Vindicating bad news - KEMAL ÖZTÜRK

Vindicating bad news

In 2008, Turkey conducted a very big diplomatic mission to settle the Palestine issue. Then Prime Minister Erdoğan took critical initiatives to solve the Palestine problem, before Hamas, Al Fatah, Syria, Iran, Israel, Lebanon and the U.S.

Just when they were expected to sit at the table and sign a settlement, Israel abruptly started air strikes on Gaza; killing hundreds of people, thus all negotiations were ended. Erdoğan criticized Israel for bombing the peace talks for years. The famous “one minute” scolding in Davos happened after this incident in 2009.

The reflection of the Israel-Turkey brawl in the media

An immense Israel-Turkey dispute started in the media on that date. Journalists known to support Israel, although not openly, implicitly criticized the government. Something else that caught my attention was that; the source of the news that was against Turkey and the way it was delivered was very weird. Newspapers that wanted to denounce Turkey's policies did not directly do so, but instead cited foreign media sources.

For instance, in newspapers and websites in irrelevant countries like Spain and Portugal, news articles were published denigrating Turkey. These articles were then quoted in the Turkish media saying

“criticism of Turkey in the foreign media.” The same news articles were then re-quoted in the evening news editions and were then on websites the next day. Journalists who couldn't tacitly support Israel would then write critical articles on Turkey basing them on these foreign media sources. All the more amazing, the U.S. and Israel referred to the issue saying, “Even the media in Turkey is criticizing the government's policies.”

How can the intelligence's bad news be justified?

It turned out that all the foreign news was organized by Israeli intelligence. The news topics were as follows, “Turkey is supporting extremist religious groups, Erdoğan is escalating violence with his anti-Semitic speeches, and the Jews are being shown as targets.”

After the Davos summit incident, an increase in such news was seen, which increased the tension. The U.S. further pioneered this, as famous newspapers and television channels with nominal amounts of shares owned by Jews explicitly included adverse news on Turkey and Erdoğan. Their Turkish collaborators then translated these news articles and published them in Turkey. When asked why, they answered, “We are not doing anything wrong; the foreign media is writing.”

Initially starting as criticism of policies, things got worse and dirtier with utterly inconceivable allegations. In the end, it went to “Turkey supports terrorism.” Yet the system was always the same; it's named the “justify bad news” operation.

Laundering illicit money and vindicating bad news is the same thing

As a matter of fact, the matter is similar to money laundering. Just as you can't directly release illicit money into the market, you cannot directly release the news fabricated by intelligence agencies and

organizations into the public opinion. Just as you need a legitimate system to launder illicit money, you need a so-called legitimate and esteemed channel to justify bad news. If you use a doubtful website to broadcast intelligence fabricated news, no one will pay attention to it. However, if this is done through a reputable media organization your news will be justified and would not raise doubts.

Mechanisms vindicating bad news exist in media organizations throughout the world. Every intelligence agency and organization has connections with authors, editors or correspondents. Black propaganda details are then translated into the media language, objective touches are done and then the news is served to the public. There is another method to indirectly serve news. The subject is commentated by an esteemed academia, politician or expert. This is how this particular method works: “There are allegations in the media that Turkey directly helps terrorist organizations (allegations is added to look unbiased). What do you have to say?” they ask. The expert then answers, “If Turkey supports terrorism, this is a big crime and would end up in the International Court of Justice.” The news is then disclosed like this, “Turkey can be tried in the International Court of Justice because it supports terrorism.” And that is some bad news cleaned and justified with expert opinion.

Today, such sophisticated operations aren't being conducted. Instead, the media is vindicating its fabricated news just as rude and impudent as mafia groups rudely and courageously launder their illicit money.


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