Monday, December 20, 2004

The book, Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot To Print, has incredible examples of how the self censorship works. The book is an anthology of articles that have been rejected by print media but the article by Robert Fisk gives examples of self censorship in TV media too. Fisk's article "Remember 'the Whys' " was killed by Harper's magazine in 2002.

The book's editor, David Wallis, says Killed "rescues remarkable stories that editors commissioned, then abandoned." Before each article there is an explanation about what the circumstances were surrounding the killing of the article. Fisk explains that his article was killed because the editor at Harpers thought it was "a little too close in time" to another article that mentioned Israel and for which they took a lot of heat for. Fisk explains the details about his interaction with the editor after "Harper's had just been attacked by pro-Israeli lobbyists".
Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot To Print
Fisk writes about the "whys" concerning terrorism. Here is an excerpt that highlights how bad the most extreme case of bias in journalism is:
"I've spent twenty-five years in the Middle East, trying to answer the "whys." And in no part of the world is reporting so flawed, so biased in favor of one country-Israel-and so consensual in its use of words. Indeed, the language of Middle East journalism has become so cowardly, so slippery, so deferential, so locked into the phrases used by the State Department , the President, the U.S. diplomats, and Israeli officials, that our reporting has in many cases become incomprehensible . For an American readership unfamiliar with Middle Eastern history or recent events-or for American viewers who may have no intrinsic interest in the region-our reporting has reached such poverty of expression as to render any real understanding of the conflict."

This extremely flawed reporting is especially dangerous because, as the Sept. 11 Commission report revealed, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel. This extremely flawed reporting is especially dangerous because Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker pilot who flew into WTC, was "most imbued actually about Israeli politics in the region and about US protection of these Israeli politics in the region. And he was to a degree personally suffering from that" according to a German friend that talked with him. This extremely flawed reporting is especially dangerous because Osama bin Laden has stated, "We swore that America wouldn't live in security until we live it truly in Palestine . This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America won't get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula, and until it stops its support of Israel." -Osama bin Laden, October 2001

No comments: