Apr 1 2011

Anonymous Soldiers as Medical Experts?

Only when the NYT covers Israel killing a Palestinian

Jawaher Abu Rahmah--Photo Credit: Electronic Intifada/Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

U.S. media coverage of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah reflected how the corporate press routinely covers high-profile civilian deaths caused by Israel. The Israeli government, it seems, can count on U.S. media to print its anonymous claims—no matter how baseless. Two days after Abu Rahmah, a Palestinian woman from the West Bank village of Bil’in, died from tear-gas inhalation during a December 31 demonstration against the separation wall, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went into spin mode. Anonymous “senior officers” in the Israeli army pushed a number of theories about her death—Abu Rahmah wasn’t at the demonstration, she had […]

Dec 1 2010

Unfrozen Settlements in Palestine

Portraying Israeli ‘PR stunt’ as peace offer

Corporate media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict does not suffer from a lack of creative use of language: the “generous” offer the Palestinians rebuffed at Camp David in 2000, for example (Extra!, 7-8/02), or references to illegal West Bank colonies as “neighborhoods” (Extra! Update, 8/02). The current round of U.S.-backed negotiations brought a new kind of misdirection: the Israeli “freeze” or “moratorium” on settlement building, a move ostensibly intended to help lay the foundation for negotiations. But if you thought “freeze” meant “stop,” think again. The settlement “freeze” was announced in December 2009 as a 10-month time frame during which […]

Jul 1 2010

The Flotilla Story U.S. Media Won’t Report

Ignoring evidence that counters Israeli claims

At a June 10 press conference (Cultures of Resistance, 6/10/10), passengers from the Mavi Marmara released new footage of the Israel Defense Forces’ deadly May 31 raid on the ship, which killed nine activists attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of the Israeli blockade. Days earlier, another video was released allegedly showing the IDF beating and then executing a U.S. citizen, although the identity of the passenger in the video has not been confirmed (Informed Comment, 6/10/10; Tikkun, 6/10/10). Obviously, two videos alone could not possibly tell the whole story of what happened that night, but they […]

Jul 1 2010

Hamas and ‘Israel’s Destruction’

This article was originally published as a sidebar with “Reporting Israeli Assault Through Israel’s Eyes.”   In the aftermath of the deadly Israeli assault on the international flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the establishment press has repeatedly distorted the political positions of Hamas, the Islamist movement that governs Gaza. The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner (6/5/10) reported that Hamas “rejects Israel’s existence.” USA Today’s Oren Dorell (6/7/10) wrote that “Hamas has been designated a terrorist group by the United States and European Union and seeks the destruction of Israel.” A New York Daily News editorial (6/5/10) referred […]

Jul 1 2010

Gaza’s Ongoing Crisis Is Not News

Routine killing, hunger off TV’s agenda

Since the Islamist movement Hamas won democratic elections in the Palestinian territories in January 2006, Israel has been waging what it has referred to as “economic warfare” (McClatchy, 6/9/10) to collectively punish Gazans for their choice. The economic sanctions increased after Hamas’ June 2006 capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit; a full-blown air, land and sea blockade was imposed by Israel (and Egypt) in June 2007 after Hamas routed an attempted coup by the rival, U.S.-backed Fatah party and took control in the Gaza Strip. The blockade against the coastal strip has had devastating consequences for the one-and-a-half million Palestinians […]

Apr 1 2010

Covering a Son’s War at the NYT

Editor rejects call for Jerusalem chief’s reassignment

Can a journalist neutrally cover a conflict that his child is fighting in? That’s the question posed by the news that the son of New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner joined the Israeli Defense Forces. The Times’ policies acknowledge that family members’ activities might require a journalist to “to withdraw from certain coverage”; their example is a business reporter or editor with “a brother or a daughter in a high-profile job on Wall Street.” If a child’s livelihood might color one’s reporting, wouldn’t that child’s life itself do so even more? When activists asked New York Times public […]

Oct 1 2009

‘Law-Abiding’ Israelis, ‘Unwelcoming’ Palestinians

U.S. journalists sympathize with Israeli colonists

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Decode Jerusalem

The Obama administration’s push to freeze Israeli construction of illegal colonies in the West Bank has brought the settlement question back to the fore of media coverage. On July 27, Time published a rather long piece by Nina Burleigh on Israeli settlements under the headline “Two Views of the Land.” The first view was Israeli: The Katzes, very normal, gentle people readers can identify with (they’re even from New York!), “consider themselves law-abiding citizens” and do earnest and upstanding things like “publish a small community magazine and take part in civic projects. Sharon raises money for charity by putting on […]

Mar 1 2009

The ‘Right to Exist’ as an Arab Israeli

U.S. papers of record regularly erase Israel’s Palestinian citizens

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/nealunger

On January 11, 2009, a Washington Post article (“The View from Israel: Victors in a Necessary War”) declared that “Israelis have been . . . resolute” in their support of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza. What the piece did not mention was that some 20 percent of the citizens of Israel are Palestinians. While a common criticism of Palestinian political groups is their refusal to recognize Israel’s “right to exist,” U.S. corporate media repeatedly fail to recognize the existence of Palestinian Israelis. During Cast Lead, from December 27, 2008, until the tentative cease-fire unilaterally declared by Israel […]