Friday, July 21, 2006

More about civilian targets

A Lebanese commenter on several blogs had posted this link yesterday -

It's a link to a story run on CNN. The description is: "A defiant Hezbollah representative takes CNN's Nic Robertson on a tour of damage in Lebanon".

I found this piece to be a great example of the shallow and uncritical coverage of this war by CNN. Mr. Robertson here skills as a reporter seem to revolve around his ability to run in the streets of this Shi'ite neighborhood, constantly asking about the (probably very real) possibility that him and his crew will be caught within an Israeli bombardment. I am not even sure he is listening to what his Shi'ite host is telling him. He certainly fails to actually interview him, as in ask him the very questions I would expect a journalist to ask.

The Hezbulla's rep there is obviously well trained and does a very good job. He sets his agenda as the very start, telling us what it is we are about to see, leaving no room for any other interpretation. He is about to show us how Israel bombs civilian buildings, unexpectedly and without warning. He will "prove" that these are nothing but mere civilian targets, not the Hezbulla HQ's that Israel claims they are.

The rest of the show is pretty much the shame. Mr. Robertson and his new friend, running among the rubble. The Hezbulla guy keeps pointing out at elements showing us that this is indeed a place of living for many people (or was), shops, apartment building, certainly not the setting of a military barracks. He addresses the camera, not the reporter, telling the cameraman "shoot me" (obviously the cameraman is unarmed lol), taking control of the whole scene, and leaving Nic Robertson to his own worries ("so, the jets can actually hit us at any moment? You mean, there are actually above us in the air right now? You're really worried about another strike right now? How dangerous is it in this neighborhood right now?")

What Mr. Robertson fails to do is ask the very basic question. Yes, these are civilian buildings, not military barracks. Why then did the Hezbulla choose to place its headquarters, as well as ammunition depots in the very heart of this formerly peacefully neighborhood? Why did the "innocent civilian inhabitants" agree to this? How come this did not happen in the Christian neighborhoods - obviously other Lebanese managed to prevent their neighborhoods from becoming the headquarters of a terrorist organization...

The Hezbulla's spokesperson there (a very talented young man by the way), turns this "report" into pure Hezbulla propaganda, not once interrupted by Mr. Robertson with any semblance of criticism. "Where is the world?" he calls out, "we are under fire! Help us!" And he goes on to lament the vicious attack of Israel on his town. How about asking him, Mr Robertson, "Why on earth did you attack Israel on your own accord a week ago?? Why did you open fire on innocent civilians in Israel??" When he finally does get around to feebly mentioning the two kidanapped soldiers, he allows the Hezbulla guy to give him a long and very twisted speech, about how Israel has been destroying Lebanon since 1982, how Israel is occupying Lebanon... I had to check the date on the page there for a minute, to make sure I wasn't looking at a story from the late 90's...
He keeps on lying, totally uninterrupted "we have never been to Israel, we never attacked Israel, our action is never an action it's always a reaction". All proven wrong 9 days ago.

Only by the end of the story, does Robertson finally ask, "they say you are also hitting civilians". But then, how conveniently, he is told that Israeli jet fires are coming and this so called interview comes to an abrupt end.

So much for investigating journalism. At the bottom of the screen there it says, "Live, On Demand Video - All Commercial Free". I don't know, looks to me like a well produced Commercial for the Hezbulla, maybe they mean it's free for them?


Jad Aoun said...

That 'interview' was pathetic. I dont believe all the buildings attacked were housing Hezbollah weaponery but Hezbollah does pay people to house their weapons - targeting Lebanon's poor. Its highly likely that some of the those buildings did house weapons. The Hezbollah spokesman failed to show the so called "Security Square". The Security Square is in central Dahiyeh (southern suburbs) and houses the HQ of Hezbollah.

Slightly off the topic, Lebanon's Internal Defense Force says that it arrested 20 Lebanese and Palestinians that were providing Israel with real-time intelligence on targets. Some news reports have stated that they also assisted in the targeting. Has there been any news from the Israeli press or government on this?

Jean said...

I would just like to add, that surely many of these buildings are civilian buildings, and just as many harbor HA militants.
It's just a sick situation.

I don't think HA had to pay a lot of these people to let them in, many of these people fest over HA's institutions to start with.

Moreover, I received worrying news the other day from friends. Apparently, shiite fleeing from the south arrived at a christian town north of beirut. they were welcomed to stay in a school building. but then, they went on the roof and planted a HA flag !
The residents intervened harshly to put down the flag !!
I report this "incident" on my blog. your commentaries are welcome.

P.S: I also liked how the guy kept saying "shoot me" to the cameraman..

steve said...

jad aoun states: " Lebanon's Internal Defense Force says that it arrested 20 Lebanese and Palestinians that were providing Israel with real-time intelligence on targets."

Regardless of the affiliation of these folks, pro- or anti- either party, one must assume with "spotters" like this, then there is even less mistaken destination for bombs. Granted, boms are hardly as smart as those throwing them around like to state, just the same, with intelligence on the ground concerning locations of Hezbullah targets, it would seem the "interviewee" sure got a free propaganda pass.
CNN should hold itself to a higher standard. Then agan, here in the US, Bush has enjoyed an absolutely incredible lack of criticism from the press in his pathetic 5 and a half years. I have to look, now and then, remembering what pit bulls the press was earlier on, to make sure it is the same country, the same media. The standards are slacked, the unwitting corporate lackeys the press throws out owing to a cool hair cut have no critical or investigative ability or motivation whatsoever. Sound and photo bites are everything. Hell, covering Lebanon is far, far more telegenic, with it's various concerntrated fires and bombs than Israel's............sending 300 rockets a day at Israel and hitting so little offers not much telegenic stuff. What does one make of the American media when it dumbly mouths the platitudes from Bush and Co about "progress in Iraq", when one knows that it is a house on fire from the inside out and is completely out of control?

IsrealiMom said...

Jad, I heard about those arrests, they were quoted here from the international media, neither denied nor confirmed officially, as far as I know.
Steve, makes a great point about it though. Why arrest them? wouldn't they be the people who help the IDF planes hit only Hezbulla targets? come to think about it, what is better than having Lebanese help, from the ground, making sure we don't hit the wrong targets, and even making sure that people evacuate the place first.

Jean said...

the state of lebanon is officially at war with the state of Israel, whether we like it or not, and whether it reflects the lebanese public opinion or not.
What these people did, has a very precise definition in the eyes of the law: cooperation with the ennemy and high treason.

IsrealiMom said...

Yes, I can see that. How sad though, to think that maybe more people will lose their lives if the accuracy of the attacks will be lessened. :(

Anonymous said...

you can ask this: how can it be that all the killed people in Lebanon, are lebenese?
There are 500,000 turists there - from all countries - none died.
So I guess not all beirut is bombed.
why do lebenese leave the country? why not run to other cities in lebanon? where are the other citizens of lebanon? why are they not helping each other? like in Israel? people in the center of Israel are hosting people from the north of Israel in their houses all the week. no one is leaving Israel - actually, Israelies are comingg back to Israel, to join and help.

Gloria said...

Anne, CNN is not a worthy news organization - try not to watch or listen to them, you'll get really upset because of the way they slant the "news".

In Iraq they paid Sadaam to be able to stay in the country, and they had to agree not to tell the story in such a way that would make Sadaam look bad - I think the head of that news desk, or a higher-up in CNN had to resign when that story got out by another news organization.

They have an agenda, sadly it's not to present the news in a balanced way.

Jad Aoun said...

There are many Lebanese that are vacating to other safer cities within Lebanon. However, there is a fear that supplies may run out in Lebanon as the land, sea and air seige continues. Prices have already started to spiral and gasoline is being rationed across the country. Unless Lebanon receives oil shipments by the beginning of next week, power plants will run out of fuel and the entire country will be without power. So some people feel that it would be better to leave Lebanon, espcially families with small children.

steve said...

Jad said: "Prices have already started to spiral and gasoline is being rationed across the country. Unless Lebanon receives oil shipments by the beginning of next week, power plants will run out of fuel and the entire country will be without power."

So few understand the totality of the effects of a war. Let's hope this part is understood. This would add insult to injury. Thanks for the post, Jad.

steve said...

Jean: "P.S: I also liked how the guy kept saying "shoot me" to the cameraman.."

LOL, he must have lived in L.A. for a while.

steve said...

IsraeliMom said: " Why arrest them? wouldn't they be the people who help the IDF planes hit only Hezbulla targets?"

This is already old news, I guess, but, by arresting them, Lebanon is arresting all parties making war in their country. That would qualify as attempting to achieve order, the role of any government. Just because leaving them on the street means they can makes bombs more accurate is like saying, "OK, bomb me. But be nice."

steve said...

I wanted to edit that as soon as I sent. I think arresting them is an automatic response, and, no matter that they don't arrest Hezbollah noticeably, in spite of the bias, they have to do it.