As CEO of a public relations firm, 5WPR, watching the media cover the Middle East often infuriates me. I wonder if the world has gone mad, as it seems that what we once accepted as normal for media outlets no longer applies. There is an old PR adage which suggests that if you tell a lie long enough, and repeat it often enough it begins to ring true to the public.
The adage suggests that if enough people begin to believe the lie, or in the case I am about to describe – begin to act on that lie, then the media begin to consider it the new standard, and thus report on it as if it is true.
In truth I don’t think is is quite that severe yet of course, but there is an epidemic taking place. Take for example a recent interview on MSNBC. A journalist for that network, Ayman Mohyeldin, demanded that “America negotiate with Hamas and treat it like any other political organization.” He said, “I don’t think that people in this part of the world feel it has played the role it should be playing and that really comes down to two very important factors: one, the United States does not have any direct contact with the Palestinian factions which it and Israel and others label as terrorist organizations, despite the fact that Hamas did win democratic elections here, despite the fact it is a part of the fabric of Palestinian politics that simply cannot be ignored or isolated or marginalized.”
Aside from the fact that a long time ago journalists were objective reporters and did not demand anyone act in one way or another, the facts are quite clear – Hamas is officially recognized in most of the civilized world as a terrorist organization that has sworn to eliminate Israel and destroy every Jew in the world. If a criminal should somehow get elected to public office in most parts of the world, or if a person becomes exposed as one after he gets elected, that person is still a criminal and is subject to whatever justice system has authority to act on it. The crimes are not washed away because he was elected.
How can NBC permit Mohyeldin to appear on air espousing these absurd views? It is despicable. Hamas kills its own people mercilessly and would do worse to the Jews if they could. An election does not make terror legitimate.
Then there is the case of the Israeli Defense Force forcing two Arab journalists employed by Reuters to prove that they didn’t have bombs strapped to them. The outrage was directed at the IDF soldiers, and the Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned the incident saying, “Press freedom is the signal of a civilized nation. The assault and humiliation of reporters trying to do their work is unacceptable…”
If press freedom is the signal of a civilized nation, where are the Jewish journalists in Gaza, or other parts of the Arab world? Why is there no outrage that Jewish reporters are not permitted, nor would they be safe in Arab or Moslem countries? This is a double standard which will never be addressed as long as news organizations consider the terrorist narrative to be the acceptable one.
When Wolf Blitzer was covering Operation Pillar of Defense, he had a guest on the show from Gaza describing the Gaza side of the story. The conversation seemed more like a Saturday Night Live skit. The guest explained how Israel was sending missiles into heavily populated areas, and that the missiles were doing a lot of damage. Wolf then asked with a curious intonation whether the rockets that were being fired from Gaza were guided or were falling haphazardly into Israel. The guest concurred that not only were they unguided, but Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system was abating the impact of the Hamas weapons. To which Wolf asked, “There is no Iron Dome or its equivalent on the Gaza side, right?” The guest said, “No, Israel’s missiles are hitting inside and destroying….” Gaza’s infrastructure.
In that exchange the implication was clear: Israel was wrong for not only having the ability to send missiles back into Gaza, but for having a way of defending itself from the rockets being launched into Israel. Because there is no Iron Dome in Gaza, Israel should just grin and bear the rocket fire. A humane analysis courtesy of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Finally, it has become almost acceptable for angry Muslims to riot and wreak havoc. When someone defames Jesus, pokes fun at Moses or says God does not exist, the rest of the world may protest, sign petitions, seek legislation or hold sit-ins to show their disappointment – but that is the extent of it. When nude pictures of England’s new princess Kate Middleton appeared, where was the death, the mayhem, the mobs disemboweling their enemies? What would the news media say if the British formed a killing mob and stormed the offices of Google or the papers that ran the photos?
Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Follow him on twitter @rtorossian5wpr.