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May 20, 2021

Breaking: Kamala Harris Called the King of Jordan to Strategize About How To "Stop the Israeli Escalations"
Flashback: The AP Routinely Runs Ops with Hamas and This Is an Open Secret The Press Just Won't Report

Presiduh Kamala.

Gotta get those Jews to stop launching anti-missile-missiles at anti-civilian Hamas rockets, don't you know.


Some of the news of "Israeli escalations" from earlier this week:

Tom Cotton wants to know why the AP is roomies with Hamas.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) blasted the Associated Press Monday for its response to an Israeli airstrike over the weekend that took out a building housing the wire service's Gaza City bureau as well as Hamas military intelligence facilities.

"Why is the Associated Press sharing a building with Hamas?" Cotton asked on the Senate floor during remarks about the fighting that has raged since May 10.

"Surely these 'intrepid reporters' knew who their neighbors were," Cotton continued before asking: "Did they knowingly allow themselves to be used as human shields by a US-designated terrorist organization? Did AP pull its punches and decline to report for years on Hamas' misdeeds? I submit that the AP has some uncomfortable questions to answer."

Cotton went on to criticize the AP and other outlets for what he called their "high dudgeon" about the airstrike, which he called "wholly appropriate."

"Leave it to whiny reporters to make themselves the story and the victim when terrorists are shooting missiles at innocent civilians," he concluded.

Flashback 2014, to the leftwing Atlantic magazine: How the media makes Israel the villain in every story, and Hamas always the hero.

Journalistic hallucinations... have a precedent. They tend to occur, as in the case of the Great China Hoax, when reporters are not granted the freedom to write what they see but are rather expected to maintain a "story" that follows predictable lines. For the international press, the uglier characteristics of Palestinian politics and society are mostly untouchable because they would disrupt the Israel story, which is a story of Jewish moral failure.

Most consumers of the Israel story don't understand how the story is manufactured. But Hamas does. Since assuming power in Gaza in 2007, the Islamic Resistance Movement has come to understand that many reporters are committed to a narrative wherein Israelis are oppressors and Palestinians passive victims with reasonable goals, and are uninterested in contradictory information. Recognizing this, certain Hamas spokesmen have taken to confiding to Western journalists, including some I know personally, that the group is in fact a secretly pragmatic outfit with bellicose rhetoric, and journalists--eager to believe the confession, and sometimes unwilling to credit locals with the smarts necessary to deceive them--have taken it as a scoop instead of as spin.

During my time at the AP, we helped Hamas get this point across with a school of reporting that might be classified as "Surprising Signs of Moderation" (a direct precursor to the "Muslim Brotherhood Is Actually Liberal" school that enjoyed a brief vogue in Egypt). In one of my favorite stories, "More Tolerant Hamas" (December 11, 2011), reporters quoted a Hamas spokesman informing readers that the movement’s policy was that "we are not going to dictate anything to anyone," and another Hamas leader saying the movement had "learned it needs to be more tolerant of others." Around the same time, I was informed by the bureau's senior editors that our Palestinian reporter in Gaza couldn't possibly provide critical coverage of Hamas because doing so would put him in danger.

He notes the "reflex" of journalists to pretend they're not a part of the story, even when the story is being manufactured for their benefit. In other words, journalists deny the existence/presence of journalists even when it's obvious that Hamas has staged an event solely to be photographed by journalists and thus to smear Israel.

He notes one of the darkly funny parts of coverage of Hamas and Israel that journalists never talk about: One of the most difficult parts of getting photographs of those Hamas claims are "innocent victims" is framing a shot so that you can't see the twenty other photographers crowding around the body to get the same picture that Hamas arranged for them all to get.

...

Hamas's strategy is to provoke a response from Israel by attacking from behind the cover of Palestinian civilians, thus drawing Israeli strikes that kill those civilians, and then to have the casualties filmed by one of the world's largest press contingents, with the understanding that the resulting outrage abroad will blunt Israel's response. This is a ruthless strategy, and an effective one. It is predicated on the cooperation of journalists. One of the reasons it works is because of the reflex I mentioned. If you report that Hamas has a strategy based on co-opting the media, this raises several difficult questions, like, What exactly is the relationship between the media and Hamas? And has this relationship corrupted the media? It is easier just to leave the other photographers out of the frame and let the picture tell the story: Here are dead people, and Israel killed them.

In previous rounds of Gaza fighting, Hamas learned that international coverage from the territory could be molded to its needs, a lesson it would implement in this summer's war. Most of the press work in Gaza is done by local fixers, translators, and reporters, people who would understandably not dare cross Hamas, making it only rarely necessary for the group to threaten a Westerner. The organization's armed forces could be made to disappear. The press could be trusted to play its role in the Hamas script, instead of reporting that there was such a script. Hamas strategy did not exist, according to Hamas--or, as reporters would say, was "not the story." There was no Hamas charter blaming Jews for centuries of perfidy, or calling for their murder; this was not the story. The rockets falling on Israeli cities were quite harmless; they were not the story either.

Hamas understood that journalists would not only accept as fact the Hamas-reported civilian death toll--relayed through the UN or through something called the "Gaza Health Ministry," an office controlled by Hamas--but would make those numbers the center of coverage. Hamas understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation; Western news organizations tend to see no ethical imperative to inform readers of the restrictions shaping their coverage in repressive states or other dangerous areas. In the war's aftermath, the NGO-UN-media alliance could be depended upon to unleash the organs of the international community on Israel, and to leave the jihadist group alone.

When Hamas's leaders surveyed their assets before this summer's round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby--and the AP wouldn't report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP's Gaza bureau and threaten the staff--and the AP wouldn't report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)

Colford, the AP spokesman, confirmed that armed militants entered the AP's Gaza office in the early days of the war to complain about a photo showing the location of a rocket launch, though he said that Hamas claimed that the men "did not represent the group." The AP "does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments,” he wrote. "These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news--and not themselves news."


The story is never the actual story; the story is whatever Hamas tells the AP the story is.

Note that while the press insists that Hamas's intimidation is "not the story," the AP sure goes out of its way to attack Israel for bombing a Hamas building they were squatting in.

Hamas doesn't exist as far as the press tells the story -- but Israel is always there.

More from this week:









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