Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Orwellian inversion

In our post from last Thursday, we noted how Reuters has been presenting a series of stories of late which attempt to build a case that Israel is banging the drums of war in the Middle East while Iran, Syria, and Lebanon are defensively "warning" Israel off the warpath.  Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy (with help from Allyn Fisher-Ilan) continues in that vein with a story on yesterday's video-linked speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.  Note the headline:
Hezbollah warns Israel over future war
Nothing threatening here; just a friendly warning that if Israel hits Beirut, Hezbollah will hit Tel Aviv.  All very defensive, you see.  Bayoumy then goes on to describe the events which led up to the last war between Israel and Hezbollah and the war itself:
Hezbollah fought against Israel in a 34-day war in 2006 after the group captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.  Some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, were killed and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died... Israel pounded Beirut's southern suburbs as well as mainly Shi'ite southern Lebanon where Hezbollah maintains a stronghold and from which Israel withdrew in 2000... Israeli bombing also hit bridges, roads, airport runways, ports, factories, power and water networks, and military installations, and the eastern Bekaa Valley.
Apart from the asymmetrical use of weasel-words to describe the Israelis who "died" (while the Lebanese were "killed"), notice anything missing from Bayoumy's otherwise detailed account? How about the eight Israeli soldiers killed by Hezbollah when the other two soldiers were "captured"?  Or the Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbollah at Israeli border communities at the time of the initial attack.  Or the 4,000 rockets Hezbollah launched at Israeli communities during the course of the war.  The thousands of Israeli homes taking direct hits; the 300,000 residents displaced; and the more than one million Israelis forced to live in bomb shelters for weeks.   Bayoumy is conspicuously silent on these details.

So does Reuters -- with guileful wording and selective omission -- seek to portray Israel as warmonger and the Arab states and terrorist militias as rational actors responding defensively to threats against them.

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