I’ve been reading Melanie Phillips’s address to Ariel Conference on Law and mass Media, 30 December 2010.
I find long articles more user-friendly read straight from the page like in the olden days, so I printed this one off. Whichever way floats your boat, do read it.
The commonplace dismissal of her as Mad Mel had me stumped. How could such an eloquent, logical thinker be considered mad?
I now see this ill-chosen soubriquet as the contemporary equivalent of mankind’s reception to the proposition that the world’s a sphere. An insight likely dismissed as bonkers by those who clung obstinately to the notion that the earth was flat. Now we know it’s round, it seems we are still looking for ways to fall off it. I’m saying Mel is right, and the naysayers just don’t get it.
If you follow the saga of Middle East, and you know something of the complex political and religious situation, you’ll understand Melanie Phillips’s words of wisdom; to you, her language will sparkle and resonate.
But many will be mystified, because the selective reporting dished up by the monolithic organisation that is obliged to ‘inform, educate and entertain’, has left an uninterested, misled, misinformed audience out in the cold, and they’re the ones who dismiss her words as inflammatory, scaremongering hyperbole.
Many well-intentioned people say Israel has a right to exist, but not to defend herself, or that things would be easier if Israel was ‘not there’, or that Moslems are the new Jews. I don’t know if the eradication of Israel, or the extinction of Jews would bother them much, but I do know that being thought antisemitic bothers them a great deal.
People often question the Arabs’ contribution to mankind’s development, and accuse them of stagnating, from the 6th century to the present day. But there is one area where their creativity and innovation is unsurpassed, an area as contemporary as could be; by deft management of public relations and presentation they have turned everything upside down, and seduced the world into doing the same. “The Arabs brilliantly reconfigured the Arab war of extermination against Israel as the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.”
As the process of appeasement and whitewashing of Islamism gets more and more indefensible, and as the demonisation of Israel gets more and more incompatible with the evidence, the truth must surely dawn, the penny must surely drop, and things must surely right themselves. But is there time to sit back and wait?
Society currently finds itself “immersed in a total inversion of truth evidence and reason,” Melanie says. Israel has allowed itself to be pushed into a defensive position, and she urges it instead to bolster the efficacy of its strikers. (The football terminology is mine.)
The media must be recaptured and put to work for the home team. It must inform the misinformed, re-educate the ill-educated, and somehow scoop up the bigots and ineducable and carry them along with the tide.
There is a long way to go. This morning Jeremy Bowen and Wyre Davies did their bit towards putting the case for the opposition. Wyre regurgitated the misconception that settlement building in ‘illegally occupied Palestinian land’ is the obstacle to peace, and Jeremy announced triumphantly “There’s been a steady toll of Palestinian deaths in Gaza at the hands of Israelis since the January 2009 war…..… and rocket fire into Israel has been increasing recently.” Someone from the LSE, professor Fawaz Gereges completed the anti Israel triumvirate. This is not balance. At least the people who object to Israel’s point of view being aired, in any shape or form, will be happy.
By drawing attention to the reporting omissions and bias of the BBC, we endeavour to redistribute the imbalance, and turn its far-reaching influence over the worldwide audience from negative to positive. Some hopes.