Saturday, July 22, 2006

FAIR challenges media coverage of Lebanon crisis

FAIR, an organization comprised of journalists, whose organization exposes inaccuracies in major news stories, free speech violations, and interference by corporate media into balanced reporting, has targeted the Lebanese crisis as its latest example of unbalanced news.

Accusing corporate media outlets of twisting facts to run interference for "Israel's disproportionate response" to Hizbollah's kidnapping, they are encouraging people to listen to their news program COUNTERSPIN which broadcasts in Chicago on WLUW Wednesday's at 10 am.

I too, have noticed some omissions as well as inappropriate commentary by news anchors. MSNBC was giving some background on the conflict and mentioning conditions in various towns in Israel. When the anchor mentioned Bethlehem, the off camera co-anchor could be heard saying "Where Jesus was born", mentioning Nazareth she said "Where Joseph and Mary lived." Are these comments truly appropriate for a major news organization, shouldn't the bible lesson be left to the 700 Club?

Though I think most organizations are being fair, I did notice one huge ommission that truly shows the difference in the military capabilities of Israel and Hizballah. Only one news organization reported that the Katayusha rocket is a 50 pound bomb. As we all know, the American made bombs dropped from the F-14's the Israeli air force flies are 500 pound bombs. There is a huge difference in the destructive capability of these two armaments. The 50 pound rocket will blow a hole in the side of a building, the 500 pound bomb will obliterate the block and leave a crater reminiscent of the moon.

Since the conflict began, 362 Lebanese civilians have been killed compared to 14 Isreali civilians. 8 Canadian civilians have been been killed by the Israelis, 4 Brazilians by the Israelis. As for the military. 20 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 40 Lebanese soldiers, thougfhthey are not presently involved in the conflict. Their brracks were bombed by the Israeli air force, while Israel says they want the Lebanese army to guard the Blue Line. Hard to do when you're dead. Do they really mean that? 16 Hizballah militants have been killed. Over 1,000,00 Lebanese civilians have been displaced which is 25% of their population.

Israel has dropped approximately 10,000 bombs (500 pound) compared to Hizballah's approximately 1000 bombs (50 pounds). Do the math. Israel has dropped 500,000 pounds of bombs on Lebanon compared to Hizballah's 10,000 pounds.

Neither side is right. I do not defend one or the other. But the reponse is disproportionate, the destruction in Lebanon was of mostly civilian infrastructure, yet the Israelis told Koffi Annan (reported on Larry King last night) they would try not to destroy the civilan infrastructure. By the time they made this agreement, most of it was already destroyed.

If you want to find out from people who are there, go to Blogging Beirut or From Israel to Lebanon

For more news stories go toFAIR

Let's hope they resolve this conflict soon, before anymore loss of life.


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