HomeVEA Section France2 Steps in the Pallywood Doodoo… and what a revealing whopper!
France2 Steps in the Pallywood Doodoo… and what a revealing whopper!
A recent incident, well covered in both the blogosphere and (some) of the MSM, casts a brilliant light on some of the darker alleys of the media theater of war, particularly on the inner workings of Pallywood.
Not content with his work, Enderlin, in one of those fits of arrogance that often befall those who fool too many people too often, got France2 to sue Philippe Karsenty for saying France2 had presented the staged Al Durah Hoax as real news. In the appeals case, the court demanded that Enderlin show the (Pallywood) footage (which he cut), and then presented the court with a video that used Pallywood footage to try and convince the court they didn’t use staged footage.
Now we see them in a particularly egregious error that anyone who had been paying the slightest attention to what the issues involved in Palestinian footage would have caught:
I. The incident: On September 23, 2005, at a celebration of the “victory” of having driven the Israelis from Gaza after the “Disengagement,” a victory float of Hamas “activists” and their arsenal exploded, killing more than a dozen Palestinian civilians including several children drawn by the sight of the weaponry. Hamas tried, in true Pallywood style, to blame Israel, but with a less than united front between Hamas and Fatah, the real story leaked so badly the press did not snatch at the proferred bait. Of course, once the Israelis were no longer to blame, the story — Palestinian militants kill Palestinian civilians — had no legs. For the MSM, it died there.
II. The resurrection of the mutilated flesh: On January 1, 2009, Mounir1426 put up one of his first videos at LiveLink entitled, ISRAEL CARNAGE CIVILIANS CHILDREN GAZA. The explanation offered: Israel just bombed a large civilian street market in Gaza. His logo reads: FOR GAZA.
III. Viral Spread: The video spread rapidly particularly in Muslim and radical anti-Zionist circles, with half a million hits in some cases. Including a French site. [Documentation of its viral spread welcome here.]
IV. The immediate response of the critical blogosphere nails the video as incorrect. Already Sunday, January 4, Little Green Footballs summarized the discussion to that point. Even the poster of the video admitted error (although he refused to take down the libelous running header for fear of “losing the conversational thread that would ensue with changing it).
V. France2 runs with it: On the afternoon, Monday, January 5, 2009 France2 ran the following program in which they both reported Palestinian claims of a bomb hitting a house and killing a family of five, and then this report of a Gaza market place:
“To show the violence of the combat, Arab televisions and Internet broadcast these images, photographed by a telephone. It would be a question [il s’agirait] of a missile strike on the first of January. The military [in the footage] wear the Hamas armband. In the crowd there are military, but also many civilian corpses.
This sequence of events is immensely revealing about the dynamics, the driving forces that keep up Pallywood inertia, long after they’ve been brought to light. In a sense, this is the “Adnan al Haj” incident of the war, the poster-child for how the war has been waged in the media theater, and prima facie evidence of the perduring MSM attraction to Pallywood footage.
First, note that the original incident is actually a terrifying example of the contempt for human life that the people in Hamas — and many other Palestinian leaders — have for the lives of their civilians. To parade with live ammunition so badly maintained that it explodes in front of gawking youth at a demonstration, renders our legal term “criminal negligence” impoverished. This is a terribly and terribly revealing insight into the mentality of people enlisted in a death cult.
Of course, as with the Gaza Beach tragedy a year later, Hamas tried to blame Israel for their work — the classic scapegoating instinct that informs so much of Pallywood. At the time, given the presence of an opposing Palestinian voice (political rival Fatah), their efforts failed. But since the MSM showed no interest in the affair once it violated their framing narratives, what might have offered Western audiences an important insight into the dynamics of Palestinian political culture, failed to make much of an impact in the MSM.
But it stayed in the toxic blogosphere and reappeared as a Hamas originally wanted to use it — an accusation against Israel for precisely the brutality that Hamas directs, not at Israeli civilians, but at their own! It would be harder to find a more morally corrupt act of disinformation than this, even though such deeds abound in cyberspace.
Second, note how rapidly France2 was forced to retract, from the action of the blogosphere. This is, in a sense, the equivalent victory for the French empirically-critical blogosphere, whose gestation period benefited from the revelations of the Al Durah case, and which had already made itself felt when France2 circulated their stunningly ignorant petition for Charles Enderlin. The many comments on the Figaro article about it are overwhelmingly critical of France2 and fully aware of the links between this and the Al Durah affair. As one punned, “Pourvu… que sa Dura. [”As long as/would that it last/s.”]
It is an error on our part to have broadcast these images, which in fact, date from 2005. The sequence that we broadcast was supposed to ilustrate the war of images on the Internet. The people who prepared the subject went too fast. It’s a good warning inoculation for our production unit. It reminds us to be very attentive on verifying our sources. We will present our excuses to our viewers tomorrow [Tuesday], during the JT of 1 PM.
Arlette Chabot, key player in the Al Durah trial, added her dismissive apologies — “In any case it’s not a manipulation, and the diffusion of the images only lasted 10 seconds…”
Note that the France2 team in Paris had every opportunity to check the viability of this video on the internet before running with it. A half a minute would have revealed the real story to any minimally competent fact checker. But it’s actually worse: France2 is the poster child for Western media dupe to Pallywood. They were forced to show (and felt compelled to censure!) their footage before a packed courtroom, and when they tried to defend themselves with their own video, they made more mistakes.
Part of what makes this video so shocking to people who know this material, is how sloppy this is. And it doesn’t stop at one piece of footage. It’s a whole mentality, fed by a systematic lack of familiarity with the issues at play.
And what about the documentary that came to their defense that warned against toxic content on the internet? Surely they knew about that.
So, une petite piqure, a little shot innoculating them from missteps is actually pretty weak language. France2 actually participated in the very viral war of images — on the side of the haters, on the side of those who are destabilizing Arab governments throughout the Middle East, and tearing up the streets of Paris and London.
This is hardly a “petite bavure,” a little slip. On the contrary, this incident deserves closer attention and denunciation. Fortunately, call for serious censure has come from a number of anti-raciste organizations in France, including LICRA the one whose director is supposed to do the investigation into the Al Durah case. France2 cannot be happy.
Note the careful circumlocutions and the framing of the presentation: the narrator makes it clear this is not France2 footage, that it may be suspicious (although that word is never uttered). He may well know that this is unrealiable but wants to use it anyway.
And the reason for that, is that this footage fits into his narrative seamlessly: “Israelis slaughter Palestinian civilians mercilessly.” The preceding scene covered a strike that Palestinian sources claim came from an Israeli naval vessel firing off the coast. Then, to drive home the point, he runs with the toxic footage.
The narrative is clear: Everything we ever read about how Western imperialists engaged in rampant, genocidal slaughter of native populations… is true again, of the Israelis. Think a scene from The Last Samurai, where he feverishly remembers the slaughter of Indian civilians… that’s the Israelis.
(The bitter irony of it all, is that the Arabs are unquestionably frustrated genocides, who openly declare their intentions to anyone who cares to listen.)
What this incident reveals most strikingly is what one might call the irresistible appeal that MSM reporters — especially Europeans like the folks at France2 — have for footage and stories that make Israel look bad, or even worse, like the most ruthless murderers around. Little truffles of moral Schadenfreude that make Europeans feel so superior to the Israelis, a sense that permeates the challenges posed to them by TV anchors with limited understanding of the conflict. With such bait within reach, our journalist could not resist snapping at it.
The wretched irony here is that had Stephane Malleterre and his Canal+ crew, who did an investigative report on the toxic elements on the web, rather than putting Philippe Karsenty and me in the same bag with Holocaust Deniers and 9-11 Truthers as “conspiracy nuts,” but showed how France2 had fed a worldwide hatred by being duped by Talal abu Rahmeh, then perhaps this might have been avoided. Had Canal+ held its colleagues at France2 up for criticism as dupes of this conspiratorial toxic web culture, rather than smeared us, who know? Maybe France2 would have already gotten their “inoculation”?
And so, the cost of spreading the toxic environment that fuels the street demonstrations, that rally useful fools like Annie Lennox, France2 feeds the fatal addiction of Europeans for anything that gives them a sense of moral superiority to the Israelis. Alas, what a tragedy for everyone, Palestinians included.