Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I wish we didn't need a free and unfettered press so much, because they are, by and large, a despicable bunch. I was listening to NPR today, then switched to the local paper, then looked at the news on my computer. All pretty much the same: Israel is killing civilians.
It really doesn't take too much smarts to work backwards from that and see an interesting and very effective Hamas strategy in all this. They hide behind women and children, hide in schools and hospitals, shoot rockets at Israel and when Israel retaliates, leave it to NPR to heap the blame on Israel.
The media people aren't stupid (I think). Surely, one muses, they must know that Hamas and the West have different strategies for war. The West says, "We will wage war as long as no non-combatant gets hurt, no religious edifices are destroyed, and humane help can still reach the country." Hamas' strategy is "Kill the unbelievers." The media must know this. Then why don't they have some sense of context when they report the news? Certainly it is a tragedy that a school was hit, but I will bet you a carton of doughnuts that a Hamas installation was nearby. It's like the kid who hits you with a rock and then hides behind the teacher when you seek him to reason with him.
I'm actually a lot more bloodthirsty about this than Israel is. My strategy, were I the man at the helm would be "Warn them, warn them, then turn their country into a pile of rubble." It is very strong medicine, but you'd only have to give one dose and everybody would be cured. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm not in charge.
But I digress. back to the media. I try to ignore the right wing when they say the media leans left, though the numbers seem to back this up. What I find difficult to ignore is that the media seems inclined to leave out all those little messy details that fill out the picture but don't have immediate impact. (For a discussion of whether "media" is singular or plural, check out my blog meta-language.blogspot.com)
The drinking death I've been commenting on is a case in point. The first few stories made it seem that a driven-snow pure young man had been forced to drink alcohol and died therefrom. Why, it was almost murder. As more and more details emerged, the picture was much different. So, why the starkness of the initial report? Drama, drama, drama. A schoolroom full of dead children is so much more dramatic than a sober analysis of the reasons behind their deaths.

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