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Sun Sep 14, 2014, 09:15 AM

 

Why journalists say Israeli-Arab reporting is 'rigged’

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict receives a disproportionate amount of attention in relation to its size and importance in the world; journalists follow the herd and suffer from groupthink; and there is fear of Palestinian censorship, backed up by threats. These are just a few of journalist Matti Friedman’s claims against the foreign media and its coverage of Israel. “As a former insider, and as an Israeli with left-wing opinions that are not radical, I think the decisions that THE BUREAUS of the large global media outlets in Israel make are politically motivated and disguised as motivated by journalistic considerations,” says Friedman, a Canadian-born journalist who immigrated to Israel in 1995 and worked as a reporter for the Associated Press.

During his CAREER he has worked as a reporter in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Moscow and Washington, D.C. In 2013 he published “The Aleppo Codex: In Pursuit of One of the World’s Most Coveted, Sacred and Mysterious BOOKS” (Algonquin Books). His article about press coverage of Israel, entitled “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” which appeared in Tablet magazine in late August, was shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and made a good many waves. In his article, he compares the coverage of Israel to that of other large news events all over the world.

“News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year (271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing erasure of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party, the carnage in Congo (more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012: 60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of India or Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close,” he wrote.

He suggests an explanation for the way Israel is covered. “The people who make the decisions at the newspapers – I speak from direct experience – are hostile toward Israel. They see themselves as part of an ideological alliance that includes NGOs and UN agencies. “They move in social circles that are pro-Palestinian and hostile toward Israel and, and they see journalism not as a way to explain the complex story to people but as a political weapon with which they arm one side in the conflict,” he writes. Friedman is one of a few journalists making such claims about the foreign media. Other veteran journalists who share his view include Tom Gross, a commentator on INTERNATIONAL affairs and a former reporter on the Middle East for the Sunday Telegraph; Richard Behar, who published an exposé in Forbes entitled “The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths about New York Times in Israel-Hamas War”; and Richard Miron, formerly a BBC reporter on Middle East affairs, who wrote about the subject for Haaretz (“Media self-reflection on Gaza war coverage is necessary, but unlikely,” September 1, 2014).

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http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.615621

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Reply Why journalists say Israeli-Arab reporting is 'rigged’ (Original post)
shira Sep 2014 OP
shira Sep 2014 #1
still_one Sep 2014 #2
shira Sep 2014 #3
shira Sep 2014 #4
shira Sep 2014 #5

Response to shira (Original post)

Sun Sep 14, 2014, 09:15 AM

1. OP cont'd...

 

White superpower

“There is not a doubt in my mind that if Israel was not a Jewish state or a state made of Jews, they WILL BE less biased,” Gross told Haaretz. He cites coverage of the involvement of France, which is viewed as a white superpower, in three wars taking place in Africa. “There are very few American or British journalists covering the conflicts in Mali or the Central African Republic – though France is perceived as a white country. If France was a Jewish country, the BBC would send its reporters there, like it does in Gaza,” Gross said. “The question is: Why are they biased against Israel more than in other subjects?” Gross adds. “There’s a mix of things: The foreign news media tend to challenge the world; they want to change the world and fight the big powers. In their heads, Israel is a big power, partly because Israel is close to America, perhaps more than it really is. To them, attacking Israel is attacking America. “Another reason is that they have a kind of guilt about being white and Western, and Israel is perceived as a white country and the Palestinians are perceived as not white. And most Western journalists never heard of the fact that there are Sephardi or Mizrahi Jews.”

One of the biggest stories of the year

In early 2009, two of Friedman’s colleagues received information about a significant peace initiative that Ehud Olmert, who was prime minister at the time, had offered the Palestinian Authority, which turned it down. “This had not been reported yet and it was – or should have been – one of the biggest stories of the year. The reporters obtained confirmation from both sides and one even saw a map, but the top editors at the bureau decided that they would not publish the story,” Friedman writes. “Some staffers were furious, but it didn’t help. Our narrative was that the Palestinians were moderate and the Israelis recalcitrant and increasingly extreme. Reporting the Olmert offer – like delving too deeply into the subject of Hamas – would make that narrative look like nonsense. And so we were instructed to ignore it, and did, for more than a year and a half,” Friedman says. AP’s former head of Mideast reporting, Steven Gutkin, wrote in response to Friedman’s story: “The story was little more than well-written hogwash,” and denied that any decision making was influenced by prejudice.

According to Friedman, activism has trickled into the profession. “It’s political activism disguised as journalism,” he says. If you don’t agree to run the most important story of the year because it will make Israel look good, then you are an activist. You are here not to explain, but to use your influence for the benefit of your own side.”

Unreported 
Hamas covenant

Friedman also points out that AP has never mentioned Hamas’s covenant – which calls explicitly for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, and blames the Jews for the French Revolution and the communist revolution in Russia – once in its reports, even though Hamas won the elections in Gaza. Friedman says that the reason for this is not any great affection for the Palestinians. “It’s not because they like the Palestinians or because the Arabs are paying them. They’re simply not comfortable with Jews,” he says, though he adds that he does not think they are all anti-Semites.

Gross says of his own experience, “Many of my colleagues at the BBC would be shocked at the idea that they were anti-Semitic. But the coverage of Israel makes them feel better about their own colonialism.” Both Friedman and Gross feel that the bias also does a disservice to the Palestinians, though not to Hamas. Friedman points out in his article that there’s nearly “no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate. “The West has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact, though anyone who has spent time with actual Palestinians understands that things are (understandably, in my opinion) more complicated. Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.”

Gross, in our meeting in Tel Aviv, says he believes the anti-Israeli rhetoric promotes the entrenchment of the Palestinians and deters them from making the compromises necessary to achieve any long-lasting solution with Israel. “Most Israelis think the media is biased because the Arabs have a lot of money, or they spend a lot of money on PR,” Gross says. “It’s true they have a lot of money and it’s true they have PUBLIC RELATIONS COMPANIES in Western countries. In my opinion, it’s just a small part of the reason they’re biased,” Gross adds. “The media is actually biased about many issues, not only about Israel and the Palestinians, deliberately or subconsciously or because they’re lazy; they don’t have the time or effort ... they’re human beings, and human beings are not objective. But they’re biased against Israel more than they’re biased about other subjects. It’s groupthink – they’re not thinking clearly. They follow each other.”

Another problem, according to Friedman, is the revolving door between the profession of journalism and political involvement – in other words, the movement of people from journalism to large INTERNATIONALNGOs or the United Nations. “The journalists do not see those organizations or the UN as subjects to cover even though they are the strongest players working here,” he says. “There is no critical coverage of the UN even though it is swollen, inefficient and often corrupt.” Friedman also points to laziness. “Many of the foreign journalists do not know the history,” he says.

“They do not know Hebrew or Arabic, and they have no real grasp of what is happening. Because of that, they stick to their colleagues’ story and move with the herd. The AP is a large organization and, like Reuters, part of the herd. Both agencies make similar decisions. “The reason we did not know that the Middle East was about to erupt like a volcano was that the foreign media was BUSY counting houses in settlements.

“Israel is a tiny village on the side of a volcano, but the media describes it as the volcano itself. When we look into this distortion more deeply, we see that it is part of a problem that has been going on for the past five years – a problem that will be studied in JOURNALISM SCHOOLS in the future.”

Friedman elaborates on the implications of the media’s faulty coverage of Israel. “It reached an extreme situation this summer. The media outlets agreed to serve as part of Hamas’ military operations. Strategically speaking, Hamas knew it could rely on the foreign media’s cooperation – that it would not show rocket launches or combatants or speak at all about what Hamas wanted to accomplish. They knew, from the experience of the past few years, that the foreign media would cooperate. The foreign media served as Hamas’ deadliest weapon, and so we need to understand the media. This is no marginal subject for research, but a major part of the story.”

He estimates the chances that this attitude will change as slim to none. “My article was reported about in in the [Wall Street] Journal and in the Washington Post, and I was interviewed on CNN,” he says. “There are signs that they are willing to take these assertions seriously. But it’s like an aircraft carrier: it’s impossible to change direction easily. I haven’t seen any reason to be optimistic over the past six years. As Israelis, we need to realize that at the moment, the game is rigged.”

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Response to shira (Original post)

Sun Sep 14, 2014, 09:20 AM

2. There was a book, "Double Vision" by Ze'ev Chafets which explored the press distortions of the

middle east. It was written in 1983


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Response to shira (Original post)

Sun Sep 14, 2014, 09:26 AM

3. Media self-reflection on Gaza war coverage is necessary, but unlikely

 

Was the coverage of the Gaza conflict tainted by prejudice or moral cowardice? Was there a clear line where reporting ended and emoting began? There aren’t clear answers – and the media won’t be running to scrutinize itself.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.613518

As the firing has subsided in Gaza and Israel (for now, at least) so the postmortem on the attendant aspects of the conflict has begun. Adding a substantial contribution to the already much discussed issue of the media coverage of the conflict, and of Israel in general, is a lengthy piece by a former Associated Press staffer, Matti Friedman, in which he politely lambasts his former employer, along with other foreign media organizations, for bias and fuelling the fires of anti-Semitism that have flared around the world.

As a former correspondent (for the BBC) in Israel and the territories, the piece piqued my interest and caused me to reflect upon my own experiences.

There is much that Friedman writes that resonates, when he describes the disproportionate coverage that Israel receives, and the way that the foreign media has, broadly speaking, accepted a narrative of the conflict which prescribes given roles to Israel (the guilty party) and the Palestinians (the victims).

Firstly, to deal with what he accurately pinpoints as "the global mania" with Israeli actions. I have written previously about the interest the "Israel-Palestinian story" gets, describing the way in which it is perceived (often unconsciously) by many through the lens of history, along with much accompanying religious and cultural baggage.

The story of the Jews in particular has all the ingredients for a blockbuster; including drama from before the time of the Pharaohs to the current day. There is much tragedy, some hope and ultimate victory in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The history of the modern State of Israel contains elements so unlikely that they seem to belong to fiction rather than fact. On the basis of one (much debated) narrative – a ragged group of survivors and idealists founded a country (amid tragedy for the Palestinians), reviving a long-dead language, fighting off its enemies while forging it into one of the most PROSPEROUSand dynamic nations on earth.

Very few around the world remain impartial when confronted with this on-going drama, particularly when it is set amid current global religious and ideological passions. At times of crisis and combined with other elements, it brings out both the anti-Semites (in their droves) and philo-Semites.

Personally, I prefer neither to be hugged nor kicked on the basis of my identity, but it seems that many people around the world are incapable of seeing Jews as "normal" individuals.

These passions feed into the way in which the story is reported. Israel’s own choices have also opened it up to differing considerations from many other countries and conflicts around the globe.

During the recent Gaza conflict, the Israeli authorities facilitated the movement of INTERNATIONAL journalists in and out of the territory. This allowed high-profile reporters and presenters to come and go during the conflict, and for news organizations to rotate their staff during the hostilities. (This contrasted with the Israeli decision to close off Gaza to foreign reporters during a previous round of fighting in 2008-2009, for which it was rightly condemned by news organizations.)

The Israeli actions enabled high-profile presenters such as Jon Snow from the U.K.’s Channel 4 News to anchor the PROGRAM from Gaza and then to return to London to further excoriate the Israeli authorities with passion and emotion during a news broadcast. That may seem unfair (and unprofessional), but it is also the price of having a free society.

It was also notable during the recent military conflict that Israeli military fire came close to the hotel where journalists were staying in Gaza (and from where some missiles were launched by Hamas), but left them unscathed. This reminded me of my own experiences as a correspondent reporting during the second Intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as at other times, when we would ring up the Israel Defense Forces to inform them of our positions to avoid being hit.

Journalists could roam through Gaza with relative freedom (considering this was, after all, a war zone) to witness the deaths and destruction wrought by the conflict. They cannot be criticized for reporting on what they saw – most especially the numerous civilian men, women and children killed by Israeli army actions.

I know from personal experience how difficult it is to remain detached when faced with the body of a young innocent killed in a conflict. The media are right to pose questions about the use of Israeli force, how it was deployed and how much care was, or was not, taken to avoid civilian casualties.

[font color = "red"]Israel must be held to account not in comparison to elsewhere in the Middle East, but rather to other Western armies operating under similar conditions. And yet in reading and watching the coverage out of Gaza, it seems the media held Israel to an altogether different standard. Civilian casualties were often portrayed as the consequence of deliberate Israeli vengefulness and bloodletting.[/font]

I have seen for myself how Western armies operate during conflicts in the Middle East, the Balkans and elsewhere, and tragically there is no such thing as a clean conflict.

I still have the photos I took in an Afghan village of what remained after a U.S. air strike destroyed a family compound killing about 50 civilians in pursuit of one Al-Qaida operative. While there has been some questioning by the media over the extent of civilian casualties (numbering in their tens of thousands) in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, it has been muted by comparison to Gaza.

Where Matti Friedman is entirely correct is in the failure of news organizations and their correspondents to point out the controls and "pressures" both implicit and explicit exerted upon them in Gaza by the all-pervasive and tightly-run Hamas media operation. This inaction can only be seen as – at best – moral cowardice by media organizations.


It was also notable in what remain unobserved. One senior BBC correspondent wrote after a week of reporting in Gaza that “he saw no evidence ... of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.” This is a very strange statement. Firstly, just because the journalist didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t occur, particularly when missiles aimed at Israel were emerging from built-up areas inside Gaza. Secondly, knowing Gaza’s physical geography, it’s safe to conclude that if Hamas operatives did come out from the territory’s packed urban confines, they would have been quickly struck by an Israeli drone or aircraft fire. If they weren’t in the open, they were by definition sheltering in civilian neighbourhoods – thus they were using human shields (similar to the way other guerilla forces – such as the Taliban – operate).

The Gaza situation sits in stark contrast to Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, where Western journalists have become targets, and where danger severely constrains their ability to report. One only has to consider the monstrous murder of James Foley by crazed Islamic State fanatics, or the death by Syrian army missiles of Marie Colvin in Homs, to understand how risky reporting from these areas has become.

Word of journalists being abused and kidnapped in Iraq and Syria are kept quiet by media organizations, and I know of former colleagues, exceptional in their bravery, who, having suffered unreported close shaves, now understandably choose not to return to these areas.

The openness and relative safety for journalists of Israel – and, by extension, Gaza – have made it the “convenient conflict.” As a correspondent, I benefited from the almost unrestrained access to report; the excellent communications infrastructure (fast Internet, well-equipped TV studios, large local news bureaus), short distances between locations (vital for breaking news), good air links between Tel Aviv and the outside world, as well as the decent HOTELS WITH well-stocked bars. All these factors made this corner of the Middle East a journalist’s utopia.

So what can be concluded from all this? Is this – as Friedman suggests – connected to deeply rooted anti-Semitism? My answer is that I don’t know.


I do know that if Israel is to remain a free society, then it has to allow the media to operate without interference. On this point during the recent conflict, it remained true to its democratic roots. But in that same vein, it must also account for the many Palestinian civilian casualties, and explain to the fullest extent how it operated, and if more could have been done to avoid those deaths.

Israel has in the past instituted state commissions of inquiry in the wake of conflicts to examine its conduct, notably after the first and second Lebanon wars. It would do well to similarly examine the recent Gaza conflict.

But, just as importantly, the (Western) media must also account for itself and for its own conduct, including apparent omissions and failures in the reporting of the conflict. It must question where reporting may have ended and emoting began; if it held Israel to a standard apart from all others; and why it allowed Hamas a free pass in controlling the flow of information.

[font color = "red"]Its coverage had consequences in fuelling the passions (and hatred) of many on the streets of Paris, London and elsewhere toward Israel, and, by extension, toward Jews.[/font]

The media is instinctively averse from turning the lens of scrutiny upon itself, and will – in all likelihood – veer away from any self-examination. It is better at calling out the wrongdoing of others than admitting to its own faults. But whatever it chooses to do or not, the picture the media painted of Gaza 2014 and its consequences are already etched in the consciousness of many around the world, and will serve as a further chapter in this never-ending story.


Richard Miron is a former news correspondent for the BBC who spent a number of years based in the Middle East.

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Response to shira (Original post)

Tue Sep 16, 2014, 07:16 PM

4. Matti Friedman: Responding to critics of my essay about Israel media coverage

 

My essay “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth” touched a nerve far beyond my expectations—I didn’t think that in our times a 4,000-word ESSAY would be shared 750 times on Facebook, let alone 75,000. A second essay will appear here soon.

The article drew a series of interesting responses. Richard Miron, a veteran of both the BBC and the United Nations, published a reflection on his own similar experiences. In Jerusalem the Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg, from the left side of the local political spectrum, called it a “must-read, must think about,” and Rick Santorum endorsed it on Twitter from Pennsylvania. Some accused me of being an apologist for the Israeli right, and worse. A few former colleagues thought practicing journalism on journalists was a kind of betrayal; others were discreetly thrilled. I have made friends and enemies I’m not sure I need.

There has been no serious public response to the piece, however, from inside the system I’m criticizing—no denials of the examples I gave, no explanations for the numbers I cite, no alternative reasons for the problems I describe. This uncomfortable silence is an ADMISSION.

Here I would like to reply briefly to the closest thing to an official explanation that has emerged so far. This is a short ESSAY published by Steven Gutkin, the AP’s former bureau chief in Jerusalem, in the paper he currently runs in Goa, India, and highlighted here at Tablet last week. The article is important for reasons I believe its author did not intend.

Steve, who chose to identify himself as one of the editors who appeared anonymously in my account, responds to my CONCRETE examples with generalities, musings about the human condition, anecdotes, and much discussion of his own Judaism. He seems to believe this is about character—he is an experienced journalist, he writes, and is a Jew, albeit one who believes most in “humanity” (as opposed to the ones who, you know, don’t). We should thus believe him when he says my essay is “hogwash,” even if he can’t be bothered to actually disprove anything. I was a junior member of the staff, we are to understand, and spent less time in the international press corps than he, and I am Israeli. Of course all of this is true. But so what? I’m making a case about the coverage. Anyone hoping to dispute what I wrote has to provide, as I do, concrete information about the coverage.

What I want, he thinks, is for Israel to be “left alone,” which is the usual response from people called out for their Israel obsessions. But of course I want no such thing: I want Israel to be covered, as I wrote, “as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion.” Steve wants to believe that my argument is that the press corps is “teeming with anti-Semites,” because that makes me easier to dismiss. In no way is that my argument. What I believe, and wrote, is that old thought patterns centered on Jews are reasserting themselves in the West. I do not think anyone sensitive to events this summer, particularly in Europe, can believe otherwise. I think the press is central in all of this, consciously or subconsciously, and I show how this works using examples.

Steve would like readers to think that my criticism of the media’s failures has something to do with being “blind” to the Palestinians, and wrote (incorrectly) that I had not once referred to the occupation of the West Bank in my article. In fact I had (he later corrected that detail), and I also wrote that the settlements are “destructive” and a “serious moral and strategic error on Israel’s part,” which doesn’t leave much room to err about my politics. The reason I don’t dwell on the occupation is not because I’m unaware of it, but because my ESSAY is about the media, not the occupation. It’s also worth pointing out here that the only serious settlement-related investigation published by the AP’s Jerusalem bureau during Steve’s tenure, an article very critical of Israeli actions, was written by me. I’m proud of it.

Most strikingly, Steve is happy not only to confirm the media’s obsession with Jews but to endorse it. If he thinks there’s any journalistic problem in a news organization covering Israel more than China or the Congo, he doesn’t say so. He thinks, in fact, that Jews—the “people of the Bible,” or perhaps the “persecuted who became persecutors”—are really, really interesting. His piece is, in other words, a confirmation of my argument mistaking itself for a rebuttal.

As for two of the most serious incidents I mentioned, a careful reader will note that Steve concedes them. Both have ramifications beyond the specifics of this story.

1. To the best of my knowledge, no major news organization has publicly admitted censoring its own coverage under pressure from Hamas. A New York Times correspondent recently said this idea was “nonsense.” Responding to an Israeli reporter asking about my essay, the AP said my “assertions challenging the independence of AP’s Mideast news report in recent years are without merit.” But the AP’s former Jerusalem bureau chief just explicitly admitted it. He confirms my report of a key detail removed from a story during the 2008-2009 fighting—that Hamas men were indistinguishable from civilians—because of a threat to our reporter, a Gaza Palestinian.

He goes even further than I did, saying printing the reporter’s original information would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” The censored information in this case is no minor matter, but the explanation behind many of the civilian fatalities for which much of the world (including the AP) blamed Israel. Steve writes that such incidents actually happened “two or three times” during his tenure. It should be clear to a reader that even once is quite enough in order for a reporter living under Hamas rule to fall permanently in line. This means that AP’s Gaza coverage is shaped in large part by Hamas, which is something important that insiders know but readers don’t.

I’m not saying the decision to strike the information was wrong—no information is worth the life of a reporter. But I am saying that the failure to get it out some other way, or to warn readers that their news is being dictated by Hamas, is a major ethical shortcoming with obvious ramifications for the credibility of everyone involved. The AP should address this publicly, and all news organizations working here need to be open about this now.

2. I wrote that in early 2009 the bureau wouldn’t touch an important news story, a report of a peace proposal from the Israeli prime minister to the Palestinian president. This decision was indefensible on journalistic grounds. A careful reader will notice that Steve does not deny this. He can’t, because too many people saw it happen, and a journalist as experienced as Steve might assume, correctly, that at least some of them vetted my account before it was published. He merely quibbles with a marginal detail—the nature of a map that one of the reporters saw. I repeat what I wrote: Two experienced AP reporters had information adding up to a major news story, one with the power to throw the Israeli-Palestinian relationship into a different light. Israelis confirmed it, and Palestinians confirmed it. The information was solid, and indeed later appeared in Newsweek and elsewhere. The AP did not touch this story, and others, in order to maintain its narrative of Israeli extremism and Palestinian moderation.

Failing to report bad things that Hamas does, and good things that Israel does, which is what these examples show, creates the villainous “Israel” of the international press. That these failures mislead news consumers is clear. But they also have a role in generating recent events like a mob attack on a Paris synagogue, for example, or the current 30-year-high in anti-Jewish incidents in Britain. There are several causes behind such phenomena, and editorial decisions like these are among them. But this is one subject about which the AP bureau chief, for all of his Jewish ruminations, has nothing to say. The press corps is obviously not “teeming with anti-Semitism.” But neither is it teeming with responsibility or introspection, and the kind of thinking that has taken hold there should have all of us deeply concerned.

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/184707/ongoing-controversy-around-the-most-important-story-on-earth

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Response to shira (Original post)

Fri Sep 19, 2014, 06:53 PM

5. Former AP Reporter Confirms Matti Friedman Account

 

Last month, former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman published an essay in Tablet highlighting how, and why, news organizations get Israel so wrong. The AP’s Jerusalem bureau, where Friedman used to work, was the subject of much of his criticism. He argued that the bureau stuck to a preexisting narrative of Israeli extremism and Palestinian moderation. One of his examples that his former employer stifled stories that presented a divergent narrative came from 2009, when two of his colleagues had a story about a peace proposal from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Palestinian leadership rejected. Both the Israelis and Palestinians confirmed this, but editors pulled the piece.

Steven Gutkin, the former AP bureau chief in Jerusalem, who hired Friedman in 2006, wrote a response in which he denied the charge that the story was pulled due to editorial bias, asserting that the information discovered by the reporters, namely a map depicting a proposed land swap, was old news. (Friedman addressed Gutkin’s response here on the Scroll last week. Gutkin has since published a rebuttal.)

Now, Mark Lavie, a former colleague of Friedman’s at the AP in Jerusalem and the author of Broken Spring, has weighed in, identifying himself as one of the reporters involved in writing about the 2009 peace offer blog post directed to Gutkin. He confirms Friedman’s account of the story being pulled.

I’m not named in Matti’s article, either, but I am the “furious” one who discovered the Israeli peace offer in early 2009, got it confirmed on the record and brought it to you. You banned me from writing about it. That is by far the worst journalistic fiasco I have been involved in, and we’re talking 50 years of journalism here. No denials on your part can erase the truth–and this is the truth: The AP suppressed a world-changing story for no acceptable reason. I am not ascribing motives to the decision–oh, hell, of course I am. It fit a pattern, described by Matti, of accepting the Palestinian narrative as truth and branding the Israelis as oppressors.


While the AP hasn’t responded in any official capacity to Friedman’s essay—and neither Friedman, Gutkin, nor Lavie work there anymore—his arguments have clearly touched a nerve.

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/185121/former-ap-reporter-confirms-matti-friedman-account

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