Posted by: r.m. | December 3, 2008

both sides of what story?

When I was surrounded by Zionist venom in the US, I was more equipped to handle it. I would go to live TV debates and keep my cool.  Last night, when greeted with the same ridiculous Zionist lies on Press TV’s Middle East Today, I got angry. (and I don’t like to get angry)

[here is the link to the program –> link]

Here is one example. Richard Hellman kept repeating that if only Palestinians choose life and choose love, then Gaza would become like Singapore. There are so many layers of lies and false assumptions and decontextualization and more lies in that statement.  Rather than attempting to break them down, and rather than allowing his peace-wrapped venom to get to me, I should have sat back in my chair, smiled, and said, well Palestinians have chosen life and have chosen love.  They have chosen to live a normal life. The question is: are they allowed to?

On a deeper note, though, the problem wasn’t so much the limited time and weak audio and the venom itself that was being spewed by the guest and my inability to have it all wash off me like dirty water. The problem was that – as I was told by Press TV studio headquarters – they are obliged to have a “balanced” show and thus to invite “both sides” of the story.

Both sides of the story? Here in is the problem

(1)

In discussing apartheid in South Africa, did journalists feel obliged to bring “both sides” or wasn’t it recognized that apartheid was a crime and time needs to be devoted to highlighting the situation and exposing it.

In discussing slavery, do journalists feel obliged to bring both the slave owner and the slave to the table? In none of the many articles I’ve read about the – ongoing – use of slavery in the chocolate trade, is any time giving to the slave-trader himself. In none of the articles I’ve read about human trafficking, is time giving to the trafficker himself.

In discussing rape, is time set aside for the rapist to express his side of the story.

(2)

This alleged portrayal of “both sides” of a conflict that is exceedingly black and white is only maintained here – in the so-called Middle East, and not in the West.  CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC and the other mainstream/corporate news networks in the US never found it necessary to give equal time or equal attention to “both sides” of the story. Rather, it was the Israeli supporter who received the largest chunk of time and energy, and, when deemed necessary, the networks would invite someone from “the other side” to present amidst 4 Zionists.

Why then do english-language Eastern networks attempt to live up to the rules laid down by the West that the West itself does not follow?

(3)

We have to ask: what is the purpose of information.  If information is given only to be given, then it fails. It needs to be given to highlight an aspect of a story that has been disregarded, or to give hope to peoples that are desperately in need of a light, or to discuss an issue and flesh it out and increase understanding.

Rather, what we have on these shows is a shouting match  – be it literally or symbolically. Why not devote the time to one issue? Why not take advantage of the space and actually move people somewhere?

Marcy Newman‘s comment deserves to be highlighted. Here is an excerpt:

“… there are not two sides to this story by any stretch of the imagination. how would jews feel if we had a debate about the holocaust with nazis included in the debate? i don’t think they’d like it very much. so why are those of us who speak and write about palestine expected to include the colonizer in our discussions on the subject?”


Responses

  1. i could not agree more. here is the thing, especially with the blockade keeping journalists form gaza, information about gaza in general is so hard to come by. thus, what purpose does it serve to have a debate in any case? the point of “middle east today” or any such show is to convey information. this is aside from the fact that there are not two sides to this story by any stretch of the imagination. how would jews feel if we had a debate about the holocaust with nazis included in the debate? i don’t think they’d like it very much. so why are those of us who speak and write about palestine expected to include the colonizer in our discussions on the subject?

  2. by the way that was me above. it registered me as anonymous😦

  3. 🙂

  4. can i applaud the Holocaust argument, and its author, and say that i could not agree more even if my life depended on it?!
    there is a renown english historian whose name i can’t recall, but who quite recently made the news -and then was sent to jail- for expressing his negationist theory.
    i would like to have the right to discuss this possibility, as with everything in the free world.
    to continue that rape argument in the text, when a women goes to the police claiming to have been raped, it’s only a claim until proven otherwise…
    finally, as far as i’m concerned, the holocaust has happened, I’ve seen some camps… but i concerns ethnicities others than the Jews, among which Arabs; but the former have made a whole business out of it. the Palestinians were not the perpetrators of the holocaust and hence should not be the ones paying the price for it… but they are the weakest among the protagonists, and that’s how the law of the jungle goes!
    i can’t emphasize enough how strongly i believe that the best way to resolve the issue is to beat them at their own game.


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