If I was a Hamas PR guru …

Jon Donnison BBC

25 November 2012

… I would take lessons from the BBC

If I was a Hamas public diplomacy guru, how would I direct the BBC to ‘position’ the war between Israel and Gaza?

I would tell them to focus on Israel kills babies to the exclusion of any news that both sides are shooting. Jon Donnison’s manipulation of the tragedy of a baby’s death is the propaganda piece of Hamas’s dreams. Exactly as expected.

Taking bets, now, on how long Losing Omar – Gaza baby ‘only knew how to smile’ remains linked to the Home Page of BBC news. It’s a useful rule of thumb with the BBC on how much a particular article fits the BBC narrative. A close fit can remain a home page, regional link for months. The occassional, embarrassing outside the concensus article either requires one to know it is there to find it again or disappears in days.

I would tell the journalists, not that Donnison needs directing, to keep it as gruesome as possible but at the same time as personal. Make sure that everyone identifies with the victim and hates the evil Israelis. There is only one thing more emotive than a dead baby and that’s a dead baby with a name.

One would have thought that Donnison, already caught once, retweeting a Syrian baby as a Gazan baby would have been more careful to appear neutral. Does he feel invulnerable or perhaps he feels he has nothing to lose?

The UN, that is UNRWA dominated entirely by Hamas, claims that preliminary investigation shows that 103 of the 158 people killed in Gaza were civilians. Of those, 30 were children – 12 of whom were under the age of 10. Under no account mention that, even in the unlikely event of this ration being correct, the 2:1 civilian to casualty ration is remarkably low for modern warfare. In Iraq the ration is 10:1.

Jihad Misharawi, a BBC Arabic journalist who lives in Gaza, carries the body of his 11-month old son, Omar, through al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. I would subtly suggest the child died because Israel targeted the father. In the BBC universe there are no accidents, misses, military targets deliberately placed where civilians are in jeopardy or top military officials living close by or even in the same building. Under no account mention that Hamas spokesman urged Palestinian civilians to ignore IDF warnings

Question: As the bombings go on, I want to address a specific issue: People have been receiving text messages urging them to evacuate their houses…

Hamas Interior Ministry Spokesperson: This is all part of the psychological warfare held by the Zionist enemy… So by using this way of communication, our public radio, I address all our Palestinian brothers by saying: Please do not listen to the orders noted on these text messages, their only purpose is spreading fear and panic within our people.

Interview on Al-Quds Radio during Operation Pillar of Defence

At the same time I would direct that although more than 1,400 rockets were launched from Gaza I would make sure that the BBC never actually witnessed and reports on even one of them. Although even UN figures show one-third were combatants and the IDF claims that a remarkable 30 of them were top ranking Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists (sorry militants) I would direct that their deaths be from a media black hole. Dead babies, yes. Dead military commanders with families applauding their demise as shahids, no.

Omar was not a terrorist as if anyone thought he was but Ahmed Jabari, Hab’s Hassan Us Msamch, Ahmed Abu Jalal, Khaled Shaer, Osama Kadi, Muhammad Kalb and Ramz Harb, all sent to Paradise or hopefully hell,  were. Ignore them.

The death of a child, any child is a tragedy. Concentrating reporting on their demise is propaganda. That is not what the world’s largest news organisation should be doing.

Mission accomplished, BBC. Reported exactly as Hamas would have wanted.

Jon Donnison War Boob<br> Click for original article in The Sun

… but tweet showed injured girl in Syria not Gaza

Further reading:

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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