Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Media's Anti-Israel Bias

By Roger Aronoff August 24, 2006
Think about how World War II would have turned out if the media had followed Mitchell's advice and had attacked Western nations for trying to destroy the Nazi war machine, on the grounds that too many civilians were being killed.
The biased coverage of the war in Lebanon has come as no surprise. But it is bizarre when a self-styled media critic decides to pile on Israel-and its main backer, the U.S.-for trying to win the war.
It is a war of self-defense. One striking feature of the coverage has been the claim that Israel was reacting to two soldiers being kidnapped, as if this was a minor incident that shouldn't have provoked a full-scale war. Reporters rarely say that Hezbollah crossed the border into Israel, kidnapped two soldiers, and killed eight in the initial exchange. And that then Hezbollah began firing Katyusha rockets indiscriminately toward civilian-populated areas of Northern Israel.
Let there be no doubt as to who started this war.
Let there also be no doubt that Greg Mitchell of the trade publication Editor and Publisher has turned in a sorry performance, offering his anti-Israel opinions under the guise of media criticism.
Editor and Publisher describes itself as "the authoritative journal covering all aspects of the North American newspaper industry." It has been around since 1884. Lately Mitchell has been writing with great consternation that most newspapers are not editorializing and reporting the way he believes they should be. Namely, that Israel should be roundly condemned for its actions that have led to the death of civilians during its war with Hezbollah.
"Amazingly, writes Mitchell, "criticism of the extent of Israel's bombing and its policy of collective punishment—has actually decreased as the carnage has mounted."
"The editorial response is all the more scandalous," he complains, "because this is not some distant conflict where America is merely a third party. The U.S. is Israel's prime (sometime virtually its only) major ally, and the funder or producer of much of the armaments landing on Lebanon—though you'd never know of this special link from reading most of these editorials."
Mitchell goes on and on, criticizing papers if they don't blast Israel for "the bombing of Beirut," as if Israel is deliberately targeting the civilian population rather than outposts for Hezbollah. Mitchell says that "it's a disgrace that few [editorial pages] have expressed outrage, or at least condemnation, over the extent of death and destruction in and around Beirut—and the attacks on the country's infrastructure, which harms most citizens of that country."
What is disgraceful is the kind of attack that Mitchell wages on a country whose survival is on the line. Israel is in a unique situation because there are many different terrorist organizations, and their state sponsors, who want to see Israel completely destroyed. Mitchell's one-sided commentaries ignore the fact that Hezbollah is responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians because its terrorists hide and operate among the civilian population.
Think about how World War II would have turned out if the media had followed Mitchell's advice and had attacked Western nations for trying to destroy the Nazi war machine, on the grounds that too many civilians were being killed. In that war the U.S. did deliberately bomb civilian areas. There was no question about it.
The outcome of World War III, as Newt Gingrich calls it, is in doubt partly because of the Mitchell mentality. According to the Mitchell dictum, terrorists are allowed to operate in civilian areas but the nations under attack by them cannot bomb those areas because civilians might die—even though Israel takes the extra step of warning the civilians to get out of those areas in advance of any military action.
This double-standard benefits the terrorists, who use 24-hour cable and satellite TV, including networks like Al-Jazeera and Al-Manar, to promote their propaganda.
There is a great piece in National Review Online by Noah Pollak, called "Video Made the Terrorist Star," about how the coverage has moved beyond propaganda to reports that are incoherent and even silly.
He cites Ann Curry of NBC as a prime example. We would expand that to others who have been on the scene. Curry, like Shepard Smith of Fox News, and Tucker Carlson of MSNBC, and others, basically have little or no experience or expertise in the region. In Lebanon, they tend to focus on the alleged civilian casualties, creating the impression that Israel has overdone its response to terrorism. That is the Mitchell line.
In Israel, the story can change, however, depending on what is defined as "news." Pollak describes a scene in which Ann Curry sticks a mike in the face of an Israeli soldier and asks him how it feels to be killing innocent civilians, and the next day she is doing a sympathetic story about an Israeli family under threat of attack.
"In fact, they are not exactly journalists at all," writes Pollak, "at least not in the sense that we have been taught to believe. They do not seem interested in reporting what is traditionally understood as news—that is, information that attempts to convey as complete and realistic an accounting of events as possible. They can be more accurately described as entertainers, who stimulate their audiences with that which is factual and passing. The most striking thing about the producers and on-air reporters who show up in Israel is how deeply ignorant they are of the conflict and its history."
In the end, however, the bias always seems to be concentrated against Israel, depicted as an aggressor when it was the victim of aggression.
The anti-Israel bias, as demonstrated by media critics such as Greg Mitchell, is unfair because of the documented fact that Israel has repeatedly demonstrated a desire to live in peace with its neighbors and has shown over and over a willingness to withdraw from territories it has taken in previous wars. The Israeli leadership, including "hawks" such as Ariel Sharon, has indicated no desire to occupy Lebanon or Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza.
The war in Lebanon is the result of an attack on Israel, not Israel's desire to expand its land.
In this war, the distinction between civilian and military cannot really be maintained because Hezbollah hides amid the civilian population. That gives terrorists the ability to deceive the people of the free world, through commentators such as Greg Mitchell, and to blame Israel for civilian deaths when they occur.
Mitchell is entitled to his opinion, but he should not advertise it as legitimate media criticism. If he wants to continue bashing Israel for exercising its right to defend itself, he should resign from Editor & Publisher and became a commentator for Al-Jazeera.

Wal-Mart Opens Communist Branch in China

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Capitalist icon Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, now has its first communist party branch.
The party branch, a Communist Youth League branch and a trade union were set up earlier this month at the outlet in the northeastern rust belt city of Shenyang, a staffer in the store's communications department said, confirming Chinese media reports.
Like many media-shy Chinese, she gave only her surname, Liu. She would not discuss further details.
Repeated phone calls to the public relations department of Wal-Mart's China headquarters in the southern city of Shenzhen went unanswered Thursday afternoon.

President Hu Jintao, who heads the ruling communist party, reportedly prompted China's state-sanctioned labor group to launch a campaign to set up party-controlled unions in Wal-Mart branches. The retailer resisted for two years before employees in the southeastern city of Quanzhou successfully voted to set up a union in late July.
Wal-Mart has 60 stores in 30 cities in China and more than 30,000 Chinese employees, including 700 in Shenyang, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, which reported the news of the new party branch as an "urgent."
It wasn't immediately clear whether the party branch had an office in the store.
Since July, employees at at least 16 other Wal-Marts in China also have formed unions, according to the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the umbrella group for unions permitted by the communist government.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., has fought efforts to form unions elsewhere in its worldwide operations. But it said this month it would cooperate with the ACFTU to organize its Chinese employees.
The move to increase party influence in foreign invested companies comes at a time when China is pushing to unionize employees at 60 percent of China's foreign companies.
Unions in China usually represent the workforce of a single company or outlet, rather than a whole industry. China does not allow independent labor organizations.
Once a thriving industrial hub of China's planned economy, where factory workers enjoyed elite status and cradle-to-grave benefits, Shenyang has seen massive layoffs in recent years.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The AIDS Scam

August 23, 2006

Back in June 2002, Senator Bill Frist joined with Senator Ted Kennedy to introduce legislation to "expand the fight against global HIV/AIDS." Before that, Frist had joined with Senator John Kerry to introduce the "United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2002." Frist declared that "The rate of infection and the appalling numbers of those who've already lost their lives from this plague is alarming. The United States must fully engage and use its resources to aggressively address this global crisis." Now, however, we know the truth-the AIDS problem was exaggerated by the United Nations so that more money would flow through the world body and other international channels to combat it.
Senator Frist, a medical doctor, was attacked by the liberal media when he suggested, based on a review of a videotape of the disabled woman, Terri Schiavo, that she deserved a chance to live because she appeared to be conscious. Her husband later pulled the plug on her. But Frist has never been criticized by the major media for jumping on the AIDS bandwagon. To the media, AIDS is a sacred cause, like the U.N. itself.
Yet, it has now been admitted by the Washington Post that the U.N. vastly inflated the number of AIDS cases worldwide, especially in Africa. Since the time AIDS was diagnosed, the U.S. Government has spent $200 billion on AIDS. Despite all of this money, no cure or vaccine has been found. The Post followed with an editorial critical of the U.N. for exaggerating the AIDS problem, but it has not urged a reduction in global funding for the disease. That would be politically incorrect.
Edward C. Green, Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, a member of the Presidential Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS, and a member of the board of, said that, for years, "Calling attention to lower HIV infection rates in Africa can get one in trouble. One can be accused of not caring about Africans, about being in denial, or, in extreme form, being a holocaust denier. In most reporting on African AIDS, there seems to be competition over who can paint the most catastrophic picture."
Some of the money raised to fight AIDS has been spent on big salaries. Focusing on the American Federation for AIDS Research (AMFAR), the FAIR Foundation says total compensation for its officers, directors, as well as other salaries, wages, pension and employee benefits, came to $5,442,557 in 2004. Its CEO had a total compensation package of $320,134.
Back in 2001, Canada's National Post newspaper reported that the U.N. had spent $67,650 to pay for red window film used to create the impression of a giant AIDS red ribbon on the side of the 38-story headquarters building at night. This was supposed to demonstrate the world body's commitment to fighting the disease.
For Senator Frist, a likely candidate for president in 2008, the questions could get personal. As reported by AP, "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's AIDS charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful's nonprofit."
It looks like AIDS became a money-making scam for the U.N. as well as the Bill Frist "charity."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Israel fostering Islamo-fascism

by Joseph Farah

It pains me to write this.
But it is becoming increasingly clear to me that Israel, in so many ways on the front lines in the fight against Islamo-fascism, is actually a force promoting it.
At least the misguided, corrupt governments of Israel have managed this mission impossible.
I don't make this statement rashly. I've considered what I'm saying for a long time. I've hesitated to say it before because I have endeavored to give the Jewish state the benefit of every possible doubt.
Many in the Arab and Muslim worlds consider me an outright apologist for Israel. I have been caricatured as a Zionist apparatchik. I have been accused of being a Mossad disinformation specialist. So, when I criticize Israel, what I say ought to be at least considered – especially by Israelis and Jews.
It is not just Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's bizarre behavior and irrational policies with respect to Iran-directed Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon. But I will concede that my efforts at trying to comprehend the incomprehensible in this case led inescapably to this conclusion.
Like it or not, Israel is fostering Islamo-fascism.
It is not doing so because of its aggressiveness, as some claim. It is not doing so because of its retaliations against attacks, as some claim. It is not doing so because of its heavy-handedness or brutality, as some claim.
On the contrary, it is doing so by sending all the wrong signals to its mortal enemies.
This is not a new phenomenon. I've written about it frequently. We witnessed it just last year with Ariel Sharon's forced "disengagement" from Gaza. We witnessed it years earlier with Ehud Barak's unilateral, middle-of-the-night withdrawal from southern Lebanon.
And we witnessed it 40 years ago at the conclusion of the 1967 Six-Day War – reborn Israel's crowning military achievement, a miraculous drubbing of its imposing enemies who outnumbered the Jews in the region about 100 to one.
What happened at the conclusion of that war in which Israel conquered the Golan Heights from Syria, Judea and Samaria from Jordan, Gaza and Sinai from Egypt and, most importantly of all, the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, from Jordan?
The Israeli government gave the Temple Mount, inarguably the most holy site in Judaism, back to the hostile Muslim Arabs to administer – effectively agreeing to ban Jews and other non-Muslims from a religious site of deep significance to Christians as well.
This may not have been the first example of Israeli enabling of Islamo-fascism, but, to me, it is the biggest, the worst, the most egregious, the least forgivable.
A mere 12 years later, in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran, an event seen by many as the birth of the modern Islamo-fascist movement. While that is overstating the case, it is absolutely true that the mullahs in Iran and the other radical Islamists around the globe watched what happened in June 1967 in Jerusalem in awe and amazement.
First they saw their hated enemies, the Jews, overpower and overrun much bigger armies in convincing fashion. Then they saw a rabbi ascend to the top of the Western Wall of the newly captured Temple Mount and blow the shofar, or traditional ram's horn. Many Jews believed these developments signaled the imminent coming of the Messiah.
These events made the Islamo-fascists question – at least momentarily – what was happening to them. Was Allah abandoning them? Had they been unfaithful? Was it a judgment? How was it possible that the Jews' faith was being rewarded while their faith was being denied?
Then Moshe Dayan announced the Temple Mount would be handed over to the Muslim authorities to administer.
It was the ultimate appeasement. Oh, he had his religious justifications for the move. Some rabbis insisted Jews could not step foot on the Temple Mount for fear of contaminating the Holy of Holies. Presumably they had no fears the place where the Shekinah glory of God is manifested physically would be contaminated by the control of Muslims who denied the historic fact that a Jewish temple ever existed on the mount.
Such an unexpected turnaround was perceived as it could only be understood in the Islamic world. It was both an Israeli capitulation – the first of many – and an act of Allah.
No matter how hard the Israelis try to demonstrate such random suicidal acts of compassion, they will only be rewarded with more hatred, more violence and more intransigence. What they are doing is reaffirming the Muslim zealots' faith in Allah. They are reaffirming the Quran's contempt for Jews and other infidels.
And this is how Israel continues to foster Islamo-fascism – without even trying.