Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Moral Equivalence

What's really striking about many of the news media reports coming out of the Lebanon conflict - particularly, but not exclusively, those of the BBC - is the attempt by journalists, columnists and presenters to talk of "the two sides", of "Israel and Hezbollah", as though a parallel could be drawn between the Israeli people, who are trying to defend their country against murderous attack from outside, and the murderous attackers, who represent not much more than a gang of nihilistic terrorists who have been armed to the teeth by neighbouring states that want to destroy Israel.

This is not a war in the conventional sense, between two nation states, but rather a proxy aggression by Iran and Syria, with tacit (and now and then not so tacit) support from the Lebanese government, not only against Israel, but also against the West in general.

In the latest comments thread at Biased BBC there are plenty of examples of the moral equivalence that's a feature of the corporation's coverage of the conflict, culled from the air by viewers and listeners.

The media have an important responsibility in this crisis, which is being manipulated by the Iranian and Hizballah propaganda machine using methods clearly derived from techniques that were evolved in the 1970s and 1980s by the Soviet special services, and are still being developed today. Yet most Western media outlets are shrugging off that responsibility. It's to be wondered how long it will take for them to realize the extent to which they are being manipulated.
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