The last weeks have seen a string of incidents that make it increasingly clear how unfree the Western mass media are – specifically but not only in the US. First, Helen Thomas was forced to resign for expressing the eminently reasonable opinion that the colonisers of Palestine ‘should go back to where they came from‘. Then Octavia Nasr – of Lebanese christian origin – got fired by CNN after 20 years as its senior Middle East editor for expressing ‘sadness and respect’ for the death of Fadlallah. And now British ambassador to Lebanon Guy Frances is forced into apologising for and deleting a blog post in which she wrote about the same shia cleric that ‘When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person (…) That for me is the real effect of a true man of religion; leaving an impact on everyone he meets, no matter what their faith.’
Do note that all three merely expressed personal opinions outside their professional activities and that none of them are particularly anti-Israeli in their professional life. So in fact this is not even an attack on ‘freedom of the press’ – that so-called ‘freedom’ is already severely curtailed by private ownership of newspapers and tv stations and governmental pressure in all shapes and forms – but on the freedom of expression of private individuals, the next stage in the elimination of all ‘deviant’ opinion. In true orwellian fashion, they are doing this in the name of ‘objectivity’ and ‘neutrality’, which in their twisted vision means ‘aping without criticism one prefabricated view and censoring the other side’… On the positive side, of course, this only shows the despair of Israel and its allies in the face of their losing battle for global public opinion, which is sliding inexorably and ever faster towards the critical mass that forced that other apartheid regime in South Africa into despise and ultimately oblivion, despite the inaction or even resistance of the US and European governments supporting that regime at the time.
As for the situation in what is sometimes laughably called ‘the Middle East’s only democracy’ – see this article in the Guardian on the resistance (finally…) of the Israeli academic world to one of the many recent laws criminalising local and international NGOs and dissenting opinion in general.