The Propaganda Barrage

Dear HonestReporting Member,

Here is a series of the most blatant media violations of the past week, and our recommended responses. Pick from the menu and contact the editors to complain.

Yaakov Mandell and Yosef Ish-Ran HY Biased Reporting #1
“EQUATING CHILDREN’S DEATHS”

Several publications tried to balance the horror of the deliberate bludgeoning of two Israeli teenage boys in Tekoa, with the accidental death of a four-month-old Palestinian baby two days earlier.

CNN’s article entitled “Two Israeli teenagers found dead” unexplainably featured a photo of the Palestinian baby buried earlier in the week.

In The New York Times, Joel Greenberg reported: “The [Tekoa] deaths came two days after a 4-month-old Palestinian baby girl was killed by Israeli tank fire and further roiled emotions in a week of spiraling violence that neither side seems able to control.”

You can address letters to:

CNN
Tom.Johnson@turner.com
Eason.Jordan@turner.com
Rick.Davis@turner.com

NEW YORK TIMES
letters@nytimes.com

(Thanks to Camera.org for background research.)

* * * * *

SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT

To the Editor:

The brutal bludgeoning death of two Israeli boys was a horrific act of cold-blooded murder. Yet your interjection of the accidental death of a Palestinian baby two days earlier has no relationship to the deliberate killings of the Israeli boys.

Your equating these deaths is essentially a paraphrasing of Yasser Arafat who, in response to a reporter’s question about the Israeli boys, said that a Palestinian baby wounded in fighting “was exposed to the same tragedy.”

The Palestinian casualties would have been avoided had Palestinian gunners not used homes as a firing position. Why do you compare this to the deliberate cold-blooded murder of the Israeli boys?


 

Biased Reporting #2
“PAPAL VISIT TO KUNEITRA: SYRIAN PROPAGANDA TRAP”

Pope John Paul II visited the Golan Heights town of Kuneitra (or Quneitra) this week. The Syrians claim that Israel deliberately destroyed the town before withdrawing in 1974. The town has remained a desolate ghost town “which Syria has preserved as a museum of Israeli brutality,” according to The New York Times (May 6).

Several news agencies and correspondents naively and unquestioningly reprinted the Syrian canard about Kuneitra — a classic case of imbalanced reporting and distortion of historical facts.

CNN’s Brent Sadler referred to Israel’s “systematic destruction of Quneitra.”

Time Magazine’s Tony Karon wrote that Kuneitra “was destroyed by Israeli forces in 1974 and has been maintained as a ghost town ever since.”

The New York Times’ headline presented the Syrian propaganda about Kuneitra in no uncertain terms: “Pope Prays for Peace at City Destroyed by Israel.”

The Washington Post’s Howard Schneider wrote of the “dozens of buildings damaged when Israeli occupation forces pulled out of Kuneitra 27 years ago.”

HonestReporting members may wish to send letters to:

CNN
Tom.Johnson@turner.com
Eason.Jordan@turner.com
Rick.Davis@turner.com

TIME MAGAZINE
letters@nytimes.com

WASHINGTON POST
letters@washpost.com

* * * * *

SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT

To the Editor:

The history of Kuneitra is very different from the Syria propaganda that was uncritically repeated in your story. As the only town along the front with Israel, Kuneitra served as the Syrian command center until the 1967 war. The Syrian army’s officer’s club, barracks, and fuel and ammunition dumps were prominent buildings in the town. At the outbreak of the 1973 war, Kuneitra was a major target for Syria’s opening assault on Israeli troops. The town changed hands several times, as tank fire and artillery battered buildings throughout the town. After the cease-fire, Syria unleashed an 81-day artillery battle of attrition that damaged more of Kuneitra.

The New York Times, the newspaper of record, proves beyond a doubt that the damage to Kuneitra occurred as a result of Syrian attacks. For example:

  • An article headlined “Fighting Flares in Golan Heights as Syrian Tanks Attack Israelis” reports that Syria had shelled Israeli positions in the Golan for three hours, hitting “El Quneitra, Nahal Gesher and Ein Zivan.” (New York Times – June 25, 1970)
  • An article headlined “Syria Shells Israeli Bases in Occupied Golan Heights” reports the announcement by Damascus radio that Syrian artillery had shelled “Kafr Naffakh and El Quneitra.” (New York Times – November 26, 1972) 
  • Another article told of a Moroccan brigade sent to Syria and “taking part in an attack on El Quneitra.” (New York Times – October 11, 1973)

  • Another article referred to Quneitra as “a bombed-out military town…” (New York Times – October 21, 1973)

 

All these articles describe Kuneitra as “destroyed” months or years prior to Israel’s 1974 withdrawal — the time that you report Israel as having perpetrated some sort of intentional destruction.

Perhaps it is asking too much for the frail and elderly Pope to have responded to President Assad’s anti-Israel diatribe, but it is certainly within reason to demand that “objective media” such as yourself avoid echoing Syrian propaganda.


 

Biased Reporting #3

“MINIMIZING THE LETHAL CARGO”

After Palestinian mortar attacks against Israeli communities, some reporters described the lethal mortars as “falling harmlessly,” or described the mortars as “ineffective” and “homemade.” Of course, the malicious, murderous intent of Palestinian gunners was anything but harmless.

This week the Israeli navy intercepted a boat laden with mortars, katyusha rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, self-propelled grenades, mines, assault rifles, and ammunition. Interrogation of the crew revealed that they had made at least two prior deliveries of these tools of terror.

icleText>The Washington Post’s Mike O’Connor greatly minimized the strategic threat when he wrote of the “fishing boat trying to smuggle four antiaircraft missiles and 50 short-range rockets into the Gaza Strip.” O’Conner’s account is online at:

 

If you object to the minimizing of the Palestinian armed threat, you can send a letter to: letters@washpost.com

* * * * *

SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT

To the Editor:

The May 8 article on Israeli “Expansion in the West Bank and Gaza,” minimizes the threat of weapons that Palestinians attempted to smuggle into Gaza. The reporter dismisses the cargo as “four antiaircraft missiles and 50 short-range rockets.” In truth, the boat was a terrorist supermarket, loaded with mortars, katyusha rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, self-propelled grenades, mines, assault rifles, and 13,000 rounds of ammunition.”

Four anti-aircraft missiles may seem inconsequential, but not if your family is flying out of Tel Aviv’s airport within striking range of these Palestinian weapons. The tons of weaponry smuggled into Gaza over the years — both by sea and by underground tunnels from Egypt — represent a serious danger that must not be minimized.


 

Biased Reportings #4
“AND FINALLY… A WORD FROM GOLDENBERG”

The Guardian (UK) is so consistently biased against Israel that it’s hardly shocking anymore. But reporter Suzanne Goldenberg’s account of an Israeli army action against Palestinian gunners in Beit Jala earlier this week deserves special mention.

Four times Goldenberg wrote of Israel’s “invasion,” and described how the army “pounded … crushed … roared … thrusting women and children…” And who was responsible? “Hardline” Ariel Sharon, of course.

As for the Syrian town of Kuneitra, Goldenberg refered to it as “a macabre shrine to Israeli aggression.”

Read Goldenberg’s purple prose at:
http://guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,487051,00.html
http://guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,487311,00.html

Write to:

letters@guardian.co.uk
foreign@guardian.co.uk

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