Monday, September 09, 2013

Countering The Abuse of the Media by Palestinian Propaganda

Philippe Assouline, Esq. has written Manufacturing and Exploiting Compassion:
Abuse of the Media by Palestinian Propaganda for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA)

Here is the executive summary:
  • Israel, a liberal democracy caught between tyrannies and sectarian violence, is increasingly perceived as uniquely evil.

  • In the struggle for hearts and minds, feelings trump facts. Imagery and accusations that automatically trigger public compassion are incomparably more compelling than dry, defensive argumentation. We are "wired" by evolution to support those we perceive as innocent victims in distress, even when the facts do not mandate such support.
  • The portrayal of Palestinians as innocent victims in distress has been the key to Palestinian propaganda's popular success. Through the mass-production of heartrending imagery centered on children, staged "news," manipulative rhetoric, and rigid censorship, Palestinian propaganda has successfully used the media to recast Palestinians as entirely blameless victims.

  • Moreover, a number of prominent journalists for international news agencies have concurrently been salaried employees of Palestinian administrations. Both Agence France Presse and the Associated Press have employed journalists with close ties to the Palestinian Authority.

  • Israelis have long tried to win minds with a multitude of defensive arguments and legal justifications, and have lost. Israel will have to define itself to the world in a way that is at least as emotionally appealing as the Palestinians' saga of victimhood.

  • Rather than fighting spurious accusations with impersonal facts, Israel must fight Palestinian propaganda's exploitation of public compassion with a touching but morally correct narrative of its own.
Propaganda image
Anti-Israel activists prefer emotion over logic --
Israel cannot afford to resort to reason alone
 to combat this

On the issue of the Palestinian control of stringers, fixers and local newsgathering, Assouline expands on the Palestinian Arab influence on biased journalists:
According to media watchdog Honest Reporting, “Arab journalists working for CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press and other major Western news providers in the Middle East, [don’t] think there [is] any contradiction between working as a journalist for an international news outlet and holding extreme anti-Israeli views.”110

One “senior” BBC reporter, Fayad Abu Shamala – who in 2001 told a rally that journalists were “waging the campaign [against Israel] shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people” – was exposed as a Hamas member by Hamas official Fathi Hamad (though the BBC refused to have him removed).111 Similarly, Talal Abu Rahmeh, the Palestinian cameraman who filmed Mohammed Al Dura’s death, said to a Moroccan newspaper in 2001 that he became a journalist in order to fight for the Palestinian people.112

In the words of Jay Bushinsky, a veteran member of the Foreign Press Association, Palestinian stringers upon which the West increasingly depends are rarely “fair-minded reporter[s]. They have a mission and they don’t give anything detrimental to their leadership.”113

It is not surprising that, according to Freedom House’s 2012 report on Freedom of the Press in the Palestinians Territories, “[t]he cumulative pressure” placed on so many covering the Palestinians “has driven many journalists to practice self-censorship.”114
Read the whole thing

Last year during Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel demonstrated it could use social media to debunk the false narratives and pictures fabricated by Hamas terrorists.

There is more to be done.

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