Thursday, January 08, 2009

What's True?

I'm increasingly thinking the best solution for the Israel vs Palestine problem would be a big games tournament, using an obscure board game that none of them are likely to have played.

Decided to have a read of some of the things which are happening. It's quite interesting in some ways.

Public relations
Although many of the recent wars (or probably more accurately 'sustained airstrikes') have featured some PR, this one has even more. The decisions that the military and government are taking are talked about in terms of the propaganda effect they are trying to achieve.
They are doing well in terms of keeping Hamas' rocket fire in the frame, though in some ways I'm quite impressed with their ability to keep firing despite the efforts that Israel is putting in.
An own goal though would be the IDF's YouTube channel. It reminds me hugely of one of the parts of Call of Duty IV.

IDF hitting Gazans:

Call of Duty hitting Randoms:

I honestly think this kind of video is pretty awful for their public relations as it highlights the asymmetric nature of the conflict. It's people using little Mortars against robots. They're not going to win...

Sourcing Information
The most interesting thing from this conflict is the issues with information are being brought to bear. I was watching the C4 news this evening and an IDF spokesperson was seriously questioning whether the Red Cross was actually a credible source against that of the IDF. For me it highlights the questionable nature of all the information we are receiving about the conflict.
The IDF's youtube channel disturbed me as it's all action fully removed from context. It's just people talking about how someone is a terrorist with no proof. This blog makes a good point that the IDF makes mistakes (that's not to say that the red cross never does either!).
It made me think about many of the facts going on here. We hear all the time about Hamas missiles landing on Sderot. There are some issues around facts here:
Is Sderot an illegal settlement?
Was Hamas firing these before the ceasefire stopped?

Both sides of the conflict have different views as to the veracity of the claims above. It is quite interesting as it brings a point as to what valid data is and what it could look like. This is the kind of site that is talking to us about the attacks on Israeli soil. Al Jazeera is more than happy to report on what's happening to the Palestinians.
I'm not going to go anywhere near the question of what was at Sderot before Sderot arrived.
The problem is that people have very blinkered views as to what is going on. They all throw conspiracy style theories out about what's happening in the disputed areas. Video is about the only thing that can't easily be doctored (photos are very easy to change) but video robbed of context is problematic.

Traditionally us Brits have trusted the BBC, but in recent times most articles are simply rehashes of AP information about other people's reports. Even if they were in, both sides would be accusing the BBC of bias. American networks can't be trusted but neither can the Arabic ones. It's difficult, the only ones I really believe are the Chinese Media as I don't think they care either way...

For the internet, distrust of the media is actually a good thing as it will hopefully educate people to look at more than one source when investigating what's going on. This will increase the number of pages looked at and give us poor little media planners more choice in titles to use.

Unfortunately for media owners increased cross readership with other titles means that their site do not offer a unique readership and it makes it easier for us to 'buy around them'. In turn this will reduce the total number of potential outlets for news.

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