Media Lens: The Left-Wing Media Fallacy Jeremy Bowen, The BBC, And Other National Treasures

8 May, 2009 – May 8, 2009, MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

It is a mistake to imagine that media corporations are impervious to all complaints and criticism. In fact, senior editors and managers are only too happy to accept that their journalists tend to be ‘anti-American,’ ‘anti-Israel,’ ‘anti-Western,’ indeed utterly rotten with left-wing bias.

In June 2007, an internal BBC report revealed that Auntie Beeb had long been perpetrating high media crimes, including: “institutional left-wing bias” and “being anti-American”. (’Lambasting for the “trendy Left-wing bias” of BBC bosses,’ Daily Mail, June 18, 2007)

Former BBC political editor, Andrew Marr, applied his forensic journalistic skills, noting that the BBC was comprised of “an abnormally large proportion of younger people, of people in ethnic minorities and almost certainly of gay people, compared with the population at large”. This, he deduced, “creates an innate liberal bias”. (Nicole Martin, ‘BBC viewers angered by its “innate liberal bias”,’ Daily Telegraph, June 19, 2007)
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The Smearjob On the Durban World Conference Against Racism By Sid Shniad

8 May, 2009 – Socialist Project | The Bullet E-Bulletin No. 214

In 2001, the United Nations convened the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa, to deal with a range of issues related to racism and its legacies, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the appropriation of the land and resources of the world’s indigenous peoples, and the human rights of the Palestinians.

The government of Israel responded to the anti-Semitic actions of a few marginal NGOs which participated in Durban by branding the entire WCAR – widely seen as a high water mark in the international battle against racism – as an anti-Semitic ‘hatefest.’ This became the pretext for Israel and its allies to walk out of the conference in an attempt to prevent Israel’s behaviour vis-à-vis the Palestinians as well as other vitally important matters from being addressed.

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Iraq: Laying the Groundwork for Violence By Dahr Jamail

7 May, 2009 | T r u t h o u t

Throughout history, those who collaborate with the occupiers of their country tend to end up hung out to dry, or dead. The occupation of Iraq is no different – collaboration and the poison fruits that come of it are on full display for the history books once again. Only now, the rapidity with which this is happening is staggering.

On May 5, the Iraqi military killed Basim Mohammed and detained his brother. Mohammed was a member of the Sahwa, the 100,000-strong Sunni militia composed mostly of former resistance fighters that the US created in order to use them to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as paying them off to draw down the number of attacks against occupation forces.

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Frédéric Bobin, “Antonio Giustozzi, Researcher, London School of Economics and Political Science: ‘The New Afghan Taliban Are Waging a Real Guerrilla War'”

6 May, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

Antonio Giustozzi, a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is one of the internationally recognized specialists on the Taliban. Author of Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan (Columbia University Press, 2008) among other books, this academic divides his time between London and Afghanistan. Talking to Le Monde in Kabul, he sketched a portrait of the new generation of Islamist rebels.

In what respect are these ‘Neo-Taliban’ different?

The primary difference is that these ‘Neo-Taliban’ are waging a real guerrilla war. This was not the case with their elders. Before conquering Kabul in the autumn of 1996, the first generation was a simple, ill-organized militia. Then, after taking power, it attempted to build an army. There never was a real guerrilla experience in that period. The situation changed after the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001. The new, armed opposition started with limited means. But it kept raising the level of tactical expertise as well as that of strategic thinking.

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“Guerrilla Ad Campaign Replaces “Study in Israel” Billboards”

7 May, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

Students and community members near the UC Berkeley campus were surprised one weekend to see a series of bus shelter billboards asking, ‘What country uses live ammunition against unarmed children?’ Below a photo of identically dressed schoolboys in front of a barbed wire fence is the answer: Israel.

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The guerrilla ads replaced ads which also featured photos of groups of people, beneath the headline, ‘Study in Israel? You’d like it here.’ The ad campaign was part of an intensive campaign to promote study in Israel at California universities. The University of California recently reinstated a study abroad program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, after years of strong lobbying from pro-Israel students and professionals. The program was suspended seven years ago based on concerns that the area was too dangerous.

‘It’s ironic that the University of California has decided the area is less dangerous now than seven years ago, when 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed by the Israeli government in Gaza just four months ago,’ said one of the creators of the alternative ad campaign, who prefers to remain anonymous. ‘2009 has already been the deadliest year for Palestinians since the Second Intifada began in September 2000.’

The replacement poster took a satirical tone, reading in part:

‘For over eight years, Israel has been under siege. Unarmed Palestinian children have led the attack by crossing Israeli checkpoints, intimidating Israeli troops and provoking gunfire. Acting with extreme restraint, Israelis have killed no more than 1,100 children and seriously wounded only 4,000. Israeli troops have arrested over 6,000 children, but only 80% have been tortured. . . .

‘With your continued support we can do better. The U.S. government gave us $5 billion last year, but your additional contributions will help us arrest every Palestinian child, torture 100% of detainees, and rid ourselves of the menace of international human rights workers once and for all. In these tough economic times, think of Israel on April 15th and give generously.’

The poster made its first appearance on March 29, which is observed as Land Day by Palestinians all over the world. Land Day commemorates events of 33 years ago, when Israeli security forces shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel and injured many others. The young people were killed while protesting ongoing Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish-only settlements.

The Study in Israel billboards were carefully designed to appeal to the U.C. system’s multicultural student body. One featured a group of Southeast Asians and another a women in hijab (traditional Muslim head covering). One of the artists behind the alternative campaign finds this portrayal of Israel as a society that is welcoming to people of all cultures particularly troubling. ‘Not only is Israel an apartheid state, where Palestinians — whether they wear hijab or not — do not have equal rights with Jewish citizens, but Muslims who attempt to travel there as tourists or students are very likely not even to be allowed into the country,’ the artist observed.

While the guerrilla ads are not affiliated with any organization, www.stopthewall.org, www.bdsmovement.net, and www.whoprofits.org are excellent sources of information.

The poster at the top of this post may be printed and used to replace such billboards as seen in the images below:

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[Click to enlarge.]

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[Click to enlarge.]

This post was first published on the Web site of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.