Monday, July 17, 2006

I ought be writing about recent fun, but instead Lebanon is proving insidious. Blogger ate one post which commented on the differences between CNN sites. The US got red banners to the ROW's yellow, and 5 subheadings, the first of which was that "Israel declares state of emergency". The international edition (different sites call it different things) had the same five, all in the same order, except the state of emergency came last. So why the difference?

And they're still at it. The US version has "Sixth Day of Destruction" with all the subheadings talking about the effects on Israel (and Americans in Israel). The American story is replaced in the International version by "Israel denies Lebanese TV report of plane shot down".

The front page picture caption in the International edition reads "Rescuers work on building hit by rocket in Haifa." The US has "Rescue workers rush to a building in Haifa, Israel, apparently hit by a rocket fired from Lebanon."

So once again, why the difference? Is it simply that the wording was adapted to the now differing formats (the 6th day title is across the page) or that difference audiences should be served different information? The US version includes the name of Israel, which is either to aid reader geography or to help clarify that it is Israel under attack, with the ending blaming Lebanon.

It is notable that none of the headlines mention the impact on Lebanon or that Lebanon is being exposed to attacks.

By way of contrast, at the same time Al Jazeera has:
Israel spurns UN call for monitors
- Syria watches and waits
- Iran urges prisoner swap
- Israel bombs Lebanese factories
- Lebanon battles refugee problem

'Ten die' as Israel hits vehicles
- Nations start evacuations
- Israel's Hezbollah headache
- Crisis in pictures
- See the region and places affected in detail
- UK evacuees could top 22,000 [UK]
- Q&A: Middle East crisis
- Who are Hezbollah? [Int]

Sky [UK]:
Air Strikes Kill Civilians
- Your Experiences
- Violence Rages On
- Attacks Stepped Up
Sky [AU]:
- Aussies flee conflict
- Beirut air strikes

Crisis in Middle East [US]
- US sending ships for Lebanon evacuation [US]
- Oil slips from record highs in volatile trade [US]
- Special report: World reaction, blog post [US]
- Israel bombards Lebanon [UK]
- Israel bombardiert erneut Ziele im Libanon und in Gaza [DE]
- Israele bombarda Libano, bocciata forza internazionale [IT]
- Bolsa argentina profundiza baja por temores en Oriente Medio [AR, ME]
- Israeli strikes on Lebanon kill 41 people [CA]
- 6e jour de frappes au Liban et de roquettes sur Israël [FR]
- Encuentran otros nueve cadáveres tras ataques aéreos en Líbano [Latam]
- Israel cierra el puerto de Haifa tras ataques de misiles [ES]
- [The Arabic version uses the same picture of a smoke plume over Beirut as Canada]
- [Chinese version shows people running]
- [Russia has a story filed from Beirut]
- [Japan and Brasil have something about the G8]
- [India and South Africa have the tsunami]

Israeli Demand: Let Our People Go
- Mideast Conflict
- Over 200 Dead In Mideast Fight
- Crisis In Lebanon

[Banner] Israel PM Says Fighting Will Stop When Soldiers Free, Attacks End
Attacks, Diplomatic Efforts Intensify
Israel reportedly lays out ceasefire terms, answers Hezbollah strikes
- Hezbollah rockets rain on Haifa
- Israeli troops to target Hezbollah border bases
- Missiles hit Beirut shortly after sunrise
- More than 200 dead on both sides
- Mideast Ignites
- Haifa Under Attack
- Conflict Rages On
- Patrol Attacked

And the AP's website seems to be dead.

And I'm rapidly running out of patience. Research is hard, let's go shopping.

I know I should be far too cynical to be astounded in the disparity of reporting, but the bias and the manipulation is ridiculous. Hands up if you can figure out why CBS chose to use a language suggestive of Jewish slavery, or how misleading Fox's "More than 200 dead on both sides" is (really, 200 Israelis have been killed as well?)

But while swilling round this story, I saw repeated mention of Bush's gaffe/expletive/'S' Word. This stems from comments made in the vicinity of a live microphone. The BBC guide people towards a Sky presenter's blog, which features a transcript of the recordings (the BBC is the only site I've found, exempting Sky, which does this. Why is so much of the media source, content or context free?). Al Jazeera also reports this story, quoting at length from the recording. Except they manage to hear things either marked as inaudible or simply not recorded (as well as editing some of the quotes to strengthen the message).

[AB] Bush: You see, the ... thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over
[AJ] "See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."

Irony versus thing. The BBC have the truncated clip on their website and Bush apparently does use "irony". So that's one for AJ. As for the comma, AB's version suggests that Syria is a synonym for Hezbollah, whereas AJ's suggests Syria controls Hezbollah. So once again AJ seems the more reliable of the two.

The next part used on AJ comes from an earlier part of the conversation according to AB.
[AB]Bush: What about Kofi [inaudible] his attitude to ceasefire and everything else ... happens
Blair: Yeah, no I think the [inaudible] is really difficult. We can't stop this unless you get this international business agreed.
[AJ]What about Kofi Annan? I don't like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically ceasefire and everything else happens," said Bush.
"What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if he gets a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he's done it. That's what this whole things about. It's the same with Iran," added Blair.
But Blair also cautioned that "the thing that is really difficult is you can't stop this unless you get this international presence agreed."

I haven't yet found a copy of the video covering this bit. I don't know how accurate the "sequence" line is. How can "to" equal "is basically"? Admittedly the latter makes more sense, but is it a case of hearing what you can understand, and so sounds are made to fit the words. The ellipsis adds another layer of uncertainty.

The Blair apparently launches into something which is unrecorded by AB. I'm not even sure which bits line up. Does "Yeah, no I think the" come from the same sounds as "What does he think? He". Or is it a later "think" or perhaps "thing"? The difference between "business" and "presence" is disturbing as they convey very different meaning; how much of this is hearing what one wants to hear?

Ok, so this is a bit pointless, especially as the BBC has belatedly produced their own hasty transcript, which only adds more confusion.

Sod it. I've had enough. It's all too depressing. Can't someone go and bang their heads together? Beirut's on my "if I ever have enough time and money" list. It's back to the insanity of someone using a Volvo estate for car bombing (see the write up of the BM's Arabic exhibition). It's just wrong.

Er, I was talking about the Lebanon thing (not that Lebanon needs head banging, only some of those in and around. BTW, what's north of Lebanon as all the escape routes mentioned are east or west? I'd guess Turkey, so why is that not an option?)

Microsoft Word spell check substitutions:
- Al Jazeera, Al Jazzier
- Hezbollah, Ebola
And we won't get into Kofi Annan.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?