The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
July 26th, 2006: "THE THIRD FRONT"
While Israel is engaged in heavy fighting with Hezbollah terrorists on the northern front and Hamas terrorists on its southern front, it would appear that Israel’s proverbial nemesis, better known as the media, has opened a third front with its incessant assaults on Israel.
While the media may not be launching Katyusha or Kassam rockets aimed at Israeli cities, the rockets that the media launches are instrumental in degrading Israel in the war of public opinion. Case in point would be the drastic difference in the content and modality of reporting between the two major cable networks, CNN and Fox News.
To the average viewer, it would appear that CNN and Fox are reporting the news from two different planets. While it is true that the Ted Turner owned CNN, has its own left wing agenda along with the perfunctory anti-Israel bias that goes with that territory, and Roger Ailes’ Fox News has a more conservative, pro-Republican platform, the stark and extreme contrasts cannot be missed. To state that their coverage of the current war between Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas is diametrically opposed would be a gross understatement.
One need only press the button on their television remotes for a period of an hour or so, to gain tremendous insight into the world of media propaganda, distortions and lies. For a truly mercurial experience, just spend an evening with Anderson Cooper and Larry King of CNN and then visit with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly over at Fox.
The story according to CNN is the following: Israel is murdering Lebanese children and civilians en masse, Israel is not making a dent in Hezbollah’s power, Israel is not forthcoming in opening up a corridor for humanitarian assistance to Lebanon, Israel is causing a refugee crisis amongst the Lebanese population, Israel is using phosphorus in its weaponry, Israel refuses to agree to a cease fire, Israel’s retaliation against Hezbollah has been "disproportionate", Israel refuses to engage in negotiations with Hezbollah over a prisoner exchange. CNN’s conclusion is: World opinion will turn against Israel because of its actions. One can only scratch their heads and ask, is there a pattern developing here???
As we watch Anderson Cooper taking us for tours of hospitals in Lebanon showing the burnt and mangled faces of Lebanese children, while giving platforms to Hezbollah supporters who spew forth their party line which includes accusations against Israel for starting this conflict by occupying Palestine, to scared and trapped Americans who blame Israel for the destruction of Beirut. Repetitive images of Israeli tanks and gun ships shooting missiles into Lebanon fill our screens ad infinitum, while there is never a image of a Hezbollah terrorist shooting a Katyusha rocket into Israel.
If this weren’t enough one sided and biased journalism, we are also treated to an hour of Larry King, who gives more than ample time to Hezbollah journalists, Syrian ambassadors, and a whole host of other Israel bashers. King allows them to make hate filled speeches riddled with inaccuracies and grandiose distortions about Israel and her role in this current conflict, while never challenging them in any kind of meaningful and significant manner.
In marked contrast to CNN’s coverage of the war, there is a definitely a more “fair and balanced” coverage on Fox News. While far from being totally fair and balanced Fox News takes pains in researching new details from their reporters in the Middle East and presenting a more even handed account of the situation in Israel.
From Sean Hannity to Bill O’Reilly to Greta Van Susteren to Sheppard Smith, one can see that these journalists are dedicated to digging out the truth by ask searing questions concerning the facts of the situation, which are so very often buried under the propaganda and lies of Hezbollah and other Arab spokesmen who are allowed lengthy platforms for their vituperative and vitriolic rhetoric against Israel.
There is no question that Fox News is far from perfect and has on more than one occasion fallen prey to the CNN and New York Times syndrome of making Israel the scapegoat for the world’s problems, but by in large, Fox has made a concerted effort, thus far, to reporting the news with a high degree of accuracy.
That is all that we can ask from the media. In general, they always have been instrumental in generating negative feelings towards Israel and have been the biggest asset of the cause of Hamas and Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations in the region. Right now, they represent the third front that Israel must contend with. An enemy that is funded not by regimes predicated on terror but on corporate dollars. It is an enemy that never runs out of rockets or mortars or missiles, for their verbal missiles and subliminal messages are in infinite abundance and these fatal weapons shape a public image of Israel that is more deadly than rockets because they pervade the hearts and minds of their viewers.
For the Jewish people, this is an old story. Since Guttenberg invented his first printing press in the 1600s, words and thoughts have always been published against Jews. The media of today bares little difference to its more in-your-face predecessors. While the facts may be different, today’s media is just re-hashing the same kind of Israel hating messages that is has done for close to six decades.
The media is a persistent and resilient foe, almost an implacable one, yet despite this most formidable enemy, we have borne witness to our continued existence as a nation. As with the Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, the Turks, the Nazis, the British, the Soviet Union, the PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah and all the other enemies that I may have forgotten to list, those who sought to vanquish and eradicate the Jewish nation and the Land of Israel, we tell them and the media that they have not succeeded in our destruction and with G-d’s help they never will.
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are one in the same and they are a permanent part of and endemic to our society. With G-d’s help, we will deal with the media as we have with our other enemies and may we take comfort in the fact that we are a people who fears and obeys only the Almighty G-d of Israel and does not fear the words of mortal enemies. World opinion will always be against the Jewish nation, and fearing it and cowering over the words and threats of world leaders is a futile exercise and a colossal waste of precious time.
Let us utilize our precious time in appealing to the Holy One Blessed Be He, who girds His nation Israel with strength, crowns His nation Israel in glory and gives strength to His weary nation. For in the end, the media is just another enemy in a huge litany of enemies. Let us turn to Hashem Yisborach at this critical juncture in time, for it is He who marches into battle with us and it is He who will conquer our enemies, if we only recognize His dominion and His glory.
And to the media, we say, just take your place on the back of a very long line. You’re not our first enemy and you won’t be our last.
May we our prayers reach the Almighty G-d of Israel and may we be zoche to the see our redemption, speedily in our days.