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26 July 2014


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I am not sure if having "better" media is the solution to the problem.

The consequence of media saturation is twofold. Kovach and Rosenstiel capture only one. Because the cost of putting out a piece of information through the so-called social media has gotten, everyone is basically saying anything, some of which may be true, others outright lies, and most of them misleading half truths, probably. In other words, while the mainstream media is getting sloppier, the world looks even more confusing to the consumers of information. What are they (we) supposed to do to make sense of the world?

I suspect that the "news" has less impact on how people think than ever before. People who see news from some source will simply say "oh, here they go again" and simply fall back to what they already suspected of the world, "confirmed" by what rumors and hearsay consistent with what they already believed. I have seen something like this among citizens of current or former authoritarian regimes where news was always biased and predictable, whether they were actually lies or not. One difference, I suppose, is that social media makes for so many different rumors and innuendos, consistent with many different preconceptions, reaching far more people faster.

Better news media cannot emerge from millieu because the audience does not know what the truth is a priori. It is, after all, why they might watch news if they felt it to be believable. Since they no longer really watch news for sake of information and, moreover, dismiss information for superficial reasons (because they cannot tell between good information and bad...precisely because they don't know), there is no point for the news to bear the cost and take the risk of providing good information any more.

How people are reacting to the current crises around the world seem to reflect this--at least in the US. Everyone seems to be reacting predictably--no one is changing their view in light of any new information. There IS plenty of new information, just that most of them are buried among a lot of chaff and piecing them together would take a lot of effort...way too much to be expected from most members of the public. (For example, consider the Saker. There is a lot of useful information on his web site, but of varying credibilty, and he is so obviously biased in favor of Russia that it's hard to put up with his antics sometimes. I don't see most people getting much out of his site, even if they knew about it.)

I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing. It does make spinning something more difficult. No amount of pro-Israeli propaganda would get people who are already skeptical of Israel to think otherwise now (but no amount of bloodshed would convince committed friends of Israel to think otherwise, on the other hand.) Where the public was much more heavily biased already, though, say vis-a-vis Russians, course correction will become even harder, I suspect.


Of course. This--the excuse, the reaction, the slaughter, was fixed the moment the US State Department announced that the U.S. government would continue to fund the PA, in the wake of the 'Unity Govt' announcement by the PA and Hamas. Everyone who follows the ME knows this. No one, or, damn few, who want to make a living in anything *remotely resembling* official work...national security stuff, elective office, or corporate media in the US can say this out loud. But we all know its true.

The issue is less, dramatically less, stopping the predictable,slaughter, and silly but all to understandable displays of inconsequential bravado by Hamas,---as important as that goal is. Rather, it is more about how it is possible to stop the self censorship that allows so many to tap dance around a known, and fairly obivous, truth/s. Because this cognitive dissonance, i.e. lying to ourselves through our teeth, will bring down the Republic. If it has not already.


I've said Bibi lied from the beginning. Start the boycott and get their bloody hands out of our pockets!!!


Ali Abunnimah lays it out -- the Gaza massacre is a price of Israel...



I had just posted a piece with additional sources when your's came up.

If Pat allows:

How Netanyahoo Lied To Get His War On Gaza


Netanyahoo used the killed teens as justification to prevent a unity government in Ramallah, to dismantle Hamas and to justify an attack on Gaza.

Netanyahoo knew since June 20 that the teens were dead, not kidnapped, but lied to their parents and the public about it. That did build, as he wanted, a racist frenzy that pushed for war and allowed him to commit his crimes.




Blumenthal had already covered this ground. pl


Correction - the date is wrong

Netanyahoo knew since June 12, the day of the "kidnapping", that the teens were dead,

David Habakkuk


What you describe has something in common with what Solzhenitsyn called a 'muffled zone' – Colonel Lang used the phrase earlier on in the history of this blog.

(http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1970/solzhenitsyn-lecture.html .)

As Soviet experience demonstrated, a 'muffled zone' can go on much longer than one might expect. However, collapse is likely, sooner or later – and often comes at a moment when the kind of pervasive suppressed scepticism you have described comes to the surface. Then comes the backlash.


That is changing. Years ago Netanyahu came to speak at the University of Richmond where my niece attended an I told her not attend and if she did, not to shake his evil hand. That part of the family was quite upset with me.

Not now. They see the truth!


"Blumenthal had already covered this ground. pl

Part of it. J.J.Goldstein added to that as did John B. Judis.

But yesterday BBC newsman Jon Donnison did get an on the record quote from Israel's police chief that Hamas was not responsible for the killing of the three teenagers.

That is the first time some official is saying this and thereby contradicting Netanyahoo.

It tells me that Netanyahoo is politically finished after this.


This analysis of the MSM skimping on the details seems to ignore some very vital facts itself.

As I read this playback, it sounds like the story starts with 3 kidnapped/killed Israeli Jews, moves to GoI/MSM disinformation about the kidnapping, and then jumps directly to GoI attacking Gaza -- all pre-planned by Bibi.

For one thing, I distinctly remember there was a young Palestinian man kidnapped and burned by Jews -- his name was Khdier -- after which there was a barrage of hundreds of rockets out of Gaza and into various parts of Israel. Protective Edge was in response to hundreds of rockets, not in response to the triple kidnapping/killing.

Even before the three Jewish kids were killed, there was the Nakba Day shootings of three unarmed Palestinian boys by IDF, with two of the boys dying. Those shootings were filmed by CCTV, shown to the world, and are now all but forgotten. A petition to the WH urging Obama to seek a UN investigation of the Nakba killings got about 7 signatures -- it was, like, WGAF. The triple-shooting in Beituna was one month prior to the triple kidnapping, almost to the day, but nobody seems to be connecting the two.

So I guess what I'm saying is that before we buy into the meme that Bibi jacked up the whole invasion of Gaza by disseminating disinformation about the kidnapping, that meme has to square with ALL of the facts on the ground and not just jump from the triple kidnapping/killing directly to Operation Protective Edge.

As I've said a number of times, to the ire of some on SST, the consequences of Hamas hitting Israel w/ hundreds of rockets was absolutely preordained. Written in stone. Once Hamas let loose with those futile rocket barrages, everyone knew what was coming: dead Palestinians. Up until that point, the story could have gone in a number of diverse directions.

There was a time when I seriously considered the possibility that Shin Bet must have operatives inside Hamas who were the ones shooting off the rockets. I mean, it just seemed so improbable that over the years so many rockets could be fired and never hit a target, and yet virtually every time some poor Palestinian died or some family's home was destroyed in retaliation. But not even Shin Bet could organize the barrage of 1500 rockets that set off Protective Edge. I don't think journalistic incompetence had anything to do with it.


What until they finally figure out that the three Israeli kids were found in that shallow ditch with none of the decomposition 18 days in the hot Israeli sun would produce. They were on ice.

Babak Makkinejad

I think one must consider this over a longer period of time in which Arabs are clearly becoming better and better at fighting Israel - first in Lebanon and now in Gaza.

As you say, the current rockets used by Palestinians of Gaza are not very effective; nevertheless their interception requires rockets that themselves probably are 10 to a 100 times more expensive than those incoming rockets.

I should think that over the coming years the rockets coming out of Gaza would become more and more potent; in lethality and in accuracy and new tactics would be developed in their usage.

I also think in a similar manner to the way China used her enormous population in fueling her 4-Modernization program, Palestinians are feeding their population into war to compensate for their technological inferiority.

Japanese did the same things, being oblivious of men, in Singapore and elsewhere - discarding exhausted soldiers on the way side to die and continuing with their assaults on supposedly impregnable or unpassable barriers.


There were only a few rockets after Nakba day, not hundreds, and those were not fired by Hamas.

You left out, conveniently, the arrest of several hundred of Hamas politicians in theWest Bank under the guise of looking for the three dead teens. You also left out the six unprovoked IDF bombing runs on Gaza that targeted Hamas.

Only after those did Hamas start to launch rockets.

Nice but primitive Hasbara try ...



Not preplanned by Bibi but a situation taken advantage of.


If you understood my comment, which you obviously didn't, it was not meant as an inventory of all of the events between the Nakba killings and Protective Edge.

I was saying that, contrary to what CP was inferring, a lot went on before and between Step A) three Israeli Jews get murdered and Step B) GoI spanks Gaza. I was challenging the overly simplistic view that disinformation about the triple homicide was the cause of Protective Edge.

I appreciate the way you have supported my position by identifying additional events that must be factored into the cause-effect analysis. But I note that you, too, "conveniently" left out additional attacks/counterattacks between I/P during the weeks and months preceding Protective Edge.

You throw around "hasbara" the way Zionists throw around "antisemite," which is an insult to you, not me. Pointing out that Hamas knew that firing hundreds of missiles at Israel would result in many Palestinian casualties is not "hasbara," it is a fact-based opinion of the idiots that run Hamas. If you consider 1000 dead Palestinians v. 40 dead Israelis as a victory for the Palestinians, then you need to replace the battery in your calculator -- that's a 25:1 ratio in the wrong direction.

But check with someone like Abu Ali Qudail a survivor of yesterday's Khuza massacre who lost his entire family. I wonder if he agrees with you that Hamas is run by military geniuses or that criticizing Hamas is "hasbara."


Hamas may be on the right side of this conflict, and I, personally think they are, but that doesn't mean they aren't doing more harm than good to the Palestinians' cause. Gen. McClellan was on the right side of the Civil War; nevertheless, his incompetence damaged the Union cause immensely and ended up costing hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. The world is full of well-intentioned idiots. That's one of the reasons it's such a dangerous place.


I agree that Hamas is sharpening its game, but one of the responsibilities of military leadership is to judge your present capabilities viz your enemy's. If you know your rocket couldn't hit the side of a barn if fired from the inside, and you know your enemy will retaliate with laser guided bombs that could tear a single sheet off of a roll hanging in the outhouse without even causing the seat to drop, then maybe firing your missiles is not the most intelligent strategy. Just sayin'. . .

As for the cost ratio, yeah, I've seen that figure and it's huge. But so what? That is Americans' money paying for Iron Dome. Congress is in the process of appropriating something like $280M above the normal $3B. GoI can absorb a huge cost differential if sucker Americans are picking up the tab. Arguably, it's the American tax payer who is fueling this travesty, which would mean that a lot of people on this blog have Palestinian blood on their hands. Just sayin' . . .



You are resident in the vanouver, BC area. Are you Canadian or an expat? It is interesting that as a probable foreigner you have an opinion as to the rightness and wrongness of the two sides in the WBS. Did your family have any "skin in the game" or do you just like to read books? This observation applies generally to your expressed views about the Palestinians and the opinions of members of this committee. Canada's stake and/or role in anything in the foreign affairs field long ago ceased to be of any significance since your country has long depended on ours for international protection and from our point of view has largely disbanded your armed forces. That being the case your persistent denigration of the Palestinians, their leadership and implied sneers at anyone who does not agree with you in this matter make you a prime candidate to logically be called a hasbara agent. pl


The Nakba was 1948. Do you support their right to return? How about restoring Israel to the 1948 borders voted for by Canada @ the UN at the time of the partition?


Right to return -- yes, sir, absolutely and unconditionally.

1948 borders -- I'm not sure what I think on this.

I have trouble with having any border as long as GoI has nukes and all the power. The reason being that GoI will never allow a truly sovereign Palestine with its own border control, F-16's, GBU's, and full seat in the UN.

I'm more in the Helen Thomas camp regarding Israelis -- let them go back to where the hell they came from, which would mean #1) most of the Jews would go back to Russia, and #2) there would be no borders w/in the Palestinian state. Return Palestine to the Palestinians.

If there are Jews who can live there peacefully among the Arabs and contribute to the culture, economy, defense, and commonweal of Palestine, then wonderful. That was Herzl's original idea. 14th century Granada would be the model I would aspire to, but that is not faintly possible with Ashkenazim control of Israel

BTW, Fred, thank you for referring to the 1948 border, not many people do. It really chokes my nanny when people say "1967 border" or "pre-1967 border." Now that really is Israeli hasbara. That green line was established in 1948, memorialized in the 1949 armistice, and violated by GoI in 1967 -- and the world should be reminded of that every time the subject comes up, IMO.

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are missing the point; this is a war of attrition that has been going on since 1920s and for all appearances will continue for a few more decades.

Babak Makkinejad

That is fine and I think any negotiations between Iran and US on the future of Palestine should start from the 1948 borders.



you seem to be hedging your bets. RTR as absolutely, except you have trouble with borders while Israel possesses nuclear weapons. It seems you have things backwards. Jews lived peacefully among Arabs for centuries. Arabs in Palestine were not asked their ideas nor for their permission in dividing up the British League of Nations Mandate to create the modern state of Israel.

alba etie

Speaking of logical candidates for hasbara agents -has "peanut butter" been posting anything lately here at SST . I have been working a lot - its our busy summer season in the hospitality business in Central Texas. I had asked peanut butter if he/she thought it was ok that the IDF took American lives shooting up our ship the USS Liberty back in 1967? I had also asked if peanut butter was OK with the traitor Pollard spying on These United States ? I would also ask if peanut butter agrees that the recent shelling of the UN school was ok? Denis do you have any thoughts on these questions posed to peanut butter ?


Yeah, well, my guess is Helen Thomas, TE Lawrence, and Theodore Herzl will all come back to life and dance a jig on Sharon's grave before Iran is ever invited to the negotiating table over the I/P issue.

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