The claims of Joe Biden, the US President is not an aberration, but a continuation of the great American legacy. While the petty fake news disinformation of complicit journalists is now commonplace, unverified claims being made from the US President are alarming at another level.
– Radiance News Service
New Delhi, October 12: A viral claim that Hamas beheaded 40 babies has been making the news for the past two days – with no proof to the effect so far. A claim that started from an Israeli journalist, who later deleted her X post, has now reached the highest office of the United States, with the American president Joe Biden first claiming to have seen proof. However, hours later, the White House clarified that Biden’s claims were based off news reports, and that he had not seen any actual proof or photos.
The journalist who deleted her post later claimed that her sources were Israeli soldiers – who are not a neutral party in the current offensive, thus making them unsuitable to be objective sources. There have been no photos or videos in the public domain, with Indian right-wing accounts like Aditya Raj Kaul claiming that his ‘friend’ had ground photos but did not reveal them either. The Israeli army did not confirm any such report.
An Indian journalist too joined in spreading the misinformation, with Barkha Dutt first posting on X the same claim, and when users pointed out the White House retraction, she claimed that since other incidents of Hamas’ violence were in the news, this too could be true. The IDF spokesperson Maj. Doron Spielman told NBC News: “That specific report and that number I can’t confirm.”
Journalists and commentators have highlighted the legacy of other such US ‘Presidential lies’ – whether it was the Iraq War and its rationale of non-existent WMDs, to the Vietnam War earlier. Palestinian poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha wrote that “this language and these actions greenlight extermination” in a post on X, referring to the statement of the US President and the State Department.
While inflammatory statements with no proof are released by high-profile leaders, the retractions that follow – like the one in this case – are generally fine print, by which time the damage is already done. By rapid circulation of such dangerous accusation that seek to induce horror and outrage among the world community, collaborators of the Israel regime, who know very well that they are being given active support by Western powers and a look-away carte blanche, are setting the stage for a genocide.
What is there in plain view – the massacre of Gazans at an unprecedented level – including men, women and children, is being hidden behind this smoke-show of made-up allegations, that often curiously mirror what has been done to Palestinians by Israelis in the past. Journalists must work based on evidence, not sentiment or doubt. Instead of reporting honestly and courageously on the extent of the violence being effected against Palestinians, such complicit media houses, backed by the powers-that-be, whether in the United States or India, have left no stone unturned to strip Palestinians of their humanity and present them as a depraved and brutal community, inherently prone to violence.
2023 marks 20 years of the death of Edward Said. The renowned Palestinian-American academic and activist led an extraordinarily brave life marked by dispossession – settling in Cairo after the Nakba. Although he had no great sympathy for Hamas, and even had differences with political Islam as a project, he was a scholar beloved in his hometown for his commitment to the Palestinian cause of freedom throughout his life and in his work, especially the famous book Orientalism.
In his study on the media and how it propagated imperialism he wrote: “Despite the variety and the differences, and however much we proclaim the contrary, what the media produce is neither spontaneous nor completely “free:” “news” does not just happen, pictures and ideas do not merely spring from reality into our eyes and minds, truth is not directly available…” Nowhere is this truer than the current situation. While death and destruction loom large over Gaza, the media relentlessly spreads news to further dehumanization of the already dispossessed.
In another work, he had written that the “… the connection between imperial politics and culture is astonishingly direct. American attitudes to American “greatness”, to hierarchies of race, to the perils of “other” revolutions (the American revolution being considered unique and somehow unrepeatable anywhere else in the world) have remained constant, have dictated, have obscured, the realities of empire, while apologists for overseas American interests have insisted on American innocence, doing good, fighting for freedom.” The claims of Joe Biden, the US President is not an aberration, but a continuation of the great American legacy. While the petty fake news disinformation of complicit journalists is now commonplace, unverified claims being made from the US President are alarming at another level.