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Inadvertent reality: The peril of even sympathetic coverage

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

After pounding defenseless Gazans trapped in their cage for more than three weeks, Israel agreed to a ceasefire. It unclenched its bloody fists and returned them Gaza’s collective throat, which it continues to strangle as it did long before the launch of ‘Operation Cast Lead’.

With the ceasefire came a flood of western media pouring into Gaza. Having been forced to watch from the sidelines throughout the onslaught, when they were finally let in, their news priorities revealed much.

The Globe and Mail opted for a front-page exposé aimed at dispelling any potential confusion about the precise location of an Israeli war crime.[1]

My unpublished letter-to-the-editor:

"The Globe and Mail's latest contribution to Israel's propaganda efforts illustrates exactly why media were banned from the recent slaughter in Gaza.

"Israel prevented the media from entering Gaza because even the most sympathetic reporting can inadvertently reveal damaging details.

"Case in point: Patrick Martin's latest report verged on apologetics, but – rather than discounting a 'myth' – Martin actually provided further evidence of an Israeli war crime in the incident examined.

"We now have it confirmed by a western correspondent writing for a well-respected, 'pro'-Israel newspaper that there were no Palestinians firing on Israelis from the vicinity of the attack that killed more than 40 Palestinian civilians.

"Regardless of which side of the UN school's wall Israeli shells struck, it was an attack on civilians lacking even a pretext.

"In other words, a potential war crime.

"Small wonder Israel kept even sympathetic journalists away from the carnage – despite their best intentions, you never know what bit of reality they might let slip into public consciousness."

As a testament to its propaganda utility, the Globe and Mail’s wretched little story has been exploited by the Orwellian named groups UN Watch and Honest Reporting Canada, which both tried to imply Martin’s report proved Israel never attacked any UN schools.[2] A simple lie.[3]

[1] Patrick Martin, “Account of Israeli attack doesn't hold up to scrutiny”, Globe and Mail, 29 January 2009, pp. A1ff.

[2] UN Watch, “New report: UN accusations of ‘Israeli Attack on School’ were false”, 2 February 2009 ; Honest Reporting Canada, “Did Israel shell a UN school? Globe & Mail exposes the truth”, 3 February 2009 .

[3] For some graphic evidence, see .

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