Patrick O’Connor

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. 

Blind "New York Times" Continues Attacks on Jimmy Carter

The assault on Jimmy Carter and his new book which criticizes Israeli policy, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, has been led by many of the usual, uncritical, knee-jerk Israel supporters - Alan Dershowitz, Martin Peretz and Abraham Foxman. However, the campaign to discredit Carter among more thoughtful, less partisan Americans is led by powerful, mainstream institutions like The New York Times, that are respected for their seeming objectivity and balance. Despite a facade of balance and moderate positions, Ethan Bonner’s review of Jimmy Carter’s book represents yet another example of the mainstream US media’s willful blindness on Israel/Palestine. 

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. 

1,500 Protesters March Across Brooklyn Bridge

1,500 members of the New York community, horrified at the senseless killing of Palestinians and Lebanese by the Israeli military, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan today to demand an end to the violence. The Israeli military has killed nearly 200 Palestinians in a matter of weeks, including dozens of children. In less than two weeks in Lebanon, Israel has killed nearly 500 Lebanese and made one million more refugees in their own country. In both Palestine and Lebanon, Israel has targeted civilian infrastructure, such as power plants, roads, factories, schools, airports, and bridges. 

1,500 New Yorkers Demand End to Israel's Attacks on Lebanon and Palestine

Issa Mikel, a spokesperson for the ad hoc coalition against Israeli aggression, said, “Israel must be held accountable for its grave violations of international law, reminiscent of those of the South African apartheid regime. For peace, based on justice, we call on international civil society organizations and people of conscience around the world to carry out broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives against Israel, and demand their governments impose sanctions on Israel until it ends its apartheid system, respects the sovereignty of its Arab neighbors and the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands, and fully complies with international law.” 

NY Times: Arab leaders to blame, fair game for assassination

In an editorial this Saturday, The New York Times clearly crossed the line from its already biased reporting in support of Israel, to cheerleading for Israel, and even advocating that Israel conduct illegal, extrajudicial executions of Arab political leaders. Positions taken by the Times matter because it is the US’ most influential newspaper. The Times both reflects and helps to shape US policy and public opinion. The previous two days, the editorial and news departments at the Times had stated clear support for Israel’s assaults on Gaza and Lebanon. 

Crisis in US Media Coverage of Gaza

One element fueling the current crisis in Gaza is the ongoing failure of US corporate media coverage of Israel/Palestine. US policy, public opinion and mainstream media coverage of Israel/Palestine are all dangerously biased towards Israel. Media coverage both reflects and influences policy and public opinion. Media coverage of events in Gaza again illustrates how the US mainstream media privileges the Israeli narrative, and frequently ignores both Palestinian experiences and international law, providing the US public and policymakers with only part of the story. 

US Corporate Media Misses Target in Israel’s Aerial Assault on Gaza

The Israeli military’s shelling of a Gaza beach on June 9 and killing of eight Palestinian civilians focused world attention on Israel’s intensive artillery campaign against Gaza. Since then, 14 more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli missiles. The US corporate media has highlighted dubious Israeli denials of responsibility for the Gaza beach killings, while providing much less space to Palestinian and third party assertions of Israeli responsibility. 

The New York Times Whitewashes the Israeli Takeover of East Jerusalem

Despite a practiced guise of objectivity, the US corporate media’s reporting on Israel/Palestine is dominated by the Israeli narrative. An April 16, 2006 feature article by Steven Erlanger, The New York Times’ Jerusalem Bureau Chief, “Jerusalem, Now” in the Times’ Sunday Travel section exemplifies how seemingly professional journalistic standards can mask insidious biases and misinform readers. Erlanger, guided around Jerusalem by Israelis, omits Israeli violence, stereotypes Palestinians, whitewashes Israeli settlements and covers up Israeli efforts to take over East Jerusalem.