Moral Equivalency and the Media - On Ashleigh Banfield



Last night I turned on the nightly news to watch MSNBC with Ashleigh Banfield, on whose program an associate was conducting an interview with the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber, a young man, who had recently ignited himself, killing several innocent Israelis. During the interview (conducted mainly with the father), a cordial, friendly tone was maintained between the discussants with precious little to convey any misapprehension of the act, or that, perhaps, there had been some wrongdoing. As explained by the father and endorsed by the interviewer it was all quite understandable, even inevitable; something the bomber and others before him were compelled to do by dint of circumstance. The father was questioned about the payment they received from other quarters (Iraq, I believe), and he became a little agitated with this line of questioning, insisting that the deed was committed for one reason only, that, of course, being the horrendous actions of the Israeli government. This statement invited no riposte from the interviewer who nodded his head to suggest, if anything, agreement. In the course of the interview, there was little mention of the appalling reality of the action undertaken by the teenage terrorist, barely a peep over the killing of innocent civilians. The bulk of the interview dealt chiefly with the conditions of their lives, the curfews, the checkpoints, the poverty, the general "oppression" of the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupiers. The overall mood of the interview was one of commiseration, no doubt leaving many in the viewing audience feeling sympathetic for the young bomber and his family. This, if you think of it, is incredible...

Now multiply this colloquy many times over (for the countless other such interviews and reports) and you can quickly gauge the overwhelming odds arrayed against an individual developing anything like a proper understanding of the Middle East crisis if his main source of information was the mainstream media. This absurd outcome is indicative of many things wrong with western media handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict, not the least of which is its moral obtuseness, and its dopey readiness to be manipulated by scoundrels. It is also a measure of the moral abyss into which many of the Palestinian Arabs and their sympathizers have fallen...

The willingness of the western media to acquiesce in the propaganda wars, to collude directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly, with the "Palestinian" cause, to suspend reasonable, coherent judgment, and to perform metaphysical flights of fancy to excuse, justify, and gloss over heinous crimes, is a lesson in either denial, stupidity, or insidious anti-Semitism. There is simply no way for the discerning individual to confuse this: Strapping explosives to oneself (laced with nails and rat poison), and walking onto a crowded bus and detonating oneself is evil - in its most virulent and repellent form. And there are simply no extenuating circumstances. Such mindless killing is unique in the annals of evil-doing: The purposeful recruitment, indoctrination, and training of young Arab Moslems, some just past childhood, to hate those they do not know (Israeli children, pregnant women, the elderly, anyone), and to deliberately and premeditatively annihilate them by blowing themselves up is a completely novel form of atrocity without historical precedent: a Palestinian reinvention of butchery. That many of those picked do so with the blessings of parents, adds yet another layer to its perversity. For parents to condone such actions by offspring, to, in some cases, proudly preside over their self-annihilation, and then piously offer another for the next bombing, is incredible. A parent can never approve of the extermination of his own child, no matter the cause, the communal pressure, the promise of riches. It is an affront to nature and to the Creator they pray to. It is, in a word, insane - and not just the insanity of the individual, but the entire corrupting influence of a society that has embraced self-destruction and brutal murder as its dominant ethos... But to get an unequivocal and straightforward reading on this on prime time is next to impossible; and where the confusion arises from in western circles over this is a mystery.

Which brings us back to Ashleigh Banfield and the legions of other moral imbeciles in the western media, who cover such revolting and malicious acts, if they cover it at all, in the manner of delivering a weather report. Such is the toxic contamination of moral relativism within the ranks of news commentators. A dozen or so dead Israelis. Ho-hum (But, by the way, a few Palestinian civilians killed in the course of chasing down a known terrorist - the outcry will deafen.). And why do Ashleigh and the others feel compelled to interview the families of suicide bombers? Surely they do not endorse such activity, although one would be hard pressed to know that on the basis of the interviews. Would they feel equally compelled to interview, say, the family of Mohammed Atta of 9/11 fame? (Or, for that matter, the family of an ax murderer from Montana?) Is there moral equivalence there as they obviously believe exists between the Israelis and the Palestinian suicide bombers?

But to perform such an interview would be disrespectful to the victims and their families and give murderers an opportunity to vicariously defend themselves. Such an opportunity should not be given, and fortunately was not. The world was thusly spared the obscene spectacle of an interview with the family of Mohammed Atta. Which is precisely the point. But why the drive to give Palestinian murderers a chance to explain themselves? Such impetus to excuse the inexcusable? If Ashleigh felt compelled to speak with the family of a suicide bomber (and one wonders why), at least balance it with an interview, immediately following, with the family of a victim of the same suicide bomber. So the audience may gauge for itself the legitimacy of cold blooded murder.

But such was not forthcoming. Ashleigh, and so many others, preferred instead to wallow in the poisonous wastes of moral equivalency, undiscerning, if not openly hostile to the Jewish state, subscribing to the insane notion that self-detonation and annihilation of civilians are somehow acceptable forms of political expression... True understanding of the tragedy of the Middle East would be better served if the western media avoided transforming terrorists into heroes, and depicted them as they are: homicidal maniacs to be reviled and condemned.


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