The latest ramping up of violence in the neverending Israeli-Palestinian “war” has been accompanied by a different type of media coverage according to Strangelove.
Palestinians used handheld cameras and cell phone videos to show the horrors of war they were experiencing.
Rather than consuming the pro-Israel corporate media story that is well known to dominate U.S. airwaves and news print, people had the option of hooking into Youtube or other public internet video sites to view what Palestinians were recording on their own.
But how reliable are these videos? From a skeptical viewpoint, not very. The following video is labelled as showing Israeli war crimes. People lie in the street wailing in agony. But all we are shown is the result of some explosion, not the source. Admittedly, if it were an airstrike, this would be hard to do.
Detractors commenting on the video claim that this was not an Israeli attack, but an accidental explosion on the part of Hamas. Who are we to trust? Online video does not help the viewer at all as long as we do not know who the source was, when it was recorded, where, and so on.
Additionally, this video, if it is even legitimate, was very difficult to locate on Youtube’s servers. Strangelove’s statement that citizens have alternatives to corporate media stories is true only insofar as citizens behave independently of their TVs and seek out amateur war coverage online. Its an argument which requires empirically tested backing.
Raw amateur footage:
Al Jazeera footage:
The media coverage of a separate attack during the same conflict is very different. We see the Israeli airstrike occuring. Death toll statistics accompany images of bodies on the streets. The source of the coverage and the clarity of the video lends legitimacy to the occurrence. Its a much more convincingly crafted story.
My point is that online amateur war coverage still has its limits. It is not nearly as prominent, reliable, or well done. We can be glad that alternatives exist, but we should not over estimate their power.