Slowly, though, something is changing. As Israel pulverises Gaza, questions and doubts about Israeli policy are becoming more prominent in the American media. The failure of the war in Iraq and the attendant discrediting of neoconservatism has opened up new space in the American conversation. With the American right dejected and weakened, there's less pressure on the press to display the kind of boorish one-sidedness that self-congratulatory conservatives like to call "moral clarity". Israel's disproportionate retaliation in Gaza is increasingly recognised as both brutal and, in all likelihood, ultimately futile. In destroying Gaza, Israel is also destroying the American taboo that has ensured the country such unstintingly favourable media coverage.Which leads me to wonder if Wolf AIPAC Blitzer's head will explode live and on the air sometime soon or will he simply continue to dance around the issue while the rest of the world, his coworkers included, already recognizes the truth? Here is my best guess...
On December 31, CNN took on the contentious question of whether Israel or Hamas broke the ceasefire, precipitating the current fighting. First, the network aired a clip of the liberal Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti saying: "The world press community or media community is overwhelmed with the Israeli narrative, which is incorrect. The Israeli spokespersons have been spreading lies all over. The reality and the truth is that the side that broke this truce and this ceasefire was Israel. Two months before it ended, Israel started attacking Rafah, started attacking Hamas and never lifted the blockade on Gaza." Ordinarily, TV journalists would follow such a clip – if they even aired it in the first place – with one of Israel making its case, and would stop at that, leaving an audience already predisposed against the Palestinians to sort out the truth. Instead, anchor Rick Sanchez did something that should be commonplace, but sadly is not: he endeavoured to find out who was right.
"And you know what we did? I've checked with some of the folks here at our international desk, and I went to them and asked: 'What was he talking about, and do we have any information on that?'" said Sanchez. And he reported that his sources confirmed that Barghouti was right.
On an equally serious note as the situation in Gaza, will fact checking become a regular part of CNN programming? I would gladly welcome the opportunity to say that facts no longer had a liberal bias and that the media no longer danced to an AIPAC and neoconservative choreographed tune. Something they seem to be showing some minor signs of, recently.
Connecticut Bob has some interesting information and actions on the current I/P situation that deserves some serious consideration.