Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How the Washington Post (among others) distorts the Middle East

I've said plenty of times that the press does a terrible job of reporting on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, particularly with Israel (it's not exactly an opinion which is original to me). For some reason, the Washington Post has been one of the worst offenders in this regard, and I recently came across this description of exactly how they get it so wrong.

The Washington Post consistently mischaracterizes the Arab-Israeli conflict as: (1) primarily a dispute over land in the West Bank and Gaza, rather than what is, in reality, a continuing attempt by the Arabs to annihilate Israel that began long before Israel was in control of the West Bank and Gaza; (2) then, mischaracterizes the land as "Palestinian land,"illegally occupied by Israel, instead of disputed territory to which Israel has legitimate claims; and, (3) finally, mischaracterizes Israel's military and security tactics as inhumane and in violation of international norms, when they are probably the most protective of human rights in the history of warfare. All three of these fundamental mischaracterizations by The Post are developed in more detail below.

It goes on from there to give a lot more detail. It's not exactly a nuanced article, and even a strong supporter of Israel like myself can find ways in which it goes too far in the other direction (for instance, there are plenty of ways in which the Israeli Army has clearly stepped over the line from time to time. Even if (importantly) these are isolated incidents, rather than planned policy, it's still important to acknowledge them, if you're going to say/suggest that all innocent Palestinian injuries were reasonable accidents). But, it gives a strong summary of how the press can often use omission and distortion to make Israel look bad.

If you're one of the many who want to support Israel more vocally, but are often confused/frustrated by what you see in the press, this is a good place to start.

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