The Media War on Lebanon

#1
Most of this conflict is being fought in the media rather than on the actual battlefield.

A few observations on the media battle.

Large numbers of British evacuees are now turning up at Beirut docks, Cyprus and since yesterday, the UK itself. Both BBC News 24 and Sky News ( the rolling news channels ) are interviewing large numbers of these people, asking about their experiences. I've yet to hear a single person endorse the Israeli "strategy", and more than a few blond-haired, blue-eyed northern lassies have denounced the Israelis as war criminals. There's nothing like being in the midst of a bombing campaign to get you to sympathise with the intended targets.

Sky get notably uncomfortable with this - to the extent of pulling away from interviews with people who start explicitly denouncing Olmert ( I just witnessed Sky do this within the past 5 minutes when a rather canny blonde, middle-aged Englishwoman started to question why they were bombing dairy factories ) for the indiscriminate and excessive application of Israeli force.

I suspect that similar attitudes are being replayed in the rest of the European media. Would love to hear about the US version of events....
 
#2
Fallschirmmongsturm said:
Most of this conflict is being fought in the media rather than on the actual battlefield.....
Israel lost the media battle before current hostilities had started. The nature of the Lebanon strategy does not lend itself to world sympathy and has no chance in succeeding in media terms.

The media will always show you what it wants and will focus on what makes for sensational value or where it feels public sympathy may be. If we believed everything in the press we would be very gullible indeed.
 
#3
To be fair, if you were in Lebanon the local TV is probably unlikley to show the rocket attacks or kidnapping of the IDF troops. All you see is how the IDF are waging war on innocent Hezbollah.
 
#4
Fallschirmmongsturm said:
Most of this conflict is being fought in the media rather than on the actual battlefield.
Maybe in your front room. But that's to be expected, isn't it? I suggest that the Lebanese and the inhabitants of northern Israel may take a somewhat different view!!!!
 
#5
WhiteHorse said:
To be fair, if you were in Lebanon the local TV is probably unlikley to show the rocket attacks or kidnapping of the IDF troops. All you see is how the IDF are waging war on innocent Hezbollah.
Similarly, Israeli TV and newspapers are crammed with IDF dering-do and Hezbollah rocket attacks, but relatively little on the suffering in Lebanon. To be expected really!

Here's an example from todays online J.Post front page @ http://www.jpost.com/
Headlines are:
IAF pilot killed as helicopters collide
4 IDF ground troops killed in cross-border fighting
IAF resumes airstrikes in Lebanon
Five killed in Gaza City explosion
PM OKs Lebanese humanitarian corridor
Nasrallah: Nazereth children are martyrs
No Katyusha rockets in Israel overnight
and so on...
 
#6
When Fallschirm talks about the media battle he is talking about the wider world, not just Lebanese or Israeli media. Those populations need no convincing about their respective plights.
 
#7
Arik said:
When Fallschirm talks about the media battle he is talking about the wider world, not just Lebanese or Israeli media. Those populations need no convincing about their respective plights.
They need no convincing of their own plight, true. But it would be helpful if the Israeli people were more aware of the suffering that was being meted out in their name. The IDF pulled out of Lebanon in 2000 because that's what the Israeli people wanted, not because the world had been calling for it for donkey's years!
 
#8
merkator said:
..They need no convincing of their own plight, true. But it would be helpful if the Israeli people were more aware of the suffering that was being meted out in their name. ...
The Israelis are usually a people who are keen to keep up with what is going on in the news. They have access to foreign news broadcasts and are acutely aware of what is being reported elsewhere.

I would say that the size and population size of the country where everyone has a someone (family or friend) in the army or maybe living in an affected area means that people are keen to know what may be happening to them.

Back to the global 'media war' - it is a lost cause for Israel, but there again you cant have it all.
 
#9
My take on it is that Israel actually presented its case rather well to begin with, eg Netenyahu on BBC Radio 4, but as Arik says, the strategy hasn't helped their cause. Although the Europeans despise Israel's apartheid policies and division between Europe and America has widened over this issue, deep down, the Europeans would like to see that back of Hezbullah as much as the Americans and Israelis do.

No-one has mentioned that Hizbullah has been announcing for over a year that it would kidnap Israeli soldiers if Lebanese prisoners in Israel were not released. As Anthony Shadid writes from Lebanon:

The attack Wednesday was almost sure to bolster the martial reputation of Hezbollah, which probably enjoys more support in the rest of the Arab world than in Lebanon itself, where other sectarian factions have pushed for it to disarm. Nasrallah has vowed on numerous occasions to seize soldiers as a bargaining chip for the Lebanese prisoners; in one speech, he said it would happen this year.

Some Israelis do take the longer view - the Haaretz interview with Uri Sagi who headed the IDF Intelligence Corps for four years:

The army protects the home front - not the other way around
 
#10
Arik said:
merkator said:
..They need no convincing of their own plight, true. But it would be helpful if the Israeli people were more aware of the suffering that was being meted out in their name. ...
The Israelis are usually a people who are keen to keep up with what is going on in the news. They have access to foreign news broadcasts and are acutely aware of what is being reported elsewhere.
Having access to foreign news that apparently contradicts your own domestic news tends to be more problematic than helpful. I have spent a lot of time in the former Yugoslavia over the past 15 years, and in South Africa prior to 1992. I suggest the experiences I noticed there are similar to Israel now.

Take Serbia for example. Serbs have always had good access to international news and they regular use that as an excuse to say that they have a 'balanced' view, whereas everybody else is only getting a biased anti-serb report. Sounds good. Then you start to question them on a couple of things and dig a little deeper. Hej presto! A cutting piece in Serbian paper may get ooodles of follow up and gossip going on for hours, days or weeks. A foreign article contradicting said piece gets a couple of seconds of scorn. The likes of Milosevic used foreign reports to 'prove' the world was against Serbia!

Moral of the story. Unless its from a source that you trust, very often you give it little time or worse still, think it is a deliberate falsehood. The only way for a society to accept what's going on is if their own media, the media they trust, starts telling the stories. Only then does it get ingested and understood. Access to 'foreign' news is a red herring.


Arik said:
I would say that the size and population size of the country where everyone has a someone (family or friend) in the army or maybe living in an affected area means that people are keen to know what may be happening to them.
Precisely. Israeli have plenty to reiterate their own plight - but what do they have to tell of the plight in Lebanon?


Arik said:
Back to the global 'media war' - it is a lost cause for Israel, but there again you cant have it all.
Yes I feel it's lost. Was from the very start due to the disproportionate response. But Israel has proven over the years that they couldn't give a fcuk. The only thing that could influence them from outside the country is a threat of 'serious consequences' from Washington. And that isn't going to happen, because the US actually quite likes what's going on.
 
#11
Arik said:
merkator said:
..They need no convincing of their own plight, true. But it would be helpful if the Israeli people were more aware of the suffering that was being meted out in their name. ...
The Israelis are usually a people who are keen to keep up with what is going on in the news. They have access to foreign news broadcasts and are acutely aware of what is being reported elsewhere.

I would say that the size and population size of the country where everyone has a someone (family or friend) in the army or maybe living in an affected area means that people are keen to know what may be happening to them.

Back to the global 'media war' - it is a lost cause for Israel, but there again you cant have it all.
One can argue that these days the global media war is the only war that matters. Israel will never know peace until people can be persuaded to stop shooting at them. You can do this in one of two ways:

1. Kill them;
2. Get them to decide not to - ie win the media war.

A reliance on kinetic means to pursue option 1, ie what we see at the moment requires that the opposition be easily targetable and that they can be prevented from recruiting. Neither of these assumptions is valid, indeed just as Bin Laden cited 1982's events as inspiration for his actions I fear we shall see a new generation of fanatics citing 2006 as the moment they made a choice. Winning the media war to the extent that the enemy cannot recruit allows you to kill the ones that are left and end it.

That's not to say that you stop killing people trying to kill you, rather that you do it in a manner which does not recruit for the enemy. Until this is done the future looks bleak. Either Israel solves the problem via mass murder - which would I believe destroy the soul of the nation, or they get overrun when the US decides to stop funding them, or my grand children sit in front of the news and watch the IDF give Lebanon a pasting.
 
#12
Galloway's grandstanding againg, and chewing up the newlab govt spokesman as I type. Very worrying when I start agreeing with gorgeous George, even if only on minor points, rather than his slavish advocacy of the Palestinian perspective to the exclusion of all else.
 
#16
Fallschirmmongsturm said:
I suspect that similar attitudes are being replayed in the rest of the European media. Would love to hear about the US version of events....
Well Fox unsurprisingly is pro-Israeli, "they have a right to defend themselves", "this is WWIII (or WWIV)", "Syria is behind it all, oh and Iran as well", "it's time the Israelis wiped Hizbullah off the face of the map", etc.

A couple of days ago a Fox 'journalist' visited a site of a missile attack in Israel. He shows a handful of ball-bearings, used as shrapnel in the missile, and says something like, "Here's your proof that these are Syrian missiles"! I guess the ball-bearings must have had 'Made in Syria' etched on them or something?!

(Disclaimer: I was watching Fox News purely for the entertainment value, not for its alleged news content).

Edited to add, at the moment Fox News is asking "Is Hizbullah a threat to the United Sates?" Talk about scare-mongering!
 
#17
One_of_the_strange said:
....One can argue that these days the global media war is the only war that matters. Israel will never know peace until people can be persuaded to stop shooting at them. ....2. Get them to decide not to - ie win the media war. ......
That media war is lost. As an example between 12 to 4pm today on the BBC news website it's ME page headlined Israel did this Israel did that, etc. During that period it never mentioned the missile strikes in N Israel as a headline and scant mention was made of them. The image being purveyed generally portrays a very one sided image. Disproportionate you may say!!

One_of_the_strange said:
...indeed just as Bin Laden cited 1982's events as inspiration for his actions I fear we shall see a new generation of fanatics citing 2006 as the moment they made a choice. Winning the media war to the extent that the enemy cannot recruit allows you to kill the ones that are left and end it. ......
The radical in the arab world, use this as an excuse today, if this was not happening you could be assured it would something else. Bin Laden would of been Bin Laden regardless of 1982, something else would of given him the 'incentive'. Can you say that British activity in Iraq recruited the 7/7 bombers (well educated homegrown Brits), they would of found other excuses for their actions.

One_of_the_strange said:
That's not to say that you stop killing people trying to kill you, rather that you do it in a manner which does not recruit for the enemy. ......
The enemy is already recruited, both todays and tomorrows, appeasement does not stop hate.
 
#18
The View from Lebanon and guess what - he ain't to happy with CNN or the BBC

Western media has dropped the ball by failing to tell the real story in Lebanon
by Marc J. Sirois (managing editor of the Daily Star)

The fury of Israel's offensive in Lebanon has more than a few observers shaking their heads. The vast majority of Western media reports do not accurately portray the fact that the vast majority of the dead are civilians, most of them women and children. A Reuters dispatch this week described Israel's choice of targets as "puzzling," but for the most part Western television viewers, newspaper readers, and Web surfers are reading highly sanitized versions of the news, spun in such a way as to dilute the brutality of the Israeli onslaught and especially to ensure that blame is placed squarely on Lebanon in general and Hizbullah in particular.
Coverage of the current conflict is a case in point. The two most commonly watched English-language news channels available in Lebanon are CNN and the BBC. With few exceptions, their reports are filed by reporters standing in the relatively safe and comfortable confines of Downtown Beirut, the picturesque showcase of Lebanon's now-aborted recovery from its 1975-90 Civil War. There has been no damage in this part of the city thus far (although there are concerns that that step in the escalation process is rapidly approaching), so the very background is highly misleading about what is happening. Just a few kilometers away in Beirut's Dahiyeh Junubiyyeh (southern suburbs), Israeli air strikes and naval gunfire have reduced entire neighborhoods to rubble. No one knows how many people are buried in these piles of shattered concrete and twisted steel, only that local residents would have had far less warning than Hizbullah members did about the beginning of so many ends - and that most of their escape routes were cut off by the destruction of roads and overpasses before the Dahiyeh itself became a target.
CNN. Its idea of "balance" is to make sure that each report about a new massacre of innocents in Lebanon is aired alongside one about civilian injuries or deaths from Hizbullah rocket strikes, even if the incident is 36 hours old. Only rarely do the reports in question mention that while the Dahiyeh is for all intents and purposes a giant refugee camp, northern Israel and the nearby settlements in occupied Palestine are prosperous areas with a substantial contingent of immigrants from places like the United States and Canada, many of whom voluntarily live illegally on occupied Palestinian land.

Hizbullah's decision to snatch two Israeli soldiers evinced poor judgment and even worse timing, but the Israeli response has been out of all proportion to the original incident. The numbers speak for themselves. As of Wednesday evening, Israeli attacks had killed at least 292 civilians in Lebanon, while Hizbullah rockets had killed 13 noncombatants in the Jewish state. Lebanon has approximately 3.5 million people. On a per-capita basis, that means that as of Wednesday, the rough equivalent of 9/11 has happened every day here for eight days.
 
#19
Sky News are the FOO's for the Hezbolla. On todays news, one of the reports came from Haifa when the missiles started to fall, the reporter had to take cover during the attack. Time to switch these guys off!
 
#20
Arik said:
The media will always show you what it wants and will focus on what makes for sensational value or where it feels public sympathy may be. If we believed everything in the press we would be very gullible indeed.
So are you saying that the hundreds of civilian deaths is falsified by the media? It hardly compares to the handful of deaths in Haifa and the kidnapped soldiers. I'm all in favour of wiping out Hizbollah, but you don't get rid of radical Islamic terrorists by carpet-bombing cities! The biggest irony is that Israel are supposedly the masters of clinical strikes, precision bombing etc.

Surely the UN is a reasonably objective body and we should see what it has to say: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5197544.stm

Regardless of your politics or religion, surely you must agree that indiscriminate mass shelling of civilians is not the hallmark of a civilised society? Also...why does Israel insist that every person killed was a 'terrorist' target? Even the small children. When you justify indiscriminate murder then surely you lose the right to call your opponent a terrorist.

PD
 

Latest Threads

Top