Peter Hart: Israel, Gaza and False Balance

Media construct a symmetry of violence where none exists

By Peter Hart, Fair, September 1, 2014

 Extra! cover, September 2014Striving for a deceptive “balance,” US media miscast the devastating violence of Israel’s attacks on Gaza and obscured the lopsided nature of the death toll.

This started with the timeline preferred in much of the press. By most media accounts, the conflict started when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12; their bodies were discovered on June 30. The Israeli government immediately declared Hamas responsible. Days after the discovery of the victims’ bodies, a Palestinian teenager was abducted and murdered by Israeli extremists, in what was called a “revenge” attack. Hamas rockets started falling in Israel, and “Operation Protective Edge” was Israel’s response.

This narrative of Israeli response to Palestinian aggression was set from the beginning: “Striking back. Israel hitting hard overnight with 34 precision airstrikes on a Hamas compound,” declared ABC World News’ Alex Marquardt (7/1/14). A USA Today editorial (7/15/14) explained that the war started when “Hamas began its latest round of mostly ineffectual rocket attacks on Israel.”

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