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Media Analyses





Updated: AP Caption Writers Take Sides in Arab-Israeli Conflict


July 1 update follows.

June 23, 2004

Associated Press photographers around the globe produce 1,000 photographs of breaking news daily. It is, therefore, puzzling that AP would choose, as it recently did, to distribute old file photos that have no apparent connection to the day’s events. On June 19, 2004, AP re-released five file photos taken in the Gaza Strip, some from nearly a year ago.

The only commonality among them was that the photos, all attributed to Kevin Frayer, sported new captions which included  the following  highly opinion-laden comment condemning  Israel  and defending  the Hamas terrorist organization:

 In Gaza, a fenced-in, poverty stricken territory where only a tiny portion of the 1.3 million residents has a job and where brutal Israeli military incursions are a daily fact of life, the militant group Hamas has won wide support for its welfare work, and is asking to have a greater role in running the Gaza Strip once Israel withdraws.

Below are the re-released photographs and their biased caption.

 

Your Image

 

Graffiti supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas adorns a mosque wall during Friday Prayers in the Nusereit Refugee Camp, central Gaza Strip in this Sept. 19, 2003 photo.  In Gaza, a fenced-in, poverty stricken territory where only a tiny portion of the 1.3 milion residents has a job and where brutal Israeli military incursions are a daily fact of life, the militant group Hamas has won wide support for its welfare work, and is asking to have a greater role in running the Gaza Strip once Israel withdraws. (emphasis added)

 

 

Your Image

Two new Palestinian police graduates leap over colleagues during a demonstration of their skills at the graduation ceremony in Gaza City in this Oct. 2, 2003 file photo.  In Gaza, a fenced-in, poverty stricken territory where only a tiny portion of the 1.3 milion residents has a job and where brutal Israeli military incursions are a daily fact of life, the militant group Hamas has won wide support for its welfare work, and is asking to have a greater role in running the Gaza Strip once Israel withdraws. (emphasis added)

 
 

 Your Image

 

Palestinian workers who were not allowed to enter Israel, crowd the barred barrier in the Palestinian area at the Erez Crossing, northern Gaza Strip, in this Jan. 18, 2004 file photo.  In Gaza, a fenced-in, poverty stricken territory where only a tiny portion of the 1.3 milion residents has a job and where brutal Israeli military incursions are a daily fact of life, the militant group Hamas has won wide support for its welfare work, and is asking to have a greater role in running the Gaza Strip once Israel withdraws. (emphasis added)

 
 

Your Image 

 

Palestinian masked gunmen march during the funeral of Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin in Gaza City, in this March 22, 2004 file photo. In Gaza, a fenced-in, poverty stricken territory where only a tiny portion of the 1.3 milion residents has a job and where brutal Israeli military incursions are a daily fact of life, the militant group Hamas has won wide support for its welfare work, and is asking to have a greater role in running the Gaza Strip once Israel withdraws. (emphasis added)

 

Your Image

A Palestinian boy stands in a flooded street following an Israeli army operation in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, in this May 13, 2004 file photo. In Gaza, a fenced-in, poverty stricken territory where only a tiny portion of the 1.3 milion residents has a job and where brutal Israeli military incursions are a daily fact of life, the militant group Hamas has won wide support for its welfare work, and is asking to have a greater role in running the Gaza Strip once Israel withdraws. (emphasis added)

 

AP appears increasingly to be adopting Arab perspectives and terminology in characterizing Middle East issues as apparent in the reference to  "Israel's brutal occupation" and the laudatory observation about the popularity of Hamas and "its welfare work." The terminology regarding Hamas obviously offers no indication that the group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States and international entities, such as the EU. 

If AP is to fulfill its stated mission of being the essential global news network, providing distinctive services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity -- it needs to make a radical course correction. Right now AP is headed straight in the direction of blatant bias.

July 1, 2004 Update: AP Revises Captions

In response to CAMERA's communication with AP staff about the objectionable photo captions, the phrasing was revised in the Associated Press Photo Archives. The captions  now read:

In Gaza, a fenced-in, poverty stricken territory where only a tiny portion of the 1.3 million residents has a job and where Israeli military incursions are a daily fact of life, the militant group Hamas has won wide support. Hamas is asking to have a greater role in running the Gaza strip, should Israel withdraw.


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