The great Muslim Afro-American leader Malcolm X said: “Media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
Another oft-quoted cliche states that the first casualty of war is truth.
The Hamas-Islamic Jihad struggle against the zionist occupiers reinforces these perceptions of western media bias.
They distort and obfuscate history and omit the context of the current intensification of conflict.
The western media is complicit in riling up emotions and anger by regurgitating unverified information spread by the Israelis.
Statements that babies were beheaded and women raped were unfounded.
These were later retracted.
Politicians, including US President Joe Biden and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated these lies to inflame and garner support from their respective constituencies.
The fake story of beheadings based on hearsay was emblazoned on all the mainstream western media outlets including the BBC, CNN, Sky News and Fox News.
Other media outlets ran with these lies and built new narratives to spice up their reporting.
The purpose was to dehumanize Hamas and the Palestinians, a ploy successfully used in other regional conflagrations.
In the era of minute-by-minute coverage to be the first to break a story is now more important than being accurate.
The news goes viral with re-tweets, shares, and other repeats in seconds on social media.
It doesn’t matter even when the story is proved false.
Once it is echoed enough, the story becomes “fact”.
A front-page headline that needs to be corrected will be mentioned in a short paragraph in the back pages, usually many days after the story was originally released.
The same scenario played out previously when the US attacked Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
The media twisted their reporting to push the western agenda.
It manipulated the thinking of their audience regardless of whether or not they’re reporting facts.
The usual ploy is to quote “anonymous”, unnamed “experts”, or other sources of dubious credibility.
The utility of this method is you can make up or exaggerate virtually any story.
If the reporter is called out on his sources, he inevitably squeals about “First Amendment” protection and vows to protect his sources.
Without providing any evidence which the Taliban demanded from the Americans that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 911 attacks, the US and western regimes devastated the entire country.
And then occupied it under the hoax of bringing about democracy and freedom to women.
When the tyrant Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the media went into a frenzy alleging that the Iraqis threw out new born babies from incubators and played football with the bodies of dead children.
These false reports, together with Tony Blair’s fake dossier, galvanized the “civilized” world to massacre a million Iraqis looking for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, and they still occupy Iraq today.
The same scenario played out in Libya, with the media hyping up fabricated reports of Qaddafi’s intention to invade Benghazi, causing NATO to devastate the oil rich country that is now embroiled in a civil war.
Israel has a sophisticated, well-oiled and well-resourced hasbara (propaganda) machine that has trained its citizens and supporters to advocate and spin its position to the media worldwide.
Hasbara is a Hebrew word that describes Israel’s sophisticated public relations machinery which was set up to shape and sugar-coat media coverage of its atrocities.
The western media cynically justifies the zionist entity’s crimes and to create for Israel a “brand image” completely at odds with reality.
Hasbara proponents obfuscate some categorical truths of Israel’s illegal occupation and serial violations of International Law by committing regular crimes against humanity.
The aim of the propaganda is to always obscure the truth.
This can take the form of oversimplifying, dissembling or outright lying.
The purpose is to indoctrinate people’s minds to think in a particular manner through imposing necessary illusions.
And propaganda does not require evidence; just repetition.
The media plays a pivotal role in creating a system supportive of the propaganda function. For decades the media promoted zionist justifications for the ‘Chosen People’, the ‘Promised Land’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Exile’; of Palestine being a ‘terra nullius’ (nobody’s land), that ‘Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East’ and that it is a small, weak entity surrounded by hostile, uncivilised barbarians.
The propaganda campaign which sold apartheid across the world in an attempt to bolster support for the White South African apartheid regime cost around $100-million annually.
It was run with vigorous efficiency for 50 years.
Despite this, South Africa’s attempt to discredit the liberation organizations as terrorists ultimately failed, and also failed to mask apartheid’s inhumanity, racist oppression and crimes against humanity.
One cannot colonise a people, steal their lands and livelihoods at gunpoint, trample on their fundamental human rights and freedoms, destroy their property, and starve, torture, maim and murder for seven decades and claim the moral high ground.
The zionists have done all this, and still expect to be called civilized.
The western media’s pro-Israeli bias has enabled Israel’s serial genocidal wars on Gaza through an endless stream of media misinformation and misrepresentation.
Dr Firoz Osman is Executive Member at the Media Review Network in Johannesburg, South Africa