Sunday, October 5, 2014
THE SOUND OF MEDIA SILENCE
Tom Gross Mideastdispatches
29th Sept 2014
See full article at: http://tinyurl.com/lx9zovj
The same western media that criticized Israel in sensational terms this summer (“Israelis are a nation of child killers” said one British paper) have barely a word to say about all the many civilians their governments are now accidentally killing in airstrikes on Iraq and Syria. Photos of dead and distressed civilians have appeared in Arab media in recent days but I could hardly find any in the Western media I scrutinized. (In some of the cases reported in Arab media, Western warplanes hit the wrong targets and only civilians died.)
By contrast, The New York Times on Friday yet again published a weeks-old photo of the destruction last summer in Gaza on its main international news page (top of Page A4) (and a sports photo from a baseball game at the top of page A1), but nowhere could I find the New York Times showing photos, or even providing details, of any of the civilians dying in U.S. led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. (Of course, if it was a Republican president ordering the strikes, rather than President Obama, it might at least mention the civilian deaths…)
Past analysis has shown that the U.S., which has worse intelligence on the ground than Israel, has inadvertently killed a higher proportion of civilians than Israel:
Israel’s record on civilian casualties compares well to America’s
BBC NEWS ANCHOR SUDDENLY SOUNDS LIKE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON
BBC Radio’s flagship Today program interviewed the Baghdad-based Reverend Canon Andrew White (who is a long standing subscriber to this email list). He spoke of the civilians being killed in Western and Arab airstrikes in Iraq.
The BBC presenter replied in some exasperation, saying they are sophisticated, targeted strikes, and are “essential” for fighting terror.
As a friend of mine points out, did it not occur to the BBC news anchor that he sounded exactly like the Israeli government spokesperson who he so furiously attacked only a month ago.
UNLIKE MOST WESTERN MEDIA, REUTERS HAS REPORTED ON CIVILIAN DEATHS
Unlike most Western media, Reuters has reported on civilian deaths. For example, its report today (September 29) gives one such example. It begins:
U.S.-led raids hit Syria grain silos, killing civilians
REUTERS - U.S.-led air strikes hit grain silos and other targets in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern and eastern Syria overnight, killing civilians… “The aircraft may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij for an Islamic State base, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There was no immediate comment from Washington.
The strikes in Manbij appeared to have killed only civilians, not fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory which gathers information from sources in Syria. “These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people,” he said…
Tom Gross adds: Not only the Western media, but Western human rights groups and the UNHRC, which seem never to tire of attacking Israel when Israel is defending itself from thousands of rockets fired at its cities, is also now strangely silent.
And unlike the IDF, which made considerable efforts to minimize civilian casualties ahead of every attack – making phone calls to homes in each targeted area, sending text messages to cell phones in Arabic, and dropping leaflets from aircraft into the targeted neighborhoods days in advance, warning residents to leave for their own safety, and calling off airstrikes it if spotted civilians in the locality – those countries currently bombing Iraq and Syria (including the U.S., UK and France) don’t appear to be doing as much.
Tom Gross adds: Fresh on the ground analysis by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – which has proved itself to be a reliable organization these past three years (and if anything has been too conservative in its estimates) say that coalition airstrikes killed at least 28 civilians on Saturday, and 26 civilians on Friday.
These are in addition to the airstrikes on Sunday that hit grain silos instead of ISIS bases. The number of casualties in that attack has not yet been determined, only that strike killed many civilians – the exact same people who had already survived bombing raids by the murderous President Assad.
The aircraft may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Minbej for an ISIS base.
The double standards of government spokespeople and the media are remarkable.
“It’s slaughter” as Juan Williams called Israel’s actions in Gaza on Fox News several weeks ago. “It’s indiscriminate, asinine,” said Joe Scarborough on MSNBC.