Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #566 Middle East Matrix — It Ain’t Necessarily So

He Who Tells the Truth Gets Chased out of Nine Vil­lages, Part III

Record­ed August 27, 2006

Lis­ten: MP3  Side 1  Side 2


Intro­duc­tion: The Matrix films enjoyed tremen­dous pop­u­lar­i­ty and cir­cu­la­tion in the last years of the 20th cen­tu­ry. An adven­ture series, the films are pred­i­cat­ed on the cog­ni­tive dom­i­na­tion of a cap­tive human race, held in thrall by a soci­ety of intel­li­gent machines. Unaware that their per­cep­tions are under the total con­trol of a com­put­er­ized sys­tem, humans are a sub­servient pop­u­la­tion, sub­dued by their lack of aware­ness of the true nature of their sur­round­ings. Because most peo­ple are informed by medi­at­ed expe­ri­ence, they are depen­dent for their grasp of real­i­ty on the integri­ty of the media sources upon which they rely for infor­ma­tion. When those media—for what­ev­er reason—fail to main­tain their func­tion­al integri­ty and present dis­tort­ed infor­ma­tion to the pub­lic, those who rely upon them are in a matrix as deci­sive as that in the pop­u­lar film series. Cov­er­age of the Israeli/Arab con­flict in gen­er­al, and the recent Lebanon war in par­tic­u­lar, has been affect­ed by just such matrix. Dri­ven by the eco­nom­ic pow­er of Mid­dle East­ern petro­le­um-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, media pro­pa­gan­da about Israel has both drawn upon—and fueled—traditional anti-Semi­tism, often ratio­nal­ized as “anti-Zion­ism.” This pro­gram pierces the dis­in­for­ma­tion of the Mid­dle East Matrix and its manip­u­la­tion of cov­er­age of the Lebanon War. By repeat show­ings of the same footage in such a way as to deceive the audi­ence into think­ing the scale of destruc­tion is far greater than it actu­al­ly was, many TV out­lets cre­at­ed an utter­ly false pic­ture of the aer­i­al cam­paign in Lebanon. Far worse is the net­works’ and wire ser­vices’ uncrit­i­cal accep­tance of obvi­ous­ly staged and fab­ri­cat­ed “atroc­i­ties” alleged­ly com­mit­ted by the Israeli Defense Forces. One of the major fac­tors deter­min­ing the skewed cov­er­age of the Lebanese war is the fact that Hezbol­lah rig­or­ous­ly restrict­ed jour­nal­ists’ access to the war zone. They saw–and reported—only what Hezbol­lah want­ed them to see and report! TV cov­er­age of the war, as well as the Israeli/Arab con­flict gen­er­al­ly, has been heav­i­ly prej­u­diced by the mar­ket­place eco­nom­ics affect­ing the Asso­ci­at­ed Press’s Tele­vi­sion News ser­vice. The finan­cial engine that under­pins the non-prof­it Asso­ci­at­ed Press, the APTN accounts for a large per­cent­age of the tele­vi­sion feed that reach­es world audi­ences. The con­tent of that feed, in turn, is pro­found­ly affect­ed by the APTN’s Arab ser­vice, cre­at­ed and tai­lored specif­i­cal­ly for the Gulf States. The audi­ence of the Arab and Mus­lim states of the Gulf devour news of Israel, and favor the prej­u­diced view­point preva­lent in the region. The eco­nom­ic clout of the Gulf States and the prox­im­i­ty of the Arab APTN pro­duc­tion crew and facil­i­ties to BBC staff and pro­duc­tion facil­i­ties heav­i­ly prej­u­dices broad­cast cov­er­age of any­thing to do with Israel.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dis­cus­sion of the grotesque­ness of com­par­isons of Israel with Nazi Ger­many; graph­ic illus­tra­tions of the fal­si­fi­ca­tion of pho­to­graph­ic evi­dence of alleged “Israeli atroc­i­ties”; fal­si­fi­ca­tion and/or exag­ger­a­tion of cov­er­age of the “Qana non-mas­sacre”; jour­nal­is­tic cov­er­age of the “non-attacks” on Lebanese ambu­lances by Israeli air­craft; fab­ri­ca­tion of an Israeli “non-attack” on a Reuters vehi­cle; com­par­i­son of the skew­ing of cov­er­age of the Israeli/Arab con­flict with the dis­tor­tion of infor­ma­tion in the OJ Sim­son case; fail­ure of the so-called alter­na­tive media to cov­er the dis­tor­tion.

1. The issue of media dis­tor­tion of the events sur­round­ing the war in Lebanon couldn’t be exag­ger­at­ed. In FTR#564, we touched on some of the fal­si­fi­ca­tion of pho­to­graph­ic evi­dence in the Lebanon war, as well as the stag­ing or embell­ish­ment of civil­ian casu­al­ties. This infor­ma­tion is reviewed at the end of this pro­gram descrip­tion. As not­ed here, among the fac­tors skew­ing the media cov­er­age of the war is the fact that Hezbol­lah very care­ful­ly restrict­ed media access to the bat­tle­field. In fair­ness to the jour­nal­ists who cov­ered the war, most of them saw only what Hezbol­lah allowed them to see. Nonethe­less, the facile and inap­pro­pri­ate com­par­isons of Israel to the Nazis are out­ra­geous, as well as pre­pos­ter­ous. For exam­ple, one brigade of the Leib­stan­darte Adolph Hitler (a Waf­fen SS divi­sion) burned 200 vil­lages in the Sovi­et Union with the peo­ple locked in the build­ings, earn­ing the nick­name “the Blow­torch Brigade.” [A brigade usu­al­ly con­sists of approx­i­mate­ly 3,500 men, although this num­ber can vary great­ly from one army to the next.] “Large sec­tions of the inter­na­tion­al media are not only mis­re­port­ing the cur­rent con­flict in Lebanon. They are active­ly fan­ning the flames. The BBC world ser­vice has a strong claim to be the num­ber-one vil­lain. It has come to sound like a vir­tu­al pro­pa­gan­da tool for Hezbol­lah. As it attempts to prove that Israel is guilty of com­mit­ting ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes against human­i­ty,’ it has intro­duced a new charge — one which I have heard sev­er­al times on-air in recent days. The news­cast­er reads out care­ful­ly select­ed ‘audi­ence com­ments.’ Among these are invari­ably con­tained some ver­sion of the claim that ‘Israel’s attack on Lebanon’ will serve as a ‘recruit­ment’ dri­ve for al-Qae­da. But if any­thing is going to win new recruits for Osama bin Laden and his like, it will not be Israel’s defen­sive actions, which are far less dam­ag­ing than West­ern TV sta­tions would have us believe, but the inflam­ma­to­ry and one-sided way in which they are being report­ed by those very same news orga­ni­za­tions.”
(“The Media War Against Israel” by Tom Gross; Nation­al Post; 8/2/2006.)

2. “While the slant­ed com­ments and inter­views are bad enough, the degree of pic­to­r­i­al dis­tor­tion is even worse. From the way many TV sta­tions world­wide are por­tray­ing it, you would think Beirut has begun to resem­ble Dres­den and Ham­burg in the after­math of Sec­ond World War air raids. Inter­na­tion­al tele­vi­sion chan­nels have used the same footage of Beirut over and over, show­ing the destruc­tion of a few indi­vid­ual build­ings in a man­ner which sug­gests half the city has been razed. A care­ful look at aer­i­al satel­lite pho­tos of the areas tar­get­ed by Israel in Beirut shows that cer­tain spe­cif­ic build­ings hous­ing Hezbol­lah com­mand cen­ters in the city’s south­ern sub­urbs have been sin­gled out. Most of the rest of Beirut, apart from strate­gic sites such as air­port run­ways used to fer­ry Hezbol­lah weapons in and out of Lebanon, has been left pret­ty much untouched. From the dis­tort­ed imagery, selec­tive wit­ness accounts, and almost round-the-clock empha­sis on casu­al­ties, you would be for­giv­en for think­ing that the lev­el of death and destruc­tion in Lebanon is on par with that in Dar­fur, where Arab mili­tias are slaugh­ter­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of non-Arabs, or with the 2004 tsuna­mi that killed half a mil­lion in South­east Asia.” (Idem.)

3. It should be not­ed that the vast major­i­ty of the cov­er­age of the Lebanon war has been pre­sent­ed by jour­nal­ists whose accounts have, in fact, been care­ful­ly reg­u­lat­ed by Hezbol­lah oper­a­tives. In all fair­ness to the jour­nal­ists, and to the orga­ni­za­tions for which they work, the dis­tor­tion of events in the Lebanon war was large­ly beyond their con­trol. In the “jour­nal­is­tic marketplace”—to coin a term—it is unac­cept­able not to cov­er a huge sto­ry, such as the war. Thus, the only account of events is the one Hezbol­lah wish­es to dis­sem­i­nate. “In fact, Israel has tak­en great care to avoid killing civil­ians — even though this has proven extreme­ly dif­fi­cult and often trag­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble, since mem­bers of Hezbol­lah, the self-styled ‘Par­ty of God,’ have delib­er­ate­ly ensconced them­selves in civil­ian homes. Nev­er­the­less the civil­ian death toll has been mer­ci­ful­ly low com­pared to oth­er inter­na­tion­al con­flicts in recent years. Last week, a senior jour­nal­ist let slip how the news media allows its Mideast cov­er­age to be dis­tort­ed. CNN ‘senior inter­na­tion­al cor­re­spon­dent’ Nic Robert­son admit­ted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civil­ian casu­al­ties in Lebanon was stage-man­aged from start to fin­ish by Hezbol­lah. In par­tic­u­lar, he revealed that his sto­ry was heav­i­ly influ­enced by the group’s ‘press offi­cer,’ and that Hezbol­lah have ‘very, very sophis­ti­cat­ed and slick media oper­a­tions.’ When pressed a few days lat­er about his report­ing on the CNN pro­gram Reli­able Sources, Robert­son acknowl­edged that Hezbol­lah mil­i­tants had instruct­ed the CNN cam­era team where and what to film. Hezbol­lah ‘had con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion,’ Robert­son said. ‘They des­ig­nat­ed the places that we went to, and we cer­tain­ly did­n’t have time to go into the hous­es or lift up the rub­ble to see what was under­neath.’” (Idem.)

4. “Robert­son added that Hezbol­lah has ‘very, very good con­trol over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny jour­nal­ists access to those areas. You don’t get in there with­out their per­mis­sion. We did­n’t have enough time to see if per­haps there was some­body there who was, you know, a taxi dri­ver by day, and a Hezbol­lah fight­er by night.’ Yet “Reli­able Sources”, pre­sent­ed by Wash­ing­ton Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broad­cast only on the Amer­i­can ver­sion of CNN. So CNN Inter­na­tion­al view­ers around the world will not have had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn that the pic­tures they saw from Beirut were care­ful­ly select­ed for them by Hezbol­lah. Anoth­er jour­nal­ist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writ­ing on his blog while report­ing from south­ern Lebanon, Time mag­a­zine con­trib­u­tor Christo­pher Allbrit­ton casu­al­ly men­tioned in the mid­dle of a post­ing: ‘To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbol­lah is launch­ing Katyushas, but I’m loath to say too much about them. The Par­ty of God has a copy of every jour­nal­ist’s pass­port, and they’ve already has­sled a num­ber of us and threat­ened one.’” (Idem.)

5. The BBC is a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish, how­ev­er. For one thing, the BBC—as is the case with most major for­eign cor­re­spon­dents for British dailies—is con­nect­ed in the most pro­found way with MI6 (the UK’s for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice.) At least inso­far as Israel and events in the Mid­dle East are con­cerned, the BBC has meta­mor­phosed into the con­tem­po­rary equiv­a­lent of the Goebbels pro­pa­gan­da min­istry. As will be seen below, BBC’s video con­tent is heav­i­ly influ­enced by APTN (Asso­ci­at­ed Press Tele­vi­sion News). “Robert­son is not the only for­eign jour­nal­ist to have mis­led view­ers with select­ed footage from Beirut. NBC’s Richard Engel, CBS’s Eliz­a­beth Palmer, and a host of Euro­pean and oth­er net­works, were also tak­en around the dam­aged areas by Hezbol­lah min­ders. Palmer com­ment­ed on her report that ‘Hezbol­lah is also deter­mined that out­siders will only see what it wants them to see.’ Palmer’s hon­esty is help­ful. But it does­n’t pre­vent the dam­age being done by orga­ni­za­tions such as the BBC, whose bias is obvi­ous to those who know the facts. First, the BBC gave the impres­sion that Israel had flat­tened the greater part of Beirut. Then to fol­low up its lop­sided cov­er­age, its Web site help­ful­ly car­ried full details of the assem­bly points for an anti-Israel march due to take place in Lon­don, but did not give any details about a ral­ly in sup­port of Israel also held in Lon­don a short time lat­er. Indeed, the BBC’s cov­er­age of the present war has been so extra­or­di­nary that even staunch BBC sup­port­ers in Lon­don seem rather embar­rassed — in con­ver­sa­tion, not on the air, unfor­tu­nate­ly. If the BBC were just a British prob­lem, that would be one thing, but it is not. Thanks to British tax­pay­ers, it is the world’s biggest and most lav­ish­ly fund­ed news orga­ni­za­tion. No oth­er sta­tion broad­casts so exten­sive­ly in dozens of lan­guages, on TV, radio and online.” (Idem.)

6. “The BBC’s radio ser­vice alone attracts over 163 mil­lion lis­ten­ers. It pours forth its world view in almost every lan­guage of the Mid­dle East: Pash­to, Per­sian, Ara­bic and Turk­ish. (Need­less to say, it declines to broad­cast in Hebrew, even though it does broad­cast in the lan­guages of oth­er small nations: Mace­don­ian and Alban­ian, Azeri and Uzbek, Kin­yarwan­da and Kyr­gyz, and so on.) It is not just that the sup­posed crimes of Israel are com­plete­ly over­played, but the fact that this is a two-sided war (start­ed, of course, by Hezbol­lah) is all but obscured. As a result, in spite of hun­dreds of hours of broad­cast by dozens of BBC reporters and stu­dio anchors, you would­n’t real­ly know that hun­dreds of thou­sands of Israelis have been liv­ing in bomb shel­ters for weeks now, tired, afraid, but resilient; that a grand­moth­er and her sev­en-year old grand­son were killed by a Katyusha rock­et dur­ing a Fri­day night Sab­bath din­ner; that sev­er­al oth­er Israeli chil­dren have died. You would­n’t have any real under­stand­ing of what it is like to have over 2,000 Iran­ian and Syr­i­an rock­ets rain down indis­crim­i­nate­ly on towns, vil­lages and farms across one third of your coun­try, aimed at killing civil­ians.” (Idem.)

7. “You would­n’t real­ly appre­ci­ate that Hezbol­lah, far from being some rag­tag mili­tia, is in effect a divi­sion of the Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ary guards, with rel­a­tive­ly advanced weapons (unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles that have flown over north­ern Israel, extend­ed-range artillery rock­ets, anti-ship cruise mis­siles), and that it has a glob­al ter­ror reach, hav­ing already killed 114 peo­ple in Argenti­na dur­ing the 1990s. The BBC and oth­er media have car­ried report after report on the dam­aged Lebanese tourist indus­try, but none on its dam­aged Israeli coun­ter­part, even though at least one hotel in Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, was hit by a Hezbol­lah rock­et. There are reports on Lebanese chil­dren who don’t know where they will be going to school, but none on Israeli chil­dren. Many have grown accus­tomed to left-wing papers such as Britain’s Guardian allow­ing their Mideast cov­er­age to spill over into some­thing akin to anti-Semi­tism. For exam­ple, last month a car­toon by the Guardian’s Mar­tin Row­son depict­ed Stars of David being used as knuck­le dusters on a bloody fist.” (Idem.)

8. “Now the Con­ser­v­a­tive-lean­ing Dai­ly Tele­graph, Britain’s best-sell­ing qual­i­ty dai­ly, and pre­vi­ous­ly one of the only papers in Europe to give Israel a fair hear­ing, has got in on the act. The car­toon at the top of the Tele­graph com­ment page last Sat­ur­day showed two iden­ti­cal scenes of dev­as­ta­tion, exact­ly the same in every detail. One was labeled: ‘War­saw 1943’; the oth­er: ‘Tyre, 2006.’ The sug­ges­tion, of course, is that mod­ern Israel is no dif­fer­ent from Nazi Ger­many. A politi­cian had already giv­en the cue for this hor­ren­dous libel. Con­ser­v­a­tive MP Sir Peter Tapsell told the House of Com­mons that British Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair was ‘col­lud­ing’ with U.S. Pres­i­dent George W. Bush in giv­ing Israel the okay to wage a war crime ‘grave­ly rem­i­nis­cent of the Nazi atroc­i­ty on the Jew­ish quar­ter of War­saw.’ Of course, there was no ‘Jew­ish quar­ter’ of War­saw. In case any­one needs remind­ing (Sir Peter obvi­ous­ly does) the ghet­to in the Pol­ish cap­i­tal, estab­lished in Octo­ber 1940, con­sti­tut­ed less than three square miles. Over 400,000 Jews were then crammed into it, about 30% of the pop­u­la­tion of War­saw. 254,000 were sent to Tre­blin­ka where they were exter­mi­nat­ed. Most of the rest were mur­dered in oth­er ways. The ghet­to was com­plete­ly cleared of Jews by the end of May 1943.” (Idem.)

9. “The pic­ture isn’t entire­ly bleak. Some British and Euro­pean politi­cians, on both the left and right, have been sup­port­ive of Israel. So have some mag­a­zines, such as Britain’s Spec­ta­tor. So have a num­ber of indi­vid­ual news­pa­per com­men­ta­tors. But mean­while, anti-Semit­ic cov­er­age and car­toons are spread­ing across the globe. Nor­way’s third largest paper, the Oslo dai­ly Dag­bladet, ran a car­toon com­par­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Olmert to the infa­mous Nazi com­man­der SS Major Amon Goeth, who indis­crim­i­nate­ly mur­dered Jews by fir­ing at them from his bal­cony — as depict­ed by Ralph Fiennes in Steven Spiel­berg’s film Schindler’s List. (A month ear­li­er, Dag­bladet pub­lished an arti­cle, ‘The Third Tow­er’, which ques­tioned whether Mus­lims were real­ly respon­si­ble for the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks.) Anto­nio Neri Licon of Mex­i­co’s El Econ­o­mista drew what appeared to be a Nazi sol­dier with stars of David on his uni­form. The ‘sol­dier’ was sur­round­ed by eyes that he had appar­ent­ly gouged out.” (Idem.)

10. “A car­toon in the South African Sun­day Times depict­ed Ehud Olmert with a butcher’s knife cov­ered in blood. In the lead­ing Aus­tralian dai­ly The Age, a car­toon showed a wine glass full of blood being drunk in a scene rem­i­nis­cent of a medieval blood libel. In New Zealand, vet­er­an car­toon­ist Tom Stott came up with a draw­ing which equat­ed Israel with al-Qae­da. At least one lead­ing Euro­pean politi­cian has also vent­ed his prej­u­dice through visu­al sym­bol­ism. Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Jose Luis Rodriguez Zap­a­tero wore an Arab scarf dur­ing an event at which he con­demned Israel, but not Hezbol­lah, who he pre­sum­ably thinks should not be stopped from killing Israelis. It’s entire­ly pre­dictable that all this vio­lent media dis­tor­tion should lead to Jews being attacked and even mur­dered, as hap­pened at a Seat­tle Jew­ish cen­ter last week. When live Jews can’t be found, dead ones are tar­get­ed. In Bel­gium last week, the urn that con­tained ash­es from Auschwitz was des­e­crat­ed at the Brus­sels memo­r­i­al to the 25,411 Bel­gian Jews deport­ed to Nazi death camps. It was smashed and excre­ment smeared over it. The silence from Bel­gian lead­ers fol­low­ing this des­e­cra­tion was deaf­en­ing.” (Idem.)

11. In assess­ing cov­er­age of the Lebanon war and the whole issue of the Israeli/Arab con­flict, it is impor­tant to under­stand that the Arabs have oil and the Jews don’t. The eco­nom­ic throw weight of the oil indus­try and oth­er eco­nom­ic enti­ties involved with the tremen­dous recy­cled petro­le­um wealth that has become a large and grow­ing part of the invest­ment land­scape is a major fac­tor in the slant­i­ng of jour­nal­is­tic cov­er­age of the Mid­dle East. “Oth­er Jews con­tin­ue to be killed in Israel itself with­out it being men­tioned in the media abroad. Last Thurs­day, for exam­ple, 60-year-old Dr. Daniel Ya’akovi was mur­dered by the Aqsa Mar­tyrs’ Brigade, the ter­ror­ist group with­in Fatah that Yass­er Arafat set up five years ago using Euro­pean Union aid mon­ey. But this is far from being an exclu­sive­ly Jew­ish issue. Some inter­na­tion­al jour­nal­ists seem to find it amus­ing or excit­ing to bait the Jews. They don’t under­stand yet that Hezbol­lah is part of a world­wide rad­i­cal Islamist move­ment that has plans, and not pleas­ant ones, for all those — Mus­lim, Chris­t­ian, Hin­du and Jew — who don’t abide by its wish­es.” (Idem.)

12. Illus­trat­ing the political/economic dynam­ics under­ly­ing the jour­nal­is­tic dis­tor­tion of the Mid­dle East is the rela­tion­ship between the non-prof­it Asso­ci­at­ed Press and its prof­it-mak­ing tele­vi­sion news sub­sidiary APTN. In turn, the pro­found influ­ence of the Arab mar­ket on the cov­er­age pro­vid­ed by APTN and the influ­ence of APTN on oth­er broad­cast out­lets is a major cause of the media dis­tor­tion of events in the Mid­dle East. “The vast major­i­ty of the TV news pic­tures you see are pro­duced by two TV news com­pa­nies. Pre­sent­ed here is a case for how a large amount of mon­ey has been used to inject a clear bias into the heart of the glob­al TV news­gath­er­ing sys­tem. That this hap­pens is not at ques­tion, whether it is by acci­dent or design is hard­er to tell. You may not real­ize it, but if you watch any TV news broad­cast on any sta­tion any­where in the world, there is a bet­ter than even chance you will view pic­tures from APTN. BBC, Fox, Sky, CNN and every major broad­cast­er sub­scribes to and uses APTN pic­tures. While the method by which they oper­ate is inter­est­ing, it is the extra ser­vice this US owned and UK based com­pa­ny offers to Arab states that is real­ly inter­est­ing.”
(“How Much Does It Cost to Buy Glob­al TV News?”; Lit­tle Green Foot­balls)

13. The pro­gram encap­su­lates the his­to­ry of the AP and the oper­a­tions of its APTN sub­sidiary: “The Asso­ci­at­ed Press (AP) is a not-for-prof­it news gath­er­ing and dis­sem­i­na­tion ser­vice based in the US. Formed in 1848, the AP grew up from an agree­ment between the six major New York news­pa­pers of the day. They want­ed to defray the large teleg­ra­phy costs that they were all inde­pen­dent­ly incur­ring for send­ing the same news coast to coast. Despite being high­ly com­pet­i­tive, they formed the Asso­ci­at­ed Press as a col­lec­tion agency and agreed to share the mate­r­i­al. Today, that six-news­pa­per coop­er­a­tive is an orga­ni­za­tion serv­ing more than 1,500 news­pa­pers and 5,000 broad­cast out­lets in the Unit­ed States. Abroad, AP ser­vices are print­ed and broad­cast in 112 coun­tries. Asso­ci­at­ed Press Tele­vi­sion News (APTN) is a whol­ly owned sub­sidiary of AP. It was for­mal­ly set up as a sep­a­rate enti­ty in 1994. It is run as a com­mer­cial enti­ty and aims to make a prof­it. Any prof­it it does make is fed back to AP (which is non-prof­it mak­ing: APTN prof­its reduce the news­gath­er­ing costs incurred by the 1500 US news­pa­pers that col­lec­tive­ly own the AP). APTN is the largest tele­vi­sion news-gath­er­ing play­er (larg­er than Reuters, its only true com­peti­tor in this field). While AP is based in the US, APTN oper­ates out of large premis­es in Cam­den, Lon­don. They have news teams, offices and broad­cast facil­i­ties in just about every impor­tant place in the world.” (Idem.)

14. Note the role in gen­er­at­ing APTN’s cov­er­age of local sources—in many cas­es ‘stringers’ in Arab coun­tries who are sub­ject to the polit­i­cal and eth­nic prej­u­dices that obtain in that part of the world. “APTN uses news crews and broad­cast facil­i­ties all over the world to record video of news­wor­thy events (in News, Sport and Enter­tain­ment). These pic­tures are either sent unedit­ed or very par­tial­ly edit­ed back to Lon­don. Most news is fed back with­in hours but they also cov­er and feed cer­tain events live (news con­fer­ences in Iraq, press con­fer­ences after a sport­ing event etc.). Most of these sto­ries are sent in with ‘nat­ur­al sound’: there is no jour­nal­ist pro­vid­ing a voice over, but the choice of what to shoot is in the hands of the local pro­duc­er and cam­era crew. Local crews are some­times employed direct­ly by APTN, or more often ‘stringers’ are hired for a par­tic­u­lar event or paid for the footage they have already cap­tured. Once the sto­ries have been fed back to the UK they are edit­ed. This is a round the clock oper­a­tion. The goal is to pro­duce a 30 minute news bul­letin com­pris­ing 6 or 7 sto­ries every few hours. These sto­ries are made by edit­ing down the raw ‘rush­es’ that come in from all over the world. This is done by a team of pro­duc­ers who work for the news edi­tor. They don’t sup­ply a voice over but they do edit, dis­card and sequence pic­tures dic­tat­ing the empha­sis and direc­tion of the sto­ry. They will accom­pa­ny each sto­ry with a writ­ten descrip­tion of each shot and the gen­er­al rea­son this was a sto­ry. This is repeat­ed for News, Sport & Enter­tain­ment with a geo­graph­i­cal empha­sis that shifts around the world as dif­fer­ent mar­kets wake and sleep. The out­put of this is called the ‘Glob­al News Wire’ (GNW).” (Idem.)

15. The pro­gram details how APTN makes its mon­ey: “This is how APTN makes its mon­ey: news orga­ni­za­tions (most­ly TV but not all) sub­scribe to APTN and pay an annu­al amount to both watch and then re-use the sto­ries that are fed over the GNW. The sto­ries are sup­plied with sound, but no jour­nal­ist to do a voice over. Most com­mer­cial news sta­tions (like the BBC, SKY, Fox or CNN) would take this feed, decide which pic­tures to use then re-edit it and sup­ply an appro­pri­ate voice over for the sto­ry. The video comes with a writ­ten descrip­tion of the shots and the events that occur in them. The fee for this feed depends on the size of the receiv­ing orga­ni­za­tion, their audi­ence size and a nego­ti­a­tion with APTN’s sales force. It is pret­ty much impos­si­ble, how­ev­er, to oper­ate a TV news orga­ni­za­tion with­out tak­ing feeds from either APTN or Reuters or usu­al­ly both. The agree­ment with APTN usu­al­ly allows the receiv­ing news chan­nel unlim­it­ed use of the video for two weeks. If they want to re-show those pic­tures after that they have to sep­a­rate­ly license the pic­tures (which can cost any­thing from $100 to $10,000 per 30 sec­onds depend­ing on the con­tent).” (Idem.)

16. Of para­mount impor­tance in under­stand­ing tele­vi­sion cov­er­age of news in the Mid­dle East is the deci­sive influ­ence of the Arab states’ APTN sub­scrip­tion ser­vice. This service—specifically tai­lored for the vir­u­lent­ly anti-Israeli Arab market—is pro­found­ly influ­en­tial on APTN con­tent as a whole. And with the great influ­ence of APTN cov­er­age on TV cov­er­age as a whole, this bad­ly skews the objec­tiv­i­ty of the cov­er­age of the Israel and the Lebanon war. “How­ev­er, there is anoth­er sig­nif­i­cant part of their busi­ness mod­el that affects the rest of the busi­ness. While most of the world takes news pic­tures with min­i­mal inter­pre­ta­tion beyond edit­ing, the Arab Gulf States have asked for and receive a dif­fer­ent and far more expen­sive ser­vice. These states pay for a com­plete news report ser­vice includ­ing full edit­ing and voice-overs from known jour­nal­ists. The news orga­ni­za­tions in the Arab coun­tries don’t do any­thing (beyond ver­i­fy that they are appro­pri­ate for local tastes) before broad­cast. What this means is that while there are around 50 peo­ple pro­duc­ing news pic­tures for the whole world work­ing in Cam­den at any time, there are a fur­ther 50 Ara­bic speak­ing staff pro­duc­ing fin­ished sto­ries exclu­sive­ly for the Arab states of the gulf. This has a tremen­dous effect on the whole feel of the build­ing as these two teams feed pic­tures and peo­ple back and forth and sit in adja­cent work areas. The slant of the sto­ries required by the Gulf States has a def­i­nite effect on which footage is used and dis­card­ed. This affects both the Gulf news­room and the main glob­al news­room. This full ser­vice feed is much more expen­sive for the cus­tomers than the usu­al ser­vice, but it is also much high­er mar­gin for APTN. This is part­ly because there is great com­mon­al­i­ty in what they can send to most of the Gulf States tak­ing this ser­vice: sto­ries are made once and used in a num­ber of coun­tries.” (Idem.)

17. “Any­thing involv­ing Israel is a favorite with Gulf Arab states for show­ing to their view­ers. Could this be the rea­son why Israel receives such a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of par­tic­u­lar­ly neg­a­tive cov­er­age espe­cial­ly and increas­ing­ly ever since the ear­ly 1970’s? Hon­estRe­port­ing is usu­al­ly unable to decide which is most biased: AP or BBC. As the BBC is often using APTN footage, the dif­fer­ence is minor. A sig­nif­i­cant twist to what is seen, con­cerns what is not seen. Footage such as the Pales­tin­ian mob joy­ful­ly lynch­ing two Israeli reservists in Ramal­lah in Octo­ber 2000 is held by APTN’s library: any attempt to license this film for reshow is care­ful­ly vet­ted. Requests for the use of ‘sen­si­tive clips’ are referred direct­ly to the Library direc­tor. This is not the case with clips that paint Israel in a bad light. Like­wise, the re-show­ing of Pales­tin­ian cel­e­bra­tions on 9/11 is con­sid­ered ‘sen­si­tive’. The way in which raw footage such as APTN’s is com­piled into a news report and sent round the world has also been ana­lyzed. The Sec­ond Draft gives a com­pre­hen­sive view of how edit­ing can make all the dif­fer­ence. APTN is the gate­keep­er that sits between you and the actu­al event. You will nev­er see what the edi­tors at APTN see before they com­pile your evening news. What do you think is cut out?” (Idem.)

18. There are indi­ca­tions that the Ara­bic APTN ser­vice may have been set up with this bias in mind. “Was this orga­ni­za­tion set up with this in-built bias on pur­pose? Is there some way that the expen­sive pay­ments made by Gulf state gov­ern­ments form part of a delib­er­ate attempt to skew the media? In Islam and Dhim­mi­tude (2002) by Bat Ye’or on pp294-296 she recounts how deci­sions were tak­en in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 to try to put across an anti-Jew­ish, anti-Zion­ist mes­sage. Suc­ces­sive con­fer­ences resolved to con­tribute vast sums ‘to uni­ver­si­ties, cen­ters for Islam­ic stud­ies, inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions agen­cies, and pri­vate and gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions in order to win over world opin­ion.’ (p296). The mes­sages from these con­fer­ences stressed an addi­tion to the more famil­iar vio­lent jihad: they also empha­sized the impor­tance of jihad by the writ­ten and spo­ken word—what we would rec­og­nize as clas­sic pro­pa­gan­da. With­out ques­tion APTN’s inter­est­ing busi­ness mod­el rep­re­sents a con­crete exam­ple of an ongo­ing finan­cial ‘con­tri­bu­tion’ to an impor­tant com­mu­ni­ca­tion agency pro­mot­ing a pro-Arab bias.” (Idem.)

19. Next, the dis­cus­sion turns to the fal­si­fi­ca­tion and exag­ger­a­tion of civil­ian casu­al­ties in the Lebanon war. Among the inci­dents out­lined are the alleged Israeli attacks on ambu­lances, a read­i­ly ver­i­fi­able fab­ri­ca­tion. The ambu­lances that were sup­pos­ed­ly attacked by the Israelis clear­ly were NOT struck by air­borne muni­tions, nei­ther mis­siles nor can­non fire. This should have been evi­dent to even the most casu­al and unso­phis­ti­cat­ed observ­er. A con­ser­v­a­tive web­site pre­sent­ed a detailed, thought­ful analy­sis of the ambu­lance fraud: http://www.zombietime.com/fraud/ambulance/. Note in par­tic­u­lar the ambu­lance that sup­pos­ed­ly was hit by a mis­sile in the roof. First, no aer­i­al mis­sile could have entered at this angle. Beyond that, a round big enough to have caused such a hole would have dis­in­te­grat­ed the ambu­lance and left a sig­nif­i­cant crater in the ground. There would not have been any­thing left of any­body inside, includ­ing the liars who claim to have been injured by a “huge explo­sion.” This isn’t just dis­in­for­ma­tion, it isn’t even very well done. Take a care­ful look at the ambu­lances in this footage. http://www.videosift.com/story.php?id=6377. Once again, they clear­ly have not been struck by mis­siles or can­non fire. It is worth not­ing that the Aus­tralian For­eign Min­is­ter has echoed the fraud charges con­cern­ing the ambu­lances. Vis­it this web­site: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20291873–601,00.html.

20. What John Lof­tus (in FTR#564) referred to as the “Non-mas­sacre at Qana” also was great­ly exag­ger­at­ed, per­haps even fab­ri­cat­ed. There was a peri­od of sev­er­al hours between the time Israeli muni­tions struck a build­ing in that city and the time it col­lapsed. The corpses of chil­dren alleged­ly killed in that build­ing exhib­it­ed advanced rig­or mor­tis and were remark­ably free of the blood, feces and urine that might be expect­ed on the corpses of chil­dren who had been killed in an air raid. The children’s eyes are closed, and there is no bloat­ing. (Bear in mind that these chil­dren were sup­pos­ed­ly crushed/blasted or suf­fo­cat­ed to death and then lay beneath rub­ble in the Mid­dle East­ern sum­mer sun.) Check out this web­site and the analy­sis on it: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/08/qana-directors-cut.html. Again, it should be not­ed that vir­tu­al­ly all of the cov­er­age of this impor­tant phe­nom­e­non comes from the con­ser­v­a­tive sec­tor. The so-called alter­na­tive media haven’t touched the issue of the fraud­u­lent “atroc­i­ties.”

21. It is worth not­ing that these obvi­ous frauds had an enor­mous effect on world opin­ion. Indeed, the Qana non-mas­sacre appears to have been a major fac­tor in blunt­ing the Bush administration’s sup­port for Israel’s mil­i­tary efforts. Mr. Emory con­sid­ers Hezbollah’s manip­u­la­tion of events to be one of the most skilled and deci­sive uses of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare and pro­pa­gan­da in the his­to­ry of war­fare. Anoth­er bogus inci­dent sur­faced, the sup­posed Israeli attack on a Reuters vehi­cle. View this web­site: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/015118.php. Once again, this is NOT a vehi­cle that has been hit by an aer­i­al mis­sile. Once again, this isn’t even a good fake. In FTR#564, John Lof­tus allud­ed to a Reuters pho­tog­ra­ph­er who delib­er­ate­ly faked pho­tographs of Israeli air raid dam­age to Beirut: http://www.zombietime.com/reuters_photo_fraud/.

22. The media as a whole, have not dis­sem­i­nat­ed pic­tures of Hezbol­lah, whose ral­lies rou­tine­ly fea­ture the Nazi salute.


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