The material we show here constitutes a tiny fragment of a much larger phenomenon, raw footage from Palestinian photographers working for major western media outlets. From this material, our news agencies prepare news reports that shape our perceptions of what is happening in the Middle East Conflict.
We think that a close analysis of this material defies all expectations of what such footage should resemble, and suggest that Palestinian photographers do not at all share the same production and journalistic values espoused by a free press. We leave the experience and the judgment to you:
HERE’S THE EVIDENCE; YOU DECIDE.
What we present you here is raw material, and we invite you to help us analyze it.
We provide you with maps, and we have broken the material down into manageable and coherent segments, by the position of the cameraman. What you see here are the “rushes” taken by a Palestinian cameraman working with the equipment of, and for, a major western media outlet.
This represents the second day of “rioting” in the territories, since Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount. During that day, according to witnesses on both sides, the Israelis never left their compound (see map). At the end of the day, firing broke out, and the Palestinians claimed five dead and many wounded. In the Western press, this day appears as the beginning of the “Second Intifada,” the day both the West Bank and Gaza exploded in rage and violence against Israel.
The material is not easy to interpret. We therefore offer you three approaches:
1) CSI (Crime Scene Investigation): For those who want to take the time to examine the evidence themselves, and come to their own conclusions.
2) Edited: For those who want to see the original material, but have it edited to bring the most relevant footage together.
3) Packaged: For those who want a quick introduction to the material that we have put together.
In all cases, people who have the ability to go back and see the original material we have taken our excerpts from. Then they are welcome to join the larger discussion of what this tells us about our media right now.
In any case, these rushes demand from us a CSI approach, the kind of approach a historian, or a forensic expert might employ. For those looking at the raw material, we recommend that you view it a number of times, with certain issues in mind:
- Where is the Israeli position?
- What role does its presence play in the behavior of the Palestinians?
- What of the bystanders?
- What characterizes their behavior both towards the wounded and towards the apparent source of the wounds (i.e., the Israelis)?
Then go back and look at the action figures, the wounded, those who evacuate, the ambulance drivers, the cameramen:
- What are they doing?
- What relationships do they have?
- Why are the evacuations so rough and hurried? Why do they run the wounded before putting them on a stretcher?
- What further damage would they do to a youth with a wound worthy of an ambulance evacuation?
- What do the bystanders do after the action is over?
- What’s going on here?
We invite your comment on all aspects of the dossier, from the details of in what sequence the segments were taken (how to judge the time of day), to who the key players are, and we provide forums for these discussions.
But the dossier suggests far more than what it specifically shows us about September 30, and raises larger questions to which we invite all of you, no matter how you’ve entered into the subject matter, to comment upon:
- How long has this been going on?
- What percent of the vast body of Palestinian camerawork for foreign media reflects the production values we see at work here?
- To what extent do western journalists, in producing their reports, show any sign of awareness that they are working with such material?
- How much of our news is shaped by such material and the oversight it suggests?
- Is this still happening?
- What are the consequences for the public and global culture of this oversight?
We feel that the material you are about to see bears witness to a failure of our MSM culture comparable to that of the Emperor and his court when he paraded naked in front of his public. Moreover, that error is kept from us only by our media’s refusal to let the public see their sources. Only the chance circumstances that brought this material to a few people’s attention, and the existence of an open internet where we can post the material, makes it possible for the public to consider this costly media embarrassment. The consequences have been and continue to be detrimental to all involved – Palestinians, Israelis, all the people around the world who wish to see peace come to this troubled area and wish for the great encounter between the people’s of the world that now takes place to happen in peace and mutual respect.