How mainstream media gets Palestine wrong


Mariam Barghouti

by Mariam Barghouti

The visual and verbal strategies of BBC for compromising the truth of what the Israelis have historically done and continue to do today are quite simple if not altogether crude and banal. They need to send their staff to get more advanced degrees in Newspeak. Their Newspeak is sophomoric and cliche.

Take a look at any of their coverage: First, show a close up of Palestinians’ raised fists and open mouths and angry faces and raised flags – they are threatening, aren’t they?: violent, dangerous, and menacing. Make sure the frame of your camera is quite tight. Don’t ever open the frame to show Israeli sharpshooters nearby firing live ammunition at thousands of defenseless and unarmed civilians protesting the systemic theft of their homeland facilitated by British colonialism. That will defeat the purpose, expose the lie, and ruin the brand.

Then comes the most pernicious wordings – beginning with “clashes”. What “clashes?” Clashes between what two items? “To clash” is to confront with demonstrably equal force – two swords clash, two punches clash, two armies clash – a live bullet does not “clash” with a defenseless body. A bullet pierces through and wounds and kills (does not “clash” with) a body. By opting for “clashes”, the BBC lies: It pretends there are two more or less identical elements, two armies, two opposing forces. There are no such things. On one side, there is a merciless army, armed to teeth by Barack Obama and all his predecessors and successors, on the other defenseless people. BBC conceals that fact with the word “clashes”- and in plural no less.

Then comes the real gimmick: Use scare quotes: Put “leave 16 Palestinians dead and hundreds injured” in quotation marks to compromise its truth. Your own reporters on the scene are deaf, dumb, and blind – they don’t see Palestinians are being killed and wounded by those Israeli sharpshooters – so attribute the “report” – not the truth – of their slaughter to Palestinian sources – that’ll compromise the veritable power of the report. “They” say so many are killed or wounded – the BBC does not acknowledge the truth of these dispensable Palestinians being maimed and murdered.

Doubly, cast doubt on the truth – “Palestinian officials say” so many are wounded and killed – not BBC – for BBC keeps its official reporting of facts only if Israelis are killed or wounded.

When it comes to the paralysing accusation of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, BBC is front and centre, bold and brave, but when it comes to the slaughter of defenseless Palestinians, the BBC’s cameras and words stand right behind the Israeli soldiers, speaking and showing things from their point of view.

The simple truth

BBC is not the only item in this brand of “Western Media.” The New York Times is worse, the CNN worse than both of them together, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

“Western Media” is a brand, a gimmick, a commodity fetishism at the service of systemic mass deception in “the West” itself and around the globe – and BBC is a paramount example of it.

This brand of “Western Media” has historically posited itself against state-controlled media across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which is indeed the stage for the systematic lies at the service of the ruling states. But that media is so blatantly vulgar in its falsehood that there is a healthy dose of public distrust of it. Most people do not believe what the official media says in Iran, Egypt, or Turkey. They read or watch those news sources with a robust dose of suspicion and distrust. The “Western Media” has falsely branded itself against that fact and created a fiction for its falsehood as truth. Dismantling that falsehood and exposing its pernicious lies, or what Adorno and Horkheimer rightly called “mass deception,” is very easy.

The best and most formidable force against mass deception of the brand “Western Media” is simple truth-telling. Contrary to the liberal Zionist deceptive prose, the Palestinian predicament is not complicated at all. It is in fact very simple and it has a very simple solution. It is not the story of two peoples with two narratives. It is the story of one people with truth (Palestinians – Jews, Christians, or Muslims) and another European settler colony (Zionists – liberal or hardcore) with wanton cruelty and violence.

Israel is the last powerful remnant of European colonialism. With astonishing charlatanism it banks on an entire history of Jewish dispossession and Jewish suffering in order to dispossess and cause suffering on Palestinians, steal their land, build a garrison state and put it at the disposal of the continued colonial and imperial interest of Euro-American imperialism.

That is the simple fact, the simple truth, read it once a day and you are immune to all the mass deception of “Western Media”.

The Zionists do whatever they damn please to Palestinians – stealing their land, bulldozing their homes, uprooting their olive trees, coldbloodedly murdering them – and if anyone dares to utter a word against their war crimes and crimes against humanity they and their Zionist fifth columns in the US and Europe start screaming “anti-Semitism” at them – and because anti-Semitism is a European disease deeply rooted in Europe’s history, Europeans shut up when they are called anti-Semites.

But the world at large could not care less about this false accusation. We will fight anti-Semitism, we will fight Islamophobia, and we will fight racism, and above all we will fight colonialism and its last bastion Zionism. We will not be silent. We will bear witness to the historic justice of the Palestinian cause. Zionists are murderous thieves. They are stealing Palestine in the bright daylight and they are murdering Palestinians right in front of the world’s incredulous eyes.

Protecting judicial freedom

It hardly bears repeating that the “independence” and “pre-eminence” of the judiciary, one of the key organs of the State, must never be compromised.

Supreme Court judge J. Chelameswar has fired a clear warning about the health of the nation’s judiciary. He may be prejudging events when he speaks about the next Chief Justice, but here too his message is clear: if Justice Ranjan Gogoi is superseded, it means he’s paying the price for speaking up at the unprecedented press conference at Justice Chelameswar’s residence some time ago. It hardly bears repeating that the “independence” and “pre-eminence” of the judiciary, one of the key organs of the State, must never be compromised. Just a few months before retirement, Justice Chelameswar has become even bolder in expressing his fears openly on the present government intervening in the judiciary and over the erosion of the independence of the highest in the judiciary.

While the system now is that the Chief Justice is the Master of the Roster, there’s little harm in studying if a more collective method of allotting cases shouldn’t be devised. The Collegium is the forum Justice Chelameswar projects for this, so decision-making is more inclusive and not subject to the CJI’s whims and fancies. He even went to the extent of suggesting that the Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case was one of preferential allotment, but only to show how the judiciary was swayed by the executive. The process must be transparent enough to ensure there aren’t any suspicions over impartial dispensation of justice.

Justice Chelameswar’s view that impeachment isn’t the answer — there has been talk of political parties planning such a move against the CJI — and that an internal mechanism is necessary to handle issues is significant. Such a system might make it easier for people to retain their faith in the highest judiciary.