“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
This philosophical question could well be applied to the media’s treatment, or lack of, concerning the latest barrage of rockets to be launched from Gaza at Israeli population centers.
- Three Grad rockets exploded in southern Israel Saturday night and early Sunday morning, prompting Beersheba and Ashdod mayors to shut down the local school systems on Sunday.
- Three people were hurt while running for shelter and four were treated for shock.
- A Netivot home sustained extensive damage but, remarkably, a resident, alone at home at the time of the hit, was left unhurt.
But unless you are Israeli or follow the Israeli press, the likelihood that you have heard of the weekend’s events is close to nil. Despite the international media being around to hear the tree falling in the forest, it still made no sound as none of the major media outlets bothered to report on it.
Not the New York Times, which preferred to focus in great detail on Gaza’s poverty, omitting any mention of rocket fire. Not The Times of London, which insultingly published a trivial and irrelevant story on Israeli ultra-orthodox women adopting Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, as a fashion icon.
And not the BBC, CNN, LA Times or Washington Post.
Also unsurprising that smaller news outlets failed to note the weekend’s events considering that the Associated Press wire service that feeds stories to a huge number of other media, gave the story a mere five sentences.
You can bet, however, that any major Israeli military operation in defense of its citizens to put an end to rocket fire, that results in loss of Palestinian life, terrorists or otherwise, will make headlines.
Why is this important? In the eyes of the general public, Israel is perceived as the aggressor, striking out at Palestinians in Gaza with little provocation. Wouldn’t they see it differently if the media bothered to report on the fact that so far in 2012, terrorists in Gaza have fired at least 557 explosives at Israeli civilian targets?
Indeed, since 2001, Hamas and the other terrorist groups have fired over 13,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and cities, killing dozens of civilians.
Just because this has been going on for far too long, it does not absolve the media from acknowledging that it is happening. Because without the coverage, the context behind the next story vanishes.
The likely result is one where, according to the media, It All Started When Israel Fired Back. Instead of giving an accurate timeline of events and a realistic assessment of cause and effect, the story begins with