RTÉ: Compounding The Deceit

Palestinianwoman
RTÉ’s claim that it did not ‘misinterpret or misrepresent’ the views of a woman featured in footage from Gaza is as deceitful as the original report. The footage of the woman appearing onscreen is prefaced by images of a building exploding as a consequence of a missile strike. There is no indication given as to who launched the missile. The voiceover says “even as international pressure increases, the war continued unabated from both sides”.

An uninformed viewer could easily interpret the explosion as caused by a missile launched by either Israeli or Palestinian forces, given the statement of “unabated war from both sides”. In fact, Palestinian forces have used no weapons capable of causing such destruction.

Since the images of the explosion are followed immediately by the Palestinian woman speaking, a viewer could easily infer that the explosion was caused by the Palestinian side. Such an inference would be reinforced by RTÉ’s interpretation and representation of her words: she is ready to strap on an explosive device and fight. Her words and gestures are part of the same flow of images concerning “the war of both sides”.

It is not just a question of her views being ‘paraphrased’, as RTÉ claims: proper paraphrasing requires due attention to the context. Her words about being ready to strap on an explosive device and fight are not because she is a combatant in one “side” of a “war”, which is what RTÉ suggests with the sequence of images and words in its report, but because she is witness to the death of children, as a consequence of precisely the kind of explosion caused by Israeli forces, but shown in the report as if it could have been generated by either “side”.

As she says herself in the translation furnished by RTÉ: “Four to five children die every single day, where are you people? …a four-storey building fell on their heads, it is horrific”. Then: “I am ready to wear the explosive jacket and joint (sic) our fighters…all our children are dying”.
There is a vast difference between a woman saying she will join the fight because “all our children are dying”, and a woman saying she is “ready to strap on an explosive device and fight” without any context or rationale for her words, amid the suggestion furnished by the RTÉ report that even ordinary women are combatants.

Thus the RTÉ report presents the situation in Gaza as a two-sided and even contest, but with the difference on the Palestinian side being that there is no distinction between a civilian and a combatant. The presentation of the Palestinian woman is therefore in keeping with the image of what pro-Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz once described as the “continuum of civilianality” to justify attacks that primarily injured civilian populations, and in keeping with Israeli propaganda more generally. RTÉ’s claim that it did not ‘misinterpret or misrepresent’ the views of this woman could only be justified if it were under orders from the Israeli military, and not subject to obligations as a public broadcaster in Ireland.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “RTÉ: Compounding The Deceit

  1. an excellent point – and shame on RTE for their lack of impartiality.

  2. Liam

    The Zionist Israeli war of oppression and aggression is genocide, yet portrayed by RTE and other main stream Irish media as a war of equals. Gaza’s Homemade rockets vs the military and financial backing ($3billion a year) of the US. 10,000 Israeli Jews marched in Tel Aviv yesterday, speaking out against the Zionist regime –yet this will never be reported. Nor will the protests all over the world as the Israeli lobbies are rife on all western governments. Peace can only be restored once Israel gives back the stolen land it is occupying. The Israeli war crimes are being brought before the UN – Ireland abstained from the vote last week – and the truth will be told. Zionism is a curse to humanity, a plague that will wipe out all people unless people wake up.

  3. The RTÉ report of Wednesday July 23rd is distorted, even if you can’t understand what the Palestinian woman is saying in the clip mid-way through. Distortions run right through the piece, to such an extent that focusing solely on the skewed interpretation and translation of the clip misses a wider point of RTÉ’s damaging assumptions and framing throughout the piece (which was typical of RTÉ reporting of the assault on Gaza). I was infuriated on seeing the report, and on Friday I wrote a letter to the reporter Carole Coleman and the Director of News and Current Affairs. I obviously don’t expect a reaction from them, so I have linked the criticisms below. If you think that they are reasonable, feel free to share them: http://thomasorourke.blogspot.com/2014/07/july-23rd-2014-harmful-assumptions-and.html

  4. Pingback: Manufacturing Context | Broadsheet.ie

  5. Whilst I appreciate your countering of such state propaganda, I say with the absolute best will in the world: just ignore RTÉ News.

    RTÉ News is a strange, only-in-Ireland, Craggy Island joke. I’m even beginning to think it’s a deliberate attempt at a subversive art project. The truth will be revealed when state papers get published under the thirty-year tule. The IQ points of all correspondents combined is a solid 90. Ciaran Mullooly and Paschal Sheehy are strange phenomena indeed. And the people that the RTÉ News team chooses to do vox pops of makes me wonder about the future of the Irish people.

    For the past ten weeks I haven’t watched or listened to any RTÉ programming and already my mind feels clearer. Seriously, I actually feel smarter.

    Still though, sometimes we’re treated with hard hitting interviews, like when Eileen Dunne once interviewed Enda Kenny, lol

  6. Whilst I appreciate your countering of such state propaganda, I say with the absolute best will in the world: just ignore RTÉ News.

    RTÉ News is a strange, only-in-Ireland, Craggy Island joke. I’m even beginning to think it’s a deliberate attempt at a subversive art project. The truth will be revealed when state papers get published under the thirty-year tule. The IQ points of all correspondents combined is a solid 90. Ciaran Mullooly and Paschal Sheehy are strange phenomena indeed. And the people that the RTÉ News team chooses to do vox pops of makes me wonder about the future of the Irish people.

    For the past ten weeks I haven’t watched or listened to any RTÉ programming and already my mind feels clearer. Seriously, I actually feel smarter.

    Still though, sometimes we’re treated with hard hitting interviews, like when Eileen Dunne once interviewed Enda Kenny, lol

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