More Media Fails: Hall of Shame Welcomes Five New Members

November 22, 2012 15:24 by

As Operation Pillar of Defense appears to reach its conclusion, we round up our Hall of Shame with a further five new entries.

Click here to see 1 – 5

6. Anthony De Rosa, Reuters columnist and social media editor

for a tweet displaying so much ignorance it literally left us speechless.

While mainstream media had no shortage of concern for Palestinian civilians at the expense of Israelis, a single tweet by Anthony De Rosa, an editor at Reuters, took insensitivity to a whole new level.

Of course, it didn’t take Israeli supporters long to mount a response. Credit Robbie Guy with the best rhetorical take down of the media war.


7. John Cook, Gawker  

for claiming Israel deliberately kills human shields in Gaza.

While Israel takes extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza – as evidenced by the low number of Palestinians killed in more than a thousand Israeli airstrikes – no effort will be good enough for some of Israel’s critics.

Internet magazine Gawker, which is usually more concerned with salacious details about the lives of celebrities, waded into deeper waters by claiming the term “human shields” was no longer appropriate in the conflict because Israel did not hold back from killing them.

The concept of a human shield is simple: In lieu of an actual shield, or other defensive resource, a combatant protects his positions by relying on his enemy’s reluctance to kill noncombatants. “You can kill me if you like, but you will also kill this child, which your moral and legal precepts prevent.” The attacking party, faced with a choice between killing civilians and tolerating the persistence of a legitimate military target, chooses not to strike. The target is thereby shielded from attack. (Hamas’ utter lack of moral and legal precepts with respect to civilian casualties renders such a choice moot for them.)

This arrangement breaks down when the attacking party decides to go ahead and kill noncombatants anyway. The “shield” element fails. Which is why Netanyahu’s use of the term “human shield” is imprecise. You don’t get to call them shields after you’ve decided to kill them.

Despite all evidence, Cook promotes the ridiculous idea that Israel “decided” to kill civilians rather than working hard to minimize it at every turn. In addition, his snappy scenario ignores the fact that using civilians as human shields is forbidden under the laws of war. 

8. TechCrunch

for its scathing portrayal of the IDF’s social media campaign.

Many technology websites noted that the IDF used Twitter to declare war on Hamas. TechCrunch, a highly-read technology blog (no. 6 on Technorati’s list of top 100 blogs) took the issue one step further, taking the IDF to task for being, well…biased for Israel.

Describing the IDF’s Twitter feed as “a rolling update of aggressively congratulatory tweets of the on-going strikes,” TechCrunch seemed upset that the IDF was able to present Israel’s perspective unfiltered:

The strategy is a transparent attempt at controlling the conversation with a one-sided perspective (a.k.a propaganda). Rather than have media outlets report the story through embedded journalists and trusted sources, all of the early information is streaming directly from IDF’s (admittedly biased) information feed. Nuggets of propaganda are skillfully sandwiched in between key military strikes.

For years critics have lamented the IDF’s failure to communicate its message effectively. Now, it’s being criticized for doing it too well. To some, Israel’s army simply never gets it right.


9. Seamus Milne, Guardian columnist

for turning the conflict on its head to defend Palestinian attacks on Israel.

It takes a man of extraordinary bias to look at thousands of rockets flying into Israeli cities, and to conclude, despite all evidence, that it’s the Palestinians and not the Israelis who have the right to defend themselves. Seamus Milne is that kind of man.

“To portray Israel as some kind of victim with every right to “defend itself” from attack from “outside its borders” is a grotesque inversion of reality,” he writes, dismissing the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza as irrelevant.

“So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power,” he adds.

It’s unclear which war Milne is watching, but the Palestinian attacks consisted of nothing but attacks on civilians. Talk about a grotesque inversion of reality, Seamus…you lead the way in showing how it’s done.


10. Chris Hughes, The Mirror

for sensationalizing Israel’s threat to launch a ground attack on Gaza

Granted unprecedented access to the front lines of Israel’s troop positions near the Gaza border, Hughes’ seemed to be describing a military build-up on the scale of the raid on Normandy. Take the headline as a dramatic example:

“Ruthless armoured grip?” “Israeli blitz?” Heavy words to describe mundane preparations for an attack that didn’t happen.

Oh well.  As they say, truth is the first casualty of war.

 Seen something that you think deserves an entry in our Hall of Shame? Let us know about it by sending an email to [email protected].

Source material can be found at this site.

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