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The mainstream media does not hesitate to deceive

There is an article in the National Review by former Sunday Telegraph journalist Tom Gross what lifts the lid on what the British taxpayers who fund the BBC gets for their appropriated money… not that CNN et al are much better:

CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon was stage-managed from start to finish by Hezbollah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hezbollah’s “press officer” and that Hezbollah have “very, very sophisticated and slick media operations”.


Yet Reliable Sources, hosted by Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broadcast only on the American version of CNN. So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN’s “Senior international correspondent” that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hezbollah.


First the BBC gave the impression that Israel had flattened the greater part of Beirut. Then to follow up its lop-sided coverage, its website helpfully carried full details of the assembly points for an anti-Israel march due to take place in London, but did not give any details for a rally in support of Israel also held in London a short time later.

Without the internet to fact-check and contextualize what the media shows us, our ability to form opinions about what is happening in the world would be totally at the mercy of organisations whose reportage comes filtered through world views that are perhaps no more or less distorted than any other but which claim, without any justification, to be ‘objective’. Blogs like Samizdata do not claim to be ‘objective’ as we do not hesitate to say who we think that the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ or ‘less-worse-guys’ (we do try to be truthful however) as we take the view that as long as our biases are transparent, the reader can make his own mind up about the things we say. Bias + Transparency = Credibility. You make not agree with our conclusions but we will not intentionally lie to you.

However when organisations like CNN or the BBC claim to be ‘unbiased’, they are quite simply lying. I recall that pool reporters during the last Gulf War often said words to the effect “we are reporting under the restrictions imposed on us by the US military” before delivering their reports, which is fair enough as a disclaimer. I have yet to hear anything similar said by a reporter in Beirut reporting under Hezbollah restrictions (although I did hear one in Israel mutter that he was being prevented from saying exactly where Hezbollah rockets had struck), which in effect makes them a willing participant to Hezbollah’s propaganda efforts. In short, you are being deceived.

17 comments to The mainstream media does not hesitate to deceive

  • Freeman

    Just a small point of information. Reporters in Israel have apparently been discouraged from stating the exact landing point of rockets as this might help Hez to refine its aim.

  • Yes, I thought that point was obvious. The same applied when Germany was lobbing V-1 and V-2 rockets into England.

    The way I see it, there is nothing wrong with even reporting under Hezbollah restrictions just as long as it is made clear what is going on. Yet what we get is emotional editorializing whilst standing on the ruins of buildings being passed off as objective reporting.

  • Paul Marks

    The war goes back a long way – stuff has been fired from south Lebanon for forty years (of course attacks go back long before that – even under the Ottoman empire there were attacks on Jews in the Holy Land – for example the great killings in World War One).

    Still the media do get the history messed up. For example in the 1982 war the media showed Roman ruins as the results of Israeli action.

    The recent coverage of the commando raid was absurd. The Hez dead were called (as always) “civilians” (which is technically true – as they are not part of the regular army of Lebanon) – but some parts of the reporting was even worse.

    For example we were told (because a Hez person said so – not that he was identified as Hez of course) that it took the Israeli toops “two hours” to break their way into the hospital they searched – the same report said there was no Hez in the hospital (i.e. no resistance).

    So the weakling Jews could not walk from a chopper and break down an ordinary door in less than two hours.

    Truly an inferior race.

    How can the media broadcast this crap?

  • Fraser

    Youtube has an interesting clip on this subject called “Pallywood” (Link)

    Worth watching. I may of course be teaching grannies to suck eggs. 😉

  • the new nickname for Feargal Keane is “cry me a river”

    says it all really.

    i’ve heard that he’s been recalled back to London. any truth in that rumour?

  • Alex

    the other day on the BBC they asked some locals what they thought of hez, they all said they were great. The reporter did add that hez reps were lurking watching everone they filmed.

  • Fraser

    Good, isn’t it? I got it from Greg Burch’s blog: (Link)

  • Nick M

    I’m glad you folks are wise to the Big Lie. I have little to add except agreement which I think on this issue is important.

    Fergal Keane is truly a disgrace. I have never witnessed more appallingly one-sided, utterly “think of the bay-bees” emotionally driven reporting in my entire life.

    He even managed to spin what few technical details he gave, describing a ruined building as having been hit by a “massive” Israeli bomb. He clearly didn’t know or care what had hit the building but my guess is it was hit by a 500-2000lb JDAM – i.e. an absolutely bog-standard bomb.

    That Hez are stage-managing all of this is utterly apparent. Obviously they are. The only tactic they have to defeat Israel is dead children. Given their penchant for hostage taking I’m hardly surprised that the media is toeing their line.

    (Un)fortunately, the Israelis are not able to indulge in this pornography of suffering because they respect the dignity of their dead and wounded more.

    Paul: Beut of a story about the Roman ruins!

  • Paul Marks

    The Pallywood film was very interesting.

    It is clear that the Western media cooperate with the stuff. Whether it is just to get more dramatic stories or out sympathy for the cause (or a bit of both) is hard to say.

    In the case of Robert Fisk (of the Independent) it is clearly total support for the cause. After all this was the man who so hates the West that he wrote about how much he enjoyed being beaten up by Muslims.

    As a Western journalist he was a representative of the West (in some way) and therefore it was right that he was beaten – and he felt satisfaction that justice was being done.

    Alternatively he is just the sort of man who goes to Miss Whiplash.

    On the Roman ruins – yes that was a weird one.

    I suppose there could be a Gibbon defence.

    “Jews gave birth to Christianity, which undermined the Roman world – therefore Jews responsible for Roman ruins”.

    Although that does depend on the idea that Christianity undermined the Roman world.

    Also the media did present the ruins as the result of the 1982 Israeli action – rather than an indirect result of Jewish stuff two thousand years ago.

  • “So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN’s “Senior international correspondent” that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hezbollah.”

    Well, how come then that I did see that report? Not a regular CNN (Int.) viewer, just channel-surfing a few days ago and I happened on that very report about Hizballah stage-managing.

  • I’ve also been covering the Pallywood disinfo agitprop of Hezbollah, on The International Libertarian. So-called victims are jumping off the stretchers when they think cameras are no longer rolling, and we are seeing people in “Press” vests carrying the stretchers, not EMT personnel. Note that the bodies being displayed are 12-24 hours into rigor mortis, a mere hour after they are alleged to have been killed…. and while they display the women and children, the alleged males are covered with cloth, perhaps to cover the Hezbollah uniforms??

  • During WW2, the BBC broadcast deliberate misinformation about V2 landing sites, with the goal of getting the germans to adjust their aim and miss London.

  • Stuart

    “During WW2, the BBC broadcast deliberate misinformation about V2 landing sites”

    The government also responded with 1000 bomber raids……….

  • jk

    At least in the US we have FOX (Man, I never thought I’d write that!) And I don’t have to pay for CNN.

    FOXNews is truly awful tabloid journalism of the worst order most of the day, but they make up for it in one hour of evening news that presents coverage that is sympathetic to the US military and Israel. With an aggregate of that and blogs, you can almost pretend you know what’s going on.

    Murdoch’s SkyNews doesn’t seem any less ideological that the Beeb when I have watched it.

  • Paul Marks

    One of the reasons I am getting Sky television next Thursday is to get Fox.

    I love those drunks – well they seem to be drunk to me.

    Everything is going well in all the wars and President Bush is a fine free market President.

    Of course a lot of it is nonsense – but when you are as gloomy as me you need a fluffy T.V. news service.

  • Paul Marks

    Sometimes the media are subtle.

    For example they say that Israeli soldiers were captured “on the border with” Gaza or Lebanon (although sometimes they have said “in” Gaza or Lebanon which is a clear lie) rather than “in Israeli via a raid from….”

    This giving the impression that Israel had not been invaded.

    Also (for example) on C4 (I think – although all the media are so similar I find it hard to tell them apart) news tonight it was stated (by a female reporter) that there could be “no military solution” to the conlict and Israel would have “do politics” which sounds nice – but means surrender to (and extermination by) the Hez and their allies.

    But sometimes the media are blatent.

    On I.T.V. news tonight the reporter denounced the Israelis for attacking bridges without warning (in a rant that went on for several minutes) – when (in fact) they have been broadcasting warnings and dropping leaflets for ages.

    “This gives the lie to claims that Israel does not target civilians……..”

    The mainstream broadcasting media are clearly not a neutral party in the war – they stand with the terrorists.