The New Observer Uncategorized Propaganda Watch (monthly roundup)

Propaganda Watch (monthly roundup)

1) When to say “in claims which we have not been able to verify”?

Guardian In general the Guardian’s coverage of the war in Gaza has been very good. They are not afraid to cover both sides, and to, for example, report on Israeli settler violence. There is a rather awkward attempt to consistently ‘balance’ their coverage of apparent Israeli atrocities in Gaza by repeatedly finding new stories about Hamas’ 7 October attack, but on the whole they are doing surprisingly well. It is interesting that they find it much easier to produce balanced coverage on this issue then they do on the Russian-Ukraine war. The journalist credited with the above story has also produced quite honest coverage. I have just linked to this piece because it seems there is still a need to kow-tow to the Israeli war machine. The doctor who is the main source for the piece is described as a French citizen working for the International Red Cross. Is it normal to put a disclaimer in front of accounts by international doctors? “There was no independent confirmation of Ley’s account, but details match the accounts of other medical staff, as well as reporters in Gaza.”. I think the answer to this is no.

2) Guardian US

Guardian US. I’ve remarked before that the Guardian’s US reporters are much less tied to any idea of balanced reporting than UK journalists, in general. They seem to have no qualms at all about writing as if for the house newsletter of the Democratic Party (or even a sect within it). This is one of the most notorious proponents of this approach, Martin Pengelly, writing about the trial of a January 6 rioter:

“On 6 January 2021, Donald Trump sent supporters to Congress to try to stop certification of his defeat by Joe Biden, telling them to “fight like hell” in his cause.” This is the line that Trump somehow ordered an ‘army’ to carry out an ‘insurrection’. The extant evidence does not support this. In the same speech Trump also said: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard”. Politicians often use metaphors of ‘fight’ – e.g. “we will fight the fight of our lives and win this election”. (There are compilations on YouTube of Democrat politicians using precisely this kind of language). This is simply a silly narrative line being sold to a gullible and young audience. At some point we will do some work on how the progressive-liberals in the US are increasingly moving the US to be like a giant cult where everything is simple, there is only one truth, the government (so long as it is controlled by liberals) is absolutely to be trusted on everything, and there are some bad enemies out there (Trump, Russia), who want to steal our peace.

“He [Trump] now faces 13 state and four federal charges over his attempted election subversion, among 91 criminal charges in total, but nonetheless leads Republican primary polling by vast margins”. I think Pengelly means over ‘allegations of attempted election subversion’? But, no surprises, for liberal progressives the case is already cut and dried; the actual court proceedings are just a formality. (‘Deep state? Nooooo!)

3) Headline bullhorn effect

The Sun. In line with The Times, the Sun is uncritically broadcasting Israeli propaganda. The headline on this footage of an IDF media operations commander producing the story about Hamas using a hospital as a base is headlined: “Hamas hospital base revealed as IDF video shows lair filled with guns, grenades and rockets”. Other outlets, including to their credit the BBC, have shown that the footage of the guns is heavily faked. They key is in the headline. These powerful (and fake) headlines are effective in spreading propaganda.

4) A nice example of video editing.

Please compare these two videos. I am interested in the actions of the young girl shown climbing into the Red Cross vehicle. In the Telegraph cut we see her turn round and give a smile and a friendly wave to her Hamas captor. This has been cut from the CBS version. I would guess that it was important for the CBS production team to cut out this segment which seems to suggest that relations between the children and captors were not bad. This does not mesh will with the rape narrative or even with the apparent hoax about 40 beheaded babies. (I am not assuming the Telegraph are necessarily any less keen to promote a pro-Israeli narrative; but they may be less savvy video editors).

I just note it as an interesting example of how video can be, and is, edited to control the narrative.

On a wider note; we are, of course, hearing a lot about how the released hostages will be in shock and will need a great deal of therapy, etc. (The little girl pictured seems pretty relaxed, but maybe there is hidden trauma). But; I have seen very little in the Western media about the traumas that Palestinian children will have experienced in Israeli prisons. Slapping and other abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli custody is well-documented. It is also noteworthy that there is an across the board editorial policy in Western media to describe Palestinian children being released as “teenagers” (some seem to be 18 or 19 but others are under 18). Usually, at least in UK media, under 18s are religiously called ‘children’. This is, of course, to hide the fact that Israeli holds children in prison including some without trial. [1]