THE MEDIA AS THE GORGON MEDUSA
By Emanuel A. Winston
The Gorgon Medusa is best remembered as the mythological hideous female monster with serpents for her hair. It was said that, if a mortal looked at her, they would die and be turned to stone. The snakes writhe on her head and can be seen whispering evil thoughts into her ears. Her tongue forks out along with her serpents which, in the mythical lore, suggests telling a lie or "speaking with a forked tongue". The Gorgon Medusa had many sisters with the same ugly powers. Perseus, who cut off the head of the first Gorgon Medusa, put it in a pouch but, when he needs it to kill, he just pulls it out.(1) While Perseus killed the one, her sisters seems to be thriving in the Media and the State Department.
What then does this ugly bit of Greek mythology have to do with the media?
The explanation starts with the NEW YORK TIMES headline of March 5th, which reads "Suicide Bomber Kills 3 Israelis A Day After 6 Palestinians Die" by Deborah Sontag, a Jewish journalist for the N.Y.TIMES. As you read this, keep referring back to the Gorgon Medusa and her snakes with similarly forked tongues.
Deborah Sontag mouths or rather hisses her version of the March 4th Suicide Bombing in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya. Sontag begins her story after the misleading headline with the fact that only' three Israelis were killed, balanced against the unrelated fact that 6 Palestinians were killed the day before. Sontag deliberately leaves out the fact that over 70 Israelis were maimed by the Palestinian suicide bomber. Instead, she begins a defensive, damage control explanation, well-crafted to redirect the readers' shock and anger away from the terrorist's despicable act. Has anyone thought how strange it is for Jewish journalists like Sontag or Tom Friedman to always be there, apologizing for and protecting Arafat's terrorists?
Sontag launches into a plea for other Palestinians, six of whom were killed by Israelis in other areas during shootouts the day before. Sontag neglects to mention these casualties were in self-defense after Palestinian gunfire attacks against Israeli civilians. She and the NEW YORK TIMES have also never mentioned that there have been more than 3300 Palestinian attacks with gunfire, bombs and firebombs against Israelis since the Rosh HaShanah Arab Assault began.
As usual, she tries to create a moral equivalency as a barrier to the readers' fury and revulsion over the scene of decapitated heads, other amputated limbs and much blood. This suicide bomber blew himself up at a busy intersection during morning rush hour in order to kill as many Jews as possible. The amount of explosives he carried sent a nearby car flying into the air.
We now see the Medusa with her snakes wriggling and hissing furiously as Sontag justifies the killing of Jews. The local Israelis knew that this was a Palestinian terrorist attack because it has happened before. I wonder how Americans would have reacted to the World Trade Center bombing - if they knew at that moment it happened that Sheik Abdul Rahman and other Arabs had tried to kill everyone in both buildings of the Twin Towers.
Sontag goes on to direct the emotions of the reader to be angry at the Israelis. She explains that, after the explosion which sent bodies rocketing through the air, Israelis took out their anger on local Arabs in the open air market.
What Sontag does not say is that in the open air market the Palestinians were free to shop and walk about without any threat from Israelis.
Sontag spends more time describing how one Palestinian man was beaten unconscious as the crowd raged in helpless fury. Sontag quotes one Israeli, the owner of a fruit stand, who says: "And it's too bad they didn't kill him. They wanted to tie him to a car but the police came - too bad." Hissss!!
Note! Sontag still hasn't mentioned the 74 maimed Israelis (and she never did) - leaving the reader with the information that only 3 Israelis had been killed. Well, 3 dead Israelis aren't even equal to 6 dead Palestinians she mentions at the beginning of the article - are they?
Clearly, this is the malevolent work of the deadly Medusa, where even one glance kills the viewer. Similarly, every misled reader has died a little as they look upon the Medusa of the NEW YORK TIMES. We have all been bitten by the venomous fangs of Medusa's many sisters in the Media.
Sontag later in the article starts to describe the suicide bomber's handiwork but finally ends her story by describing the crowd's attack on the Arabs. Here she waxes eloquent in describing the beating of the Arab. Someone in the crowd intones: "Oy! Oy! Oy!" Then it is repeated as she describes a kick aimed at the head of the Arab...again: "Oy! Oy! Oy!"
We agree that attacking innocent Arabs in frustration is unfair but not as unfair as blowing to bits innocent Israelis because they are Jews.
Why does the NEW YORK TIMES always play as one of the snakes on the Medusa's head? Where is the lair of the Medusa? Can it possibly be the U.S. State Department who immediately alerts all of the other snakes to hiss their protection of the terrorists and their supreme leader, Yassir Arafat? Why do they seem to admire terrorists so much and work so hard to implement damage control on their behalf?
How many snakes are there on the head of a Gorgon Medusa? We see the NEW YORK TIMES, CNN, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, NPR (National Public Radio), TIME Magazine - among others - all hiss and sway to the desires of the State Department bureaucrats when Israel is the target. It doesn't seem to matter who is the Secretary of State - those civil servants keep on working to subvert and undermine America's best ally and the only democracy in the Middle East.
What can the average citizen do against so formidable and deadly an enemy? Yes, write letters to the editors but one does not have to look at the Medusa. You can always cancel your subscription and neglect to buy it on the newsstand...unless you have assumed the chore of monitoring the Media for its egregious insults, slanted, biased, misrepresented, inaccurate reporting and commentary about Israel. Then, you join the Jewish activists in the world of damage control where we fight the Gorgon Medusa every day.
You can gather yourself and your organizations to visit the editorial staffs directly. You can even call the reporters, columnists, journalists at their offices and at their homes. Surely, they - as news gatherers - will want to hear your considered (polite) opinion at any time of the day or night. March in front of their buildings with signs telling them: "You Are Killing Us With Misinformation".
Get to know the editors, TV producers, and journalists on sight. Stop them in the street to give them your opinion. Do not, however, use violence or threaten them. Always be polite. Use the sound bite technique if you want to get your letters and opinions printed: 3 short pithy paragraphs with an interesting point as the hook' as an attention-getting device. Contact your local synagogue and church to speak out against this incitement to hatred and not buy newspapers.
Deborah Sontag has long since lost her credibility as an ethical journalist. Maybe she has to write and writhe that way to become and maintain her status as head Israel writer for the NEW YORK TIMES. Does Deborah Sontag willingly write damage control pieces, protecting the terrorists and their head Arafat? She seems to be an extension of the State Department's hostile policy against Israel and for the Arabs.
Maybe the other writers and TV announcers like CNN's Gerald Kessel and Walter Rogers, are either ordered to or think their producers want that kind of bias in their reports. Maybe the heads of the various Medusa Media outlets - the publishers, editors, producers, and owners - have gotten their orders from the State Department.
Again, I ask: Where does it come from?
Perhaps our new American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, now in the lair of the Gorgon can, like Perseus, cut off the head of the deadly Gorgon Medusa and put it in a sack so it kills only our enemies instead of our friends.
1. "The Gorgon Medusa: Women in Antiquity" by Alicia Le Van May 7, 1996 from "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths & Secrets" by Barbara Walker.
P.S. This just in:
It has been reported that the Netanya suicide bomber was released from prison by Shimon Peres in 1995 although he had been sentenced to 18 years in jail in1991 for participating in other terrorist attacks against Israel.
Peres, now Ariel Sharon's Foreign Minister and drafter of the first secret Oslo Accords, said: "My first priority will be to meet Mr. Arafat and begin negotiations for peace. I'll meet Arafat in order to resuscitate the peace process." (2)
2. LONDON SUNDAY TIMES March 3, 2001
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East Analyst & Commentator and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.