NBC ‘witchhunts’ reporters who don’t give official line
An anonymous NBC producer described “a top-down intimidation campaign aimed at presenting an Israeli-centric view of the attack on the Gaza Strip,” AlterNet journalist Max Blumenthal reported on July 22. “The NBC producer told me that MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC executives are micromanaging coverage of the crisis, closely monitoring contributors’ social media accounts and engaging in a ‘witch hunt’ against anyone who strays from the official line.”
This follows MSNBC’s dropping its sole Palestinian contributor, Rula Jebreal, after she called the network’s coverage “disgustingly biased” on MSNCB’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” show July 21. She also hit CNN for interviewing “17 Israeli public officials versus one Palestinian.”
NBC ordered veteran reporter Ayman Mohyeldin to leave Gaza after his July 17 story on the Israeli shelling deaths of four Palestinian children playing soccer on a beach, which “NBC Nightly News” did not air. Mohyeldin was reinstated after social media outrage.
NBC is not alone in making sure that all reports toe the line. The corporate media in the U.S. have downplayed or disregarded Israel’s violations of human rights and international law and instead promoted Tel Aviv and Washington’s view that Israel is “defending itself” and that Hamas and Palestinian “terrorism” are the problem.
The real relationship of forces — repeated, unprovoked Israeli aggression versus Palestinian self-defense measures — if reported at all, is quickly dropped by all the corporate media for a revision of history favoring the Israeli regime and vilifying the Palestinians. This revision is repeated again and again, at all levels of the media.
NBC’s owners sell arms to Israel
Why aren’t the Palestinian people getting fair coverage?
Some say it is because Jewish people or the Israeli lobby “control” or “unduly influence” U.S. media outlets. But this is not the case.
The real force behind this biased reporting is the huge aggregate of U.S. corporations that pull in mind-boggling profits from exploiting Middle East resources, including the media monopolies themselves.
Take the powerful media conglomerate NBC, for example. Why would NBC be so biased? Because NBC is owned by arms manufacturer General Electric, which profits from the war on Gaza.
GE Aviation makes the propulsion systems in the U.S. aircraft sold to Israel, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-4 Phantom, the “Apache” attack helicopter and the Black Hawk utility helicopter, as well as the Israeli-made Kfir fighter plane. GE also makes parts for Hellfire II laser-guided missiles as well as T-700 and 701C jet engines used by the Israeli military.
NBC executives don’t mention that their salaries are paid by a company that makes a mint providing the very weapons that Israel uses. NBC doesn’t make a cent from exposing the murder of four Palestinian children playing on a Gaza beach.
Media’s ‘job’: fool the public
The major media are welded to a corporate network in what has become a military-industrial-media complex. The media’s “job” is to keep the U.S. public from seeing that a few individuals and corporations reap billions of dollars by exploiting the people of the Middle East and bombing and blockading Gaza. These super-rich hate and fear the national liberation struggles, especially the Palestinian struggle, because the Israeli state, which ousted and replaced Palestine, serves U.S. finance capital so well.
The corporate media have a profit motive, too. They get ads and financial sponsorship from giant corporations. They have interlocking directorates with oil, arms and other companies that profit from Middle East occupations and wars. They use their vast conglomerates of newspapers, magazines, books, networks and entertainment companies to promote a political climate that favors profit taking while censoring news that interferes with it. The big media eagerly self-censor if it furthers their burning cause: making more money.
In 2008, ExxonMobil made $1,300 in profits every second. For the military-industrial-media complex, this trumps the truth about Palestine.
ABC: ‘making money our only objective’
“We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.”
When Michael Eisner wrote these candid words in what he thought would remain an internal memo, he was CEO of the Walt Disney Co. The quote appears in the documentary “Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power.” The Disney Co. is the second-largest media giant and owns ABC, but it brings in the largest revenue of any media conglomerate in the world.
Only five giant companies — Time Warner (CNN, AOL), Disney (ABC), Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (FOX), Bertelsmann of Germany (the world’s biggest publisher of English-language books) and Viacom (formerly CBS) — control most of the television, radio, magazines, newspapers, books, movies, videos, music, photo agencies and wire services that people in this country rely on. GE’s NBC is a close sixth. (“The New Media Monopoly” by Ben Bagdikian, Beacon Press, 2004)
The extent of this monopolization is well hidden. But, says Bagdikian, the truth is that “a shrinking number of large media corporations now regard monopoly, oligopoly and historic levels of profit as not only normal, but as their earned right.”
Interlocking directorates with big oil, military
The media monopolies have interlocking directors with Big Oil. GE (NBC) interlocks with Mobil, CNN with Chevron, Knight-Ridder with Phillips Petroleum, the New York Times with Texaco (whose parent company is Chevron). And some “public” television news shows are connected to Big Oil through ad revenues. Chevron is a key funder of the most influential show on PBS, the nightly “News Hour with Jim Lehrer.” (FAIR, Dec. 19, 2007)
This is why the corporate media are not merely reporting on the war against Gaza; they are part of it. Their job is to wage the propaganda war.
Next: The dirty truth behind the “free press” lie.
Some information in this article is excerpted from the book “Gaza; Symbol of Resistance,” which can be ordered at gazaresistancebook.com.