Menu Close

Embedded Western media enables wars

Add to my bookmarks
ClosePlease login

No account yet? Register

Share This Article:

Picture: Said Khatib / AFP / Taken on October 8, 2023 – Relatives carry the bodies of children from the Abu Quta family killed in Israeli strikes on the Palestinian city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, during their funeral on October 8, 2023. Fighting between Israeli forces and the Palestinian militant group Hamas raged on October 8, with hundreds killed on both sides. Israel’s claims that Hamas has beheaded babies, among other atrocities flighted in mainstream media internationally, has never been verified, the writer says, and is widely acknowledged as fake news.

By Firoz Osman

The Afro-American leader Malcolm X said “The media’s the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

And an oft quoted cliché states that the first casualty of war is the truth.

The war between Hamas and Islamic Jihad vs Israel reinforces these perceptions of bias by the Western media, distorting and obfuscating the history and omitting the context of the current conflict.

In fact, it is unfortunate that the western media is actually complicit in riling up the emotion and anger by regurgitating unverified information issued by the Israelis. Statements that babies heads were decapitated and women raped were unfounded, and belatedly retracted. Politicians, including US President Biden, and PM Netanyahu, used this to inflame and garner support from their constituencies.

The fake story of the beheadings based on hearsay was emblazoned of all the mainstream media including BBC, CNN , Sky news and Fox tv. Other media outlets then built new stories on top of the questionable material. The purpose was to dehumanise Hamas and the Palestinians, a ploy successfully used in other regional conflagrations.

In the era of minute-by-minute coverage being first is now more important than being accurate. The news goes viral with re-tweets, shares, and other repeats in seconds on social media. It doesn’t matter much when the story is proven false. Once it is echoed enough, the story becomes “fact”. A front-page headline that needs to be corrected will be mentioned in a short paragraph of the back pages, usually many days after the story was originally released.

The same scenario played out previously when the US attacked Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

The media twisted their reporting to push Western agenda and manipulated the thinking of their audience regardless of whether or not they’re reporting facts, using “anonymous”, unnamed “expert”, or other sources with questionable credibility.

The beauty of this method is you can make up or exaggerate virtually any story you want, and if the reporter later is called out on his sources, he will inevitably squeal about “First Amendment” protection and vow to protect his sources.

Without providing any evidence which the Taliban demanded from the US that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Centre, the US and Western countries devastated the entire country. And then occupied it under the hoax of bringing about democracy and freedom to women.

When the tyrant Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the media went on a frenzy reporting that the Iraqis threw out new born babies from incubators and played football with the bodies of dead children. Further, these reports, together with Tony Blair’s fake dossier, galvanised a “civilised” world to massacre a million Iraqis looking for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, and they still occupy Iraq today.

The same scenario played out in Libya, with the media hyping up fabricated reports of Khaddafi’s intention to invade Benghasi, causing NATO to devastate the oil rich country that is now embroiled in a civil war.

Israel has a sophisticated, well-oiled and well-resourced hasbara (propaganda) machine that has trained its citizens and supporters to advocate and spin its position to media worldwide.

Hasbara is a Hebrew word that describes Israel’s sophisticated public relations machinery which was set up to shape and sugar-coat media coverage of its atrocities. Media cynically justifies the Jewish entity’s crimes and to create for Israel a “brand image” completely at odds with the truth. Hasbara proponents obfuscate some categorical truths of Israel’s illegal occupation and serial violations of International Law by committing regular crimes against humanity.

The aim of propaganda is always to obscure true meaning. This can take the form of oversimplifying, dissembling or outright lying. The purpose is to indoctrinate human minds to think in a particular manner through imposing necessary illusions.

And propaganda does not require evidence. Just repetition.

Media plays a pivotal role in creating a system supportive of the propaganda function. For decades the media promoted Zionist justifications for the ‘Chosen People’, ‘Promised Land’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Exile’; of Palestine being a ‘terra nullius’ (nobody’s land), that ‘Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East’ and that it is a small, weak entity surrounded by hostile, uncivilised barbarians.

The propaganda campaign which sold apartheid across the world in an attempt to bolster support for the White South African apartheid regime cost around $100 million annually, and was run with vigorous efficiency for fifty years. Despite this, South Africa’s attempt to discredit the liberation organisations as terrorists ultimately failed, and also failed to mask apartheid’s inhumanity, racist oppression and crimes against humanity.

One cannot colonise a people, steal their lands and livelihoods at gunpoint, trample on their fundamental human rights and freedoms, destroy their property, and starve, torture, maim and murder a colonised people for seven decades and claim the moral high ground. Zionists have done all this, and still expect to be called civilised and in tune with Western values.

It is unfortunate that Western media’s pro-Israeli bias has enabled the serial genocidal Israeli wars on Gaza through an endless stream of media misinformation and misrepresentation.

Dr Firoz Osman is executive member at Media Review Network, Johannesburg, South Africa