News Comment

Saturday 20 September 2014

Shame of the 'blame game' in coverage

Robert Fisk

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

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A boy looks through a hole on the wall made by the shelling at the Abu Hussein U.N. school in the Jebaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Some 3,300 Gazans seeking shelter from the fighting had been crowded into the U.N. school in Jebaliya refugee camp when it was hit by a series of Israeli artillery shells.  (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
A boy looks through a hole on the wall made by the shelling at the Abu Hussein UN school in the Jebaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. AP
A Palestinian carries his daughter as they flee, following an Israeli airstrike on an apartment building in Rafah on Thursday, July 31, 2014. A woman was killed, as her husband was wounded in the apartment damaged by the strike, according to Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
A Palestinian carries his daughter as they flee, following an Israeli airstrike on an apartment building in Rafah. AP
An Israeli armoured personnel carrier (APC) drives near the border with the Gaza Strip July 31, 2014. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, said on Thursday he would not accept any ceasefire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels. Gaza officials say at least 1,410 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the battered territory and nearly 7,000 wounded. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and more than 400 wounded. Three civilians have been killed by Palestinian shelling in Israel. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
An Israeli armoured personnel carrier (APC) drives near the border with the Gaza Strip. Reuters

There was a time when our politicians and media had one main fear when covering Middle East wars: that no one should ever call them anti-semitic.

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Or so it was until the latest bloodbath in Gaza, which is being so graphically covered by journalists that our masters are suffering a new experience.

It's not fear of being called anti-semitic, but fear of their own viewers – ordinary folk so outraged by the war crimes committed against the women and children of Gaza that they are demanding to know why – even now – politicians are refusing to treat their own people like moral, decent, intelligent human beings.

Yet still – every time another blood-soaked child appears on the screen – the news presenters talk about the "blame game".

BLAME GAME? Do they think this is a bloody football match? Or a bloody tragedy?

It goes like this. Civilians are killed.

Reporters call it "tank fire" (Hamas has no tanks).

Israel says it is a mis-fired Hamas rocket. Hamas says it is Israel's work. So it's a "blame game".

No one can actually BE blamed – and thus we can shrug off the responsibility and shake our head at it all.

How many times does the 'New York Times' expect its readers to tolerate editorials like last week's effort? There had been "deadly attacks" in Gaza, readers were told.

The total dead came to 750, "a vast majority being Palestinians".

And then the get-out: there were "competing charges" – Israel or Hamas or a Hamas ally – over the attack, and thus "what really matters now is that some way be found to stop this carnage".

So that's OK then. "Blame game" equals "no blame". (© Independent News Service)

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