Forlorn creatures of habit, our household watches ABC TV flagship 7pm News (Victoria) nightly. As I remarked across the dinner table at 6.59pm on Tuesday, “Stand by for Hamas footage of suffering children in Gaza, with no ABC mention that Hamas uses them as human shields.”
Sure enough, we got loads of this, climaxed by a Hamas-approved or provided clip of a girl about 8, said to be from a refugee camp in northern Gaza. Her face is disfigured by oozing wounds and blood runs from her eye socket and nose. There are bleeding holes on her neck and shoulders, and her once-white T-shirt is filthy from the blast and grit. Her hair is tangled and filthy. In shock, she speaks hysterically to camera of a missile hitting her family and showering bricks on them. “Where is my Dad and where is my Mum?” she begs in Arabic, ABC correspondent Allyson Horn acting out the translation.
The preceding item was about Aboriginal teen Cleveland Dodd’s death in a Perth prison, with newsreader Tamara Oudyn first saying, “A warning. This story contains content that some viewers might find distressing.” There was no such warning before the Hamas-approved interview of the shockingly injured Gaza girl. Incidentally the interview-filming took precedence there over anyone giving her immediate first aid.
The visuals to further illustrate the ABC narrative about Gaza becoming an Israel-caused “graveyard for children” include
♦ Two young Gazan men on a motorbike rush an injured or dead boy aged about six to an ambulance
♦ Four men weep over and kiss the shroud containing a dead child, along with weeping mother and siblings
♦ The Palestinian Prime Minister breaks down and weeps as he describes a mother of three children buried in rubble calling out to them, “Let me see you!”
Sure, for form’s sake the ABC included some Jerusalem clips of Jews’ distress about the 240 hostages in Gaza and mild scenes of Jews writing cards to them and discussing use of the inclusive Hebrew language. There were also some anodyne words from Prime Minister Netanyahu.
But how about this segment at 20mins16sec. Allyson Horn’s voice-over goes, “As Israel flies its flag to the north, Israel’s propaganda machine is in full swing, showing Hamas rocket launchers inside a children’s scout hall.” This segment lasts eight seconds from go to whoa, indeed it flashes past so fast that I needed many replays to catch the detail.
Why does the ABC TV news item single out only Israeli material as emanating from a “propaganda machine in full swing”? Is the ABC suggesting Israeli spin doctors have faked up the rocket launchers from postage tubes for 2024 calendars and installed them at a pretend scout hall in Tel Aviv? By omission, is the ABC also suggesting that all its Hamas-approved footage from inside Gaza is the real deal, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
The ABC has used the term “propaganda” in the opinion program Media Watch, and once or twice quoted Gaza-war protagonists using it, but this is the first time the ABC itself has abandoned its statutory impartiality to brand undoubtedly authentic Israeli footage in a news item as originating from “Israel’s propaganda machine”.
ABC clips of Gaza children dead and dying from Israeli air strikes are real enough. But the ABC tax-funded propaganda machine didn’t bother to mention that
♦ The war is because Hamas raided Israel on October 7 to literally butcher 1400 helpless men women and children, including a baby roasted in a household oven. Its charred, unrecognisable corpse had the oven filament mixed with the remains.
♦ Hamas has built 500km of tunnels in Gaza but not one bomb shelter for the 2 million population it governs
♦ Hamas instals its lairs and vast stockpiles of fuel, food, water and other essentials under schools and hospitals
♦ Israel’s IDF issues warnings to civilians to vacate its intended targets but Hamas prevents the civilians from leaving both the targets and the whole northern Gaza war zone. You can learn chapter and verse of Israeli’s warning phones calls here.
♦ When Gazan civilians, including children, are killed and injured as a result of Hamas policy, Hamas parades the victims – such as the eight-year-old bloodied girl last night – to the global media to win sympathy and vilify Israel.
♦ No discussion of Israeli’s own civilian death and destruction – let alone emotive film clips – from thousands of Hamas rockets fired indiscriminately into Israeli towns and cities.
♦ Hamas policy is successful to the extent that Israel is pressured towards a ceasefire.
I hope ABC viewers measure each night’s TV dose of Gazan child victims against the above context.
The flagship news’ labelling Israeli footage as “propaganda” was bad enough. But just as bad – for other reasons – was the ABC’s opening five minutes of anti-Israel indoctrination of 10 to13-year-old schoolchildren last week. It was on Episode 30 of Behind the News (BTN) for classrooms. The kids’ program-makers, desperate not to offend Muslims, ran the same context-free line about Gazan child victims of Israeli air strikes. From BTN’s website, we learn that
BTN is a high-energy, fun way for Upper Primary and Secondary students to learn about current issues and events in their world… It unpacks and explains news and current affairs to young people in a dynamic and creative way. A range of opinions are presented so students gain a greater awareness of differing points of view. Through watching BTN Classroom, students increase their understanding of complex political, economic, environmental and social issues.
In its segment supposedly on “international aid”, BTN uses adroit editing and stripping away of all crucial context to paint Israel as a sadistic bombarder of Palestinian civilians. In the whole episode BTN provides just seven words of context for the war’s destruction as follows: “After the recent terrorist attack on Israel…”
What attack? By whom? How bad was it? BTN doesn’t tell the impressionable schoolkids.
…the Israeli government shut the border completely, and has been launching rockets [sic] into Gaza in response.
The words “into Gaza” imply the strikes are indiscriminate, as distinct from hitting Hamas lairs below buildings after warning civilians to get clear. And in the whole episode there is not one mention of Gaza’s terrorist government, namely Hamas. Instead BTN deluges schoolkids with vision of Israel’s aerial destruction of city buildings and the suffering of Gaza’s women and kids. The episode ends with a final Hamas talking point – the need for a ceasefire to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza. Any ceasefire of course benefits Hamas alone by undercutting the Israeli military response.
BTN’s helpful test for schoolkids to ensure they get the pro-Hamas messaging reads
1/ What essential supplies are running out in Gaza? [Correct answer: None. Hamas has large stocks available, stored under schools, hospitals etc].
2/ How is the war and lack of essential supplies affecting children like Haya, Rama and Remas?
The children are suffering because Hamas organised a massacre of 1400 Jewish citizens on October 7, and because Hamas uses kids like Haya, Rama and Remas as human shields].
3/ What are the three steps that have to be followed when providing humanitarian assistance?
4/ What help is the Australian Government providing?
5/ People have been calling for a ________________to let aid into Gaza.
What people? What about “people” calling for the righteous destruction of Hamas and its murderous infrastructure? Isn’t the best answer for the missing word not “ceasefire” but “Hamas surrender”?.
The episode (apart from its single vague reference to “terrorists”) would get Hamas’ seal of approval.The ABC’s narrative is generated by the usual sly combination in documentary-making of voice-over, vision and editing. Readers prepared to log in to ABC iView can view the item here. For others, I’ve created this transcript, plus my take on the vision that accompanies it.
Transcript, International Aid, Episode 30
“Hey, how’s it going? I’m Amelia Mosely and you’re watching BTN. Thanks for hanging out with us again. Let’s see what’s coming up on today’s show. [Bushfires, solar powered car, a staffer does a comical Halloween trick or treat]. All that soon, but first…
Trucks bringing aid have finally been allowed into Gaza as the war with Israel continues on. They’re carrying really important supplies that people there are relying on.
Joe [BTN’s Joseph Baronio] took a closer look at humanitarian aid and how it works.
(Shot of devastation to Gaza buildings, like a scene from Dresden 1945. Camera circles in on the destruction.)
Baronio: Here in Gaza , supplies of everyday essentials like food, water, medical aid and fuel have been rapidly running out.
No, Hamas is hoarding and stealing the supplies.
People are sheltering from daily air strikes in schools, hospitals and emergency shelters
Built above Hamas military posts.
(Women in hijabs with small children come into an official office apparently seeking aid. A dark bearded man (father or aid worker) cradles a white-skinned child about 3, while another child aged 5 sits sadly behind.)
Girl about 10 (translated): The war broke out. Our house was destroyed, and we fled to the UNRWA school.
Nicely phrased from Hamas’s point of view
(She wears a pink T- shirt with text “Home” and cartoon mouse ears. Shot of residential flats, kids 8-12 kicking footballs, then shots of bombed streets and cars and a bomb crater. Shot of crowded family flat with baby. Crowds mill in the street below, in an aerial perspective scene of a bombed multi-storey building. A family carrying an infant emerge out of a ground floor rubble into daylight. In a courtyard of residential building there are kids swarming and playing – with tent housing on fringes. Then a shot of orderly rows of tent housing.)
Another girl, about 12, in translation: We are terrified, we didn’t know what to do.
She has a white hair ribbon with bow and white T-shirt.
Baronio shows map of Gaza: Since 2007 most of Gazas essential supplies have come through this border which Israel controls, but after the recent terrorist attack on Israel, the Israeli govt shut the border completely, and has been launching rockets [sic] into Gaza in response.
(Shot of horrific damage from Israeli air strike in a built up Gaza area, with a crowd of 200 milling around the fringe of the rubble. A youth in baseball cap turned back to front sits forlornly on a collapsed concrete floor, with curtains and clothes strewn in background. Men walk gingerly across a rubble-filled street.)
Baronio: Weeks on, aid groups say many of the 2 milllion people who live in Gaza desperately need humanitarian assistance, and lots of countries around the world have pledged to help out.
(Women and boys on a crowded street carry water flagons. Several shots of mothers and kids scrabblinig for water.)
But actually making that happen isn’t easy, and there are some steps that have to be followed.
(More shots of blasted buildings and rubble. Discussion of aid process. Shots of men and families traversing rubble. One man lugs a toy tricycle covered in bomb dust. An older sister pulls her younger sister through a tent camp.)
Baronio includes UNRWA among the good guys like Red Cross and Red Crescent helping out.
Beth Delaney, Dept of Foreign Affairs: They are often the ones on the ground with the ability to provide the kinds of support that is needed in response to a crisis.
(More shots of bombed buildings.Official rescuers dig for survivors and provide food from trucks. Shots of pathetic mothers getting supplies for their children. Reference to Australia’s $25 million aid to Gaza.)
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles: We are particularly concerned for those who are suffering in Gaza so we committed to providing assistance to them through international agencies such as UN and Red Cross.
Baronio: After lots of international pressure Israel recently allowed some supplies to enter Gaza through its border with Egypt. But many say it is nowhere near enough to help everyone.
Many also say Hamas should distribute its own stockpiles to civilians.
Thomas White, director of UNWRA Gaza: The aid that is coming in right now is not of the scale that we need to serve the population.
Ali Zaki, World Food Program: We had to reduce the ration of food we were providing per person to make sure it is stretching out to as many people as possible.
Baronio: UN agencies have been calling for a ceasefire but while the fighting continues world leaders say the most important thing is to keep supplies as safe as possible.
(Shot of smoking rubble. A cute boy aged about nine, in strangely neat light and dark blue T-shirt and shorts, stands on rubble. Shot of family sheltering with about five kids in a wrecked house. One teenager holds his head, apparently in despair.)
Ted Chaiban, UNICEF: Humanitarian supplies for children and their families need to be available on a sustained basis for the population.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: To ease epic suffering, and make the delivery of aid easier and safer, I reiterate my appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
Guterres suggested no pre-conditions, such as Hamas releasing the civilian hostages. Either in this speech or an earlier one, he created outrage in Israel by claiming the Hamas massacre of 1400 on October 7 “did not happen in a vacuum.”
(Shot of families getting bedding supplies, upbeat kids riding through on bikes, upbeat colours, ten kids aged 6-12 play hula hoop spinning against a background of homeless citizens. Final shot of two girls and a boy poring over school books alongside a bright wall mural.)
BTN Episode 30 was screened shortly after UNRWA reported that Hamas had stolen its fuel and medical aid, after forcing UN people out of the scene. Mysteriously UNRWA then deleted its accusation and an UNRWA official – possibly under duress from Hamas – falsely denied any Hamas looting had occurred. The stolen 24,000 litres of fuel was enough to run water desalinators for four days for those civilian water supplies the ABC says are desperately needed.
While BTN quotes UNWRA Gaza director Thomas White appealing for more aid, White’s predecessor Matthias Schmale was pushed out of Gaza by Hamas in 2020 as persona non grata for acknowledging that Israeli air strikes at that time were precisely targeting the terrorists.
UNWRA’s education materials and teachers by the hundred have encouraged three generations of Gazans to kill Jews and destroy Israel. Just two examples:
♦ UNRWA has endorsed violence, demonized Israel, and encouraged martyrdom. In December 2022, an UNRWA-created Arabic reading comprehension exercise for 9th graders at Al-Maghazi Middle School for Boys B (Gaza) “celebrated a Palestinian firebombing attack on a Jewish bus as a “barbecue party.”
In a Grade 5 UNRWA textbook teaching Arabic reading comprehension to girls, an entire chapter is dedicated to praising the martyr Dalal al-Mughrabi, who led a team of terrorists in the massacre of 38 Israelis, including 13 children, in 1978. She is glamorized and draped in the Palestinian flag.
Meanwhile I’ll stick in a complaint to the ABC Ombudswoman Fiona Cameron about last night’s 7pm mudslinging misinformation concerning the “Israeli propaganda machine”, to see what happens. To date I haven’t found the supposedly more unbiased complaints regime there (“a position created to build on the credibility and trust Australian audiences have in the ABC”) to be any different from the old in-house complaints cabal.
Tony Thomas’s new book from Connor Court is Anthem of the Unwoke – Yep! The other lot’s gone bonkers. $34.95 from Connor Court here
 Ben Shapiro mentions this in his podcast Episode 1843 of last week.
 UNRWA referred bizarrely to its own tweets, after deletion, as “reports on social media.” Oct 17:
URGENT CLARIFICATION FROM @UNRWA With regards to reports on social media of looting of an UNRWA warehouse. UNRWA would like to confirm that no looting has taken place in any of its warehouses in the Gaza Strip.