It’s no secret to the enlightened and heavy informed that the Western media has a racial bias problem. The media which has been designated as “liberal” by right-wing pundits continues to paint certain people as mostly the problems that the rest of society must fear. Whatever they think, feel and say is irrelevant, unless it’s something the mainstream wants to hear and pass on. On the flip side, the ones with the most privileges and power, including the oppressors, are the ones to look up to, to listen to and to sympathize for.
So, it should be no surprise that we the same mess happening with the ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict. The Western media runs towards the Israeli point-of-view painting them as the true victims delivering as pro-Israeli slant despite the nation having a major military advantage over neighboring Palestine.
Rula Jebreal appeared on MSNBC to criticize the Western media’s defense of Israel:
While arguing that influence from pro-Israel forces makes the news coverage more favorable to the country and its leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and subsequently sways the majority of American viewers to take the side of Israel, Jebreal explained, “Because of AIPAC, and because of the money behind it, and because of Sheldon Adelson, and because of all of us in the media. We are ridiculous. We are disgustingly biased when it comes to this issue.” She went on to add, “Look at how [much] airtime Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis. Andrea Mitchell and others. I never see one Palestinian being interviewed on these same issues.”
Since then, Jabreal tweeted how her future television appearances were all cancelled. Suspicious, yet not shocking.
So, what does this have to do with us Black Americans? A lot, as Kristian Davis Bailey, for Ebony, writes:
I learned how the police brutality African Americans and other minorities face in the US is directly tied to violence in Palestine. Since 2001, thousands of top police officials from cities across the US have gone to Israel for training alongside its military or have participated in joint exercises here. Just weeks before Oakland police violently broke up an Occupy rally, they had trained with repressive forces from Israel and Bahrain. In Georgia in 2006, a 92-year-old black woman was shot and killed by Atlanta police who had participated in an exchange program with Israeli soldiers on counterterrorism and drug enforcement. Our governments literally share resources and tactics with each other that directly harm our respective communities.
The experiences of African Americans and Palestinians with systemic mass incarceration are also strikingly similar. Forty percent of Palestinian men have been arrested and detained by Israel at some point in their lives. (To put this in perspective, the 2008 figure for Blacks was 1 in 11.) Israel maintains policies of detaining and interrogating Palestinian children that bear resemblance to the stop and frisk policy and disproportionate raids and arrests many of our youth face.
So far, the mainstream media has not taken the plight of institutionalized racism seriously enough to do an indepth analysis on the reasons, causes and its plight regarding the livelihood of African Americans. Likewise, we’ve hardly seen any pundit, right wing or left wing, utter so much as a word on behalf of Palestinians and their hundreds of victims. On the other hand, we’ve gotten plenty of negative press concerning both Blacks in America and Palestinians in the other side of the world while the media trumpets on behalf of the oppressor.
One or two things must happen. The first is that there must be a strong unified coalition of citizens demanding balance in the corporate news reporting. The racial bias that is evidenced must cease if there are to be more images and viewpoints outside of that of what the elite says. The second is that we create our own news and our media so we can tell our own stories without filters and without penalties. Either way, the stories of actual victims must be told.