Does Israel-Gaza Media Coverage Lack Balance?

Critics say the media presents Israel as the victim and Palestine as the aggressor even though Israel is stronger and better equipped.

Does Israel-Gaza Media Coverage Lack Balance?
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For a week now, stories about the ongoing conflict in Gaza have been splashed across the front pages of major world newspapers and have headlined just about every nightly new program. (Via The New York TimesThe TelegraphThe Wall Street Journal, The Jerusalem Post, Le Monde, The Toronto Star, Al Monitor, CBS, NBC, BBC

"And here, an Israeli family tries to salvage what they can. One woman standing speechless among the ruins."

Only problem? That family wasn't Israeli. They were Palestinian. (Via ABC

ABC later acknowledged the misreporting, but critics say the mistake represents a broader problem with the recent media coverage.

Or as Peter Hart at media watchdog group FAIR writes, "ABC's error should be seen less as a simple mistake, and more as a reflection of a worldview."

Critics say that worldview can boiled down to simply: Palestinians attack, and Israelis fight back. (Via RT

Take the headline on a story BBC published last week — which read "Israel Under Renewed Hamas Attack." (Via BBC)

After some backlash, the BBC ended up revising its headline. 

The Guardian's Owen Jones says the original headline was a very one-sided way to put it when you consider the facts. "The media coverage hardly reflects the reality: a military superpower armed with F-15 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, Delilah missiles, IAI Heron-1 drones and Jericho II missiles (and nuclear bombs, for that matter), versus what David Cameron describes as a 'prison camp' firing almost entirely ineffective missiles."

The Gaza Health Ministry says over 190 Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli airstrikes  — more than 30 of which were children. On the Israeli side, zero fatalities. (Via Getty Images)

Critics offer up those numbers as evidence of how disproportionate they say Israel's operation in Gaza has been. But many Israelis say those numbers don't tell the whole story. 

YONATAN KOHN, TEL AVIV RESIDENT: "Many Israelis have a lot of empathy toward the civilian casualties in Gaza; however, I almost feel as though Israel is being punished. We have the Iron Dome system — which seems to be pretty effective — and the rockets are also inaccurate. It's somewhat frustrating for me because I feel people are saying Israel doesn't have these mass casualties, but it's not for lack of trying." (Image via Getty Images

Hamas has been clear about its intention to kill Israelis — with a spokesperson recently saying all Israelis had become targets for missile attacks. (Via The Jerusalem Post

Israel blames Hamas for the civilian deaths — accusing the militant group of storing its weaponry in residential areas — leaving the IDF with no choice but to strike there.

PETER LERNER, IDF SPOKESMAN: "The IDF uses weapons to safeguard its civilians. Hamas uses its civilians to safeguard their weapons." (Via CNN

Israel says it's doing its best to prevent civilians casualties — including dropping leaflets and sending text messages with evacuation warnings to Gaza residents. (Via Press TV)

And for that, a writer at Slate says, Israel should be commended: "Anyone concerned about the deliberate targeting of civilians in this conflict should first look at Hamas. The rocket fire from Gaza into Israel began well before the Israeli assault on Gaza."

But many Gaza residents say they aren't given enough time to evacuate their homes. 


MOHAMED AL-AILA, GAZA RESIDENT: "Just 44 seconds to leave the house. Imagine there are elderly and children. How are you going to leave then? No one can evacuate his home just like that."

Mohamed Al-Aila passed along this video appearing to show a Gazan home getting a warning from a smaller missile, followed by a full airstrike just a minute later later. (Via Facebook / Mohamed H Al-Aila)

​Prospects for peace appear slim. On Tuesday, Hamas rejected an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire. Israel has responded by resuming its airstrikes.