Released November 15, 2000
The Wisdom Fund
Contributed by Alternative Press Review
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Mainstream Media Back Partners in Crime

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?

  • 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 years.
  • 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.
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 power.

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 Truth.

[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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