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Revisiting ‘Al Durah’ in Time of Iranian Media Control

There's a world of difference between the video coming out of Iran and the infamous footage out of Gaza.

by
Richard Landes

Bio

June 23, 2009 - 12:21 am

Below, I list some video footage detailing the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of a major MSM figure — one of the most influential journalists in Europe for the last two decades. Not one word that he utters has any substance in terms of serious argumentation.

In any first-year graduate seminar in history, the cavalier contempt for hard evidence and argumentation that Enderlin displays here would earn him the disbelief of fellow students and a ticket to ride from the professors … unless, of course, we were in an honor-shame culture where someone with protected status could get away with anything he wished to say.

Both in the details, and in the argumentation, Enderlin gets an “F” in the “Second Draft” of journalism.

Below is Charles in court the day of the showing of Talal’s rushes — the beginning of his downfall — pugnaciously leading with his chin. He is typically dismissive (“you can say he was killed by Martians”) and categorical (“we didn’t fabricate these images” — by the way, if that “we” includes Talal, it’s problematic). But the most revealing “argument” is that people who oppose him do so because they “don’t want my reports, my books, and my commentaries.”

Note the revealing slip at the beginning: “This is a libel suit … uuuh, a libel against me.” He’s the one bringing the suit against Karsenty, but he’s trying to position himself as the victim. Indeed, we met one vociferous ex-Israeli French journalist in the court who was indignant at how Enderlin was being dragged through the judicial mud by this suit against him.

But the larger question is certainly worth considering. Enderlin, true to style, uses conspiracy-theory logic. Cui bono? To whom the good? If I lose this case, then my whole oeuvre will be in doubt. Ergo, those who attack me on this case actually want to discredit me entirely.

Actually, I had never heard of Enderlin before this, and my concern was both to challenge such a powerful and hate-engendering icon — a blood libel — and, as I became involved, to challenge the inexcusable complaisance of the MSM with Pallywood footage.

As I’ve learned more about Enderlin, I think he’s right on one point: his behavior here should call into question the rest of his work which, as I’ve learned, is also tendentious and treats evidence loosely. But to stretch from there to “it’s a conspiracy to shut me up” not only shows the paranoid quality of Enderlin’s thinking, but also the nature of his appeal:

“Don’t listen to them; they don’t like my politics.”

Alas, this works all too often these days.

Below, Charles is asked about why he claimed that the child was dead, and then three “takes” later, he’s still moving. This is, of course, a critical issue, since the scene in which the child moves was one that he cut from his broadcast. I don’t know if Schapira asked him why he cut it, but I presume he’d have answered the same way he has for nine years — “it was the death throes, and too unbearable for the public to view.” You be the judge regarding to whom this cut footage is unbearable — the viewer, or Talal’s and Enderlin’s “narrative.”

In response, Enderlin lets us know how he works: “This is the way I do a story …”:

I’m very sorry, but the fact is the child died. Maybe not at the precise moment I showed. But this is the way I do a story. “The child is dead,” is a statement. What’s your problem with it?

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