As Brilliant as Ventura Is, He Comes Off as a Dupe ...

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 22, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Michael Ventura is one of my favorite novelists and a brilliant columnist when his Bush Derangement Syndrome goes into remission. It pains me to see him descend into nut-ball territory in his most recent “Letters @ 3AM” (A Middle East Notebook) [Aug. 18].
    Whenever Ventura writes about current affairs, he supports his arguments with snippets of information from the mainstream media, most often The New York Times. But countless blogs can persuasively demonstrate the anti-Israel bias in mainstream coverage of the Middle East. Does Ventura know about the staged news photos of the supposed Israeli massacre of civilians at Qana on July 30 (
    Or that the mainstream media falsely blamed Israel for the deaths of Palestinians at a Gaza beach on June 9 (
    As for the UN outpost in southern Lebanon (Ventura says Israel bombed it to send the message that "If [the UN] didn't want unarmed UN observers to die, best shut up about Israeli war crimes"): Hezbollah practically used it as a motel (
    And Ventura's "clearly marked ambulances blown off the roads"? They were quite possibly old, junked vehicles, resurrected by Hezbollah for propaganda purposes. On close inspection they certainly don't look like they were hit by missiles (
    Ventura can dismiss the bloggers as hack journalists and conspiracy theorists if he wants, but their allegations stand on more evidence than Ventura's assertion that Israel destroyed Lebanese infrastructure to eliminate “a local economic rival” for tourism and trade. For someone whose best work always challenges his readers to question authority, Ventura comes off as a dupe when the authority is the mainstream media.
Ben C. Cohen
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