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.

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 TimesĀ (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
20
2012

False Balance and Civilian Suffering in Gaza Crisis

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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 […]

Nov
16
2012

FAIR TV: False Gaza Timelines, Failing at the 'Fiscal Cliff' and David Gregory's CEO Story

This week: What do corporate media get wrong about the "cycle of violence" in Gaza? Is there really such a thing as a "fiscal cliff"? And David Gregory says Obama's big mistake was not having an economy-boosting event with CEOs. You mean like the one he had a week after being inaugurated in 2009? Take a look–and spread the word:

Nov
16
2012

It's Terrorism When It Happens in Israel

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On NBC Nightly News (11/15/12) , correspondent Martin Fletcher gives viewers a sense of the suffering on both sides of the Israel/Gaza conflict: FLETCHER: Terror in Israel. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: "There is another one," a soldier screams. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: More than 200 missiles fired at Israel today. And in Gaza, despair. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: Burying an infant killed in an Israeli attack. Frightened Israeli soldiers are being terrorized. And Gazans burying a child? Something else, apparently.

Nov
16
2012

Who Started Gaza Conflict? Well, the U.S. Says…

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Who started the latest round of violence in the Middle East? This pretty remarkable exchange between the host and a reporter on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight show (11/15/12) tells us that no one can really say for sure, but the U.S government will tell you what they think: MORGAN: Like with all these things in that region, apportioning blame from afar is a very precarious business because each side blames the other for the reasons leading up to these incidents. What is your sense of how this is playing out in the international stage? FRED PLEITGEN: It's very difficult to […]

Nov
15
2012

When Does Israel/Palestine Violence Start?

A rare sight in U.S. media: A grieving Palestinian father on the front page of the Washington Post.

Military attacks and other violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel have resulted at this point in over a dozen deaths, most of them Palestinians, and sparked fears of an Israeli ground invasion similar to the 2008-09 assault that claimed over 1,000 Palestinian lives. The past 24 hours of violence was sparked by Israel's killing of Hamas military leader Ahmad al-Jabari on Wednesday. The question, then, is a familiar one: What prompted this action? The conventional corporate media timelines usually stress, whatever the facts, that Israel is responding to violent attacks by Palestinians, as FAIR documented over 10 years ago […]

Aug
26
2011

Why Is Israel Bombing Gaza?

The coverage of the Israeli attacks on Gaza is following some predictable patterns. The New York Times has a headline today (8/26/11), "Israeli Strikes in Retaliation Kill Nine Gazans." Readers should ask: Retaliation for what? It's widely understood that this violence stems from the attack last week in the southern Israeli town of Eilat. As the Times puts it: "The recent round of violence started a week ago, with a terrorist attack on southern Israel in which eight Israelis were killed." The real question, though, is who committed these acts. The Times says: Israeli officials said the perpetrators and planners […]

Dec
21
2010

NYT vs. WaPo on Life in Gaza

Today's Washington Post (12/21/10) brings a story by Janine Zacharia headlined, "Aid groups decry Israel's Gaza constraints." The lead: Despite recent moves by Israel to ease construction in the Gaza Strip, restrictions on building materials are hampering international humanitarian efforts while doing little to impede the Hamas-led government they are designed to weaken, aid and nongovernmental groups say. The groups say thatIsrael is "snarling the delivery of materials to international relief organizations struggling to build much-needed housing, schools and infrastructure projects." Zacharia goes on: But even as Gaza's economy shows signs of improvement, its humanitarian needs remain widespread. Thousands of […]

Oct
09
2009

NYT: Gaza War Worked

Isabel Kershner writes a piece in the New York Times (10/9/09) that starts out as a profile of an Israeli artist who makes flowers out of Qassam rocket pieces. The main point, though, is to discuss thechanged reality in southern Israel, thanks to the invasion of the Gaza Strip late last year that killed over 1,000 Palestinians: Israel said its three-week offensive was intended to change the reality in the south. Since January, when the military campaign ended, the rocket fire has significantly fallen off and residents here are trying to accustom themselves to a kind of normalcy amid the […]

Sep
16
2009

NewsHour Poses a Moral Conundrum

PBS's NewsHour's Gwen Ifill (9/15/09), quizzing Richard Goldstone on his U.N. fact-finding mission that found that both Israel and Palestinian fighters had committed war crimes in the Gaza conflict: The term "even-handed" is the problem that Israel has with the conclusions in the report. Your criticism of Israel seems so much harsher than that of the Palestinians. Why is that? CBS News (9/9/09), summarizing a report by Israel's leading human rights group: Well over half of nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel's Gaza war were civilians, including 252 children younger than 16, a leading Israeli human rights groups said Wednesday, […]

Mar
04
2009

Palestinians as Alien Creatures

Sometimes when you read reports about the Middle East, you get the impression that corporate journalists think Palestinians are another species entirely. Here's the New York Times' Mark Landler (3/4/09) explaining the theory of how better relations with Syria could help create a peace deal between Israel and Palestine: By seeking an understanding with Syria, which has cultivated close ties to Iran, the United States could increase the pressure on Iran to respond to its offer of direct talks. Such an understanding would also give Arab states and moderate Palestinians the political cover to negotiate with Israel. That, in turn, […]

Feb
19
2009

Only English Gaza News Shut Out of U.S. Cable

Even though "Al Jazeera English is also on the cusp of a carriage deal in Canada," Broadcasting & Cable's Marisa Guthrie reports (2/18/09) that the channel has "had little luck getting picked up by U.S. cable and satellite providers." As part of an effort to "appeal to consumers via a grassroots marketing campaign that attempts to dispel long-held attitudes about the network," AJE has "launched a website that bluntly addresses popular perceptions about the English language offshoot of Al Jazeera, the most-watched news network in the Middle East": The site, IWantAJE.net, lets consumers send electronic letters directly to their cable […]