At his United Nations address yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held up a cartoonish drawing of a bomb, an odd way to illustrate the supposed existential threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. People quickly posted parody versions of the bomb. But not everyone joined in the fun. Take a look at the New York Times (9/28/12), where Rick Gladstone and David Sanger wrote this: With an almost professorial air, Mr. Netanyahu held up a diagram of a bomb with a fuse to show the Israeli view of Iran's progress in achieving the ability to make a nuclear weapon. He drew a […]
The release of a new International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran was greeted as an ominous development by some major outlets. But are they playing down what could be the most important news in the report? The IAEA's latest made it to the New York Times (8/30/12) under the headline, "Inspectors Confirm New Work by Iran at Secure Nuclear Site." Reporters David Sanger and William Broad write: Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges it needs to complete a site deep underground for the production of nuclear fuel, international inspectors reported Thursday, a finding that led the White […]
The Washington Post (8/17/12) has a story on Iran and the threat of war that begins with this: Preparations in Israel for a possible war are focusing new attention on whether Israel will attack Iran's nuclear facilities and forcing an unwelcome debate in the thick of a presidential campaign about the U.S. role in stopping an Iranian bomb. The article, by Anne Gearan and Karin Brulliard, repeats the same assumption a number of times–Iran is after a nuclear weapon: Some say that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is bluffing in hopes of forcing President Obama to issue an ultimatum to […]
Right after news of a suicide bombing attack in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu pointed the finger squarely at Iran. For media outlets that are supposed to evaluate claims based on evidence, this could have been a problem. But many outlets took these claims at face value–and in some cases actually bolstered his case. "Five Israelis Killed in Bulgaria; Netanyahu Blames Iranians," read a New York Times headline (7/19/12). There was no evidence to support this, but look at how the Times' Nicholas Kulish and Matthew Brunwasser worked to shore up the claims: Iran had […]
In recent years, corporate media pundits like Tom Friedman and Nicholas Kristof have expressed deep concern over what they claim is a lack of peaceful elements within the Palestinian resistance to the 44-year Israeli occupation. Where is the "Palestinian Gandhi" who could inspire the violent Arab masses to lay down their weapons and pursue a more virtuous path to freedom (FAIR Blog, 2/17/12)? Either the many examples of Palestinians successfully using nonviolent direct action to confront their occupiers have gone unnoticed or are being deliberately ignored in mainstream reports. Another amazing victory for peaceful resistance occurred last Tuesday, when Palestinian […]
In death, the U.S. media remembered the late Yitzhak Shamir as "a political hard-liner who served two terms as Israeli prime minster" (CNN, 6/30/12), "the hawkish Israeli leader who balked at the idea of trading occupied land for peace with the Palestinians" (MSNBC, 6/30/12) and "a man of iron will and simple tastes" (Washington Post, 6/30/12) who prided himself on his hard-line views, his relentless determination to hang onto every square inch of what he considered the Land of Israel, and his championing of Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, defying the demands of Israel's most […]
I finally managed to get all the way through Richard Stengel's fawning cover story about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At a moment when incumbents around the world are being shunted aside, he is triumphant. With his bullet-proof majority, he has a chance to turn himself into the historic figure he has always yearned to be. And it traces what it says is Netanyahu's appeal to U.S. audiences: He appeared regularly on Nightline and became the Israeli-American It boy–confident, handsome, fearsomely articulate in virtually accentless English. Every suburban Jewish mother had a crush on him. "Bibi was the streetwise local […]
A new FAIR Action Alert (5/16/12) calls on the New York Times public editor to address the conflict of interest posed by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner's marriage to someone whose job it is to sway the coverage of international outlets like the Times in a pro-Israel direction. Please leaves copies of your messages to the Times, or comments on the alert, in the comments thread below.
The New York Times shouldn't be trusted to report on future wars if it can't get the facts about previous wars right. Once again, the Times misleads readers about the lead up to Israel's invasion of Gaza in late 2008. Isabel Kershner writes (5/3/12): Up to 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during Israel's three-week offensive against Hamas in Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, which came after years of rocket fire into southern Israel by Gaza militants. So Israel was responding to "years of rocket fire." The real story is a bit different. 2008 actually saw a remarkable […]
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor acknowledged on Al Jazeera English (4/14/12) that Iranian leaders have never called for Israel to be "wiped" off the map. Meridor agreed with interviewer Teymoor Nabili's suggestion that the supposed remarks were never actually made; Iranian leaders, Meridor said, come basically ideologically, religiously, with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They didn't say "we'll wipe it out," you are right, but [that] it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor, it should be removed. Hostile words, to be sure, but not the menacing threat endlessly reported in […]
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has delivered a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that calls for a resumption of peace negotiations. Look at the image the Washington Post (4/18/12) used to accompany its story about this : I will admit that a letter might not lend itself to an interesting graphic, but it sure seems odd to use a fiery Molotov cocktail instead.
One of the most troubling aspects of all the media coverage of an attack on Iran is that it can make a radically destabilizing act of unprovoked war seem like just another policy choice. I thought of this when I saw a PBS NewsHour segment (3/28/12) that set out to ponder the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran. PBS reporter Margaret Warner oddly framed Israeli public opinion this way: Though the Iranian regime has vowed to destroy the Jewish state, recent polls in Israel show only 19 percent would support their government attacking Iran unilaterally. Hearing that, you might […]
Coverage of Israel/Palestine often attempts to make an extraordinarily lopsided conflict seem somehow more "balanced." Take this line from the Washington Post (3/12/12) The fighting has killed 18 Gazans, all but two of them militants, and disrupted the lives of about 1 million Israelis living within range of rocket fire. Why would 18 people who were killed be compared to the disruption of daily life? If disruption is the standard, then one would have to determine how many Gazans have had their lives disrupted by power outages, drones, air strikes and so on. A sentence like this would seem to […]