media don't have to withhold any information - after all, that would go against the appearance of impartiality - all they need to do is show some articles more often than others. It's just a percentage game. Just as supermarkets know where to position items, and which gloss to give them, purveyors of news know that any article placed above another will be more widely read.
Every second of the day our brains absorb information and the presence of information just goes in, whether we like it or not. All it needs is for a certain strand of information to be placed more accessibly than another - so that in essence, all we're doing is absorbing someone else's opinion!
What, media bias?
Not accidental says UN (by the way, that's BIG NEWS!) - 31st July
A day after that BIG news, these headlines...
Makes you think
I've put a red box around the relevant link. The aborted airstrike video keeps cropping up over and over again in this coverage, even before the air strike on the school. Ok, we get the message, the Israei army is nice, and doesn't kill civilians...
Except... it's killed about 1600 of them, including 300 children, in about 24 days, that is, in a population zone where the average age is 17.
As John Kerry, Secretary of State said sarcastically: "That's a hell of a pinpoint operation."
Makes you think, doesn't it?
Why isn't this link, about the UN saying the strikes were no error, not linked from the front news page again? Surely that's massive news?
The media circus - one big feeding frenzy
It seems pretty obvious that really, the media has to overall stay in line. It's fine to promote certain ideas to a certain degree, but certainly, don't let these take hold.
At least give the impression of free press.
But more than that, it's really very important for the media to stir up emotions, because readers are consciously or unconsciously looking for that emotional hit, in the same way that they look for that emotional ride when watching a movie or reading a book.
Essentially, it's just entertainment, even if the news items are impacting people in reality.
In a way that is both the sad and wicked truth about journalism and reporting. Humans feed their emotions by going 'oh my God how awful' to the news story (yep, it's a story alright), which in itself helps mask the actual information - the valuable truth - behind the stories.
Whether it's 'they must stop Hamas at all costs', or 'Israel must stop the slow genocide of the Palestinian people', chances are that these thoughts and feelings are triggered by raw emotion, and reactive attitudes.
In a way, the media is like a magician, and through slight of hand and manipulation, gets us to believe what it wants. Is it part of a big game, to keep us ignorant?