Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is Sky News pandering to British anti-semitism, or is just dumb, lazy journalism?

For much of today Sky News has been running the story of an female Israeli who posted picture of herself posing with Palestinian detainees. A story on Sky's website talks about photos and images without mentioning how many; it appears there were all of two, amongst an album containing a couple of dozen photos spanning the range of military life (At least they didn't stoop to the level of this French website which actually reproduced one of the pictures twice to pad out its treatment of the issue).

An accompanying video on the Sky website includes a bit of editorialising, or making things up, on the part of the reporter supplying the voiceover. She refers to the prisoner's 'confined' quarters, when the pictures make it impossible to judge the immediate surroundings (they actually look to have been taken outdoors), or how long the detainees were kept there. I say reporter when the mangled English sounds more like the work of a teenager on a summer work placement: "...on her lap, the plastic wrist tie used to restrain those over whom she is responsible..." (Just the one tie for all of them? Responsible over? But kudos for the correct use of the increasingly rare 'whom'). And in the inevitable comparison with Abu Ghraib, she refers to the U.S. soldiers jailed over that scandal as officers.

On the evening news version of the story, the correspondent even acknowledged that what occurred was not abuse and was not comparable to Abu Ghraib. So what could possibly explain a British news channel running this story as one of its leads all day, or the fact that it's the second most viewed item on the Sky website?

Hang on...

War in the Middle East... A win-win for Hillary

With some form of conflict between Israel and a variety of foes looking increasingly likely before the year is out, I predict victory for... Hillary Clinton, regardless of the outcome for the actual combatants.

mosque boy fails to forcefully support Israel in a conflict, especially in the event that rocket attacks by Hezbollah or Hamas cause significant civilian casualties, Hilary could resign on this point of principle before the November elections, and thus avoid being tarred as disloyally kicking Obama while he's down by resigning to launch a challenge to him in the wake of the looming mid-term meltdown.

While this would be the most promising scenario from the point of view of a potential presidential bid, the other possibilities are hardly much worse. Robust US backing for Israel,while it wouldn't hurt Obama, would do nothing to save Democrats in the mid-terms; and it would give Hilary plenty of positive exposure as a tough supporter of Israel against common terrorist enemies. A third option, a bout of high-profile shuttle diplomacy leading to an end to fighting, would also enhance her credentials. In either of the latter two cases, thus bolstered, she could then leave the administration anyway next year if Obama's prospects for 2012 continue to deteriorate.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yabba rages against 'Talibanisation' of British Muslim kids, neglects to offer solutions

This stirring call from left-wing columnist Yasmine Alibhai Brown for, er, somebody to, er, do something to stand up to Islamists in the UK is to be appreciated; but her moral authority is somewhat undermined by her willingness to abandon the Afghan people to suffer a far worse fate than the indignities that she complains are being inflicted upon Muslim women and children in the Britain. Apparently Yabba was all for the invasion of Afghanistan, but changed her mind when things got messy, without any suggestion of an alternative way forward. She's equally vague on how to tackle the domestic threat - "we", or "the powerful" must "find a way" to stop them (Heck, can't we just stop beating about the bush and declare resolutely that "A way must be found"?) - and one can't help wondering how long it would be before any decisive action against UK fundamentalists had Yabba experiencing a road-to-Kabul conversion and reverting to her default PC mode, whining about Islamophobia or the government's disregard for civil liberties.

Oh, and since she's calling for courage, how about
not referring to Al Qaeda terrorists as 'operatives'?