Friday, April 27, 2007


Journalists did Hezbollah's work, offering little resistance to the Islamic militia's effort to portray itself as an idealistic and heroic army of the people, facing an aggressive and ruthless enemy. With Hezbollah's unchallenged control of journalists' access within its territory, it managed to almost completely eliminate from the narrative crucial facts, such as the fact that it deliberately fired its weapons from deep within civilian population centers, counting on Israeli forces to have no choice but defend themselves by targeting rocket launchers where they stood. Hezbollah's strong support from Syria and Iran -- including the provision of deadly weapons -- faded in the coverage, as the conflict increasingly became portrayed as pitting one powerful army against a band of heroic defenders of a civilian population. Gradually lost in the coverage was the fact that the war began when Hezbollah infiltrated Israel, kidnapping two of its soldiers (still held to this day) and killing eight Israelis. Despite the undisputed fact that Hezbollah triggered the war, Israel was painted as the aggressor, as images of the war overtook the context.
You should read the whole thing. It's almost a point by point summary of the complaints that were circulating around the blogosphere during the war - differences in media restrictions, transparent Hezbollah manipulation, minimization of Hezbollah war crimes, etc. The results were predictable, but the numbers are still a little shocking - the imbalance is quantitatively shocking, to say nothing of undeniable. Although in fairness to Western reporters, they were just mindlessly parroting what Hezbollah told them. How were they supposed to know not to trust people who fire rockets at civilian population centers from civilian population centers.

Read an extended version of this post at Mere Rhetoric...

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