Coverage Trends

Buying the War on Palestinians: The US Media, The New York Times and Israel

After four disastrous years of US military occupation, Bill Moyers’ April 25 PBS special Buying the War attempted to hold the mainstream US media accountable for its complicity in selling the war on Iraq to the US public. Tragically, despite the terrible consequences of 60 years of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, there is still no significant movement to hold the US mainstream media accountable for a similar, dramatic failure in covering Israel and Palestine, and for its complicity in the US’ uncritical support for Israel. 

Concern over BBC documentary 'Will Israel Bomb Iran?'

Arab Media Watch is concerned by the ‘This World’ programme ‘Will Israel Bomb Iran?’, broadcast on BBC2 on 10 October 2006. Its severe lack of balance manifested itself in the number and range of sources used, the airtime given them, and the numerous unchallenged claims made about the Arab world. A statistical analysis of ‘Will Israel Bomb Iran?’ yields these figures: Israeli sources, of which there were 15, appeared 55 times for a total of 15 minutes and 58 seconds - 51% of talk time, 41.4% of the programme, 71.4% of sources and 45% of source appearances. In stark contrast, the Iranian sources, of which there were just two, appeared three times for a total of 52 seconds. 

Who is Mohammad Dahlan?

Dahlan was a founding member of Shabiba, the youth association of Fatah, head of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, cabinet minister, security advisor and legislator. During the 1990s he headed a force of 20,000 troops in Gaza. He has good relations with Israel, US and other foreign powers. Both Dahlan and his colleague in the West Bank, Jibril Rajoub, were implicted in financial scandals and human rights violations. Dahlan has a history in trying to curb Hamas. His troops were involved in one of the largest Palestinian arbitrary arrest campaign in recent history. Today, Dahlan has become the face of one side of Fatah as violence increased between Hamas and Fatah. 

The New York Times Marginalizes Palestinian Women and Palestinian Rights

A November 7, 2006 New York Times news article about a Human Rights Watch report on domestic violence against Palestinian women brings welcome attention to human rights issues. Unfortunately, the same article, viewed in the context of The New York Times’ reporting on Israel/Palestine over the last six years, provides a powerful example of typical US mainstream media bias against Palestinians. Research shows clearly that The New York Times pays little attention to human rights in Israel/Palestine, downplays the larger context in which violence against Palestinian women occurs and generally silences Palestinian women’s voices. By omitting crucial details and emphasizing certain others, The New York Times, one of the US’ most respected and powerful media outlets, has turned a valuable piece of human rights reporting into a tool that can be used to reinforce a Western agenda that has cynically exploited “saving Muslim women” as an excuse for dominating and abusing the rights of people from other cultures. 

Israel's Large-Scale Killing of Palestinians Passes Unreported

The year 2006 has seen by far the most skewed ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed. While no deaths should be accepted, the figures show that the Israeli war machine has shifted into an unprecedented frenzy. Through the entire second Palestinian intifada or uprising which began September 29, 2000, approximately 3.9 Palestinians have been killed for every Israeli killed.[4] The highest previous multi-month ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed during this intifada occurred from March to December 2004 when around 9.5 Palestinians were killed for every Israeli. In the first Palestinian intifada from 1987-92, 5.2 Palestinians were killed for every Israeli. 

BBC publishes list of "key terms" used in Israel-Palestinian conflict

The BBC Governors’ independent panel report on the impartiality of BBC coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict recommended that the BBC should make public an abbreviated version of its journalists’ guide to facts and terminology. The following list of terms used in the conflict, their definitions, and notes for their correct usage, reveals a news organization trying to find a balance between accurate reporting and leaning towards the semantics of the Israeli side in the conflict. 

Getting the word out on NPR

Getting the word out has always been difficult for Palestinians. The major reason for this is that Israel often succeeds in framing the issues from its point of view, and the mainstream media in the West goes along with it. A favorite gambit that Israel uses to cloak its outrageous policies towards the Palestinian population is to cry “security”, which then pretty much allows it to do anything. When “security” is too conspicuously untrue, it justifies itself by referring to its own policy. This can be questioned only through its own legal system, which is not exactly designed to safeguard Palestinian rights. It sets up the equation of “lawful” Israelis and “unlawful” or criminal Palestinians. 

The creation of "Hezbollywood"

I’m always fascinated with the birth of a meme. A new one recently surfaced amid the vitriolic rhetoric that gets dished out by the neoconservative punditry of the Internet: “Hezbollywood.” Google it and be in awe of its (as of this writing) 131,000 results. I’m almost surprised that Google even bothers to ask, “Did you mean: Hollywood?” Of course not. Right now, right-wing word herders are singing “Hooray For Hezbollywood!” And why not? In one simple word, they can summarize an entire paranoia. 

Behind the media's Gazan blind spot

As the Israeli war on Lebanon continues to dominate world headlines, Israel’s nearly one-sided war against Gaza seems to be taking place in a relative media blind spot. United Nations humanitarian agencies estimated on August 3rd that 1,050 Israeli artillery shells were fired into Gaza in the preceding week and “…since 28 June, 175 Palestinians have been killed, including approximately 40 children and eight women, and over 620 injured in the Gaza Strip… Palestinians have fired on average between 8-9 homemade rockets per day towards Israel (319 in total) and the Israeli military has fired on average 200-250 artillery shells per day into the Gaza Strip and conducted at least 220 aerial bombings.” 

The Truth of Israel's Intentions

Israel complains endlessly about how Hezbollah and Hamas refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The truth is that no major Israeli party believes in a viable Palestinian state. Just who is denying whose right to exist is clearly stated in the following direct excerpts from the platforms of Israel’s most powerful parties, Labor, Kadima and Likud. The parties’ platforms illustrate the discourse of Israeli politics - a discourse that witnesses no recognition of Palestinian identity, and is based on the denial of Palestinian rights - to Jerusalem, to return - and upon the artificial maintenance of “demographic” barriers in order to preserve an ethnically exclusive state.