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The propaganda war heats up

As a rule, I try not to watch much TV news. It's too vapid, too emotional and too stupid for the most part. But I have seen a bit of the coverage in Lebanon, and I'm pretty disappointed. Much of it seems to be concerned with trying to cram as many crying women and bloody children into a two minute segment as possible. Israel may have the advantage in military might, but they always get creamed in the propaganda war.

Of course, this is all due to the media-terrorist feedback loop. They both need each other, and work together well. A CNN reporter has even admitted his coverage was the result of working with Hezbollah. James Taranto suggests this kind of coverage creates a danger for civilians:

Israel, unlike Hezbollah, is constrained by human decency. By using civilians as shields, Hezbollah hopes to limit the Jewish state's military options. Hezbollah wins either way, since if Israeli strikes do hurt or kill civilians, the international media, including CNN, depict this as the result of Israel's, rather than Hezbollah's, brutality.

A report like Cal Perry's, in other words, provides Hezbollah with an incentive to endanger Lebanese civilians further. CNN, then, must bear some degree of moral culpability for the suffering of Lebanon's population.

It's clear Hezbollah is using innocents to win the propaganda war. Israel has dropped leaflets advising civilians to flee, but Hezbollah has worked to prevent this. Their bodies are a military asset, and may be needed (in a mangled form) to appear on TV behind some blow-dried blowhard from Atlanta.

Cox and Forkum illustrates this attitude perfectly:

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