Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Adventures of the liberal media

US media outlets have recently been demonstrating an increasingly unwholesome affinity for delivering a GOP-centric message to the American public. And, in some cases, rabidly so. Back in September, coyly timed just before the November elections, Disney/ABC squirted out the excreable partisan hack-job, The Path to 9/11, which blamed 9/11 on Clinton and ignored the mendacious stylings of the Bush administration in steering clear of the vast spectrum of warnings of impending attack.

The mainstream corporate media have a twisted love affair with Ann Coulter, a woman who never lessens her derision of the "liberal media," which never appear to tire of embracing her virulent and partisan hackery. Now that he has deemed her in possession of a "brilliant brain," evidenced apparently by her discursive analysis of the American political class ("Al Gore -- total fag"), Chris Mathews will host Coulter on MSNBC's Lowba ... uh, Hardball, even after her most recent and heartfelt wish that John Edwards were assassinated. MSNBC and NBC are the sister networks Bill O'Reilly insists are leftist extremists, hate US troops and get "jazzed" about the deaths of Afghan children. If you watch closely, you might even catch a glimpse of Mathews sporting a woody for Ann, so titillated does he seem to be in her presence.

More disturbing than even these overtures to frothy Republican zeal is recent news that PBS will use the highly partisan and hugely discredited GOP operative, Frank Luntz, to conduct "analysis" of the Democratic presidential forum. Well, if you can't get the Democrats to appear on the Fox News wing of the GOP, bring an agent of the GOP to the Democrats on PBS.

But marginalizing Democrats is not the only newly acquired role for PBS. Recently, we learned that PBS has been engaging in a taxpayer-funded whitewash of history in order to make a documentary more palatable to the fine sensibilities of the American public, a public widely believed by media mavens that would wish to remain untroubled by some inconvenient facts surrounding the 1967 Israeli-Arab Six Day War.

Antonia Zerbisias details how the $1.2 million Canada-Israel-France co-production, Six Days in June, actually exists in two versions: one for PBS broadcast in the United States and one for, well, everyone else.
Two not-so-subtly different versions have already aired this week. Both about two hours in length, one ran in French, on CBC's sister networks Radio-Canada and the all-news RDI, the other in English on PBS. (A three-hour edition also aired to rave reviews in Israel.)

The PBS version repeats Sunday at 3 a.m.on WNED.

The French edition is what Montreal-based producer Ina Fichman calls the "international version," which was sold to Italy's RAI, Australia's SBS and elsewhere.

It depicts, among other historical facts, the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians by the Israeli army, a move the narrator delicately describes as "the first change to the demographics of the West Bank." It shows, through the eyes of a former Arab resident and an Israeli who photographed the event, that, where large villages stood, now are forests (many planted with Canadian charitable donations).

There is also a sequence, as related by the American-born Abdullah Schleifer, editor of Palestine News, as well as an Arab whose home was destroyed, about the overnight razing of a 700-year-old Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem by the triumphant Israeli defence minister, General Moshe Dayan.

"When I saw this destruction, there was a part of me that felt tremendous dread, that a whole new problem was going to be created,'' says Schleifer. He says this in the PBS version as well, but the horrifying context is stripped away for American sensibilities....

Fichman said that PBS demanded entire scenes and sequences come out, and others be softened.
Your taxes at work, protecting Americans from an inconvenient truth. Of course, this particular episode transcends Republican sentiment, insisting, as it does, upon the standard western narrative surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a narrative that Democrats, at the behest of AIPAC, are as much beholden to as the GOP.


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