The death of former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon enlivened U.S. media’s interest in the legacy of a man considered by many a war criminal, and by some a hero. In fact, the supposed heroism of Sharon was at the heart of CNN coverage of his death on Jan. 11.
Sharon spent the last eight years prior to his death in a coma, but apparently not long enough for U.S. corporate media to wake up from its own moral coma. CNN online’s coverage presented Sharon as a man of heroic stature, who was forced to make tough choices for the sake of his own people. “Throughout, he was called ‘The Bulldozer,’ a fearless leader who got things done,” wrote Alan Duke.
In his article, “Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister, dead at 85”, Duke appeared to be confronting Sharon’s past head on. In reality, he cleverly whitewashed the man’s horrendous crimes, while finding every opportunity to recount his fictional virtue. “Many in the Arab world called Sharon ‘the Butcher of Beirut’ after he oversaw Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon while serving as defense minister,” Duke wrote.
Nevertheless, Sharon was not called the ‘The Bulldozer’ for being ‘a fearless leader’ nor do Arabs call him ‘the Butcher of Beirut’ for simply ‘overseeing’ the invasion of Lebanon. Duke is either ignorant or oblivious to the facts, but the blame is not his alone, since references to Sharon’s heroism was a staple in CNN’s coverage.
Sharon’s violence was part of an equally disturbing logic. He believed that any strategic long term plan to secure Israel must have at its heart a violent campaign aimed at disorienting PalestiniansRamzy Baroud