Media Analysis

So far, U.S. mainstream media mostly fails in coverage of Mideast ‘peace plan’

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The U.S. mainstream media should be calling it the Mideast “peace plan,” in quotation marks, instead of accepting the Trump/Netanyahu description as truthful. In fact, it is arguably more an “annexation plan” than anything else, although you will not find that expression in the major American news outlets.

A quick look at the U.S. coverage leading up to today’s White House announcement reveals the usual pro-Israel bias, with at least one surprising exception. 

Once again, the New York Times is a major offender. Today’s article in the print edition takes the “peace plan” seriously, at something approaching face value. The first “expert” the paper quotes, in paragraph 5, is the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a flagship of the Israel lobby; the Times couldn’t find a Palestinian to rebut until paragraph 25. The paper gives both Trump and Netanyahu plenty of space to peddle their cynical propaganda, but offers no one a chance to counter their insincere smirks.

The Washington Post is better. The headline (in an earlier version) starts to approach accuracy: “Trump set to release long-awaited Mideast peace package seen as generous to Israel.” But the article then disappoints; it quotes 3 Israelis, and not a single solitary Palestinian.

By contrast, one NBC News report is a pleasant surprise, headlined “Looming Mideast peace deal amounts to Netanyahu-Trump pact, experts say.” NBC interviewed a professor in London, who said straightforwardly: “The Palestinians were not consulted. It’s a dictate of take it or leave it.” The network then asked Fawaz Gerges, a Lebanese-American academic, who said,

“Trump and Netanyahu care more about electoral politics at home and less about real peace with the Palestinians,” adding that the Trump/Netanyahu agreement “resembles a colonial arrangement of a bygone era.”

As always, we will continue to monitor U.S. press coverage.

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Trump’s “peace plan” is a program for aggressive encouragement of illegal “annexations” of portions of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Trampling on international law is part and parcel of the Trump format.