Coverage Trends

Israeli media turns a blind eye to facts contained in national poverty report

A report from National Insurance Institute last week showed a growing disparity in wealth in Israel: one in four families now lives below the poverty line, and more than one in three children. But while the news pages were stuffed with details of the report and leading commentators were shocked by the findings, most made little or no mention that Arab families have been by far the biggest victims of growing impoverishment in Israel. Avishai Braverman of the Labor party, for example, suggested that the problem could be significantly eased if higher pensions were paid out, while MK Yuli Tamir argued that generous student loans were a solution. 

US Corporate Media Erases Israeli Role in Rise of Hamas

The US corporate media has started to examine Hamas’ victories in Palestinian municipal elections last Thursday. However, if The New York Times’ coverage is any indication, an honest evaluation of Israel’s role in increasing Hamas’ popularity is unlikely. Revelations over the last year have forced the US corporate media, with the New York Times at the forefront, to re-evaluate their role in promoting the Iraq war and occupation. Sadly, no such re-evaluation is underway with respect to Israel/Palestine. Israeli occupation, expansionism and human rights abuses still generally pass without comment. 

The invisibility of Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance in the New York Times

The fact that thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis are together employing nonviolent tactics similar to those of the U.S. civil rights movement and the South African anti-Apartheid movement would come as surprising and welcome news to most Americans. Americans are largely unaware of the struggling but vibrant grassroots nonviolent movement in Palestine, because the U.S. corporate media prefers a simple, flawed story of Palestinian terrorist attacks and Israeli retaliation. 

Four murdered Palestinians not considered newsworthy during disengagement

Given Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s recent promises to harshly punish any Palestinian attempts to disrupt the disengagement process, had last week’s gunman in the West Bank settlement of Shilo been a Palestinian rather than an Israeli, and the four dead Israeli rather than Palestinian, Gazans would have likely woken up the following morning to tanks in their streets. But as it stands, the shooting of four Palestinian laborers by an Israeli settler - whose motive is reported to have been to stop the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza - has not even merited putting the more ideologically extreme settlements under military curfew, which Palestinian population centers have experienced for thousands of hours during this Intifada. 

How to cover disengagement?

Journalist Jonathan Cook writing the letter one reporter in Israel wishes he could send news editors who ask him to cover Israel’s Gaza disengagement. Israel is not giving foreign journalists free access to the Gaza Strip, or even the settlements, during the disengagement. Apparently, the only way to “witness” the disengagement will be by applying to the Israeli press office for a place on a number of army coaches transporting reporters to individual settlements. I am opposed in principle to the idea of being shepherded around by the army while covering this event. How is this not just another form of “embedding”? But in any case I am told seats on the coaches will be extremely limited, maybe only a few dozen, and are bound to be snapped up by the media big-hitters. 

Power, propaganda and the promised land

Language, as George Orwell remarked, is a proxy for power. According to the celebrated author of “1984,” those in power use language to disseminate truth selectively through a process of representation and concealment. When applied to the region of Israel/Palestine, Orwell’s insights reveal how this interplay of representation and concealment permeates the exercise of power, and why, absent changes in the discourse of the powerful side, there is little reason to expect any progress in the situation. 

When the New York Times' distortion gets up close and personal

A little over a week ago, some members of our organization, If Americans Knew, met with New York Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent to discuss the findings of a detailed study we had completed of two years worth of Times news stories on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Okrent was going to be writing a column discussing the paper’s coverage of Israel/Palestine, and we felt our study would be an important resource. We presented our findings, complete with charts, spread-sheets, clear sourcing, and extensive additional documentation, to Okrent and his assistant. His subsequent column was perplexing. 

Press sides with Caterpillar's 'right' to sell tools of destruction to human rights violators

With activists increasing pressure on Caterpillar to stop supplying the Israeli military with equipment it uses to demolish Palestinian homes and businesses in violation of international law, press accounts surfaced in support of ‘poor’ Caterpillar, ranked #57 in the Fortune 1,000 corporate index with 2004 revenues of some $30 billion. Support for CAT is primarily limited to the second-tier intellectual press, mainly the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe. Dane Baker reports. 

PA: Palestinian refugees' right of return paramount

The Palestinian Authority has denied Israeli press reports citing concessions from President Mahmud Abbas on the issue of Palestinian refugees’ right of return. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday quoted unnamed Palestinian sources as saying that Abbas would present Palestinian leaders, who are due to meet in Cairo on Tuesday, with a new position on the “right of return”.  The new position would seek to convince faction leaders to recognise that the refugees’ right of return could not be implemented in full given current political and demographic realities, Haaretz said. The PA called the report a “fabrication”. 

The LA Times' notion of "relative calm"

Well, I just got hung up on again. This time by an editor on the Los Angeles Times foreign desk. I had called and attempted, as politely as possible, to give him a correction for the story on the Times’ website tonight. This will probably be their front-page lead news story tomorrow morning. The headline proclaims: “Palestinian Suicide bomber Shatters Calm of late.” The lead sentence then goes on to state that this bomber “shattered a months-long period of relative calm…” The fact is, however, that the truce and this “calm” were shattered long before this. The last suicide bombing against Israeli civilians was Nov. 1, 2004. It took three Israeli lives. Since that time, while Israelis have basked in “relative calm,” 170 Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed.