Los Angeles Times Slants Coverage of Israel-Gaza Conflict

by A. Jay Adler on November 15, 2012
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Map of Israel, the Palestinian territories (We...

Map of Israel, the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), the Golan Heights, and portions of neighbouring countries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years from now – How long, O Lord? – when the historical studies are done of yet another period of profound human and political failing, the evidence of even journalistic prejudice against Israel and Jews in the first part of the twenty-first century will be too bountiful for the whole to be encompassed. Yesterday, I posted about how National Public Radio offered an account of the growing threat of Greece’s fascistic, neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, inclusive of analogy to the rise of Nazism out of Germany’s troubled Wiemar Republic. Astonishingly, while recounting current offenses against foreigners and gays in the context of this analogy, reporter Joanna Kakisssis, never once mentioned Golden Dawn’s bigotry against Jews – the prejudicial offense for which Nazism is most infamous.

Even the nearly inconceivable excuse of an oversight would prove the point as well.

Today, in the Los Angeles Times, Edmund Sanders’ lede is more commonplace, but no less slanted.

Israel’s surprise air assault on Gaza Strip militants killed the top military commander of Hamas and set the rivals on a familiar course that could end with another major confrontation — but in unpredictable new circumstances created by the “Arab Spring.”

Compared with its past campaigns against Hamas, Israel is likely to find itself more restrained politically and militarily in the new landscape.

We see here fully conscious slanting both obvious to the reasonably informed and unbiased mind and subtle in its reception by the less informed who will be misinformed by it. Sanders is the Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, so of course he knows Israel’s killing of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari followed as many as 800 rockets fired from Gaza on Israel this year, with at least 125 fired this past weekend, before the current Israeli military action. Yet, Sanders, whose slanted writing about Israel is not new, chooses to lead his report with reference to Israel’s “surprise” (because no one might have anticipated it after all that provocation) assault on Gaza strip militants – not their yearlong and weekend long assault on Israel. And it is the Israeli response to these hundreds of rocket attacks that has “set the rivals on a familiar course,” not the abiding animus and continuing violence of  Hamas against Israel.

And what, too – by the way – constitutes Israel as a “rival” to Hamas? Toward what pursuit is Israel in rivalry with Hamas? Toward possession of and governance of Gaza? No. What of anything does Hamas want or have that Israel desires? Nothing. But Hamas does explicitly call for and desire the death of Jews and the possession of the land of Israel. Does Sanders not recognize the settled nature of Israel’s existence  and believe Hamas and the Israeli people to be in rivalry for that land and its governance? Are the United States and Islamic fundamentalists who dream of a world caliphate, in Sanders’ mind and language, rivals?

Yet all this amounts to, in the words of Sanders, not a Hamas campaign against Israel, but one of Israel’s “campaigns against Hamas.” How could any person who actually needs this reporting to be informed come away from it with anything other than a perversely convoluted and concocted implicit history and current account? This is, too, mind us all, not an avowed Palestinian partisan writing, but the pretense of an objective reporter.

This is more slanting in two brief lead paragraphs than can make the remotest claim to fair and honest journalism.


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