In August 2014, the New York Times and other leading news sources reported that not only was Hamas to blame for Israeli attacks on Gaza during the previous week, but also that Israel’s attacks were justified because they killed fewer civilians than in the prior attacks.
The New York Times coverage asserted that Hamas had “repeatedly” broken cease-fire agreements. However, writing for FAIR, Peter Hart argues that this claim is “deeply misleading.” Although Hamas is often depicted as rejecting “good faith efforts to stop the fighting,” these same news outlets either ignore or downplay instances when Hamas has offered to initiate ceasefires or truces. For example, as Ira Glunts reported for Mondoweiss, in July 2014, Hamas offered Israel a 10-year truce if Israel met ten conditions.
On the other hand, the corporate media almost never ostracize Israel when there is evidence that it has broken a truce. As the Guardian reported, for example, “Israel accused Hamas of violating […] temporary ceasefires after rockets were launched from Gaza. More than 25 airstrikes hit Gaza in response to rocket fire, killing a woman and a two-year-old girl, and wounding at least 15 others in Gaza city.” As Peter Hart reports, the New York Times described these events as though Israel’s response was appropriate and justified, because Israel was using its “intelligence capabilities” in ways that resulted in “limited” civilian casualties.
As of October 1, 2014, there has been no corporate media coverage of these distortions in New York Times’ coverage. Peter Hart’s articles seem to be among the few that publicly question the Times’ perspective, and, specifically, how it repeatedly asserts to its readers that the human cost of Israel’s Gaza strikes could have been worse.
Peter Hart, “How the New York Times Twists Gaza,” FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) Blog, August 22, 2014, http://www.fair.org/blog/2014/08/22/how-the-new-york-times-twists-gaza/.
Peter Hart, “Did New Gaza Cease-Fire Start With an Israeli Airstrike?” FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) Blog, August 6, 2014, http://www.fair.org/blog/2014/08/06/did-new-gaza-cease-fire-start-with-an-israeli-airstrike/.
Student Researcher: Summer Mayne (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Patti Dikes (Point Loma Nazarene University)