For the last several months, the Washington Post has imposed a virtual blackout on news about near-daily Qassam rocket barrages from Gaza aimed at kibbutzim and southern towns in Israel, including Sderot and Ashkelon. The Post’s Jerusalem correspondent, Scott Wilson, has studiously avoided taking a look at Sderot’s terrorized population as Qassams kill, wound and traumatize its residents, especially youngsters, but also adults who frequently have to be treated for shock as rockets hit schoolyards and homes.
But now that the Israeli government, after concluding that pinpoint strikes against rocket launchers have not halted cross-border missile and mortar fire, is carefully moving toward selective, relatively minimal power and fuel cutoffs to Hamas-ruled Gaza, the news department of the Washington Post seems to have suddenly woken up that Gazans finally may feel a bit of pain for the terrorism practiced by their rulers. As usual, Palestinian pain rates much higher coverage priority than Israeli pain at the Post.
So let’s take a look at a short article in the Post’s Oct. 25 issue that is emblematic of the paper’s consistent anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias. The headline reads: “Military Plans Gaza Power Cuts to Curb Attacks.”
The three-sentence article informs Post readers that Israel has completed plans for gradual electricity and fuel cutoffs to the Gaza Strip in response to ongoing rocket fire from the Palestinian territory. It also notes that Israel provides more than half of Gaza’s electricity and “any power cutoff is “sure to make life more difficult to residents.”
Two problems in the first two sentences and the headline: The first problem is obviously the fact, as noted earlier, that the Post hasn’t similarly reported the daily missile attacks from Gaza and is only interested when Israel decides to respond. The second problem is that the Post fails to point out that Israel, to show utmost restraint, plans electricity cutoffs, in spread-out, two-hour segments, only to the Beit Hanoun area, which abuts Israel and is the main staging ground for Qassam launchings. The lights will still go on in Gaza City — a rather important aspect of Israel’s response that is totally missing from the Post’s dispatch.
No surprise since the Post has no interest in spotlighting Israeli restraint. Just the opposite. It goes on to convict Israel before any power cutoff has even taken place. “The (Israeli) move is also certain to draw international condemnation,” the article asserts.
And there you have the Post’s ingrained animus against Israel. For one thing, the prediction of “international condemnation” is not attributed to any source whatever. It’s the Post’s own value judgment that Israel will rate international condemnation for trying to protect itself against Qassam attacks terrorizing its population. The Post also doesn’t tell its readers that far from being condemned by the entire “international” community (a construct without any reality), whatever criticism Israel may encounter is bound to come only or mainly from the usual suspects — the Palestinians, naturally; the Arab League, naturally; the UN bureaucracy, naturally; Jimmy Carter, obviously; the NY Times editorial page, reliably; “human rights” groups with pacifist political agendas which would leave terrorists free to pummel their victims while denying the victims any right to defend themselves; and the news pages of the Washington Post, of course.
The agenda of the Post’s news section has been all too obvious for a long time — defend or overlook Palestinian terrorism and atrocities, while shaping its coverage on the premise that Israel, unlike any other country, enjoys no right of self-defense, or at least the kind of self-defense that actually may protect its citizens.
[Leo Rennert is a journalist and former White House correspondent]
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What types of bias is the excerpt below an example of?
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The post is an example of bias by story selection and omission.