Sunday, July 23, 2006

Crossfire, Money, Law

NPR covers the continuing conflict in Lebanon. Jackie Northam reporting from Beirut is asked about Israeli targets. She answers, "Well Israel says it is not deliberately targeting civilians, although many civilians are getting caught in the crossfire and dying. There was a minivan today that was hit; it was carrying sixteen people and three of those people died." Then later in the report Northam mentions the visit to Lebanon by Jan Egeland, UN emergency relief coordinator. She informs us that he stated it will cost about $100 million to provide relief in the next few months and billions of dollars to rebuild Lebanon.

There are two significant problems with this report. First crossfire implies civilians getting accidently caught between two warring factions, but even her report on the minivan bombing contradicts the use of the term crossfire. There seems to be nothing accidental about the civilian deaths unleashed on Lebanon by the Israelis, just as there is nothing accidental about the criminal Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel's cities. Second she fails to mention really newsworthy aspect of Egeland's visit: he denounced Israel's assault on Lebanon's infrastructure and declared that it violated international humanitarian law. Other media outlets saw this as worthy of highlighting (see Al-Jazeera or The Guardian).

The overall effect of this report is to downplay the culpability of Israel's military assault on Lebanon (and of course the US culpability in supporting and supplying the campaign.)

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