Australian foreign minister criticizes world media for telling lies about Israel

August 30, 2006


[Note by Tom Gross]

While politicians in most countries, particularly in Europe, continue to swallow the frauds and fabrications of the mainstream western media about Israel, at least one leading politician elsewhere, Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, has spoken out.

Addressing the conference of Australian newspaper publishers in Brisbane earlier this week, Downer criticized media for the now numerous documented instances of misreporting of the recent conflict between Israel and Hizbullah.

These included the claim that Israeli aircraft intentionally fired missiles that hit two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances performing rescue operations. Respected news outlets giving widespread credence to this piece of Hizbullah propaganda included The New York Times, Time Magazine, NBC News, the BBC, ITV News, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Age (Australia), Le Monde, and newspapers and TV stations throughout Europe and Asia.

For extra measure, Britain’s ITV news added in its report on the fabricated incident that Israel had “committed war crimes.”

The New York Times ran a shot of a supposedly dead Lebanese civilian, only for later pictures to show him back on his feet.

Kofi Annan was among those that condemned Israel based on these misguided press reports.


Australian foreign minister Downer told the conference:

“What concerns me greatly is the evidence of dishonesty in the reporting out of Lebanon. For example, a Reuters photographer was forced to resign after doctoring images to exaggerate the impact of Israeli air attacks. There were the widely-reported claims that Israel had bombed deliberately a Red Cross ambulance.”

“In subsequent weeks, the world has discovered those allegations do not stand up to even the most rudimentary scrutiny. After closer study of the images of the damage to the ambulance, it is beyond serious dispute that this episode has all the makings of a hoax. Yet some of the world’s most prestigious media outlets, including some of those represented here today, ran that story as fact unchallenged, unquestioned. Similarly, there has been the tendency to report every casualty on the Lebanese side of the conflict as if a civilian casualty, when it was indisputable that a great many of those injured or killed in Israeli offensives were armed Hizbullah combatants.”

“My point is this: in a grown-up society such as our own, the media cannot expect to get away with parading falsehoods as truths, or ignoring salient facts because they happen to be inconvenient to the line of argument or narrative that particular journalists, or media organizations, might choose to adopt on any given controversy or issue.”

For more on Downer, see this article from today’s “Herald-Sun,” Australia’s biggest-selling daily newspaper:,21985,20297192-25717,00.html#

It seems that Hizbullah have learned much from Palestinian terror groups, who have a long successful track record of taking in sympathetic or gullible western journalists. See, for example,

-- Tom Gross

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.