Read at www.aljazeera.com
Western media has come under scrutiny for their biased coverage of Israel's war on Gaza, with allegations of telling one side of the story and glossing over violence selectively. This bias has allowed Israel to justify its occupation and violence against Palestinians for decades.
Since the beginning of the latest Israeli assault on the besieged Palestinian enclave, Western news organisations have repeatedly published unsubstantiated claims, told one side of the story and glossed over violence selectively to justify Israel's violations of international law and shield it from scrutiny.
The failures of Western journalism in reporting on Israel's conduct towards Palestinians are not new. The New York Times was criticized for burying the lead on the deaths of six Palestinian children in a report and later failing to report that the Israeli military admitted responsibility for the strikes. This biased reporting perpetuates the narrative that favors Israel and ignores the suffering of Palestinians.
On August 6, 2022, more than a year before Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel, in a particularly egregious break from good journalism, The New York Times buried the lede on the deaths of six Palestinian children in its report on a flare in Israel-Gaza fighting. In the report, the journalists waited until the second paragraph to mention that six children were among those killed by Israeli strikes in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza and without even breaking the sentence added that Israel said some civilian deaths were the result of militants stashing weapons in residential areas and in at least one case, a misfired Palestinian rocket killed civilians, including children, in northern Gaza.
The biased coverage by Western media not only compromises journalistic standards but also distorts the reality on the ground. By telling one side of the story and justifying Israel's actions, it perpetuates a cycle of violence and undermines efforts towards a fair and just resolution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In journalism schools this is identified as breathless reporting. And it turned out to be wrong reporting too. Ten days later, the Israeli military finally admitted that it was behind the strikes that killed those children in Jabalia. The New York Times did not report this bit as breathlessly.