There is, quite clearly, a war taking place on two fronts; the military and the media. I think it’s important to seperate the two. The internet has made it very easy to get both sides of the story, and it has exacerbated calls of bias on both sides.
Take the BBC. Conflict and war inflates their importance and viewership, yet they cannot enjoy the relentless accusations of pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian bias. How do we measure it? How do we make objective conclusions? Do images like this help the situation or do they simply widen the divide, making peace more difficult?
The Beeb haphazardly touches on the debate, like today, but I’m not sure they want to engage fully and constructively. Their recent report on the issue seemed more like a fudge. Though I find BBC News more palatable than say CNN or Al-Jazeera, CNN International and Channel 4 News seem to beat them on breadth of reporting and analysis respectively.
There was a brilliant essay in the New York Times last year that predicted a growing number of media outlets and fragmenting audiences would force them to focus on particular audiences to build a solid base. So for example as Fox News became more popular by pandering to the Republicans and the right, CNN was forced to follow suit in order to avoid losing that audience.
You can see that on blogs too. It has become harder to have a middle ground – people either want to post up pictures of dead Lebanese or Israelis being bombed. Or they avoid the issue. Some national newspapers have tried to maintain a balanced approach by publishing conflicting comment pieces that support both sides but I don’t think they help – people will simply take on board what fits into their prejudices. And the propaganda war carries on.
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Filed in: Media,Middle East