Source: Arab News
By Ray Hanania, who is a Palestinian American columnist and author of several books. Twitter: @rayhanania
The US news media is stoking the violence in the Middle East by defending Israel and ignoring facts. This was obvious in the coverage of the 17 Palestinian civilians killed in the Gaza Strip during last Friday’s protests. Almost all of the US news media embraced the Israeli government’s claims.
Most journalists covering the events were either Israelis who write for Israeli newspapers or non-Jews who abide by Israel’s unreported censorship. Israel imposes restrictions on journalists who work there, punishing those who question Israel’s right to exist, use the term “Nakba” to describe its founding, or support BDS. Israel doesn’t have to flex its muscles and many journalists simply censor themselves to avoid any hassle. However, last year, Dutch journalist Derk Walters was expelled for being too critical of Israeli policy.
In the US news media, criticizing Israel too harshly can result in your being disciplined, so it is never blamed or held responsible for the violence.
If the fatalities were Israeli civilians, the US media would take a different approach. It would publish extensive details of the names, lives and loves of the Israeli victims. We would see their human side — the stories would have readers crying as if they were related to those killed. In the case of Palestinian fatalities, it’s just the opposite: Palestinian casualties are presented as cold, empty statistics.
In one case, the pro-Tel Aviv news media inside Israel attempted to debunk a video that showed a Palestinian running from the border as Israeli soldiers started firing. The civilian was unarmed and was shot dead. Israeli officials were extensively quoted denouncing the video, asserting the footage was posted by the “Hamas terror organization” and “only depicts parts of incidents while others are edited or completely fabricated.”