Peter Münch’s article in today’s ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ “Frieden gibt es nur mit Druck” (“Peace is only possible if pressure is applied”) was indicative of that type of “balanced” journalism that is par for the course in the mainstream media and we read that after a long break Israelis and Palestinians are speaking to each other with the suspicion that they are both failing to address their opposite party. The reference, of course, is to the “indirect talks” that are about to take place and we are only sort of reminded in the second last paragraph of the article that there are no direct talks because Israel continues to build illegal settlements on illegally occupied land. Of course, there is no mention of the word “illegal” in the article at all. Still, my purpose is not to analyse Mr Münch’s myopia, his “par for the course” non-journalism here and suffice to say, that he and the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” offer the same distorted picture of the Middle East in general, and Palestine in particular, that we might find in 99% of the so-called “quality newspapers” on sale from Melbourne to Munich to Manchester to Miami to New York. Yes, you get the gist, and so onto “New York”.
This much of a muchness produced by the daily drivel has made certain developments possible and the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” assuming itself to be a “quality” newspaper, now finds itself cuddling up to a certain transatlantic “quality” from the “big apple”; on monday’s the Munich paper’s anglophilic readership is provided with an English supplement from the “New York Times”. Therefore, in Germany today everyone could read that it is “time to address Iran’s nuclear ambitions” and there we go thinking, if Angie is saying this and the Americans are saying this, and here it is being said in English, there must be something in it and nobody but nobody stops to think, what about “Israel’s very real nuclear capacity?” Of course, if “Otto Normalverbraucher” is unable to put on his thinking cap when reading Mr Münch’s nonsense, we can hardly expect him to have it on when he is trying to look smart in the S-Bahn ploughing through a “quality” English newspaper. Yes, top down reading skills on top of sufficient lexis and a modicum of cognitive ability will allow him to get the explicit meaning of the text but really the news, the real news, is always going to pass him by. Yes, they have done a “good” job, the manufacturers of consent, from Melbourne to Munich to Manchester to Miami to New York, haven’t they?