When The Imperial Media Report On An Israeli Massacre

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

In what many are now calling the Flour Massacre, at least 112 Gazans were killed and hundreds more injured after Israeli forces opened fire on civilians who were waiting for food from much-needed aid trucks near Gaza City on Thursday.

Initial investigations by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor found that the crowd was fired upon by both IDF automatic rifles and by Israeli tanks, and that dozens of gunshot victims were hospitalized after the incident.

Israel’s version of events has of course changed over the course of the day as narrative managers figure out how best to frame publicly available information in a way that doesn’t harm Israel’s PR interests. Currently we’re at Israel admitting that IDF troops did indeed fire upon the crowd after previously denying this, but claiming that this isn’t what caused most of the the casualties, saying it was actually the Palestinians trampling each other in a human “stampede” which caused them harm. Essentially the current argument is “Yes we shot them, but that’s not why they died.”

The IDF claims Israeli troops only began firing on the Palestinians because the soldiers “felt threatened” by them, which goes to show that there is no atrocity Israel could possibly commit where it wouldn’t frame itself as the victim. Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir took the opportunity to praise the IDF for heroically fighting off the dangerous Palestinians and to argue that the incident proves it’s too dangerous to keep allowing aid trucks into Gaza.

As terrible as the Israeli spin machine has been on this atrocity, the western imperial media have been even worse. The verbal gymnastics they’ve been performing in their headlines to avoid saying Israel massacred starving people who were waiting for food would be genuinely impressive if it wasn’t so ghoulish.

As Hungry Gazans Crowd a Convoy, a Crush of Bodies, Israeli Gunshots and a Deadly Toll” reads one New York Times header, like the summary of an episode of a Netflix murder mystery show.

Chaotic aid delivery turns deadly as Israeli, Gazan officials trade blame,” says an indecipherably cryptic headline from The Washington Post.

“Biden says Gaza food aid-related deaths complicate ceasefire talks,” says The Guardian. “Food aid-related deaths”? Seriously?

More than 100 killed as crowd waits for aid, Hamas-run health ministry says,” reads a BBC headline. The UK’s state broadcaster is here using a tried and true tactic for casting doubt on death counts by deliberately associating them with Hamas, despite the fact that the Gaza health ministry’s death counts are considered so reliable that Israeli intelligence services use them in their own internal records.

“At least 100 killed and 700 injured in chaotic incident” says CNN, like it’s describing a frat party that got out of control.

Carnage at Gaza food aid site amid Israeli gunfire” reads another CNN headline, as though the carnage and the Israeli gunfire are two unrelated phenomena which just unluckily occurred at around the same time.

CNN also repeatedly refers to the killings as “food aid deaths”, as though it’s the food aid that killed them and not the military of a very specific and very nameable state power.

(It’s probably worth noting at this point that CNN staff have been anonymously reporting through other outlets that there’s been a uniquely aggressive top-down push within the network to slant reporting heavily in favor of Israeli information interests, driven largely by the new CEO Mark Thompson.)

So that’s what happens when the imperial media report on an Israeli massacre, in case you were curious and haven’t been paying attention since October 7 or the decades which preceded it. The propaganda services of the western press operate in a way that is typically indistinguishable from the spinmeistering of officials in western governments, framing the western empire and its allies in a positive light and their enemies in a negative one.

This happens because the western mass media do not exist to report the news and give you information about what’s been going on in the world, but to manufacture consent for the political status quo and the globe-dominating power structure it supports. The only difference between our propaganda and the propaganda of a ruthless dictatorship is that the people who live under a dictatorship know they are being fed propaganda, whereas westerners are trained to believe they are ingesting impartial factual reporting.

The demolition of Gaza is alerting more and more westerners to the fact that this is happening, though, because the more blatant the atrocities the more ham-fisted the propaganda machine needs to be about running cover for them. It’s even opening eyes within the propaganda machine itself, which is why we’re seeing things like CNN staff blowing the whistle on their own CEO and New York Times staff telling The Intercept that their bosses committed extremely egregious journalistic malpractice in producing atrocity propaganda alleging mass rapes by Hamas on October 7.

The only good thing about what’s happening in Gaza is that it’s waking westerners up to the fact that everything they’ve been told about their society, their media and their world is a lie. Cracks are appearing in the illusion, and those of us who care about truth, peace and justice need to help draw attention to them. From there, real change becomes a genuine possibility.


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