The American Media

Hello everybody! I had worked on an issue during last year and I really would like to post it here due to the fact that it could be interesting and important concerning journalism and media. I hope you will like it and have some strong opinions about it. Enjoy!

American Media’s Coverage of Gaza


At this time and age it is very accessible for all the audience and readers of different kinds of news in any place of the world to express their own opinions and observations about any issue, apart from the image that the media of their countries has given them. And that is by internet of course.  Personal blogs face book and other social networking sites offer this opportunity.

One of the issues that the global media dealt with was the invasion of Israel on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 to stop the Palestinian rockets of Southern Israel. But what you don’t know is that this war ended with about 1300 Palestinian casualties. According to Palestinian sources, two thirds of the casualties were civilians; according to Israeli sources only one third were civilians. On the other hand 13 Israelis were killed, three of them were civilians.

This fact drove me and many others to ask for more knowledge about this specific war. I’ve searched in the internet and the results were actually very different between the Eastern press and the American press. And nowadays it is spread out by the Middle Eastern press and societies that the American media is less critical of Israeli policy than the Israeli media itself. Openly I will try to investigate the credibility of this argument and whether this argument is true or not.

When searching, I unfortunately found out that the American depictions of the never ending melancholy of the Middle East, Israeli mortality and Arab violence are usually emphasized. The real image of Israeli settlements and Palestinian torment is always biased toward Israel.

One example that I found out was the images published during the war by some of the most important newspapers in the U.S. The NEW YORK TIMES which can often argue that regardless of how they cover the Arab-Israeli conflict, natives on both sides will blame them of bias. But let us look upon the images published during the war and see.

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/01/04/world/20090104-GAZA_index.html

After looking, It is understood that they want to show both sides of the conflict and that includes photos for the rocket attacking Israel and the victims of those rockets. Showing four photos concerning the Palestinians out of 11 photos in total, this means that the coverage is non-balanced and they are not projecting the reality of what is happening on the ground. Also, the Palestinian photos are often showing smoke over Gaza from a far distance, where you don’t really see the impact of what is happening.

Although we would like to think that journalism is a noble and unbiased art but the big number of  Jewish Americans in new York and the strong relationship between America and Israel, also the NYT is in serious financial trouble makes journalism and association that needs to sell newspapers for profit.

The NYT will be unforthcoming to print anything that goes against the sensibilities of their major paying readership and advertisers. And that’s how most of American newspapers function nowadays and being nothing but mere business.

On the other hand the independent media in the US has been relatively more critical of Israel’s war in Gaza than mainstream media with lots of analysis and commentary arguing against it.

Apart from all the many different blogs supporting Palestine there is one very important homepage that we cannot avoid when talking about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the American media which is www.ifamericansknew.org “what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine”. To explain more about this homepage and its goal I am going to quote some fraises from the page:

“The mission of If Americans Knew is to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.”

They also say:

“In analyzing the American media, we are increasingly discovering a cover-up of appalling proportions. Israel is being protected, the news about Palestinians in particular and Arabs in general is being distorted, and the American public is being manipulated.”

“We believe strongly that if Americans knew the truth about Israel and Palestine — about the massive amount of our tax money that is being given away to Israel, and about the human costs of Israel’s American-financed militarism — they would demand an immediate re-thinking of our policies in this region.”

As you see this group is working hardly on informing the American public about the real situation that they don’t know about. The work is made by individuals such as Alison Weir an independent American journalist. Mrs. Weir is working independently and this actually requires a lot of not only work but even souls! See the YouTube clip below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spXA7GrOcLU

So we see that no matter what one nation could broadcast for its public, and never mind how biased the press could be in one country, we are all living in the age of freedom where no government can avoid the truth, there are always journalists who fight against the propaganda in media and they put their lives at risk everyday like Mrs. Weir. The question remains, is that really possible with ISRAEL regardless from its effect on the world and especially on the U.S?!

Rihan Younan

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4 Responses

  1. Good article, well written. I have a different stance on this, coming from a two hour long political discussion I had with an Egyptian man on my last holiday.

    Firstly, isn’t every countries press more harsh on it’s own government than anywhere else? After all – it would be breaking down relations if you insulted other governments, but our own is fine because we can get away with it, being part of that country – so this may account for the Israeli press being more harsh on themselves than the American press.

    Secondly, the war between Israel and Palestine has been raging for thousands of years. It is not a new thing, it has been going on since the birth of Jesus. It is fight over who owns the holy land, and I feel it is unfair to blame Israel for killing so many, when so many of their own people have been killed in the past. If you want an accurate idea of who is in the right and who is in the wrong, you will have to go back to the Crusades and beyond to discover how many on each side have been lost. We are not there, and personally I am not religious, so the holy land means nothing to me. I am unable to comprehend how much it means to certain people, and it just so happens that it means a lot to these countries. To my knowledge Palestine initiated the war by invading the Gaza strip and taking it from Israel in the first place, so I feel they should get what is coming to them. The Germans did after invading Poland, the Romans did after invading Germany, France then England.

    I personally sympathise with Israel due to the fact they were the victims to start. This is just a retaliation. My Egyptian friend that I spoke to on the way back from Cairo was totally unbiased, and a very intelligent man. He said these words that stuck in my head, and I think it is quite literally the most intelligent quote I have ever heard. It is up there with the greats, “Cogito Ergo Sum” by Descartes (meaning I think therefore I am), “There must always remain something that is antagonistic to good.” from Plato and “Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.” of Aristotle. My friends words were:

    If I was a one hundred year old man, and you asked me what I did on the third Tuesday of May when I was 17 years old, I would not remember.

    Thinking about that quote in context of this article makes me question if we should be so quick to judge Israel…just a thought.

  2. Thank you Alex for your comment.

    Concerning the first point, well you might be right about that but the question still remains why is the American press supporting the Israeli government in this case? I’m not saying the US press should insult the Israeli government but rather be objective and show the reality from both sides. Another thing to think about is the reality that appears in their press about other countries such as the third world countries. Why is the American press showing the reality of the third world countries and not Israel? The answer could be found in the site http://www.ifamericansknew.com .

    Secondly, I would like to tell you that I was talking about the war that happened in Gaza in 2008 and giving the numbers of the victims of that specific war. But you are talking about something different now, you are talking about a religious conflict between Jewish and Muslims mentioning Jesus, which makes me ask why are you mixing all the things together? The war “not the conflict” started about 60 years ago, when the UN decided to give some Palestinian lands to Jewish people from different parts of the world and that is by making the actual owners of these lands just leave their lands compulsory, notice here I said “Palestinian lands” not Islamic or Christian lands, this means that the owners could be Christian or Muslim. Personally I am Syrian and Christian, so don’t put religion into nations. I understand that the whole idea started by the “holy land” but that isn’t the whole thing, the conflict is now between nations and not different religious groups.

    Your point about not blaming Israelis for killing Palestinians makes me become shocked, like should you go on killing others just because you once in the past have been discriminated? Personally, my dad is Chaldean and my Mum is Assyrian, I don’t know if you’ve heard about these groups of people before, but these groups also got discriminated and killed by Turks during their try to “vanish” the Armenians, Chaldean and Assyrian. Actually we are only few people left now, spread in different countries, do you think in your opinion I should go on with these few people who are left starting a war over in Turkey and killing the Turkish kids and people because of something their grandparents did to mine? Or does that give me the right to move to another country given by the UN and start a war with its people?

    At the end I would like to say that, I’m a Middle Eastern girl that is true, but I’m raised in both the East and West, so I kind of know what is happening more than other. I have nothing against Jewish people and Israelis, but I have something strong against the UN and its decision at that time about giving Jewish other’s lands and also against the Israeli government as well as Fatah and Hamas (different Palestinian parties), because it is just continuing over years; more loss and victims on both sides, and I really think that the conflict should be solved after all this time.

    I think we got too far in this discussion, the actual article was about the American Media and it’s supportive to the Israeli government and not about the conflict, But I hope I could show some of my opinions clearly.

    Thank you once more for paying attention to my post!

  3. Here, Here!! Well said Rihan, I completely agree. Very interesting blog and very interesting side-track. Under NO circumstances should people be patted on the back for ‘retaliation’ against acts that were performed years ago. Generations have been and gone, children, grandchildren, our children, our grandchildren, should not be tarred with the same brush as our ancestors.

    To make such a blase statement such as ‘you sympathise with Israel,’ I find absolutely shocking considering the brutal suffering that BOTH parties have endured.

    Sam

  4. Thank you Sam for your comment, and thank you for the youtube clips. I think such pictures are what is missing in the American press and what we need to see.

    Rihan Younan

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