For many, words are simply building blocks loosely joined to make a sentence. It is the “sense” of the sentence that most people hear, and ingest. To the more discerning, the meaning and nature of these words carry a powerful, yet subtle subliminal message. The aware listener only needs to ignore the sense of the sentence and uncover the true message being carried by the sentence as deliberately constructed. The arch-propagandist knows this skill only too well, and acts accordingly. Everyday words are put together by our politicians, their spin masters and journalists that are crafted to deceive. These are crafted to seemingly import one message while, in fact, they are subliminally planting another completely more sinister message. And they are composed in such a way as to give the impression of being purely objective reportage, or statements of fact. Let me, for example, parse the words used on RTE news yesterday morning. The newsreader’s sentence said: “Israel continued to target Palestinian positions in Gaza. Meanwhile, Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets in to southern Israel.” Now this seems like a totally innocuous piece of reporting. For most people munching on their toast, the message was “They are still at it over there. Poor Israeli’s. Bad Palestinians” – and that would have been the end of their interest in what was said. Now let’s parse what was said – and, more importantly what message was propagated.
Notice that Israel continues to “target” Palestinian positions in “Gaza“. Meanwhile, Palestinian “militants” are said to “fire rockets” in to southern Israel. So deliberately, or otherwise, the real message being sent out, subliminally, is that “good” Israelis are being careful to “target” positions, while mad Palestinians are lobbing rockets at anything and anyone. Good Israel is identifying where the “militants” are positioned, while bad Palestinians couldn’t care less where their rockets land. The report also refers to “Gaza” as if it is an entity removed from everywhere else in the world. Gaza is in fact a region of occupied Palestine as recognised by UN resolutions. So why not word the sentence to be more objective by saying: “Israel continued to target Palestinian positions in the Gaza region of occupied Palestine. Meanwhile, Palestinian forces continued to target positions in southern Israel.” The reason it is phrased like this is exactly because the sentence is not meant to send out an objective message. It is constructed as pure propaganda. The casual listener will have picked up the use of “target” (implications, a fair enough tactic) and understood that this is good, while also picking up the words “militants” firing (implication, reckless mad men).
Now let’s look at the reality of what actually happened. These facts were known to the report and editor putting together that RTE reportage. The casualty figure at the end of the truce was reportedly three Israeli civilians and 108 Palestinians killed. Gaza officials say more than half of those killed in the enclave were civilians, 27 of them children.” And 70% of those children were under five, according another report. As I said, the high civilian casualty rate – and the number of children being killed – was a fact widely known to all reporting on the conflict. Twitter and Facebook were covered in horrific pictures of these slain and wounded civilians. Yet RTE still framed the message that Israel was hitting targeted sites (good guys), while the “militants” were firing at anything moved (bad guys). Such a strange construct, unless of course you either have set out to inject a deliberately personal bias, or there is an all-pervasive institutional bias that forces you to use such language. Anyone who has worked in a news room will tell you that every reporter must use an agreed “Style Book”. These style books dictate the words to be used in reportage. So it can be the case where reporters don’t agree with what they are constructing but are simply following the instructions of the institution’s style book. Either way, they are creating pure propaganda and, as such, are failing in their duty as an impartial reporter. It would be interesting to compare the style guides of say RTE and Channel 4. I would imagine the difference would be eye-opening.
And finally, yesterday afternoon on reporting the bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv, RTE announced that “Israel resumed firing rockets after the bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv.” Now, how did the RTE reporter know that Israel had not always intended to fire those missiles in any case? Which, given what had been happening 24/7 for the previous week, is more than likely! No, instead RTE constructs a report that suggests that good guys Israel were forced to “resume” firing on Palestinian “targets”. Again, notice the subtlety of the reportage and the subliminal message constructed. Such reporting of conflict mirrors what went on throughout the 30 years war in the North. Loyalist violence was always “retaliatory” to IRA attacks. Implication of message – if the IRA stopped, the good guy loyalists wouldn’t be forced to retaliate. But that is a subject I will come back to in a later blog.
So my plea to anyone reading this blog is to listen to the inherent meaning of words and sentences, and try to parse the true message. It is seldom a reporter, or politician, is not trying to impart a subtle, subliminally biased message. Be aware of that. Don’t let yourself be duped by these dopes!