View Full Version : NBC Newsman: "Don't Believe The Media"

08-10-2006, 06:58 PM
NBC Newsman Says Don't Believe War Reporting
Many of us in the blogosphere have argued that the coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict has shown bias, and in the case of Reuters, outright fraud (http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/007734.php). The media has not defended itself much in the wake of the wire-service scandal, and now a veteran correspondent from NBC (http://www.nbc6.net/ikesinsights/9646351/detail.html?taf=ami) tells Florida residents that the media has indeed stopped providing rational coverage:

As a veteran journalist who has been in countless war zones around the world (especially the Middle East) as an NBC network correspondent, it pains me to see what passes for accurate coverage in the early stages of a conflict like the one between Israel and Hezbollah. Because almost none of the American television networks have a vast stable of experienced reporters any longer who understand the region, they employ the old "parachute them in" philosophy, i.e. dispatching perfectly good -- and frequently very young -- journalists, few of whom have any experience in covering this story and don’t stand a snowball's chance in Gaza of getting it right initially. They engage in what I call "nerve end journalism." reporting what they think they see in one of the most confusing places on earth, with very little context. Their movements are also very restricted by both sides.

In the case of Beirut and other parts of Lebanon under the control of terrorists, Hezbollah usually runs daily press tours, making sure reporters and photographers see the worse that Israel has inflicted -- killing civilians, etc. -- in order to slate the coverage, but never reveals that Hezbollah uses private homes, mosques, schools, hospitals and other public buildings for their headquarters or to launch their lethal missiles.

As Ike Seamans explains, the bald propaganda efforts hardly provide the worst-case scenario with Hezbollah. The terrorists keep copis of the passports of all journalists in the area, making them very nervous about reporting anything remotely critical of Hezbollah. Michael Totten (http://www.michaeltotten.com/) had the same problem during a period of relative peace in Beirut, and one can deduce that Hezbollah takes message discipline much more seriously lately.

Seamans points out a problem that has afflicted news organizations for decades: turnover and financial performance. Seamans, who has the experience and context necessary to even hope for an objective assessment on the ground, sits in Florida. Meanwhile, brave but inexperienced journalists get thrown into a conflict that they do not understand well enough to report correctly, and have too little context to read between the lines Hezbollah hands them -- even if they want to defy the terrorists to report honestly from Lebanon.

Meanwhile, news services increasingly rely on stringers for their reports, and usually this means publishing pictures or reports from people who may have other loyalties. As the meltdown of Reuters shows, when media outlets rely on people like Adnan Hajj with little or no editorial control, they turn themselves into propaganda providers, not news organizations. One would think that an editor would understand the pitfalls of relying on locals in a war for objective reporting, but not only do they fail to consider it, the editors pass along their product without any serious review.

This results in a distorted and dangerously biased view of the situation. In one day, we heard that an Israeli strike killed 40 civilians, which then got corrected to one. The editors love sensational headlines, and the Hezbollah terrorists and their apologists deliver them in spades. Reporters in Israel get less handling and have freedom of movement in the civilian centers of Israel, but the more accurate reporting originating in Israel's north doesn't have the "grab" of Fuad Saniora's sobs.

Seamans gives interesting advice to news customers who want the truth:

Reporting has been so inconsistent, if you really want to know what is going on, check out all the networks -- broadcast and cable -- as well as print sources and the Internet. Otherwise, you will never know if you are getting the straight scoop on the confusing Israeli-Hezbolla imbroglio.It's good advice. Check out all the links, and make up your mind about credibility. Most importantly, don't rely on sources that are all but held hostage to terrorists to give you any truthful information at all. (via Democracy Project (http://www.democracy-project.com/archives/002712.html))

08-10-2006, 07:15 PM
So Hezbollah tries to manipulate the reporting coming out of Lebanon by leading journalists around and showing them the things they want them to see, but Israel doesn't do this, they don't want to manipulate the reporting coming out of the region.

Anyone buy this crap.

08-11-2006, 04:11 PM
Anyone buy this crap.
Nope. Sounds like more rightwing whining to me. You can't believe the (ahem) 'leftwing media', you can only believe that what America and its allies are doing is RIGHT!

Hezbollah uses private homes, mosques, schools, hospitals and other public buildings for their headquarters or to launch their lethal missiles


Yeah, they're firing these truck mounted missiles from 'private homes, schools and mosques'. Here we have a man who is essentially calling journalists 'stupid' (they have no knowledge of the region - in that case wtf are they doing there?), but who himself doesn't know the first fucking thing about Hezbollah's missiles.

Also interesting that while denouncing 'terrorists essentially holding journalists hostage', he makes no reference to the fact that there is a gag-order in place within Israel (for 'national security' reasons of course - only Israel's 'national security' matters it seems). Jonathan Cook, a British journalists and writer based in Nazareth writes that:

Israel’s military censor is preventing foreign journalists based in Israel, myself included, from discussing where Hizbullah rockets are landing, and what they may be aimed at. Under the censorship rules, It is impossible to mention any issue that touches on Israeli security or defense matters: the location of military installations, for example, cannot be divulged. It is arguable whether it would actually be possible to report a Hizbullah strike that hit a military site inside Israel.

He also says:

While there has been little convincing evidence that Hizbullah is firing its rocket from towns and villages in south Lebanon, or that its fighters are hiding there among civilians, it can be known beyond a shadow of a doubt that Israeli army camps and military installations are based in northern Israeli communities

Read the whole article here (http://www.jkcook.net/Articles2/0272.htm#Top).