Welcome to the home page of The Second Draft. This website is devoted to exploring some of the problems and issues that plague modern journalism. In this age of globalization, the Mainstream news media (MSM), in both print and even more so, television, has unprecedented influence on the way we see the world. And yet, whether out of misplaced good intentions, the intimidations of physical threats and access journalism, unconscious agendas and predispositions, the relentless search for "scoops," and/or unwarranted, politically-correct faith in false information, the MSM can get the story dramatically wrong, often presenting biased, even dishonest -- and in some cases, staged -- narratives.
Therefore, we want here to revisit and critique journalism's "first draft of history", and hopefully produce a more accurate second one.
Since the MSM are the eyes and ears of civil polities
, and no creature blind and deaf to key data from the world about can long survive, we consider the cleansing of our mediated "doors of perception" a critical task in the years and decades ahead.
The opening dossiers come from the Arab-Israeli conflict where many of the problems and paradoxes that challenge modern journalism's fundamental assumptions and practices come into play. Thus we explore the general phenomenon of Pallywood
(the Palestinian national film industry in which "militant" journalists and street actors produce staged news as propaganda, and two possible cases of Pallywood's "lethal narratives" -- Al Durah
and Gaza Beach
(journalistic incitement to hatred and terrorism). In these cases, whether intentionally or not, the MSM became tools in the cognitive warfare waged against not just Israel but the democratic West.
But we do not want to stay limited to this conflict and we welcome readers' submissions for future investigations anywhere in the world.
We offer here both primary evidence -- raw footage, news articles archive, testimonies -- and analysis, including documentaries, video-essays. Ultimately it is up to each of us to make up his or her own mind how the narrative and the evidence relate to each other.
In addition, we offer a series of essays
designed to address a number of difficult conceptual problems that inevitably arise when one tries to think about how the media dysfunctions
we chronicle here could occur, and how to remedy them.
The original site was launched in 2005. In this new version, in addition to updating the dossiers, we have added some features which hopefully will invite your participation. We have now three new segments that we hope to update on a regular basis.
Each of these represent an increasing order of critique. The See section contains relatively long segments of news coverage with a brief critique, intended to solicit responses. The VEA section contains critical essays with smaller segments of news coverage. The Dialogues with the Media offers video-fisking of particularly interesting and/or egregious examples of news coverage. We hope that with the readers' comments we can move footage from the See, to the VEA, and in cases worth the effort to the DWM section.
Please feel free to comment, criticize, recommend. Our basic principle is a combination of transparency, open discussion, public correction of error -- the same standard to which we hold the MSM.