Frankly I don’t like fault-finding and criticising, as in recent posts. Nevertheless, there is Godly authority for Christians to do so whenever necessary. This ‘standing instruction’ is found in Apostle Paul’s directions for walking in Love, Wisdom and Light, as in his letter to the early church in Ephesus. So, before putting this matter (hopefully) to rest with examples of media manipulation, it behoves us to consider Paul’s words.:
6 Let no one delude and deceive you with empty excuses and groundless arguments [for these sins], for through these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of rebellion and disobedience. 7 So do not associate or be sharers with them.
8 For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light]…
11 Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead expose and reprove and convict them…13 But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light. [Amplified Bible; see Ephesians 5 in full]
Regrettably, deception and lies abound throughout all forms of public life and media; as in the activities of press and police in phone and email hacking scandal. Much has been written, many got hot under the collar, and top leaders deeply divided over the issue of freedom of the press and the controversial recommendations of Lord Leveson’s Inquiry. [For a brief summary see Gillan Scott’s: Leveson – where do we go from here?]
Censorship laws were abolished in 1695, so the introduction of the first press statute in over 310 years would be yet another step towards increasing state control. [My family forebears required a licence, or ‘patent’, to print even the Authorised King James Bible! In view of threats of sedition and rebellion that faced Tudor and Jacobean monarchs, eg. the Gunpowder Plot, printers could operate only with the sovereign’s permission – see my personal notes.]
Free speech in America is protected under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, but in Britain liberties once protected by convention are now seriously undermined by Section 5 of the Public Order Act. Anyone who feels offended or insulted – for any silly reason! – may bring a criminal prosecution!! [More: Christian Institute and Cranmer.]
Human nature being what it is, the combination of freedom to speak and write enabled unsavoury elements of the press to make dramatic, sensational and inaccurate stories for the sake of attracting more readers. This happened over 110 years ago in the USA, as outlined in The ‘Yellow Fever’ of Journalism.
Eventually, this kind of publishing spread to the UK, as evident in the tabloid press wars and started to afflict the once highly reputable British Broadcasting Corporation as well as The Guardian, successor to the renowned Manchester Guardian. [This famous local paper was essential reading for me as a 6th form student at school only 15 miles from the city – read brief history and of its interest in Zionism and Palestine.]
Consequently, it’s with unease that I see sensational and deliberate inaccuracy within once-august organisations’ coverage of factual material. I can only infer their purpose must be to mislead and manipulate readers, thereby inculcating mental and emotional antagonism against a people and a nation, Israel. (Although having studied the history for years in some depth, I am open to correction.)
Yesterday, a friend asked if I’d heard the latest news about a large building programme by Israel in an area designated as E-1 lying east of Jerusalem, specifically to bisect the West Bank – ie. divide it in two. The friend got this notion from media reports.
Better still, why not read what someone on the ground says? Paula Stern writes ,
It’s all about a mountain that sits between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem between the city where I work and the home that I have made with my husband and children. YNET incorrectly claims that Israel building on E1 threatens to “bisect” the West Bank. I can’t help but wonder why they never took the 3 minute drive out of Jerusalem to realize that was just nonsense!
…what we have is a mountain – not a very tall one, smaller even than the ones next to it on three sides. That’s all E1 is – a mountain. It is barren, but for a road that snakes its way up to a midpoint where a large police station has been built. No one lives there – no one has. Some trees, a lot of rocks, a traffic circle at the base – that’s all.
Read this local resident’s full statement here. Look at the above map! (details here); it is ‘much ado about nothing’, according to GW Bush’s deputy assistant Elliot Abrams. Also, CIF Watch refutes media claims and thereby trashes falsehood in The Guardian.
Here’s more true-to-type ‘yellow journalism’ from a badly biased international agency – Reuters Blames Israel For Doomsday. How’s that for manipulation?
Another friend and reader of this blog contacted me about the effects that recent rocket attacks and defence had upon someone watching the news. Therefore, he quite rightly attempted to set the record straight. Thank you Neil for permission to quote your email, viz.:
How are you? I do greatly enjoy reading your “Watch” input and updates – keep up the good work. We are now very close to the finish line for the End Times Course here…
I am writing because I had need to respond to an e-mail that I received. I quote an element below, and thought I would let you see my response as some information came from input you have so kindly provided. I am sure you will understand that I do not wish to identify the sender or quote the text in full:
“I am struggling to come to terms with what is happening in Israel / Gaza. Israel’s response to the missiles from Gaza seems to be disproportionate with appalling civilian casualties. And in response we now have a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv. I am beginning to ask myself whether under the circumstances it is morally right …. ”
[Neil’s proposed reply:]
“Hard to know where to begin – I wish you had attended the Winvin End Times study. I take a very different view to yours: the Israeli’s have suffered extreme provocation over many years, particularly in relation to rocket attacks, from Hamas controlled Gaza into Southern Israel. These rocket attacks have been going on intermittently for more than 10 years. Hamas have repeatedly expressed their unequivocal aim to destroy Israel (wipe Israel off the face of the earth, re-occupy the land that belongs to Allah, and so on). They are supported and equipped by Iran, which takes the same view and appears to be close to developing a nuclear armaments capability.
“In mid October, Hamas gunmen, bombers and rocket firers started to increase the level of their cross border attacks. Some recent examples: on 8 Nov they blew up an Israeli military position on the Gaza border by tunnelling underneath it and filling the tunnel with high explosive. On 10 Nov they fired an anti-tank missile across the border, destroying a lightly armoured vehicle. On Sunday 11 Nov, the day before Israel retaliated, they fired 187 rockets into Southern Israel. Hamas launch their rockets from the vicinity of schools, hospitals and civilian populated areas, which is really using civilians as a shield and likely to “wrong foot” any military response, very challenging in terms of propaganda and “sound bite” media coverage. Hundreds of air sorties have failed to stop missiles being fired from Gaza, and they are now being fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem plus the bomb in Tel Aviv that you mention. I see it as a Hamas responsibility that civilians are being killed and injured – it is as a direct result of their tactics and their avowed determination to annihilate Israel.
“Israel is surrounded by its enemies (the more so since the so-called Arab Spring) and I suspect that it feels it is imperative to show to those who might contemplate an attack, that it is willing to take robust action.
“There are more complicated geo-political considerations in respect of Ayatollah Khamenei’s ambitions for Iran, his relationship with Bashar Assad (Syria and his wish to deflect attention from his “civil war”), Mohamed Morsi (Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood) and Hizballah.
“I could go on but it would become a book! I will add that Israel has a sophisticated anti-missile missile system which manages to take out some of the incoming rockets…
“I believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people, He has an everlasting covenant with them, and Jesus (a Jew) will return to Jerusalem to take his rightful place on David’s throne. I do not believe in replacement theology. There is no doubt that the Israeli’s are far from perfect – however, the Bible tells us we should pray for their wellbeing (which is not the same as agreeing with their actions – though in this recent activity in Gaza, I do).”
“I did not develop the possible fulfilment of end times prophecy that we see in these events, probably a step too far for the enquirer at this stage!”
Recommended links for countering Anti-Semitic mis-information:
1. For in-depth investigation and refutation of many instances of weak journalism, visit:
BBC Watch (monitors BBC coverage of Israel for accuracy and impartiality)
CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle-East Reporting in America)
Comment Is Free Watch (combats Guardian’s antisemitism/delegitimisation)
Honest Reporting (defends Israel from media bias)
Palestinian Media Watch (monitors PA leaders, media and schoolbooks)
2. For well-informed, no-nonsense commentary within UK visit:
- ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ blog
- Melanie Phillips’ blog
- The Commentator – commentary and news on often missed or downplayed items.
Be blessed as you dig…
>> See also Update