Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Iara Lee's Smuggled Footage Given Top Billing

In the 21st century viral videos are the new weapons in the battle for popular opinion, and no example of this phenomenon is more prevalent than the fallout from the raid on the Mavi Marmara a couple of weeks ago. Both sides attempted to use video footage to show their side of the story. Israel provided video of their soldiers being attacked with clubs and thrown overboard. Their opponents tried to ignore those videos or pretend the activists only were defending their ship. Regardless, the point is that videos are not only the best evidence we have for finding out what happened, but make a big difference for influencing people's opinions.

Of course, when you have websites like the Huffington Post only showing you the videos that they want you see, they stop becoming objective journalists and start becoming soldiers in the PR war. And that is what has been happening for the past few weeks, but most clearly happened last night when a video and article was published by "Cultures of Resistance" journalist Iara Lee.

Ms. Lee is now the second activist on the flotilla fleet that was given a platform by the Huffington Post, after Paul Larudee and not counting journalists who repeat verbatim what the activists said like Mya Guarnierni. Meanwhile no soldiers or crew who give dissenting opinions (like the captain of the MM) have appeared yet. It is worth nothing once again that the Huffington Post is giving uncensored, open airwaves to members of an organization that not only has a history of lying, but continues to claim a distorted version of events after it is already known. This article is just such an example.

Ms. Lee begins by telling us what we are long used to hearing at this point: The activists were peaceful, Israel attacked for no reason, "nine civilian peace activists...were unjustly killed." But then she gets angry, and things start getting fun:
"In their defense of the indefensible, the Israeli government has attempted to slander the character of the victims and other flotilla participants by drawing false links to terrorism, and portraying us as a lynch mob of anti-Semitic Muslim fanatics"
 Oh how cruel! What logic hoops did the Israelis jump through to portray you as "a mob of fanatics?"


At this point Lee switches to talking about her own heavily-edited and biased video, which she presumes will work to counter Israel's heavily-edited and biased video. If you want to go back to the article and watch it before we continue, click here. Now let's hear what Ms. Lee has to say about it:

" It paints a picture in stark contrast to Israeli claims of a violent mob looking for a fight. I encourage everyone to view this footage. You will see people from all walks of life, secular and religious, Muslim, Christian, atheistic, male and female, young and old. Prior to the raid they are talking, sleeping, praying or working on their computers. After commandos invade the ship you see men scrambling, the dead and wounded being hurried to the lower decks, away from Israeli gunfire, and groups of men huddled together with whatever makeshift items they can find, including broom handles, pipes, and sticks -- not exactly a well-prepared or well-trained armed force."
Notice how Ms. Lee's video remained exclusively on the lower deck, we have no idea what is happening on the top. Rather like the IDF videos, we are seeing exactly what she wants us to see and nothing more. Put another way, when you have a ship full of useful idiots but a few terrorists as well, and you only film the useful idiots, are you being honest? Not really. Nor does this video in any way contrast Israel's claim of a violent mob. It doesn't show a mob, but it also doesn't show what really happened, does it? Ms. Lee continues with her article:
"Furthermore, after a meticulous examination of our footage, journalist Ali Abunimah has discerned some very troubling details about Israeli conduct aboard the Mavi Marmara. This includes evidence of Israeli commandos indiscriminately firing with live ammunition on groups of passengers who pose no threat, as well as the possible use of American and European-made weapons in hijacking the ship -- an infraction of both US and European arms agreements."
Would that be Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada (and HP blogger), Ms. Lee? Not really the most objective source. That being said, if he really does have evidence, I'd love to see it. Oh wait? You don't have a link? Why not? Do you expect us to simply take you at your word, Ms. Lee? I don't think so.

The rest of her article is the usual Palsbara shrieking about Israel "making war on civilian populations," which I see no need to go through. What we learned the most from this article was not about what really happened on the Mavi Marmara, nor anything about Ms. Lee. What we have learned is who and what the Huffington Post will publish when it comes to Israel and it's enemies. Israel's enemies are given top shelf, while only the most unavoidable evidence that exonerates Israel makes it into the news sections. How long can they truly claim to be objective?

1 comment:

  1. They are not objective when it comes to Israel. But we are expected to take them at their word, without real proof, that Israel committed a massacre on the Mavi Marmara. When Iara Lee wasn't even an eyewitness to what actually happened on the upper decks!