Disinformation on the Border

A deadly incident between Israeli and Lebanese forces occurred today at the border between the two countries. It was the most serious such incident since the end of the 2006 war, and at least five people were killed.

A little digging will tell the reader that the incident was almost certainly deliberately provoked by the Lebanese army commander on the scene. It’s also easy to discover that Israel had informed UNIFIL of a fence-repair operation ahead of time, and that UNIFIL observers were present alongside the Israeli soldiers. Although they were on the Lebanese side of the fence, the Israelis remained entirely inside Israeli territory, because the fence itself is set back from the border to make operations like this one possible.

The Lebanese soldiers opened fire on the Israelis, killing an Israeli officer. The IDF returned fire, and killed three Lebanese soldiers as well as a civilian.

Those are the bare facts of the incident. This Stratfor video provides an excellent briefing on what happened.

However, if you were to rely on the mainstream media for your news about Israel and Lebanon, you would never learn any of this.

Barry Rubin surveys today’s media coverage of events:

Along Israel’s border with Lebanon, east of Metulla, some bushes were pushing in on the border fence. The fence is set in slightly from the border precisely so that Israeli soldiers can work on it. The IDF called UNIFIL and informed the UN that this work was going to be done today so that they could tell the Lebanese army that there was no aggression going on but just routine maintenance. Soldiers from UNIFIL came to observe and can be seen standing next to Israeli soldiers in the photos. Photographers were also standing by to film the operation.

But Lebanese soldiers opened fire on the Israelis who were working and in no way acting aggressively. The fact that journalists were standing next to the Lebanese soldiers shows that they knew Israel was going to do this maintenance and were observing. After the Israeli soldiers were ambushed, they returned fire. One Israeli officer was killed, another seriously wounded; three Lebanese soldiers, and a Lebanese (?) journalist were killed.

So how did Reuters and Yahoo report this? By saying that Israeli soldiers had crossed into Lebanon and been fired on, thus implying the Lebanese army was acting in self-defense! Other news agencies merely reported: Israel says the soldiers were inside Israel; Lebanon says they were on Lebanese territory.

Vlad Tepes went to the trouble of augmenting the Reuters news video by inserting little bits of truth in between the big gooey lumps of disinformation:

Mr. Rubin has more:
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The New York Times also takes a “neutral” approach: “Each side blamed the other for the flare-up, trading accusations of violating the United Nations Security Council resolution that underpins the four-year cease-fire.” But what is most amazing is the additional information that tells us more about contemporary journalism than almost anything you can read:

“Israel said that its forces were engaged in routine maintenance work in a gap between the so-called Blue Line, the internationally recognized border, and its security fence, and that it had coordinated in advance with the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Lebanon, Unifil.”

Hello? Can’t the mighty New York Times contact the UNIFIL offices and find out that Israel’s story is true? Indeed, isn’t it indicated by the UNIFIL presence as observer? Well, it isn’t surprising since the same newspaper is unable to find the evidence, publicly available, that the Turkish IHH group that organized the Gaza flotilla had a history of being a terrorist-supporting group.

He goes on to lay out the history of the 2006 war with Hizbullah, and lays it alongside the media’s retrospectives as they were rolled out to accompany reports of today’s incident. Read the whole piece a the GLORIA Center site.

The bottom line?

We now have a UNIFIL official on record as saying that the Israeli soldiers who were attacked were on Israeli territory. Which mainstream media outlets will or won’t cover this fact?

One thought on “Disinformation on the Border

  1. This is a perfect example of what I dislike the most about the media. Even the supposedly conservative, but actually centrist, Fox News claims to be “fair and balanced.”

    Hey, I don’t WANT “fair and balanced.” There is NO middle ground between good and evil. There is NO compromise between truth and falsehood. I want the whole truth and nothing but. Any media organization, reporter, or editor who can’t do an honest investigation to uncover the truth does not deserve an audience, and in the long run, they won’t have an audience.

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