Thursday, January 27, 2011
The Media Spin: A Twisted Tale of "Blood Libel" and False Reporting
You all know the firestorm of criticism Sarah Palin received after her "blood libel" comments. Many pundits criticized her for her use of the term. Others defended her. All in all, it was what Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who describes himself as a "liberal with sanity," said regarding the use of this term that has stuck with me the most. As a staunch liberal, Mayor Koch is doing something the left and many on the right refuse to do by coming to the defense of the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate. In a recent Huffington Post op-ed ed, Koch wrote the following in regards to Palin's "blood libel" claims against the media:
While the charge of responsibility against Palin was dropped, the Scarborough crew continued to assail her for defending herself on her website where she stated that she had been the subject of a blood libel. Her critics were incensed that she should use the term "blood libel." That was the description given by Jews to the charge of Christian clergy who falsely accused Jews of killing Christian children in order to make matzos (unleavened bread) during the Passover holiday. That libelous accusation was intended by those using it to cause pogroms that killed and injured thousands of Jews. It started in the early centuries A.D. and continues to date, according to Wikipedia. That same charge -- blood libel -- is now repeated by the media in Arab countries to stir up the anger of the Arab street against the Jews in Israel. The libel continues to do damage.
Today the phrase "blood libel" can be used to describe any monstrous defamation against any person, Jew or non-Jew. It was used by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he was falsely accused of permitting the Lebanese Christian militia to kill hundreds of defenseless and innocent Muslim men, women and children in Lebanese refugee camps. The killings were monstrous and indefensible revenge for earlier killings by Muslims of innocent Christian civilians.
Unlike the majority of lamstream media pundits, Koch gets it. To attack Palin for her use of this phrase, let alone the Tuscon tragedy, is hypocritical and that is putting it politely. It was outrageous enough for the media to accuse Palin for the tragedy that took place in Arizona, let alone attack her use of verbiage. You think they would have realized that the number-one rule of journalism is checking and re-checking your facts before reporting the news to millions and millions of people across the globe. It is bad enough that the media reported Congresswoman Giffords dead. The media need to definitely re-think how they go about conducting business on a day-to-day basis. The way in which they have conducted themselves throughout this entire Tucson tragedy has been both unprofessional and unfair to both the victims of this horrible event and the public at large. Koch is smart enough to realize this, and we are smart enough to know an act of extreme idiocy when we see it.
Will the media do things differently next time? After all, they unfairly targeted an innocent woman by accusing her of being responsible for this crazed killer's heinous actions. Furthermore, they falsely reported a woman dead, leaving her husband, who was on a plane, on his way to Arizona, to wonder, for over an hour, if his beloved wife was among those killed. I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts that must have been racing through Mark Kelly's mind. This is a man who loves his wife so deeply that it had to be the most unbearable news to hear. The media need to do better! It was not too long ago that the horrible shootings at Fort Hood took place. I still remember the media's reaction. We all know they repeatedly stated the need to wait for the evidence before placing blame on the radical Muslim who was responsible. Isn't it funny that this same media who pretty much protected Nidal Hasan had no problem placing blame on Sarah Palin for what happened in Tuscon? This just further illustrates the media's obsession with targeting all things conservative.
Unfortunately, this double standard is not about to end anytime soon. This is why it is imperative that we hold the media's feet to the fire, doing everything in our power to keep them honest. If you are a blogger, blog. If you are on Twitter, tweet. If you work for the media, stay objective. It is clear that the media are losing this battle. More and more people are opting out of the mainstream media's attempt to sway public opinion, turning to online resources, talk radio and objective cable news for their information. Mark my words, it will be these forms of media that will drown out the media spin and the media's attempts to play liberal messenger.
(Follow me on Twitter @RachelleFriberg.)