The scaling-up of media bias, the brazen publication of distorted news and outright lies have crossed new lines. Photos shared thousands of times are often “deep fakes” generated by AI, or simply library photos from events that have nothing to do with reports. Accusations that journalists are targeted by Israel when there is proof that they are terrorists is the most recent blood libel.
None of this is new. Some of the more historic quotes that come to mind are:
- “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth” – Joseph Goebbels
- “A lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on” – Mark Twain
- “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is” – Winston Churchill
Whether it is called fake news, “alternative facts” or just plain bullshit, what our media reports and social media accounts now contain are relentless, frustrating, and downright dangerous streams of propaganda.
The hardest part of this is when anti-Semitic tropes are mainstreamed and the consumer is not giving the opportunity to respond.
I have experienced much of this in the past few weeks. As I get “cancelled” and denied a platform to counter the misinformation, I at least have this blog page. So partly out of frustration, and partly out of the need to call this out, here are just a few select examples of censorship and unacceptable media content that that I have experienced:
On a facebook thread the following picture was reported:
I marked this as hate speech and reported it. Within minutes the Facebook algorithm had done its work and responded with the following:
This is not an isolated example and I am not alone. I have been reading many hundreds of cases where the most vile posts have been reported, for people to then be advised that “community standards” have not been breached. One of my friends reported a similar post, and when it was not removed he reposted it with a comment that saw his account get suspended and he got sent to facebook jail. In another example a friend was hacked and his account filled with hatespeech, which was not removed in the process of rectification.
The next example is commercial censorship. An ad was not accepted with the following information provided. It says it all, well almost, except for actually saying “advertisements from Zionists who say Hamas is to blame for the Gaza war are a truth that we consider to be inappropriate content and will not permit”.
As a subscriber to the Australian, I am a big supporter of their strong editorial stance against anti-Semitism, their broad mix of coverage and op-ed, and the clarity of their political commentary. However they still stream syndicated media reports from agencies such as AFP or “staff writers” that often contain the out of control bias against Israel.
I have published many comments in their news articles, and in fairness most are accepted. However, there are a stream of comments I have made, many factual, that have been rejected for publication. Here are some of those comments that have been censored and not allowed past their moderation:
What can we do?
At a communal level not enough is being done. There are many dedicated advocates, but we tend to spend more time sharing these demoralising falsehoods with each other in an echo chamber out of despair and trepidation. Which is precisely what our enemies are seeking. So the first thing we can do is stop collectively doomsday scrolling, and the second thing we can do is galvanise the collective power of our media advocacy to be more visible and forthright in the local media.
At an individual level, we must remain resolute. Each and every time there is a lie told we must not let it pass without at least an attempt to correct the record and/or add the missing content. Every comment and every click is a statement, and despite the overwhelming volume of online hate, we cannot shy away from it.
Finally, remain optimistic. The point is made exceptionally well by Hillel Fuld that “Whether it’s mainstream media or social media, the only things that matter to most people and companies are clicks and the only thing that gets clicks is extremism and controversial rhetoric. So, while it’s hard to see the truth beyond your feeds, I will let you know that what you see in the media is absolutely NOT a reflection of real life.” He also notes that the majority of people know right from wrong, see through the media bias, and the high profile anti-Israel coverage does not reflect the true mood of the population.
Israel is winning this tragic war. Truth and prosperity for the Jewish people will prevail. In the meantime, the media must be held to account.