Nov
14
2012

Syrian Civil War Strays Into…Syrian Territory

Hamat Gader, Golan Heights (photo by Job de Graaf)

After Syrian mortar fire from Syria's civil war reportedly strayed into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights last weekend, some U.S. journalists seemed confused about the political geography of the region. For instance, CBS Evening News reported (11/12/12) reported: Syria's civil war has now touched Israel. For the second straight day, a shell from Syria landed in Israeli territory. Well, no. The shells in question landed on the Golan Heights, a part of Syria that has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967–but is internationally recognized as continuing to be Syrian territory. A CNN Wire report, "For Second Time in […]

Nov
09
2012

Obama's Imaginary Embrace of the Arab Spring

Young protester in Tahrir Square (photo: Ryan McGovern)

Surveying international reaction to Barack Obama's re-election, NBC Nightly News correspondent Richard Engel declared (11/7/12): In the Middle East, there is hope that President Obama will embrace the Israeli/Palestinian peace process in second term the way he embraced the Arab Spring in his first. This would be a surprising reaction to find among people in the Middle East, given that Obama did not really "embrace" the Arab Spring. Consider Egypt, arguably the most high-profile uprising; the original White House response was to stand by dictator Hosni Mubarak. The White House continues to support the regime in Bahrain. And it's likely […]

Nov
02
2012

NYT's Gaza Flotilla Flop

You can learn a lot from reading the Corrections box in the New York Times–often because going back to read the story that is being corrected reveals more than the correction itself. On October 20, the Israeli navy intercepted another boat attempting to reach the Gaza Strip to deliver supplies in defiance of the Israeli blockade. In the October 21 edition of the Times, Jodi Rudoren filed a story about this news. But it was what she remembered about an earlier flotilla that was most revealing. In 2010 Israeli forces launched a deadly assault on the Mavi Marmara boat, killing […]

Oct
12
2012

FAIR TV: Chavez vs. Corporate Media, Greening Fracking, NYT's Mideast Time Machine

FAIR TV takes a look at how the U.S. media handled the Venezuelan election, how the Washington Post "greened" fracking and how the New York Times used a time machine to "fix" a headline about Israel/Palestine. Watch it, share it with your friends and please leave a comment below.  

Oct
09
2012

NYT Reverses Time to Put Retaliation Before Attack in Gaza

Media activist Alison Weir (10/8/12) calls attention to a remarkable New York Times report (10/9/12) on Gaza violence. While we've come to expect a pro-Israeli bias from the Times, it's still surprising to find the paper using time travel to make sure that events happen in their proper sequence. The headline of the Times piece is: Israel Launches Airstrikes After Attacks From Gaza But if you read the article, you immediately find that the sequence is exactly reversed: Gaza militants fired a barrage of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory on Monday, causing no casualties but some property damage, […]

Sep
28
2012

NYT and Professor Netanyahu

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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 […]

Aug
31
2012

Burying the Most Important News on Iran's Nuclear Program?

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 […]

Aug
20
2012

The Faulty Assumption Behind Bad Reporting on Iran

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 […]

Jul
20
2012

Blaming Iran for Bulgaria Bombing: Assertions Before Evidence

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 […]

Jul
18
2012

Another 'Palestinian Gandhi' Ignored by U.S. Media

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 […]

Jul
05
2012

Shamir Remembered–With Selective Amnesia

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 […]

May
22
2012

Time on Netanyahu: Frozen Puffery

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 […]

May
16
2012

Action Alert: Address Conflict of Interest at NYT's Jerusalem Bureau

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.