Saturday, August 27, 2011

the black-and-white media portrayal of bloody wars

“The electronic media, must by its nature, provide speedy and concise information. However, this can lead to a simplistic and superficial portrayal of realities that are actually complex and complicated, such as the one existing in the Middle East. The contradiction between the need to report about the intricate reality of the Middle East and the need to report as quickly and as simply as possible, often results in the distorted and unbalanced coverage of matters that pertain to Israel.”

Such was the lament of Israel - alleged portrayed and stereotyped by the international media as the evil “occupier” in the great Middle East crisis.

Pictures paint a thousand words. Only a thousand. Visuals say something, but not everything. The word-limit of images, including momentary snapshots of current events, is a limit to what message can an image convey. Little insight into the broader circumstances can fit the frame; worse, images are taken out of context.

One perfect example is the widely circulated image of a Palestinian youth facing an Israel tank. The still image is moving. “A story that sells well.” True.

But the truth that it tells is a distorted reality (at least, Israel claims so). The image allegedly paints an imagery of Israel as the "cruel and powerful occupier" and the Palestine as the innocent victim. Israel, in defense, decries how the context is left out when the lens zoomed into the tank and the youth: “Little is shown about how the terrorists mingle with the Palestinian civilian population, cynically using children and other civilians as their pawns and shields behind which they launch their attacks against innocent Israelis. Very little, if anything, is said about the fact that the Israel Defense Forces act to avoid harming innocent civilians, even at the expense of endangering the lives of Israeli soldiers.

-Cris Bernardino, entry # 11


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