The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

Letter to the Editor RE: “Western Journalism Dies in Gaza”

Disclaimer: All Letter to the Editor submissions are from Scribe readers and are not subject to quality control or verification of sources nor do they reflect the opinions of the Scribe team.

Original Article:

Unmasking Media Bias in Israel-Gaza Reporting –  A response to the ‘Western Journalism Dies in Gaza’ article in the Scribe. 

We were appalled to encounter the headline ‘Western Journalism Dies in Gaza’. We’ve typically viewed the Israel-Gaza conflict in the mainstream media as being skewed against Israel, a perspective echoed by many. In the last few months, in particular, CNN and BBC news anchors have needed to retract false statements heavily biased against Israel. 

How could two viewpoints on the same topic diverge so significantly?

The author of the Scribe article argues for the existence of pro-Israel bias: however, a closer look reveals a starkly contrasting narrative with significant instances where media coverage has veered against Israel, perpetuating misinformation and stoking animosity.

On October 17th, an explosion rocked the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital. Palestinian officials rushed to attribute it to an Israeli airstrike which they claimed had killed 478 people. Major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, AP, CNN, and BBC, echoed this assertion without caveats or fact-checking.  However, an Israeli government investigation later determined that the blast was caused by a failed rocket launched from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians by Islamic Jihad – labeled a terror organization by the US. The Israeli government findings were corroborated independently by US, British, and Canadian intelligence services, as well as journalistic investigations. This is also not an isolated incident: over 20% of rockets launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations at Israeli civilians land in Gaza, leading to Palestinian civilian casualties.

A few days later, the New York Times apologized and issued a retraction; however, the damage was done. This false narrative resulted in violence against US embassies and the demonization of Israel.

More examples of biased coverage can be found in this article by journalist Ben Clerkin. 

One notable instance is the misrepresentation of events during the Gaza border protests, where media outlets neglected to give context on Hamas’s role in inciting violence. Clerkin highlights the disparity in coverage between Israeli and Palestinian casualties, with a disproportionate focus on Palestinian casualties while downplaying Israeli victims of terrorism. Another example is the frequent labeling of Israel’s defensive actions as “aggression” without adequate consideration of the underlying threats posed by Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The author of the  ‘Western Journalism Dies in Gaza’ article relies heavily on reports from Amnesty International, an organization with a history of anti-Western and anti-Israeli bias [Here is a compilation of 129 sources with examples of criticism.] He also entirely neglects to mention the influence of financial backing on journalistic integrity, such as Qatar’s significant impact on various sectors, including media and academia [as reported by TheHill and UniversityWorldNews]. In October 2023, the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera news network was called out by the Biden Administration for inflaming public opinion. In addition, an investigation by the Washington Free Beacon revealed that the author of an anti-Israel piece in The NYT was affiliated with a group funded by Qatar, underscoring the need to consider financial motivations shaping narratives. Additionally, even a prominent UN organization, UNRWA, is now implicated in collaboration with Hamas, with reports indicating their employees’ involvement in the October 7th massacre. This disturbing revelation led the United States, Germany, Britain, and other major donor countries to withdraw their funding from UNRWA. [ UNRAW admitted their workers’ involvement in an official post.]

This illustrates the need for both the media to strive for accurate reporting and for the public to critically evaluate sources and motivations behind portrayals of complex geopolitical issues.

In “Western Journalism Dies in Gaza,” the author resorts to using loaded terms such as “apartheid,” “genocide,” and “occupation.” This is entirely false and does not depict the reality on the ground.

Israel is not an apartheid country. 20% of the Israeli population is Muslim, the world’s largest Muslim minority. The official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. Muslims are professors, members of government, and judges on the Supreme Court. 

Israel is not committing genocide. Since 1960 the Palestinian population has increased steadily – as a matter of fact, the population increase rate in Palestine is actually higher than that of Israel.

Israel is not occupying Gaza. The author of the Scribe article overlooks the fact that Israel entirely withdrew all civilian and military presence from Gaza in 2005. 

Such language appears to be more aligned with propaganda than with balanced journalism.

Amidst these complexities, a critical question emerges: How can we protect ourselves from biased or manipulative narratives? We see recent TikTok trends of youth idolizing Bin Laden as a freedom fighter, a powerful reminder of how social media can shape and manipulate our perception of facts – especially when nations like Iran join the information wars on TikTok. We turn to our teachers to teach kids the critical thinking and logic skills that they’ll need to make their own decisions.

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