PBS’ "Newshour," with host Hari Sreenivasan, followed the direction of the majority of mainstream media programs last Thursday in presenting a wholly biased and inaccurate portrayal of the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip following the end of Operation Pillar of Defense.
The news program aired two back-to back-stories-- one focusing on Israel, the other focusing on Arabs in Gaza-- about the resumption of normal life in the region, both of which presented only one side of the situation, completely omitting the Israeli narrative.
According to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), “The Gaza segment included dramatic footage of destruction in the Gaza Strip and images of ordinary civilians including an old man with a cane, a relieved mother and her disabled son. The reporter even interviewed a wheelchair-bound man who lost both legs in Cast Lead.”
The Israel segment, however, did not include even one scene of destruction from the country’s south, which had been barraged by unremitting rocket attacks launched by terrorists based in the nearby Gaza Strip. These rocket attacks were, in fact, the reason behind Israel’s defensive measures and its launching of Operation Pillar of Defense, which began a series of targeted killings and surgical operations in an effort to ensure the safety and security of its citizens of the State of Israel.
There are no interviews with Israeli citizens who were forced to cope with ongoing rocket attacks. Rather, the only Israelis seen in the segment are soldiers, along with their tanks and weaponry.
"Newshour" sought to humanize the Arab population, while demonizing the Jewish state, its actions, defensive policies, and civilians.
The program provided a platform for Arab political figures and analysts to voice their opinions, while in the Israel segment, by contrast, not a single Israeli politician or analyst was permitted to address viewers.
“The reporter simply tells viewers about her discussion with an unnamed political analyst,” CAMERA reports.
Furthermore, the reporter in the Gaza segment declares inaccurately that there is "just one militarized crossing from Gaza to Israel. And Israel decides what crosses, goods, people. It is a complete commercial stranglehold on a place desperate to be a country."
Israel, in fact, continues to provide Gaza—the terror safe haven—with goods, humanitarian aid, electricity and an array of other necessities and services.
Two crossings – Erez and Kerem Shalom- service the Gaza Strip from Israel and they continued to operate even during Pillar of Defense, except when they were under mortar and rocket fire from Gaza.
In addition, Israel does not hold a "complete commercial stranglehold" on Gaza, which also has a border with Egypt that is a transit point -- when Egypt allows movement.
“These factual errors need correcting,” CAMERA urges. “PBS, a recipient of federal funds through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is required to maintain ‘strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.’”
While the conflict between Israel and Hamas is nothing if not controversial, the Newshour segment was “partisan, factually flawed and unbalanced,” CAMERA asserts.
“Let PBS know their bias is showing!” the organization urges.