I was talking with some folks (as I do constantly) about the matzav (situation) in Israel. I feel a bit obsessed, as I think many of my fellow Israel-lovers and bloggers do, with the news. I can't stop refreshing Muqata and IsraellyCool and I scroll through my tweets looking for the news.
There are so many misconceptions being played out in the mainstream media (MSM). I nearly have an aneurisum each morning as I read my newspaper and I definitely almost ripped the radio out of my car the other day as I heard Jerome McDonnell say "well, there have just been a few rockets sent into Israel, right? and no one's really been hurt by it, right?" as he interviewed an Israeli journalist. (Who responded, wonderfully, by saying "That's like having the doctor say - your 14year old is pregnant but the good news is that she's only a little bit pregnant. There is no such thing as good rocket fire.")
I really believe that I am getting a balanced view. I'm sure there are those who would disagree with me, who would say that all my sources are Israeli in origin so I'm bound to get a biased view of the operation from that perspective. And I suppose that would be true. But I do believe that the MSM seems so biased against Israel, and since I continue (oddly enough) to read newspapers and MSM websites, I feel that I'm getting a pretty good sense of what might be the "Real Story."
(Picture from Reuters.com - of Israelis sheltering from a Qassam missile.)
The thing that bothered me the most this week, however, was the very well-intentioned person who listened to me refute information about the UN "school" that was bombed. (When we think of school, I'm pretty sure you all have the same idea in your head that I do - kids running around, books, desks, teachers, papers, pencils and erasers....but this is not that kind of school. So I feel that it puts the wrong idea into people's heads right off the bat. But I digress...)
Back to the well-intentioned person. She asked in a not-snottty, totally honest and well-intentioned way: "How are those of us who are not as informed supposed to know all of this?"
And I know that she is not an internet user, beyond the email and other tasks in the office. I know that if I asked her to regularly visit Muqata or even Haaretz.com she would not really be able to do it. So truthfully, I was a bit stumped and didn't quite know how to asnwer her except to say that I could provide her with a list of sources for her to look at.
But she probably won't.
She'll probably continue, in her kind and well-intentioned and well-informed way, to read the newspapers and watch the 6 o'clock news (which I haven't watched in years...it's still on, right?). And she'll believe, like so many Americans and Europeans do, that the nicely coiffed men and women sitting so officially behind those shiny desks or standing in front of those pretty flat-panel monitors are telling The Truth and reporting The Facts.
When we know they're not always.
So I offer this challenge to you, my dear readers. I am always asking you to blog or tweet or comment or visit. But today's challenge is a little different.
I'm asking you to pick one site or post or picture that you feel is representative of The Truth -- not the stuff being thrown around by the MSM but the stuff that you find to be Real and Right. Start, perhaps, with one of Jack's round ups or one of Jameel's liveblogs, or even just the count from your QassamCount status update.
Print it out.
(I know, I know, I'm supposed to be all green, but bear with me.)
And share it with the people that you care about most, the people that you think will not be reading it, the people that you think might look at you when you suggest that they log into TwiddleEast as though you're suggesting they jump through the Looking Glass. Share the paper with your co-workers, your friends, your grandmother.
We're all working so hard out here on the Internet. I think the time has come to move beyond that and back out into the Real World, Old School...
Are you with me?
Print? And kill a tree?
OK, I'll stop joking and show this article, hat tip Seraphic Secret:
Marvin Hier writes in the Wall Street Journal (you can tell your friend to read the Wall Street Journal, many pro-Israel articles):
Many people ask why there are so few Israeli casualties in comparison with the Palestinian death toll. It's because Israel's first priority is the safety of its citizens, which is why there are shelters and warning systems in Israeli towns. If Hamas can dig tunnels, it can certainly build shelters. Instead, it prefers to use women and children as human shields while its leaders rush into hiding.
Thanks for the challenge. I will be honest that I am pretty ignorant to the whole situation, as well. I wouldn't dare to say that I know something or have an opinion because I don't know enough about the problems going on. Americans live in such a bubble. The suburban Americans are one of the most ignorant and un-educated groups of people out there- yet they always have the most opinions. It's really sad. Thank you for reminding us to educate ourselves on the world issues, so that we can count our blessings, everyday, for living in a free country. I am going to go do some reading. I apologize for myself, for not being as educated on the issues that are important in the world! Thanks again, for the reminder! :)
Like Brittany said, thank you for the challenge! My husband and I were discussing the bias and ignorance of the MSM yesterday. Especially in this situation, it's not simple and understanding the history of the area is necessary to know how we got here. I read cfr.org for unbiased information, I actively keep my mind open and I like to look for new sources of information. I empathize as much as possible. I do know that Israel is looking for peace and the right to exist from Hamas and other channels were explored before war. I also know that until moderates on both sides speak up for their majorities, peace is not likely.
May God comfort those who mourn.
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