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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The failure of the media to get the flotilla background right (Landes)

Richard Landes writes a devastating piece for Pajamas Media showing how media sloppiness ends up helping those who support terror.

It centers on a CNN interview with one of the "activists," Osama Qashoo:


As a flotilla of boats heads towards Gaza to break the blockade, CNN has anchor Rosemary Church perform an interview with a participant from one of the boats, “Free Gaza” activist Osama Qashoo. The report has so many flaws, it’s hard to list and analyze them all. (For the entire interview, click here.)
Let’s focus on the main flaws.
The Nature of the Flotilla

Eight hundred “peace activists” and 10,000 tons of supplies. We’ll return to the “peaceful” nature of the activists, but even on the matter of the supplies, she merely parrots the statistics proffered by the organizers. A little research suggests that they’ve been exaggerated by at least a factor of two, and now that the Israelis have unloaded it, I’m guessing closer to a factor of five or ten. As for the organizations involved, the monikers — humanitarian, human rights — are clearly what the groups themselves have to say about themselves, not what CNN, after researching and passing judgment, discovered.
Take, for example, the IHH. This is a group that even the Islamist government of Turkey found too radical for its taste, with ties to al-Qaeda and other organizations that target civilians (of all faiths) as a major tactic in their jihad. Second, it’s an unindicted co-conspirator to groups found guilty of helping plan terror attacks in the U.S. It’s fairly easy to find information on the web that makes it clear how inappropriate “humanitarian group” is for this organization.
Mind you, it’s not out of character for CNN anchors to characterize various organizations negatively for their audience if they don’t like them. Jim Clancy repeatedly refers to AIPAC as the “right-wing, pro-Israel lobby.”
Having misstated the context dramatically, Church then interviews Qashoo. This occupies over six minutes of an eight-minute piece. Not only does Church let Osama carry on at length, she only challenges him with canned Israeli responses.

Apparently the claim that Israelis are acting like Nazis and Gaza is a concentration camp is not a problem for Rosemary.
So rather than challenge his comparison of Israel to the Nazis and Gaza to a concentration camp, Rosemary reads him Mark Regev’s comment that Gaza is not in a state of humanitarian crisis and asks for his response — which essentially is a repeat of his previous remarks, with emphasis on “love for the whole world.”

By this point in time, the footage of the fellows on Qashoo’s boat singing a jihadi song — promising the Jews that Muhammad’s army was coming back to do to them what he did to the Jews of Khaybar (i.e., massacre the men and sell the women and children into slavery) — was released.

And if she, or anyone else at CNN, had done their homework and looked carefully, they would have seen Osama himself waving his fist with the rest of the peace-loving group.
In other words, Qashoo is a particularly unambiguous case of a demopath: someone who presents himself and his companions as pacifists and lovers of humanity even as he chants jihadi songs about wiping out whole populations. Even to Church he shows his hand, by claiming that nothing will stop them, and that they will treat the Israelis as pirates if they try. Demopathy is perhaps jihad’s greatest weapon, precisely because we are so receptive to claims of good will and peaceful intent. Identifying demopaths is one of the most pressing needs of the 21st century, and one of the reasons for that importance is that behind the demopathic façade that invokes human rights and respect for the Muslim minority lies another reality.
Read the whole thing.