A member of Islamic Jihad was assassinated in Lebanon a couple of days ago. Israel was blamed (how unusual) but denied any involvement. Hizbullah fired rockets at Northern Israel and used the assassination as a pretext. The IDF hit back. Hizbullah launched some more rockets and this time the IDF hit back very hard. Hizbullah actually sent a request through the Lebanese Government requesting a cease-fire and Israel agreed.

However, in the NY Times story, the Headline read “Israel and Militants Trade Fire Across Lebanese Border.” The article, much like the implication in the title suggesting that both sides went at it and that’s how things evolved, fails to mention the instigators until halfway through the article and then, to add insult to injury, gives credence to the accusation that this was justified defensive action on behalf of Lebanon by Hezbullah with an interview of a Lebanese professor who proclaims, as if it is fact, that Israel shouldn’t have killed the Islamic Jihad leader if it wanted to avoid attacks.

The online article doesn’t show the two photos that accompanied this article, one being of Israeli soldiers and the other of an injured 14 year old Lebanese girl who was hit by some glass during an IAF aerial bombardment of Hizbullah positions.

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  • It means that I shouldn’t write in the middle of the night because I meant equivalence. But this kinda works too:


    n 1: a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth [syn: evasion] 2: intentionally vague or ambiguous [syn: prevarication, evasiveness] 3: falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language [syn: tergiversation]

  • So ‘moral equivocation’ is when you say something that is not literally false but avoids an unpleasant truth for moral reasons?

    Muffti doens’t really understand the charge of ‘moral equivalence’ any more than the charge of ‘moral equivocation’. Why isn’t this just shoddy reporting? What’s the distinctively moral dimension to it?

  • The moral dimension is that you take an attack by one party and write a report that suggests the violence is perpetrated by both equally. They are using the report and photographs to minimize the the responsibility of the attacking party while maximizing the impression of equal participation and guilt by the defensive party.

    This is the same as what happens when you take a story about a terrorist attack at a food stand in Tel Aviv that targets innocent civilians and equate it to an IDF targeted killing, even one where innocent bystanders are killed, of a known terrorist or Palestinian combatant.

    Isn’t this a moral issue if you’re reporting the story?

    Oh, and as for moral equivocation, the third definition listed offers the best understanding of this phrase for our purposes. After all, if you falsify information by being vague or, for example, accompanying a headline about mutual attacks with a picture of a 14 year old girl who was injured in the attack of the side that was defensive but is noted in the article and headline as being equally to blame in the attack, then you are creating a significant mis-impression with your readers. Since these are impressions that fall in line with all the other fucking endless articles about Israel that depict its state as that of being always at war and frequently on the offensive end, I believe it is legitimate to question the morality of laying the blame on the victim even when he is responding to a clear attack by his enemy. This is particularly true of a media report.