UPDATES

Fairfax takes its readers on a propaganda tour

Jun 23, 2015 | Ahron Shapiro

Fairfax takes its readers on a propaganda tour
news_item/fairfaxmedia_4colour.jpg

Fairfax’s arts supplements don’t set aside space for letters to the editor, so there’s little recourse for the public to respond to an article with a blatantly political slant, or factual problems.

Such was the case on Sunday – in the arts supplements for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Canberra Times, which featured a fawning interview of Irish “travel writer” Dervla Murphy in its “Books” section.

The interview, written by her longtime friend Rosamund Burton, gave Murphy a chance to see the Israeli-Palestinian through her skewed perspective through the guise of a “travel book”.

To call Murphy merely a travel writer, however, would be simply inaccurate. What she is really famous for is using travel writing as window dressing for her left-wing political agenda, which naturally varies according to her subject matter.

As the Guardian wrote about Murphy in 2006:

She says that “a letter writing segment” of her readers disapprove of the “political stuff”, but there is an equivalent group “that tells me they haven’t thought about these things in this way before and are glad that I’ve written and thought more about the political side. My view is that I have these things I want to say and I don’t really care if it spoils a pure travel book.”

Of course, Murphy is not the first writer to combine their distaste for Israel with a travel story concept. (You may remember UK writer/activist Mark Thomas’ 2011 “travel book” framed around his tracing the path of the West Bank security barrier on foot was spruiked by the Australian media at that time as well).

It takes nearly halfway through the current 1,400-word feature before Fairfax’s readers are informed that Murphy is an extreme anti-Zionist – something that is misleadingly not made clear by the book’s title or introduction, but apparently revealed in the foreword.

Murphy says in the foreword that her sympathies lie with the Palestinians. She is not anti-Semitic, but admits to ‘‘being anti-political Zionism, therefore anti-Israel as the state is at present constituted”.

The pullquote used by Fairfax in the story tells us all we need to know about Ms. Murphy and the uncritical nature of the interview and the editing.

“All the discussions about the two-state solutions have been used by the Israelis as a screen…”

Murphy, who has spent only a handful of months of her life in the Holy Land, makes no attempt to provide any compelling evidence to justify making such sweeping judgements – which amounts to demanding a UN member state in existence for 67 years be destroyed or dissolved.

She may say she is not antisemitic, but it is incumbent on her to explain why it is that of all the world’s states, it is the Jewish state, fulfilling the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, that must not be allowed to continue existing. Of course, her friend Burton doesn’t even try to challenge her on this or any other point – the article is intended as a megaphone, not a genuine interview.

Just as most people wouldn’t go to an ophthalmologist for a leg problem, you wouldn’t turn to a travel writer to get expert analysis of Israeli government policy or the ins and outs of the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Murphy’s book seems to be aimed at the kind of reader who actually would, while Fairfax press, with the help of Murphy’s friend Burton, seem determined to ignore the obvious problems with doing so.

Ahron Shapiro

 

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


(Photo: Shutterstock)

The politics of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Nov 22, 2022 | Update
Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran's most famous actresses, appearing publicly without her headscarf and holding a sign with the Kurdish words for "Women, Life, Freedom". Despite the regime's bloody repression, Alidoosti has vowed to remain in her homeland "at any price" and support the families of those killed or arrested in the protest crackdown  (Photo: Instagram)

Iran’s protest wave continues 

Nov 11, 2022 | Update
8c2ebfa2 C3e1 A33a 9cdc 07bd16e00b2f

After election win, Netanyahu set to be Israeli PM again

Nov 4, 2022 | Update
Israelis are going to the polls yet again on Nov. 1, the fifth Israeli election in less than four years. Will this vote break the political deadlock? (Image: Flickr, IDF)

Israel goes to the polls – again

Oct 28, 2022 | Update
The complex Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary dispute appears to have been settled after many years of negotiations, with Israel accepting the green line in the above diagram, except within five kilometres of the coast (This map was originally published on the MEES website).

Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement

Oct 13, 2022 | Update
A screenshot from a video posted on Sept. 17 shows an injured protester in Saqqez, Iran, being rushed to a medical facility. (Video: Twitter)

Insights into Iran’s protest movement

Oct 7, 2022 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Image: Twitter

Apparent mass amnesia at Brighton Secondary College hearing

Left to Right: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

The Russo-Iranian alliance comes to Europe

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi (source: Dean_Calma)

UN nuclear watchdog head’s shocking statement on Iran

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The World Cup and Qatar’s Hypocrisy

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

Image: Twitter

Apparent mass amnesia at Brighton Secondary College hearing

Left to Right: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

The Russo-Iranian alliance comes to Europe

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi (source: Dean_Calma)

UN nuclear watchdog head’s shocking statement on Iran

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The World Cup and Qatar’s Hypocrisy

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

SORT BY TOPICS