Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Media Equivalence in Mumbai Reporting

Betsy Newmark reports on Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman's piece at the New York Post, "Mumbai: Deadly Media Euphemisms."

Betsy notes:

... Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman write in the New York Post note how several media outlets have been downplaying the attack on Jews in the Chabad House in Mumbai to minimize the fact that these terrorists specifically targeted that small group of Jews for torture and death.
The New York Times theorized that Chabad House may have been an "accidental hostage scene." The BBC initially chose to hide the Jewish character of the target by describing it as just "an office building." Al Jazeera refused to show Chabad House as the site of the carnage. Some Western media outlets unsympathetically labeled victims there as "ultra-Orthodox" or "missionaries."
We expect nothing better from Al Jazeera, but why would writers from the NYT and the BBC seek to downplay the murder of Jews in India? We can't begin to fight back in this terror war if we refuse to acknowledge the motives of our enemies.
This story actually makes me sick to my stomach.

Some of the most chilling pieces of news from the terror are the first-person accounts of the attacks. Witnesses described how the terrorists knew the precise location of the Chabad house. The killers proceeded deliberately to the site of the Jewish mission with a diabolical determination to kill, not just the Holtzbergs and their friends and colleagues, but anyone who happened to be on the scene.

I thank the Wall Street Journal for its integrity in reporting, for example, in its report yesterday on the scene at Chabad:

With its small, faded sign, the five-story Chabad House - which served as a guesthouse and source of kosher food for the many Israeli backpackers who travel through India - is so hard to find that most visitors ask for directions at the gas station. But the militants knew their way, a station attendant says: Without stopping, they threw a hand grenade into the gas station, and walked into the alley.

Alarmed by the explosion, Chabad House's rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, called the Israeli consulate. The two gunmen burst into his building, taking a number of Israelis, a young Mexican Jewish woman, and the rabbi and his family hostage. It appears that they quickly shot dead one of the guests, an Israeli kosher ritual inspector, whose body would be found badly decomposed at the end of the siege.

The explosion and gunfire attracted the attention of neighbors. Some young men started throwing stones toward the building. Manush Goheil, a 25-year-old tailor, stepped outside the family's shop to get a better view. His brother Harish watched from the shop as a gunman shot him dead with a well-aimed bullet fired from the Chabad House's top floor.
Pamela Gellar has photographs of Chabad in the aftermath of the killing. The walls of the house are splattered in blood.

The media need to report honestly on what is happening in our world.


nanc said...

i cannot look at the photos, but the thought of the torture that befell our brothers and sisters is sickening to me more on a spiritual level than any other.

the Lord cannot return soon enough for me.

hosha na Moshiach

El Jefe Maximo said...

"The media need to report honestly..."

This presupposes a psychological ability to do so. Perhaps if reporters writing for the news section of the paper limited themselves to bald facts -- "grenade through the gas station window" or "the terrorists attacked the Chabad House" it would be easier for them to be honest or at least to feign it. But the temptation to speculate and the need to inflate their own importance by analysis best left to the op-ed page or to bloggers subverts any tendency to honesty, assuming it exists to begin with. The writers are the products of their own education, views and experiences, and that colors everything written -- and that's assuming the reporters are not trying to be propagandists.

Even without a conscious desire to produce "persuasive" reporting or, more properly, reportage, if the system that produces the writers is itself warped, the work product will be too.

I think "objective" journalism is a chimera.

AmPowerBlog said...

I agree, Nanc.

It's just sad. Thanks for visiting.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks El Jefe!

Norm said...

I would suppose that while in college most reporters majored in journalism. It always amazes me that a person who obtains a BA in journalism can then believe that he/she has the wisdom and knowledge to advise and ridicule everyone in the world. It even more amazes me that they are taken seriously.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I think MSM collborators should be called just what they are. They are virtually mouthpieces for the terrorists that they cover. They have been schooled in radicalism and symphathize with the terrorists. They are nothing more than the Vichy Press.