Burying the Story Along with the Body: Did the New York Times Lead Anthony Shadid to His Death?

The following article contains information about how AP buried explosive information about Anthony Shadid’s death:

By Alison Weir, CounterPunch, June 29, 2012

Anthony Shadid was an astounding journalist.

By 43 he was legendary for his courage and lyrical, powerful reporting. He had received the Pulitzer Prize twice for his moving reports from the middle of the Iraq war and had built, as the Washington Post noted, “one of the most storied careers in modern American journalism.”

He had reported from the chaos of war zones and had survived multiple crises. In Libya he had been kidnapped, beaten, and held for six days. In Palestine he had survived an Israeli bullet fired at him from 25 feet away.

“They were looking to kill me,” Anthony said afterward. The bullet passed through his left shoulder, sheared off part of a vertebra, and exploded out his right shoulder. An inch difference would have left him paralyzed, a little further, dead.

But he survived, continued his evocative reports, and didn’t plan on getting killed. He had a wife and two young children, and used his experience to gauge what he could do and what was too foolishly risky to undertake.

Until his final trip.

His death in Syria on February 16, 2012 sent shock waves through newsrooms around the country. Numerous articles described his bravery, brilliance, and elegiac prose.

The Los Angeles Times called him “one of the most prolific and poetic correspondents to cover the Middle East” and compared him to World War II’s Ernie Pyle.

New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger stated about their star reporter: “Anthony was one of our generation’s finest reporters. He was also an exceptionally kind and generous human being.”

The Washington Post, where he had previously worked, called him “one of the most incisive and honored foreign correspondents of his generation.”

Even the White House mourned his loss. The press secretary read a statement on Air Force One and added his own comment: “Anthony Shadid was one of the best, perhaps the finest, foreign correspondent working today.”

But it turns out that his death wasn’t all that it seemed, and the newspapers and individuals who praised Anthony Shadid so lavishly are now ignoring what seems to have been his final request.

On June 23rd, explosive new information suddenly and unexpectedly came out halfway through a calm, thoughtful speech by Anthony’s close cousin, Dr. Edward Shadid of Oklahoma City. In an acceptance speech on behalf of the family at a banquet honoring Anthony, his cousin quietly described an awful scenario:

Just 11 months after Anthony’s deeply traumatic kidnapping, for which he received no counseling or treatment for possible PTSD, The New York Times insisted that Anthony illegally infiltrate Syria in a poorly planned, dangerously risky operation. His editors overruled Anthony’s objections and failed to provide equipment he had requested. When he then died of what his cousin suspects was a heart attack, the Times put out an inaccurate story that obscured the newspaper’s role in his death, while proclaiming him a hero and basking in the reflected glory.

Worst of all, Anthony’s cousin said, the subsequent narrative from former executive Bill Keller and others that “great journalists” always go into danger, “that’s what they do,” was setting up future journalists to take excessive, possibly lethal risks.

Dr. Shadid pointed out, “There is an inherent inequality of bargaining power between journalists and their editors. Commitment and a history of bravery can be exploited by editors and management, who are under their own pressure to meet production goals and achieve awards.”

During his speech at the annual American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Convention in Washington DC and in interviews afterward, Anthony’s cousin gave new details about the incident, some of them differing significantly from the story given by the New York Times.

Dr. Shadid, who is a medical doctor and city councilman in Oklahoma City, revealed that a security advisor working for the Times had originally analyzed the newspaper’s plan for getting Anthony into Syria. The advisor determined it was too dangerous, and forbade him from going. Yet, six weeks later, after CNN had gained access, Times editors sent Anthony into the area, even though the security situation had grown worse in that time.

Anthony’s colleagues expressed surprise that his editors insisted he enter Syria, Dr. Shadid said, because Anthony had appeared on Syrian television and was a “wanted man.”

The night before Anthony left for the area, he spoke to Times editors over the phone in a conversation that included “screaming and slamming down the phone,” his cousin related.

When Anthony objected to the planned operation and the physical demands of the journey, Times foreign editor Joseph Kahn flippantly responded from his desk in New York, “It sounds like you’re going to get a lot of exercise on this assignment.” Anthony’s request for camping equipment for the trip was turned down.

Upon his arrival in Turkey, his departure point for illegally entering Syria, the Times plan immediately began to break down. Motorcycles had been planned for travel; they weren’t there. Smugglers that the Times had arranged to take Anthony and a photographer into Syria were also, it turned out, going to be smuggling in crates of ammunition.

At this point, Dr. Shadid said, Anthony called his wife and “gave his last haunting directive: ‘If anything happens to me, I want the world to know the New York Times killed me.’”

He said that after Anthony’s death, the Times put out a story saying that Anthony “died of asthma and that his body was carried out heroically by a journalist.” According to Dr. Shadid, “That never happened.”

He provided details about the immediate circumstances of Anthony’s death that he said were omitted from the Times narrative. (The Times has said that Anthony’s death was brought on by an asthma attack triggered by exposure to horses.)

Immediately preceding his death, Dr. Shadid said, Anthony and his accompanying photographer had been confronted with a pack of barking dogs. They were very afraid this had given away their position, and Anthony asked that they stop. The photographer, however, put his arm around Anthony’s back, insisting that they continue and get away from the barking dogs. Anthony collapsed and was immediately unconscious, according to Dr. Shadid, “in a manner that is more consistent with a heart attack than an asthma attack.”

In a later interview Dr. Shadid continued to question the asthma version, saying that the family has never seen the autopsy report. In addition to his own medical practice, Dr. Shadid comes from a multi-generational family of physicians. His relative, Dr. Michael Shadid, also from Oklahoma, was the author of “Crusading Doctor: My Fight for Cooperative Medicine” and has been called the “father of the health maintenance organization.”

The main point of Dr. Shadid’s speech, made both at its beginning and end, was the importance of learning from Anthony’s death and protecting future reporters – both from a narrative that promotes excessive risk-taking and by providing “prudent, industry-wide protections for our correspondents.”

He called for mandatory physical exams and CPR training for reporters going into war zones. His experiences with Anthony and other correspondents, he said, led him to believe that “there is an epidemic of PTSD” throughout the industry.

Anthony’s kidnapping 11 months before – during which he had been beaten and subjected to mock executions­ – had been insufficiently addressed by the Times, Dr. Shadid said. He had been sent back out into the field three weeks later without counseling or treatment.

Burying the story along with the body

So far, none of Dr. Shadid’s information has been reported by the New York Times, Associated Press, or a multitude of other major national news media that headlined his death, though it has been covered by Politico, smaller outlets, and online sources, including Washington Post and LA Times blogs.

Queries to the New York Times are met with an official statement denying that the paper pressures journalists into war zones. The statement addresses none of the details raised by Dr. Shadid. Foreign Editor Joseph Kahn has not returned phone calls.

It is disappointing that the Times is sticking to a version in which it can take credit for a prize-winning journalist who allegedly died in a glorious quest to get the story, rather than revealing allegations that he fell in a sloppy plan put together by editors eager for scoop journalism and who overruled their seasoned reporter’s objections.

And it is also disappointing that other news organizations have similarly opted not to cover this new information.

The Associated Press, where Anthony worked early in his career, is the world’s largest wire service and is the major source of international news for American media. It has two bureaus in Washington DC that send out multiple stories a day.

After Anthony’s death, AP Senior Managing Editor John Daniszewski had called him a brilliant colleague who “was calm under fire and quietly daring, the most admired of his generation of foreign correspondents.” AP Vice President and Executive editor Kathleen Carroll had also mourned his passing: “Anthony was not only a brilliant journalist, he was a people magnet … whose marvelous work and generous heart will be missed in equal measure.”

Yet, AP has failed to issue a single news report telling the public of the new revelations about Anthony’s death. Its Corporate Communications department, charged with responding to inquiries from the public, does not reply to emails or phone calls on the subject.

On Monday, two days after the Saturday night speech, editors at AP’s Washington DC bureau reportedly were talking about what to do, and decided to do nothing. By Wednesday AP’s New York editors, who are reportedly in charge of what goes out on the topic, were saying that the story was “stale,” seemed to have “run its course,” and that they had “no plans to cover it.” Neither Carroll nor Daniszewski returned phone calls.

It appears that Anthony’s family is conflicted about discussing this publicly. His cousin, who was introduced at the banquet as having been “like a brother” to Anthony, made his public speech on behalf of the family with many of its members present. Among them was Anthony’s young widow, herself a Times reporter, who had earlier said that she was “a little mad at journalism” but had never elaborated further. However, after Politico and some others reported on the speech, she tweeted that she would not participate in a public discussion of Anthony’s passing and did not approve of such a discussion. She has not denied any of Dr. Shadid’s assertions.

Dr. Shadid, however, apparently feels that such a discussion is necessary in order to better protect upcoming journalists from an industry that provides them too few protections. Such protections, he said in his speech, would be neither costly nor difficult, but will only occur if enough people call for them.

There is no doubt that the circumstances preceding Anthony’s death and his cousin’s public revelations about them are highly newsworthy: they add new information on the widely reported death of an extremely significant figure; dispute allegations contained in a multitude of previous news stories; provide a troubling look at how one of the nation’s most important newspapers treated its reporter; contain a powerful condemnation of that newspaper said to have been made by the deceased journalist; and, probably most importantly, convey information that could potentially prevent future tragic deaths.

Anthony’s death has robbed the future of reporting that could etch distant, tragic events on the world’s consciousness. A New York Times article awhile back included one if his transcendent passages:

“In the Lebanese town of Qana, where Israeli bombs caught their victims in the midst of a morning’s work, we saw the dead standing, sitting, looking around. The village, its voices and stories, plates and bowls, letters and words, its history, had been obliterated in a few extended moments that splintered a quiet morning.”

Anthony Shadid’s death was a profound and enduring loss. Quite likely, Americans will now learn less about the Middle East and the carnage being visited upon its people. The gifted, luminous writing that conveyed its minutiae, tragedies, and human dimension in words unlike any others is now forever gone.

Such a loss is made even sadder by the discovery that it seems to have been so unnecessary. Worse still, is to find a media world that exploits such brilliance, pats itself on the back for journalism’s heroism, weeps great tears at a colleague’s death, and then buries the truth along with the body when unpleasant details about a powerful newspaper emerge.

Saddest of all, is the likelihood that the burying of this story, along with recommendations of how news corporations could better protect their journalists, will lead to future burials of brilliant, courageous young journalists seeking to follow in Anthony’s footsteps – and who follow him in ways they did not expect or deserve.

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Alison Weir is Executive Director of If Americans Knew and President of the Council for the National Interest. She can be reach by emailing contact@ifamericansknew.org

More information:

• Dr. Shadid’s speech can be viewed at

• The full circumstances of Anthony Shadid’s shooting in the West Bank can be found in “Inside the Mind of Anthony Shadid,” by Dave Kindred at:

http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201202/anthony-shadid-interview-dave-kindred-morning-miracle-inside-washington-post-excerpt

• The Anthony Shadid quote is from his book, House of Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2012.

• While professional journalists praised Anthony’s reporting and he received numerous awards for it throughout his career, Israel partisans tended to be less fond of it. Among those who criticized his work were Jonathan Schanzer, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel thinktank; Daniel Pipes, known for his attacks against Islam; and columnist John Leo. There is no evidence that Leo has spent significant time in the region or has any expertise on it.

Additional citations will be posted at http://ifamericansknew.org/ and http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/

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Israel Lobby Dominates Congress, Media Covers it Up

You might think that 20 percent of the American Congress going on all-expenses-paid, week-long junkets to a foreign country — paid for by a lobby for that country — would be newsworthy, especially when the top congressional leaders of both parties are leading the trips.

You would be wrong.

Eighty-one congressional representatives from all over the country, led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, are traveling to Israel this month. Most are freshmen congressmen, and the group includes half of all the freshmen Republicans voted into office in 2010.

The week-long trips are being paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which was created in 1990 as a supporting organization of AIPAC, America’s major pro-Israel lobbying organization, sharing the same building. AIEF, which is only one of numerous organizations pushing pro-Israel policies, has an annual budget of over $24 million, with an even larger endowment.

This is an extraordinary situation. No other lobby on behalf of a foreign country comes anywhere near controlling such wealth or taking so many of America’s elected representatives on a propaganda trip to its favorite country.

Not all those going on these trips are enthusiastic. The wife of one congressman who made a similar trip some years ago said that she and her husband had never been exposed to such pressure in all their lives. She said that at one point on their trip, her husband — a normally extremely tough man — was curled up in a fetal position.

A staff member of one representative participating in this month’s junkets said the representative had no choice. If the congressional rep didn’t go on the trip, the rep would be targeted by AIPAC, large quantities of money, including massive out-of-state money, would be raised for the opponent in the next election, and quite likely the representative would be defeated. The staffer said that the Israel Lobby is far too powerful to ignore and that American voters have no knowledge of what’s going on.

It’s no surprise that voters are unaware that their representatives are being propagandized and pressured by a foreign lobby. Their news media almost never tells them.

US media out to lunch

The Associated Press, America’s number one news service, has decided not to report on a lobbying group taking 81 representatives to a foreign country in order to influence their votes.

Even though the trips are being reported by news media in Britain, Iran, India, Israel, Lebanon, and elsewhere, AP has decided to give the story a pass. When contacted about this, an AP editor in Washington, D.C., said AP knew about the trips and was “looking into it.”

Taking a similar tack, The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Boston Globe, Fox News, CNN, ABC, NBC et al, failed to inform Americans about the trips. The Washington Post, after the story was posted throughout the blogosphere, finally covered it belatedly on Page 13. The CBS website had a story on the situation, but CBS News made no mention of the junkets on-air.

The only AP stories on the subject are scattered local stories about individual representatives. For example, AP’s Chicago bureau reported that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is taking part, without reporting that he was one of 81 representatives accepting these all-expenses-paid junkets and that his trip was being paid for by the pro-Israel lobby.

A few other American media outlets reported the story in interestingly diverse ways:

Washington’s Politico covered it twice.

The Atlantic‘s website reported on people who were “kvetching” about the one-sided nature of the junkets, pointing out that some of the reps were also going to meet with some Palestinian leaders, without telling how many (no one will say) and for how long (apparently for a few hours of the week-long trip).

Los Angeles’ Jewish Journal was remarkably forthright, reporting that “the congressional reps will be getting the dog and pony show,”

Commentary gloated at the “astonishing” number of representatives going on the trip, noting that “Congress is the backstop that gives Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu the ability to say ‘no’” to the president of the United States.

While Commentary claims that the willingness of congressional representatives to go on all-expenses-paid trips by one of the country’s most powerful lobbies “is a good reflection of American public opinion on the Middle East,” this is actually far from accurate.

Surveys find that an extraordinarily strong majority of Americans — typically between two-thirds to three-quarters — do not wish the U.S. to take sides on Israel-Palestine. Such widespread desire for non-intervention is particularly noteworthy given that U.S. news sources across the political spectrum are consistently highly Israel-centric in their reporting.

It is quite likely that such voters would be unhappy to learn that a foreign lobby has such power over their elected representatives, leading them to give the favored nation, one of the smallest and wealthiest countries on the planet, over $8 million per day of American tax money when the U.S. is in the middle of a financial crisis.

Perhaps that’s why AP and the others don’t tell them.

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By Alison Weir, president of the Council for the National Interest and executive director of If Americans Knew. She can be reached at contact@cnionline.org. This article was originally published by Antiwar.com, CounterPunch.org

Read more by Alison Weir

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AP’s Matti Friedman: Israeli citizen and former Israeli soldier

In the previous post, “‘Israeli army strikes Gaza after school bus hit’ – Deconstructed,” I examined the Israeli-centric wording and pattern of omissions in AP’s report on the recent violence in Gaza. At the end of the piece I noted:

“…the story was written and edited in Israel by Matti Friedman, a journalist who may have family ties to the Israeli military.”

Tonight I was examining AP’s recent reports on Israel-Palestine and noted additional articles by Matti Friedman. Since they all seem to contain such distinctly pro-Israel bias I decided to look into Friedman more to see what I could learn about his/her background.

It turns out that Friedman is male, grew up in Canada, and at the age of 16 won a “Bronfman Youth Fellowship” for an all-expense-paid five-week summer trip to Israel for Jewish high school students from North America to “encounter the land and people of Israel [and] study Judaism and major issues in contemporary Jewish life.”

The next year he moved to Israel, where he settled and has lived since 1995. And yes, he served in the Israeli military.

In fact, he edited an article for the Bronfman alumni magazine entitled “Military Service as a Formative Experience; Reflections from Bronfmanim,” in which he writes:

“Military service, with its trials, frustrations, and hard-won personal victories, is nearly always a formative experience for those who undergo it… The experience remains seared into the memory of the Amitim and Bronfman Fellows who have spent time in uniform, long after they return to civilian life.”

Now Friedman works as a correspondent for AP’s control bureau for Israel-Palestine, where he writes news articles that are consistently Israeli-centric in their wording and focus and, especially, in which information they include and which facts they leave out. Perhaps it’s not surprising that he consistently mentions Israeli injuries and deaths while rarely mentioning Palestinian ones, even though the latter occur far more often.

It may not be surprising human behavior, but it is unacceptable journalism.

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For more articles on journalists covering Israel-Palestine who have ties to the Israeli military see:

US Media and Israeli Military: All in the Family

Ethan Bronner’s Conflict With Impartiality

 

 

 

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“Israeli army strikes Gaza after school bus hit” – Deconstructed

First, let’s look at what has happened in Gaza in the past week:

Following is how AP reported on this. This story is on hundreds of newspaper websites around the country:

Israeli army strikes Gaza after school bus hit

By MATTI FRIEDMAN

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli aircraft and ground forces struck Gaza on Friday, killing two Hamas gunmen and three civilians

No mention in either the headline or the lead paragraph that Israeli forces killed a total of 14 people in the past 24 hours, including a mother, her  daughter (injured another of her children), and an elderly man, and that they injured dozens of others.

in a surge of fighting sparked by a Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli school bus the day before.

No mention that this rocket attack was sparked by Israeli forces killing five Gazans in the preceding few days.

Just over two years after rocket fire from Gaza triggered

Israel had already broken the cease fire three times, killing seven Palestinian, which is what triggered the rocket fire.

a devastating Israeli military offensive in the territory,

which killed approximately 1400 Palestinians, at least 773 of them civilians – hundreds of them children.

Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers seemed on the brink of another round of intense violence.

AP still chooses not to mention the five Palestinians in Gaza that Israeli forces had killed in preceding days.

In Thursday’s attack, Gaza militants hit an Israeli school bus near the border with a guided anti-tank missile, injuring the driver and badly wounding a 16-year-old boy. Most of the schoolchildren on the bus got off shortly before the attack.

ADDENDUM: While AP emphasizes the Israeli claim that all civilian & children’s deaths are accidental, it  appears that AP made no effort to determine whether the resistance targeting a school bus may have been accidental. Reuters reported on  Saturday:

“‘It was not known that the bus targeted on the outskirts of Gaza carried schoolchildren,’ spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters, adding that the road where the bus was travelling was often used by IDF vehicles.”

By Friday morning, Israel’s ongoing retaliation

AP calls the Israeli action retaliation (for two injured, one with minor injuries) but fails to note that the rocket attack was retaliation (for the killing of five people).

had killed 10 Gazans – five militants, a policeman and four civilians – and wounded 45. The dead Friday included three civilians killed by Israeli tank fire and two militants killed in an air strike, both near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

Still no mention of the mother and children.

Hamas, which had largely held its fire since Israel’s last major offensive, claimed responsibility for the bus attack.

Had the bus been full, broader Israeli retaliation would have been all but inevitable and the region – already destabilized by the popular revolts sweeping the Arab world – could have been drawn into another war.

It’s odd to put such speculation in a news article, especially when AP left out so many newsworthy facts.

It is unclear if Hamas was trying to provoke a new conflagration, if it was not fully in control of all of its fighters, or if it believes Israel would pull back before invading Gaza again.

Again, it’s odd to put such speculation and commentary in a news article, especially when AP left out so many newsworthy facts.

Israel was condemned internationally after the last incursion.

“Incursion” is an odd word for the massive invasion by Israeli forces that was condemned in detailed reports issued by numerous highly respected international organizations.

Hamas said the rocket attack was in retaliation for the killing of three fighters in an airstrike earlier in the week. At around midnight Thursday, with Gaza rocked by explosions, the organization announced a cease-fire.

This was actually announced earlier and included all sectors of the Gazan resistance. The announcements about this also spoke of the 21-year-old killed on Tuesday, whom AP never mentions in the report.

But the Israeli strikes continued, hitting Hamas facilities and smuggling tunnels.

And many other facilities. AP also fails to mention that the tunnels are a response to Israel’s suffocating siege of Gaza, noted by groups such as Christian Aid.

Electricity lines and transformers were damaged, causing power blackouts in some parts of the territory, according to Jamal Dardsawi, a spokesman for Gaza’s Electric Distribution Company.

While AP speculated about what would have happened if the nearly empty Israeli bus had been full, there is no mention here about what electricity blackouts are actually doing to Gazan patients on respirators, in hospital operating rooms, etc.

In Israel, studies at some schools near Gaza were canceled Friday because of concerns for the students’ safety.

No mention of schools in Gaza, whose students have been injured, one killed, and parents killed and injured.

Palestinian militants launched nine mortars and rockets into Israel, causing damage to at least one building, the military said. Israeli casualties have been kept low thanks to reinforced rooms and early warning systems.

and the fact that the Israeli military, thanks to Americans’ $8 million per day to Israel, is the fourth or fifth most powerful military in the world.

Matan Vilnai, the Israeli Cabinet minister in charge of the home front, told Army Radio that Israel was acting to deter attacks. “We are acting as we see fit so that this type of fire will not continue, and so that the people behind the fire will regret it,” Vilnai said.

Israel’s education minister, Gideon Saar, said in a briefing with reporters that any civilian casualties in Gaza were unintentional and that Israel did not target “anyone except the terrorists.”

AP fails to report that numerous international investigations have found evidence indicating that Israel has often targeted civilians.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the bus attack and expressed concern over civilian casualties in Israel’s strikes. He called for “de-escalation and calm to prevent any further bloodshed.”

Thousands of rockets from Gaza have hit Israeli towns and cities since 2001.

AP fails to mention that these have killed a total of approximately 20 Israelis. AP also fails to mention that during the same period Israeli forces have killed thousands of Gazans, including numerous children.

Israel’s attempts to stop the rockets have included military incursions and covert operations abroad aimed at disrupting Hamas’ efforts to procure arms.

AP again gives the Israeli narrative. It fails to report that Israeli military incursions and covert operations preceded Gazan rockets.

In February, a Palestinian engineer was seized from a sleeper train in Ukraine and showed up several days later in Israel,

The normal way to report this would be to state that Israel kidnapped a Palestinian engineer in the Ukraine.

where he has been charged with masterminding Hamas’ rocket program.

Once again, AP emphasizes Israeli claims without including countering claims.

Last year a Hamas operative was assassinated in Dubai, and Israeli agents are widely assumed to have been responsible. Israel identified the man as a Hamas agent responsible for obtaining weaponry from Iran.

Again, we get the Israeli narrative, and only the Israeli narrative.

This week, Sudan accused Israel of being behind an explosion that killed two in Port Sudan. The blast was thought to be linked to arms smuggling to Gaza. Israel would not comment.

AP doesn’t bother supplying any information about the two human beings in Port Sudan who were just killed.

——

Ibrahim Barzak contributed reporting from Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

Yet, the story was written and edited in Israel by Matti Friedman, a journalist who may have family ties to the Israeli military.

[Update: it turns out that Friedman is a former Israeli soldier; he may still be in the reserves. See "AP’s Matti Friedman: Israeli citizen and former Israeli soldier"]

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In case anyone is curious about what occurred before this period, March had seen increased Israeli hostilities, including tightening the siege and a gradual escalation of Israeli  military attacks that killed 15 Palestinians, including 5 children, while another 90 Palestinians, including 22 children and 6 women, were wounded.

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Israel airstrike kills 1 Gaza militant – deconstructed

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip* [March 29, 2011] — An Israeli aircraft attacked a pair of Palestinian militants* riding on a motorcycle in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing one and wounding the other, the Islamic Jihad group said.

1. Although the dateline says that the story was filed from Gaza City, it is highly unlikely that it was actually written there. Most likely a reporter in Gaza phoned information to AP’s control bureau in Israel, where this story was written – probably by an Israeli journalist.

2. The writer chose to call the victims “militants.” However, another, probably more historically accurate term for Palestinian fighters against Israel would be something like “members of the Palestinian resistance.” While such phraseology might seem odd to people used to US/AP news coverage, it is actually closer to the phraseology used in other conflicts.

The Israeli military said it had “targeted and hit a terrorist squad” that had launched rockets toward southern Israel the previous day. The military said the air force carried out an additional airstrike overnight that hit a smuggling tunnel in southern Gaza.*

1. Notice that the story gives the Israeli military’s claims without any additional context.

2. For example, it doesn’t explain that the “smuggling tunnels” are used to bring in diverse goods to Gaza’s 1.5 billion men, women, and children, who have suffered from immense deprivation of medicines, building supplies, food stuffs, etc. due to Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

3. It doesn’t tell that the Israeli military is the fourth strongest military in the region, supplied with the best tanks, weaponry, and fighter jets that American tax money can buy, while Palestinian resistance fighters usually have little more than home-made rockets.

4. It doesn’t report that the “aircraft” was an unmanned drone.

5. It doesn’t report that Israeli forces have killed thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children since 2000.

Islamic Jihad said the men were on their way to a nearby mosque to pray.* The Iranian-backed* group, which has killed scores of Israelis* in rocket attacks* and suicide bombings*, vowed revenge.*

1. In a less Israeli-centric report the statement that the men were on their way to pray would have been placed far higher in the story.

2. The group may or may not be backed by Iran. This speculation has yet to be confirmed. Yet, here AP reports it as fact.

3. Notice that AP, which ignored the thousands of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, does report on the “scores” of Israelis killed by Islamic Jihad.

4. Rocket attacks have killed approximately 20 Israelis in total. Why is this fact never in AP stories?

5. The last suicide bombing by Islamic Jihad was four years ago, it killed three Israelis.

6. AP frequently reports Palestinians vowing “revenge.” It virtually never describes grieving Palestinian widows, wives, children, mothers, fathers of the fallen. Conversely, it describes all these for the far rarer Israeli victims; yet, it almost never reports their vows to kill more Palestinians.

Israel invaded Gaza, which is ruled by* the Hamas militants*, more than two years ago, in a fierce* offensive meant to end years of rocket fire*.

1. Hamas was elected in fair elections. Some Christians ran on the Hamas ticket.

2. Again, the use of the derogatory, Israeli-centric term “militant,” rather than a more normal desgination, such as “resistance movement.”

3. What AP calls a “fierce offensive,” much of the world called a massacre.

4. The rocket fire had largely stopped in the truce that began in June… Israel violated the truce three times, killing at least seven Palestinians; the rocket fire only began after that. Moreover, there is evidence that the invasion had been long planned and was merely awaiting a pretext. Finally, Israeli invasions preceded rocket attacks. The rocket launchings only began after Israeli forces had invaded and shelled Gaza, killing and maiming masses of people.

The operation inflicted heavy losses on Hamas* and brought about a period of relative quiet*, but Israel believes the group has recovered and restocked its arsenal with even more powerful weapons*.

1. Most of the victims were civilians, including hundreds of children.

2. For AP “relative quiet” means that Israelis have not died. In realilty, numerous Palestinians have been killed since that time.

3. AP says “ever more powerful weapons.” In reality, the weaponry of Palestinian resistance groups would never be called “powerful,” and largely consisted of home-made rockets launched out of the besieged, poverty stricken strip. Now some have acquired real rockets with longer range. They are still far from powerful, particularly when compared to the Israeli arsenal: nuclear weapons, F-16s, tanks, drones, etc.

Recently, there has been an escalation of violence* along the Gaza-Israel border. Both sides have indicated they do not want a repeat of the winter 2009 war* in Gaza.

1.The violence largely consists of almost daily Israeli invasions of Gazan territory and Israel declaring large swaths of farmland a “closed military zone,” creating extreme hardship for farmers whose subsistence comes from that land, and Israeli forces shooting farmers and nonviolent protesters who enter the area. Palestinian resistance fighters try to fight back, some using rockets.

There is no mention in the story that this was the the sixth member of Islamic Jihad to be killed by Israeli forces in the last ten days; no Israelis have been killed or even wounded.

2. The 2009 violence was hardly a “war.” Israeli forces killed 1400 Gazans; Gazans killed 9 Israelis (4 more were killed by Israeli “friendly fire.”)

3. There is no mention that the other victim of the Israeli strike is in critical condition.

4. There is no personal information about either victim; no mention that the one killed was 24 years old. If he had been an opponent of China or Libya, he would be reported as a hero.

5. There is no mention that a high proportion of Gaza’s residents are refugees ethnically cleansed by Israel in its 1948 war to create a Jewish-only state.

To see how this incident was reported elsewhere view Ma’an News, IMEMC, Al Jazeera, and AFP.

To see other newsworthy incidents that occurred during the same period see The Missing Headlines.

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The Missing Headlines

To read news and analysis about the Palestinian Territories, Israel, and the Middle East not being reported by mainstream U.S. media go to “The Missing Headlines

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