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Case Study: How Mainstream Media Whitewash Terror

US headlines on Gaza missile attacks Saturday often made it appear that “militants” simply are responding to Israeli defensive measures.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/30/2011, 5:34 PM

Rocket fire results
Rocket fire results
Flash 90

U.S. headlines on Gaza missile attacks Saturday often made it appear that “militants” simply are responding to Israeli defensive measures. The violence began last Wednesday with a missile attack on southern Israel, but most American media implied that Israel's counterterrorist retaliation was a provocation for Saturday’s multiple terrorist attacks on major urban centers.

One of the most blatant biased versions was printed in the Denver Post, which headlined, “Israel launches Gaza airstrikes; Palestinians Reply with Rockets.” If the reader went past the headline, he then could discover that an Israeli spokesman “said the first attack specifically targeted a cell responsible for a Wednesday rocket attack that exploded deep inside Israel.”

The New York Times, which takes one of the most extreme positions against Israel, headlined Saturday, “Israeli Drone Strike Kills Militants in Southern Gaza.” The headline offered no hint that the IDF was responding to Wednesday's missile attack.

In its first paragraph, the Times made it appear that Gaza terrorists were responding to Israeli strikes and not the other way around.

“An Israeli drone strike killed five Palestinian militants at an Islamic Jihad training site in southern Gaza on Saturday…and Gaza militants fired salvos of rockets at southern Israel after Islamic Jihad pledged that it would respond forcefully to the Israeli airstrike,” according to the report.

The same article highlighted a picture of a Gaza morgue and did not show any photographs of the damage and injuries in Ashkelon, Ashdod and other Israeli urban areas. The journalists mentioned that “several rockets struck in and around the Israeli port city of Ashdod and …other rockets fell in open areas.

It also took pains to report that Hamas “has made efforts to enforce a ceasefire since the last round of cross-border airstrikes and rocket attacks in August”although Hamas has taken responsibility for missile and mortar shell attacks since then.

Towards the end of the report, the Times told its readers that Israel responded to a Wednesday rocket attack.  

The Washington Post also featured a picture of a Gaza Arab reportedly wounded in the IDF aerial strikes and also initially indicated that  terrorists were responding to Israeli counterterrorist measures.

“ Israeli aircraft struck at Palestinian militants on Saturday who responded with a volley of rockets which rained on southern Israeli towns, Israeli and Palestinian officials said,” the newspaper reported.   

It then quoted an Israeli military spokesman that Israel was responding to a rocket attack, which the report pointed out, “caused no casualties.”

It followed with the Saturday attacks by the IDF that killed “people,” not even labeling them as militants let alone terrorists. Israeli injuries were barely noted and only after the article continued, “After the first airstrike, militants in Gaza fired over 20 rockets at southern Israel.”

At the time, it was not known that one civilian Israeli who had been wounded actually suffered more serious injuries than originally reported. He later died.

Reuters headlined its report by stating, “Israel Bombs Militant Base, Gazan Rockets Fall,” again implying that Israel started the violence.

The second paragraph admitted that the IDF aerial strike “followed a Palestinian cross-border rocket launch this week which the Israelis blamed on Islamic Jihad.”

The Associated Press also featured the picture of  an Islamic Jihad “militant” being carried at a morgue, omitting any visual evidence of damage and injuries in southern Israel.

Even after the death of the Israel was reported, Bloomberg News headlined, “Israel Airstrikes on Gaza Strip Kill Nine in Worst Fighting in Two Months,” not noting the death of the Israeli civilian until the end of the lead sentence.

For CNN's coverage, click  here.