Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Friday, May 18, 2007

How media pervert Mideast reality

A case study in what's wrong with 'fair and balanced' reporting Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! *The following is an excerpt from WND founder Joseph Farah's latest book, "Stop The Presses! The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution." WORLDNETDAILY - By Joseph Farah - May 3, 2007 From 1903 through 1908, two young bicycle mechanics from Ohio repeatedly claimed to have built a flying machine. They demonstrated it over and over again to hundreds of people, obtained affidavits from prominent citizens who witnessed their efforts, and even produced photographs of their invention at work. Nevertheless, Orville and Wilbur Wright were dismissed as frauds and hoaxers in the Scientific American, the New York Herald and by the U.S. Army and many American scientists. But as Richard Milton points out in his entertaining book, "Alternative Science," the real shocker is that even local newspapers in the Wrights' home town of Dayton ignored the story in their backyard for five years. Despite the fact that witnesses repeatedly visited and wrote to the Dayton Daily News and Dayton Journal over those years asking about the young men in their flying machine, no reporters were dispatched. No photographers were assigned. Asked in 1940 about his refusal to publish anything about the sensational accomplishments of the Wrights during those years, Dayton Daily News city editor Dan Kumler said: "We just didn't believe it. Of course, you remember that the Wrights at that time were terribly secretive." When the interviewer pointed out that the Wrights were flying over an open field just outside of town for five years, Kumler grew more candid: "I guess the truth is we were just plain dumb." If you want to know the truth, a lot of journalism stinks today as badly as it did in the day of Orville and Wilbur Wright. At its worst, the problem is that journalists have the wrong goals, the wrong mission statement, the wrong objectives and methodology. Ask the average Columbia Journalism School graduate today what they try to do in their reporting and they'll probably tell you they want to be "fair and balanced." "Fair and balanced." Where have I heard that before? I guess it has a nice ring to it. It is, after all, the marketing slogan that lifted Fox News Channel to the top of cable news ratings heap. But does that make it good? Does that make it right? Does that make it the highest calling for the press in the twenty-first century? I say no. And I want to say it unequivocally and more emphatically in this chapter than I have said it before. As anyone who has read this far in my book knows, I deeply respect and revere the institution of the American free press. I believe it is vital to the future survival of our country as a free and self-governing society. Please don't mistake me for one of those outside agitators who is content to find fault with the way the news media do their job. I see the problems, all right. But better yet, I see solutions where no one else does. But to understand how to fix a problem, you've got to recognize not only that it exists, but why. How does it perpetuate itself? Why doesn't this problem go away by itself? I can think of no better way to illustrate this point than with a look at the myths and perceptions of the Middle East and the role the international media have played in ensuring the conflict gets worse and worse. But before we start, let me re-introduce myself. Until now, throughout the course of this book, you've come to know me as a journalist. You have no doubt surmised that I am a Christian. I have another identity, though – one that often has me appearing on television as an analyst or speaking around the country and around the world. I am an Arab-American. I would not normally identify myself as any kind of hyphenated American, except I got tired of seeing one professional Arab-American spokesman after another on television blaming Israel for all the problems in the Middle East. That's when I decided I would have to play the Arab heritage card too in order to get in on this debate. I have another distinction that qualifies me to talk about the Middle East. I covered the region as a correspondent. And I have immersed myself in the subject for the last 25 years. There are a few subjects I really know: -Baseball -Hollywood, which I also covered -"The Honeymooners" -Popular music of the 1960s -The media -The Middle East Let's face it. There is just no demand out there for Joseph Farah to talk or write about baseball, Hollywood, "The Honeymooners," or popular music of the 1960s. So, accordingly, this chapter will combine two areas of my solid expertise. But don't take my word for it. Listen to what Al-Jazeera has to say about me: "Farah is the number one Zionist Arab in the world today." I guess that's supposed to be an insult. For Jew-haters, you can't get much lower than that. When an anti-Semite bigot calls you a Zionist, that's the insult of insults. As for me, as long as I'm number one, I'll accept the condemnation from Al-Jazeera as the highest form of flattery. What is a Zionist, anyway? From my deep studies into this subject, I have come to the conclusion that a Zionist is anyone – Jew or non-Jew – who believes the Jews have a right and a duty to rebuild their ancestral homeland in the Middle East. If that's the definition, I can more than live with it. But it certainly shouldn't mean that you support every single thing the nation of Israel does. Because I don't. In fact, I think one of Israel's biggest problems is they don't have enough Zionists in their own government. However, I digress. I don't want to talk too much about the Middle East. We'll save that for my next book. We need to focus on this issue of the media like a laser beam – only using the Middle East as a reference point so we can all recognize the problem and work toward a solution. Diagnosis first, treatment second. Let me ask you this: Do you think the world's news media give Israel a fair shake? I'll prove to you they do not. The largest, most powerful and influential news-gathering organization in the world is the Associated Press. I've mentioned its importance earlier. It is a cooperative of the newspaper industry and has become even more pervasive in the last twenty years as private, full-service news services like United Press International have shrunk in size and scope, becoming virtually irrelevant – and leaving in their wake one gigantic media monopoly. In November 2003, AP put together a list of "recent terror attacks around the world." Here is that list in its entirety: August 5, 2003: A suicide bomber kills 12 people and injures 150 at the J. W. Marriott in Jakarta, Indonesia. Authorities blame Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian group linked to al-Qaida. May 16, 2003: Bomb attacks in Morocco kill at least 28 people and injure more than 100. The government blames "international terrorism," and local militant groups linked to al-Qaida. May 12, 2003: Four explosions rock Riyadh, the Saudi capital, in an attack on compounds housing Americans, other Westerners and Saudis. Eight Americans are among those killed. In all, the attack kills 35 people, including 9 attackers. May 11, 2003: A bomb explodes at a crowded market in a southern Philippine city, killing at least 9 people and wounding 41. The military blames the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front. December 30, 2002: A gunman kills 3 American missionaries at a Southern Baptist hospital in Yemen. Yemeni officials say the gunman, sentenced to death in May, belonged to an al-Qaida cell. November 28, 2002: Suicide bombers kill 12 people at an Israeli-owned beach hotel in Kenya and two missiles narrowly miss an airliner carrying Israelis. October 12, 2002: Nearly 200 people, including 7 Americans, are killed in bombings in a nightclub district of the Indonesian island of Bali. Authorities blame Jemaah Islamiyah. October 6, 2002: A small boat crashes into a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and explodes, killing one crewman. October 2, 2002: Suspected Abu Sayyaf guerrillas detonate a nail-laden bomb in a market in Zamboanga, Philippines, killing 4 people, including an American Green Beret. Four more bomb attacks in October blamed on Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to al-Qaida, kill 16 people. June 14, 2002: A suicide bomber blows up a truck at the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 14 Pakistanis. Authorities say it is the work of Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, linked to al-Qaida. April 11, 2002: A suicide bombing with a gas truck at a historic Tunisian synagogue on the resort island of Djerba kills 21 people, mostly German tourists. September 11, 2001: Hijackers slam jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a fourth hijacked jet crashes in a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people. December 30, 2000: Explosions in Manila strike a train, a bus, the airport, a park near the U.S. Embassy, and a gas station, killing 22 people. Philippine and U.S. investigators link the attack to Jemaah Islamiyah. October 12, 2000: Suicide attackers on an explosives-laden boat ram the destroyer USS Cole off Yemen, killing 17 American sailors. August 7, 1998: Nearly simultaneous car bombings hit the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 231 people, including 12 Americans. Do you notice anything strange about this list? It notes Islamic terrorism all over the world since 1998, but completely disregards all such terrorism directed at the citizens of one country and one country only – Israel. Worse yet, AP's worldview generally reflects the thinking – if you want to call it that – of the mainstream, establishment Western media. That's why hundreds of newspapers actually published this list without blinking an eye, registering a protest, or asking any questions. This was not the first time such a list was prepared and circulated by AP. The news organization published a similar list May 19, 2003 – again, no attacks on Israel were included. At the time this list was published, more than a thousand Israeli civilians had been killed by Islamic terrorists since the fall of 2000. Many thousands more had been injured. But none of this counts, according to AP. Let me give you some more evidence of this bias and how it manifests itself in the news coverage you read and watch. In 2002, following the 9/11 attacks, I was stunned to realize the New York Times no longer accepted as historical fact that a Jewish Temple once stood upon the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Beginning at that point, news stories began referring to "the Temple Mount, which Israel claims to have been the site of the First and Second Temples." In 2003, I noticed AP had followed suit. We have a term in the news business for a standard paragraph of historical background information that you see in stories over and over again. We call it a "nut graph." Here's what the new nut graph at AP says about the Temple Mount: "Jews believe the mosques sit on the ruins of the first and second Jewish Temples, and revere as their holiest site a nearby wall believed to have surrounded the sanctuaries. Muslims say nothing existed on the hill before the mosques." Let me get to the bottom line here for you: AP has lost its moral compass. The New York Times, a Jewish-owned newspaper, is leading the international, anti-Israeli pack journalism syndrome. And if you are reading virtually any newspaper in America today, you are tacitly supporting this kind of outrageous, vicious propaganda. But why has this happened? How has this happened? Aren't the media attempting to be "fair and balanced"? With the U.S. news media's growing infatuation with "fair and balanced" news presentations, it is losing sight of a principle far more important — truth. The Middle East is the perfect laboratory in which to view the failure of the "fair and balanced" experiment. Being "fair and balanced" in the Middle East prevents you from seeing or seeking the truth. In fact, I'm pretty sure it works this way everywhere. It's just easier to demonstrate the flaw in the Mideast. Facts are facts. Truth is truth. If the news media stick to the facts and seek the truth, they won't have to worry about phony issues like "balance" when it comes to the Middle East. How do you cover a murder with balance? Do we make sure we report the murderer's justifications for his crime? Do we investigate the victim to try to ascertain how he provoked the murderer? Nonsense. But that is how the U.S. and international news media approach coverage of the Middle East. On the one hand, we have a historical fact with thousands of proof texts from archaeology. What is that massive platform upon which currently sit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem? We call it the Temple Mount because it is a historical fact – not an opinion – that the Jewish Temple once sat upon it. Weighed against that are the red-hot rhetorical incitements over the years by people like Arafat, who, in their hatred for the Jews, insist no Jewish Temple ever rested there. They don't cite any studies, any history books, any archaeological digs, no scientific reports. They just say they know it was never there. And that's enough for the New York Times, in its quest to be "fair and balanced," to begin addressing this issue simply as a matter of opinion. Think about it this way. Let's pretend you're a reporter. You cover a traffic accident. You interview the two drivers involved. One tells you the truth, the other lies through his teeth. A "fair and balanced" report will give equal weight to the lie as the truth, right? Sometimes that may be the best we can do as journalists. But this illustration shows why we must never settle for "fair and balanced." It falls far short of our mission to seek the truth. Contributing to the distortion that results from the "fair and balanced" model of coverage in the Middle East is Israel's own semi-suicidal quest for peace at almost any price. Israel's concessions to Arab myth-making and the wholesale fabrication of reality has backfired. Israel's gravest mistake has been yielding to international pressure to compromise its own security for peace with people who have no desire to live with them in peace and harmony. Today, as a direct result of that mistake, most people in the world believe that Israel represents the gravest danger to peace in the world – or so the polls tell us. How can anyone in their right mind believe the tiny sliver of a land called Israel, with fewer than seven million people, could actually represent the gravest threat to peace in the world? We're living in a time when right is wrong and wrong is right, when truth is seen as a lie and lies are seen as truth. Clearly, to a great extent the world has gone mad. But at least part of this moral blindness is fed by the failure of the "fair and balanced" international press. Here's the irony: Israel has done what no other nation in the world has done in the last three decades – sacrificed over and over again its own security interests and concerns in a breathtaking, selfless, and often ill-advised crusade for peace with duplicitous neighbors. For that, it is perceived not only as a pariah nation, but the biggest threat to peace in the world today – worse than Iran, worse than North Korea, worse than Syria. The more efforts Israel makes for peace, the more it is seen as a warmonger. The further Israel goes in making concessions to its enemies, the more it is seen as the aggressor. The more evidence mounts that Israel is an embattled target in the Mideast, fewer can see the truth. The term "moral relativism" often comes to mind in the discussion of certain domestic "social issues." But I've been seeing more and more evidence of it in the context of the Middle East conflict. During the years I did a daily radio show and during some of my television interviews, I've had the opportunity to debate the Middle East issues with some of the best distortion artists and apologists for fascism Arabian-style. When the moral relativists suggest that Israel is the real oppressor in the region, I usually try to ask a short series of questions. (You can play along at home or use this technique with your moral relativist friends): Do Arabs in Israel have the right to vote? Do Arabs in Israel have full citizenship rights in every way? Do Arabs in Israel have the right to speak out, dissent, publish newspapers? Do Arabs in Israel have the right to worship as they please? In case you don't know, the answer to all these questions is yes. Then I ask if Arabs in most Arabic countries have these same rights. In case you don't know, the answer to that question is a big, fat negatory. From there, all you need to do is ask if Jews in most Arab countries have any of these rights. The answer is clearly no. Nevertheless, despite the answers to these questions and all they suggest in terms of an ultimate settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, there are still those who say we need another Arab country in the Middle East – a homeland for the "Palestinians," to ensure that these disfranchised people have the right to self-determination. As an Arab-American, I am not without compassion for my brothers and sisters in the Arab world. What I want for them is freedom – the kind of freedom they know in no other country in the Middle East but the Jewish state. Usually, what my opponent will say at that point is something like this: "You have an unbalanced view of the region and both sides have blood on their hands." Why? Because that is where the moral relativists want to take the debate. It is where they need to take the debate. Because, ultimately, there is no right. There is no truth. There is only compromise. Is it technically true that both sides in the conflict have blood on their hands? Sure. It is also technically true that both the U.S. and al-Qaida have blood on their hands. The nature of conflict and war is that both sides get blood on their hands. But it is an argument designed to suggest there is no good guy and no bad guy – no right and wrong. I know there are people who believe this. But it is still shocking to me nonetheless. I can understand how someone truly uninformed about the Middle East would chalk up the debate to "both sides have a legitimate grievance" or "both sides have blood on their hands." But when people who have actually studied the history and viewed the present reality come to that conclusion, there are only three possibilities: -They are guilty of incredibly bad analysis of the facts. -They are evil and want to excuse evil and rationalize it. -They are moral relativists. Even many Israelis can't face the truth. They are so well-conditioned in the art of moral relativism that they are just plain uncomfortable saying they are right – even when they are. This is probably why I got fired from the Jerusalem Post a few years ago. It all started when I wrote a column for WND. But, of course, I write a column every single day for WND. When I wrote this particular one for publication October 11, 2000, I didn't think it was anything special. But I was wrong. It was called "Myths of the Middle East." And its 750 words became some of the most well-read in my long writing career. Several weeks earlier, an uprising began in and around Israel – an Arab uprising called an intifada. This rioting and mayhem and violence has never ended – not even six years later. I didn't think there was much point in trying to explain why the riots began or what caused it. I decided it was time to back up and deal with so much of the distortion that had been peddled by media and accepted by people around the world regarding this conflict. For whatever reason, the column struck a chord. Within days, the piece was making its way around the world, being translated into dozens of foreign languages. I was hearing from people I hadn't seen for decades who got a copy of this piece in their e-mail inbox and located me as a result. Suffice it to say this column was read by millions. Shortly after it was first published, the Jerusalem Post asked permission to reprint it, which I gave them. About a week later I received an e-mail from the very excited publisher of the Jerusalem Post. Here are his exact words, save for spelling corrections I made to save further embarrassment: "My name is Tom Rose. I am the publisher and CEO of the Jerusalem Post. We ran a piece of yours yesterday that has turned this country upside down. Our phones have been ringing all day. Hundreds of people. It is being discussed on Israeli talk-radio shows. How do we get you to write for us? There is a huge market for a syndicated column for you. Huge. The Jerusalem Post is owned by Hollinger International, publishers of the Daily Telegraph (London), Chicago Sun-Times, National Post, and on and on. How can we help you? You say what we can't. Just as only a Jew is free to criticize Israel without fear of being branded a racist, only an Arab can point out discrepancies and hypocrisies in the Arab world. You would be huge hit in our paper. Our U.S. weekly edition of the Post has 180,000 readers. It is very influential. You have the potential to be huge. To have incredible influence on American opinion and American policy. You must realize that. You and I need to talk. Tell me how and when. I am waiting to hear from you." So I wrote to him. And we talked. Within a few days I had agreed to write a weekly column for the International Edition of the Jerusalem Post for a very modest fee. Two years later, my editor – a very amiable chap – told me I would be sending my column to a new editor. After that, I noticed my column stopped appearing with any regularity – even though no less than the publisher and chief executive officer of the Jerusalem Post had commissioned it. I sent e-mails repeatedly to Rose, my new editor, and my old editor. Rose never responded. Straight answers were not forthcoming for days. Finally, I was informed that I had been fired – without notice, without explanation. The Arab-American who had turned the country upside-down just as suddenly had worn out his welcome. What do I think happened? I think the Jerusalem Post wimped out. I think the paper caved. I think the publisher, who obviously couldn't even face communicating with me by e-mail any more, yielded to pressure. I think the editors lost their nerve. I knew it wouldn't last at the Jerusalem Post because I'm not predictable. And the Jerusalem Post obviously wanted predictable. Sooner or later I was bound to rub someone the wrong way. Sooner or later I was going to skewer some sacred cow. Sooner or later the very same people who hired me on the basis of one commentary were going to fire me on the basis of one commentary. And that's too bad. Not for me – but for Israel. Because it needs to hear a voice of reason. It needs to be reminded that it has not outlived all the empires that sought to destroy it because it is so smart, or so well-armed. It needs to hear that it is still around because it is blessed – and because God has promised it a future. It needs to hear and read and see the truth. Imagine if that local Ohio paper actually had dispatched a reporter out to interview Orville and Wilbur Wright. How do you suppose the journalist would have covered the story? Would he have sought the truth? Or would he have used the "fair and balanced" method of reporting? Would he have watched the airplane soar with his own eyes and relayed that exciting news to others? Or would he present "both sides"? I like to think I'm the kind of journalist who would recognize a flying machine when he sees one and not be afraid to report it because of scoffers. We need more journalists like that in the Middle East. We need more journalists like that in Israel. We need more journalists like that in the U.S. We need more journalists like that around the world. I think it would be amazing to see what would happen if truth became the new standard of the news media. Excerpted with permission from, "Stop The Presses! The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution" by Joseph Farah. - - - - - - - - - - Joseph Farah is editor and chief executive officer of
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