Cable news is pretty useless.
There are few things I watch on the boob tube these days. News being one of them. Because of my job, I’ve been involved in a number of issues that have showed up in the press. I’ve learned that reporters frequently get just as much wrong as they get right. As a result, I have no interest in wasting too much time watching the news.
Because of a couple of reasons I’ve spent more time watching CNN over the last couple of weeks than I have in a long time. First, there’s the confluence of events that are riveting, at least to me — Ukraine, Israel-Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Ebola. It’s all fascinating and could change any day, at any moment. Second, my foot injury.
For a number of years, my morning routine has been to get up, read the paper, check email and spend a few minutes surfing the internet. A couple of weeks ago when the Gaza Strip exploded I started turning CNN on as well while I sit in my recliner and go through the morning ritual. ,
Because of my foot injury, which has more or less kept me relatively immobile for a week now (but it is getting better, most definitely getting better), I have spent a lot more time in my recliner, fixated on what is going on in the rest of the world.
So, I’ve watched a lot of CNN. And here’s what I’ve learned.
It’s crap. Hours can go by without any new information, without anything that resembles real reporting. Just a bunch of spokespeople for both sides ranting their propaganda and not a whole lot of depth.
Here’s an issue I want to know about and I saw pretty much nothing that even approached this issue today. Last night, a 72-hour ceasefire was announced. This morning I woke to the news that the ceasefire lasted no more than 90 minutes because Hamas attached Israeli troops who were in the process of destroying a tunnel. Two Israeli soldiers dead, one potentially captured.
What are the problems with this? Well, for hours, in all of the breathless reporting, nothing new was reported. They just kept cycling through the same set of facts and getting people’s reactions. And then, there’s the fact that CNN anchors and reporters kept referring to the soldier has having been kidnapped. No, that’s wrong. Israel and Hamas are at war, when a soldier is taken by the enemy in a war, he has been captured and he is a prisoner of war. He is not a hostage. He has not been kidnapped. This is just one subtle way in which the mainstream media plays into the propaganda machine that supports Israel’s position in all of this.
And, here’s the larger piece of this that supports the propaganda machine. Apparently, the incident that blew apart the ceasefire was in or near Rafah. This is a town that is on the Egypt-Gaza border about 4-5 miles from the Israel-Gaza border. Israel claims that it is seeking to destroy the tunnels that pose a risk to its people. The tunnels that allow Hamas militants to get into Israel.
Here’s the deal. There is a whole network of tunnels in Gaza. Most of them are used for smuggling goods across the Egypt-Gaza border. There are actually people in Gaza who invest in “owning” a tunnel so they can make money on the goods transferred through their tunnel. This is what the tunnel complex in Rafah is — a smuggling network, for goods and materials coming across the Egypt border. Since Israel has a blockade around the Gaza Strip. Do weapons make their way through these tunnels? Most likely. But, these are not tunnels that are used to attack Israel.
Why? How can I be so sure? Because, again, Rafah is at least four miles from the border with Israel. The tunnels built to attack Israel are smack dab on the border. Why would Hamas build a four or five mile long tunnel to get into Israel when it has a border with Israel that would allow it to build multiple tunnels of only one or two miles, or less, to get into Israel?
So, the question is this. What is Israel doing in Rafah destroying a tunnel that has nothing to do with potential attacks into Israrel? And the problem is this. Nowhere in any of CNN’s reporting on this was this issue ever raised. They seem to accept without question Israel’s right to destroy any tunnel in Gaza, no matter its purpose. No matter its location.
This isn’t real journalism. It isn’t real reporting. It’s breathless and now, but it’s useless. It’s a disservice to anybody who wants a real presentation of what is going on there or anywhere else in the world.