by Jason McQuinn, Tom Wheeler, Chuck Munson
Which is more likely in mainstream U.S. media during a
heavily-covered Israeli-Palestinian summit at Camp David set up to
establish a long-elusive "peace in the Middle East"? Learning the
devastating history of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians or learning
the details of every supersonic Concorde flight incident over the last
30 years? Any reader of the U.S. press or viewer of U.S. television can
tell you that ferreting out the safety history of the airliner of the
super-rich, the Concorde, was an infinitely higher priority for the
North American media than revealing even the most elementary facts about
the lengths the state of Israel has gone to expel, dispossess, exploit
and dominate the Palestinian people.
Like the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984,
corporate-owned, mainstream media in North America know that altering
the historical record in defense of U.S. policy is most effective when
the public is kept in the dark concerning the entire historical context
involved. If people never learn how conflicts began, how they are
maintained, whose interests they serve, and what is actually happening
to the people involved there is little chance that they'll question the
pronouncements of the U.S. media or the U.S. government as they
systematically distort and falsify the meaning of the "peace process"
organized by President Bill Clinton.
While the Camp David negotiations were in session, I made a point of
reading a wide variety of corporate media reports, especially from Time,
Newsweek, the New York Times and the Washington Post. And what did I
learn from them?
Instead the focus of mainstream media propaganda was always on
either the supposedly "serious compromises" (International Herald
Tribune, July 27, 2000) and concessions offered by the Israeli occupiers
of Palestine, or on the Palestinians' ungrateful "intransigence" and
refusal to "compromise" in the face of benevolent U.S. and Israeli
- Certainly not that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were
expelled or fled in terror from their own land when the state of Israel
was formed in 1948.
- Nothing about all of the systematic Israeli human rights
violations against Palestinian civilians practiced for the last fifty
- No mention at all of the many violations of U.N. directives, like
that of Resolution 242, which long ago called for a peace settlement on
pre-June 1967 borders.
- Nor any references to ongoing arrests, harassment, killings or
(officially-sanctioned) torture of Palestinians.
- Nothing about the forced dispossession of Palestinians of their
lands and homes which openly continues to this day, including the
bulldozing of individual homes and entire villages, orchards and olive
groves that have been in Palestinian hands for centuries.
It was never even noted in the vast majority of mainstream media
that the Israelis have failed to offer to comply with any of the
numerous U.N. resolutions they continue to violate with impunity (due to
continued, strong U.S. government support). No major U.S. newspaper or
television station asked why Israel refuses to return all stolen
Palestinian land, but instead continues--even during the summit--to steal
more. Mainstream U.S. media won't explain why it is that Israel refuses
to allow the return of all expelled Palestinian refugees as required by
international law, or why Israel doesn't withdraw completely from the
illegally-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, or why Israel continues to
demolish Palestinian homes, etc.
Yet the Palestinians, and especially Yasser Arafat (the official
Palestinian figurehead kept in power with the support of the Israelis
and the U.S. government), are blamed almost unanimously in the media for
failing to give away everything demanded by the Israelis, including huge
segments of occupied West Bank land and the entire city of Jerusalem.
It is apparently not important for American media to mention that
the U.S. and Israeli governments, acting as partners in international
crime, are employing the whole "peace process" show as a means of
imposing an obviously unfair settlement on the long-suffering
Palestinian people. Whether they like it or not, the powerless
Palestinians will continue to be pressured to submit by the military
might of two of the most powerful armed forces on earth. And by the
intentional decisions of mainstream media most people in the U.S. will
never even realize what is actually happening.
In Orwell's 1984, all of the inconvenient historical truths
contradicting officially-approved accounts were thrown "down the memory
hole" of the Ministry of Truth where they were burnt and irrevocably
forgotten. In contemporary North America it is impossible to burn all
historical records, but the U.S. government and the corporate media have
such a monopoly stranglehold on mass communications that their "memory
hole" functions nearly as effectively as that of 1984's Ministry of
[This article appeared as an editorial, "Down the Memory Hole," in
the Alternative Press Review.]
[Now comes hard evidence to support these views, gathered by Greg Philo and his
Glasgow University Media Group, who have monitored and analysed four separate
periods of BBC and ITN coverage between late 2000 and the spring of 2002. Bad News
From Israel makes the scientifically based case that the main news and current
affairs programmes - with the rare exception, usually on Channel 4 - are failing to
tell us the real story and the reasons behind it. They use a distorted lens.--Tim
Llewellyn, "The story TV
news won't tell," The Observer, June 20, 2004]
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