Yet when it comes to the siege of Gaza and the continuous suffering of its residents, little or nothing at all is being said.
I could probably use some distinctions here; there are certainly those journalists who are consistent in their stances toward human rights abuses. I am certainly not talking about those (who are, for all the wrong reasons, infinitesimally insignificant in their influence). The group of individuals that is the most eloquent demonstration of this hypocrisy is the likes of Thomas. L. Friedman or Jeffery Goldberg. I have absolutely no respect for this duo. On the other hand, and while I disagree vehemently with Johann Hari’s views on Dubai, I respect him for being consistent when addressing the plight of Palestinian people.
Hell, I even I agree with his critique of Tarantino's infamous movie.
It’s an observation larded with irony that many people who cheered Hari’s article on Dubai wouldn’t ever agree with his view on Gaza’s massacre.
To this denomination of people, the two aforesaid journalists (Friedman and Goldberg and their likes) are of great use. They tell them that the status quo of the foreign policies of their countries is absolutely fine. They keep the uncomfortable facts away. To them, the United States (and to lesser degree, the UK) have always been the neutral broker of peace, the power player whose biases are always weighed in by the moral superiority of Israel. “They are like us”, “they are the only democracy in the middle east”, “their survival is in danger ”..etc.. are the hot headlines and talking points these journalists are supposed to maintain.
No, I’m not talking about a powerful cabal or a worldwide conspiracy. I’m talking about the media not being representative of the situation on the ground.
Sometimes, the biases of free (or cheap) speech could be as disgusting as those of propaganda outlets.
It’s not the fault of free speech, though. It’s the imbalance in power and influence. obviously, the Israel lobby is much more effective than the Muslim and Arab lobbies combined. An American scholar, John Mearsheimer, talks about this in his book "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy". To illustrate the power of the lobby, a congressman staffer once told a journalist that they (the lobby) could at any given moment rely on the reflexive support of 250-300 congressmen on whatever they propose. That’s more than half the number of congress members. The other half will probably need a little persuasion. Also, a former AIPAC member once boasted, as he sat to a restaurant table, that they could get signatures of half the senate on a piece of napkin.
Such a bias in the political circles is well understood. (You may want to read
the book for further illustrations of this power and its perils.)
The issue that grates on my nerves is that erudite journalists are supposed to be better informed and less intimidated by the consequences of their opinions than politicians. Or at least, you’d hope so.
That’s not the case at the moment. And unless that changes (I could argue) we will not have peace in the Middle East.