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THE ISRAELI-HEZBOLLAH WAR OF 2006:

The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict

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Introduction

I am grateful to the authors for permitting me to disseminate this study in full.

The Context

The Kalb and Saivetz study is a worthy summary of how Israel lost the media war. Without detracting from the importance of this work, we must first put matters in their appropriate context. The big problem for Israel was not the media war, but the real one, where actual people got killed.

Israel  did not "win" the war within the parameters of the perhaps overambitious goals that were announced. Complaints about unfair media coverage are secondary, and in part are the fault of Israeli management, like other aspects of the war.  In the 1967 6-day war, no goals were announced. If Levi Eshkol had announced that Israel was going to wipe out Gamal Abdul Nasser, then perhaps that war would have been considered a failure too. Beyond that, if Israel had really wiped out the Hezbollah, it would have dealt a serious blow to both Syria and Iran. There is little doubt that Israel would then have won praise from most of the world, and nobody would quibble about the number of civilians killed. The bitterness on both sides was generated in large part because the Israeli casualties and the Lebanese casualties suffered and died for no good reason.

The study

It is a seminal study in many ways that has several dimensions of information, and aspects of interest to those interested in:

  • The Middle East Conflict
  • How media shape the news
  • Anti-Israel bias in the media
  • Media manipulation as an advocacy tool
  • Impact of technology on information

The hostile media effect

The report has at least one general insight that every partisan of any cause must take into account:

"They don’t want you to be balanced in your coverage; they want you to portray the morality of the war as they see it."65 Scholars have coined a term for this problem--it’s called "hostile media effect," meaning partisans tend to believe that the media generally paints them in a negative light. In one experiment, researchers showed 144 informed television viewers six news segments about the 1982 Israel-Lebanon war. Viewers with a pro-Arab sentiment thought they saw 42 pro-Israeli references and 26 anti-Israeli references. Viewers with a pro-Israeli sentiment, watching the same news clips, thought they saw 16 pro-Israeli references and 57 anti-Israeli references. Both sides were positive they were right.66

There are two important points in the above that we encounter all the time. The first is that particular media and reporters and analysts develop followings, and the analysts pander to those who "want you to portray the morality of the war as they see it." This makes most of the "analyses" concerning the Middle East worthless. For any given event, we know what the respective views of most commentators will be, and people buy their journals accordingly, so they can hear the news and opinions they want to hear. If Iran were to drop an A-bomb on Israel tomorrow, we can count on certain journals to "prove" that it was the fault of the Zionists, and that the evil Mossad actually plotted to drop the bomb on themselves in order to arouse the sympathy of the world. On the other hand, if Israel were to drop the bomb on the Palestinians, certain other journals and analysts would insist that it was a "Pallywood" event, or a "work accident."

The second point is the all important "hostile media effect." It is tragicomic to get, time and again, sometimes on the same day, an article  from a pro-Israel source proving that X media outlet is anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic, and an "analysis" from a pro-Palestinian source that the same media outlet is controlled by the international Zionist conspiracy and the Israel lobby. The New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post and the BBC are all targets of this sort of "analysis" at different times.

Omissions

Op-Eds

The report omitted perhaps, one very important constituent, and that is the Op-Ed. Most readers do not distinguish between information they get from news reports and Op-Eds. They do not know that a fixed policy of most journals is that Op-Eds are not edited for accuracy of facts. Nor are they aware of various tricks that journalists use, in order to present a falsehood as the truth, the chief of which is attribution. "Ahmad said that Israeli soldiers come to his village to eat babies," becomes, in the mind of the reader, a factual assertion about Israeli soldiers, not requiring any corroboration. The statement, "According to the Palestinian Health minister, Israelis are distributing poison candies," an absurd assertion, likewise became the subject of a protest letter campaign.

Likewise, it is not insignificant that early in the war, the Washington Post ran an Op Ed by Richard Cohen, who  delivered the sermon that "Israel itself is a mistake." A paper that runs an editorial questioning the legitimacy of a member state of the UN should be excused from further reporting on the subject.

Israeli Media

A second omission in this report was the role played by Israeli media. Of course, if Israeli personnel are allowed to speak to the foreign press and make stupid statements, and Israeli government spokespersons do the same, we can hardly blame the foreign press for disseminating the news. The example of the Six Day War, when everyone, including civilians, shut up about what they knew and did not know, was not followed in this war. Everyone who had something to say, generally something indiscrete or silly, made sure that the media heard them.

But Israeli media led the pack in many aspects of negative reporting, such as highlighting the distress of civilians, and showing, over and over, the same picture of the same hysterical lady fleeing the rockets in a taxi with her baby. Perhaps they wanted to call attention to the lack of civil defense preparations, but since nobody was listening anyhow, the only effect was to demoralize the public and to present Israelis as cowards to the world. There were thousands of stories of heroism under fire and stoic determination to continue life as usual that were generally neglected.

Not all Arab Media were always biased

The report notes:

Asharq Al-Awsat is one of the two Arabic-language newspapers published in London and then distributed throughout the Middle East. From July 13 to August 16, the paper ran 24 photographs related to the war on the front page; all but two of them showed the death and destruction in Lebanon caused by Israeli attacks.20 The Arab reader of this paper could have drawn only one conclusion--that Israel was guilty of converting Lebanon into a "killing field.

Asharq Al-Awsat mirrors Saudi views. At the beginning of the war, the Saudi Arabian government, extraordinarily, came out against the Hezbollah, later modifying its stance  somewhat. A most memorable editorial appeared in the English version (and probably the Arabic version) of Asharq Al-Awsat by Tariq Alhomayed, who happens to be the editor in Chief of that newspaper, on July 15, 2006. Entitled "You Created It, Solve It!", the editorial explained the Saudi viewpoint, that was basically, "Don't expect any help from from us," and stated:

...Lebanon deserves a better life. It is sad that it remains center stage in this conflict; it is sad that Lebanon and its people are exposed to such killings and destruction, whenever a certain individual decides to ignite a battle with Israel.

Crying on the state of the nation and the use of phony slogans has left a bitter aftertaste, throughout the years. All our crises have been caused by unaccounted for adventures and frivolous hyperboles from countries and groups. This is why the Saudi statement is a defining moment in solving the Arab situation and an important turning point.

In all the wars that Israel has fought, and in all the the years of the conflict, such a viewpoint has rarely been heard from an Arab state that is officially at war with Israel, especially during a conflict. But the Saudis could not maintain this position very long, because the Israeli military failures, as well as the actual and undeniable destruction that was being wreaked in Lebanon, justified or otherwise. 

UNIFIL and the war

The report has one quaint and naive anomaly. It digressed from media coverage to discuss the role of UNIFIL. The authors note:

UNIFIL was the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. It consisted of roughly 2,000 troops stationed along the Lebanese-Israeli border from 1978 until the end of the 2006 war. Its mandate required "full impartiality and objectivity."31

During the war, it published information on its official website about Israeli troop movements, information that in military circles might well be regarded as "actionable intelligence."

Take, for instance, its posting of July 25, 2006:

"Yesterday and during last night, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) moved significant reinforcements, including a number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and infantry, to the area of Marun Al Ras inside Lebanese territory. The IDF advanced from that area north towards Bint Jubayl and south towards Yarun." 32

Or, its posting of July 24, which disclosed that IDF forces stationed between Marun Al Ras and Bint Jubayl were "significantly reinforced during the night and this morning with a number of tanks and armored personnel carriers."33

It was part of UNIFIL’s responsibility to report violations of the ceasefire, including troop movements, to the U.N., but presumably this information was to be conveyed through confidential channels, not on the Internet, where the information in wartime could be as valuable as hard, military intelligence suddenly exposed to the light.

These postings, similar to others during the war, coincided with heavy fighting in the region. Israeli units came under severe Hezbollah attack. It is impossible for outsiders to know whether Hezbollah used the information provided by UNIFIL, which was available to anyone with a laptop, or whether Hezbollah depended primarily upon information provided by loyal local supporters. However, no UNIFIL posting during the war contained any specific information relating to Hezbollah’s military movements, perhaps because they were not visible to UNIFIL or perhaps because UNIFIL did not choose to see the movements.34

UNIFIL is not media. UNIFIL was a hostile agent acting against Israel, and the Israeli government and the media should have understood this. One can only fault the media for not reporting the bias of UNIFIL and the blatant bias of the UN. An organization that has a special department devoted to delegitimization of the state of Israel cannot be expected to be unbiased. The UN's record regarding Hezbollah is clear. When Hezbollah kidnapped Israeli soldiers, UN personnel photographed the incident, did nothing to prevent the kidnapping, and then refused to turn over the film to Israel for analysis that might have saved the soldiers' lives.

According to UN Security Council Resolution 1559, Hezbollah was to be disarmed, but UNIFIL and the UN did nothing to implement that resolution. That was the major policy failure that led to this war, and the press was remiss in not reporting it, and the Israeli government was remiss in not constantly reminding the world that the Hezbollah remained under arms, contrary to international resolutions.

UNIFIL posts have been photographed side by side with outposts flying the Hezbollah flag. UNIFIL today makes believe it doesn't know about Syrian arms shipments to Hezbollah.  Expecting the UN to be neutral in a conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah is like expecting Soviet observers to mediate impartially between ARVN and the Viet Cong. Why is anyone surprised that UNIFIL was aiding the Hezbollah?  

The news is news

For my taste, this report is a bit too enamored of the media person's mantra that "the news is news." This quote is a bit much:

"The new element of power that has emerged in the last thirty to forty years and has subsumed the rest is information," he said. "A revolution happened without us knowing or paying attention. Perception truly now is reality, and our enemies know it."

The year 1984 has come and gone without exactly fulfilling the Orwellian prophecy. While television news represents reality to many people, a real reality still exists outside the virtual reality. Nobody can doubt the power of both conventional media and the Internet to influence opinion, but reality is still out there.

Despite its much vaunted "victory" in the summer war, Hezbollah may not be in the mood to follow up on its brilliant "success" with similar escapades. On the other hand, the big problem for Israel in this war is not that some reporters in the US said that we are not nice, but that IDF went to war against a vastly inferior enemy, and did not win a decisive advantage.

And yet again, it seems that the power of the press impresses journalists:

To do their jobs, journalists employed both the camera and the computer, and, with the help of portable satellite dishes and video phones, "streamed" or broadcast their reports from hotel roofs and hilltops, as they covered the movement of troops and the rocketing of villages--often, (unintentionally, one assumes) revealing sensitive information to the enemy. Once upon a time, such information was the stuff of military intelligence acquired with considerable effort and risk; now it has become the stuff of everyday journalism. The camera and the computer have become weapons of war.

For any journalist worth his or her salt, this should spark a respectful moment of reflection. Not only did this new and awesome technology enable journalists to bring the ugly reality of war to both belligerents (and others around the world), serving as a powerful influence on public opinion and governmental attitudes and actions; it also became an extremely valuable intelligence asset for both Israel and Hezbollah, and Hezbollah especially exploited it.

But this power is not new. Major General Reinhard Gehlen of the German Abwehr pioneered the use of press reports for intelligence data, and the Mossad and Israeli Army intelligence (AMAN) regularly comb Arab media for information as well, and have been doing so for years. We also know that the press can play a critical role in policy decisions. The Chinese Opium war was apparently due to the enterprising efforts of some American journalists. After World War II, the British press exaggerated the effectiveness of Irgun terror and helped to pressure the British government into ending the Palestine mandate. The consistent bias against Winston Churchill and against any negative news about Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in the British press of the early 1930s materially aided the enemy to continue their arms build-up and aggression unhindered, and conversely, their conversion to Churchill's views helped bring him to power in 1940.

Hezbollah did not need to get information from the press or UNIFIL. A powerful Russian-manned Syrian listening station captured all Israeli military and cell phone communications traffic - incredibly there was no radio silence or encryption. The Hezbollah cannot be faulted for using what Israel gave them, a much better source of information than press reports.

Israeli errors

Israel has gone to war several times taking for granted that international institutions such as the UN will be hostile or indifferent, and likewise, in later years,  the hostility of foreign media, except perhaps those of the United States, could be taken for granted. This has been a given for many years.

We could take such imaginative reporting for granted in Middle Eastern media since the 1967 Six Day War, when the Arab press reported the "victories" of the Egyptian army, and later reported that the Sixth fleet and American pilots were responsible for the destruction of the Egyptian air force. This canard is still believed in this part of the world, along with the conviction that the Mossad or the FBI were responsible for the attacks of 9-11, the absolutely genuine nature of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the assertion that Jews make matzos from the blood of Christian children.

Regarding the Yom Kippur War, until today the Egyptian government celebrates that "victory" each year with caricatures of Arab supermen crushing Nazi cartoons of Jews, and there is a 6 October City and a 6 October university to commemorate the victory. So we could understand that anything short of total annihilation of an Arab enemy would be considered a victory.

Since 2000, the malaise of Middle East imaginative "reporting" has spread from the Middle East to the West. Terrorists are called "militants" in the Western press because reporters are threatened with expulsion or worse if they use the "T" word. This may be due to coercion, but  when a journalist darkens photos deliberately and adds smoke to them, when the same dimpled lady appears in two photos in different cities, bewailing her lost home, when the international press reports that 500 people were murdered by Israel in Jenin, or Robert Fisk reports that Israel used nonexistent "uranium bombs" in Lebanon, or the Guardian shows a Jewish star engulfing Europe, or the Independent prints a cartoon of Ariel Sharon eating babies, or the Sunday Times runs an absurd story about an Israeli ethno-bomb that kills only Arabs, it is worse than lack of objectivity.

Likewise, the hostility of the UN is part of the scenery of Middle East politics.  If the hair of one Arab civilian is harmed by Israeli artillery fire, no matter what the provocation, everyone understands that John Dugard will manufacture a half-dozen resolutions condemning Israel in the UN. 

Those who planned a war in Israel should have taken into account that these are the basic conditions under which Israel operates. The media war failure was reflective of the general failure of the Israeli government. The IDF could not really lose a "war" against an "army" of about 2,000 front-line guerrillas, but the Israeli government and the top brass of the IDF seemed to be sparing no effort to bring about that result, inflating the war aims, reporting unrealistically about achievements, and even broadcasting to Hezbollah the location of a gathering of soldiers in Kfar Giladi, so the Hezbollah could attack hem. The motor-mouthed officials and army officers daily manufactured more grist for the mills of eager anti-Israeli journalists.

We cannot blame the Hezbollah for being "unfair," because manipulation of media is one of the clever and legitimate tactics of waging war. Nor is it related particularly to asymmetrical warfare, since the Allies and the Nazis and the Soviet government all manipulated media. We cannot blame reporters for being reporters or Robert Fisk for being Robert Fisk, any more than we can blame dogs for barking. It is not the fault of the Hezbollah if they knew they could manufacture fibs about Israeli atrocities, and that Miri Regev, the IDF spokesperson, would not be prepared with a response, and it is hardly the fault of the foreign press if Amir Peretz said that Nasrallah would never forget the name of Amir Peretz, or more recently reviewed an army exercise with lens caps on his binoculars.

Where is the Israel Lobby?

The question that begs to be asked in this study, is "Where is the Israel Lobby?" According to another, very influential study that originally came out under the Harvard imprimatur, but was later disowned, the nefarious "Israel Lobby" controls US policy and the media. If it were true, then surely this all powerful force should have been able to quash the darkening of pictures of Beirut smoke. The "Zionist controlled media" could not possibly have shown such systematic bias as is systematically documented in this study. 

The big picture

The report below should be considered in the context of the war and the general Middle East controntation. Poor Israeli management and lack of military success are partly to blame for unfavorable media coverage, but that does not excuse the media.  The report is  a serious indictment of media reporting about the Middle East. Israeli blunders in the war were magnified by the incompetence, credulity and bias of reporters and editors. The war was no exception. Palestinian and Hezbollah atrocities are systematically swept under the rug, Israeli errors are magnified and celebrated. Reports of imaginary Israeli weapons and human rights violations are headline news. Every extremist statement by any minor political or religious figure in Israel becomes the subject of international scrutiny, while even the most extreme rantings of Hamas leaders are ignored. Israeli peace overtures and concessions get back page coverage at best. On the other hand, the tiniest unconfirmed rumor that Hamas might possibly consent to live in temporary peace with Israel if Israel accepts suicidal conditions is given front page coverage. The inevitable denial is buried in the back pages.

The IDF is trying to correct its mistakes, and Israeli society is trying to do something about its governmental problems. A British journalist reported that his editor forbade him to write that Yasser Arafat had rejected the Clinton peace proposals, even though it was true, because it was "necessary to maintain balance." The BBC, on the other hand, is spending huge sums of money to suppress a report that documents its systematic anti-Israel bias. Admissions of bias by systematically biased sources like NPR and the Independent are very rare. Journals like the Independent and likewise the Sunday Times, usually do not bother to publish retractions of their imaginative canards.

Will media find the way to correct themselves?

Ami Isseroff


Note

This version has been updated by the authors, to correct casualty figures:

"There were discrepancies in the death count in Lebanon. The Associated Press estimated that 845 Lebanese had been killed -- 743 civilians, 34 soldiers and 68 Hezbollah fighters. Lebanon's Higher Relief Council put the figure at 1,181, saying that a majority were civilians, and one-third were children.   Hezbollah provided no official estimates of its own losses, but Israel figured that it had killed 500-600 guerrilla fighters."

Ami Isseroff


THE ISRAELI-HEZBOLLAH WAR OF 2006:

The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict

By

Marvin Kalb and Carol Saivetz

This research paper was prepared by scholars at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for presentation at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar on February 18, 2007. The U.S.-Islamic World Forum is co-sponsored by the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World within the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC and the Government of the State of Qatar.

This research paper is dedicated to Walter Shorenstein, without whose financial support, encouragement and genuine enthusiasm for a free and vibrant press around the world it could not have been done.

 

Sacha Evans of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy in Washington, DC contributed hugely to the research, editing and preparation of this research paper.  Our gratitude is boundless.


Introduction:

For 34 days in the summer of 2006, the world’s attention was once again riveted on the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. There, in Lebanon, a lovely country of cedar trees and sectarian strife, a bloody war erupted between Hezbollah and Israel.

It quickly became apparent that this was not the traditional war between Israel and an Arab state; it was rather an asymmetrical war, the new prototype of Middle East conflict, between a state (Israel) and a militant, secretive, religiously fundamentalist sect or faction, such as, in the case of Lebanon, Hezbollah, the "Party of God," often referred to as a "state within a state," or, in the case of the Gaza strip, Hamas, the radical wing of the Palestinian movement that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist as an independent nation.

New York Times columnist David Brooks has described these various groups in three ways:1 as "subnational," like the Mahdi Army in Iraq; "supranational," like the unofficial alliances linking Hezbollah and Hamas to Iran and Syria; or "transnational," like communication networks, such as the two Arabic-language newspapers published in London and distributed throughout the Arab world, and even more crucial to understanding this asymmetrical warfare, the two cable television networks: 1/ Al-Jazeera, the most popular TV network in the region broadcasting out of the Persian Gulf sheikdom of Qatar, and 2/ Al-Arabiya, the second most popular network, broadcasting out of nearby Dubai, another Persian Gulf sheikdom. Al-Jazeera brilliantly reflects and feeds the mood of the Arab streets, which is hostile to the West and Israel, while Al-Arabiya, financed by Saudi and Lebanese businessmen (a few with ties to the royal family in Saudi Arabia), advances a similar but more cautious agenda. In their coverage, both exploit the most sophisticated technology to carry their reports into the cafes and castles, huts and hamlets of the Middle East.

Also in this "transnational" world of media interconnectivity, at the very apex, stands the Internet, perhaps the most revolutionary technology in the modern world. During the summertime war in Lebanon, it helped produce the first really "live" war in history. True, during the first Gulf War of 1991, two American networks did broadcast one "live" report each from liberated Kuwait and during the second Gulf War of 2003, many networks did "live" broadcasts along the U.S. invasion route from Kuwait to Baghdad. But not until this war have networks actually projected in real time the grim reality of the battlefield--pictures of advancing or retreating Israeli troops in southern Lebanon, homes and villages being destroyed during bombing runs, old people wandering aimlessly through the debris, some tailed by children hugging tattered dolls, Israeli airplanes attacking Beirut airport, Hezbollah rockets striking northern Israel and Haifa, forcing 300,000 to evacuate their homes and move into underground shelters--all conveyed "live," as though the world had a front-row seat on the blood and gore of modern warfare.

To do their jobs, journalists employed both the camera and the computer, and, with the help of portable satellite dishes and video phones, "streamed" or broadcast their reports from hotel roofs and hilltops, as they covered the movement of troops and the rocketing of villages--often, (unintentionally, one assumes) revealing sensitive information to the enemy. Once upon a time, such information was the stuff of military intelligence acquired with considerable effort and risk; now it has become the stuff of everyday journalism. The camera and the computer have become weapons of war.

For any journalist worth his or her salt, this should spark a respectful moment of reflection. Not only did this new and awesome technology enable journalists to bring the ugly reality of war to both belligerents (and others around the world), serving as a powerful influence on public opinion and governmental attitudes and actions; it also became an extremely valuable intelligence asset for both Israel and Hezbollah, and Hezbollah especially exploited it.

If we are to collect lessons from this war, one of them would have to be that a closed society can control the image and the message that it wishes to convey to the rest of the world far more effectively than can an open society, especially one engaged in an existential struggle for survival. An open society becomes the victim of its own openness. During the war, no Hezbollah secrets were disclosed, but in Israel secrets were leaked, rumors spread like wildfire, leaders felt obliged to issue hortatory appeals often based on incomplete knowledge, and journalists were driven by the fire of competition to publish and broadcast unsubstantiated information. A closed society conveys the impression of order and discipline; an open society, buffeted by the crosswinds of reality and rumor, criticism and revelation, conveys the impression of disorder, chaos and uncertainty, but this impression can be misleading.

It was hardly an accident that Hezbollah, in this circumstance, projected a very special narrative for the world beyond its kin--a narrative that depicted a selfless movement touched by God and blessed by a religious fervor and determination to resist the enemy, the infidel, and ultimately achieve a "divine victory," no matter the cost in life and treasure. The narrative contained no mention of Hezbollah’s dependence upon Iran and Syria for a steady flow of arms and financial resources.

For Hezbollah, the 2006 summertime war was more than a battle against a mortal enemy; it was a crucial battle in a broader, ongoing war, linking religious fundamentalism to Arab nationalism. Will victory be defined as an open door to modernity or to a new caliphate? That is a key question. The whole Arab world is often framed as a "politically traumatized region," wrote Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland, caught in the "morbid interim between the dying of an exhausted political and social order and the birth of a still-unknown way of life."2 Hezbollah saw itself as a resolute leader in shaping the Arab future.

Like Hamas and al-Qaeda, it appreciated the central importance of the communications revolution sweeping through the region. These three radical groups believe, according to Steve Fondacaro, an American military expert, that it is on the "information battlefield" that the historic struggle between Western modernity and Islamic fundamentalism will ultimately be resolved. "The new element of power that has emerged in the last thirty to forty years and has subsumed the rest is information," he said. "A revolution happened without us knowing or paying attention. Perception truly now is reality, and our enemies know it."3

One Australian expert on counterinsurgency, now on loan to the State Department, Colonel David Kilcullen, agreed. "It’s now fundamentally an information fight," he explained. When insurgents ambush an American convoy in Iraq, he said, "they are not doing that because they want to reduce the number of Humvees we have in Iraq by one. They’re doing it because they want spectacular media footage of a burning Humvee." He then gave another example: "If bin Laden didn’t have access to global media, satellite communications and the Internet, he’d just be a cranky guy in a cave."4 Maybe, but in fact bin Laden does understand the enormous power of modern communications. Whenever he has a message for the world, he simply tapes it and gives it to Al-Jazeera. He knows it will be broadcast throughout the world. When bin Laden wanted to help tip the 2004 presidential election in the U.S. to the incumbent, George W. Bush, he criticized Bush in a taped message delivered to Al-Jazeera. In Washington, such an approach would be called "media manipulation," and it works there as it does in the Middle East.

Whether "sub," "supra" or "trans" this fusion of radical, revolutionary politics and ultramodern communications technology, as witnessed in the Lebanon War of 2006, has come to define the very nature of asymmetrical warfare. A key consequence of this new warfare is that the role of the journalist in many parts of the world has been dramatically transformed--from a quest for objectivity and fairness to an acceptance of advocacy as a tool of the craft. If once the journalist aspired to honest and detached reporting, now it has become increasingly acceptable for the journalist to be an activist player and a fiery advocate. 24/7 cable news has placed a premium on provocative chatter, not on substantive discourse. Many journalists in the Middle East, born into a culture of submissiveness to centralized authority, have always seen themselves as players and advocates, but this has not been the norm in Europe or the United States, and this change is both noteworthy and disturbing.

 

The War:

The war in Lebanon began on July 12, when Hezbollah launched a surprise attack across the Israeli border. In the attack, three Israeli soldiers were killed and two were captured. If Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, had calculated that the attack would trigger a moderate Israeli response, leading to an ultimate exchange of prisoners, as was the pattern in the past, he obviously miscalculated, which he later admitted.5 For, almost immediately, as if forewarned, Israel sent an armored force into southern Lebanon and ordered thousands of troops and reservists to head to the northern part of the country. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not have to announce that Israel was preparing to move back into southern Lebanon for the first time since 2000, when Israel unilaterally withdrew after obtaining a U.N. assurance that Hezbollah would be disarmed--somehow. Everyone understood that Israel suddenly found herself fighting a two-front war--in Lebanon and in Gaza. On June 25, Palestinian militants had crossed the Gaza-Israel border, exchanged fire with Israeli troops and then, while retreating, captured an Israeli soldier.6 The Israelis had quickly retaliated, leading to a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in Gaza, which Israel had also evacuated unilaterally the previous summer. The question was asked: was Hezbollah’s precipitating provocation deliberately coordinated with Hamas’ cross-border raid? Nasrallah, who served not only as Hezbollah’s political and spiritual leader but also as its only official spokesman throughout the war, told reporters that Hezbollah had been planning its attack for months, but then he added: "The timing, no doubt, provides support for our brothers in Palestine."7

In Lebanon, the war escalated swiftly. Israel launched a massive air--and later ground--campaign against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon and in a Shiite suburb of Beirut, known as "Security Square." Because Hezbollah functioned as a quasi-military force within its populace, protecting it, feeding it, housing it, and in general caring for its needs, the Israelis were quickly accused of hitting civilian targets with an indiscriminate callousness amounting to war crimes.8 On August 3, Human Rights Watch specifically accused Israel of war crimes. Few seemed to note that before the war, on May 27, Nasrallah had actually--and publicly--embraced the guerrilla tactic of hiding soldiers among civilians. "[Hezbollah fighters] live in their houses, in their schools, in their churches, in their fields, in their farms and in their factories," he said, adding, "You can’t destroy them in the same way you would destroy an army." By war’s end, it was clear that Nasrallah was right. Hezbollah, though severely wounded, remained a fighting force in defiant objection to all U.N. resolutions calling for it to be disarmed.9

Israel defended its military operations by citing two relevant articles in international law: using civilians for military cover was a war crime, and any target with soldiers hiding among civilians was considered a legitimate military target. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, framed her government’s argument in cold language. "When you go to sleep with a missile, " she told The New York Times, "you might find yourself waking up to another kind of missile."10

Israel’s defense, though, fell on deaf ears, not only among diplomats but also reporters, as daily evidence mounted of civilian deaths. Hezbollah, whenever possible, pointed reporters to civilian deaths among Lebanese, a helpful gesture with heavy propaganda implications. Early in the war, reporters routinely noted that Hezbollah had started the war, and its casualties were a logical consequence of war. But after the first week such references were either dropped or downplayed, leaving the widespread impression that Israel was a loose cannon shooting at anything that moved. "Disproportionality" became the war’s mantra; even if Israel did not start the war, so the argument went, it responded to Hezbollah’s opening raid with a disproportionate display of military strength, wrecking Lebanon’s economy, destroying its infrastructure, inflaming political passions and killing civilians with reckless abandon. "And for what?" Lebanese asked. "For three soldiers?" Rarely in the coverage was there "proportionate" mention of Israeli civilian deaths suffered during Hezbollah’s sustained rocket attacks.

A graphic example of "disproportionality" popped up on television screens on July 30, when the Israelis bombed the Shiite village of Qana in southern Lebanon, and, according to early reports, killed 54, 56 or 57 Lebanese civilians, mostly women and children. 11 Journalists rushed to the scene. One survivor was quoted as saying that there were "63 people from two families" hiding in the basement of the building that was hit and that then collapsed. A Lebanese government spokesman said that 54 people had been killed. A Human Rights Watch official on the scene said that actually 28 bodies had been found in the wreckage and another 22 had somehow escaped, leaving a number of others in the "unaccounted for" category. Most reporters used the higher of the two estimates, some describing the scene as a massacre. It made for more sensational copy.

Whether the accurate figure was 28 or 54, the attack was an unmitigated disaster. Many innocent people were killed. The Israelis apologized for the loss of life but explained that they were firing at a rocket site next to the building. The location of the rocket site put the Israelis in a difficult position--choosing either not to destroy the rocket site or to destroy it but also run the risk of killing civilians and thereby earning a blast of international condemnation.

Everyone knew--or should have known--that in 1996, during an earlier 16-day war with Hezbollah, the Israelis had also struck Qana and hit a U.N. compound filled with refugees, killing 106 civilians. Then, too, there had been international condemnation of the "massacre," and then, too, Israel had apologized. 12

Both sides became hardened to the tragedies of war. Over the 34 days of the 2006 conflict, Hezbollah rained an estimated 3, 970 Katyusha rockets and longer range missiles on military--and civilian--targets in northern Israel, and then it hit the densely populated port city of Haifa, scattering Israelis to underground bomb shelters, where they lived for the better part of a month.13 Hezbollah also threatened to hit Tel Aviv but never did, perhaps because Israel had destroyed its longer-range missiles in the first week of the war.14

Towards the end of the conflict, as the devastation spread and casualties rose, there was a chorus of calls for a ceasefire.15 The United States, for a time, stalled, apparently hoping that with each day and week of deliberate delay Israel could finally succeed in defeating Hezbollah. But in this regard Israel failed, and Hezbollah prevailed. It was often said during the Vietnam War that if the guerrillas did not lose, they had won; and if the U.S. did not win, it had lost. During the Lebanon war, neither side lost, nor won. Led by the U.S. and France, the U.N. finally agreed on the terms of a ceasefire. One condition was that Hezbollah had to disarm, and military shipments from Iran and Syria had to stop. Yet Hezbollah did not disarm; it proclaimed that it had achieved a "divine victory" and after a few months it even made a dramatic bid for absolute political power in Lebanon, trying to drive its political opponents from office. Nasrallah also boasted that Hezbollah still had 20,000 rockets and missiles in its hidden arsenal.16

After every war, like somber drumbeats rolling across the field of battle, casualties are counted and bodies buried. In this war, Lebanese casualties were much higher than Israeli casualties, but both sides suffered grievously from a war that seemed especially cruel and long. By war’s end on August 14, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 162 Israelis had been killed during the war--43 civilians, 119 soldiers.17 There were discrepancies in the death count in Lebanon. The Associated Press estimated that 845 Lebanese had been killed--743 civilians, 34 soldiers and 68 Hezbollah fighters. 18 Lebanon’s Higher Relief Council put the figure at 1,181, saying that a majority were civilians, and one-third were children. Hezbollah provided no official estimates of its own losses, but Israel figured that it had killed 500-600 guerrilla fighters.19

Coverage:

  1. "Disproportionality:"

No theme resonated through the coverage of the Lebanese war more forcefully than the repeated assertion by Arab and Western reporters that Israel responded "disproportionately" to Hezbollah’s initial provocation. Though three soldiers had been killed and two captured, it was said that the provocation was similar in style to others that took place over the years, both sides expecting the U.N. or the U.S. to intervene and negotiate first a ceasefire and then a prisoner swap, and that the Israeli response thus seemed wildly out of kilter--and, therefore, "disproportionate."

Whether it was first the media focusing on this theme and then Hezbollah exploiting its propaganda value, or whether it was Hezbollah deliberately drawing journalists to this story day after day (though given the almost daily damage, this was hardly necessary, since journalists would have focused on it anyway) there appears to be little doubt that the media everywhere emphasized the theme of "disproportionality" from the opening day of the conflict, as though nothing else measured up to it in importance.

The theme was obvious in most of the reporting. Let us engage for a moment in what scholars call "content analysis." Look at the headlines, the photographs and the television reports, measure the time devoted to them on television and the space set aside for them in newspapers, check the nationality of the "victims" (sometimes referred to as "martyrs" by Arab reporters)--and you are quickly able to spot the media’s approach in covering this war. Was it, as Fox President Roger Ailes might ask, "fair and balanced?" Or, was it tilted or biased in one direction or another?

Asharq Al-Awsat is one of the two Arabic-language newspapers published in London and then distributed throughout the Middle East. From July 13 to August 16, the paper ran 24 photographs related to the war on the front page; all but two of them showed the death and destruction in Lebanon caused by Israeli attacks.20 The Arab reader of this paper could have drawn only one conclusion--that Israel was guilty of converting Lebanon into a "killing field." Only once, July 31, did Asharq Al-Awsat show a photograph of the destruction that Hezbollah rockets were causing in Israel. This imbalance (22 to 1) could hardly be defined by a Western yardstick as "objective journalism," but it could still be explained in the context of Middle East journalism, where many Arab reporters feel a nationalistic, religious or cultural prejudice against Israel. Therefore, by featuring 22 front-page photographs of the devastation caused by Israeli bombing of Lebanon and essentially ignoring Hezbollah’s attacks against Israel, Asharq Al-Awsat was only doing what came naturally--it was playing to the prejudices of its readers, who felt sympathy for their Arab brethren under Israeli fire. Asharq Al-Awsat was selling papers.

Further, if you were watching Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, and switching back and fourth, and if on occasion you asked the question, "Who is really the aggressor in this war?" (which started when Hezbollah staged a cross-border raid and killed three Israelis) your answer would be Israel, and the answer would surprise no one. Media Tenor, the highly-respected media research organization in Germany, found, first, that Al-Arabiya ran 214 stories on the subject, and, second, that 94 percent of them referred to Israel as the "aggressor."21 Al-Jazeera ran 83 stories on the subject and 78 percent of them reached the same conclusion. All of these stories, showing pictures of Israeli attacks against Lebanese targets, were presented as examples of "disproportionality." Why Al-Arabiya ran twice as many stories on the subject was not explored or explained.

Another survey by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy examined headlines and photos on Al-Jazeera’s website. Fifty percent of the photos portrayed Israel as the aggressor, only six percent portrayed Hezbollah as the aggressor. The headlines made an attempt to strike a more balanced picture but did not get far: Israel, labeled as the aggressor 39 percent of the time, Hezbollah 13 percent of the time.22 Most Arab news organizations now have their own websites, which provide a separate universe of news, information and opinion but reflect essentially the same editorial opinion. While not yet profitable, these websites are moving from loss leader status to profit centers.

By comparison, if you were watching the BBC for war coverage, you would have seen a somewhat more balanced approach. The BBC ran 117 stories. Thirty-eight percent fingered Israel as the aggressor, only four percent fingered Hezbollah. The BBC then said that both Israel and Hezbollah were equally to blame for the war. BBC coverage generally tipped against Israel, perhaps in response to public opinion. According to a YouGov poll of British viewers and voters, 63 percent believed that Israel’s response to Hezbollah’s attack had been "disproportionate." Only 17 percent thought it was "proportionate." 23

However, if you were watching American television, you would quickly have concluded that Fox cable news favored Israel, CNN tried to be balanced, and the three major evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC were more critical of Israel than of Hezbollah. It was a time of saturation coverage. In the first two weeks of the war, they ran 258 stories, an average of 18 stories a night, representing the heaviest period of international coverage since the failed coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in the summer of 1991. More than half of the stories (133) focused on Israeli attacks against Lebanon, 89 of them on Hezbollah attacks against Israel.24 Negative-sounding judgments of Israel’s attacks and counter-attacks permeated most network coverage, except on Fox, where the coverage of Hezbollah’s activities was decidedly negative.

A man-in-the-street interview on the NBC Nightly News on 7/21/06: "They (Israelis) are destroying everything. We do not understand for what, because they kidnapped two soldiers? It’s not a reason."25

Reporter David Wright on ABC World News Tonight on 7/17/06: "That kind of destruction is what leads many ordinary Lebanese to view the Israelis as villains. Whether or not they approve of Hezbollah, they hear the bombs raining down." 26

On the front pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post, Israel was portrayed as the aggressor nearly twice as often in the headlines and exactly three times as often in the photos, according to another Shorenstein Center survey.27 Although neither The Times nor The Post stressed the theme of "disproportionality" on their front pages, both made frequent references to it in their stories, analyses and editorial columns.

Another major theme in the coverage of the Lebanon war had to do with traditional Arab feelings of "victimization." Both Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya hit this theme frequently. Al-Arabiya, for example, stressed Lebanese victimization in 95 percent of its stories, according to Media Tenor.28 In other words, the viewer could not escape the belief that Israel was the aggressor and the Lebanese were the victims. Al-Jazeera, though, hit this theme in 70 percent of its broadcasts about Lebanon, a high percentage but still 25 percent less than Al-Arabiya, which coincidentally meant Al-Jazeera was emphasizing this theme with the same frequency as the four top television programs in Germany.29 Most television networks around the world ran many more stories from Lebanon than from Israel, and the stories all focused on Lebanese deaths, destruction and devastation, which led to the obvious conclusion: in this war, as in other Arab-Israeli conflicts, the Arabs were portrayed as the victims.

On the other side of the coin of victimization is said to be an equally strong Arab feeling of humiliation, which often finds its expression in the question: how come Israel consistently defeats the Arab nation? Al-Jazeera’s editor, Ahmed Sheikh, recently addressed this question in the German weekly Die Weltwoche: "It gnaws at the people in the Middle East," he said, "that such a small country as Israel, with only about seven million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million people. That hurts our collective ego." 30 Sheikh sees the Arab nation as one nation, which is interesting and even understandable within the context of romantic 20th century nationalism. Until the Lebanon war, Israel defeated one, two or three Arab states at a time. Now, it faces not just states but tribal sects, religious factions and "states within states," such as Hezbollah. Asymmetrical warfare has added a critical new factor to any calculation of winners and losers. In strictly military terms, Israel did not lose to Hezbollah in this war, but it clearly did not win. In the war of information, news and propaganda, the battlefield central to Hezbollah’s strategy, Israel lost this war. How it will attempt to control the media message in the next war is likely to be a hot topic of discussion in Israeli war councils. One question is whether a democracy can--and should--make such an effort.

 2. Internet as Intelligence:

UNIFIL was the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. It consisted of roughly 2,000 troops stationed along the Lebanese-Israeli border from 1978 until the end of the 2006 war. Its mandate required "full impartiality and objectivity."31

During the war, it published information on its official website about Israeli troop movements, information that in military circles might well be regarded as "actionable intelligence."

Take, for instance, its posting of July 25, 2006:

"Yesterday and during last night, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) moved significant reinforcements, including a number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and infantry, to the area of Marun Al Ras inside Lebanese territory. The IDF advanced from that area north towards Bint Jubayl and south towards Yarun." 32

Or, its posting of July 24, which disclosed that IDF forces stationed between Marun Al Ras and Bint Jubayl were "significantly reinforced during the night and this morning with a number of tanks and armored personnel carriers."33

It was part of UNIFIL’s responsibility to report violations of the ceasefire, including troop movements, to the U.N., but presumably this information was to be conveyed through confidential channels, not on the Internet, where the information in wartime could be as valuable as hard, military intelligence suddenly exposed to the light.

These postings, similar to others during the war, coincided with heavy fighting in the region. Israeli units came under severe Hezbollah attack. It is impossible for outsiders to know whether Hezbollah used the information provided by UNIFIL, which was available to anyone with a laptop, or whether Hezbollah depended primarily upon information provided by loyal local supporters. However, no UNIFIL posting during the war contained any specific information relating to Hezbollah’s military movements, perhaps because they were not visible to UNIFIL or perhaps because UNIFIL did not choose to see the movements.34

Either way, Hezbollah, fighting an asymmetrical war, could easily have benefited from UNIFIL’s web postings; indeed, it would have been foolish for them not to accept UNIFIL’s gift. Israel, a democracy caught in such a guerrilla-style war, found itself unable to benefit from the daily postings, because they contained no useful intelligence about Hezbollah’s movements.

3. Access:

Reporters always complain about access, specifically in this war they complained about not having had enough access to the battlefield. Their complaints were directed primarily at Israel, which tried to accommodate the needs of hundreds of foreign correspondents attempting to cover the conflict. Complaints were rarely directed at Hezbollah, which controlled media access with a bookkeeper’s rigidity. Once, Hezbollah conducted a media tour of a southern suburb of Beirut inhabited by Shiite supporters whose homes and apartments had been badly damaged during Israeli air strikes.35 The point was to again use the media as a weapon in the propaganda war for public approval, and the media did not mind being used, though they were forced to pay a price. Foreign correspondents were warned, on entry to the tour, that they could not wander off on their own or ask questions of any of the residents. They could only take pictures of sites approved by their Hezbollah minders. Violations, they were told, would be treated harshly. Cameras would be confiscated, film or tape destroyed, and offending reporters would never again be allowed access to Hezbollah officials or Hezbollah-controlled areas.

So far as we know, of all the reporters taken on this guided tour, reminiscent of the Soviet era, only CNN’s Anderson Cooper described the rigid ground rules for what they were--an attempt to create and control a story.36 And Hezbollah succeeded. All of the other reporters followed the Hezbollah script: Israel, in a cruel, heartless display of power, bombed innocent civilians. Casualties were high. Devastation was everywhere. So spoke the Hezbollah spokesman; so wrote many in the foreign press corps. At one point, apparently on cue, a Hezbollah minder signaled for ambulances to rev up their engines, set off their sirens and drive noisily down the street. The scene was orchestrated, designed to provide a photo op, and reporters went along for the ride. It was for them a rare look "inside" Hezbollah. For Hezbollah, it was another successful play to the gallery.

But, on any given day, reporters and cameramen in Beirut went off on their own with no official chaperones. They hired cars and rode long rutted roads toward southern Lebanon. The main road was pocked by bomb craters, bridges blown away and craters so wide and deep they looked like lakes. Many of the small, picturesque villages, bombed and shelled by the Israelis, still served as Hezbollah strongholds. The cameramen didn’t need Hezbollah’s permission to film the devastation, but if in the wreckage they saw young men with guns, they were warned not to take pictures of these Hezbollah fighters, else their cameras would be confiscated and they might run into trouble returning to Beirut--an indirect warning, which most reporters took seriously. Even without these pictures, though, reporters still had a good story--old men and women caring for young children and surviving in the grimy grit of war, as Israeli tanks and troops snaked their way through the countryside. Throughout the conflict, the rarest picture of all was that of a Hezbollah guerrilla. It was as if the war on the Hezbollah side was being fought by ghosts.

Only Kevin Sites, who calls himself a "sojo," or solo journalist, claimed to have no trouble getting through to Hezbollah fighters, though he provided evidence of getting through to only one.37 His reports appeared on a pioneering Yahoo! News website called "Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone," where he filed more than 100 pieces from various war zones. In a July 28 piece, Sites reported from a small village north of Tyre, where he met "Hussein" in his home. The interview was arranged by a "source," who presumably served as an interpreter. "Hussein" was "polite" and "resolute" and after a while pulled from his bedroom closet "an American-made M-16 assault rifle," "a rocket-propelled grenade launcher" and a "green shoulder harness full of ammunition clips." "Hussein" was said to be waiting for a "call south" but in the meantime was "looking for Israeli spies." "Sojo"-style journalism places a supreme priority on the professional integrity of the reporter, who travels alone and files his or her reports using a backpack of digital technology.

Anthony Shadid, an Arabic-speaking reporter for The Washington Post, drove one day to the Litani River, where he came upon the unusual scene of a score of men pushing and pulling two trucks laden with supplies.38 "Don’t take pictures," one of the men shouted. Another told Shadid, "We’re not scared of anything but God," and he pointed to the sky. "There’s God. God is above the airplanes." He meant the Israeli bombers. A Lebanese Red Cross official reminded Shadid, "It’s forbidden to take pictures." Shadid wanted to know if these men were Hezbollah fighters. The official nodded. Clearly, none of the men wanted to talk to Shadid. One pulled his black t-shirt over his face. Another put his left hand over his mouth.

Not so, on the Israeli side of the war, where officials made a clumsy effort to control and contain the coverage but essentially failed. Hour after hour, day after day, newspapermen and anchormen found many ways to avoid Israeli censorship or obstruction--and cover the war, which was their job. Newspaper copy from all over the world was studded with frequent references to interviews with Israeli troops, generals and ministers. Jonathan Finer, a reporter for The Washington Post, had no trouble interviewing, by his count, two dozen Israeli soldiers "at army bases, hotels, artillery batteries and staging points for their entry into Lebanon since the heaviest ground fighting began last week."39 Several soldiers expressed surprise that it was taking them so long to defeat Hezbollah. One was quoted as saying, "Most of the time we only see them when they want to draw attention to themselves, then they kick us from behind." Finer also interviewed an Israeli general, who gave an on-the-record assessment of Hezbollah’s anti-tank missiles. Finer’s experience covering the war on the Israeli side was not uncommon.

Network anchors, representing cable TV operations from Al-Jazeera to Fox, set up their cameras along the Israeli-Lebanese border, like birds on a clothes line, one next to another, so they could do live and frequent reports from the battlefield. Even in the dead of night, the anchors, using special cameras, were in a position to observe Israeli tanks and troops preparing to cross the border into Lebanon and to report live when the action began. As waves of Israeli armor moved into southern Lebanon, people everywhere, presumably including Hezbollah, could see on their screens what was happening. This was after all a war being carried live to every TV set and computer in the world.

And yet the grumbling about access from reporters of every nationality continued for weeks and months after the war ended. On August 28, 2006, The Mideast Press Club, an initiative of The Media Line News Agency in Jerusalem, sponsored a panel discussion of eight journalists who covered the war. They represented ABC News, The New York Times, The Times (of London), Al-Jazeera, Associated Press, Kol Yisrael, Haaretz (Israel) and Al-Ayyam (Palestine).40 Scott McGregor-Wood, Jerusalem bureau chief for ABC News, said: "The principal issue…was getting access to the battlefield. … We did not get the access we should have got, that we wanted to get."41 Steven Erlanger of The New York Times echoed the same complaint, drawing a distinction between access provided an Israeli journalist and access provided a foreign journalist: "The question is whether the foreign press is able to have any access."42

Still the depth and breadth of the coverage seemed to belie the common complaints about access. Stephen Farrell, bureau chief for The Times of London, shared his colleagues’ concerns about access but showed how individual initiative could surmount the difficulties. "What I did was I just went out," he related, "found a hotel where you could see across the border and stood there with binoculars for most of the three weeks. And it’s astonishing…It can be uncomfortable. It can be prickly. It obviously can be dangerous getting in there. But if you just stuck to driving along the border with binoculars, occasionally slipping across the field, going a couple of hundred meters in (we probably shouldn’t be telling this), and getting right up there, up front, you see stuff that can’t be censored, that can’t be filtered."43 Walid Omary, Jerusalem bureau chief for Al-Jazeera, described how Israeli police followed his television crews and accused them of "giving information to the enemy," and yet he deployed three television crews to Al-Jazeera’s daily coverage of the Israeli side of the war--"one in Haifa and one on the border and a third in Jerusalem." They filed two long television stories every day--"one about the people, the civilians, and the other about the political and military activities."44 One example on August 8, 2006, so graphic it stands almost as a repudiation of the complaint about access, showed correspondent Elias Karram doing a 10-minute live report in the dark, as Israeli troops crossed the border into Lebanon under heavy shelling. Many missiles traced a graceful arc across the sky until they thudded with deafening reverberations into Hezbollah positions in Lebanon.45

Israel did provide access to the war, in part because it could not stop reporters from using their personal guile and modern technology to cover it. Hezbollah provided only limited access to the battlefield, full access to an occasional guided tour, and encouraged visiting journalists to check its own television network, Al-Manar, for reports and information about the war. Al-Manar was to Hezbollah what Pravda was to the Soviet Union.

4. Live--"Broadcast via Broadband":

Using an appealing, alliterative phrase, Al-Arabiya’s director of news and current affairs, Emile Nakhle, defined live coverage of the Lebanon war in a way most TV producers would appreciate. "We introduced," he explained, "broadcast via broadband. In places not accessible by car, in the middle of conflict areas for example, a sole reporter with a laptop and small camera can shoot, edit, feed and do live interviews."46

Live coverage of war, now a fact, was only a theoretical possibility a decade ago. A former ABC News diplomatic correspondent, Barrie Dunsmore, raised that possibility a dozen years ago in a research paper he wrote for the Shorenstein Center entitled "The Next War--Live?"47 He interviewed many experts, including generals. What would you do if a reporter revealed the exact location of your troops during a battle--and did it live on television? he asked one general named Colin Powell. "I’d have locked all of you up," Powell replied, adding, "The American people would have stripped your skin off." At the time, Dunsmore’s paper generated an understandable buzz among strategic thinkers--what in fact would presidents and prime ministers do if faced with a communications technology so sophisticated and so miniaturized that journalists would be able to observe and describe an ongoing war, as it was happening? What effect would such live broadcasts have on public opinion? What effect on the journalists? Would live reporting from the battlefield engender a renewed sense of responsibility and caution? The questions came much more easily than the answers, for everyone knew that if Dunsmore’s hypothesis sketching the future of journalism during wartime was accurate, then the world was entering a new phase that would affect the very nature of journalism and war. And indeed that is exactly what has happened. For journalists, armed with the new technology, it would have been challenging enough just to cover wars between states--traditional wars. But now the challenge has become much more daunting: the coverage of asymmetrical wars between states and radical, religious, ideological groups, creating political, diplomatic, journalistic and military dilemmas few fully grasp or understand.

"Broadcast via broadband," in the context of asymmetrical warfare, involves an unimaginable convergence of hi-tech gadgetry and populist journalism, enriched by millions of bloggers (one source estimated 63 million as of January 2007)48 offering their opinions, influencing policy and public opinion, questioning decisions by officials, doubting the credibility of journalists, presenting commentaries as well as photographic evidence--in a nutshell, scrambling opinion with fact and affecting the course and conduct of a war. Farrell of The Times believed that in this war "everybody is going to look at you and everybody is going to criticize you…There are so many blogs and so many organizations out there [with] scrutiny that if you were to read it all, you wouldn’t be doing any journalism."49

Well-organized, angry and self-righteous pro-Hezbollah and pro-Israeli blogs sent millions of messages throughout the war, simply overwhelming the media with criticism of copy that did not reflect their version of reality. The effect was nonstop pressure on journalists to look over their shoulders--to conform either to extremes on both sides or to stick to the middle of public opinion. If "disproportionality" was the theme of the day, most reporters would try to do stories supporting or rejecting the theme but always keeping it in play. It was easier and safer to be in step with the public than to be walking into the wind.

Hezbollah, as we know, understood "the information battlefield." It was sophisticated about its nooks and crannies. For example, Newsweek reported that one photograph of a "rescue worker holding up what appears to be the corpse of a child whose body is nothing but tatters of flesh below the waist" was so gruesome that the American media refused to publish it.50 But Hezbollah, with no such inhibitions, ran the photograph on its satellite television station and then e-mailed it around the globe.51 Hezbollah focused on Lebanese victims, rarely mentioned its own casualties, and accused Israel of aggression. Two value systems were clearly in collision: one didn’t go with the gruesome photo, one did go with it, in fact deliberately spread it far and wide, wanting nothing more than to use any and every weapon of "information" to defeat Israel.

There was also the case of two other photographs shot and later altered by freelancer Adnan Hajj, who covered the war for Reuters until August 7, when he was fired. To wash its hands of Hajj, Reuters then quickly removed all 920 of his photographs from its database.52 One of the two photographs showed a suburb of Beirut after an Israeli air attack. Dark smoke rose from a devastated building. It was an arresting photograph that caught the horror of war, and naturally it appeared in newspapers around the world. Were it not for an American blog site called Little Green Footballs, run by Charles Johnson, it might have won a prize for wartime photography. But with determination and ingenuity, Johnson found that the photograph had almost certainly been doctored. He compared it with others shot of the same building at the same time and discovered that in Hajj’s photograph the dark smoke was darker--and there was more of it.53 The other Hajj photograph of an Israeli jet streaking across southern Lebanon showed three flares being dropped from the plane. Upon later examination, it was learned that only one had been dropped.54

Twice Hajj had altered photographs, not presumably to contrive events where none existed but rather to heighten the drama of real events ("to hype the story," an old journalistic sin) and perhaps deliberately to worsen Israel’s image in the world and, by comparison, to soften Hezbollah’s image. Hajj denied that he had wittingly doctored the two photographs, saying he was simply trying to remove dust marks in poor lighting.55 We may never know the absolute truth, but Hajj’s photographs served to heighten doubts about journalistic credibility. "Fauxtography," they were called. Johnson (and many others in the West) thought the incident proved that Hezbollah would exploit any advantage to win the war of images--in its strategy, as crucial an element as winning the war itself.

Ravi Nessman of the Associated Press said that photo editors were examining "hundreds and possibly thousands of photos a day," looking for the perfect representation of the ravages of war and always asking themselves: are these photos real, are they doctored, are they fake? "There is a lot of anger over the photos," Nesssman added.56

There was a lot of professional embarrassment, too. Salem Daher, described as "a Lebanese civil rescue worker" was shown in German newspapers and television in late July carrying the body of a dead boy from one location to another so that, it was said, different groups of cameramen could shoot the scene. Once he was shown reloading a body into an ambulance so they could get a better shot. Cameramen dubbed him "The Green Helmet," because he was always wearing a green helmet and always enthusiastically steering them to better pictures of Lebanese casualties.57 Was Daher just eager to get on television? Or was he doing someone’s bidding? The cameramen did not seem to care so long as they got their pictures. But at what price?

Other examples of shoddy photo journalism, involving even The New York Times, dotted the landscape of postwar reflection. On August 17, The New York Times ran a disturbing photo of a southern suburb of Beirut (perhaps the same one toured by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and photographed by Hajj) that had been largely leveled by Israeli air strikes. Jerusalem bureau chief Stephen Erlanger was upset by the publication of the photo, because it lacked context. He told the Mideast Press Club that it "bothered me a great deal. We did a satellite photo of southern Beirut, of Dahia, which was quite destroyed and we didn’t print near it a larger photo of the rest of Beirut, which I think was a failure to provide context." He meant "the rest of Beirut," which was essentially undamaged.58 On another day, The Times ran a photograph of a Lebanese man in Tyre being rescued from the rubble of a building bombed by the Israelis. The caption read: "The mayor of Tyre said that in the worst hit areas, bodies were still buried under the rubble, and he appealed to the Israelis to allow government authorities time to pull them out."59 On August 9, The Times ran a correction after bloggers noticed that the same rescued man, looking clean and composed, was seen in other photographs shot after the Israeli raid. Was it a staged photo? Was it the same Lebanese man?

Rarely did the media use photographs to show that Hezbollah fired its weapons from residential neighborhoods in clear violation of international law. This was rare, because Hezbollah did not allow reporters to film such military activity. Yet, on July 30, the Sunday Herald Sun in Australia did just that.60 It published photos that, in its own words, "damn Hezbollah" for conducting military operations in populated suburbs. In one photo of a "high density residential area," Hezbollah was shown preparing launch pads for "rockets and heavy-caliber weapons." In another men were firing an anti-aircraft gun "meters from an apartment block" where laundry was drying on a balcony. The newspaper said that the photos were "exclusive," shot by a "visiting journalist and smuggled out by a friend." The photos had to be smuggled out of Beirut, because Hezbollah would never have allowed them to be shot--they proved that Hezbollah was in fact conducting military operations from heavily populated Beirut suburbs, which was considered a war crime.

It might have been on that day that Al-Jazeera’s Beirut correspondent, Katja Nasr, was doing a live feed of an Israeli missile strike near a funeral procession. In her report, no Hezbollah fighters appeared. "The people were taking part in a funeral procession for the martyrs that fell from Israeli airstrikes yesterday on a residential building," she reported, using the loaded word "martyrs" for those killed in the Israeli attack. Many Arab reporters used the same word; no Western reporter ever did, except on occasion to define its meaning. "More than 30 people were killed, one-third of them children. Entire families were killed in the strike, including a mother and her two children, a family of six." Men carried coffins wrapped in the red, green and white flag of Lebanon. Nasr’s was a powerful report, accurate but incomplete, slanted but true.61

Balancing photographs for fairness may be one of the most difficult jobs in contemporary journalism, assuming a professional desire to be responsible. "Photos are trickier than words," said Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, "because their content is in large measure emotional, visceral." Unless photos are doctored, "you can’t edit their content. You can’t insert a ‘to be sure’ paragraph in a photo."62 David Friend of Vanity Fair magazine continued this theme. "They succinctly capture so many layers of meaning in a confined space," he explained. "It’s the artistic equivalent of atomic power, where you have so much energy in a small space that it has to explode."63 For Jon Banner, executive producer for ABC’s World News Tonight, emotions ran so combustibly high during the Lebanon war that he could not imagine a more difficult story to cover fairly. His solution was always to run one story from Lebanon and one from Israel on every program.64

Such a solution, though, may suggest a balance in time and space, creating an impression of fairness (one story here, one story there), but it does little to address the journalistic question of bias, unintended or otherwise. Let us say that a reporter with no recognizable bias leaves Beirut to cover an Israeli attack on Tyre. He sees the devastation and he talks to Lebanese survivors. All tell their tales of woe--losses, shortages, societal discombobulation. If he is a television reporter, he does his report on location--he may even do it live, the camera focusing on him and then over his shoulder on an old woman hugging a little girl. If he is a newspaperman, he has more time and writes his story later in the day, probably from his hotel room in Beirut. The Tyre story, whether on TV or in the morning paper, contains no loaded words, no suggestions of Israeli recklessness or Hezbollah propaganda--nothing is contrived, hyped, or exaggerated.

And yet because it is seen and read in the context of the reality of this war, it can be seen as yet another example of Israel’s disproportionate reaction to Hezbollah’s opening attack--and therefore as an example of a totally unintended bias in the report. Critics of Israel can say the Tyre report proves their point, but deep down they would still not be satisfied. There’s that question in their minds of proportionality. For example, if our hypothetical reporter covers a similar story of a Hezbollah rocketing of an Israeli village, in which a number of Israeli civilians are killed and wounded, this effort at journalistic balance would still be judged to be unfair. Why? Because, according to this line of reasoning, the Israelis killed and destroyed much more than Hezbollah killed and destroyed, and the difference in numbers ought to be reported time and again. Fairness, balance and proportionality can only be achieved in this manner.

Supporters of Israel’s position tend to dismiss the proportionality/disproportionality debate as misleading and foolish. Scholars say that if the media had the technology during World War II to show photos and videotape of Allied bombing attacks on German and Japanese civilians, and to hear their tales of woe on 24/7 cable news programs, the morality of the war (though unlikely the outcome) would have been significantly different.

Keller of the Times said that the issue is so irresolvable that he refuses to pander to the prejudices of his critics. "They don’t want you to be balanced in your coverage; they want you to portray the morality of the war as they see it."65 Scholars have coined a term for this problem--it’s called "hostile media effect," meaning partisans tend to believe that the media generally paints them in a negative light. In one experiment, researchers showed 144 informed television viewers six news segments about the 1982 Israel-Lebanon war. Viewers with a pro-Arab sentiment thought they saw 42 pro-Israeli references and 26 anti-Israeli references. Viewers with a pro-Israeli sentiment, watching the same news clips, thought they saw 16 pro-Israeli references and 57 anti-Israeli references. Both sides were positive they were right.66

Conclusion:

On Al-Jazeera and other Arab media, the Lebanon war was often referred to as "the Sixth War."67 The first war, by this reckoning, was in 1948, when Israel was founded by a vote of the United Nations on land many Arabs considered their own. From the second war in 1956 through to the fifth war in 2000, when the second Intifada erupted, Israel defeated a succession of Arab armies and states, expanding from a tiny, divided enclave into a small but powerful, nuclear-armed state. "In the eyes of the Arab world, it’s all connected," explained Samer Shehata of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. "Israel’s attack on Lebanon, its occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land, it’s all part of the same story."68 The Arab narrative is one of a continuing conflict with Israel, one battle leading inexorably to another with intervals reserved for rest, training, recruitment and the acquisition of new weaponry. Therefore, the conflict ends only when Israel ends. It is a narrative woven tightly into the fabric of Arab politics and psychology, denied only occasionally in the Arab media, though frequently in the chambers of international dialogue. It fashions the contours of Arab journalism.

Is there then such a thing as objective journalism in the Middle East, a journalism that can report on the ups and downs of Israeli policy with a degree of detachment? According to Walid Omary, a Palestinian journalist with an Israeli ID card from the village of Sandala between Afula in Israel and Jenin on the West Bank, the answer is no. "Objectivity and balance do not exist in the Middle East and in this region especially," he said.69 With degrees from Hebrew and Tel Aviv universities, Omary is an accomplished journalist, who rose to become Jerusalem bureau chief for Al-Jazeera. "My village was under the attack of missiles from Lebanon and my relatives were under attack from the Israelis in Lebanon, which means, to give good balance, to try to give good coverage--is not easy at all in this area."70 Omary added a personal dimension to the chronic Arab predisposition to see Israel as an unwelcome, foreign intrusion into their neighborhood.

When Hezbollah rocketed Israel during the war, many Palestinians enjoyed the spectacle of Arabs hurting Jews. Abdelraouf Arnout, the Jerusalem correspondent for the Palestinian newspaper Al Ayyam, said that the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, had become a hugely admired "symbol" of Arab resistance among the Palestinian people.71  Daoud Hussein, a Kuwaiti actor, speaking on the Al-Jazeera call-in program, "Voice of the People," praised Nasrallah and prayed for his victory against Israel. "If there was just one Nasrallah in every Arab country--one person with his dedication, intelligence, courage, strength and commitment--Arabs would not have had to suffer stolen land and defeat at the hands of Israel for 50 years."72 Call-in shows naturally reflect popular mood and opinion, but news broadcasts are supposed to be based on the principles of fairness and objectivity. In the Middle East, where the Arab-Israeli conflict is an inescapable fact of life, these principles are rarely observed. During the war, according to Yoni Ben Menachem, general director of Kol Yisrael, Israelis were convinced that Al-Jazeera presented a "distorted picture of what was going on," especially in its reporting from Lebanon. "They were not reporting objectively," he said. "They were making some propaganda for Hezbollah."73

Add one other crucial ingredient to this journalistic wartime stew of charge and countercharge--and that was the Internet. This was a live war, in which the information battlefield played a central role. Here the Israelis suffered from the openness of their democratic society. They succumbed to the public pressures of live 24/7 coverage. They couldn’t keep a secret. Hezbollah, on the other hand, controlled its message with an iron grip. It had one spokesman and no leaks. Hezbollah did not have to respond to criticism from bloggers, and it could always count on unashamedly sympathetic Arab reporters to blast Israel for its "disproportionate" military attack against Lebanon.

Nik Gowing, a respected BBC World anchor, warned at a recent Harvard conference that the "new asymmetric information--the new level of accountability and public perceptions in a time of crisis" exposed "the vulnerability of traditional institutions of power and influence."74 Israel, in this context, was the "traditional institution," made suddenly "vulnerable" by the flow of "asymmetric information." Gowing gave an example of how "in a time of crisis and tension, public perceptions can be created by the new media matrix." During the war, even though Israel still had military censorship, technically, "you could be up there on the northern border [of Israel] filming, uplinking live war: live war of soldiers moving into south Lebanon, live war of anti-tank missiles immobilizing Merkava tanks." Such reporting, common on the Israeli side of the war, had "a fundamental impact on the reputation and the image and the fear factor created by the IDF." The bloggers helped spread the impression of Israeli "vulnerability." Gowing said "it was the bloggers and the calls to radio stations, which were highlighting the vulnerability of the Israeli defense forces."

Whether the flavor of journalism is American or Qatari, both march to their own drummer, both convinced their principles best define good and honest journalism. Efforts at reconciliation are likely to fail, at least in the near future. Yet both schools of journalism, however different they may be, are strongly influenced in their practice by what might be called "the new media," that combustible mix of 24/7 cable news, call-in radio and television programs, Internet bloggers and online websites, cell phones and iPods. The upshot is a new kind of populist journalism, which strongly influences the story that is being covered. Indeed, the journalist or, in this new age, the commentator, often becomes part of the story.

During the Lebanon War, for example, the bloggers had more influence over the flow of the story than they had had during any other war. Ravi Nessman, the senior Jerusalem correspondent of the Associated Press, thought the influence of the bloggers, especially in the United States, was "unprecedented."75 When the bloggers [in the U.S.] discovered that photographs had been doctored, "the credibility of the bloggers…skyrocketed and our credibility plummeted." Nessman added, "After that everything that we did was suspect. And that makes it very difficult to cover a war, to have honest people who are trying, who are not doctoring photographs, who are not taking one side or the other, but who are trying to present the truth of what is going on there, and have everything we say be examined, which is fair, but basically be questioned as a lie, and starting with that premise that the media is lying."

The Lebanon War produced a bumper crop of stories both good and bad, growing out of a new kind of asymmetrical warfare waged by a state on the one side and a religious, nationalistic guerrilla force on the other side. Will Israel seek to change the ground rules for coverage of the next war? And even if the effort were made, could it succeed? In an open society, ground rules may be announced, but they are not likely to be observed or enforced. During the 2006 summertime war in the Middle East, it was Israel versus Hezbollah, led by the charismatic Hassan Nasrallah, and because Israel did not win the war, it is judged to have lost. In Iraq, in the not too distant future, it may well be the United States versus the Mahdi Army, led by the equally charismatic Sheik Moqtada al-Sadr. The challenge for responsible journalists covering asymmetrical warfare, especially in this age of the Internet, is new, awesome and frightening.


David Brooks, "After the Fall," The New York Times, December 10, 2006.

Jim Hoagland, "America, MIA in The Gulf," The Washington Post, December 17, 2006.

George Packer, "Knowing the Enemy," The New Yorker, December 18, 2006. p. 65-66.

Ibid., p.60.

Anthony Shadid, "Inside Hezbollah, Big Miscalculations," The Washington Post. October, 8 2006.

Steve Erlanger and Greg Myre, "Clashes Spread to Lebanon ad Hezbollah Raids Israel," The New York Times, July 13, 2006.

Ibid.

Deborah Howell, "A War of Images and Perceptions," The Washington Post. August 13, 2006.

Staff Editorial, "Whose War Crimes?," The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2006.

Steve Erlanger, "Turmoil in the Middle East: Casualty Figures; With Israeli Use of Force, Debate Over Proportion," The New York Times, July 19, 2006. http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F50D10F83D5B0C7A8DDDAE0894DE404482

Kim Murphy, "Warfare in the Middle East; Officials Say 28 Die in Qana, Not 54," The New York Times, August 4, 2006.

Thanassis Cambanis and Charles A. Radin, "Israel Backs Expansion of Ground War," The Boston Globe, August 1, 2006.

Deborah Howell. "A War of Images and Perceptions."

"Protest at Peres Nazi Image," BBC News Online, April 1, 2001, Retrieved January 11, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_East/1306587.stm.

Serge Schmemann, "Voicing Regret, Israeli Leader Offers a Cease-Fire," The New York Times, April 19, 1996.

"Mideast War, by the Numbers," The Associate Press, August 17, 2006.

Steve Erlanger and Thom Shanker, "Israel Finding a Difficult Foe in Hezbollah," The New York Times, July, 26 2006.

Colum Lynch and Robin Wright, "Peace Resolution for Lebanon Unanimously Approved at U.N.; Council Calls for Israeli Withdrawal, International Force," The Washington Post, August 12, 2006. 

Anthony Shadid, "Hezbollah Chief Still Defiant at Huge Rally," The Washington Post, September 23, 2006.

"Mideast War, By the Numbers," The Associated Press.

Ibid.

"List of 180 Dead Hezbollah Terrorists Released of an Estimated 530 Killed Since Start of Fighting," Israel Defense Forces: Official Website, August 14, 2006, Retrieved January 12, 2007. http://www1.idf.il/DOVER/site/mainpage.asp?sl=EN&id=7&clr=1&docid=56664.EN

Statistical Survey of Arab and American Daily News Coverage Conducted by the Shorenstein Center on the Press Politics and Public Policy. 2006.

"Picturing War: Media Content Analysis of the Coverage of the 2006 Lebanon War in International TV News," Media Tenor, 2006, p. 33.

Shorenstein Center Survey of Arab and American Daily News Coverage.

"TV News Reflects Nations’ Differences Over Lebanon," Bloomberg News, August 12, 2006.

"The War in Lebanon," Media Monitor, Vol. XX No. 3: July/August 2006.

Richard Engel and Martin Fletcher, "Civilian Deaths Mount in Lebanon as Israel Moves Troops to Lebanese Border," NBC Nightly News, July 21, 2006.

David Wright, "War Zone: Line of Fire," ABC World News Tonight, July 17, 2006.

Shorenstein Center Survey of Arab and American Daily News Coverage.

"Picturing War: Media Content Analysis of the Coverage of the 2006 Lebanon War in International TV News," Media Tenor, p. 26.

Ibid.

Pierre Heumann, "An Interview with Al-Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Sheikh," Die Weltwoche, November 23, 2006, English translation by John Rosenthal.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, "What Did You Do During the War, UNIFIL.?," The Weekly Standard, September 4, 2006, p. 47.

"Lebanon - UNIFIL. - UN Documents," United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. July 25, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2006. http://www.un.org/depts/dpko/missions/UNIFIL./UNIFIL.press_jas.html.

Ibid., July 24, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2006. http://www.un.org/depts/dpko/missions/UNIFIL./UNIFIL.press_jas.html.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, "What Did You Do During the War, UNIFIL?,"

Anderson Cooper, "Hezbollah Remains Secretive Organization," Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, August 9, 2006.

Ibid.

Kevin Sites, "Guns in the Closet," Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone, July 28, 2006. http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs7984

Anthony Shadid, "‘It’s Dangerous, but Hezbollah is Strong’; With Litani River’s Bridges Destroyed, Lebanese Improvise to Supply to the South," The Washington Post, August 10, 2006.

Jonathan Finer, "Israeli Soldiers Find a Tenacious Foe in Hezbollah," The Washington Post, August 8, 2006.

"Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, August 2006.

Scott McGregor-Wood, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 3.

Steven Erlanger, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 3.

Stephen Farrell, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 4.

Walid Omary, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds." Mideast Press Club, p.4.

Faiza Saleh Ambah, "Arab World Riveted by Coverage of the ‘Sixth War," The Washington Post, 14 August 2006.

Ibid.

Barrie Dunsmore, "The Next War--Live?," Discussion Paper D-22, The Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, March 1996, p.1.

"About Technorati," Technorati, August 12, 2006, http://technorati.com/about/,

Steven Erlanger, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 10.

Christopher Dickey and Babak Dehhanpisheh, "Torn to Shreds," Newsweek, July 31, 2006.

Ibid.

"Reuters Withdraws Photo After Alterations Found," Reuters News Service, August 8, 2006.

Paul Farhi, "Blogger Takes Aim At News Media and Makes a Direct Hit," The Washington Post, August 9, 2006.

"Reuters Withdraws Photo After Alterations Found," Reuters News Service.

Ibid.

Ravi Nessman, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 6.

"Media Experts Convene to Discuss How Mideast War is Waged in Blogosphere at Herzlyia Conference," Israeli Insider, December 28, 2006. http://www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=1645

Steven Erlanger, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 10.

Staff Editorial, "Framing the Story," The Washington Times, August 10, 2006.

Chris Link, "Photos that Damn Hezbollah," Australia Herald Sun, July 30, 2006. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,19955774-5007220,00.html

Faiza Saleh Ambah, "Arab World Riveted by Coverage of the ‘Sixth War,’"

Lorne Manly, "In Wars, Quest for Media Balance Is Also a Battlefield," The New York Times, August 14, 2006.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Shankar Vedantam, "Two Views of the Same News Find Opposite Biases," The Washington Post, July 24, 2006.

Faiza Saleh Ambah, "Arab World Riveted by Coverage of the ‘Sixth War.’"

Ibid.

Walid Omary, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 11.

Ibid.

Abdelraouf Arnout, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 5.

Faiza Saleh Ambah, "Arab World Riveted by Coverage of the ‘Sixth War.’"

Yoni Ben Menachem, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 6.

Nik Gowing, "Traditional News Media: Optimism, Pessimism and Realism," Panel Discussion at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, October 14, 2006.

Ravi Nessman, "Coverage of the Lebanon War: The Media Responds," Mideast Press Club, p. 4.

 


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