Sunday, March 29, 2009

Outsourcing the truth: A lobby at work

From Melanie Phillips

An organization of Arab journalists in charge of what and how British media report on Israel:

The evening began with a welcome speech by AMW chairman Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi, who outlined the extensive work done by the organisation during and since Israel's invasion of Gaza, including:

- forcing the media to correct factual errors
- meeting with editors and journalists
- providing them with information
- being interviewed by them or arranging interviews for them
- getting letters and articles published
- being quoted and cited in articles
- publishing studies, press releases and Action Alerts
- organising and speaking at events
- helping university students and researchers

Read the whole thing.

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And while the upbeat Arab media lobby is celebrating its many successes in the dissemination of propaganda-quality disinformation and untruths about Israel and Israelis, the mills of traditional journalism continue to turn slowly. Sometime they actually produce some bread-worthy flour:

(From Snapshots, a Camera blog via: Martin Kramer):

The New York Times has now run a follow-up article on the Gaza atrocities reports that, while far from perfect, corrects and rebuts many of the false charges that spread from Ha'aretz to news outlets around the world.

The article, which was on the Times website on Friday, was published in the Saturday paper (which has the lowest circulation of the week) on page four, not on page one above the fold like the Times' first article on the subject. Still the article admits that the alleged killing by an Israeli sniper of the mother and her two daughters was an "urban myth" that almost certainly did not occur, and quotes Israeli soldiers including Yishai Goldflam on how they tried to avoid harming innocent Palestinians and their property.

The article also quotes an Israeli academic who has studied the impact of the growing proportion of religious soldiers in the IDF and the influence of rabbis on the conduct of these soldiers. According to the professor the rabbis have had a moderating impact on the soldiers, contradicting claims in the Times ("A Religious War in Israel’s Army") and elsewhere* that rabbis had called for a religious or "holy war" against the Arabs and specificaly in Gaza.

For accounts from more IDF soldiers which contradict the rumors published earlier in Ha'aretz and the New York Times, see the new Web site, "Soldiers Speak Out."

*: Link added by CC

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