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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Controlling the public's perception. Required reading., 9 Feb. 2006
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This review is from: The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy (Hardcover)
This extremely relevant and well written study subjects the media coverage of the Palestinian/Arab-Israeli conflict to a meticulous scrutiny.
Providing a behind the scenes perspective & an abundance of examples, the writer documents what she describes as the distorted, inaccurate and egregious bias against Israel throughout the realm of the mainstream media.
The book reveals how so many journalists, photographers and editors are sometimes guided by what is cited as a “hardened anti-Israel ideology” often selectively omitting pivotal factors thus portraying a false image of the reality on the ground.
The writer emphasising the public now need to become what she calls “experts at inspecting, analysing and demystifying the news product” with a need to know who/what is behind the source providing the news itself.
One of the reasons for writing this book being described as the fact that “pictures do lie” and that behind every picture is a long story & a list of people who decide how and in what manner that particular picture is presented, as the full background is rarely depicted.
Throughout the book the reader is confronted with the fact that the news media is the world’s spokesman and through controlling the information provided to the public and the manner in which it is presented, subsequently controls the public’s judgement and perception.
The writer strives to underscore how those within media are very much aware of their enormous power to manipulate and use their power & platform to their full advantage, with most of the world, allegedly having yet to learn that the media is NOT a non-profit organisation working for the betterment of the human race. To the contrary, the book reveals how the media competes fiercely for elite positions, career making scoops and headline supremacy.
Many instances are shown which reveal that, purportedly, the media will readily falsify, fake and fabricate news to achieve it’s own ends, staging events for the benefit of the ever present cameras.
The cover of the book itself displayed scores of media photographers lined to obtain a controlled/staged photograph of a Palestinian throwing a missile.
The writer illustrates how that in the early years of the Palestinian intifada about 95% of the TV pictures on satellite were supplied by Palestinian film crews and that many journalists have shown themselves unwilling to attribute any blame to the Palestinian side as such would allegedly endanger their physical welfare and prevent future access to essential sources/areas upon which the news entities utterly rely for their coverage.
Other issues examined include Jenin, the Ramallah lynching of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian celebrations after the September 11th attacks on the US where some 3,000 Palestinians were filmed rejoicing in the streets in the wake of the murders of so many innocent people. The study describes how the footage of such events was destroyed due to the fact that a photographer was then allegedly held in the office of the Governor of Nablus with gunmen holding the barrels of their weapons held against his skull. A demand then being made that if the video of the celebrations was not destroyed, the photographer would be executed. The film was subsequently destroyed. (Page 152)
Another issue studied is the visit of Ariel Sharon to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount which media sources have blamed for the outbreak of the second intifada. Detailed analysis in the study reveals that this was anything but the case and that the Palestinian violence had already been pre-planned. The book’s evaluation disclosing that Sharon’s visit to Judaism’s most holy site was agreed beforehand with the Palestinian authorities and that Sharon made no attempt to even enter Islamic holy sites.
The writer pulls no punches in apportioning considerable blame on the part of the Israeli government for not making their own case known on innumerable occasions.
The book also includes a case study on the killing of Mohammed al-Dura, aged 12 years, allegedly by Israeli troops at the Netzarim junction in Gaza.
The reader is shown the media’s haste to utterly condemn the Israelis for an apparent act of cold blooded murder. The book analyses the evidence in considerable detail and confronts the reader with a very different reality.
For example the sole footage of the incident is shown to have been provided by a Palestinian freelance photographer located close to, and directly opposite the child at the time of the shooting & that on the day of the incident a plethora of film crews arrived before any demonstrators and the Israelis are cited as knowing that something big was being prepared. (Page 45).
The book cites how subsequent Israeli and independent investigations revealed that the shots that killed the boy could not have been fired by Israeli troops due to obstacles, angles of fire & that even the bullets that hit the child and the surrounding barricades were purportedly not of the kind used by the Israeli Defence Forces but instead the type used by the Palestinians on scene & and having allegedly been fired from the direction where the Palestinian photographer had filmed the incident.
No forensic, autopsy or medical evidence is shown to have been supplied by the Palestinian police or medical services who had sole possession of the child’s body, with Palestinian opinion instead being reported as fact.
An independent report cited in the book also reveals that Mohammed al Dura’s mother stated that a few days before his death, he had asked her “If you’re killed in Netzarim, do you die as a martyr?”. The alleged involvement of Mohammed’s father as an Israeli collaborator out to purportedly redeem himself is also studied. However perverse this may seem, the information needs to be read.
Despite such evidence being available the reader is shown how the media itself showed little if any interest in following up their original portrayal of events or re-examining any such data or testimonies that may absolve Israel of responsibility in this tragic event. Highly recommended.
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M. D Roberts

Location: Gwent, United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,266