The BBC just published a cautionary article about Gaza, pointing out what bloggers have been saying for weeks:
[I]f the Israeli attacks have been "indiscriminate", as the UN Human Rights Council says, it is hard to work out why they have killed so many more civilian men than women.Better late then never? Hardly.
Matthias Behnk, from OHCHR, told BBC News that the organisation would not want to speculate about why there had been so many adult male casualties, adding that because they were having to deal with a lot of casualties in a short time, they had "focused primarily on recording the casualties".
"As such, we have not at this stage conducted a detailed analysis of trends of civilian casualties, for example in relation to the reasons why different groups are affected and the types of incidents, but hope to carry this out at some point in the coming future," he said.
"However, even in the compiling of these preliminary figures, we cross-verify between different sources, not only media and several different human rights organisations, but also use other sources, including, for example, names of alleged fighters released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and notices by armed groups in Gaza claiming someone as a member."
A number of other news organisations have been considering the civilian-to-fighter ratio.
An analysis by the New York Times looked at the names of 1,431 casualties and found that"the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll. They are 9% of Gaza's 1.7 million residents, but 34% of those killed whose ages were provided."
"At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71% of the population and 33% of the known-age casualties."
After weeks of headlines blaring "indiscriminate bombings" and photos of dead babies, the world has been conditioned to believe Israel is evil and murders children wantonly. Even if there was a month of headlines showing that the original assumptions were wrong, it is too late - people internalize the first thing they read and it is very difficult to dislodge them of their initial beliefs.
The world has already been brainwashed by news media that made sweeping, false generalizations and tugged on heartstrings to take IDF actions way, way out of context. A few tiny articles several weeks later are more geared towards the news organizations pretending to assert their objectivity after the fact, knowing quite well that they have already poisoned the minds of millions with their irresponsible reporting.
The media should not be let off the hook this easily. Every single tactic that Hamas did to manipulate the media has been done before, in 2009 and 2012. There were the same threats against reporters, the same false statistics, the same manipulated photos, the same hiding among civilians, the same rockets from school and hospital and mosque grounds, the same lie about civilian casualties that were from terror rockets and explosives, the same collaborator murders being hidden as civilian casualties.There was nothing new here.
The media willingly ignored any lessons from history and happily took pages from a playbook written by terrorist organizations.
Now they are pretending to be daring and bold by questioning the lies that they have been in the forefront of pushing - lies that any news professional should have been quite aware of (if they weren't, then they should not be in that business.)
The media is not engaging in a re-evaluation of their coverage. They are engaging in the deception that they are being objective after the fact. Articles like this - while welcome - are more cynical than they are an admission of four weeks of unquestioning reporting of official lies. The skepticism should have occured in real time, not weeks after when the world has moved on.
The damage has been done, and the news media is what caused the damage.