Channel 4 News watch

I'm a fan of C4 News. At its best, it can be offbeat, prepared to offer a different perspective, and at ease with a diverse and multiethnic Britain. This occasional blog, though, will be largely devoted to the matter which grates on some viewers even more than some of Jon Snow's ties: the programme's tendentious reporting of Middle Eastern politics.

Monday, August 14, 2006

C4 News declares victory on behalf of Hezbollah

A few weeks ago, Inigo Gilmore used his reporter's slot on C4 News to argue that Israel's TV stations don't show the suffering of Arabs, and to opine that unless this changes, the country will never live in peace with its neighbours. He didn't see fit to mention that many Israelis have access to international broadcasters (you should hear them complain about the BBC's coverage), or to provide any comparison with broadcasters in Arab and Muslim countries.

Last night, his report spoke for itself:

'For Israelis, this war has been a great shock. Its mighty army humiliated again and again ...'

No mention that, if the IDF had wanted, it could have levelled towns like Bint Jbeil from the air, rather than putting its soldiers at risk and suffering losses of life.

7 Comments:

Blogger billo said...

Lopakhin, hello. Sorry, just found your comment and , as a result, your blog. Yes, C4 news is easily the best but then again, I'm someone who grew up watching PTV "news". Thank your lucky stars. Arab news is supposed to be even worse but I find that hard to imagine .

Take care,

b.

3:14 AM  
Blogger David Wearing said...

You think the IDF should be congratulated for *not levelling* Bint Jbeil?!?

Seriously, if you think the IDF should be applauded for its restraint, try reading what Human Rights Watch had to say in their report on the early stages of the conflict.
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/08/02/lebano13902.htm

The report described “serious violations of the laws of war” by the IDF. It found that "in dozens of attacks, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target. In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians". HRW described “the IDF’s extensive use of indiscriminate force” stating that in none of the cases its report documented was there “evidence to suggest that Hezbollah…were in or near the area”; “the pattern of attacks suggests [that the failure to distinguish between combatants and civilians] cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents”; Israel had “ repeatedly attacked both individual vehicles and entire convoys of civilians who heeded the Israeli warnings to abandon their villages" as well as "humanitarian convoys and ambulances" that were "clearly marked".

But in any case, you were responding to Gilmore saying that "'For Israelis, this war has been a great shock. Its mighty army humiliated again and again ...'"

Now that's got nothing to do with how Israel conducted itself. Its to do with whether it won or lost, and its a plan fact that Israel came off decidedly second best.
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=107&ItemID=10812

By all means call the media on errors and ommissions. I do it myself at my own site. But if you're just going to complain about them pointing out facts that you'd rather not face up to then that's something else entirely

12:11 PM  
Blogger Lopakhin said...

I'm not generally in the business of declaring that one side or other has won a war. I tend to the opinion that war is a very bad idea and much to be avoided. I am just a little puzzled by the approach of news outlets - and newspapers like the Independent - which will spend weeks lamenting the effect of Israel's might army on defenceless Lebanon, only, as soon as things are called to a halt, to announce (in so many words): 'The IDF? Bunch of wusses, got their asses kicked. Now Hezbollah, they're real men.' I'm not surprised to find out that Ilan Pappe thinks Israel took a beating - his position on such matters is well known. But the polls in Israel which show that the majority of the public wanted the war to continue are interesting - that isn't usually an indicator of a country that's been roundly defeated on the battlefield.

I accept that Israel made many mistakes in the war, though btw, HRW did strongly criticise Hezbollah for its behaviour. Speaking of Bint Jbeil, maybe they were thinking of something along the lines of this article:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/28/news/christians.php

I don't 'congratulate' them for not levelling that town. But when you start throwing around accusations that armies have been 'humiliated', you are going to attract reactions pointing out that, by adopting harsher tactics - the kind that many other countries would have (Putin's Russia, anyone?) - they could have achieved a different result. That's all.

2:10 AM  
Blogger David Wearing said...

Plainly making an assessment of which of the belligerents came off worst in a conflict has not bearing on whether or not you think war's "a very bad idea". No one thought very much of war on 12 November 1918 but most people could still accept the objective fact of Germany's defeat. The two questions are completely unrelated.

As I've said, its not the job of news organisations to gloss over facts that you find uncomfortable or to refrain from saying beastly things about the IDF - like pointing out the objective fact of its defeat.

You claim to be interested in accuracy but your complaint about discussion of the outcome of the war in no way falls into that catagory. Your caricaturing the coverage with this "The IDF? Bunch of wusses, got their asses kicked. Now Hezbollah, they're real men" just illustrates my point.

Israel did not make "mistakes" in the war. It committed war crimes. And those crimes are in no way excused or mitigated by Hezbollah's own criminal conduct. Read the HRW report, and note what it says about the claimed "military necessity" of Israel's actions.

"the polls in Israel ...show that the majority of the public wanted the war to continue are interesting - that isn't usually an indicator of a country that's been roundly defeated on the battlefield"

are you kidding?!? you think people want to keep fighting a war after they've won it? nothing demonstrates Israel's sense of defeat better than the political climate there at the moment. Again, whether this is a good or a bad thing in your eyes has nothing to with the objective facts.

Saying "I'm not surprised to find out that Ilan Pappe thinks Israel took a beating - his position on such matters is well known" - isn't really an argument, is it?

I'm afraid, your final paragraph does rather seem to suggest that the IDF should get some credit for not committing even worse war crimes and acts of terrorism.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Mynah Bird said...

The HRW report was biased against Israel. It claimed not to have found ONE case where Hezbollah fired from civilian areas. Its claims are discussed here by Alan Dershowitz.

Unlike Hezbollah, Israel did not use its own civilians as a shield. Unlike Hezollah, Israel did not fire randomly into civilian areas. Not only is Israel far less guilty of war crimes than Hezbollah, it is far less guilty than Winston Churchill was. Churchill, of course, was far less guilty of war crimes than Hitler, even though the British killed many more German civilians than vice versa.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Mynah Bird said...

are you kidding?!? you think people want to keep fighting a war after they've won it? nothing demonstrates Israel's sense of defeat better than the political climate there at the moment.

the losing side in a war normally sues for peace, e.g. Japan and Germany in 1945. The Israeli public wanted to keep fighting to crush Hezbollah once and for all and avoid an inconclusive outcome. But even this outcome forced Lebanese and international forces to the border and, more importantly, restored the credibility of the Israeli deterrent.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Lopakhin said...

The HRW report was biased against Israel. It claimed not to have found ONE case where Hezbollah fired from civilian areas. Its claims are discussed here by Alan Dershowitz.

Indeed, and for those who don't like Dershowitz - there are one or two out there - there's also this Volokh Conspiracy post.

5:17 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home