Recent studies of U.S. media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict reveal that the media reported Israeli children’s deaths at rates
7 to 40 times greater than Palestinian children’s deaths. Some typical
In 2004, when 8 Israeli children were killed and 179 Palestinian children
were killed, NBC reported on 100% of Israeli children’s deaths and on
10% of Palestinian children’s deaths, ABC on 100% and 11%.
The New York Times reported on 50% of Israeli children’s
deaths and 7% of Palestinian children’s deaths.
In the first six months of the current uprising – during which time
four Israeli children were killed and 93 Palestinian children were killed
– the San Francisco Chronicle reported prominently on 150%
of the Israeli children’s deaths (through repetitions) and on 5% of
the Palestinian children’s deaths.
A 2004 study of Portland’s Oregonian newspaper revealed headline coverage
on 88% of Israeli children’s deaths and on 2% of Palestinian ones.
At least 82 Palestinian children were killed before the first Israeli child.
Why is there such an immense differential in reporting on deaths related to
the ethnicity of the victim? Why are so few Palestinian children’s deaths
being reported to the American public?
The Associated Press is the major source of international news for
U.S. news media. Virtually all AP news reports about the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict go through its bureau in Israel.
On Nov. 1, 2004, while we were in the Palestinian territories meeting with the
AP bureau chief in the West Bank, he received a phone call from a correspondent.
Israeli military forces occupying the area had just killed a 12-year-old Palestinian
boy who had been throwing stones from approximately 300 meters away. A soldier
had shot the boy in the throat with live ammunition. The bureau chief immediately
phoned the bureau in Israel with all the details.
Later, back in the U.S., we looked up AP coverage of the killing of this child.
We found no story. We did find an AP photo on the internet, but could not find
a single American publication that had printed it – perhaps because there
was no news story accompanying it.
October 17, 2004, several armored Israeli vehicles invaded a Palestinian refugee
camp. The vehicles stayed for twenty minutes, asserting their control. There was
no Palestinian resistance. At one point an Israeli soldier poked his gun out of
his vehicle, aimed at a boy nearby, and pulled the trigger. The 14-year old boy
was shot in the lower abdomen. (He survived.) A Reuters photographer photographed
this incident, and an Associated Press cameraman filmed it. The AP cameraman sent
the video to the bureau in Israel, where it was erased.
In other words, AP had video footage of an Israeli soldier intentionally shooting
a young Palestinian boy who was not attacking him, and they erased it. How could
such footage not be considered newsworthy?
On Dec. 2, 2004, newspapers around the country received an Associated Press story
about a candidate for the Palestinian presidency. The story reported that the
candidate was in an Israeli prison, but, oddly, did not mention that he was being
physically abused while in custody. It also failed to mention that over 8,000
Palestinians are incarcerated, that they are routinely abused, and that many are
tortured, despite never having been charged with a crime.
This article carried a Palestinian byline and dateline. In reality, however,
the Palestinian journalist given as the author of this report does not write
articles. He phones information in to the AP bureau in Israel, where a journalist
living in Israel writes the story. This ghost writer is almost always either
an Israeli citizen or a person with strong ties to Israel.
It seems fraudulent to portray articles as having been written by one party
in this conflict, when, in reality, they have been written by members of the
On May 11, 2004, an AP news story reported: “The Geneva-based Defense for
Children International and Save the Children, based in Sweden, said that as of
May 2004, 373 Palestinians under 18 were being held in Israeli detention centers
and prisons. At least three of the detainees are under 14...The groups charged
that the treatment of Palestinian child prisoners by Israeli authorities amounts
to a pattern of violence that has gone unchecked for years...”
This is important information for American taxpayers, since the US gives Israel
over $10 million per day, and people throughout the world are aware that the
US is Israel’s major supporter, thus blaming Americans for Israel’s
actions. Oddly, however, AP sent this story out only on its Worldstream newswire,
and not to American newspapers. Thus, people everywhere else in the world learned
about these reports on Israeli human rights violations, but Americans did not.
In 2004, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Thomas Moorer passed
away. Moorer, a World War II hero and one of the country’s highest ranking
officers, had long been an outspoken critic of Israel – particularly of
Israel’s brutal attack on a U.S. Navy ship, which had killed 34 American
servicemen and injured 172. Just months before his death, Moorer appeared on Capitol
Hill heading an independent inquiry, which found that Israel had “committed
acts of murder against U.S. servicemen and an act of war against the United States”
– words he repeated in an op-ed in the military’s Stars and Stripes
newspaper on Jan. 16, 2004.
On Moorer’s death three weeks later, AP quickly sent out a 366-word report.
The story included a sentence stating that Moorer had “...accused Israel
of deliberately attacking the USS Liberty, an American spy ship.”
Within a few hours, AP sent out an expanded, 529-word obituary. The above sentence
had been removed, and with it any hint of Moorer’s views on Israel: “The
American people would be goddam mad if they knew what was going on.”
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