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American media distortion on Palestine by Alison Weir


Thirteen years ago I knew very little about Israel-Palestine. Like most Americans, this seemed to be a distant, confusing conflict that had little to do with me. I was unaware –again, like most Americans – that American taxpayers give Israel over $8 million per day, more than we give to any other nation.
I was unaware that our nation has vetoed numerous United Nations efforts to reign in Israeli aggression; resolutions that were supported by almost every other country around the world. I was unaware that US actions were enabling a massive land theft and ongoing ethnic cleansing that has caused profound tragedy in the Middle East, deep damage to our own nation and endangered American lives.
My personal awakening to these facts and others began in the autumn of 2000 when the Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada began and was, for a while at least, in the American news. I grew curious about this conflict, determined to follow the news on it, and noticed quickly how one-sided the news coverage appeared to be.
While we heard from and about Israelis frequently, the Palestinian side seemed to be largely glossed over at minimum, and was sometimes completely hidden.
I began searching for additional information on the Internet and was astounded at what I learned. Israeli forces were killing hundreds of largely unarmed Palestinian men, women and children; many of the children were being killed by gunshot wounds to the head.
While some Israelis were also being killed during this period, these deaths were far fewer and virtually invariably occurred after Palestinian deaths. Over 90 Palestinian children were killed before a single Israeli child. Over 140 Palestinian men, women and children living on their own land were killed before anyone in Israel was.
As I learned the nature of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the true history of the region, it began to seem to me that this was the longest and possibly most significant cover-up I had ever come across. I finally decided to quit my job as the editor of a small community newspaper in northern California and go and see for myself what was going on, travelling to Israel-Palestine as a freelance reporter in February and March of 2001.
When I returned I created an organisation called “If Americans Knew” to provide the full facts to my fellow citizens and to study why and how US news coverage was failing to do this.

Israel-centrism and patterns of distortion

We have conducted a number of statistical studies on this issue and found that US media were covering Israeli deaths in far greater detail than they were covering those of Palestinian.
For example, the New York Times was reporting on Israeli children’s deaths at a rate seven times greater than they were covering Palestinian children’s deaths; this didn’t even include the far larger number of words and amount of personal information given about Israeli victims compared to Palestinians. We also found that primetime network news programmes were covering Israeli children’s deaths at rates up to 14 times greater than the coverage given to Palestinians.
I discovered a system of reporting from the region in which a violent conflict between an officially “Jewish state” and the Muslims and Christians it had dispossessed (and was in the process of dispossessing further) was being covered most of the time by journalists with legal, familial or emotional ties to Israel. A great many are Israeli citizens (though this is almost never disclosed) or married to Israelis, their children also being Israeli.
I discovered that the Associated Press control bureau for the region, from which virtually all news reports that appear in US newspapers were transmitted, was located in Israel and was staffed almost entirely by Israeli and Jewish journalists (many of whom had served in the Israeli military). MORE

Short URL: http://www.newsnet14.com/?p=123789

"exposing and overcoming pro-Israel power over information in the US about Israel-Palestine may, I believe, be the most important activity that those seeking justice and peace in the Middle East can undertake"

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