Sunday, December 2, 2012

Israel and Mainstream Media Bias

Recently the world's media focused once again on Israel and the Palestinians, and once again the debate over who's right and who's wrong got mainstream attention. Unfortunately much of the mainstream media was biased, as is the norm, essentially providing a pro-Israeli narrative when ever possible. Several years ago, before I took up an interest in this conflict and when my knowledge was much more limited, the only information I received on this issue was through such media outlets as the BBC and other daily tabloid newspapers. Through their distorted reporting I formed the opinion that the Israelis were the victims in all this, the target of unprovoked Arab aggression, with the Palestinians leading the terrorist fight to expel all Jews from the region. I couldn't really be blamed for my naive views at that time, how was I to know the reality of this decades old conflict without deviating from the mainstream media and digging a little deeper.

Of course there is biased reporting on the behalf of the Palestinian cause and both sides have committed terrible acts, but there are clear facts that show that one side is dominated and oppressed by the other. UN reports and repeated resolutions condemning Israeli violations of international law are one clear indicator of what's really happening on the ground. Human rights groups are another great source of information as they are less concerned with the political situation and focus solely on the human suffering whether Israeli or Palestinian. When looking to sources other than the mainstream media and when you take the standard British political stance with a pinch of salt, you soon become horrified and angry at not only the suffering that the Palestinians endure, but also at the way many Western governments and media conglomerates show bias towards, and therefore support for, Israeli abuses of international law. The reason why they show such unwavering support is also another interesting and disturbing topic, one which I won't go into now.

On a positive note looking forward, the British public seem to be following their European counterparts in starting to understand the reality of life for the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation and oppression. The reasons for this I can not easily explain, but I expect it has something to so with the way individual activists and organisations use ever-evolving social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as the increasing amount of alternative news and information websites, allowing the general public to access broader, diverse and more up-to-date news. Although the spread of information in this manner is not always accurate and verifiable, it allows alternative ideas to be spread, often igniting the interest of the receiver which then prompts them to delve further into the subject using more credible sources. People are no longer restricted to just a few news media outlets who provide propaganda for the political and business elite, they are now often exposed to a wide range of views that contradict the status quo which I think will only help to spread social equality throughout Israel, and indeed the world.