I read a story in some magazine about a news photographer who was feeling a lot of guilt after years over covering stories like Israeli/Palestinian conflicts and Northern Ireland. I think it was a she, but not certain. But she said that the combatants would essentially wait until the media showed up and set up, then they would perform for the camera. Almost like everything was scripted. The Palestinians would not perform until the cameras were there. Then they would have their demonstrations with all the ferver they could muster, then when the media got what they needed, they would all go home. She said it was orchestrated by whichever faction and it was all done for the cameras. She said she started to feel manipulated. (How do you think we feel) This is much like the so called spontaneous demonstrations in Iran, as well as Pakistan.
The thing that she said really got to her were the young male Palestinians who would wait until she and the rest of the media were set up and then they would attack a Israeli tank with rocks and bricks trying to get a response and when the Israeli's shot them, they could be declared martyrs for the cause.
She said it made her sick and she was considering quitting the news business because of it. She felt that if the media wasn't there al lot of this stuff wouldn't happen.
It reminds me of when Martin Sheen and other celebrities used to go out to the Nevada desert outside of Las Vegas on Mothers Day for the annual protest against nuclear testing. I covered this once and was astonished at how it all worked.
There were areas set up outside the gates selling tie dyed t shirts and other 60s radical stuff on tables and makeshift booths. There were a few hundred people and it had a carnival atmosphere. At noon Sheen and the other celebs would showup. On the other side of the fence the military brought in maybe fifty troops and a few buses with bars on the windows. The demonstration leaders would welcome everybody and ask them to get in line. The cameras started rolling from the local ABC,CBS,NBC affiliates and it would begin.
The demonstrators would start their chants and proceed to cross through one of the gates. The military would then handcuff them in plastic cuffs and lead them to the buses. When they had all been detained and loaded up into the buses the buses were driven down the road with the cameras rolling and it being announced that they were all going to jail. Only the buses went a mile down the road to a parking lot and the demonstrators were all released. Then everyone went home.
The whole thing was an orchestrated sham for the media. Both the military and the protesters played along and have done so for something like 15 years.
It was an eye opening experience for me.