by Harvey Oberfeld
November 20, 2023
Sadly, since the “the war to end all wars“ [World War I], there have been far too many more: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine … and now Gaza.
News reports from conflicts have always shown the terrible price paid by civilians: destroyed homes and buildings, dead and injured innocents, destroyed families, mourned by their anguished relatives and friends.
Different places, different causes, different combatants, different conclusions, but with one thing in common each war: how the media covers them and shows the world what goes on.
Shelling, bombing, strafing and lots of combat footage of soldiers, opposing forces locked in battle have always been the hallmark of war coverage… with the inevitable footage of fallen fighters littering battlefields, badly wounded oand being hurriedly evacuated to hospitals.
Except in the Gaza war.
Stop and think: how many dead or wounded Hamas fighters have you seen? If you’ve been watching several of the global networks “covering“ the Israel/Hamas war, you’ve probably seen very, very few dead or injured Hamas soldiers… or maybe none at all!
judging by the media coverage, you could be forgiven for thinking the only ones being injured or killed in Gaza are civilians!
That’s because the Hamas terrorists… and their media messengers… have highly successfully censored, stage-managed and manipulated much of the visuals the world media have used to report the war in Gaza.
First of all, notice where most of the network journalists are reporting from: not the trenches of the front lines or even anywhere inside Gaza… but from the comparative comfort and relative safety inside Israel [although some still wear helmets and flak vests on camera… for effect?) or from Jordan, Egypt, even London or Washington.
The few Gazan correspondents we see on camera are very careful to highlight the destruction and injuries caused by Israeli shelling and bombing, and refugees fleeing the fighting but do not show any Hamas fighters injured or killed.
Second, there are also almost no foreign network camera crews inside Gaza, so from everything I’ve seen, it looks like the international networks are largely depending on two sources for footage: local Gaza Palestinian camera crews who are rightfully very careful not to offend Hamas with any of their coverage; and, lots of viewer videos shot by Palestinian Gaza residents and/or Hamas public officials… or their UNWRA allies.
So of course they show the horrifying effects of Israel’s advance [destruction, carnage, grief]… but again, no surprise, they show no Hamas fighters, dead, injured, taking refuge or fleeing for their lives.
Third, according to Hamas itself and according to United Nations officials, Gaza has been almost completely out of fuel needed to operate even the most critical services such as hospitals, bakeries, food distribution vehicles and facilities and even pumps for the water supply.
Well then, where is all the power coming from to charge the cameras, run the cell phones, feed out to the world hundreds of videos shot daily throughout Gaza [north and south] highlighting the destruction, dead and injured Palestinian civilians, refugees fleeing the war, interviews with countless Gaza hospital spokespersons [recorded in well lit hospital wards, corridors and offices], and also lots of interviews with United Nations officials and refugee agencies spokespersons complaining there is no fuel … to provide power???
What we are witnessing in this war, unlike all the others the world has endured, is that Hamas, the terrorist organization that started it all, has had unprecedented control of the footage and images the media has had available to tell what’s happening.
That’s why so many of the visuals have concentrated, not on the battles, not on the fighters, but on the civilian victims, especially children and babies… lots of children and babies!
Day after day, story after story… heart- rendering pictures, tales and trauma.
Sad and tragic, to be true… but have you ever before seen WAR coverage that has so prominently concentrated on children and babies in hospitals?
The truth is it’s all part of a very carefully controlled and effective Hamas propaganda effort.
Correspondents covering this war are highly depended on footage shot by Gaza Palestinian camera crews, Gaza Palestinian residents and Gaza Palestinian officials… all of whom must answer to Hamas!
It shows and it works! “
And among those to fall victim to the high pressure visual manipulation was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that the “killing of women and children and babies“ in the Gaza strip must end“, the Hamas-friendly Arab news service Al Jazeera reported to its millions of viewers last week.
Other Western politicians have felt the pressure as well.
The footage, of course, is very compelling, but I have no doubt that after this war is over and the media experts dissect the coverage, many will come to the conclusion that the media were played by Hamas … censoring and controlling the images emanating from Gaza.
Making the media a victim of the conflict as well.