Tuesday, January 14, 2014

HuffPost Director Plays Judge Jury and Executioner

I know that it's a bit of a joke to ask for "fair and balanced" reporting from an Internet newspaper, especially in this day and age, and especially with the Huffington Post. But this time around it is as blatant as you can get. Mehdi Hassan, pro-Iran political director of the Huffington Post UK who once told his critics to "bugger off back to Tel Aviv," is here to defile Ariel Sharon's grave before he can even be put into it...all the while lambasting his fellow media members for not speaking ill of the dead the way that he does.

It goes without saying that Hassan's article provides little in the way of the whole truth, and doesn't even try to present the whole picture of Sharon's life. Certainly he thinks this is justified because other writers said the "good stuff" but I call it hypocrisy very fitting with the Huffington Post's journalism standards. He also makes some missteps in the article itself, or otherwise exposes his biases. Let me demonstrate some. First we'll start with the "Qibya massacre."
"Sixty-nine Palestinians were killed that night..."
Apparently every Palestinian death is a tragedy, whether they were involved in violence or not. Hassan doesn't bother to specify, but you know that he would if it were Israeli bodies being counted.

He dredges up a case from all the way back in 1956 to accuse Sharon of guilt by association:
"In 1995, the Los Angeles Times reported that retired Israeli brigadier, Arye Biro, had confessed that he and his paratroops had killed 49 unarmed Egyptian prisoners of war, in cold blood, during the 1956 Sinai campaign. The paratroops' brigade commander? General Ariel Sharon."
This is a pretty typical Palsbarist argument: when you have a good bloody shirt to wave, make sure that you exploit it in the most effective manner. Sure, we could blame Biro and his soldiers for their own actions...or we can go after Ariel Sharon because we don't like him! Brilliant! Obviously this same argument goes to Sabra and Shatila as well. But as usual it's what's left unsaid: it's not like Arabs have never killed unarmed Israelis. Yet I don't hear Hassan writing articles every time a prominent Palestinian (terrorist or otherwise) meets his maker.

Speaking of which, Hassan actually mentions that Israelis didn't kill anyone at Sabra and Shatila, yet still demands more:
"Shamefully, on Sunday morning, the BBC's lead news package on the former Israeli prime minister's death didn't deign to mention Sabra or Shatila or the damning verdict of the Kahane commission."
Is it normal for the BBC to dredge up dirty laundry from thirty years in the past whenever they write an obituary? I don't see anything about Nelson Mandela's history of violence in the BBC's report on his death. I guess we can't expect honest criticism from Hassan or his Huffington Post backers, though.

Then he pulls a "body count" error again:
"According to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, at least 240 Palestinians were killed by the IDF between March and May 2002, as part of 'Operation Defensive Shield' - Sharon's massive military invasion of the West Bank and aerial bombardment of Palestinian towns and cities."
Yep, so once again a mass murdering Palestinian terrorist is equal to a Palestinian civilian in Hassan's eyes. And if you are thinking that he's going to mention that Operation Defensive Shield came in response to the murder of hundreds of Israelis by suicide bombers, then I have a bridge to sell you. This would be pretty standard for a Huffington Post blogger, but considering the whole point of his article is that the world media is so terrible for leaving out the "whole story," it's overwhelmingly hypocritical.
"I agree - but it is even bigger shame that sections of the media, allied with our leading politicians, seem bent on glossing over those abuses."
Yeah, like I said. Apparently murdering Israeli civilians isn't considered an "abuse." Anyway, after whining about the settlements yet again, Hassan signs off. I'm sure we'll see him again when Abbas dies. Or not.

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