Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Superior skills and discipline"

Jimmy Carter, being both a devout Christian and a fan of Hamas, must be baffled by the news that a Christian church has been desecrated in Gaza. (Hamas for its part denies involvement, despite the presence of its members and some suspiciously heavy weaponry at the scene.) Needless to say, there is no mention of any of this at the BBC; like yesterday's story about the unarmed demonstrators being killed, it has apparently been deemed unworthy of your attention.

Perhaps it's a cui bono thing. Nobody benefits by Hamas being made to look bad; it ruins the narrative of Israeli culpability for each and every problem in the Middle East and casts serious doubt on the viability of Palestinian "statehood". Rather than casting gloom on everything, the BBC prefers to make a real difference in the Middle East, which is why for a couple of hours yesterday it asked its readers if they had observed any US troop movements in Iraq -- and if so, could they please publish them? Now that is news that you can use: or if not you, then at the very least that bearded guy over there with the rocket launcher.

The mainstream media has a curious selectivity when it comes to reporting incidents of sectarian hatred. A couple of years back Newsweek made a big very fuss about copies of the Koran being flushed down the toilet by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. Alas, it turned out that this never actually happened, although Newsweek didn't retract the story until rioting by angry Muslims in Afghanistan left 16 dead. The lesson is clear: a fake Koran is much more newsworthy than a real church. Perhaps they should start teaching that at journalism school.

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