Sunday, January 04, 2009

Reality breaks through "news"


Every morning the San Francisco Chronicle seems to get thinner. I'll miss it if (when?) the collapse of daily print newspaper business model brings it down.

What other regional US newspaper would run this frontpage headline on a Sunday morning?

Israel Fighting Ghost Of Lebanon
Analysis: Victory over Hamas in Gaza could restore fear it once inspired in regional enemies.
The article by Michael Kalman filing from Jerusalem isn't bad either.

"Gaza will be your cemetery, and you have no choice but to end the aggression and lift the blockade," added Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan.

The derision contained in those taunts may reflect false bravado. But it also underscores a central issue underlying the Gaza conflict and Israel's position: The Jewish state has lost a large measure of its capacity to intimidate and control its regional enemies, a new vulnerability that dates back to the stalemate with Lebanon's Hezbollah militia in 2006.

... Israel has yet to clearly express what it expects to achieve by sending in thousands of ground troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships.

The rest of the article quotes various Israeli politicians, academics, and military men trying to figure out what an end game might look like.

It doesn't mention the possibility that the Gaza assault is a product of Israeli politicians jockeying for advantage in the elections called for February 10.

Nor does it mention the central fact of an offensive on one of the most urbanized, crowded places on earth: huge numbers of non-belligerent people are going to lose their homes, their communities and their lives as Israel blows up parts of its open air prison for uppity Palestinians.

Elsewhere, the paper does report via AP

The United States has blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, diplomats said.

That is, our rulers are supporting and protecting the slaughter.

The Chronicle is not perfect, but it is to some extent breaking the rules that make the US mainstream media mindless mouthpieces for our government and its Israeli buddies. They sometimes did the same in reference to Afghanistan and Iraq, sending their own reporters to the war zones who didn't just repeat the platitudes that too often came from embedded reporters.

I suspect this relatively high quality journalism is in part a response to the relatively well-informed Northern California public who have moved beyond the official story of poor threatened Israel up against those nasty brown Ayrabs.

As I said, I'll miss the Chron if/when it goes down.
***
For a really useful history and overview of Israel's wars on their neighbors, read Professor Juan Cole from today. Cole puts Kalman's insights in a far longer historical frame.

1 comment:

sfmike said...

Between that article (with its horrible headline) and Carolyn Blockhead's "news analysis" of why Bush might be considered to be an important leader down the road historically, and a small collection of other drivel on their front page, I realized that I'm really going to be really, really happy when the "San Francisco Chronicle" finally dies. In fact, I may just set a bonfire somewhere, and I'll be sure to invite you. Historically, between the de Youngs and the Hearsts, the greater public good has been terribly served over the last century. Curse them and everyone of their descendants who are still being hideous parasites to the greater world at large.

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