This is a note for the record on a minor issue, for other journalists, but I hope it’s of use. Our profession is targeted by a small sub-Chomskyite organisation called Media Lens, whose supporters write periodically to accuse us of bias. As, contrary to the conventions of debate, they don’t disclose their affiliation, it’s easy to assume that they are legitimate if not especially articulate inquirers. Bear in mind, if you’re among those they accuse of ideological transgression, what Media Lens stands for:
It defends repression by President Assad of Syria. Rupert Read, the Green activist, has noted that ML’s campaigning on Syria serves “tacitly to increase the credibility of Assad’s black propaganda…”. He rightly maintains that it does so by repeated insinuations that Assad is combating a terrorist uprising and that Western media use inflated estimates (in fact, UN estimates) of the number of his victims.
ML’s source for its pro-Assad claims is Michel Chossudovsky, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who maintains in his bookWar and Globalization: The Truth Behind September 11, that the 7/7 bombings were an “inside job” by British intelligence. Chossudovsky’s organisation, Global Research, used to carry content (till media attention forced it off, though not before I’d read it) claiming that Jews control the media and that the number of victims at Auschwitz has been exaggerated.
It stands with genocide deniers. Edward Herman and David Peterson, founders of a preposterous organisation called the Srebrenica Research Group, maintain that the figure of 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre “is a political construct and eminently challengeable”. ML says that they are “perfectly entitled” to that view. No, they are not. Srebrenica denial uses the same methods as Holocaust denial but is a still more blatant fraud: the bodies have been found. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has revealed the identity of 6,598 people missing since the fall of Srebrenica, through DNA analysis of human remains in mass graves. It estimates the total number of victims as around 8,100. If ML maintains that deniers are “perfectly entitled” to their position, it must believe that the ICMP has faked that analysis.