Shlomi ShellingAugust 11, 2003 12:00 by ManagingTeam
Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,
On Sunday, Hezbullah terrorists fired shells on the northern Israeli town of Shlomi, killing 16-year old Haviv Dadon and wounding several other Israeli civilians. In response, the Israeli Air Force targeted Hezbullah launching pads on the southern Lebanese border.
Since these two events occurred just hours apart, most news outlets issued one report to cover both. The question: Whose actions made the headlines?
This is a classic example of media bias that HonestReporting has been addressing for years: Despite the fact that Israel was responding to a deadly provocation that violated international law, headlines portray Israel as the aggressor. For example:
MSNBC: “Israel bombs Hizballah in Lebanon”
Reuters: “Israeli Warplanes Raid South Lebanon”
The Age (Australia): “Israeli planes strike Lebanon”
Associated Press: “Israeli Warplanes Blast Hezbollah Areas”
[An earlier AP headline seemed to confer statehood on the Hezbollah terror group: "Shelling in Hezbollah Kills 1, Hurts 4" ]
By withholding the report of Hezbullah’s deadly terror attack until the body of the articles, these media outlets falsely suggest that Israel initiated the violent exchange.
By comparison, here’s a balanced headline from the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune: “Israeli boy killed in Hezbollah shelling; Israel responds by attacking targets in Lebanon.”
HonestReporting encourages subscribers to monitor your local paper. Did its headline focus exclusively on the Israeli response? If so, write to your local editor, emphasizing the following points:
1) Why was the Israeli strike deemed more significant, justifying a headline, while Hezbollah’s deadly terror provocation against civilians was relegated to the body of the article?
2) Why did the headline deviate from chronological order by naming the Israeli strike before the terror attack that precipitated it?
3) Given the fact that many readers see only headlines, doesn’t this headline misrepresent the day’s full events in the region?
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.
— GUARDIAN SIDESTEPPING —
The HonestReporting communique of August 6 challenged The Guardian to provide evidence for its claim that “hundreds” of Palestinians had been recently arrested, a claim used by The Guardian to cynically downplay the significance of Israel’s mass prisoner release last Wednesday.
Guardian reporter Chris McGreal claimed in the original article:
“The list of 342 [Palestinians to be released] fell about 200 short of the number the Israelis said they would free. It included about 100 common criminals and large numbers of security detainees who were to have completed their sentences in weeks and months. Hundreds more have been arrested in the meantime. ”
It is clear that McGreal’s “in the meantime” refers to the period between the Israeli cabinet’s approval to release 540 prisoners (July 27) and the release of the list of 342 (August 5). Our challenge: Who are these “hundreds” McGreal refers to, arrested since July 27?
The Guardian responded by noting the hundreds of emails from HonestReporting subscribers, then surreptitiously moved back the frame of reference for their “hundreds” claim — a full month before the date McGreal’s article referred to, back to the end of June at the outset of the Palestinian hudna.
Does The Guardian really believe that HonestReporting readers are so gullible as not to catch this sleight-of-hand? HonestReporting has again put the question to The Guardian in an email correspondence, but The Guardian’s editors have yet to reply.
— FLORIDA’S MAXWELL —
Hats off to the folks at PRIMER, a Florida media monitoring group, for dissecting Bill Maxwell’s latest column.