Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Consider this a follow-up to my post of a few weeks ago, on the subject of Prof. Richard Landes's 21st Media Group project. That project is now live, and can be found at www.SecondDraft.org. (A belated thanks to Solomonia.com for tipping me off to this!)
If you care at all about accuracy in journalism, and in coverage of the Middle East in particular, please do check it out, right away. Yes, it's that important!
Prof. Landes argues that, if "journalism is the first draft of history", we are in dire need of a second draft. His case in point is what he calls "Pallywood" -- the deliberate, orchestrated efforts of Palestinians to distort media coverage of them and their causes.
For it turns out that the Palestinians have been inventing scenes for the news cameras, often out of whole cloth -- and often with the deliberate assistance of the news media.
Is this important? Sometimes it's a matter of life and death, particularly in the Middle East. Remember the seventeen people who died in rioting, over the misreported rumor that a Koran had been abused by Americans at Guantanamo Bay? Far more deadly a rumor was the death of Mohammed al-Dura -- whose very name has become a rallying cry for hundreds, if not thousands, of would-be suicide bombers -- and whose death turns out to have been a carefully orchestrated, cold-blooded killing by Palestinians.
There's more, much more. Prof. Landes goes behind the scenes by examining raw news footage of key events, showing how what we saw on our televisions was not what it looked like on the spot -- not at all. He will show you, for example, scenes that supposedly show Palestinians running for their lives from brutal Israeli gunfire -- except that, from a different angle, other Palestinians can be seen laughing, joking, walking casually with their families. (As he comments: "does this look like a war zone to you?") He will show you scenes of Palestinian funerals... in which the corpse is dropped on the ground, and promptly gets up and repositions itself. He will show you supposedly "wounded" Palestinians who do not act wounded at all, and who are carried to an ambulance (which shows up like magic, on cue, the moment someone is "shot")... with the "wounded" manhandled in a way that would surely result in far worse injuries, if the subject were anything but healthy.
Watch this movie, for starters. (A higher-resolution DivX version is also available.) It'll take about a half-hour of your time, and it'll open your eyes... to the games the news media think they have been playing with you.
It's not a game. It's criminally sloppy journalism at best... and it has resulted in many, many needless deaths. And more people will die, because of staged inflammatory news-bites... unless we can get the word out.
Go take a look at the site... and tell a few friends about it, too.
UPDATE: Looks like Powerline is interested. The Boston Herald, too.