Sunday, April 22, 2007


The Guardian's Roy Greenslade comments on the Virginia Tech massacre in A HIERARCHY OF DEATH.

"Thirty-two die in American university shooting. Result? Huge media coverage in the US and Britain. In Iraq, almost 200 die, arguably the worst day of carnage in that beleaguered country since the coalition invasion. Result? Coverage so restrained as to be, in many cases, totally negligible."

Greenslade tells us why this is so but first puts forward his theory that the media operate according to a hierarchy of death. The closer to home the victims, the more interest there is in a story. Further, deaths in ongoing conflicts receive less coverage than unexpected deaths elsewhere because they are unpredictable in nature and rate more highly in their newsworthiness.

But wait, there's more to this theory.

"The deaths of non-of non-white people in foreign parts - and, I would contend, often at home - are never accorded equal status by the white, western media. The deaths of Arabs and Muslims (and, in many media eyes, there is no difference) are overlooked because they are, variously, anti-western, anti-Christian or anti-capitalist, or all three, and are therefore undeserving of sympathy. By virtue of their religion and their ethnicity they cannot expect the same treatment as the people in the west (who, of course, are also more civilised, better educated and altogether more wholesome). In other words, it's racist."

An interesting theory, and I wonder if it can be adapted to explain some of the contradictions in the media's treatment of the victims of Arab violence? Was racism inherent in the boycott imposed by the British National Union of Journalists against Israel? Was that why the union ignored the threats and violence of Hamas and Hizbullah and condemned only the Israelis in its recent resolutions? Does it also explain why Israel alone was censured and not other nations like Sudan which sponsors murderous Arab militias? I guess that's why we read so little about the abduction of Alan Johnston and even less about the lawlessness in Gaza and the West Bank which has seen Palestinian killing Palestinian on an ongoing basis but with almost zero publicity?

[ADDENDUM: Ed O'Loughlin's reporting on events in the Middle East always seems to set the example. In this morning's Melbourne Age, O'Loughlin covers the weekend's violence which saw the deaths of eight Palestinians, mostly "armed militants" (including a so-called "policeman" killed in a raid on a village near Jenin), in various operations in the West Bank and Gaza. He concludes with a now obligatory (for O'Loughlin) reference to alleged Israeli brutality by reminding readers that this was the "highest one day death toll since January, when four Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops who opened fire in a food market in the centre of the West Bank town of Ramallah." No mention however of the hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians, killed by fellow civilians in violence between their own "militant" groups or the deaths of Israelis at the hands of such "militants" during that time.]


Anonymous said...

Is O'Loughlin lazy or biased?

This more detailed article on the violence from Associated Press indicates that O'Loughlin is extremely selective in his reporting (

O'Loughlin: "Later that day, troops raided the Jenin refugee camp, shooting dead 17-year-old Bushra Wahash as she looked through the window of her home."

Associated Press: "Palestinian officials said one of the dead was a 17-year-old girl shot by troops as she stood at the window of her home. The army said its soldiers had returned fire from a gunman in a window, but said the incident was being investigated."

Typical Mr. Ed. Reports only the Palestinian viewpoint and omits the rest.

Surely, this alone is prima facie support of the fact that racism is involved in the way the conflict is being reported?

Gulliver_on_Tour said...

Of course it's about racism (but only partly). In the Jerusalem Post this week Caroline Glick noted -

In one of the 136 "major violent attacks" against Jews last year in Britain, last August, while riding a London bus, Jasmine Kranat was brutally beaten by a gang of Muslims. The attackers refused to believe her when she denied being Jewish. They beat her unconscious, then continued to stomp on her chest and head, breaking the orbital bone in her eye.

Not one of the bus passengers or the bus driver came to her defense.

But it's also about corruption -

British Journalists' Union Accepts Palestinian Bribe

Anonymous said...

O'Loughlin was at his best again today distorting the truth about Israeli MP Bishara's anti-zionism. Truth is that what Bishara did in visiting the enemies of the country he represented in the knesset was pure and simple treason and like a coward he walked out.

The shameful thing about Bishara's behaviour is that he did nothing for his Arab constituents who comprised a goodly proportion of the victims of Hezbollah's missile attacks. That makes him a traitor to his own kind.

Anonymous said...

Melanie Phillips has exposed the journalists who seek to pump up the so-called ceasefire that isn't being observed by the Palestinians.

Here's what Palestinian terrorists do during a cease fire -

• Islamic Jihad terrorist captured near Tel Aviv after his bomb belt fails to detonate
• Palestinian bride arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out suicide bombing
• 3 Israelis injured in shooting attack near Modi’in
• Hamas calls for further kidnappings of Israeli soldiers
• Israeli cars shot at in West Bank
• Israeli civilian wounded in West Bank drive-by shooting
• Arrests prevent huge Hamas-planned car bomb in Tel Aviv
• Egypt arrests would-be Hamas suicide bomber near Israeli border
• Palestinian rockets hit Sderot home; several Israelis treated for shock

When Israel inevitably strikes back, it will get the blame for breaching the ceaefire.

Justin Cohen said...

The number of Paestinians who have died violent deaths this year at the hands of other Palestinians runs at about 180 - four times the number of those killed by Israel in actions against Palestinian terrorism.

Still the media concentrates on condemning Israel for its so called "brutal oppression" (please give us all a break) whilst stifling any news about Pals killing Pals.

Why are the Israelis treated so differently?

Chooka said...

If the issue wasn't so serious I would get a laugh out of this. Here's what Wikipedia says about Jeremy Dear the chairman of this bunch of crooks:-

Jeremy Dear
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jeremy Dear is the General Secretary of the National Socialist Union of Journalists in Great Britain and Ireland.

He has a reputation as one of the Awkward Squad of British trade unionists. He is married to Paula Dear (nee Jolly) who is a journalist with the BBC.

Whether the National Socialist part is a Freudian slip on the author's part, a genuine error or someone taking the Mickey out of this monster, ya gotta admit that it hits the spot.