For a few weeks now, I have been thinking about whether or not I should write about the Gaza conflict. I decided not to, and because of that, this post be about the media in general, with the conflict between Israel and Palestine merely serving as a good example. Before going into that, however, let me explain why I decided not to write about the conflict itself.
First of all, the reason I told myself was the real one is that everything that could possibly be said has already been said. Whereas the reporting on the conflict was completely one-sided not too long ago, recently more and more people (and occasionally even Western news websites) have begun to at least consider the Palestinian point of view. That doesn’t mean that we’ve reached a point of objectivity, but at least I wouldn’t be telling you anything new if I began to outline the issue from a Palestinian viewpoint, nor would I be convincing anyone new. As much as that is true, however, there is a second reason that probably plays a bigger role than I wanted to admit.
Thinking about the issue hurts. Physically. Ignorance is normal and like everyone, I have grown used to it, but there is a point where it just becomes too much, where the injustice leads to a point of complete hopelessness. When people are against homosexuality, at least my mind can be soothed by the idea that there are people out there who are supportive of those who struggle with their sexuality. I am able to convince myself that whatever bigotry and ignorance exists in this world, there are always people with different opinions to reach out to, and because of that, we can survive. But in the Gaza, that irrational hope, that wishful thinking, is impossible.
These people are the victims of a genocide and there is nobody in the world both willing and able to reach out to them. Every government is just watching, excusing it by saying that at least some terrorists are being killed as well, while these people suffer and die. And if that hopelessness can already hurt me, sitting here safely behind my computer in a Western country, can you even imagine what it does to them? Knowing that if they had a different religion, if the enemy had been any other country, we would all be shouting about war crimes now. But because it’s them, because they were born the way they were, the world doesn’t care. And all they can do is pray that as many people they know will survive. That it won’t be their children who will die.
Anyway… now that we’ve cleared up what I’m not going to tell you about, let’s move on to the topic at hand: media objectivity. In the West, we are so incredibly proud of how our media is free, how journalists can say whatever they want and how the news we receive is objective. We look down on other countries for not having that same objectivity, and judge them without further thought. What the Gaza conflict has shown us, though, is that that just isn’t true.
For years, Western media was fully in favour of Israel, regardless of what they did. Now, however, we see the perspective changing, bit by bit, towards Palestine. But why? Did anything change? Not really. The conflict is still the same, except now the victims are visible. The Palestinians have discovered the power of the camera and have managed to make us feel bad for them despite our fear and revulsion of Islam. We still use the same excuses and the same reasons, but at least now the media has caught on to the idea that these people are victims too, regardless of their religion.
What we forget, though, is that this has always been the case, except we didn’t report on it. We didn’t look at it from their point of view, yet we still thought that our media was objective, immune to the political influences of our government.
Now, we realise that we were wrong. In 10 years, we’ll realise that we were still wrong today, and in 20 years, we’ll realise that we were wrong in 2024.
How about we just admit that we’re wrong right now and get it over with?
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