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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Andrea Levin of the New York Sun has accused The Sundance Channel of airing a whole slew of one-sided anti-Israel documentaries in this article. There is, for example, a documentary about how humiliating it is for Palestinians to go through all those checkpoints, that somehow forgets to mention the repeated suicide bombings of civilians that make the checkpoints necessary.

Personally I'm not fond of the self-destructive Israeli policy of building settlements in the occupied territories, but I also feel that there is a left wing habit of holding Israel up to a much higher standard than any other nation. I see college kids demonstrating here against the Wall, which separates Palestinians from their own fields, but I don't see anyone marching against the genocide in Darfur, or for that matter, anyone marching against the suicide bombers. One of the most effective ways to lie is to tell a small truth out of context.

A parallel thought: I know, when I watch TV, that I'm watching fiction. But I also have trouble differentiating fact from fantasy. I often catch myself assuming that a certain "fact" asserted in a fictional show is, actually, a fact, because it sounds like one. If some character asserts that, say, one-tenth of the population is gay, in the context of a crime show, I tend to assume that the factoid comes out of real research. Or that we're losing X number of acres of the Amazon per minute. Or that there's an X percentage chance that a world-killing asteroid will hit in the next hundrd years. Whereas, in fact, writers make stuff up like that all the time. I know I do.

I used to work for a fellow who told the most outrageous fabrications all the time. The weirdest thing was when we were dealing with someone else who was, to me obviously, telling an outrageous fabrication of his own. My then boss became incredibly gullible when he was dealing with other fabricators. It's hard to keep a skeptical mind all the time.

I guess that's the principle behind Goebbel's Big Lie technique. Tell a lie, tell it loud enough and often enough, and people will tend to assume that at least some of it is true...

12 Comments:

Goebbel's Big Lie technique.

Which has been enbraced and used by the Bush administration. Particularly in regards to Iraq. I think we ought to rename it: Rove's Big Lie technique.

By Blogger writergurl, at 7:38 PM  

writergurl,
I think that might seriously undermine the gravity of Goebbel's damage.

By Blogger sam, at 9:27 PM  

The USA gives Israel more money than any other country. So it's right for North Americans to expect Israel to meet higher standards than anyone else.

By Blogger Will Shetterly, at 9:44 PM  

The problem with documentaries is that they are generally designed to tell one story. A Palestinian will tell a story that they feel needs to be told, a Russian Jew will tell another and a Francophone from Sept-Ile will tell a different one. It is not a journalistic piece, it is a POV piece and the result can be very one-sided and still remain true to itself. The advantage of a documentary is that it is the point of view of the film maker and as such should be taken with a grain of salt.
We have been fed so much of the BIG LIE that we are forgetting how to apply the grain of salt. It is not the media brainwash itself that we need to be wary of, it is our own willingness to accept it that is the problem. The higher standard that we need to be applying is to ourselves.

By Blogger Hawise, at 11:10 PM  

Um, no. The US gives the most money to Iraq. And we don't expect much of anything out of their government.

We don't expect anything like humane behavior out of Egypt, or El Salvador, or Guatemala. Or the Palestinian government. Nope, it's just Israel. Gee, I wonder why that is?

If Israel somehow slipped to #2 per capita, do you really think we'd start expecting more from non-Jewish countries? Do ya really, Will?

I don't think so.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:13 PM  

Sam, I couldn't disagree more. Bush and Rove's "big" lies have wrecked just as much damage in this country as Goebbels' "lies" did in his time. Don't get me wrong, I don't dismiss, condone or minimize the actrocities that occured during the 3rd Reich's reign. But, let's not dismiss, condone or minimize the atrocities occuring today either.

By Blogger writergurl, at 12:24 AM  

writergurl,

you said...

"Bush and Rove's "big" lies have wrecked just as much damage in this country as Goebbels' "lies" did in his time"

Look, I didn't vote for the guy and I think Rove should be in prison, but it's still dangerously ignorant to compare the Bush administration to the Nazis. Think about it. Does that really seem like an intelligent argument?

By Blogger sam, at 2:05 AM  

Sam,
You can think that my statements are "ignorant" all you want. BUT. There are similarities in Nazi Germany and our present administration, regardless of whether you like it or not.

1. Gitmo is a concentration camp. No, we are not gassing them but we are holding people without the due process garuanteed by our Comsitution. All because our government has declared them to be a "threat to the state". If that doesn't sound like the party line from the Nazis I don't know what does.

2. We have invaded a country based upon propoganda and lies.

3. We are losing civil liberties due to the fearmongering of the Bush administration, which is eerie in it similarities to the amping up of the third Reich.

This is just the beginning of a litany of similarities. You can get a more in depth article about it here: http://www.counterpunch.org/madsen05092003.html

I will hew to my previous statements, allowing you to come to your own conclusions, without inferring that your position is ignorant. Kindly return the favor.

By Blogger writergurl, at 2:49 AM  

To quote the daily Show: "You know who was Hitler? Hitler!"

He worked WAYY too long and hard to be compared to any Jack or Jill that you've got a disagreement with.

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 12:21 PM  

Israel is held to a higher standard because it's a western style democracy. The same was true of South Africa during the apartheid era. When a government is supposed to be "like us," its failings are more upsetting than the even worse failings of dictatorships in the same region.

By Blogger lisa e, at 2:57 PM  

So, Israel is penalized for being a democracy? If only they'd institute a dictatorship, we'd stop complaining about their civil rights record? That makes a lot of sense.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 4:51 PM  

Thanks for voicing these points Alex. I concur whole-heartedly!

By Blogger Fun Joel, at 4:21 PM  

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