Media Coverage of Gaza
By Justin George at Jan 08, 2009
Over the last day or so, I've noticed how the media coverage of the attack on Gaza has shifted slightly in focus. Israel seems to be in damage control- media are allowed a bit more access, getting closer to the Gaza border, along with the release of "censor approved" footage and coverage. Not only does it take the focus off the actual effects & victims of the military action- 700+ dead so far including 200 children and many more injured and suffering-but it seeks to shift attitudes on the Gaza attacks itself.
Taking a note from the USA's media management of the Iraq War perhaps? Embedded reporters who talk more about the risks they face in covering the story- well away from the bloody conflict- than what's actually happening. Israeli troops are humanized and given voice, working 'heroically' at stopping Hamas terrorism, while Palestinian people are given little time, space or voice. This tactic seeks to ensure that Israel controls and dominates the narrative presented in the media on the war. The less grieving parents seen on Western TV screens the better.
What's interesting also is the lack of historical context given to the recent fighting, even the context of the last 6 months of blockades.
Reading today's papers, a majority of letter's submitted to the paper on the subject expressed concern and outrage against Israel's actions particularly the large civilian toll. Not only this but they sought in some cases to provide a wider context to the current events. Surrounding the letters section however was the editorial content drawn from the Wall Street Journal along with Australia's most favored sages arguing the opposite- That the war is strategically necessary and must continue; that the UN was lying about fire from the schools; that Israel must act decisively; that Hamas must be removed in favour of Fatah. No in-depth mention of Israel's violation of International law, the numerous UN resolutions on the Occupation, or that Hamas is a democratically elected group.
It highlights the disconnect between invested interests and their ability to project these interests to whole populations via the media and the majority of people who regardless of their political position on Palestine, seem to abhor Israel's excessive use of force and the needless death created by it, a perspective provided a minimum of time and space so far.