Thursday, June 07, 2007

THE AGE OF FAIRY TALES

Australian lawyer David Singer takes Fairfax to task for the publication of the errors and of the omissions of Ed O'Loughlin in a recent article entitled "War over but the fight goes on". The article, written by O'Loughlin to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Six Day War in 1967 was indeed shoddily researched and presented but we could hardly expect his editor to correct his work given that the sheer volume of errors would surely entail engaging at least one additional full time member of staff to fulfil the task properly. However, there's no doubt that readers of the Blank Pages would be in sympathy with this line:-

"Letters written to the editors requesting corrections are usually consigned to the waste paper basket and even if printed, are too late to undo the damage - allowing gross distortion of facts to be perpetuated and in many cases repeated by the same and other journalists."

27 comments:

Gulliver_on_Tour said...

Precisely.

I know of a few people who won't even waste their time writing letters to the editor of that rag because they're only interested in the confrontation letters that suit their agends. Heaven forbid that they should publish any viewpoint from the reason that advocates peace and understanding.

Maher Mughrabi said...

I know this might come as a something of a blow, but you can't publish an omission. Nor can you be found guilty of error on the basis of an inference.

Perhaps, since you believe peace will involve an Israeli and a Palestinian state side by side, Wilbur, you should engage the esteemed David Singer in debate, since he makes it quite clear that he opposes the creation of such a state tout court? Or did you perhaps, like him, envision Jordan becoming the Palestinian state?

Wilbur Post said...

Thanks for pointing out the ambiguity Maher. It didn't cause me much trauma and I've even made a slight correction to assist those who mightn't understand the subtlety of the comment.

You can't be found guilty of error on the basis of an inference but you can raise false inferences to mislead people.

Finally, I don't endorse the concept of Jordan replacing Palestine. If it ever becomes a relevant issue I'll have something to say about it.

maher mughrabi said...

All five of the points Mr Singer makes can be refuted with ease. But instead, for now, I would like to make a basic point about language.

Mr Singer says that the line about the Sinai contains an "inference", presumably put there by Mr O'Loughlin. If Mr Singer understood the meaning of the word inference, he would know that only the reader of a piece can draw one. In this specific case Mr O'Loughlin cannot infer, he can only imply. And whether he in fact implies that Sinai is insignificant or small is highly debatable. The sentence is certainly not "misleading".

Some of Mr Singer's reasoning, on the other hand, certainly is misleading - it has led him to conclude, among other things, that Jordan should be the Palestinian state. That may not be relevant politically, but it certainly speaks to the quality of his analysis, and profoundly at that.

Maher Mughrabi said...

And I don't know who said anything about trauma. It certainly wasn't me.

Justin Cohen said...

I know this might come as something of a blow Mughrabi but you happen to be a sarcastic smartarse.

Why address the side issue and not O'Loughlin's pathetic one-sided reporting of the conflict?

Why is the Age the only newspaper in the southern hemisphere that avoids coverage of news like the Farfur fiasco and the incitement to hatred against Jews in the Palestinian media?

Why did the Age give oxygen to Tim Fischer's discredited whine about the SS Liberty and virtually make it the only story of the Six Day War and not the calls to extermination by Arab governments and the PLO before there was such a thing as the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza?

Why did the Age ignore the three no's of Khartoum?

Why does O'Loughlin conveniently forget to inform Age readers about the constant violations of the road map by past and present leaders of the Palestine Authority?

It's O'Loughlin's omissions that are precisely what exposes his bias and what makes him such a poor reporter of the events taking place in the region.

Anonymous said...

maher mughrabi = obfuscation

maher mughrabi said...

Mr Cohen

As I have explained before on this blog, I don't discuss The Age's coverage of the conflict or pass judgement on Mr O'Loughlin's approach because I am an employee of the newspaper. If you can't understand the limitations this places upon me with relation to editorial policy, I suggest you try working for a media organisation for, oh, two days or so.

However where my point of view is the subject or a particular question of fact, I'm more than happy to argue the point, or play the smartarse, if that's what you'd like to call it. I've always thought it's one of the nicer insults.

Why is The Age the only newspaper in the southern hemisphere that avoids coverage of news like the Farfur fiasco and the incitement to hatred against Jews in the Palestinian media?

It should be pointed out that The Age did cover the Farfour case, online, where we had a video story from ABC news in the States on the subject.

It's very easy to point to omissions in any newspaper, and I'm sure The Age has blank pages on other subjects, but Mr Post seems to be rather fixated. As for you, Mr Cohen, I'm not sure why you think that any newspaper should reflect a consensus you claim exists among other newspapers in the southern hemisphere. Because that consensus represents the "true" perspective, you might say. In which case I would point out to you, without for a moment casting a verdict on my own or my employers' position on the matter, that freedom of speech also involves the freedom to be wrong. And being in the fold of consensus does not make you correct.

I don't suppose you have read this interview with former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg. I would humbly point out that The Age didn't cover it. But the Herald Sun did. If the situation had been reversed, I wonder what your reaction might have been?

maher mughrabi said...

And another thing, Mr Cohen - for me the situation of the Palestinians and whether or not their homeland should be in Jordan or where they actually come from is never a side issue. What you think of Middle East coverage in one newspaper, or for that matter what any one journalist, no matter how much I esteem him or her, writes on the issue sometimes is a side issue.

Wilbur Post said...

Maher,

You've missed the point entirely.

There is no problem with the Herald Sun running with the Burg story because the Herald Sun's coverage of the conflict is well balanced which is what readers of a newspaper expect.

On the other hand, the Age, and in particular O'Loughlin, routinely runs with stories that show Israel and its people in a bad light but he appears to have completely different standards with stories that are less than complimentary to the Palestinians. There are never any good Israelis in his narrative and there are never any bad Palestinians. He does not cover stories about corruption in the Palestine Authority, the incitement against the Jews within the PA media and he usually either ignores or understates the violence of the Palestinian armed groups. Readers of the Age alone therefore miss out on the vital context of a particular situations.

There are plenty of specific examples on this blog which indicate that it's not a fixation on my part but rather O'Loughlin's anti-Israel bias shining through time and time again.

michael said...

It's interesting besides having Ed o'Loughlin reporting from Gaza on behalf of the Palestinians The Age has two other Palestinian advocates as their staff writers on their payroll Walled Ally and Maher Mughrabi, {both are activist advocates for the Palestinian, Arab and Muslims] this make it a little hard for anyone to argue the Age has not taken a side in the Palestinian/Arab-Muslim war with Israel.


Ps Just imagine the outrage if The Australian or Herald Sun engaged a card carrying Zionist for their Middle eastern bureau and they engaged two [not on] e Zionist Israeli Jews on their staff to contribute opinion pieces about the Middle east and Muslim issues.
Yet The Age get away with it with out any question.

Justin Cohen said...

Bullshit Mughrabi - the issue in this blog article is clearly the Age's reporting.

It might come as something of a blow to you but many people regard your newspaper's coverage as, well let's say "dishonest" when it comes to Israel/Palestine.

That is not to denigrate the importance of the situation of the Palestinians and their national rights which should be respected. But how about a bit of reciprocal respect for the rights of Israel and its people whose existence is threatened by Iran and its proxies in Hezbollah and Hamas? Why does the Age make their rights very much a side issue by simply airbrushing so much of the news from the region out of existence?

Mickey Mouse, incitement to murder in the media, the Gaza sewer tragedy, the Israeli side of the Temple Mount dig, the plight of Christians under the PA, particulalry Hamas, the kassams, the Hamas Charter (and those of the other armed gangs) and even the truth about Alan Johnston - all swept under the carpet so that Israel can be demonised and thanks partly to that, we see an increase in the level of antiSemitism on our streets here.

How does that help solve the conflict between the two peoples?

Anonymous said...

In the last few weeks, just for something completely different, we
have had articles pointing out how Israel DELIBERATELY sank a US naval boat in the 1967 war, and how Jews have alledgedly vandalised an Arab cemetery
in the past few hours. Thanks to the "egilitarians" at The Age, we realise how important it is that the readership get the "right impression" about who is behind all the wars and trouble in the Middle East, just as we had to get the "right impression" that David Hicks is a bit mixed up and it didn't really matter he spent years in action with three international terrorist enterprises, right?

But wait, there is a twist. It is paradoxical, yet hardly surprising
what The Age has failed to report from the Middle East the last few hours:

1. A two hour gun battle at the Gaza border, following an attempt by Islamic Jihad to abduct a further Israeli soldier, following an incursion of Palestinian terrorists into Israel to orchestrate same;

2. A fierce battle between loyalists from Fatah and Hamas ,
resulting in 10 fatalaties, and 40 injuries with 10 incurring life threatening injuries;

3. News that over 10,000 Palestinians have emigrated from Gaza since January of this year alone;

4. A fatwa orchestrated by the deputy chief cleric of the West Bank and Gaza, also this last few hours, prohibiting Palestinians from further emigration, lest they risk being stoned;

5. Further information to hand from Palestinian media watch, whereby the young infant daughter of a female Palestinian suicide bomber, has appeared on all the main Palestinian networks, articulating the virtues of Palestinian children growing up to hold a machine gun, and "martyr" themselves through suicide bombing to enter "paradise."

Now naturally none of this material is "newsworthy " for the Age in general, or Sunday Age in particular. It would seem that the Age's policy of censorship to promulgate antagonism toward Israel, is based on its
political agenda as well as an ideology that presumably intelligent people cannot be allowed to hear all the news and make up their own mind about
international news, and world conflicts. Little wonder that the newspaper's subscriptions continue to spiral downward. Keep up the great work.

(Ian)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mughrabi.

I acknowledge that you are passionate about your people and their situation but I wonder why it's so necessary to be so protective of them. There have been many failings in the way they have conducted themselves - certainly some of it borne out of desperation but surely the Palestinian people need to look inward and start doing positive things to secure the futures other than blaming the Jews for everything.

Leonie

Anonymous said...

At what point in time will the Age start covering this?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/869585.html

If they fight each other in hospitals what would they do to the Israelis if they ever got the chance (i.e. if the IDF wasn't providing security and there wasn't a security barrier)?

maher mughrabi said...

You've missed the point entirely.

Forgive me, but I have not missed the point at all. I am not going to express a view on The Age's coverage (or the Herald Sun's, for that matter) for reasons I have already explained once.

My article expressed views very similar to those of Burg's. These should be analysed on their merits rather than according to where they stack up in some "bias" scoring system. This is the point I was trying to make when I said that Singer's five "points" are not proof of bias, since none of them are in fact valid. It isn't just a question of which side you take.


michael said...
It's interesting besides having Ed o'Loughlin reporting from Gaza on behalf of the Palestinians The Age has two other Palestinian advocates as their staff writers on their payroll Walled Ally and Maher Mughrabi,


I'll tell you what's interesting. That a post almost identical to this one was posted on Wilbur's blog many months ago, at which time I explained that Mr Aly is not on The Age's payroll and that he also writes for the Herald Sun and The Australian.


As for my writing, I wrote an opinion piece. The Age publishes all sorts of opinions (including those of Zionists) and no one suggests that it somehow supports all the pieces it publishes. I am not paid to provide The Age with opinion pieces, either.

the issue in this blog article is clearly the Age's reporting.

Justin, I explained why I can't comment on that. Are you too dumb to understand?



how Jews have alledgedly vandalised an Arab cemetery

I don't think there is any ''alleged'' about it.


just as we had to get the "right impression" that David Hicks is a bit mixed up and it didn't really matter he spent years in action with three international terrorist enterprises, right?

If you think this was how the issue was presented to Age readers, I fear you may need mental help.

I acknowledge that you are passionate about your people and their situation but I wonder why it's so necessary to be so protective of them. There have been many failings in the way they have conducted themselves - certainly some of it borne out of
desperation but surely the Palestinian people need to look inward and start doing positive things to secure the futures other than blaming the Jews for everything.
Leonie


Dear Leonie

First of all, thankyou for adopting a civil tone.

But I wish I knew what you were talking about. Perhaps you should read some of my actual work, both inside The Age and outside it. I don't believe in protecting anyone from their own failings.

Even the piece of mine that Wilbur and his friends believe attacked Israel did nothing of the sort.

maher mughrabi said...

For the record, the earlier post on this blog from September 2006:

Anonymous said...
It is interesting how The Age has two Staff writers on their payroll who contribute to the Anti Zionist non-stop diatribe along with Ed O 'loughlin and Michael Leunig,sara Miles.

Maher Mughrabi is a Palestinian and Waleed Aly local Muslim spokesman who in this weeks Sunday Age comes out with the usual anti American mantra and how Muslims and Arabs are forced in to terrorism because of American Foreign Policies..

I guess it would be unreasonable for The Age to offset their team of anti zionists with even one fair and balanced journolist.. but if that would be journolist ever critisised the Palestinians or Islamic world for placing the worldwide terrorism he would be accused of being part of the Jewish LobbY!


A most interesting comparison. Could Michael and Anonymous be the same ill-informed person, or do we have multiple ignorance on our hands?

Anonymous said...

Who needs Mr. Mughrabi when his colleague Terry Lane lambasts Israel for using cluster bombs but omits to mention the use by Hezbollah of the same weaponry (or doesn't it count when the intended victims are Jews?).

I do not see anything in Lane's articles about the stonings, hangings, violent misogynism and lynchings that occur in the Arab and Muslim world on an hourly
basis. I also do not see any condemnation by Lane of the fact that Syria used such weapons in Lebanon in their violent 30 year occupation of the country, or
the fact that Syria has armed Palestinian extremists in Lebanon for decades, and murdered 30,000 people in Hama in 1982. I do not see any comments of how the Palestinian government have been educating their children in primary
school and before to grow up to be suicide bombers. I do not see any
reference of the attempted assassination of the Palestinian PM over the weekend, or the fact that a high ranking Fatah member was thrown out of a window handcuffed and blindfolded, whilst Fatah gunned down a senior iman.

the Gharqad Tree said...

So if you're practicisng guilt by association Mr. Mughrabi then can I assume that you agree with the sentiments of the organizations you are going to be addressing at A Special Palestinian Film Festival Exposing 40 Years of Occupation?

And that you agree with the hate messages in the website that speaks of "Israel's occupation of remaining Palestine" referred to in the advertisement in today's Age in association with the said film festival?

It seems to me that you and people like David Singer are no different to each other.

maher mughrabi said...

So if you're practicisng guilt by association Mr. Mughrabi

Who am I associating with whom? Who did I proclaim guilty of what? It has been claimed on this blog by Mr Post that David Singer's article "proves" the bias of Mr O'Loughlin's. It either does or it does not. Mr Post associated himself with the views put forward in that article, not me. This does not make him guilty, but it might mean he lacks the ability to detect error in what he reads.

can I assume that you agree with the sentiments of the organizations you are going to be addressing at A Special Palestinian Film Festival Exposing 40 Years of Occupation?

No, you cannot. I don't address people or accept invitations to speak to them only if I agree with them or "join" them. I've spoken at a synagogue in Melbourne at the request of the rabbi, and I didn't become Jewish. I addressed the Fabians at their invitation, but I'm not a Fabian.

I think that if you can actually find hate speech on the website you refer to, you should lodge a complaint with the relevant agencies. But since Mr Post is keen to point out how rare criticism of the Arabs is in Arab media (see his recent post from al-Sharq al-Awsat), perhaps you should come along to the festival and hear me critically assess the content of the aforementioned films? Or perhaps you should have attended the talk I gave at Monash last August, where I described the Hamas charter to a largely Muslim audience (again, at their invitation, though I am not a Muslim) as "an anti-Semitic and conspiracist document that weakens the Palestinian cause"?

It seems to me that you and people like David Singer are no different to each other.

If so, then I look forward to reading his critique of Israeli society. But I shan't hold my breath.

maher mughrabi said...

Since Gharqad Tree wants to know the extent to which I agree with the organisations involved in the film series, perhaps he/she should read about an earlier encounter between myself and Women for Palestine.

maher mughrabi said...

You know, you people who miss my talks are missing a lot. I've given talks on the views of Terry Lane too, both in Melbourne and Ballarat. Once again I am obliged by my professional position not to say more in this forum, but I can say I wasn't complimentary.

maher mughrabi said...

You know, you people who miss my talks are missing a lot. I've given talks on the views of Terry Lane too, both in Melbourne and Ballarat. Once again I am obliged by my professional position not to say more in this forum, but I can say I wasn't complimentary.

Carrie Lewis said...

Oh dear Mr. Mughrabi.

Who has a fixation about what?

Maher mughrabi said...

You tell me sweetheart. In my 12 years in journalism, I've written articles for newspapers and magazines about India, Pakistan, America, Britain, Iraq, boxing, tennis, football (you name the kind), terrorism, feminism, philosophy, art, hip-hop, heavy metal, Islam, migration ... it's a long list.

Being Palestinian isn't a fixation. It's what I am, but it's by no means all I am. If you don't like it, you're not exactly in a small club. But there's nothing you can do about it - except, apparently, answer my structured arguments and answers to people's questions with snide one-liners. As for the duplication of my last post, I assume that Mr Post has the power to sort that out.

Carrie Lewis said...

Suit yourself hairy legs. Those articles on feminism must have been sensational pieces of journalism. Anything on mysogynists who still call women "sweetheart" in the 21st century?

maher mughrabi said...

Do you want to address any of the numerous points I made above, Carrie Lewis, or do you want to become another of those comment-thread morons who will go down any number of side alleys in an ad hominem attempt to throw up smoke?

If you don't like mud, madam, do not throw it. You suggest that I am fixated. I seek to prove that I am not. What you can prove about me would fit neatly up a gnat's backside. So, for that matter, would what I can prove about you, but you'll notice I'm not the one here attempting to play the man.