The pillars of propaganda

Protesters, many clad in blood-stained mock press vests, demonstrated on Jan. 22 outside the Philadelphia offices of the pillars of propaganda — Fox News, WHYY and the Philadelphia Inquirer — to condemn their pro-Zionist news coverage of the genocide of Palestinians.

Rally for journalists killed by Israel, with banners calling out corporate news outlets. Philadelphia, Jan. 22, 2024. (WW Photo: Joe Piette)

Demonstrators laid dozens of vests outside each of the media outlets they visited. As Israel’s war on Gaza enters its 109th day, the Zionist state has killed 119 journalists in the Gaza Strip. A large lead banner read: “Palestinian Genocide, co-signed by CNN, BBC, Fox News, The Inquirer, The New York Times.”

“Every time the media lies, a family in Gaza dies, a journalist in Gaza dies!” was a popular chant.

Since Oct. 7, Israel has launched attacks against some 50 headquarters of media institutions, including the offices of pro-Palestinian or Middle East media, such as Al Jazeera, Palestine TV, Ma’an News Agency and Al Quds and Al Ayyam newspapers. The Zionist military has also target-bombed the homes of key journalists, killing dozens of their family members.

On Jan. 7, Al Jazeera journalist Hamza Dahdouh was killed by an Israeli airstrike in southern Gaza. He was the son of veteran Al Jazeera correspondent Wael Dahdouh, whose spouse, two other children and a baby grandson were killed by an Israeli strike on the family’s home in Gaza in October 2023.

In early November, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate called on the United Nations and other international institutions to protect press workers in the Gaza Strip.

Demonstrators display mock press vests with names of slain journalists. Philadelphia, Jan. 22, 2024. (WW Photo: Joe Piette)

At the demonstrators’ stop outside WHYY TV/Radio, Betsey Piette, a managing editor of Workers World newspaper, described how imperialists such as the U.S. and Israel have used media to spread false allegations about rapes of women or murders of children to justify their wars against whichever country they plan to attack. This is just one example of Israel’s lies.

In October, all of the corporate media outlets repeated the “horrors” of Hamas beheading babies, only to acknowledge later that never happened. Yet on Dec. 28, The New York Times featured a front-page story alleging mass rapes by Hamas, only to debunk the story within days after the facts came out.

Piette added: “We are told that we have a ‘free press,’ but the media here is owned lock, stock and barrel by greedy corporate interests. Wall Street bankers, multibillion-dollar weapons manufacturers and energy company executives control the boards of directors of every major U.S. news outlet.”

90 mock press vests representing journalists killed by Israel in Gaza, layed on the sidewalk outside Fox News. Philadelphia, Jan. 22, 2024. (WW Photo: Joe Piette)

Journalist Nora Erakat, with the Arab-American “Friends, Peace and Sanctuary” journal, spoke of her attempts to get over 100 news sources to cover events in Palestine prior to Oct. 7, only to receive silence: “Everyone of us has watched family members in Gaza die, but we are told this is ‘not a local issue’ as one of the excuses by WHYY for not covering it,” she said.

At the final stop outside the news offices of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Nicki Kattoura, Palestinian writer and editor, whose writings have appeared in Mondoweiss and Palestine Studies, began by reading the names of murdered journalists written on the mock press vests.

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