Far too often, many of us watch or listen to the news and accept it at face value. If something is being broadcast or written, well, then it must be true. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be reporting it, right?
Well without meaning to sound too cynical, all I can say to that is: hogwash. Poppycock. Phooey, hooey, hokum and bunkum.
Here’s a case in point: Israel Radio this morning filled the airwaves with a story bound to penetrate even the coldest of hearts. It seems that a young Palestinian mother had given birth to quadruplets at Laniado Hospital in Netanya some two months ago, where they have been kept for post-partum treatment and observation. But the vindictive and callous Israeli authorities have refused to grant the children’s Palestinian father a permit to visit his newborns, and so he has not merited to see them since they came into the world.
Adding insult to injury, Israel was allegedly allowing the mother to visit her babies no more than twice a week.
What a story it was! In one fell swoop, it managed to elicit the listeners’ sympathy for the hapless Palestinian couple while at the same time portraying Israel and its “occupation” in the cruelest and most pitiless of lights.
There was, however, one small glitch: it turns out the story wasn’t true.
In its 5pm news broadcast this afternoon, Israel Radio offered a slightly more accurate description of the situation. After hearing the report this morning, Israel’s Civil Administration looked into the matter, and contacted Israel Radio to inform them that:
a) the father of the children is actually a Jordanian citizen living illegally in a Palestinian-controlled city in Samaria, and not a Palestinian;
b) Israel could not possibly have refused the father’s request to visit his children, for the simple reason that to date he has not yet submitted any such request;
c) the mother of the children was actually given an open-ended permit to visit the hospital whenever she wished;
d) despite having such a permit, the mother chose to visit the babies only twice a week, and not because of any alleged restriction imposed by Israel.
Now, many people like to criticize the foreign media for the manner in which it portrays the Jewish state, often pointing out the myriad inaccuracies and biases that seem to typify much of the coverage of Israel and the region.
All that is true. And yet, as bad as the foreign media might be, much of the Israeli media is hardly any better, as the incident above makes clear.
If Israel Radio itself chooses to portray events in such a twisted manner – then it is hard to expect much more from the likes of the BBC or CNN.