This week Mickey examines media coverage of the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and the ensuing Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, particularly the one-sided reporting of the Israel-Palestine conflict by corporate media, and Big Tech actions to suppress Palestinian perspectives. Today’s guests discuss how media bias and lack of historical context work to sway US public opinion, bolstering double standards on human rights (“worthy vs. unworthy” victims in media standing) that actually help facilitate and excuse ongoing Israeli war crimes.
Andy Lee Roth is Associate Director of Project Censored, coordinator of its Campus Affiliates Program, and a widely-published media analyst. He recently wrote, “Making Sense of the Establishment News Media’s Distorted Coverage of Gaza.” Mnar Adley is founder and Editor-in-Chief of MintPress News, which has seen their work on Palestine repeatedly censored, taken offline, deplatformed or demonetized. Robin Andersen is Professor Emerita of Communications at Fordham University; she is author/editor of numerous books on media and is a regular contributor to FAIR. Her most recent Dispatch on Media and Politics for Project Censored- “How Big Media Facilitate Israeli War Crimes in Gaza.”
Video of the Interview with Robin Andersen
Video of Interview with Mnar Adley
Video of Interview with Andy Lee Roth
Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Robin Andersen
Mickey: Welcome back to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. In this segment today, as we continue coverage of the ongoing attacks in the Middle East between Israel, Palestine, Hamas. We’re going to be looking, specifically right now at how big media have facilitated the Israeli war crimes in Gaza, and we’re going to chronicle corporate media’s dehumanization of Palestinians, the lack of historical context given in that Western reporting, by and large, and how the Western press repeats hearsay as fact to make the current tragedy unintelligible.
To most Americans, in other words, it’s difficult for the American public to respond to things happening in a way that is commensurate with the facts when the American public don’t have all of the facts historically and contemporaneously. And for this discussion, we are joined by media scholar Robin Andersen.
She’s a Project Censored judge and contributor to the forthcoming State of the Free Press 2024 book, award winning author, Professor Emerita of Communications and Media Studies at Fordham University, editor of the Rutledge Focus Book Series on Media and Humanitarian Action. Robin’s latest books include Investigating Death in Paradise, Finding New Meaning in the BBC Mystery Series.
And the forthcoming Censorship Digital Media and Global Crackdown on Freedom of Expression, which actually we have a chapter in. In addition, Robin writes regularly for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting as well as us for us at Project Censored. Robin Andersen, thank you for joining us once again on the Project Censored show.
Robin: Thanks for inviting me, Mickey. I’m happy to be here.
Mickey: Indeed, and you always are game to talk about these very important issues, and they’re often dark. This topic today, no exception. You recently wrote a piece a dispatch ProjectCensored.Org where people can see it for free, “How Big Media Facilitate Israeli War Crimes in Gaza.”
And it’s a pretty lengthy piece. It’s, you know, it’s academic and in my view, a lot of the best ways. It’s extraordinarily well documented and cited with a lot of links and notes. Robin Andersen, can you kind of kick us off here with your frame for talking about the issue going on now between Israel, Palestine and the apartheid occupied situation there?
Robin: Thanks, Mickey. Well, as you well know, I’ve been writing about war media and war for for many years now, and it’s easy to recognize a war frame. And basically what happens is the violence of our enemies is always unprovoked and and out of nowhere. So when I say our enemies that we’ve long framed this very simple dichotomy between Israel.
And Hamas and the Palestinians is Israel is, been so effective at lobbying everybody that there’s in American public life, there’s almost no way to, to, to involve, a critique or criticism, of the Israeli actions in any of the occupied territories and certainly not in Gaza. And, and there’s no counter arguments.
To explain what’s actually happening. So the violence of Hamas just came out of nowhere. It’s unprecedented. And, and we can see this developing right, right at the beginning. So, so there’s, there’s no historical background and what that allows them to do is quickly then come in and demonize Hamas if there’s no way to explain it, then Hamas can only be motivated by their pure evil.
They’re terrorists, they’re. Immediately, they’re not human, they’re animals. I saw this one horrible cartoon or image of a, of a cockroach. And of course we know that that’s a classic propaganda, anti demon, enemy propaganda frame. Without that, right away then, with this kind of endless loop of how the Hamas attacks kill civilians and and they did and it was it was it was terrible and we can talk about that a little bit again.
But right away, the, Israeli military and prime Minister got online and said, they want, they want to do this to us. Well, then we’re going to turn them into rubble. We’re going to turn them into a tent city. These inhumane animals will now be destroyed. And then all of a sudden the Hamas attacks are now demonizing the entire population, within Gaza.
And that is very much sounding like now a call to genocide.
Mickey: So we we’ve heard, I mean, direct quotes from people, in the Israeli government that are, well, I mean, again, it’s the language is extraordinary in its brutality and the dehumanization. I mean, and that’s part of the program here. Part of the protocol is to otherize, demonize, dehumanize. One of the themes brought up earlier in the program with Andy Lee Roth on unpersons and unhistory.
Talk with Mnar Adley. We brought up, of course, the concept of worthy and unworthy victims. And this is unfortunately, Robin Andersen, a textbook case of how media frame this up to and including how the media are framing any Palestinian centric voices as being disinformation. Robin Andersen.
Robin: Right. And then you add on to that, this demonization, you add on what we’ve, what we’ve been talking about.
I’m sure you’ve already noticed the atrocity propaganda. Many people, many organizations and groups who fight for Palestinian rights and have identified a part of the Israeli occupation as apartheid, have, have called on the, human rights violations of the Israeli state. the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, have all, have all been identifying Israeli aggressive violence against Palestinians.
And they condemned the Hamas attacks. And they said, because we believe in human dignity with this very humanitarian principle coming into the news frame, because we believe in humanitarian dignity and the rights of all citizens. We condemn the attacks because these were against citizens. Though, so that should have been enough.
But then you add on to, the, the, the lag, the ahistorical model and the mystification of violence, you now add on atrocity propaganda. So they, they chopped off the baby’s heads and they raped women, none of which was verified. And, and so what the American media did is many in the American media and in the UK, they just, repeated this, repeated this atrocity propaganda.
And what that does is that’s, that’s the bloodiest most hate inducing, extreme kind of visceral emotional war propaganda that’s been around for a very long time, should have been recognized as a war propaganda trope, but wasn’t and was repeated. So that moved, that increased momentum again toward this, we can now, Israeli can defend itself.
We can now move to whatever actions we need to take. And that’s how we got here today, trying to halt a ceasefire and halt a genocide in Gaza.
Mickey: So, Robin Andersen, you write in your article, again the article is available at ProjectCensored.Org for free as part of our long form dispatches. It’s been picked up by several other outlets, of course, and is making the rounds.
You write, Gregory Shupak examined editorial pages of major US newspapers after the October 7 Hamas attacks, looking specifically at, say, the Wall Street Journal op ed. They had a piece titled the moral duty to destroy Hamas. Telling its readers, quote, Israel is entitled to do whatever it takes to uproot this evil, depraved culture that resides next to it, calling for the destruction of Hamas and extending a call to exterminate, quote, the culture, which is basically a call for genocide.
And they had Israeli announcements that said they were going to turn Gaza literally into, quote, hell, quote, rubble, and quote, a city of tents. And in fact, Robin, you go on to say that at Haaretz and others in Israel, the coverage is actually more diverse. There’s actually more opposition in the Israeli press seems to be than there is in the US.
Can you talk about that?
Robin: Yeah, Haaretz actually wrote, that, that, that Israeli and admitted that, that the Israeli army had been, increasing Israeli presence in, in, around the mosque, and, and the, and the Capitol Dome and they had been, you know, a long time attacking, the, Palestinian lands and and and they we know they’ve been weaponizing settlers for a very long time.
So that was extraordinary. And yeah, the Wall Street Journal, we know that it’s a now a Murdoch voice and it’s moved. It’s editorial voices to the right and oftentimes what we find with with with right wing and Fox News and Murdoch. sources is that they tend to have this tendency to say out loud what other You know, legacy media and mainstream media, establishment media is just, is just, implying.
So, so without any historical context, you can then call them, demonize them, and then say you can, you can defend yourself in any way you want. That’s one thing. But now to come right out, let’s just have the Wall Street Journal just come right out and say they need to uproot a culture. That is the very definition.
Violation of Geneva Conventions where you can’t attack. So what what what the mainstream has also done is equate the leaders and the fighters Hamas demonize them so much that it and then they just mix them up with the Palestinian. With everybody in Gaza, and now they can be attacked without any accountability, without any stuff, without any cautionary voices, without any, humanitarian voices, without anybody from the UN saying this, this is where this is going to lead.
And now, of course, we’ve got the, the, the, the Secretary General saying that, and the UN’s calling this, this is incitement, and, and, and putting it’s, saying this is now war crimes, this is genocide. And, and, and talking about the role of, of, of the media in it. Well, I mean, and also,
Mickey: I’m sorry Robin. It’s, it’s hard to say.
I mean, it’s hard to ignore that this is, I mean, you’ve got top ranking Israeli officials, including in the military, talking about just want and I mean, they’re openly talking about committing war crimes. You write in the article that some, some that have been, you know, looking at what’s happening at the targeting of civilians, the forcible displacement, after Israeli orders to leave, you write about how it’s a blatant violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
And again, much of that hasn’t been reported, reported in the West. Also, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whom we mentioned moments ago, while decrying, you know, what he sees as fake news across the internet, spreads his own. By saying what separates Israel, the US and other democracies is our respect for international law and the laws of war.
Yet just the other day, he was confronted by the press pool in Washington that asked the basic question about the death toll of Palestinian civilians, which he nearly refused to answer, basically focusing on quote Hamas, propaganda and disinformation. And these reporters, you know, including up to CNN, you know, we’re saying, well, look, we know we don’t trust Hamas.
And so they’re backfilling the propaganda that anything that’s attributed to Hamas is bogus and false and anything that the West says is true, right? That’s the automatic default. But Blinken was forced to admit sheepishly after several minutes of repeating questions that yes, in fact, thousands of Palestinians had died, which, you know, is a backwards way of saying it wasn’t.
Just Hamas propaganda. I mean, granted, any kind of information like that is going to function as propaganda against Israel because it’s bad news for them. But Blinken sheepishly admits it after he says it’s all disinformation. He basically begrudgingly admits that yeah, thousands of Palestinian civilians are probably dead and then they move on.
I mean, they just move on
Robin: With the kind of saturation bombing they’re doing. It’s, it’s, it’s logical. You don’t, you can really don’t even have to have, listen to all Hamas numbers. All you have to do is know that they have saturated bomb, Gaza to the extent they’ve, there’s no functioning healthcare at the moment.
They turned off water. They turned off electricity. Do they not think that thousands and thousands
Mickey: of 400 sorties over Manhattan? Imagine what would happen if you cut all the power and everything that to place like Manhattan and drop 400 sorties bombs over it. I mean, again, we don’t think that way in the United States and the media certainly don’t portray it that way.
Although we’re very quick to talk about Israelis 9/11 we’re very quick to glom onto the atrocity porn and propaganda. As you were pointing out earlier, thus preemptively justifying anything Israel does in response. And again, I’ve said it earlier on the show, the Hamas attacks against civilians in Israel is horrible.
That’s not being disputed. But there’s no context given in the West. There’s no history of it. It’s all buried. And anybody that wants to talk about it is somehow anti-Semitic. And that trope needs to go away. Robin Anders
Robin: It absolutely does. The idea, again, that we’re going to do everything to you until you release the hostages.
Again, that’s Hamas. We can say about the Israelis. They have. They have so many Palestinians, activists, dissident voices, journalists in their prisons on administrative detention without charges. What are those people? They, they seem to be hostages to me. They’re jailed without charge for months on end. So much so that it’s an actual strategy whereby they get journalists to, to leave, to leave the profession.
And, and making it too difficult for them and too dangerous to report from, from Gaza. In terms of the, if you were, if we’re going to talk about this in body counts, our, our, colleague Greg Shupak has documented and I, I, I give you a link in the article. Since 2008. Nine out of 10 of the people that have been killed in this conflict are on the Palestinian side.
There are plenty of numbers which show, that there’s been massive, many, many more numbers. And of course there’s different recording data, there’s different ways that these, by any measure, one measure is that 6,000, over 6,000 Palestinians been killed by one of the, one of the human rights sources and 307 Israelis have been killed.
So we’re talking about a disproportionate number of Palestinian and, and, deaths to Israeli deaths. And that is never explained, Israeli violence is very rarely even talked about. And when it is, it is not subject to the same type of narrative that Hamas or Palestinian violence is not criticized.
They get out of it with these long complicated things. Oh, this is a conflict and they mystify it. And, so we can’t get to that. One more thing about how, how a little bit crazy it is to be talking about our enemies propaganda when Israeli propaganda. It’s been so obvious. And when I was writing last year about the assassination, the Israeli assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh
Mickey: The journalist, Palestinian American journalist.
Robin: Who, worked for Al Jazeera. And there was so much outrage that they had assassinated her very well known Palestinian American. Much pressure was put on Biden. The Israelis came out immediately with their propaganda, just like they did with the bombing of the hospital in Gaza recently. And they put, they showed a video of
a Palestinian fighter and said, No, this is the guy who did it. So what had, how does this work for the Israelis? It, it delays everything. There’s probably a dozen very in detailed, this, the line of, of, of, the shooter where everybody was. Finally, the New York Times admitted that this was an Israeli convoy that killed Shireen Abu Akleh.
It was in her neck. She had a, she had a helmet on and a vest. Right. Clearly, and that was, that became her target, that made her a target. So these, and then, and then when the bombing of, do you remember, Mickey, that the New York Times led with Israeli strike, Israeli strike levels, you know, Gaza hospital killing 500 Palestinians say right away that that that headline changed after Israel came out, they had, they said it was a misfired Palestinian target the
Mickey: Hamas rocket.
Robin: They released a tape that had two Palestinians talking, a Palestinian and a jihadist, and they’re talking about how it was their, their rocket, their missile. And so, very quickly, it’s easy to tell that these people are not speaking the right kind of Arabic. They’re speaking in a dialect. They don’t have the right, accents.
And so that was easily discredited, but still, you know, now they’ve got the Pentagon in it working with the Israelis to come up with every kind of reason, a possible way that this could possibly have been a Hamas rocket. They do not have the kind of ordnance and missiles that could level that hospital.
And yet, yesterday, it’s still being discussed in the Guardian as let’s take another look, ooh, more evidence has come out over and over again. You know, this will, will ultimately come out as the Israelis. And yet the, the, this delaying tactics allows the, the genocide to go on.
Mickey: Delaying tactics. And I, it’s important.
I think that we point out here that let’s even say that it turns out in this instance. That Israel is correct, and it is an errand for the sake of argument. This does not discount the scores and scores and scores of other times where Israel has been attacking Palestinian. Civilian infrastructure, including in the last 2 weeks, you know, and so that’s right.
The pivot here to pivot here to the end of your article, choosing humanity over killing and destruction. You write US establishment media should focus or I’m sorry, should consider humanitarian narratives in contrast to standard militarized revenge frames that only fan the flames of genocide that imperil Palestinian people.
So Robin Andersen in the last couple of minutes we have here could you talk maybe about some of the prospects for a ceasefire? Groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights are calling for this, many other international organizations, Jewish Voices for Peace, et cetera. Can you comment on this, Robin Andersen?
Robin: Absolutely. There, there’s no sense in this violence. Israel has moved closer, closer to the right. The government has gotten more extreme and more oppressive and more murderous. And what, what are they gaining? The, the, the cycle of violence really has to, be called out and, and stopped. It’s really the only way that we can get back to a position where
the two state solution has not been implemented in any way, mostly by the way in which the United States has not called out the Israelis for all of their human rights violations, their, their, their constant violations of international law. And until that happens, we can’t get to a place where we could solve any of the problems.
For example, the way that, that South African apartheid was resolved was with a single state solution, where everybody has, has a, has a vote. That’s never on the table, but, but they move so far away, out, outside of this belligerency, this, this kind of, we don’t talk, this, this pride of American foreign policy, that we never talk to terrorists.
Once labeled terrorists, you can never have a peace negotiation with them again. So we’ve got to get to a point where, where the cycle of (unintelligible) stand up comedians that was at one of the demonstrations and he kept calling over the microphone. Where is the humanity? How are we going to stop this? We’re so far out of the, the building of international law that happened after World War I and II, in the latter half of the 20th century.
So many violations of it, primarily from the United States and the Israelis. That that something’s got to give here right now they’re successfully pushing all of the all of the Palestinians into into the Sinai, which, which it has probably been on on their agenda for quite a while but this is called ethnic cleansing and Israel will not benefit from this, this to stop this will benefit the Israelis.
And the Palestinians, the Israeli state so many people around the world know what is happening there that that I cannot see a future for the Israeli state to accomplish these goals and really still be an entity, within the global framework of, of citizenship and nationality.
Mickey: Well, Robin Andersen, we’re about out of time in this segment.
And as we’re speaking, I want to point out it is Friday, October 27. This program will air across the US next week when multiple things are likely to have developed. And as we were talking, it’s just come in that Palestinians are reporting a total communication blackout as Israel expands the ground operation that’s happening literally right now, as you and I are speaking and so there there will be news. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though the things are going to get better in the near future, though. We certainly hope for cease fire Robin and we certainly hope that people. Particularly in the West, read more of work by people like yourself, like Shupak, like the work at Mint Press.
Certainly for the last 20 years, we’ve been documenting this kind of stuff at ProjectCensored.Org. I think if people knew more of the historical context, there might be more international pressure, particularly coming from the US and EU to really push some kind of a potential solution here to end the carnage.
Robin: And we know that Blinken, we know that Blinken is behind the blackout because, he’s told Al Jazeera to tone it down and Al Jazeera has, has always had access and any of the wars in the Middle East.
Mickey: And Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota, the Democrats are crowing for more censorship on social media. You know, the Republicans are just calling to expel people.
They’re, they’re going to not renew student visas and Trump’s talking about kicking, you know, people that are protesting Israel out of the country. The Democrats are talking about kicking them off of media platforms, metaphorically similar, right? So we, we, you know, you talk about a two state solution.
We don’t even have a two party solution over here. Where we have a uniparty when it comes to this issue and you have,
Robin: We’ve got Corey Bush. We’ve got Rashida Tlaib. They’re calling for a ceasefire. Everybody needs it. It’s tiny. I know, but everybody needed call up and ceasefire and
Mickey: Need to have more voices in there talking about, the real, the real immediate efficacy of ceasefire.
We know that at this juncture only innocent people are suffering and dying and it’s a horrendous tragedy that’s befalling right in front of our eyes. And you know, the media really do have a power to make a difference as the Project Censored’s founder Carl Jensen once said, but it really depends how they use and wield that power.
And you know, as ever at Project Censored, we hope that media wields the power and the benefit of the one, the 99%, not the 1% that the media operate in the interest of we, the people and the public interest and not the oligarchy and military industrial complex, and meaning.
Robin: And you and me and we, we have been really trying to deconstruct the, the Israeli propaganda over many years, that, that the Israelis, are, are the single democracy on the hill and the Holy Land, where they’d be safe, a land without a people to people without a land, and its, we have to deconstruct the way that the Israelis have have have lobbied and blocked and censored the American press.
Mickey: They’re going to be victims of their own propaganda campaigns, Robin Andersen. And this is what we see with the backlash and the things that are happening all terrible things.
But this is why we need this kind of journalism in the public interest. So thank you for the important work you do writing for us both at Project Censored and also FAIR. org. People can certainly find your work online. Robin Andersen, A N D E R S E N, is how you can find Robin. Her latest article, How Big Media Facilitated Israeli War Crimes in Gaza, is available at ProjectCensored.org. Again, you can find her work at FAIR. org. Robin Andersen, as ever, thanks for the important work you do, and we certainly look forward to having you back on the program in the near future. Thanks, Mickey
Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Mnar Adley
Mickey Huff: Welcome back to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. Today on the program, we are talking about what’s happening in the Middle East. We’re talking about how media and politicians gave Israel basically a green light to do what they’re doing in Gaza, how media outlets have worked with Israel against Gaza.
We’ll be talking about the propaganda blitz on how establishment press is pushing actually fake stories about what’s happening in Gaza. And those of you that are regular listeners here to the program and also regular consumers of independent media may realize I’m riffing around a news source that we feature here at the project often, and that would be mintpressnews.
com. I was just rattling off a list of some of their latest headlines that, of course, always gets them in some degree of hot water with the powers that be in big tech and the censorship industrial complex. But we are honored to welcome back to the program the editor in chief of Mint Press News, as well as the president of the non profit behind the headlines.
Mnar Adley. Mnar, it is an honor to have you on the program. I know how busy you’ve been, in these last couple of whirlwind weeks. It’s been traumatic and tragic in many ways, and I know that you’re going to talk to us about that both personally and professionally today. But thank you so much for joining us on the Project Censored Show, Mnar.
Mnar Adley: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here with you, Mickey.
Mickey Huff: So again, I was just rattling off a list is just some things at MintPress,com of what you all been working on just even in the past couple of weeks. But for years, you’ve been doing this kind of coverage. It meant press about Gaza, about the Israeli apartheid situation there.
Could you tell us Mnar just from the gate? Sort of your your impression of what’s what’s been happening around the October 7th? Mhm. Attacks, and retaliations from Hamas, based on Israeli occupation and settler colonialism. And just walk us into this and tell us some things that you’ve been covering at Mint Press that we obviously aren’t seeing in the corporate media.
Mnar Adley: Yeah, well, it’s been two weeks since the attack against the kibbutz happened on October 7th, and the media is framing this as a war between Hamas and Israel. But in reality, what we’re witnessing in real time on live TV is a war of aggression by the state of Israel, which is a colonizer. It’s an apartheid state.
It’s, what, the sixth strongest and largest military force in the world that’s being armed by the largest military force in the world, and it has launched a war of aggression against the world’s largest concentration camp in Gaza and what we know about Gaza is that there are about 2. 3 million people living there, 50 percent of whom are are Children are under the age of 18.
And, the majority of people living in Gaza are actually refugees. And when Hamas broke through the Gaza fence and sailed to the Israeli kibbutz, and Palestinians broke the Gaza border, what wasn’t being reported on is that these people were actually breaking out of the world’s largest open air prison, and they were so happy to finally be free from a prison where they had been ethnically cleansed into out of their homes from the Israeli settlements that were right outside of that Gaza fence.
And so the truth is, is that the media keeps leading with this headline. That, what happened on October 7th, they’ve led with, false stories of, beheaded 40 beheaded babies, which CNN and even the White House have had to, retract. They’ve led with stories of women being raped in mass, which now have also been retracted by major media outlets.
And even the Israeli military has distanced himself from many of those initial claims. And what we are now learning from within the Israeli military itself is that they’ve actually released, lists of the dead, showing that about 50 percent of the people that were killed. On October 7th were actually soldiers and, armed, settlers, not civilians.
And so there are still a lot of questions, and question marks around what happened on October 7th. Now, did Hamas kill civilians? They did. Did they take captives? They did. But we have to recognize that everything that we are being told that was used to manufacture consent for Israel’s very large and aggressive war of aggression against Gaza’s civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves, where it has targeted hospitals, where it has targeted.
Schools and U. N. Facilities where babies are being decapitated by the bombs being dropped on them. A lot of those stories turned out to be fate. And so, just look at this from the bigger picture. This is an ongoing issue that did not start on October 7th, but an issue of settler colonialism that.
Has been going on, by the Israeli state for the past 75 years. And so I just ask everybody to read and consume the news, with, you know, critical with a critical lens and know that there are usually, there is more to the narrative than meets the eye.
Mickey Huff: Well, critical media literacy education is all about this and it’s particularly significant in terms of the reporting about marginalized communities oppressed people’s, you know, Andy Lee Roth was on earlier talking about the Orwellian concept of unpersons and unhistory in a lot of ways that things go down the memory hole.
That we’re not, not allowed to see or talk about. And of course, Chomsky and Herman, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman also talked about the problems of unworthy victims, worthy versus unworthy victims in the media. And this was a textbook example out of the gate where the Western press, of course, was rightfully decrying the carnage of innocent Israeli citizens at the hands of Hamas, but they were doing it context-lessly, like completely out of context, no history.
I mean, granted, it’s an atrocity, not saying it isn’t, but the retaliation and the revenge that’s been meted in the ensuing couple of weeks, not to mention the decades of oppression and carnage prior, again, it’s an exercise in establishment propaganda in support of the status quo. That’s why it’s so difficult to see so many educated, I mean, this is the problem as Chomsky would say, it’s among the most educated classes that are most successfully propagandized.
But we see, you know, even in the White House press corps, there are establishment journalists questioning Secretary of State Blinken and others saying, are you trying to say that these people haven’t died in Palestine when they talk about the 7,000 people at least that are killed? I mean, again, we play the numbers game, which I think detracts away from the lack of humanity and the loss of human life here in a lot of ways.
But even at the end of it all, in the recent press conference. The, the, the establishment, the U. S. government admitted that thousands of people were dying, and they discarded the question because you can’t trust Hamas as a source. So, Mnar Adley, unpack some of that propaganda that we’re really up against.
And even when the establishment propaganda mechanisms admit that this is happening, it just, it doesn’t seem to change the perspective of people here. Or, do you think the perspectives of people in the U. S. are gradually changing about the Israeli occupation, Mnar Adley?
Mnar Adley: I do think that, people in mass are starting to become more conscious of Israel’s actions towards Palestinians and starting to understand that this is a crisis of apartheid and of, modern day colonialism and occupation. Polls actually showed that those who support Israel are typically people over the age of 65 in this country, and we’ve seen that with the massive, you know, show of protests across the country and students going, you know, doing performing walkouts from their universities and from their schools and these just cannot be compared to the very, very small pro Israel protests that are taking place in this country. And so what we are seeing within the media is a narrative and propaganda by the corporate mainstream media to show worthy versus unworthy victims. Israelis were killed versus Palestinians merely died.
I mean, that’s right. Exactly. Those are the words. And that’s the headline that was actually on the BBC. After Israel pummeled Gaza, the world’s largest open air prison, within the first couple of days after October 7th, when when Israel launched its aggressive crusade into Gaza. And also we saw many instances from the New York Post, to other outlets on social media, even leading with images of injured Palestinian children, you know, covered in dust and being pulled out of the rubble while reporting on unverified crimes being committed by Hamas. And so we are witnessing a propaganda blitz by the mainstream corporate media. Again, with the 40 beheaded baby story, I think it’s really important that we talk about this because this was one of the leading stories that was used to manufacture consent for Israel to launch its campaign military campaigning to Gaza.
It was used to dehumanize Palestinians to showcase Palestinians as barbaric, as backwards, as baby killers. And yet that story turned out to be false. It was sourced from i24NEWS. It’s an Israeli news, TV station, which is directly funded, by the Netanyahu family. And
Mickey Huff: is there any warning about that?
Is there any social media warning about that site or are they flagged by news guard Mnar? No, they’re not flagged by . Oh, I’m, I’m sorry. Yeah. I, I thought one standard, I thought one standard might apply for organizations that way across the list, but I was naive.
Mnar Adley: No, and, and that, and you know, I’m talking about news organizations that are being flagged right now.
We’re watching in real time corporate media pushing out fake news stories from CNN to Politico. Politico, just yesterday, I was reading one of their articles, the first line of their article yesterday, October 26th, read that, read the line about the 40 beheaded babies, even after the White House has retracted that claim, even after CNN has retracted that claim.
And even now the Israeli military, because they cannot show any evidence for it, have now backed off of that claim as well. And we have mainstream corporate outlets in the United States. Still pushing those stories and it serves, you know, racist tropes about Muslims.
Mickey Huff: Well, Mnar, you know, what we know from the social science research on this is that once these stories get out, the retractions don’t get anywhere near the reading.
They don’t get anywhere near the audience. Once an audience hears something, and if it, especially if it appeals to their confirmation bias because they’ve heard the narrative before, it’s almost impossible to go back and tell them that something they heard was false. Right? I mean, go back to 1710 and Jonathan Swift, right?
Falsehoods fly and the truth comes limping after. In the era of social media, that’s even more so, right, that these stories get around. And look, since World War I, we’ve been dealing with, you know, the Germans, you know, killing Belgian babies or ripping the heads off of, arms off of Belgian babies. Or Naira, the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter, lying to Congress about Iraqis throwing kids out of incubators.
These kinds of stories that demonize otherize and, the enemy. I mean, they’re old. This is again back to the worthy, unworthy victim strategy. And Mnar, it’s not just in that the establishment press is pumping out false stories, but also alternative sources like your own Mint Press are being censored.
So can you talk to us, about recent examples of where You have experienced censorship or deplat, deplatforming or any other kind of, of, big tech chicanery that silences your voice.
Mnar Adley: Yeah. And before I answer that, I just want to make one quick comment about why this 40 beheaded babies story is so outrageous because it goes, it goes to show just the asymmetry here that we’re seeing with the coverage of Palestinian children being killed versus Israeli children being killed, who’s worthy and who’s unworthy.
Right now, that story of the 40 beheaded children being, beheaded children, dying at the hands of Hamas has turned out to be fake and false news. It was used to justify Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. And now there are hundreds of babies. premature babies in Palestine that are alive because of incubators.
And this is a real story and their life is about to end because Israel has cut off electricity, to all of Gaza. They’ve cut out the fuel. And so the hospitals there are about to collapse if they haven’t already. In fact, just about an hour ago, I’m looking at the clock here. We received news that all of telecommunications cables in Gaza have been cut because of Israel raining bombs on Gaza right now.
So the internet has been cut off and all electricity and all telecommunications to the outside world have been cut off. And 3,000 children have been killed by these U. S. supplied bombs that Israel is dropping on Gaza right now. And so if we want to talk about the children that have been targeted. It is the God, the Palestinian children’s in Gaza that are that are being killed.
And we do know that nearly 1,000 babies have also been killed in Gaza so far since October 7th. And we know the I mean, that is just disturbing.
Mickey Huff: And we have reports of IDF people shooting Israelis and killing Israelis.
Mnar Adley: Right. That’s that’s yes the Hannibal directive was used. It’s a directive, that is used by the Israeli military that basically says to the military that it’s better for the Israeli military to shoot at other Israelis, just even if the enemy is there behind them.
And so what we saw on October 7, and this is again, this is, these are not my words. This is coming out of the Israeli military, reports themselves that that directive was, was used that day. So a lot of the 50 percent of the, people killed, on October 7th, most likely died because of being stuck in the crossfire between Hamas shooters and Israeli military. And so just just to go back to the kind of censorship that we have faced. Yeah, I just released a video yesterday, titled Israel’s top war crimes committed in Gaza so far, where I detail, Israel committing genocide, according to article six of the Rome statute of the international criminal court.
I also detail about eight other war crimes and other war crimes against humanity that Israel has committed. Again, according to their own statue and the UN charter. So I detail all of this factual information, looking at what Israel has done in Gaza from intentionally directing targets against civilian objects, deportation of forcible transfer of a population from, you know, targeting, personnel installations, material units, or vehicles involved in humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping missions where Israel has bombed humanitarian aid convoys, food aid facilities, 22 UN facilities have been targeted and bombed, Israel’s call for the north of Gaza to evacuate to the south of Gaza. That’s over a million people and giving them only a three hour window. These are all war crimes. And of course, the biggest one that we’ve, or not the biggest one, but the one that we’ve seen consistently is the, is the crime of apartheid. Well, this video, we uploaded it to Instagram and Facebook and to all the meta platforms, and meta took it down within two minutes, and the reasoning we were given.
I was going to read it out here is that the video promotes, organizations or individuals deemed as dangerous. And it really goes to show that this is not just an attack on Palestinians, because this is Humanizing Palestinians to show them to show the world what Israel has done against Palestinians in Gaza, but it’s also an attack on journalism because I myself, I’m an independent journalist, and I’m simply doing my job to report on how Israel is violating international law.
Unfortunately, what we have is a mainstream corporate media who are downplaying a lot of what Israel is doing in Gaza and they’re basically adding a disclaimer to any time that they report on what’s happening in Gaza to any of the atrocities that are carried out. They, they include a disclaimer saying that these atrocities are in response to Hamas attacks on October 7th.
Well, it doesn’t matter what they’re in response to. In fact, what Israel is committing in Gaza are crimes against humanity. They are war crimes, according to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court. Just yesterday, Israel targeted the family of Al Jazeera chief correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh.
And in every single one of the coverage, reports, covering the story within mainstream corporate media, including CNN, they added the disclaimer that that that his family died in an airstrike by Israel, where Israel was targeting Hamas targets. Yeah. And so that’s another disclaimer that they’re being used.
So what CNN organizations like CNN and the BBC have done is they’ve framed these attacks on civilians as collateral damage because because Hamas exists beneath the feet of every Palestinian. I mean, that’s how dehumanizing the narrative has been
Mickey Huff: language has been grotesque. Yeah, the language. I just
Mnar Adley: want I just want to add one quick thing is that Israeli media just published last night, a video interview with an Israeli politician that said, we know Where we have a registry that tells us exactly where every single person lives in Gaza.
And our target yesterday or that day was the family of what I do. So on TV, Israel is admitting openly that they are targeting journalists and their families and their families. And yesterday, Israel didn’t just target Wael Al-Dahdouh’s family, they also targeted several organizers of the great return march and their family.
And that’s what Israel is doing. These are targeted campaigns, targeted killings, just happening in plain sight. And the United States is abetting it and allowing it. And we’re, and they’re voting by the Biden administration is voting at the UN to,
Mickey Huff: to ask for billions more. And it’s not just for Israel.
It’s for Ukraine. It’s for Taiwan. It’s, you know, the military industrial complex is high on the hog right now. And, you know, we’re running out of time in the segment Mnar as usual, but, you know, it’s also worth pointing out that there are, there’s a decent number of people, of course, in Israel that are opposed to all of this.
I mean, there are people in Israel that are against all of this. They just, they’re not being represented.
Mnar Adley: They are a minority. They, they are, there, there is a minority voice in, in, the Israeli public that do oppose, Israel’s actions.
Mickey Huff: They’re cracking down there. They’re cracking down on protests, on media.
They’re doing the same thing inside the country.
Mnar Adley: Well, and I was just about to say that, they just voted inside the Israeli government, if they should shoot Israeli citizens who come out to protest. And I think they’re doing that. They did that vote. They held that vote to intimidate, Israeli citizens from ever opposing, what’s happening in Gaza.
And Israeli generals have said, if you want to oppose the war against Gaza, then we can bus you to Gaza.
Mickey Huff: Well, that should tell us a lot in terms of that’s some great punishment, which means the whole purpose is meeting out punishment, vengeance, et cetera. Mnar Adley, your outlet has been one of the consistently few that has covered these issues.
Alan McLeod, your senior writer, has brilliant media analysis day in and day out, particularly deconstructing the framing and propaganda of headlines from around the world, particularly in Western press, and I’d I’d certainly encourage our listeners to check out the work of Alan McLeod to check out the work of Mnar Adley and the work you’ve been doing to with Loki.
You definitely are providing perspectives and information that are just not nowhere really to be found in the establishment press in the US, and I think it’s very important what you’re doing. You’ve been experiencing censorship efforts. For years now, and those are only likely intensifying Mnar Adley.
Any last words for right now in this segment?
Mnar Adley: No, I think I think that we we covered it.
Mickey Huff: Yeah. So mint press news dot com is where to go. Any other places you’d like for people to try to find you online? Well, while they’re able Mnard Adley.
Mnar Adley: Yeah, we’re, we’re available on our website, mintpressnews. com, and all of the platforms, Instagram, Twitter, just you can look up Mint Press News, and we’re going to be more active, I think, on Rumble, as we are facing this wave of censorship, between, or because of the partnership between Israel and, big tech giants.
Mickey Huff: Yeah, which we’ve talked about on previous shows, but that’s going on now, writ large, the labeling, the framing, the suppression, the de platforming, the demonetization, the shadow banning, all unfortunately terms that we’re very well familiar with, Mnar Adley. Mnar Adley, Editor in Chief, Mint Press News, head of the non profit Behind the Headlines.
You can learn more at mintpressnews. com. Mnar, as ever, thank you so much for the important work that you do in, in the realm of people’s interest journalism. Thank you so much. Bye. Bye.
Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Andy Lee Roth
Mickey Huff: Welcome to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. This week on the program, we dedicate the hour to analyzing how big media have been facilitating the Israeli war crimes in Gaza. And we’ll talk about corporate media’s dehumanization of Palestinians. We’ll talk about a lack of historical context and repeating hearsay as fact that make this current tragedy unintelligible to many in the United States. Later in the program we’re going to have Mnar Adley from MintPress News with us. We’ll also have Robin Andersen, and we’ll be, opining on what’s been happening in Israel Palestine. But we start today’s program, with Project Censored’s Associate Director Andy Lee Roth.
And Andy Roth has recently written, also has written a piece about what’s happening in, Gaza, in Palestine. Just very quickly. I want to properly introduce Andy Lee Roth. He is the associate director of Project Censored and coordinates our campus affiliates program, a news media research network of several hundred students and faculty at two dozen colleges and universities across North America.
Roth’s research and writing has been published in a variety of outlets, including Index on Censorship, In These Times, Yes Magazine, Media, Culture and Society, and the International Journal of Press and Politics. He earned a PhD in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, a BA in sociology and anthropology from Haverford College.
Roth serves on the board of the Media Freedom Foundation and Weave News. Andy Lee Roth, welcome back to the Project Censored Show.
Andy Lee Roth: Thanks Mickey. It’s always a pleasure to join you on the show.
Mickey Huff: Indeed, and Andy, recently since the October 7 attack from Hamas on Israel and the retaliations that have taken place, we at Project Censored have made a statement regarding Western news coverage of Gaza, particularly in the US. And I’m going to read that statement briefly to frame today’s program. “As violence in Israel and Gaza continues to escalate, corporate news outlets in the United States have consistently failed in their duty to provide Americans with the crucial historical context and diversity of viewpoints necessary to fully understand the unfolding tragedy there.
One sided reporting that favors the narratives and voices of Israeli officials and their allies, frequent and unquestioning reporting of sensational but unconfirmed events, and an almost total omission of the key historical facts that led to the crisis have played a major role in misinforming American citizens.
Corporate media have also failed to accurately portray the United States’ role in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine,” more generally, certainly historically, and we at Project Censored condemn this massive failure of the corporate media. And Andy Lee Roth, certainly a good time to bring you and you’ve recently penned a piece, Making Sense of the Establishment News Media’s Distorted Coverage of Gaza and you actually start that piece with with an interesting story about something that was being covered in the media right around this time, that, that kind of shows, you know, the lack of attention and, and the distorted focus that we, that we see in many, many cases. Andy Lee Roth, can you please sort of start out the, the story and start out how we need to be making sense of the media’s distorted coverage in Gaza.
Andy Lee Roth: Yes, thanks, Mickey. I don’t usually watch much television broad broadcast news, but I was watching, Monday night, the 9th, because of the the violence in Gaza, the Hamas attack, and the disproportionate Israeli response, that began on the 7th. So Monday night, I was watching one of the major cable news networks, and, there was horrifying and graphic footage of the deadly airstrikes.
By Israeli defense forces on Gaza, and I was taking that in and processing that when the news story cut quickly with almost no transition. The next story that appeared that evening on the news was a man rowing his 1200 pound pumpkin down the Missouri River. And needless to say, there was a kind of jarring disconnect there.
Between the two news items, the reality, when you think about it, of what the leveled buildings and streets, in Gaza look like, what that means in human terms as a result of those IDF attacks, and then, you know, this kind of thing that Project Censored would probably report is, excuse me, junk food news.
Excuse me, that we would probably report as junk food news, even though a pumpkin would normally be on the healthier end of the food spectrum. And and there was no kind of no signaled awareness of this disjuncture by, by the news program itself. It was just sort of like, oh, a bunch of Palestinians were blown up in their homes today.
And a man’s rowing a pumpkin down the river to set a Guinness book world record. So I think that that jarring disconnect tells us a lot about what’s wrong with corporate news and the version of the world that it tries to sell to us as it’s sometimes audience members.
Mickey Huff: Yeah. And Andy Lee Roth, you write, in the piece, corporate media, of course, have treated daily life in Gaza as, as essentially non-news, everything goes through a certain filter through a a, a pro-Israeli, pro-Israeli government pro, Israel’s right to exist.
Which by the way, we’re not contesting here, Israel’s right to exist, but we are, and you are specifically calling out the extraordinary sense of bias. And you actually invoke, another theoretical concept that we’ve long written about at Project Censored, and that is, the concept of un-persons borrowed from, from George Orwell’s term, and then that even goes even further into, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s discussion of about what, what worthy and unworthy victims are in, in the media.
Could you unpack those and talk a little bit about those concepts as it relates to what’s happening, Israel Palestine? Andy Lee Roth
Andy Lee Roth: So there’s saturation coverage today in the so called mainstream media, about events in Gaza. Right? And that coverage has been driven by the violent actions of Hamas and the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces.
But for decades, U. S. corporate media have treated Gaza and its inhabitants as as, unnewsworthy, not worthy of coverage, despite there being, now what I believe it’s an 18 year Israeli and, blockade aided by Egypt of Gaza. Now, faulty biased news coverage doesn’t create the inhumane conditions in Gaza.
It did not create the violence that’s tormenting the region now. But this biased reporting indirectly perpetuates and multiplies human suffering in Gaza. And the argument I make in the, in the piece about making sense of the establishment media’s distorted coverage of Gaza is that most Americans know nothing about Gaza.
They not only probably don’t know anyone who lives in Gaza, although there are, of course, remarkable exceptions. We are a diverse nation, with all kinds of ties to all kinds of places around the world, despite what many MAGA Republicans would have us believe or aspire to. But, but most Americans know very little about Gaza.
And, the result is they’re not prepared to understand what’s happening there. And this isn’t just an argument that I’m making or that Project Censored is making. There’s a fantastic piece by John Collins, published by Truthout, John Collins of Weave News, who writes, who wrote, earlier this month about how, the exclusion of settler colonialism as a topic makes it difficult to understand what’s happening in Gaza.
It means, for instance, that, we don’t understand ongoing attempts by Israel to displace or eliminate Palestinian people and replace them with new permanent settler societies. Right. That’s the core idea of settler colonialism. But that perspective is missing from most corporate news coverage of Gaza, because the people who are most articulate at, at conveying why settler colonialism matters don’t count as newsworthy sources, by corporate definitions of, of news, right?
Those are primarily critical scholars and, and activists who have advocated and developed the concept of settler colonialism as it applies to Palestine, Gaza, the West Bank in particular.
Mickey Huff: You know, unfortunately, this entire subject of what’s been happening in the Middle East, I mean, this goes back nearly 80 years.
We can go back way further, but as far as the 20th century, I mean, whether we go back to the history of Nakba, whether we go back to the 1967 war, we certainly at Project Censored have covered going back quite a ways, a couple of decades, and one of the things that Andy Roth, you point out, in this piece at projectcensored.Org is that we at the Project have have long been covering the underreported, the censored stories.
And I want to point this out because it underscores a key point you made and a key argument that both you make that Robin Andersen makes. We’ll talk to her later in the program. Is that the reason that so many people in the United States react the way they do in such a one sided fashion is that they’ve been conditioned to, and it’s not as if we can pretend that it’s the United States of amnesia as Gore, Gore Vidal would argue once upon a time, but it’s difficult for people to remember things they never learned in the first place.
And so a lot of the coverage of what goes on historically erases what’s been happening there. It erases the existence of Palestinians of the Palestinian struggle, and you just talk some about the unpersons and worthy and unworthy victims issue. Maybe run down a couple just examples or just even in your mind, the significance of the historical context of the types of stories that we’ve been covering at Project Censored for at least 20 years.
Andy Lee Roth: Yeah, so these are stories that Project Censored is highlighting because they’ve either been, incompletely covered by the corporate media or ignored or marginalized entirely. So, and I’ll just reference these in terms of, the yearbook where the story was featured as one of our top stories of that year.
So, from last year, the State of the Free Press 2023 yearbook, we have a story on the repression of Palestinian media, which involves some of the big tech companies an issue that, our colleague Omar Zaz hzah whose faculty at San Francisco State University is currently working on an entire book on that topic of the partnerships between Israel and big tech to, restrict flows of information and ultimately, restrict freedom of information and expression. We also know from top 25 stories of past years that there are proactive, basically, I would say propaganda campaigns in the U. S. by Israel and allies of the state of Israel, to, to obscure a complete understanding.
So from the 2022 yearbook, we had a story about how Canary Mission was blacklisting, pro Palestinian activists and thereby chilling free speech rights here in the United States. We know that Abby Martin, challenged, the BDS gag law in the state of Georgia, a story we covered in our 2021 yearbook.
The, an Al Jazeera documentary that exposed the, the widespread influence of a pro, the pro Israel lobby was, censored as we reported in the 2020 yearbook. I could go on, but I’m just going to jump back always to a couple more stories. We also know that US aid to Israel is has been, has been solidifying and reinforcing, the repressive occupation of Palestine.
And I think it’s very interesting just a couple days ago, the Washington Post ran an op ed by Josh Paul, a former U. S. State Department official who resigned earlier this month because of the State Department’s role in what’s happening in Gaza. As Josh Paul writes in this Washington Post op ed for going back to the Oslo Accords.
The US line has always been that the provision of, economic support and, and military weapons to Israel has been to provide security for peace. But as Josh Paul, this former State Department official again, he resigned earlier this month, based on current events said that the weapons and the, and the aid that Israel has received from the United States have actually promoted the growth of settlement infrastructure in the West Bank, and it’s very hard to understand how, the ongoing bombardment and we’re all, I guess, in horror, awaiting the possibility of a ground invasion, by Israel, how, the, the deaths of civilians in Gaza, enhance the security of anyone in Israel or, Palestine.
So, yeah. It’s very interesting to see in these very official kind of establishment sources, like, someone from the, the State Department publishing an op ed in the Washington Post, questioning what’s going on, maybe there are cracks in these frames that. We’re going to see some changes, and certainly I think that’s what, your guests later on the show, Mnar Adley, and Robin Andersen are working hard to, to, to, to open up what the conversation we, the conversations we have in the United States about Gaza, about Israel, about Palestine, so that we have a wider definition of who and what counts as newsworthy because we know right now that the corporate media’s narrow definitions of newsworthiness are increasingly deadly.
Mickey Huff: Absolutely. And while we laud the establishment press when they do cover this or when they do share a perspective that gives people in the United States in the West in general an opportunity to see the lops how lopsided the coverage and support has been for Israel. Overall, historically, I mean, the hope is, is that more people will begin to pay attention.
Maybe that’s happening. But certainly, as you just illustrated, we at Project Censored have been highlighting the coverage of the independent press going back decades about how crucial the independent press is for these narratives to remind us that there are so many more worthy people and so many newsworthy issues and people that the Western press often ignore, censor, or cover in a distorted way. Andy Lee Roth, anything you’d like to leave, our listeners with today before we move to the next segment?
Andy Lee Roth: I think just to reiterate, a fundamental point made by the Society of Professional Journalists, the SPJ, that the job of, of news reporters, the job of journalists is to seek truth and report it.
And one way that the SPJ specifies that is is to say that reporters doing ethical journalism need to boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience, and they do so by seeking sources whose voice are seldom heard. And I think as we continue to see, not only the events taking place in Gaza, but the corporate establishment, news media’s coverage of them, keeping that in mind.
Are we hearing the diversity and magnitude of the human experience? Are we hearing voices that we otherwise seldom hear? I think that’s one way of measuring are, are the, the, the nation’s biggest establishment outlets fulfilling their duties to us as citizens and the public who need to be well informed or are they failing?
And just to put a slightly more positive spin on it. We do have independent news outlets as Project Censored and this program regularly champion and feature. We do have independent news outlets that do provide that diverse views of that diversity and magnitude.
Mickey Huff: Absolutely. Dr. Andy Lee Roth, Associate Director of Project Censored, thank you so much for joining us today.
Your recent piece at projectcensored.org, Making Sense of the Establishment News Media’s Distorted Coverage of Gaza. Andy Roth, thanks so much for joining us today on the Project Censored Show. Thank you, Mickey.