Mar
12
2013

'What Palestinians Said Was Israeli Aggression': The Death of Omar al-Masharawi

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A new report from the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights tallies the extent of the death and destruction from Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip last November. But the headlines generated by the report focused on one child in Gaza, 11-month-old Omar al-Masharawi, and the claim that he was not killed by Israelis.

Feb
12
2013

PBS Goes to Israel and Palestine–Mostly Israel

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When NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill said, "We will hear more from Margaret [Warner] as she travels through Israel, the West Bank and Gaza over the next week and a half," That sounded like it could be be an interesting opportunity for TV viewers to get a glimpse of Palestinian life. But that's not what PBS chose to put on the air.

Feb
08
2013

FAIR TV: Big Papers Withhold News, Curious 'Confirmation' of Israeli Gov't Claims, 60 Minutes Plays Softball

This week on FAIR TV we take a look at the the "informal arrangement" between several media outlets–including the New York Times and the Washington Post– to not report news about a CIA drone base.

We also talk about the curious standard for "confirming" news from Israeli government officials, and we take a look at the 60 Minutes softball interview with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Feb
04
2013

When 'Confirmed' Means 'An Official Told Me So'

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NBC's Richard Engel report that "what we've been able to confirm" is that a Syrian convoy attacked by Israel "was packed with fairly sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles." It is highly doubtful that Engel could "confirm" any such thing–unless by "confirm" he means that NBC is confirming that government sources are claiming what they are claiming.

Jan
18
2013

FAIR TV: France vs. Spain, NYT Erases West Bank Occupation, Wall Street Journal's Tax Graphic

On the new FAIR TV: The Washington Post says France had better slash wages and benefits in order to be more like Spain. Why would they want to do that? The New York Times erases a headline referring to the occupation of the West Bank. And when the Wall Street Journal wanted to show  what the new tax deal meant for "you"–who exactly did they have in mind?

Jan
18
2013

Are Israeli Arabs 'Apathetic'–or Second-Class Citizens?

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For a variety of reasons, Arab citizens of Israel don't seem all that excited about voting in next week's elections. And, for some reason, this strike the New York Times' Jodi Rudoren as "apathy." But the Arab sentiments she reports sure don't sound like apathy.

Jan
14
2013

NYT Rewrites Accurate Occupation Headline

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Non-violent protesters came up with a novel way to protest Israeli plans to build more settlement colonies in the occupied West Bank: They occupied the land themselves. The New York Times reported the news on Saturday. But the most remarkable thing is what they did with the headline.

Jan
07
2013

Chuck Hagel, Dove?

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Barack Obama nominated Republican ex-Senator Chuck Hagel to be his next Defense secretary today. The story can seem a little bit confusing–often because of misleading recaps of Hagel's career, which can make him sound like more like Dennis Kucinich than like the Republican who voted in favor of the Iraq War.

Nov
29
2012

AP's Iran Bomb Drawing Hoax

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Crack open USA Today (11/28/12) and you saw this headline: Diagram Suggests Iran Working on Bomb The story was short–short enough for a careful reader to see that it in no way lived up to that alarmist headline. But the piece still tried really hard to frighten people. Here's the lead:  Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by the Associated Press. The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic program […]

Nov
21
2012

Palestinians and the Proper Way to Grieve Dead Children

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When a family of nine is killed in an airstrike, what is the proper way to grieve? That question might not occur to you, but readers of the New York Times (11/20/12) were treated to correspondent Jodi Rudoren's unusual critique of a funeral for members of the Dula family, whose home in Gaza City was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on Sunday. "There were few if any visible tears at the intense, chaotic, lengthy funeral," she wrote. "Instead, there were fingers jabbing the air to signal 'Allah is the only one,' defiant chants about resistance and calls for revenge, flags in […]

Nov
21
2012

What's Missing from CBS's Gaza History?

Gaza after Operation Cast Lead (Photo: Physicians for Human Rights)

Giving viewers a quick sense of context and history is important in any story, but especially in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Doing a bad job of it is perhaps worse than not doing it at all. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley gave this summary on November 19: We wanted to remind you tonight of what Gaza is and how it came to be. The Gaza Strip was laid out in 1949 after the war that created Israel. It's home to Palestinians displaced in that war and to the generations that followed. Only 25 miles long, roughly ten miles wide, Gaza's population is 1.7 […]

Nov
21
2012

Precise Weapons Kill Civilians Too

Photo: PCHR

As a general rule, it'd be better if media accounts of war did not stress the surgical precision of the weapons being used. It's a fixture of U.S. reporting on U.S. wars, but the same rhetoric is used when U.S. allies are dropping bombs.   According to Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (11/19/12):  Israel has gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. Its air force has used new, highly accurate ammunition aiming for rocket-launching sites and government installations. For the most part, it has succeeded. Aron Heller of the Associated Press (11/17/12) had this description of the Israeli military: Israel, […]

Nov
20
2012

False Balance and Civilian Suffering in Gaza Crisis

Washington Post photo of Gaza destruction

People who follow media criticism are likely aware of the term "false balance," used to describe coverage that presents "both sides" of an issue as if they are equivalent–when they are anything but. Does that label apply to coverage of the current Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip? A November 15 Washington Post headline read, "Civilians in Gaza, Israel Suffer Amid Conflict." The piece would appear to want to give readers the sense that comparable suffering is occurring on both sides. But reality tells a different story–one that is not so symmetrical. The piece begins in a Gaza hospital, where […]