Blog of Mass Distraction

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The objective news media...

I heard an interesting piece on CBC a couple of days about Reuters complaining that the Ottawa Citizen and the National Post (both owned by Canwest Global Communications) have repeatedly changed words in their stories to specifically change the slant and meaning of the story. Moreover, this changing of words was done in accordance with a normal policy at Canwest to change specific words and phrases.
The recent specific incident involved changing the word fighters in reference to those in Iraq fighting the US occupation, to terrorists. They regularly make this substitution when talking about Palestinians fighting against the IDF and the occupation. The National Post is even more stark and it removes any references to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The example given in the CBC piece is as follows:

Reuters Original: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank."

National Post: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel."

Frankly, this obvious bias is just a reflection of the handlers of these organizations. The Aspers run this Canadian media empire and they're terribly biased. It should be obvious to many people that criticism of Israel is just that, criticism of the government of Israel. If someone says "I don't like George Bush", do they automatically hate America? Of course not; and yet if a person criticizes Israeli policy they are automatically condemned by people like the Aspers as being anti-semitic. They claim that any criticism of Israel is a criticism of all Jews, and at the same time they claim to be unbiased and say they aren't racist (against Arabs).
This is all very ironic because the founder of Canwest Global, Israel Asper (who passed away last year), also founded an organization to create a Canadian museum for human rights. This is the same man who blames the conflict in Palestine & Israel purely on Arab intolerance. He says "there never was -- and there isn't now -- any such thing as Palestinian land." This, of course, ignores the dozens of UN resolutions condemning the Israeli occupation and treatment of the Palestinians.
It's very easy for Asper-run papers to dimiss criticism from others without addressing any of the issues by saying they are also pro-arab or anti-semitic. Criticism from Jewish sources, however, can't so easily be dismissed as anti-semitic; which is why it's just ignored and not discussed. Organizations like Jewish Youth Against the Occupation (with chapters in many cities), Jews for a just peace, Gush Shalom, and many others, as well as prominent, outspoken, individual critics of Israeli policy like Danny Schechter, Tanya Reinhart, Amira Hass, Uri Averny and Noam Chomsky, openly condemn brutal Israeli policy (and of course terrible attacks against Israeli civilians).
Noam Chomsky was called by the New York Times, one of the most important intellectuals alive today (right before they complained about the 'terrible things' he says). And yet, how often do you see one of Chomsky's many, many writings appear in the mainstream media?
Defense of Jewish rights is certainly needed and necessary, as there are still many real anti-semites in the world today and the Jewish people have suffered enormously throughout their history. There is also a very real need for the defense of the Palestinian people against their occupiers (the IDF and Israeli government). These two things are not in conflict with one another, and that's something that the Asper's don't seem to understand.


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