Wednesday, January 16, 2008


A Barrage of Bad Reporting (Honest Reporting)

Many media outlets fail to add significant context to a day of violence.

Anyone relying the on the mainstream media (MSM) to understand Israel's raid on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday would have been left without some essential context for Israeli actions. Too often, major media outlets downplayed the salvo of more than 40 missiles that hit Sderot that day and wounded four people, as well as the murder of a foreign volunteer shot by a Palestinian sniper from within Gaza.

While continuous terror from the Hamas-controlled territory remains a serious threat to Israeli lives in the western Negev, it hardly rates a mention in day-to-day coverage of the region, resulting in shoddy, one-sided journalism.

A snapshot of reports from some international media exposes some of the worst offenders.

  • Incredibly, The Scotsman failed to acknowledge the latest Qassam barrage at all, while at the same time omitting the crucial detail that the majority of those Palestinians killed in the Israeli raid were armed Hamas terrorists.
  • The Times of London also muddied an otherwise good piece of reporting by not giving enough detail regarding the nature of the Palestinian casualties.
  • In a dreadful case of moral equivalence, The Daily Telegraph's Tim Butcher makes it clear just how lightly he perceives the suffering of Israeli civilians targeted by Palestinian missiles:

Fewer than a dozen Israelis have been killed by the rocket fire in recent years, while hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in reciprocal attacks.

  • The AFP barely acknowledged the issue of Qassams while the BBC muddled the situation even further, leaving the mistaken impression that Sderot had been spared from attack for many months:

Hours after the Gaza City raid Hamas claimed to have fired 17 mortars at two small border crossings with Israel and three rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot, the first time in several months that Hamas has targeted the town.

Of course, while Hamas may not have taken credit for recent Qassam attacks up until Tuesday, it has given its blessing to any number of Palestinian terror groups willing to fire missiles into Israel on a daily basis.

  • While the LA Times got that piece of information right, it managed to bury all mention of the Qassams right at the bottom of its extensive coverage of Tuesday's violence.
  • The prize, however, for media distortion and sheer idiocy goes to the UK'sMirror. Headlining the story "Israel kills 19 in Gaza bloodbath", this tabloid newspaper would have served its uninformed readers better by not covering the story at all. Instead, the entire issue is neatly summed up in the space of two paragraphs:

Tanks and helicopter gunships pounded the region in the bloodiest fighting since Hamas militants took over in June. Leader Mahmoud Zahar's son Hussam, 24, was one of 19 killed in the attack, which may have scuppered planned peace talks.

A farmer in Israel was shot dead by a Hamas sniper and the group launched rockets over the border.

How's that for context?

Some media, including the Washington Post reported accurately on Tuesday's events. Keep an eye on your local media to see if they are covering this story properly.

To write to some of the media outlets mentioned above click on the links below:

The Scotsman -

The Daily Telegraph -

Agence France Presse -


LA Times -

The Mirror -

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