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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 4 January 2010
Silly season #1: Body bits, blood libel and big media
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: big media


As we always like to preface for this subject, there are in our experience many beautiful Jewish and Arabic folks in this world*. Even so it would be moral and intellectual cowardice not to deconstruct this interesting big media botch up noticed over the silly season, first in our series: When we get back into local Windsor library we make a picture of the World News broadsheet of The Australian around 22 December 2009 [indeed see above]. We took a mental note of the strange news values on display.

It was about the grim controversy of illegal harvesting of body organs allegedly perpetrated by Israeli/Jewish medical or government authorities. There was indeed some big controversy about the matter mid 2009 over the usual complaints of stereotyping, which apparently ran front pages of a Swedish newspaper. (It was hotly denied by Israel.) And similarly big corruption case with pictures of arrested rabbis in New York mid 2009 involving money laundering, real estate and again this troubling claim of organ smuggling involved in modern times. This time it was front pages of USA press, in Obamaland.

But what we noticed on The Australian world page 2 weeks back was a large colour photo of the notorious 'work will set you free' signage (in German) at infamous Auschwitz industrial mass murder camp of WW2 infamy. Apparently some cynic stole the infamous metal letters. Hence the lead story picture prominence in colour.

But at the very bottom of the page, postage stamp really and indeed broken with spill onto reverse side to add to obscurity, was a text story of much greater significance, that the Israeli Govt admit illegal harvesting of organs including from dead Palestinians, 'but it was all in the early 1990ies a long time ago'. Mmm, the aphorism smoke and fire.

That's not what I call proportionate news coverage, or news values regarding proportionate coverage. Were Murdoch press worried about encouraging a centuries old blood libel, ideological suppression of the lead, or just hopeless news values??? Some other reason? We just don't know.

But what it looked like to us was big media choreography qualitatively similar to mainstream politics we see domestically all the time: The simple technique of launching another related story (stolen sign with picture) to offset or smother another more damaging story (organ trade): 'Hey look over there' gambit, and it works for whiney little children as much for big adult readers.


* We also watched a very moving story on Sunday ABC religious programming yesterday about moral courage of Jehovah's Wtnesses imprisoned with doomed Jewish folks in a Polish concentration camp in WW2. And the solidarity (indeed inter-marriage) that created across both groups. The best (prisoners) and worst (nazis) of humanity in a snapshot.

Posted by editor at 9:21 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 5 January 2010 8:12 AM EADT

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