The Media War on Lebanon

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Fallschirmmongsturm, Jul 21, 2006.

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  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. 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. 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. 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 @
    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. 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. 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. 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.

    Precisely. Israeli have plenty to reiterate their own plight - but what do they have to tell of the plight in Lebanon?

    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. 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.
  13. His rhetoric on TalkSport Radio last Sunday was excellent. [Also liked the way he stuffed the Septic Senate too]
  14. Shame he isn't so vocal about what happened to the money from The Miriam Appeal isn't it?
  15. He's not a Government spokesman he's chewing up, he's actually a Conservative MP, head of Friends of Israel or some such.