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Everything but the Truth

Machla Abramovitz

Rockets rain down on Israel’s cities. Terrorists attempt to infiltrate Israeli villages. Hamas vows the destruction of the Jewish state. For the media, these facts should point to Israel’s uncompromised right to defend itself against the Hamas aggressors. But the reporters and editors who produce the news have other ideas.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On July 13, five days after Israel had launched Operation Protective Edge to shield its citizens from hundreds of missile strikes launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, JodiRudorenof the New York Times wrote the following lead summing up the war to that point:JERUSALEM — So much here seems so broken right now: the peace process, the moral compass.The Palestinian reconciliation pact is in tatters. The Israeli police force is having a crisis of public confidence. Houses of suspected Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip have been pulverized into piles of debris by Israeli airstrikes. Red alerts signaling long-range rockets from Gaza have canceled cultural events in Jerusalem and disrupted a wedding in a Tel Aviv suburb.After hundreds of missile strikes on Israel’s cities, volleys that have made bomb shelters the temporary living quarters for thousands of residents in Israel’s south, and panicked adults and children alike from Ashdod to Haifa, Rudoren summarizes the entire Hamas terror campaign by reducing the missiles and their code red alerts to inconveniences that postpone cultural events and disrupt weddings. In Rudoren’s view, it seems, the indiscriminate launching of missiles against a civilian population is the equivalent of a heavy snowstorm that forces the delay of a museum outing and spoils a bride’s big day.Israel supporters near and far are used to this kind of media bias — especially from the New York Times — but the problem only seems to be getting worse. And with the onset of Operation Protective Edge, readers worldwide were faced once again with the persistent media bias that turns Israelis into the unquestioned aggressors and Palestinians into the hapless victims.But the truth is far more complex, and a number of pro-Israel media watchdog organizations have emerged to actively take on reportorial bias and force media organizations to account. These organizations have certainly made progress, in many cases forcing editors to revise stories and media organizations to conduct internal investigations, but the so-called “narrative” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still decidedly in Israel’s disfavor.

 

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