A new low for the Finnish capital’s newspaper, the Helsingin Sanomat!
In an editorial written by its EIC, Janne Virkkunen
; minimizes Israel’s fear concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, as well as dismissing the claims of anti-Semitism directed towards the Jewish state.
In “Yhden pommin kansakunta / The Single-Bomb Nation“, Janne Virkkunen shows a political, journalistic bias, than about any single point he tried to address concerning Israel, the Palestinians or the Middle East conflict.
Tundraman offers a clear analysis of the Virkkunen op-ed:
The title, “Yhden pommin kansakunta” (The single-Bomb Nation) refers to Israel, who claims that it can be wiped out by one (nuclear) bomb (from Iran). Basically, Virkkunen demonstrates his own pervasive bias by fiercely defending the media, claiming that all the accusations made by “the Israeli press” about antisemitism in the West guiding news on Israel is “99 % false”.
He also says that the Israeli obession with the threat from Iran is “hysterical”, as even Bush has been forced to retreat from his accusations because of recent reports stating that he is wrong.
Although Virkkunen admits in half a sentence that Hamas wants to “throw Israel into the sea”, he never the less calls Gaza “an open prison” and does not find ANY justification for what Israel is doing. Basically, he is calling Israel paranoid. Here are some FACTS, that show:
(a) that Virkkunen is wrong regarding the 99% and that his eagerness to whitewash the media is in itself proof of the need to invent a new, legitimate form of antisemitism – which happened already in Soviet times and in the Soviet society – which is why old radicals like Virkkunen still “suffer” from it!”
Let’s first start with the academy, where journalists are indoctrinated with their upside down views of morality and international politics. Back in September of last year 2007, the University of Helsinki’s newspaper, the Yliopisto, transformed a seemingly neutral issue (that the UN expected Martin Scheinin to produce a report from Israel, South Africa and the USA) into an implicit Israel-bashing exercise. Read here
Here’s a report by Manfred Gerstenfeld and Ben Green who both document undeniable accounts of media bias towards Israel in this report
Structurally Biased Reporting
“In very rare cases, journalists admit that they have been reporting in a structurally biased way. In 1989, Thomas Friedman cited a major example of such reporting in his book From Beirut to Jerusalem: “it would be hard to find any hint in stories from foreign correspondents stationed in Beirut before 1982 about the well-known corruption in the PLO leadership, the misuse of funds, and the way in which the organization had become as much a corporation full of bureaucratic hacks as a guerilla outfit.”
Friedman also noted that the Western correspondents judged the PLO in a much milder way than they did the Phalangists, Israelis, or Americans. One major reason was that they had to keep on good terms with the PLO because otherwise when their foreign editor arrived, he would not get the much-coveted interview with Yasser Arafat. It is hard to assume that the phenomenon exposed by Friedman no longer exists for many if not most foreign correspondents in the Arab world. Their need of favors from the authorities is so great that their criticism, if existing at all, must be muted.
One confirmation of that was given by the Dutch correspondent on the Middle East, Joris Luyendijk. “The Arab countries are often dictatorships that exist thanks to lack of transparency. Everything is based on appearances. Both parties, but in particular the Arabs, lie the whole day. You really have to check their statements there on the spot. Also, reliable figures are not available: the authorities lie flagrantly in all fields. All figures are adapted to what is politically desirable.”
Then there is the UCLA STUDY
that documents the phenomenon of bias in the US media, which enjoys a far more robust competition between the various radio, newsprint and television news media than in Finland. The study mentions that:
“However, a strong form of the view that reporters offset or blunt their own ideological biases leads to a counter factual implication. Suppose it is true that all reporters report objectively, and their ideological views do not color their reporting. If so, then all news would have the same slant. Moreover, if one believes Crouse’s claim that reporters overcompensate in relation to their own ideology, then a news outlet filled with conservatives, such as Fox News, should have a more liberal slant than a news outlet filled with liberals, such as the New York Times.”
(b) that with regard to its content, this new form of antisemitism repeats the same old antisemitic myths about the Jews but projects them onto Israel as a nation, which is easy to show!
Benyamin Netanyahu offers a salient response
to those who disregard the rise in the new acceptable version of ancient Jew-hatred.
“Jews and the Jewish State have been subjected to an intense campaign of public vilification and have even been called “the new Nazis.” Arab outrages, on the other hand, are passed over in silence or “contextualized.” Opposition to the American-led attack on Iraq has served to further stoke antisemitic sentiment among Muslims and the Left, as biased media outlets provide platforms for anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish rhetoric.”
American social psychologist, Phyllis Chesler notes: Today, what’s new about anti-Semitism is its extraordinary global reach. Jew hatred is being mass-produced. The Internet, films, and the media have the power to circulate these virulent opinions around the globe, 24/7. The most illiterate of peoples have “seen” the Israelis commit a “massacre” in Jenin, something Israelis did not do — even the United Nations finally admitted this. But no matter: A false picture is more powerful than a thousand words.
What’s new is that this hatred has, incredibly, been embraced and romanticized by Western liberals, public intellectuals, Nobel Prize winners, all manner of so-called progressives and activists and, to a great extent, by the presumably objective media. The educated elites claim that they do not in fact hate Jews. How can they — the noblest among the “politically correct” — be racists? They loathe racism — except, of course, where Jews are concerned.
(c) and that with regard to its structure, this new form uses subtle linguistic tricks (repetition, stereotype-confirming abstract language when negative behavior is described, etc.) in order to maintain and strengthen antisemitic attitudes.
Al Avai weighs in with a few points of his own. Virkkunen repeats a number of other myths as well, such as the West Bank settlements being an obstacle to peace, even though there is already a framework agreement for them. Virkkunen needs to be reminded every time anti-Jewish stereotypes are used in his newspaper to criticize Israel, until he finally understands what he is not currently conscious of.
The very fact that so much is written about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows that deep myths are in play. In terms of land area involved and numbers of casualties this conflict is well down on thew world’s list. We could generate a ratio of the number of articles on the subject or even better, the number of column lines, eg in the Sanomat divided by the number of casualties.
I don’t have a handy table of the casualties from the worlds’ current conflicts, but its estimated that the conflict in the Congo is killing about 45 000 people a month, half of them children. The fact that the Hesari is not writing about this conflict every day is a sign of racism too! Basically, African deaths don’t matter, but conflict in the Holy Land, where we continue to crusade, matters a whole lot, and it helps us a whole lot when our own victims of yesterday can be painted as today’s aggressors.
Another point is Janne Virkkunen’s attempt to diminish the threat that Iran poses by insinuating that the US’s NIE report, refuted the Bush administration’s official line that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon. Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton offers an experts view
of what the NIE Report actually said, which totally contradicts Virkkunen’s uneducated opinion.
Bolton: First, the headline finding — that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 — is written in a way that guarantees the totality of the conclusions will be misread. In fact, there is little substantive difference between the conclusions of the 2005 NIE on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and the 2007 NIE. Moreover, the distinction between “military” and “civilian” programs is highly artificial, since the enrichment of uranium, which all agree Iran is continuing, is critical to civilian and military uses. Indeed, it has always been Iran’s “civilian” program that posed the main risk of a nuclear “breakout.”
The real differences between the NIEs are not in the hard data but in the psychological assessment of the mullahs’ motives and objectives. The current NIE freely admits to having only moderate confidence that the suspension continues and says that there are significant gaps in our intelligence and that our analysts dissent from their initial judgment on suspension. This alone should give us considerable pause.
, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, observes that
During his February 5 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell backpedaled from the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and its claim that, “in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.”
Not only did McConnell testify that the Islamic Republic was working to master the enrichment of uranium–“the most difficult challenge in nuclear production”–but he also acknowledged that, “because of intelligence gaps,” the U.S. government could not be certain that the Iranian government had fully suspended its covert nuclear programs.
“We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons,” he testified. “In our judgment, only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons–and such a decision is inherently reversible.”
One of the chief problems with the Helsingin Sanomat is that they consistently refuse to provide an alternative viewpoint in their paper. Though they may offer an occasional “token view” of dissent, it’s however immediately countered within the next few days with successive opposing views.
While many major newspapers around the world will try to balance their foreign news section with countering views in the op-ed or “guest pen” section, the HS refuses to do so. The HS has been often compared in Finland to the New York Times or Washington Post, in that it sets the tone for the rest of Finland’s news reporting. If that’s the case, then journalism in Finland is in a very bad way. *L* KGS