SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15, 2018 — A study of Associated Press news reports about Israel-Palestine found that AP headlines reported on Israeli deaths at a rate four times greater than they reported on Palestinian deaths.
Reports on Israeli deaths were almost three times longer than reports on Palestinian deaths, and the reports often left out essential context.
The main bureau for the region is in Israel and many of its editors or their family members are Israeli citizens who have served in the Israeli military.
News from the West Bank and Gaza is phoned in to this bureau, where its editors write the reports that are sent out on the wire.
The study examined AP reports on deaths from January 1 through February 7, 2018.
During this period 11 Palestinians had been killed and 2 Israelis.
The study found that AP articles on Palestinian deaths tended to be impersonal or negative, while for Israelis they were personalized or sympathetic and contained more details.
Other news sources often shed different light on the incidents, using eyewitness accounts of brutality on the part of Israeli soldiers and other details omitted by AP.
For example, one AP report says Israeli forces “raided a homeâ€¦killing a Palestinian suspect in a firefight.” Another source adds that they killed the wrong man.
AP stories about a 16-year-old imprisoned by Israel for slapping a soldier frequently omitted the fact that this occurred after Israeli soldiers had shot the girl's cousin in the face.
While AP articles often provided contextual information, this never included the fact that the U.S. gives Israel $10 million per day.
“Without this information,” the report notes, “American readers will incorrectly feel this is a foreign issue that has nothing to do with them.”
The study found: “Basic information that would give the reader an understanding of the context of the hostility was absent.”
None of the reports included the words “occupied” or “occupation.” The report noted: “Omitting the fact that Palestinians are living under Israeli military control leaves readers ignorant of one of the most significant aspects of the conflict.”
The study was conducted by If Americans Knew, a nonprofit that focuses on Israel-Palestine. Executive Director Alison Weir, a former newspaper editor, observes: “AP normally provides excellent, unbiased reporting. It needs to do so on Israel-Palestine.”
The full report is here.
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SOURCE If Americans Knew
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