Ira Straus

Why the false media name for anti-Israel mobs?

Why do the media use euphemisms, instead of honestly naming the protest mobs?

A “protest” means protesting against something, not “for” something (as in, “for Palestine”).

These protests are entirely explicit about what they’re against: Israel, the US, and the West. It is only the media who feel a need to dissemble about this.

“Anti-Israel protests” would be honest. So would “anti-Western”; in fact, this would be an honest name for most protests on campuses.

Why the consistent media dishonesty in defining the protests? What is the media’s interest in running interference for them?

If the media wanted to define the protests in “for” terms instead of against, but at least somewhat honestly, they could call them “for Hamas”. Or “for intifada”. “For revolution”.

Most of the protesters are forthright about supporting Hamas. Their banners and chants often celebrate it. They also call for “global intifada”, and for “Revolution”. And they always call for the abolition of Israel, “from the River to the Sea”. They know perfectly well that this means abolishing all of Israel; it is only our media that run interference for them and deny they know, on the irrelevant ground that some of them can’t name the river.

They are forthright about liking to break the law. They’re nearly all doing it. And they are threatening and assaulting Jewish students on a large scale.

They have turned their lawbreaking and violence into the consensus moral stance in their group. The media to a large extent act as a megaphone for this consensus, making it the de facto regnant moral-accusatory mode of speech on the national airwaves.

Why do the media have such a hard time reporting this as the serious evil it is? Why do they de facto spread its malicious moral code?

A hypothesis:

Maybe the media sense that they are complicit in spreading much of the same ideology as that of the protesters. Maybe they sense that the slogans of the protests and their dishonest accusations (Israeli “genocide”) echo the media’s own dishonest daily reports. Maybe they think that “too many” of their readers and viewers wouldn’t understand it “the right way” if they told it straight; or that too many Americans don’t feel the same affinity they do for the mob’s ideology. Maybe they see these protesters as like themselves in their college days. Maybe most of the reporters sympathized as students with the leftist protest movement in whatever form it was taking in their time, and identified with it as the “us” of their generation. Maybe they suspect that reporting this movement accurately, as the major evil it is and a product of the media’s own wing of the political spectrum, would reflect badly on themselves.

That’s just a hypothesis.

The hypothesis happens to fit the evidence. It explains the empirical observations. It shows a logical causal continuity between the motivation, the behavior, and the effects.

There does not seem to be any other hypothesis that explains it as well.

About the Author
Chair, Center for War/Peace Studies; Senior Adviser, Atlantic Council of the U.S.; formerly a Fulbright professor of international relations; studied at Princeton, UVA, Oxford. Institutions named above for identification purposes only; views expressed herein are solely the responsibility of the author.
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