13 June 2008

Inverted commas and delegitimized discourses

Posted in Comment tagged , , , at 2:18 pm by lilithhope

In its piece today covering an incident in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the BBC used inverted commas in its headline, stating:

‘Jewish settler attack’ on film

What are the purpose of such punctuation? Obviously, to instill doubt in the reader about the truthfullness of the story. As if the footage of an elderly couple being beaten to the ground and images of their bloody bodies wasn’t proof enough. As if the human rights organization B’tselem, whose purpose in distributing video cameras was to capture such acts of violence, was blowing things out of proportion or, quite simply, lying.

Also telling is the fact that the BBC displays no skepticism when speaking of the so-called ‘militants’ that are often claimed to be the victims of Israeli raids and strikes. It does not overtly question the ‘facts’ that it receives from the IDF regarding its operations and their consequences, such as civilian deaths. That must be because the IDF is a much more legitimate organization than a bunch of squealing human rights activists or some poor illiterate shepherds. Or because of that innate characteristic of Palestinians, and Arabs more generally, to exaggerate, or twist the facts, or just lie.

Or, more simply, because any testimony against the Israeli’s is, in many ways, by default, pro-Palestinian. And who could possible bear such an accusation! Obviously not the beacon of British journalism.

Media bias is something that really riles me up. But the portrayal of this story is worse than anything i’ve seen before. They have footage of the attack, and photos of the aftermath, which makes the desire for such lowly denial of the incident really disturbing. It betrays a desire to remain blind to injustices and mute in condemning them, which are the very reasons why they are allowed to continue.

11 June 2008

BBC vs Al Jazeera: One word can mean so much

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:12 pm by lilithhope

Spot the difference between Aljazeera’s and BBC’s coverage of Israel’s killing of 3 Hamas fighter’s in Gaza yesterday:

BBC: “Three militants died and two others were wounded when the Israeli military fired a missile at the mortar crew“.

Al Jazeera: “Israeli troops killed three Palestinian Hamas fighters in Gaza City and wounded five more people in response to the rocket attacks.”

Apart from the commonplace difference on between BBC’s “militants” and AJ’s “fighters”, and the difference in numbers, BBC’s phrase suggests that the people who were wounded were also fighters, while AJ explicitly states “other people”…

Furthermore, later on in the BBC article is a pretty miserable attempt at justifying the shocking difference in 2008 death tolls between Israeli’s killed by Palestinians (4) and Palestinians killed by Israelis (“about 500”: the imprecision in itself betrays the sense that the Palestinian lives are worth less than the Israeli).

The BBC states that “more than half” of those 500+ killed were “armed militants”. However, it does not seek to qualify the Israelis killed, while they could be qualified as “settlers” or “Zionists”, or at least attributed some characteristic that could situate them in the wider conflict and give insight into the cause of their deaths (anti-imperialist resistance).

Also, instead of scrambling to smooth over the fact that between 200-250 INNOCENT CIVILIANS have been killed by the Israeli military in the past 6 months, the Beeb could have highlighted that atrocious figure by articulating how many child deaths have been caused by the IDF in that time, which are definately over 50 (figures in early Aprilstated 49 child deaths, and that was before the offensive later that month that killed many children).

But no. Instaed, it chose to frame the event in a way that justifies such indiscriminate killings. What responsible reporting.