Palestine and the Press

January 27, 2009

The problem with the Gaza disaster appeal video is that it focused itself on the Palestinians as victims rather than being a call for peace. This is not new. The media’s focus on the Palestinians as victims has been a considerable part of the problem over the last 30 years.

During the First Intifada, when children threw stones at Israeli soldiers, pictures were beamed around the world and it became the biggest media story of the day, but the effect on both Israel and the Palestinians was disastrous. The need of western-world television viewers and magazine readers was to share the suffering of a small people, but children in the West Bank and Gaza found themselves with a choice of going to school or going to where the western press scrum were gathered and be a hero before cameras that told their story to the whole world. Perhaps a billion dollars worth of media was made out of that story, by Reuters, AP and the BBC, but I doubt if the Palestinians received a single penny of that money.
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