Warning to Journalists

Don’t let the truth slip in to your reports on Israeli invasion of Gaza or you’re fired!

By Mark Anderson —

Journalist Christopher Hedges is among the few influential American reporters who see a terrible crisis in journalism regarding Israel’s violence against Palestine.

In a speech to the New York Society for Ethical Culture, Hedges focused on Israel’s genocidal “Operation Cast Lead” which started in late 2008.

Of course, the genocide against Gaza has continued with today’s even more brutal “Operation Protective Edge.” The first Israeli operation killed roughly 1,400 Palestinians.

In the current campaign, the offensive carried out by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) easily killed around 2,200 Palestinian civilians. The seven-week assault rendered some 500,000 people homeless and destroyed about 10,000 homes and other buildings.


UN shelters were attacked, as were schools, power and water stations, and even some hospitals—where the dead and dying, including hundreds of children, overwhelmed doctors who often wept over the constant carnage. Over 130 productive factories also were blown to smithereens.

Hedges noted that, given the utter superiority of Israel’s military—combined with what he described as Israel’s genocidal plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine—any news organization that turns a blind eye to this reality is disfiguring the very concept of truth.

He said America’s learning institutions and its news media have buried the fact that Israeli violence against Palestine started virtually on day one, when, in 1948—the very year the Israeli state was born—some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homeland by Jewish militias.

The Hamas militia fighters on the Gazan side do launch rockets, of modest range and power, with no guidance systems, into Israel. Sometimes Hamas fires first, but oftentimes Israel does. Some 69 Israelis died in the latest fighting, all but five of whom were IDF soldiers. The numbers vary, depending on the source.

A proclaimed “long term” ceasefire came about, by way of Egyptian negotiators, on the evening of August 26. Apparently the ceasefire held through August 27. Hamas declared itself the victor, of sorts, while Israel boasted it had destroyed Hamas’ underground tunnels—without describing how what was mainly an air campaign could have significantly affected the tunnels.

Hedges, who formerly wrote for The New York Times and other mainstream media, and covered war firsthand in the Balkans, is perhaps the most recognized reporter among a strong but small minority of influential figures in journalism who have the temerity to confront the mind-numbing propaganda that always paints Israel as the victim and Palestine as the aggressor.

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Another especially outspoken “dissident” journalist is award-winning online columnist and author Bob Koehler. He quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying: “Israel regrets every injury to civilians. I call on the residents of Gaza: Don’t stay there. Hamas wants you to die; we want you to be safe.”

Koehler observed: “Is it really that easy to sweep away the moral sting of violent action? A captive population is being pummeled with missiles. . . . But [Netanyahu says] ‘we want you to be safe’ and ‘wish we didn’t have to do this.’”

Hedges blasted “the lies [which] permeate the absurd reports” at the Times. He said that elite rag often quotes unnamed Israel defense officials whose “spin” on Gaza rivals that of Washington officials on why America “needed” to attack Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hedges, who noted that most foreign reporters are barred from Gaza and cannot verify Israel’s version of events, said: “[Journalists] are asked to abandon their trade as reporters to become stenographers.”

He declared: “The cynicism of conveying Israeli propaganda and lies as truth, as long as it’s sourced to unidentified Israeli officials, is the poison of American journalism.”

In related developments, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton was forced to resign after criticizing Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. And NBC’s Egyptian-American correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin, who reported firsthand the Israeli naval fire which killed four boys playing on a Gaza beach, was soon ordered by NBC to leave Gaza. While in the end he was sent back to Gaza, NBC would not comment on whether his temporary removal was because his report put the Israelis in too harsh of a light.

Glenn Greenwald, the popular former Guardian reporter, remarked in an online interview that, with few exceptions, American media get an “F” grade for their Gaza coverage. He noted: “There’s no question . . . that the American media covers this conflict . . . based on the principle that Israeli lives are just inherently more valuable than Palestinian lives.”

He went on to say that with citizen journalists, in and around Gaza, skillfully using social media to expose the truth on the ground, the orthodox media’s days may be numbered.

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AFP Roving Editor Mark Anderson is a veteran reporter who covers the annual Bilderberg meetings and is chairman of AFP’s new America First Action Committee, designed to involve AFP readers in focusing intensely on Congress to enact key changes, including monetary reform and a pullback of the warfare state. He and his wife Angie often work together on news projects. Write to Mark at [email protected].