As Israel – recipient of billions in US taxpayer dollars a year – continues killing, wounding, and imprisoning Palestinians of all ages, and demolishing their homes, AP’s Morning Wire failed to report any of it.
by Kathryn Shihadah
The Associated Press is one of the most important news sources in the world. It’s the oldest and largest news wire in the U.S. and plays a major role in informing Americans about the world. It is therefore disturbing that its coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue is consistently problematic.
Recent case in point: an examination of its daily list of the top stories over the past two weeks reveals that AP failed to include a single report on any of the numerous human rights violations committed by Israel, the country that receives more US tax money than any other.
In the past two weeks, Israeli forces invaded Palestinian towns at least twelve times, killed six Palestinian civilians – including a 15-year-old who was shot in the head, and a newlywed; the remains of at least one of the Palestinians were seized by Israeli soldiers.
Other newsworthy events include:
- major protests in many locations in the West Bank and Gaza – resulting in hundreds of Palestinian injuries and one known Israeli injury
- the abduction or detention of over 100 Palestinians (as well as several international peace activists)
- many Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and Israeli Navy attacks on Gazan fishermen
- dozens of home invasions by the Israeli military
- at least ten violent attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers squatting on Palestinian land
- hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners
- at least six reports or censures of Israeli actions – including from the UN and Doctors Without Borders
- five day-long live-fire Israeli military drills in Palestinian villages
- at least 16 demolitions of Palestinian homes or other buildings by Israel
One might speculate that AP would be likely to report on an incident of a Palestinian shooting an Israeli child in the head, or the abduction of a dozen Israelis in one night by an invading Palestinian mob. But Palestinian victims go unnoticed.
One piece of old “news”
During the past two weeks, AP’s Morning Wire – which it self-describes as “a daily newsletter from top editors at The Associated Press with the best from our global news report” – declined to tell a single hard truth about Israel’s actions against Palestinians – a bias that If Americans Knew has reported on numerous times.
During In “Palestinian twins open cafe in converted jet in West Bank,” AP’s Jack Jeffery told the story of a restaurant that Palestinians opened more than a month ago – a puzzling choice as, nearly every day in Israel-Palestine, something significant happens.
Associated Press has a bureau in Israel (and offices in Gaza until Israel destroyed them in a particularly noteworthy airstrike), so it has personnel to cover news in the area.
Anyone who doubts the copiousness of news there can consult the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), a joint effort that includes Palestinians and international journalists. IMEMC reports on dozens of local stories every day – stories that were available to AP as well (IMEMC was our source for the newsworthy events listed above).
Yet the Associated Press found nothing worth passing along to its Morning Wire readers in two full weeks, except a month-old story of a restaurant opening.
AP does report on events in Israel-Palestine with some regularity, but as If Americans Knew has pointed out, its accounts consistently leave out critical context, making it impossible for readers to have an accurate understanding of the issues. This is not just the case on individual stories, but also as a long-standing pattern (read this and this for examples of individual stories, this and this for longitudinal studies that IAK has conducted).
AP regularly fails to include critical background, like:
- Israel was born of the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians, a cleansing that continues to this day
- Israel has held the Gaza Strip under a crushing, illegal blockade for over 14 years, halting the entrance of medical supplies, food, and building materials – and devastating the economy for 2 million Palestinians
- Israel routinely conducts practices that are considered gross violations of human rights, including midnight home invasions, torture (including torture of children), extrajudicial executions, and denial of basic freedoms
- Israel is currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court, and has been censured by the United Nations hundreds of times
- Israel is considered an apartheid state by many principled human rights organizations
Associated Press is one of those news sources we’ve come to rely on as objective – but when it comes to the subject of Israel-Palestine, we must look elsewhere, at least until AP can provide accurate, contextualized reporting.
Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. She also occasionally blogs at Palestine Home.
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