Accuracy in Media

The one-sided coverage of the war in Lebanon was highlighted when Reuters admitted that one of its photographers had doctored some war photos. Great credit goes to Charles Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs for leading the way in exposing this journalistic atrocity. The case demonstrates how committed the terrorists and their supporters are to winning this war.

During the first weeks of the war, two major incidents were used by the media to undermine the Israeli position and put pressure on the Jewish state to end the war against the Hezbollah terror group. It was said that Israel was targeting U.N. peacekeepers and innocent civilians, making Israel look like a monster. But it looks increasingly as if the incidents were staged or manipulated to make Israel look bad.

When evaluating what truly happens in cases like this, it is important to examine what has happened in the past. In Jenin, in the Gaza beach incident, and the Mohammad Dura death, what is initially reported about the results of Israel’s actions often doesn’t turn out to be the truth. And when the truth finally comes out, it doesn’t seem to matter to those who were most critical in the first place.

The Qana incident in Lebanon, in which Israel was accused of bombing a building where innocent civilians lived, including many women and children, occurred in the early morning hours of July 30. It was between midnight and 1 a.m. that Israel acknowledged hitting the building in question. There had been about 150 Katyusha rockets fired into Northern Israel during the previous week from the area that included the building in question. It wasn’t until the morning, about seven hours later, that the building collapsed. Journalists were called to the scene, and quickly arrived from Tyre. The initial reports were that 54 or 57 people died, nearly all women and children. This was the incident that led the Lebanese prime minister to tell Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not to come to Beirut from Israel.

In an article by Reuven Koret for Israel Insider, he said that the claim that Israel killed the people was suspicious from the beginning. He noted, “Brett Sadler of CNN reports that the Israeli ordnance did not even hit the building but landed ’20 or 30 meters’ from the structure.” Other strikes followed by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), but they were four to five hundred yards away. The IDF could only guess that if they hit the building and it was seven hours before it collapsed, it might have contained some unexploded Hezbollah ordnance. Israeli intelligence suspected the building was a storage facility for weapons.

So who were the people in the building? Clearly, women and children were carried out of the building. But it’s also true that Israel had been dropping flyers warning the civilians in the area to leave. The rescue operation didn’t start until the cameras got there. And it appeared that most of the people had been dead for days, not hours. Plus, there was little blood, except on one person.

An article by David Warren for RealClearPolitics walked through the events and pointed out that the Lebanese Red Cross said it was 28 bodies found there, not the 54 or 57 that most of the reporters had repeated from the Hezbollah sources.

Skepticism also came from the blogosphere. One blogger compared photos from numerous news agencies, creating a timeline and series of images that strongly suggests that this whole event was staged. According to a French Lebanese magazine, Hezbollah actually put children into the building at Qana so they could be portrayed as victims.

The truth is not yet in, but the circumstances and analysis suggest that Hezbollah may have perpetrated a ghastly fraud for the purpose of turning public opinion against Israel.

The other controversial incident was the attack by Israel on July 25 in which a U.N. outpost was hit, killing four. Almost immediately, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that the attack was the result of “apparently deliberate targeting,” and that an investigation would follow.

But it has since been revealed that Hezbollah was using the area and the terrorist group had put the U.N. troops at risk.

In a report in the Ottawa (Canada) Citizen, Joel Kom wrotes that one of the four who was killed when Israel hit a UN observation post in the village of El Khiam in southern Lebanon was Canadian Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener. The four were serving as unarmed UN military observers. The week before he died, the Canadian major wrote an email describing what was said to be an obvious reference to Hezbollah tactics.

“What I can tell you is this,” he wrote in an e-mail to CTV dated July 18. “We have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both (Israeli) artillery and aerial bombing. The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters (sic) of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters (sic) from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity.”

This meant that the Israelis were aiming at Hezbollah targets near the post. And that means that Hezbollah was operating around the U.N. facility because it thought that would offer the terrorist group protection from Israeli strikes.

In both cases, therefore, Israel has been blamed for actions that can ultimately be linked to the activities of Hezbollah. Israel, which has gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, is being blamed in the media for killing civilians that were put in a position to die by the terrorist group that reaps the propaganda benefits.

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