Are AP journalists reporting the conflict - or taking sides?
Are AP journalists reporting the conflict - or taking sides?Reuters

Proof has now been produced that the Associated Press implemented a policy of banning quotes from the head of NGO Monitor on Israel-Gaza issues.

NGO Monitor attempts to fight the anti-Israel bias of seemingly objective non-governmental organizations. One of its blatant campaigns was after the recent conflict in Gaza, when Israel was under a heavy international media barrage. Arutz Sheva reported last week that the organization had released two reports exposing how radical-left NGOs in Israel, heavily funded from Europe and the US, were distorting Israeli law to present it as "racist" for an international public.

The story at hand began when former AP journalist Matti Friedman wrote in The Atlantic that, during his time at the AP Jerusalem bureau, reporters had explicit orders “to never quote [NGO Monitor] or its director… Gerald Steinberg." Friedman continued that during his tenure at AP, "moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.”

The accusation was immediately and categorically denied by Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations.

End of story? Not for Lori Lowenthal of the Jewish Press. She found and quoted a second former AP reporter, who told her that the chief of AP's Jerusalem bureau at the time told him straight out that he must not quote Steinberg.

Marc Lavie was, like Friedman, an AP reporter who worked in the Jerusalem bureau during and after Operation Cast Lead. Lowenthal asked Lavie about a supposed AP ban on quoting Prof. Gerald Steinberg around the time of Operation Cast Lead. Lavie said yes, such a ban existed, and that when he included a quote from Steinberg in an article in 2009, the AP Jerusalem bureau chief made him remove it. That editor then told him, Lowenthal wrote, that AP reporters “can’t interview Steinberg as an expert because he is identified with the right wing."

She added that it was later made clear that NGO Monitor’s reports were also not to be quoted at all, because of the organization's political stance – not a pro-Arab one.

Thus, further clarity has been revealed as to why the international media-consuming public is, basically, anti-Israel – for the information given to them presents only one side of the story.