In east London, graffiti made by street artist Ed Hicks, also known as @ed_hicks, depicts Palestinian citizen journalist, Plestia Alaqad, as part of a peace project called “Heroes of Palestine” by the art platform Creative Debuts. AFP
Do as I say, not as I do. This is the mantra with which the imperialist West keeps its colonial or neo-colonial projects going. This duplicity is also evident in the imperialists’ media policy.
Often, developing countries’ mid-career journalists are invited to the West for training that lasts weeks, months, and even a year. The institutes to which they go meet the airfare, accommodation, and meal costs. They are even paid per diem. They are lectured on journalistic rules and dos and don’ts. They are taught that journalism’s first obligation is to the truth, which is sacred and cannot be warped or violated. The primary duty of the journalist is to find out the truth, verify it, fact-check it, and convey it to the people they are morally bound to serve.
Journalists should be impartial, independent, and unbiased, and whatever they write should be in the public interest.
We journalists were taught that news has many sides. Every stakeholder’s viewpoint should be presented. We were asked to adhere to journalistic ethics and warned that misusing journalism to promote personal interests or settle scores with a person, a group, or even a country was not journalism.
We were elated when journalists were described as the fourth estate of democracy, the watchdog, and the voice of the voiceless.
But all these hallowed principles that Western institutes teach developing countries’ journalists are flouted by some Western journalists serving the interests of the imperial West. This is not to discount the great journalistic endeavours of some Western journalists. Among these great names is Seymour Hearst, who revealed to the world the US war crimes in the My Lai village during the Vietnam War in 1969 and the torture of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in 2004.
Then there are Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, whose exposé on the Watergate scandal forced then-US President Richard Nixon to resign. In separate investigative work, Bernstein revealed that the US establishment had hired journalists to work as spies.
John Pilger, who passed away recently, was another journalistic great. With his courageous documentaries, he exposed what the imperialist forces did not want the people to know.
However, some mainstream Western media outlets, which people still regard as the epitome of good journalism, practise the art of deception instead of truth-telling journalism.
Their slip is showing—or their shame is exposed—in their coverage of the Gaza war. Last week, Britain’s Guardian newspaper carried a shocking report about CNN, which reaches out to people with catchy slogans such as “The worldwide leader in the news and the most trusted name in the news.” The Guardian headline said it all: “CNN staff say network’s pro-Israel slant amounts to ‘journalistic malpractice’. The strapline read: “Insiders say pressure from the top results in credulous reporting of Israeli claims and silencing of Palestinian perspectives.”
The article’s first two paragraphs say: “CNN is facing a backlash from its own staff over editorial policies they say have led to a regurgitation of Israeli propaganda and the censoring of Palestinian perspectives in the network’s coverage of the war in Gaza.
“Journalists in CNN newsrooms in the US and overseas say broadcasts have been skewed by management edicts and a story-approval process that has resulted in highly partial coverage of the Hamas massacre on 7 October and Israel’s retaliatory attack on Gaza.”
Apart from the management edicts to warp news from the Gaza Strip, the article also reveals that all Palestinian-Israeli-related news is vetted by CNN’s Jerusalem bureau.
This is not journalism. This is embedded journalism of the worst order. If embedded journalism is to be defined, it is nothing but prostituting journalism and producing bastardised news. CNN, the BBC, Sky News, ITV, and several other big names practise selective journalism designed to show Israel as the victim and the colonised Palestinians as aggressors. Craftily edited videos and the choice of words are the sleight of hand that they use to perpetrate their deceptions under the pretext of providing fair and accurate news.
These media outlets’ journalists are not even present in Gaza. Thanks to brave journalists from Al-Jazeera and a handful of news organisations and social-media-based citizen journalists, the world sees live the full scale of Israel’s genocide campaign, in which more than 100 journalists have been killed.
Years ago, award-winning journalist John Pilger wrote an article recalling a 20-year BBC ban on journalist Peter Watkin’s thought-provoking film The War Game. The BBC said the film, which was about the nuclear catastrophe, was “too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting.” But Pilger reveals that the BBC and Whitehall felt that the film would create a public outcry against nuclear weapons. In a secret note, the then BBC chairman, Lord Normanbrook, says the film “is not designed as propaganda… and the showing of the film on television might have a significant effect on public attitudes towards the policy of the nuclear deterrent.”
Writing this article during Israel’s 2012 war on Gaza, Pilger says Israel has successfully intimidated the BBC into presenting the theft of Palestinian land and the caging, torturing, and killing of its people as an intractable “conflict” between equals. He says that so effective is the BBC distortion that young viewers of BBC News have told Glasgow University researchers they are left with the impression that Palestinians are the illegal colonisers of their own country.
The BBC’s perceived independence comes with a political price, Pilger notes. Citing historian Patrick Renshaw, Pilger says, “[Prime Minister Stanley] Baldwin (in the 1920s) saw that if they preserved the BBC’s independence, it would be much easier for them to get their way on important questions and use it to broadcast government propaganda.”
The Zionist lobby has a big influence on the US and Western media, which, in turn, programmes the people’s minds to see white as black, justice as injustice, and resistance as terrorism. This is not journalism. This is information terrorism. Misinformation cultivates anti-Palestinian hatred, which in turn produces state terrorism by Israel and its Western allies.
The very Western governments that preach to us about freedom of expression are the biggest oppressors of free speech. Leave aside anti-Semitism-related free speech censorship, but what will explain their witch hunt against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange? His case proves that the West allows free speech only as long as it does not violate imperial interests. Under Assange’s watch, WikiLeaks became an outlet for whistleblowers who were disturbed by the criminal acts of their governments.
The Zionists and their imperialist Western partners have also, to a great extent, succeeded in taming the social media giants. X owner Elon Musk converted to Zionism after his recent visit to Israel, while Facebook and Instagram cooperate with the war party in vetting anti-Israeli content.
The Chinese-owned TikTok, which is under pressure in the West for being a spy tool for Beijing, is listening to Israel’s diktats after a recent meeting with Zionist authorities.
Even AI tools such as Copilot, ChatGPT, and Google Bard have been programmed not to answer pro-Palestinian questions.
In the absence of agenda-free, fact-based, and value-driven global media, which the Global South envisioned during the heydays of the Non-Aligned Movement under the theme New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO), people as news consumers should exercise eternal vigilance not to fall prey to imperial media deception.
courtesy daily mirror
Disclaimer: Covering Gaza: The imperialistic media deception - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view