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The Helen Thomas Distraction

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Let’s see now. A little over a week ago, IDF commandos hijacked a Turkish flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. In doing so,Israel violated international law and killed at least 9 unarmed civilians. For this, Israel earned the condemnation of most of the world but only vague and tepid expressions of regret from the Emmanuel – oops, I mean the Obama – administration.

Then, Zionist propagandists – oops again, I mean journalists in the corporate media – discovered a piece of video in which Helen Thomas, dean of the White House press corps, made remarks critical of Israel. Everybody knows that any remark that criticizes Israel or Israeli government policy is by definition anti-Semitic and must be condemned and the speaker shunned by all decent folk and driven from public life. Ideally, they would have all their property seized and be made homeless and indigent.

Perfect. Within the U.S. the focus is taken off of Israel’s crimes and put on the ill chosen remarks of an 89 year old woman who conveniently is of Lebanese (dirty Arab) descent. Mission accomplished.

OK, my turn to examine critically exactly what Thomas said and determine for myself whether she should be praised or condemned.

Here is how the BBC reports her actual comments and the dust up that followed:

Thomas’s remarks were made in a video interview with the website, when she was asked whether she had any “comments on Israel”.

“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she said.

“Remember these people are occupied and it’s their land, not Germany and not Poland.

“They can go home, Poland, Germany, and America and everywhere else,” she added.

Please note, the BBC reports she was responding to a question about whether she had any “comments on Israel”. Her reply seems to include a suggestion that Israel – the nation of Israel and its government – should “get the hell out of Palestine”. But where and what is Palestine?

If she meant that Israel should stop occupying the Palestinian territories, I have no problem with what she said. If she meant that Israeli settlers should leave their settlements in those occupied territories, again, I have no objection.

If, on the other, more sinister hand, Helen Thomas is advocating the evacuation or forced removal of Jewish residents of what is now the State of Israel, well that would just be completely nuts and I would join the chorus of condemnation.

I suspect Thomas meant the former and not the latter, but that having made the offending (not offensive) remarks she either jumped or was pushed into a retirement that cannot be truthfully described as early.

Congrats to all of Israel’s reflexive apologists in the corporate media. You have proved once again that the Government of The State of Israel is at least as infallible as former (conscripted) Hitler youth league member Joseph Alois Ratzinger.

All those anti-Semites at Haaretz must be wrong.

Written by slothropia

June 9th, 2010 at 11:16 am

E.J. Dionne Talks Corporate Media

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E.J. Dionne hit a a home run in his Wapo column today. He’s all about the rightward tilt in American media (details differ but the same principle applies for Canadian Corporate Media).

For starters he says:

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

And a little later:

While the right wing’s rants get wall-to-wall airtime, you almost never hear from the sort of progressive members of Congress who were on an America’s Future panel on Tuesday. Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Donna Edwards of Maryland and Raul Grijalva of Arizona all said warm things about the president — they are Democrats, after all — but also took issue with some of his policies.

All three, for example, are passionately opposed to his military approach to Afghanistan and want a serious debate over the implications of Obama’s strategy. “If we don’t ask these questions now,” said Edwards, “we’ll ask these questions 10 years from now — I guarantee it.”

And whatever happened to single payer as a policy option:

Polis, Edwards and Grijalva also noted that proposals for a Canadian-style single-payer health-care system, which they support, have fallen off the political radar. Polis urged his activist audience to accept that reality for now and focus its energy on making sure that a government insurance option, known in policy circles as the “public plan,” is part of the menu of choices offered by a reformed health-care system.

But Edwards noted that if the public plan, already a compromise from single-payer, is defined as the left’s position in the health-care debate, the entire discussion gets skewed to the right. This makes it far more likely that any public option included in a final bill will be a pale version of the original idea.

And finally:

…For all the talk of a media love affair with Obama, there is a deep and largely unconscious conservative bias in the media’s discussion of policy. The range of acceptable opinion runs from the moderate left to the far right and cuts off more vigorous progressive perspectives.

Dionne doesn’t ask the question but I will. Why does the media act as he describes?

I believe that to answer this question one needs to ask two others.

1. Who owns the media.
2. What is the function of the press in an open capitalistic society?

The answers to those questions lead me to the term, “Corporate Media”, not traditional media, and not mainstream media. In the United States and Canada, the press or the media is meant to promote and protect the interests of the corporations that run everything.

Don’t take my word for it. Just ask this guy.

Written by slothropia

June 4th, 2009 at 11:01 am