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Middle East Issues





Despite Isolated Corrections, LA Times Photo Gallery Still Ignores Hamas


See the Aug. 5 update at the end of this post
 
Aug. 4 – Though The Los Angeles Times has corrected some unsubstantiated captions in response to communication from CAMERA staff and members, its growing photo gallery ostensibly about the conflict between Israel and Hamas still completely ignores Hamas. Last week, we reported:
In The Los Angeles Times' online photography slideshow about the Israel-Gaza conflict, Hamas is literally not in the picture. As of this writing, the collection of 75 photographs, including many by Times photographer Carolyn Cole, does not include a single photograph of anyone identified as a Hamas fighter, dead or alive. According to Times photo editors, the Israeli army and Gaza's civilians are the only players in this conflict. Hamas literally does not have a role. (The collection is constantly being expanded.)
 
And it's not just the pictures. Not a single one of the 75 captions includes any mention whatsoever of the word "Hamas." And just once do the captions mention the word "rocket."
 
The closest the captions come to acknowledging that the Israeli army is facing off not against an unarmed civilian population teeming with children and women, but with an organization recognized as a terrorist group by the United States, armed to the teeth and trained by Iran, are two references to "Palestinian militants" accompanying photographs of Israeli soldiers in or next to the tunnels Hamas has dug to infiltrate into Israel.
While the number of photos and captions has grown to 99, the gallery still does not contain one single image of a Hamas member, their weapons, or any of the Israeli property damage resulting from its rockets. (Of course, it's quite likely that much of the Gaza damage and Palestinian casualties that the images show were caused by Hamas weaponry, but the captions don't say so.)
 
Nor do any of the 99 captions even mention the word Hamas. And the word "rocket" appears still just once. Thus, last week's concerns regarding the one-sidedness of the collection -- as if Israel is fighting a civilian population, and is not fighting an armed group recognized by the United States and European Unions as a terror organization which is bombarding it with rockets and sneaking across borders via tunnels -- is only more valid given that the gallery is even larger.
 
Israeli Civilians on Par with Gaza's Animals
 
There are now two photographs of Israeli civilians that don't include soldiers. As noted last week, these include Israelis seeking shelter from incoming rockets in a concrete shelter, and demonstrators in Tel Aviv, both for and against the Gaza operation. (An additional photograph added since then also shows a soldier kissing his girlfriend, who is not in uniform.)
 
Thus, by the numbers, Israeli civilians are on par with animals in Gaza.There are also two photographs of hungry animals in Gaza -- chickens that hadn't been fed for a week, and a donkey scrounging at garbage.
 
 
 
Do Times editors not know or not care that there are Israeli farms next to Gaza where the crops are untended due to ongoing rocket attacks and the infiltration tunnels which have been found right there in the agricultural fields? If a Times photographer ventured to the bombarded Israeli farms they may even find hungry Israeli chickens and cows there whose caretakers cannot get to them. Israeli farmers also have chickens and donkeys, and even children -- children who have been sent away from their homes for weeks because of the Hamas terrorists who are trying to kill them. Children who have spent their entire lives running into bomb shelters.
 
 
Here is a another humanizing snapshot of the reality of life under fire for Israeli kindergarten children, filmed four years ago, a reality that The Times photo gallery obscures from viewers:
 
 
Can Times viewers expect to see pictures of Hamas terrorists, and the Israeli children they have traumatized and tried so hard to kill?
 
Caption Clarifications of Beit Hanoun Incident
 
Following urging from CAMERA, Times editors have fixed some, but not all, of the unsubstantiated photo captions which had blamed Israel for the July 24 attack on an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, despite the fact that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has himself stated that the circumstances behind the attack are unclear.
 
Nevertheless, The Times originally published a series of captions which attributed to the casualties, including a reported 16 fatalities, to Israel. Among them were the following:
 
 
The caption accompanying Carolyn Cole's photograph had stated: "At least 12 people were killed and more than 100 injured when a U.N. shelter housing evacuees was hit by an Israeli shell Thursday afternoon, July 24, 2014. At the Jabalia hospital morgue, the body of a young child is placed in the cooler."
 
After repeated requests, and after the Associated Press commendably corrected its captions, The Times captions have been amended.
 
For instance, the caption for the above photo now states:
 
 
In addition, The Times included a parenthetical "For the record" statement alongside another caption:
 
 
(Actually, the original caption for this particular image did not say which party was culpable for the deaths. The original caption is identical to the current one, aside from the added "For the Record.")
 
Oddly, The Times has thus far failed to correct a caption for an Associated Press photo which the AP itself has already corrected. As of this writing, the caption still blames Israel for the July 24 UNRWA deaths at Beit Hanoun:
 
 
Aug. 5 Update: One Caption Mentions Hamas
 
As of this writing, The Los Angeles Times' online photo gallery ostensibly about the Israel-Hamas conflict contains 103 images and captions. Just one of them mentions Hamas. It is:
 
 
The caption for Carolyn Cole's photograph states: "The bodies of seven people are buried after a house in Jabalia was hit by Israeli ordnance. The Israeli military said a strike before dawn Monday killed a leader of Islamic Jihad, an ally of the militant group Hamas, which dominates the territory."
 

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