Once again, the New York Times puts a pro-Israel slant on the latest violence in the beleaguered open air prison of Gaza. The paper’s correspondents, who are veterans at distortion, deployed some of the usual time-honored techniques in an article that appeared today:
Dwell on victims in Israel, but brush past dead or injured Palestinians. One person died in Israel, but he got 10 full paragraphs of coverage. We learned about his personal history, his family, and what his apartment in Ashkelon looked like after the Palestinian missile hit it. (The dead man, Mahmoud Abu Asaba, turned out to be a Palestinian himself, originally from the West Bank, who worked inside Israel as a contractor.)
Here was the Times article’s lead paragraph, which describes how Abu Asaba’s wife barely escaped:
The woman emerged dazed from the rubble, suffering from multiple injuries and barely able to speak. Her new husband, Mahmoud Abu Asaba, 48, had been pulled from beneath her amid the ruins of their fourth-story bedroom . . .
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes killed seven people in Gaza. Even though the Times has a reporter in Gaza City, Iyad Abuheweila, none of those victims were even named. Only one Gazan who escaped the Israeli attack was quoted.
Total space for the Gazan victims: 3 paragraphs.
Distort the timeline to implicitly blame the Palestinians for the escalation of violence. Until today, Times reports had been uncharacteristically accurate, explaining that Israel triggered the latest outbreak by violating a cease-fire on Sunday night and sending a raiding patrol into Gaza that killed 7 Palestinians. But today’s article buries the trigger in the 10th paragraph, well after the reporters have informed us that Hamas rocket attacks had “terrorized [Israeli] residents in the bustling cities of Ashkelon and Sderot and in smaller communities across southern Israel.”
Take stenography from the Israeli military. This time around, the Times didn’t even attribute to the usual Israeli spokespeople. The paper simply stated flatly the Israeli military’s official line — that the attack that triggered the latest violence was “a military mishap” after “an elite undercover squad on an intelligence mission in [Gaza]. . . had its mission blown.”
How does the Times know? Maybe in fact the Israelis sent in a death squad to kill Hamas leaders? Possibly dissidents in the Israeli military deliberately wanted to sabotage the ceasefire because they think Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has been too soft?
Use biased language where possible. The Gazans were said to have unleashed “a staggering bombardment of at least 460 projectiles,” and Israel’s southern cities were “blasted from the sky.” By contrast, Israel’s air attacks merely “pounded military targets” and “leveled several tall buildings” in Gaza. Nor did the Times estimate the number of missiles that Israel’s warplanes launched at Gaza.
The Times report ends with a touching propaganda gem. The man who died in Israel, Mahmoud Abu Asaba, will “receive survivor benefits from the Jewish Agency, which has a fund for victims of terrorist attacks in Israel. Isaac Herzog, the agency’s chairman, said it will be the first such award to a non-Israeli citizen.”