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Media Coverage of Israel’s killing of Palestinians

Posted on Friday, 1st August 2014 @ 12:40 AM by Text Size A | A | A

Media Coverage of Israel’s killing of Palestinians

by Ian Welsh

During Operation Cast Lead, the last time Israel decided to concentrate a large number of war crimes into a short period by kicking the shit out of Gazans despite the fact that Palestinians offer exactly zero real military threat to Israel I wrote a lot about it, and received the strongest pushback of my writing life: rich donors don’t like it when you say bad things about Israel.

Coverage in the US, of Israel, is so slanted that the Washington Post runs with 2 Israeli soldiers dying rather than over 60 civilians being slaughtered.

Simply put, for most news organizations, when Israel goes on a rampage, inflicting massively disproportionate collective punishment (a war crime), you have to make your bones.  Ideally you should cover for Israel: make excuses or slant coverage.  Of course the Post mentions that many more Palestinians are being killed by Israel than vice-versa; and of course the Washington Post will get around to mentioning the number of children killed

But the Washington Post editors know what all news editors know: about half the audience only reads the headlines.  Half of the remaining audience reads only the first paragraph.  If you don’t get around to mentioning inconvenient facts until later, most people will never read them.  You can feel virtuous “we covered that”, while being a propaganda outlet at the same time.

As with a lot of topics, writing about Israeli war crimes endangers your career.  The publishers and editors don’t want to hear; powerful politicians don’t want to read it.  Those who wrote against the Iraq war tended to get demoted or lose their jobs.  It’s not so bad for Israel and Palestine, of course: if you’re the sort of person who might write such articles, you’ll never make it to a position to write those articles.

Oh, to be sure, there are exceptions, and there are more in Britain than in the US.  But they are exceptions.

Writing about Israel and just noting the facts even handedly (starting with the higher casualty numbers, say), if you’re career minded, or just want to be able to feed your family, is a bad move.  It’s just not worth it.

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