It’s the spin

I’m a word person. I’m very, very, very verbal and I prefer to get my information through reading. Maybe that’s why I’m so sensitive to, and really obsess about, the nuances news coverage about events in the Middle East.

For example, there’s a BBC story boldly headlined “Palestinians killed in Gaza strip.” At this point, I have no idea whether they died by accident, were murdered at the hands of their fellow Palestinians, or died in combat with Israelis. The next paragraph, which is still bolded, although not in large font, answers the question, the Israelis killed them: “Three Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire in the Gaza Strip.” It’s only when I get to the third paragraph that I discover that the Israelis weren’t just firing for fun into Gaza. They were responding to provocation:

The shelling came in response to the launch of missiles across Gaza’s border, which hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon, injuring one person.

The Israeli army says it immediately identified the launch site and targeted the militants.

So, the news story does get to a point, which is that Israel used retaliatory fire aimed at armed combatants hiding amongst civilians only after Palestinians first successfully targeted Israeli civilians.  This type of spin, which abandons chronological coherence in order to make a political point, is so annoying, especially since it manifestly shapes the moral equivalence that poisons that discourse.

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  • http://www.whyweworry.com Clint

    Bookworm,

    Not quite. In this post you state that, “It’s only when I get to the third paragraph that I discover that the Israelis weren’t just firing for fun into Gaza. They were responding to provocation.”

    But, you see, this shows your own bias. The Israeli Army says that they were responding to provocation — that’s not a fact.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Clint: the article states as fact the provocation. In the material I provided from the BBC article, the only thing that’s attributed to the Israeli army is that it was able to identify the spot from where the missile was launched. Even the BBC seems to concede that the Palestinians hit Israel back first.

  • jg

    Bookworm: One commenter at NNC’s site links to his erudite statement about the current situation.

    ‘Edgar’s musings on Islamic fundamentalism and Israel from a UK perspective’ is, at least in the posting linked below, quiet and telling in its indictment of the Brits, and the MSM in general. Perhaps his “The Jihad threat against the West and Israel” is a blog to watch.

    excerpt–
    “The (MSM) text was saying:

    “Israelis kill 7 civilians in village in Lebanon”

    “15 die north of Kiryat Shemonah”

    Even people with a detailed knowledge of the area would be hard-pressed to realise that, in fact, 15 Israelis had been killed in separate katyusha rocket attacks (including 12 at a kibbutz north of Kiryat Shemonah). But note that Israelis explicitly “kill civilians” (even though they are actually targetting known terrorist launch sites) whereas the other way round (when the Islamafascists genuinely target civilians) apparently people of unspecified nationalities in inspecified countries somehow ‘die’. Maybe the person who presented the text in this way believed that these people died of shame when they heard of the civilian killings on the other side? But in fact whenever the BBC and Sky mention casualties it always Israelis killing civilians while unspecified Israelis simply die.”

    http://edgar1981.blogspot.com/