Skip to comments.Thuggery & Trickery: How Islamic terrorists Manipulate the Media
Posted on 08/21/2006 5:01:46 AM PDT by Molly Pitcher
With Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig still being held hostage by Palestinian terrorists, the Western media has received a potent reminder that broadcasting certain truths from inside Arab territory can result in devastating consequences.
While it is not clear the kidnappers motivationthey have yet to state any demandsthis is just the latest in a string of abductions, which is in and of itself only part of the arsenal of heavy-handed media intimidation present in the region.
Thuggery helps explain the obscenely low volume of negative press coverage of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others. But it doesnt account for all, or even most, of the persistently slanted coverage.
As any veteran of Middle East media coverage knows, many Arab stringers and free-lancershired on the cheap by Western outlets, ostensibly because of their superior knowledge for local leaders and eventssee it as their duty to demonize Israel, while exalting fellow Arabs or Muslims.
But while the widespread use of Arab locals in covering the Middle East and the frightening level of threatened and real violence are both deeply troubling, more concerning is that the Palestinian propaganda machine has enjoyed tremendous success over the years hoodwinking supposedly sophisticated Western journalists. And Hezbollah has done just that over the past month.
In short, almost nothing that is purported to happen in the Arab world can automatically be taken at face value. Not even if its captured in a photo.
Problems with fixers
When Reuters was forced to sever ties with freelance photographer Adnan Hajj and remove over 900 of his photos from its database earlier this month, long-whispered questions about the reliability of Arab stringers and freelancers came to the forefront.
Nowhere is the use of Arab fixers (as they are known) more common than in the Palestinian territories. And yet despite the extensive reliance on locals who presumably enjoy greater familiarity with the terrain and key players, negative press coverage of the Palestinian Authority or various Islamic terrorist organizations operating in the territories has long been scant.
This void in coverage is not because such evidence does not exist. The Palestinian Media Watch, a nonprofit that operates on a tight budget, has easily reported more on PA incitement and indoctrination, for example, than all Western media outlets combined.
The revelation that Hajj had digitally manipulated his photos left at least one prominent Arab journalist was unsurprised. Sadly, things like this happen a lot, especially when your local fixers are openly affiliated and have a clear agenda, explains Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh. He adds that some of the Arab stringers and freelancers contracted by Western media outlets are people who see themselves as foot soldiers for the cause.
Violence against Arab journalists
Toameh is careful not to paint with too broad a brush, and he stresses that there are Arab journalists who do their best to get the story out. But the record is well-established that reporting certain truths in the Palestinian territories can result in intimidation or sometimes severe violence.
Whereas most of the Western journalists kidnapped before Centanni and Wiig have been released within hours, threatened and actual violence against their Arab counterparts has been far more brutal.
After being arrested and detained for six days because he didnt give Yasser Arafat the desired coverage in the run-up to the 1996 election, Maher al-Alami, editor of Al Quds, the largest Palestinian newspaper in Jerusalem, said that the Palestinian media follow his (Arafats) instructions out of fear.
When an Associated Press camerman filmed Palestinians in Nablus rejoicing the 9/11 attacks, he was summoned to a Palestinian Authority security office and told that the material must not be aired, according to the APs own account. Threats from Islamic terrorists on Arafats payroll quickly followed. One PA cabinet officer even stated that the PA could not guarantee the life of the cameraman if the footage was released.
The Associated Press never officially released the footage.
How the stage is set
To get an idea the lengths to which Palestinians have gone to manufacture sympathy for them and outrage against the Jewish state, consider a production from April 28, 2002. During a funeral procession, the stretcher carrying the victim was dropped. Oops. No problem, though, as the victim sprung up quickly and was able to shake it off.
The only reason the public learned of the funny, phony funeral was because it was captured on video by an Israeli drone. Given that almost everything done by the Palestinian propaganda machine is for the media, why did it only come out after the Israeli government released its grainy footage? Good thing for the Palestinians, though, that productions for Western consumption typically have gone much smoother.
Examples abound of Western reporters being duped or threatened. In April 2002, Israel Defense Forces raided the Jenin refugee camp, a known terrorist breeding ground and safe haven. Palestinians immediately accused the Jewish state of systematically committing war crimes, and the buzzword soon tossed about by the Western press was massacre.
That no massacre actually occurrednot even the United Nations, the Palestinians best friend, found any evidence to suggest one hadreceived only a fraction of the earlier, largely uncritical reporting. Ditto for the incident this June where many family members died on a beach in northern Gaza. Originally covered as an Israeli shelling of innocent Palestinians, it turned out that Israel almost certainly played no role in the tragedy. The media mea culpa, though, was essentially mute.
In a widely-circulated photo taken last month and distributed by Agence France Press, two older, hijab-clad Lebanese women are wailing in front of caskets. Dozens of caskets, actually. The caskets were lined up against a wall, and numbers were spray-painted on the wall. Somehow, the women had wedged themselves into the narrow space between the coffins and the wall, and the numbers conveniently appeared directly behind themguaranteed to be in any photo.
The problems with the photo are obvious. Why would the women force their way into a crevice, when they could more easily face both the caskets and the wall? Quite simply, that shot wouldnt capture both the mourning faces and the numbers signifying the enormity of the tragedy. And on the topic of the numbers, the ones spray-painted on the wall were the kind used in the west, not in South Lebanon, thus erasing any doubt about the photo-ops intended audience.
This photo, though, was not taken by an Arab freelancer or some hack Westerner. It was shot by award-winning photographer Marco Di Lauro, who won praise for his work with Marines in Iraq. The benignand probably correctinterpretation is that he just wasnt suspicious enough.
Yet given that thugs from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Arafats Fatah control almost everything in the most newsworthy areas of the Arab world, any scene or event encountered by Western media outlets must be viewed with supreme skepticism.
But its not as if this is news to the Western media. They know it. Yet pretend as if they dont. Thats the real travesty.
Thanks! Well, it should be "Thuggery", but it's Monday...
Where is Karen Hughes?
By John E. Carey
August 20, 2006
More precisely, Where is the United States campaign of truth and honesty in the Middle East?
Declaring the United States must do better job of engaging the Muslim world, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduced former presidential adviser Karen Hughes on Monday (March 14, 2005) as the Bush administrations choice for a State Department post designed to change Islamic perceptions about America.
Hughes became undersecretary of state for public diplomacy with the rank of ambassador.
Im eager to listen and to learn, Hughes said, with Rice standing at her side.
The official U.S. State Department web site says, "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes has been tasked by President Bush with leading efforts to promote America's values and confront ideological support for terrorism around the world. She oversees three bureaus at the Department of State: Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs, and participates in foreign policy development at the State Department. "
How do you think she is doing?
Recently in Lebanon, a thug named Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, emerged from the shadows to become, in just over a month, one of the more important political figures of Lebanon and one of the leaders of the Arab worlds radical wing.
Before the war, Hassan Nasrallah was the one who made sure the garbage went out, the aged were cared for, the children had schools.
During the war Hassan Nasrallah, as seen by Arabs, is the man who faced down Israel and the Great Satan.Before this war, few respected moderates in Beirut or in the greater Arab world paid much attention to Nasrallah. Now his stock has soared.
He is the darling of the man on the Arab street for not just keeping his forces in the field for more than thirty days with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) but by apparently winning.
By appearing almost daily on al-Manar ("The Beacon," the name of Hezbollah TV), al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya TV during the conflict saying, "We have not been harmed," Nasrallah made himself the most important face of the war, eclipsing everyone in the governments of Israel and Lebanon.
I keep asking myself, where is Karen Hughes? Or, more correctly, where is the mighty U.S. and its public diplomacy?
Are we to expect that Nasrallah stole a march on the entire U.S. government and that is O.K. ?
I don't generally mind my public servants doing nothing; but when the stakes are so high I get interested.
But maybe our public servants are working hard. On Saturday, August 19, 2006, the president said in his weekly radio address, "Thanks to the leadership of Secretary Rice and Ambassador Bolton at the United Nations, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution that will help bring an end to the violence and create a foundation for a sustainable peace. "
Does the president really believe that? We don't. Maybe this is more "misunderspinning."
Didnt the president hire his Texas friend Karen Hughes, with a salary clearly over $150,000 a year, to do for the U.S. just what Nasrallah is doing in his spare time? I mean, am I the only one outraged?
The degree of lasting political clout Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah have gained remains to be seen. But there is a gain, not a loss.
And Nasrallah's gain is the United States' loss.
The last time we saw Karen Hughes, she was apparently carrying U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rices baggage.
We ask the president; Where is Karen Hughes?
When is Israel going to learn how to manipulate the media in their favor?
its justlike the LIBERAL MEDIA turns its blind eye to the TRUTH back here at home. Nothing new here!
An honest news organization (oxymoron) would review their news gathering techniques and change them to where they're not played by the propagandists, but the news organizations fall right in line and go along with them. They tell them to take a photo here or there, they do it witout questioning and air it.
Excellent Post Molly.
What a great article, Molly. Thanks for posting it. I'm very worried that the kidnappers haven't tried to get in touch with FNC to negotiate Centanni's release.
CNN covered up Saddam's abuse and torture to maintain their Baghdad bureau. The mass media is decidedly anti-Western world and pro-despot.
The Hezbo-propagandists give them the images they WANT so they run them.
It isn't like the US media isn't OFFERED positive images from Iraq but you won't see them widely distributed in the mass media.
Bump for later Reading.