Friday, December 29, 2006

Dec 28 Media Critique: "Video Message from Sderot"

The awful biased media are at it again. Ignoring the plight of Israelis injured by Qassam rockets, specifically, the two 14yr old boys hurt on December 27. HonestRepoting says,

The mainstream media continues to downplay or even ignore the continuous Qassam strikes against Sderot and surrounding communities by Palestinian terrorists.
Yet stories appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and the wire services, Reuters and AFP covered it.

In my back yard, the story was covered by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, SBS, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. They were the only ones I checked, but they all carried the story. It’s not a good sample size to make significant claims of probability, but you get the idea.

HR continues,

Commenting on the daily threat to Sderot, the Jerusalem Post points out: "It has become a curious game of Palestinian Roulette ... The rocket that fell in a Sderot nursery school playground could have, with a little less luck, taken the lives of many toddlers."
If the Qassams didn’t result in so few deaths, they could really kill a lot of people.

But, let's be serious. This is an indefensible act. Innocent civilians are clearly at risk. And it’s just as clear that HRs’ protestations that the media “downplay or even ignore” such incidents is pure invention.

I’ll also provide a touch of the ‘context’ that HR so loves. Since the new truce began at the end of November, we now have 2 injured Israelis. And on the Palestinian side? Israel has killed 15. No, that’s not a typo – 15 , during the ‘truce’.

That’s how these things work, Palestinian actions put cease-fires at risk, but Israel can go on killing and it’s ‘business as usual’. The apologists will now interrupt – but the ‘truce’ only covers Gaza. Yes, that’s right, so why do we bother pretending that there actually is one?

Some more context – Israel has killed 660 Palestinians in 2006. Palestinians have killed 23 Israelis . I don’t want to engage in the algebra of body-counts, but it lends some relevant perspective.

To gauge just how much the mainstream media ignore the suffering of Israeli civilians , let’s take the opportunity to do a comparison with a recent incident where a Palestinian child was not just injured, but killed, and see what kind of media attention it grabs. On December 19, the IDF shot and killed 13 yr old Do'a Nasser Hamid, near Tulkarm.

Never heard of the incident? That’s because it went almost completely unreported. Which major media outlets reported this? NYT?-No. IHT?-No. Reuters or AFP*?-No. On my patch – those 4 media outlets that reported the 2 injured Israeli teens – none of them reported the killing of this 13 yr old Palestinian girl. Not one. Try the Google sampling test for yourself. If you can’t be bothered, the returns for the killed Palestinian girl are a remarkable 4, versus between 100-400 (depending on which name you use) for the 2 injured Israeli boys.

Yet, HR whines on,

We ask why Israeli children never earn the iconic status and outpouring of sympathy that the media accredits to other child victims of war or terror in other parts of the world (including the Palestinian areas).

Yes, those lucky, lucky Palestinian children are given such iconic status in the media that their death at the hands of the IDF can go completely unnoticed.

But, for those of us not in the fantasy land of the pro-Israel fanatics, this is not news. We know that reality is the exact opposite of what HR tells its credulous readers. Detailed studies by If Americans Knew demonstrate that media sources vastly under-report Palestinian deaths and fully report Israeli ones. This anecdote just illustrates the trend, which is even more pronounced when the victims are children (IAK found that the NYTs reports Israeli child victims at a rate 10x greater than Palestinian victims.)

Why the sudden beat-up over 2 injured boys in Sderot. Pardon my cynicism, but HR’s last paragraph of this overwrought piece provides a clue,

As the tax year draws to a close, now is your last opportunity this year to make a real difference for Israel. Please make the most generous tax-deductible gift you can today by clicking here.

All makes sense now.

* Significantly, AFP did report the killing of 2 IJ members on the 20th but made no mention of the IDF killing of the 13 yr old girl the day before.