The Melbourne Age yesterday gave its Jerusalem Bureau office boy Ed O'Loughlin yet another opportunity to tell his recurring story of the suffering of the citizens of "blockaded" Gaza from the purely Palestinian perspective - Ailing Gaza shut off from the world.
The O’Loughlin narrative takes the familiar path in which the suffering of the Gazans is humanised to the point where they reach the heights of sainthood while the Israelis are predictably shadowy inhuman figures whose intent is inflict pain on their hapless neighbours for no apparent reason at all but some amorphous concept of "security" and with the purpose of making it difficult for his favourite boy scout group Hamas to govern its people.
There are so many holes in O'Loughlin's stories. He is journalism's smoke and mirrors man and his errors and the omissions of vital facts in those stories have been well documented here. The man has become such an embarrassment that even those who might otherwise be sympathetic to the plight of suffering kids like seven-month-old Mohamed Abu Amra who Ed uses as a prop for his latest blatant propaganda piece are often left scratching their heads in bewilderment as to why the Israelis are treating Hamas so harshly.
O'Loughlin did not win a Dishonest Reporting award for nothing!
It was inevitable that the Age would eventually come to the aid of those readers who were wondering if there was another side of the story. Naturally, that "other side" came not from the pen of O'Loughlin but from another Age journalist, Sunday Age editor Peter Fray whose recent visit to Israel was funded by the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council. How embarrasing for O'Loughlin that his own newspaper has published an insight into the conflict that he, as its Jerusalem Bureau chief, has shunned for so long?
Fray wrote a piece that was placed on the opposite side of the page to the O'Loughlin story. In it, he revealed the suffering of the residents of Sderot - Life in rocket range puts town on edge – as a result of the daily rocket attacks which deliberately target Israeli civilians across the border. His effort is not bad although it omits to mention Hamas' record of murder, suicide bombing, threats, intimidation, lies, overt racism and incitement and its raison d'etre of commiting genocide against Jews, all factors that might assist in understanding why the rest of world doesn't treat Hamas as the glorified boy scout movement that Ed would have us believe.
The good news is that it's a start - and proof that the Dishonest Reporting award so deservedly made last week to honour O'Loughlin's journalism is having an effect.