The ABC’s Media Watch on October 16 featured a segment on the corporate media’s coverage of Israel’s assault on Gaza.
Host Paul Barry made the wildly understated observation that “initially we saw little protest from the Western media or [United States] President Joe Biden, who is right behind Israel”.
In fact, the “Western media” was and is enthusiastically cheerleading Israel’s genocidal attacks. Its main method is to focus attention on Hamas and its alleged brutalities.
Barry highlighted the particularly lurid allegation, initially raised by an Israeli journalist, that Hamas had beheaded babies.
Barry cast doubt on the allegation, however, he left the question hanging after asserting that the “story was confirmed by Israel” only for “that claim to be contradicted”.
In other words, he left it as claim and counter claim.
Israel is notorious for telling outright lies about its occupation atrocities. Take, for instance, Israel’s lies about the May 2022 killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
It is just one compelling and typical example. Israel falsely accused Palestinians as being responsible for shooting Abu Akleh, lied about where she was standing and eventually admitted it “may have been” an Israeli soldier that shot her, by accident.
Later investigations demonstrated convincingly that Israeli soldiers shot her and that it was deliberate.
Hamas should not be let off the hook for any war crimes. However, Israeli assertions about Hamas’ “savagery” needs to be scrutinised.
An Israeli woman who survived the October 7 Hamas assault on settlements near the Gaza border claimed that the Israeli military “undoubtedly” killed their own citizens.
“[Hamas] did not abuse us, they treated us very humanely,” she told Israeli radio. The killings only began hours later when Israeli soldiers turned up. Nobody was executed according to her testimony, although people were killed when a “volley of bullets” began “suddenly” after Israeli soldiers arrived.
In the Media Watch segment, Barry reserves special criticism for social media like X (formerly Twitter) and the Murdoch media, which undoubtedly deserve to be condemned for spreading misinformation.
However, in framing his piece this way, Barry helps launder the reputations of the non-Murdoch sections of the establishment media.
He wants to credit them for recognising that “as the week wore on, the plight of civilians in Gaza became more obvious and more desperate”.
Reporting the plight of civilians is not the same as scrutinising Israeli lies, holding Australian MPs to account for supporting Israeli war crimes and telling the truth about Israel’s attempted genocide of Palestinians.
“Genocide” is the right word to use.
Within days of the October 7 surprise break-out from Gaza, led by Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was using terms such as “brutal savages” and “terrorists” to describe Hamas and, implicitly, the people of Gaza. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant called them “human animals”.
Dehumanising language is used by the Zionist government to justify its policy of ethnic cleansing.
Israel initially ordered people to leave Gaza within 24 hours, even though they had no means of escape.
Raz Segal, an Israeli expert on the topic, told Democracy Now! on October 16 that Israel’s assault on Gaza is a “textbook case of genocide”.
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