Flights of Faith

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Moon in a Box

My grandfather believes that the 1969 moon landing was a farce. Someone set up a box, poked the right holes, and we got those amazing images from the moon. Leaving the Hollywood set, Armstrong chuckled while flipping his bills. Now, I’m not sure how much I believe (or care about) this conspiracy theory, but the story always opened my eyes to the wonderful world of the media.

Inflating shark attacks, downing Dean, shocking and awing. I’ve just never been one for television news. Something about adding magnitude with repeat viewings doesn’t sit well with me. So, how can a news media that “creates” stories (Scott Peterson, anyone?) cover one of the most volatile and fast moving areas in the world? Your guess is as good as mine.

Consider the events on June 9h, 2006. Remember what happened? The surviving members of the Ghalya family do. That day they lost seven family members in a shelling attack on the beach in Gaza City. After the usually MidEast/US Media delay, the story was on the front page of CNN. The image of a Palestinian girl crying for her mother were stamped on newspapers and webpages across the globe. Palestine was quick to accuse Israel. Who else regularly attacks us, they cried? The rest of the Arab world condemned Israel for what they saw as another human rights violation. Some countries called for its destruction alongside apologizing to the families for a loss of innocent life. Stange world, huh?

While Israel quickly released a statement expressing sorrow, the country believed the shell could have come from Palestinian militants who were setting them up for a PR disaster or a misfire.

Human Rights Watch mourned another cruel attack and began an investigation.
At HRW’s request, the Palestinian Authority also started an investigation.
Israel Defense Forces independently began an investigation.

By this time, the media was onto another story. Israel’s idea to conduct an investigation was mentioned briefly at the tail end of the coverage. I never saw the results on a Western news source.

The results?
Human Rights Watch declared that it was probably the IDF based on timestamps, Israeli military locations, and shrapnel, identical to their initial assertions.
Palestinian Authority stuck to its claim that it was the IDF, relying largely on HRW evidence.
Israel Defense Forces said the PA prematurely destroyed the evidence but said the shrapnel did not belong to IDF weaponry, thus, the attack wasn’t done by them.

At this point, only local media was covering the findings. None with enough power to press for a definitive answer.

Fast forward to the Qana buildings incident on July 30th. Déjà vu.

Military attack begets a civilian travesty.

Israel first expressed sympathy, justified its actions, then said the building fell seven hours after it was bombed, possibly caused by a Hizbollah explosion. The purpose? To destroy Israel’s worldwide image and cause a turning point in the war.

The Arab world, again, condemns Israel while some, again, called for its destruction alongside, again, expressing sympathy at the loss of Arab innocent life.

CNN Online only covered the minimum details focusing more on countries’ responses and America’s conciliatory change of tone.

Only local media discussed bloggers who raised questions of timestamps, similar children coming from the direction of the rubble, and people in black shirts with no dust on them at all.

Israel released a report that lowered the death toll from Hizbollah reports. While Western media mentioned this, the rest of the events are as mystifying as the unseen moon.

Human Rights Watch is still calling for an “independent international inquiry.”

The news has already left the building.


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