RE: Media perspectives on an Israeli preemptive strike
I wanted to reply to the article by my colleague Stephen, relating to the media coverage of a possible Israeli air strike on Iran, and the extent to which the media can be used to normalise the idea of a certain course of action. Stephen raises some interesting points regarding coverage of the possible attacks on Iran, arguing that the coverage has been skewed towards making a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran seem reasonable. What I would argue is that Stephen is pointing the finger at the wrong group. This is not a question of laziness in the media, this is about Israel having a highly effective and well organised Hasbarah organisation which knows how to operate in this media age.
Stephen put his position right up top, so it is only fair I do so too. As I have written in print, I passionately believe Israel should be taking out the Iranian nuclear threat. I have also worked for different Hasbarah groups, and spoken on behalf of the Israelis on numerous occasions. I am not however, officially employed or contracted by the State of Israel.
The media coverage and debate over an attack on Iran has been robust, but largely ill informed. This is not however because the media has some kind of agenda that is being forced. Rather, the Israelis are well trained from many years experience with persuading the world (and particularly the Americans) of their position. Those who believe the media has largely taken the side of Israel on the Iran debate are incorrect in my opinion, but the extent to which they are correct is informed purely by the enormous efforts of the Israelis to influence media opinion. This should not be mistaken for claiming some kind of control of the media by the Jewish state, far from it. What I am saying is that the Israelis have a well oiled and powerful media communications machine, which knows how to advocate for its position. It provides the media with enormous amounts of information, different sources, interviews both on and off the record, maps which show potential bombing routes. It is the nature of an open society that the Israeli Government engages with the media battle and debate.
Then consider the other side; the Iranian Government. Not famed for their high opinion of the Western press, nor for being trustworthy in their public statements, this greatly limits their ability to oppose the potential strike against them. Thus we are left with a highly trained and effective Israeli laying of the groundwork for a strike, and no proper media response from the Iranians. It is no surprise that the media become increasingly convinced of the merits of at least part of the Israeli case for airstrikes.
While this all explains why the media has expressed some support for the Israeli position, the reality is all sorts of wild speculations and downright lies have been oft-repeated against a possible Israeli strike on Iran. This has included suggesting this will immediately throw the region into World War III. This proposition is made with no evidence, and a sort of sick sense of excitement in the writing. It is unrealistic and most distasteful. Then is the continuous statements that Israel will not actually manage to take down the Iranian threat. A danger yes, but if you believe some of the reports the Israelis do not even know where Iran is on a map.
The Obama Administration is working just as hard as the Israelis with the media, strong-arming their loyal journalists to write against an attack. All sides play this game, unfortunately for Obama and his ilk the Israelis are better at it.
Stephen calls for the ‘facts to reign supreme’, and I fully support that position.
- The fact is the Iranian regime is the largest sponsor of terrorism world-wide.
- The fact is that the Iranian leaders have repeated called for the destruction of the State of Israel.
- The fact is that the Iranian regime uses terror and violence against foreign missions on its territory.
- The fact is that the Iranian regime has been found to be in violation of its IAEA enforced commitments.
These are the facts, and they are not in dispute. There is now only one responsible course of action that the Israelis can take. They must bomb, and they must do it now.