Thursday 16 August 2018

Knowledge and Understanding

As my friend Harry Cross puts it on Facebook:

None of the individuals who conducted the 1972 Munich hostage-takings are buried in Tunisia.

It is normal not to know this (I certainly didn't) - but news outlets who publish such inflammatory stories have a responsibility to first establish their veracity.

The PLO leaders buried in the Tunisian cemetery (and for whom Corbyn did not lay a wreath, at any rate) are accused by Israel of involvement in the 1972 events, but this claim does not have general or academic support.

Rather, it is a crude attempt to frame all Palestinian politicians as 'terrorists'. 

It is not acceptable for British news organisations to make claims that would not be accepted in other contexts, simply because the news story is about Jeremy Corbyn.

Moreover, I am now re-reading news stories from the past few days that gave me and others the impression that some of the Munich hijackers are buried in Tunisia. 

Curiously, the articles do not actually make this claim. They mention people 'accused of the 1972 Munich terror attack' or 'accused of links' or 'accused of involvement'.

In other words, BBC journalists and others knew that the claims originating in the Daily Mail were false, but were deliberately selective in their language so as to be technically accurate, while sustaining the impression that Corbyn may have been involved in wreath-laying for the Munich perpetrators.

This style of journalism stokes suspicion and anguish, rather than defusing it. 

Accurate and informative reporting could have had the opposite effect by providing the key context that 'none of the Munich perpetrators are buried in Tunisia' and that 'only Israel alleges their involvement in the 1972 Munich hostage-takings'.

It is not just the Daily Mail that produces inflammatory journalism. The BBC does it as well, with a different language, for a different audience. 

This manner of 'journalism' perpetuates ignorance and the hate that comes with it, rather than spreading the knowledge and understanding which is the beginning of peace.

1 comment:

  1. Very accurate, and very important. I hope that this blog post is widely read. British journalism is falling low.