Inmate Death: What the Media Chose to Ignore

The New York Times also downplays the violence of stone throwing. It notes a general fact about what Jaradat did, where he did it, and when. But it completely ignores the fact that there was at least one victim. New York Times readers would never know that Jaradat was directly responsible for injuring someone.

In fact, the treatment the stone throwing incident is consistent with the general trend of coverage that downplays stone throwing as a minor offense, not as an act of violence. As more media coverage of a burgeoning Third Intifida surfaces, it is essential that the media cover stone throwing as acts of violence capable of wounding and even killing innocent victims.

CNN‘s coverage improved on the NY Times slightly. It included information about the Jaradat’s crime, but still ignored his membership in a terrorist organization: “Jaradat had been held for interrogation since Monday for a 2011 incident in which an Israeli citizen was injured by rock-throwing Palestinian protestors. Jaradat confessed, Israeli security sources said,” CNN reported.

And it wasn’t just the New York Times and CNN that ignored Jaradat’s ties to terror, sticking to the established narrative of Jaradat as an upstanding citizen devoted to his family. Other publications that covered the story without mentioning the ties to al Aqsa Brigades included the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor,The Guardian,and The Independent,. among other media outlets.

There is a world of difference between reporting that a violent terrorist died in Israeli custody versus the prevailing narrative that a beloved father of two was tortured to death by Israel. As the story of Jaradat’s death continues to unfold, the media has an obligation to expose the public to Jaradat’s entire biography, not just those facts that are likely to draw sympathy.

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