News Media
For the benefit of Israel, US media stoops to trashing Carter
By Dr. Marwan Asmar
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 23, 2008, 00:21

Jimmy Carter�s visit to the Middle East will be remembered not for his meetings with Hamas leaders but for the savagery of the reactions he received from the American media.

Although the Bush administration refused to give its support to the Carter peace mission to the Middle East and warned him not to meet with Hamas leaders, the vociferous reactions came from journalists, media men and opinion writers which far outweighed the voices from the political establishment, both presidency and Congress alike, and in the most explicit of tones.

This time around the different strands of the American media provide more extremist cannon fodder than the Bush administration known for using iron fist in fighting terrorism and lambasting those who would meet terrorist-labeled organizations like Hamas, despite the fact Carter is on a peace mission.

Carter has been callously branded as a �citizen traitor,� stripping him of his former presidential status -- a traitor to his cause and country if you are willing to walk the extra mile and believe the US and Israel are one and the same country.

He is further seen as someone �embracing the enemy,� while in fact he is talking to a legitimate organization, and, a fact-of-life, a body that is part and parcel of the Palestinian people and won their support on numerous occasions.

In the Carter visit to the Middle East, including Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the corporate media have allowed themselves to scream and cry wolf, all in favor of a hard-nosed Israel that believes to be under threat by continually fighting and killing Palestinians.

American editors have allowed themselves to be used to support a country on the far end of the Mediterranean as if it were a suburb of New York or Chicago. They cite chapter and verse without question and with obedience.

In �Peres blasting Carter,� the editor and newspaper of the headline clearly feel delighted and cherish the fact that Carter was scolded by Israeli President Shimon Peres for wanting to meet Hamas as if they don�t exist as a legitimate source in Palestinian society and instead reproached him.

The ultimate irony lay in the fact that Carter was refused to be seen by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the rest of the Israeli cabinet washed their hands and would not meet the former American president, the very country which bankrolls the Jewish state. But would America do anything? No. Its leaders just grinned.

Now it was Israel playing the superpower, refusing to grant Carter entry into Gaza and refusing to accord him security protection as is normally the case with dignitaries who come to the country. But Carter was not deterred from speaking out at the �despicable� conditions which Palestinians in Gaza are forced to live under.

The US media continued to call Carter �misguided� and a dreamer. They screamed with headlines such as �Carter is a disgrace,� the regional visit is �a sordid affair� and �Carter to Hamas� rescue,� and the fact his visit was being �shunned.�

Such headlines were being made by educated American journalists who were supposedly equipped with the very basic techniques of reporting, analysis and even opinion-making. Journalists, editors and analysts were ashamed of what their former president was doing; it was disgusting, dabbling in dirt, and should be pushed away and the fact he was somehow rescuing Hamas from the legitimate wrath of the Israelis.

While media must in the end be respected for trying to get at the truth, although many times they try to suppress it, theirs is a game of trivialization while complex issues are reduced to surface talk.

This might be forgiven however, if the mockery and cynicism is left out. �Carter�s Middle East Pilgrimage . . ." was grand and religious, with just a hint of silliness and maybe a waste of time since the issues are precisely more complex than one would or could imagine.

On the other hand, he is being directly accused of becoming the friend of the enemy of the US and that he should be stopped with the writer of the headline reducing the intellectual capacity of readers to that of a mouse, hiding the fact just why should Hamas be an enemy of the United States if it merely wants back long occupied Palestinian lands.

But no, US readers are further told �Carter has come to rehabilitate Hamas� as if they had been bad boys, and he was going to make them into good ones so Israel would accept sitting with them, a view that is actually totally rejected by both sides.

There is no mincing words in �Carter lifts terrorists and undercuts peace;� he is clearly accused of helping the terrorists and undercutting peacemaking as if peace were really around the corner and it's not Israel that is foot-dragging on negotiations.

Carter, today an elder statesman of 83 years of age and the man who first brokered the Middle East peace process between Israel and Egypt in 1978, would not be put off by such headlines and met Hamas leaders in Egypt and Syria, despite the strong Israeli-American alliance.

Some of the headlines were being made in major US newspapers and websites like the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, Kansas City Star and the New York Post which stated, �It�s bad enough that Carter . . . will be putting a stamp of legitimacy on a gang of cutthroats who�ve never hesitated to include Americans in their growing body count,� and, �The saddest thing about this get-together is that it comes as no real surprise. Indeed, it�s entirely in keeping with Carter�s recent embrace of Palestinian extremism . . ."

For at least four decades, Israel has built itself a nice cushion in the corporate American media; a very clever move, to ensure there is an ongoing process of ideological cementation for its actions as a state that has grown militarily strong, for pouring aid into it and occupying Palestinian lands, thank you very much.

All this is preferred to be forgotten, and now it is Carter who is the extremist!

Dr. Marwan Asmar is an Amman, Jordan-based writer.

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