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"Dereliction of Duty"

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Message Jayne Stahl
The Hebrew edition of Israel's daily newspaper, Ha'aretz, has reported today of a huge demonstration, in downtown Tel Aviv, that included more than 5,000 Israelis protesting the occupation of Lebanon, and demanding an immediate cease fire. Present at today's protest in Israel's capital city was none other than Yael Dayan, current vice-mayor of Tel Aviv, and daughter of former Defense Secretary, the late Moshe Dayan. The image of 5,000 Israelis marching down the streets of Tel Aviv to speak out against the occupation, and bombing, of Lebanon should be plastered on the front page of every newspaper both here and abroad. The question is: will it be and, if not, why not?

While Human Rights Watch reports, alternately, on acts committed both by Hezbollah, and Israeli forces that constitute war crimes, targeting of innocent civilian life whether it be by Hezbollah rockets, or Israeli ground forces, the mainstream media, in this country, is conspicuously silent with regard to reporting human rights violations, and a growing climate of dissent for Israel's hawkish policies among that nation's citizens. Is the failure to monitor, and report the truth, from all vantage points, in the U.S., not dereliction of duty? And, is it also, in a profound sense, collusion between those who bring us information, and those who make foreign policy?

Moreover, is yellow journalism, and the push for the highest Nielson ratings, not a greater threat to the survival of American culture, and life as we know it, than bird flu, and mad cow disease? It's time the press, in America, stop doing a lap dance for the Bush administration, and start bringing us the news, as it happens, when it happens, without being a propaganda delivering vehicle for a rabid defense department. Clearly, thanks to neutering of the news, over the past six years, an informed electorate may not merely be the first, but possibly even the last, casualty of war.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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