Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why you shouldn't believe everything you see on TV

If you are at all interested in the shifty way the news media tries to manipulate you, I implore you to check out this story. We've often heard people claiming their remarks or actions were "taken out of context", and often it is a lame excuse; but here is an example of it clear as day, caught on camera:



You can also watch it over at the Media Watch website, which has a transcript as well.

From The Age:

A CHANNEL Nine cameraman has been stood down for calling the father of an Oakleigh riot suspect a ''f---ing terrorist''.
Simon Fuller was filming Omar Amr, 19, and his father after the teenager was bailed in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on April 1. Mr Fuller, along with other camera crews, followed the pair from the court and filmed them.
A heated exchange began when Mr Fuller said what sounded like ''f--- off'' to the pair. Amr's father Gad in turn called him a ''bloody idiot''. Mr Fuller then called Mr Amr a terrorist.
But Fuller's slur aimed at Mr Amr is hardly the biggest outrage in this story. That's bad, but what is most disturbing is how Channel 7 (and apparently 10 as well) ran selectively edited footage of the event, which makes Mr Amr look like the aggressor. Channel 9, to their credit (not that they deserve any, since it was their cameraman who started it all), at least chose not to show any of their footage.

Given that the 3 major networks love to one-up each other at every opportunity, you'd think that Channels 7 and 10 would relish a chance to point out the disgraceful behaviour of a rival station. But no - that is secondary to a story which seems to show an angry Muslim getting aggressive towards innocent media crew.

Of course, they don't show Fuller's in-your-face harassment of the father and son, ignoring Gad Amr's 25 (!) repeated requests to leave them in peace. They don't show Fuller telling son Omar Amr to "F*** off" and calling his father a terrorist. All they show is a bearded Middle Eastern man abusing a cameraman for no apparent reason.

Viewing the whole footage, Gad Amr is revealed as showing great self-restraint, imploring Fuller politely to leave him alone, and trying to settle his son down. Even his son Omar comes across as a somewhat reasonable person in comparison to the cameraman; and remember, this is the same Omar who was there at court facing charges for riotous violent behaviour.

There are elements in Australia's Islamic community who vociferously complain that they are victims of a conspiracy to smear Muslims. In many cases this seems paranoid, but when you see stories like this, it's hard not to see where it comes from.

(Consider also my earlier post about the Herald-Sun's attempts to generate outrage over the halal status of Vegemite.)

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