Irish Times: “Leading and Shaping” Public Opinion Against Israel

The Irish Times, a daily newspaper based in Dublin, prides itself on being “the only independent newspaper in Ireland.” Independence, however, should not be mistaken for objectivity.

Unlike the American school of journalism, the Irish Times considers advocacy journalism perfectly legitimate and acceptable. Indeed, a Web site message authored by the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Geraldine Kennedy, explains that the newspaper aims “to lead and shape public opinion” and “to champion specific causes.”

The Irish Times has apparently chosen to champion the Palestinian cause and to promote that side’s narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, this advocacy is not limited to Irish Times editorial and opinion pages — where columns condemning Israel outnumber supportive columns by a ratio of 3:1.  It extends to the news pages as well, with articles that serve as a platform for unchallenged, anti-Israel allegations. This directly contravenes Chief Editor Kennedy’s own stated guideline to “eliminate any trace of partisanship” from news reporting.

Moreover, the Irish Times‘ partisanship is marked by other departures from the journalistic fundamentals put forth by Kennedy.  For example:

1)”The truth is presented having made every reasonable effort to establish it on the basis of verifiable fact and reliable sources.”

Yet, many of the anti-Israel accusations featured in the Times’ news articles are based on unnamed sources (“a woman stated, “analysts say”, etc.) smugglers, and even a journalist’s taxi driver – hardly verifiable facts and reliable sources.(See Details/ Michael Jansen/ Using Unverifiable Sources)

2) “We are scrupulous to quote our sources accurately.”

At least one quote was found to have been entirely distorted. (See Details/Lara Marlowe/ Distorting a quote)

3) “We never go to publication without seeking both sides of the story.”

There are numerous articles consisting solely of accusations against Israel by pro-Palestinian partisans without any Israeli counterbalance. (See Michael Jansen/One-Sided Reporting and Lara Marlowe/Unsubstantiated Anti-Israel Allegations)

4) “Above all else, we commit ourselves to accuracy. If we fail the test of accuracy, we are failing the most essential test of our profession.”

There are many articles that contain inaccurate information. (See Lara Marlowe/False Information). In addition, unverified assertions by partisan players are frequently legitimized as fact by the newspaper’s correspondents. (See Lara Marlowe/False Information, Michael Jansen/One-Sided Reporting).

Conclusion: News consumers cannot be expected to independently investigate each and every assertion made in an article; they must trust editors and journalists to do that for them and to provide reliable information. Unfortunately, the discovery of multiple instances of  false information and unverifiable assertions leads one to question the overall veracity of the Irish Times’s news content. 

Readers of the Irish Times should be aware that the newspaper’s commitment to advocacy evidently supersedes its commitment to responsible and ethical journalism – certainly not the type of reporting one expects from a media outlet that considers itself ” the newspaper of reference”.

I. Parameters of the Study

II. Overall Findings

1. Focus

2. Balance and Context

3. Accuracy

4. Use of Pejorative Language

5. Editorials/Opinion Columns

6. Letters to the Editor

7. Articles Selected from Other News Sources

III. Detailed Findings

1. Lara Marlowe

Distorting a Quote

False Information/Misleading Statements

Unsubstantiated Anti-Israel Allegations

Pejorative Editorial Comments

2. Michael Jansen

One-Sided Reporting/Partisan Sources

Unverifiable Sources

Pejorative Editorial Comments

3. Mark Weiss


I. Parameters of the Study

(Dec. 19, 2008 – Jan. 30, 2009)

CAMERA carried out a 6-week investigation of all news articles published in the Irish Times regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The study encompassed the time period between Dec. 19, 2008, the date upon which Hamas officially declared an end to its temporary lull in fighting with Israel* and Jan. 30, 2009 – almost two weeks after Israel’s Jan. 18th withdrawal from Gaza.

All news articles emanating from Israel or Gaza were included in the analysis. (Reports discussing Irish, EU, American or Turkish official and popular reaction to the hostilities were read but not included in the study.)

* It is noteworthy that even during Hamas’ supposed 6-month lull or “tahdiya,” 223 rockets and 139 mortar shells were launched into Israel from Gaza.

The study included:

85 staff-written articles
37 from other news sources, including the Guardian news service (19 articles), Reuters (13 articles), Guardian-Reuters joint aricle (1), the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post news service (3 articles), and the Financial Times (1 article).

Of the staff-written articles:

34 were written by Mark Weiss
40 by Michael Jansen
1 co-written by Weiss and Jansen
10 by Lara Marlowe (who only started reporting from Gaza one week before the study concluded).

Not included were articles by foreign affairs correspondent Mary Fitzgerald who did not report from the region and focused on reaction to events in Ireland and elsewhere. Also not included was an analysis/commentary by Irish Times security analyst Tom Clonan, whose Jan. 15, 2009 analysis was more commentary than news coverage.

A) News articles were examined for:

1) Focus – What was emphasized and what was missing in coverage of the conflict?
2) Balance and context – Within any single article, were both sides of the story told? Was the reader provided sufficient context to understand the events reported?
3) Accuracy – Were allegations reported as fact? Were there differing accounts of the reported events that were not mentioned? Were partisan sources introduced as objective observers and were their assertions presented as fact?
4) Use of pejorative language by reporter – Did the reporter impute motive or imply allegation to be fact with the use of his or her own pejorative language?
B) Editorials, opinion columns, and letters-to-the editor were also examined. Although these are not included it in the detailed analysis, they are included in the overall findings.
C) Articles from other sources were examined and included in the overall findings.

Overall findings are summarized below, followed by  a more detailed analysis of the coverage, categorized by correspondent.


II. Overall Findings

1. Focus

The primary focus of the coverage was on accusations of Israeli wrongdoing, human interest stories about Palestinian casualties, condemnations of Israel’s military campaign and the effect of the campaign on Arab society.

Coverage of Israel’s perspective (found only in Mark Weiss’ articles) was limited, consisting mainly of Israel’s military goals and planning, diplomatic negotiations, internal discussions about the ceasefire, and the effect of the upcoming elections.

Missing from the coverage was Hamas’ anti-Israel and anti-Jewish agenda – its charter’s anti-Semitic content, its rejectiion of a diplomatic end to the conflict, and its goal of seeking to replace a Jewish state with an Islamic caliphate. Also missing was the context of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 – and Hamas’ decision to use the territory as a launching pad to attack Israeli civilians instead of building an infrastructure and economy to improve Palestinian lives there.

There was only brief mention of Hamas’ brutality toward its Palestinian opponents and its use of human shields, presented as allegation rather than fact. Coverage of the effect of Hamas hostilities on Israeli society was also scant.

2. Balance and Context

While one reporter, Mark Weiss, occasionally included brief context and cited spokesmen from both sides of the conflict, the other two reporters did not. The majority of Michael Jansen’s articles consisted of one-sided condemnations of Israel by partisan sources, with no Israeli voice to provide perspective or counterbalance.  The articles selected from other news sources – particularly, the Guardian (see below), focused primarily on Palestinian grievances, unverified assertions and accusations against Israel, condemnations by groups working with the Palestinians, and human interest stories highlighting the injuries or deaths of Palestinians caught up in the fighting.  The vast majority of article, therefore, lacked balance and context.

3. Accuracy

Inaccurate information, presentation of allegation as fact, use of unreliable sources, and the discovery that a quote was entirely distorted raised questions about many other assertions that were not independently checked. This engendered a general lack of confidence in the factual accuracy of the news content.

4. Use of Pejorative Editorial Comments

There were numerous examples of reporters using pejorative editorial comments. They attributed motive, legitimized unverified allegations as self-evident truths, and condemned Israel. Examples are found in the detailed analysis, categorized by correspondent.

5. Editorials/Opinion Columns

It is noteworthy that editorials and opinion columns condemning Israel – some viciously – outnumbered supportive ones by a factor of 3. ( 21 condemning vs. 7 supporting) In addition there were three columns that could be categorized as neutral.

Where the few opinion columns supportive of Israel were temperate, explaining the objectives of and justifications for Israel’s military campaign in moderate language, the others used such inflammatory terms as “massacre”, “savage”, “brutal”, “terror” and in several instances, compared Israel to Nazi Germany. Israelis were accused of being liars and propagandists.

Moreover, there appears to have been no attempt made to fact-check the columns. For example, a Dec. 30, 2008 column by David Morrison accused Israel of having broken the cease fire on Nov. 4, 2008 with an “unprovoked assault” on innocent Palestinians in Gaza while the rest of the world was distracted with the U.S. elections.

But, in fact, the “assault” was an attack on Hamas gunmen and militants in the process of planning or carrying out attacks. Israeli forces, acting on intelligence that Palestinian militants were planning to infiltrate and kidnap soldiers through a tunnel, entered Gaza to destroy that tunnel. In a firefight that ensued, one Hamas gunman was killed. The others were killed as they prepared to launch mortars into Israel.

6. Letters-to-the-Editor

Where the Irish Times did seem to make an attempt at balance was on the Letters to the Editor page. Here, pro-Israel letters were published alongside anti-Israel ones, although the number of anti-Israel letters outweighed the pro-Israel ones by 78 to 43. It is difficult to ascertain the extent to which pro-Israel letters published reflected what was received.

7. Articles Selected from Other News Sources

The 37 articles selected from other news sources did little to balance the Irish Times’ own correspondents’ reports. More than half the articles were devoted to unsubstantiated allegations against Israel, condemnation of Israel, or human interest stories highlighting the injuries or deaths of Palestinians caught up in the fighting.  The remainder focused on military tactics and political wrangling.   There was nothing about the effect of Hamas’ hostilities against Israeli civilians.  There was almost no context for Israel’s military operations and the conditions under which they were operating.  The only mention of Hamas using Palestinian human shields was as an Israeli allegation.  And there was only a passing reference to  Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza  in an article about how Israelis supported  the military offensive.

Examples of the articles selected for publication “A boy lost his feet: ‘This is a murder. This is a child’ ” (Jan. 3, Reuters)”; ‘Under the rubble, we found arms, legs and half a head’” (Jan. 6, Guardian); “Two-thirds of Gaza’s children suffer post-traumatic stress, says psychiatrist” (Jan. 7, Guardian); “War wounds are horrible, especially blast injuries” ( Jan. 12, Guardian); “‘Why do they kill us and nobody moves?’”(Jan. 15, LA Times-WPost) —  frequently included incendiary headlines. It is doubtful that the Irish Times fact-checked these articles, and a detailed analysis of non-Irish Times news sources (to ascertain  the citations by partisan sources) was beyond the scope of this study.

III. Detailed Findings

1. Lara Marlowe

Marlowe’s reporting was the most problematic. It departed from journalistic norms of accuracy, impartiality, and fairness, and contravened even her own editor’s above-mentioned guidelines. Although Marlowe only arrived on the scene on Jan. 23, five days after Israel withdrew its troops from Gaza and during the last week of CAMERA’s study, she wrote 10 articles which entered the analysis.

Distorting a Quote

After focusing all of her previous nine articles from the region on anti-Israel allegations by Palestinians, Marlowe finally reported from Sderot on Jan. 30, 2009 (” ‘Nothing has changed. The army didn’t finish the job'”). But far from balancing her anti-Israel articles with one portraying the harsh realities of life under a daily barrage of Palestinian rocket fire, Marlowe’s article served as yet another forum for villifying Israel. She presented Sderot as an idyllic vacation resort:

…you might think you were in southern California. The flags give Sderot a festive feeling, like a beach resort…Small villas are surrounded by flowering shrubs. Palm and eucalyptus trees grow in profusion.

And she attempted to dismiss the threat from Palestinian mortars and rockets as negligible:

These are…all homemade rockets less than a metre long…They’re not much compared to the countless one-tonne bombs, phosphorous and artillery shells that Israel rained on Gaza.

But most egregiously, she tried to portray Israelis as taking delight in the bombings of their Palestinian neighbors. To that end, she quoted Anna Kutikov, whom she identified as a representative of the Sderot Media Centre, as saying:

…for those [Sderot residents] who remained [during the military operation], the bombing of Gaza was entertainment. All the teenagers went to Hagiva (the hill), because it was exciting; it was action. It is a bit boring here.

When contacted by CAMERA, an outraged Kutikov (who had no knowledge that she had been quoted) told an entirely different story. It turns out that she was not only cited without permission, but she was entirely misquoted. She had told the journalist that the remaining residents of Sderot discovered contingents of foreign reporters from all over the world congregating in their town. Given that foreign journalists do not often visit the small town of Sderot, many of the younger residents came to the hill in order to see and meet the reporters who had come there to view the bombings.

Although Kutikov says she emphasized several times that these youngsters did not go to view the bombings, but rather to meet the reporters, Marlowe nevertheless distorted her quote, setting the stage for the article’s ultimate conclusion — that “Hamas is utterly, totally demonized in the eyes of Israelis.”

False Information and Misleading Statements

A)  A Jan. 26, 2009 story by Marlowe (“Father says children were carrying white flags when shot dead by Israelis”) recounted accusations by Khaled Abed Rabbo, a resident of Gaza, who alleged that an Israeli soldier deliberately opened fire on his three young daughters while they were holding up white flags. Marlowe emphasizes:

The girls appear to have died not because of who they were, obviously not Hamas fighters but because of where they were in the path of invading Israeli ground troops. The Israelis practiced a particularly brutal form of what the American military calls recon by fire.

But Palestinian accounts belie Marlowe’s story. An account in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a Palestinian newspaper quotes members of the Abed Rabbo family saying that Hamas fighters had turned the Abed Rabbo farm into a weapons cache and military camp from which armed squads shot rockets into Israel. And other Palestinian accounts state the girls were killed in an air strike or by tank fire – not the cold-blooded execution of Marlowe’s account. ( For more details, click here.)

B) Marlowe repeatedly refers to and condemns a 19-month Israeli “siege of Gaza.” For example, she editorializes:

…perhaps Israel’s most vicious arm against the Palestinians has been al-hissar, the siege, imposed on the Gaza Strip 19 months ago when Hamas, after winning a democratic election that the world refused to recognise, seized power from the Fatah Palestinian Authority.

The world turned a blind eye as Gazans languished in the world’s biggest prison, unable to travel, import, export or interact with anyone or anything beyond their borders. And the world largely ignored the rockets Hamas fired in anger and frustration from within the siege. (“Inside the world’s biggest prison” Jan. 24)

But Israel is not the only country that borders Gaza. Egypt borders Gaza on the south, and ultimately controls entry of goods and people through the Rafah crossing. While Israel frequently restricts passage of goods and people through its border crossings in response to repeated attacks from Gaza, it is clearly incorrect to say that Israel has imposed a “siege” cutting Gaza off from “anyone or anything beyond their borders.”

Moreover, a glance at the Palestinian OCHA’s (Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Gaza Crossings Online Database  shows that in the 19 months in which Marlowe claims Israel cut Hamas off from the outside world, thousands of truckloads of humanitarian and commercial shipments passed through the Israeli-Gaza crossings.

C)  Marlowe peppers her articles with inaccuracies and misleading statements. For example, she stated that:

…a four year old boy (of the Samouni family) was the only survivor of a family of 30. (“Inside the world’s biggest prison,” Jan. 24, 2009).

But the Palestinian Al Haq Center for Human Rights, which based its records on first-hand accounts of the survivors, negates Marlowe’s account. Their records indicate that 26 members of an extended Samouni family of 60 ( 5 families of between 10 -12 members) were killed.

Another erroneous statement is that “the targeting of Rayan’s (assassinated Hamas leader) house was not precise.” (“Israel’s calling card of ruined homes and ruined lives” Jan. 23, 2009)

But the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights investigated the attack and recorded testimonies from eyewitnesses who described seeing several missiles being fired at and hitting Rayan’s single 5-story house — not nearby homes. While neighboring buildings might have been damaged either from the blast or from secondary explosions from weapons caches, eyewitness testimony certainly indicates a precise targeting.

Unsubstantiated Anti-Israel Accusations

Marlowe’s pieces serve as a platform for unsubstantiated anti-Israel accusations. These are presented as unchallenged truth. In fact, Marlowe often underscores them with her own editorial comments.

For example, she devoted an entire article to a Hamas fighter’s propaganda, including his absurd claim that “every Israeli soldier has a transmitter embedded in a tooth, to enable Israeli aircraft to locate them” and his implication that Israel would rather kill their own soldiers than allow them to be captured. (“We are wild, we are strong” Jan. 24, 2009)

In another article, she inserts herself as a “first-hand” witness of Israel’s supposed illegal weapons; when a Palestinian doctor tells her that a plastic bag he pulled from under his desk is filled with white phosphorus, she dutifully reports, “The brown pieces look like dog dirt and re-ignite if broken open.”

But white phosphorus is a highly flammable substance that spontaneously ignites when exposed to oxygen or with the slightest friction. It is highly doubtful that a physician would choose to keep the real thing under his desk in a plastic bag. Marlowe, however, never entertains the possibility that the brown pieces shown to her might have indeed been “dog dirt.”

She then cites the oft-heard but long denied propaganda claim that Palestinians are serving as guinea pigs for the testing of secret new American/ Israeli weapons that cause no external marks or X-ray evidence, but mysteriously kill the victim “suddenly” and “without explanation.” Rather than mentioning that these are allegations that Israel and the U.S. deny, she accepts these claims as unchallenged truth, legitimizing them with her own pejorative comment about Israel’s “high-tech and Frankenstein weaponry.” (“Inside the world’s biggest prison,” Jan. 24, 2009)

Yet another article is devoted to a Rafah smuggler’s justification for building tunnels. Even here, Marlowe attempts to show Israel’s wrongdoing. She declares that “Palestinians say they would starve without [the tunnels] because of Israel’s 19-month siege of Gaza” and cites a tunnel owner’s insistence that smugglers “only bring foodstuffs from Egypt: cheese, meat, chips, candy, milk and cigarettes.” As for the weapons, they “come through Hamas tunnels only, and those are secret.” (“Gaza tunnels will keep working ‘as long as there’s a siege” Jan. 26, 2009)

Given Marlowe’s distortions, inaccuracies and agenda-driven editorializing, it is difficult for a reader to know what is true and what isn’t.

Examples of Marlowe’s Pejorative Editorial Comments

Like the Americans in Baghdad, the Israelis took a swipe at the press building, wounding two journalists.
(“Israel’s calling card of ruined homes and ruined lives,” Jan. 23)

These fields of ruined homes and ruines lives have become a calling card that says Israel passed here.
(“Israel’s calling card of ruined homes and ruined lives,” Jan. 23)

Yet for all the high-tech and Frankenstein weaponry, perhaps Israel’s most vicious arm against the Palestinians has been..the siege…
(“Inside the world’s biggest prison,” Jan. 24)

Israel’s occupation of Arab land has been marked by its reliance on collaborators…
(“Gaza offensive deepens Hamas rift with Fatah,” Jan. 29)

2. Michael Jansen

Although Jansen was not quite as reckless as Marlowe in her disregard of journalistic standards, her reporting was similarly partisan with misleading statements and inaccurate information.

One-Sided Reporting/ Partisan Sources

Much of Jansen’s reporting was based on second-hand information from Hamas spokesmen or pro-Palestinian sources, some with radical agendas. Several articles consisted entirely of allegations against Israel, without any Israeli counterbalance. And editorial comments by Jansen herself underscored these allegations.

Hamas’s rocketing of Israeli civilians and its abuse of Palestinians was glossed over or dismissed by Jansen. The journalist — both in her own words and quoting Hamas officials — mitigated the group’s responsibility for the situation in Gaza, instead condemning Israel. For example, she wrote:

Since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, it has had to imp ose order, govern and try to mitigate the impact of Israel’s tightened seige and blockade on the Strip’s 1.5 million citizens.(“Hamas’s capacities exaggerated by Israel to justify its military actions” Dec. 31, 2008)

Note: Jansen makes no mention of Hamas’s brutality toward its opponents and the increase in human rights violations since its takeover of the Gaza Strip. (See details here.)

Although Hamas had indirectly met these conditions [recognize Israel, end violence, and endorse previous agreements], Israel and the quartet demanded capitulation. (“In the eye of the storm” Jan. 17, 2009)

Note: It is unclear what Jansen means by “indirectly.” Hamas has always openly resisted meeting these conditions, and Jansen’s editorial statement is both misleading and inaccurate.

The American International School, hardly a Hamas facility, was destroyed.(“The Israelis know us…they know there were no fighters here” Jan. 27, 2009)

Note: There is no mention of Israel’s claim that the school was used as a launching base for rockets.

He [Hamas leader Ahmed Youssef] said the terms of the six-month ceasefire which expired on December 19th were violated by Israel. It refused to lift the siege and blockade and its troops continued to shoot at Palestinian farmers trying to till their land near the border and fishermen at sea. (“Hamas may etend ceasefire if Israel ends blockade, says deputy minister,” Jan. 26, 2009)

Note: There is no mention of the hundreds of rockets and mortar shells launched into Israel by Palestinians in Gaza during the ceasefire, nor any challenge to the specious allegation that Israel targeted innocent farmers and fisherman. 

He [Hamas member Abu Ahmad] flatly rejects Israel s contention that its onslaught on Gaza was meant to stop the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and its allies. The rockets do not damage very much or kill many Israelis. Israel attacked us because it cannot tolerate the resistance or any one who defends himself. (“Imperatives of war bring Palestinians together,” Jan. 28, 2009)

Other articles consisted largely of information from activists of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an organization that supports Palestinian armed struggle against Israel and encourages members to place themselves in dangerous situations to protect terrorists and their homes. (See details here.) Making no mention of her informants’ affiliation to an organization with a radical agenda, Jansen describes them as “peace activists,” “volunteers” or “aid workers.” Below are some of the articles based on ISM activist reports:

“Aid mission: boat departs Cyprus” (Dec. 30, 2008)

“Navy attacks activist vessel carrying doctors to Strip” (Dec.31, 2008)
Note:  Jansen here cites only activist’s claims that the Israeli navy deliberately rammed and smashed their boat without warning, but not the Israeli claim that the boat ignored radio signals to turn back from the closed military zone and in its attempt to ” outmaneuver” the Israeli navy ship crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels.

“Food trucks try to unload as missiles explode” (Jan. 14, 2009)

“Hospital struck several times, says volunteer” (Jan. 16, 2009)

“Palestinians use lull in war to get food and check relatives” (Jan. 17, 2009)

“Palestinians return home to scenes of devastation in Gaza” (Jan. 19, 2009)

“Strikes on Gaza continue despite truce” (Jan. 19, 2009)

Jansen similarly cited condemnations of Israel by Mads Gilbert, whom she described simply as “a Norwegian physician who reached Gaza”:

Civilians are the targets,'” he declared. (“Attacks condemned as supplies dwindle and deaths rise,” Jan. 2, 2009)

But Gilbert is hardly a reliable source. He is a radical Marxist and pro-Palestinian activist who demonizes both Israel and the U.S. The extent of his animus against the West is evidenced by his support for the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S. (See details here)

Many other articles were based entirely on claims by UNRWA director John Ging and spokesperson Christopher Gunness. But UNWRA is hardly an objective source. It has come under severe criticism and intense scrutiny for its ties to Palestinian terror groups, mismanagement of funds, and failure to repatriate Palestinian refugees (see details here). And these same spokesmen have repeatedly misinformed and misled reporters (see details here), omitting information that does not conform to their agenda (see details here, here and here). Jansen, however, devotes a 1500 word article to glorifying the UNRWA director as “a voice for the voiceless.”

Unverifiable Sources

While based in Jerusalem, Jansen reported on events in Gaza, relying on unnamed sources. For example, Jansen repeatedly quoted casualty statistics, often without mentioning who provided them. Casualty statistics at that time were only estimates, and there were inconsistencies between Israeli and Palestinian sources, as well as among different Palestinian sources. Yet,  Jansen quoted the numbers as uncontested fact.

She also repeated allegations from unnamed, unverifiable sources. For example:

Israel’s war aim, say Palestinian analysts, is to assassinate or drive underground the Hamas leadership so…the movement is decapitated. By striking the civilian police, Israel, they argue, destroys law and order imposed by Hamas when it seized control of the Strip in June 2007. (“Raids destroy hope and boost chances of new intifada,” Dec. 30, 2008)

The overall Israeli objective is, Palestinians argue, to crush all resistanc e to Israel’s occupation and to force those who rule Gaza to cooperate with Israel…
(“Raids destroy hope and boost chances of new intifada,” Dec. 30, 2008)

A source in Gaza said the record shows that Palestinian rocketry is in its infancy and exposes the weaknesses of armed groups now being targeted by Israel’s massive offensive…Hamas does not have a proper army.
(Hamas’s capacities ‘exaggerated’ by Israel to justify its military actions,” Dec. 31, 2008)

Analysts argue that popular pressure…to take actions against Israel and its western allies would rise dramatically if Israel launches a ground offensive.

Commentators suggest that the oil-rich Arabs should embargo oil exports and withdraw funds from US banks…”
(“Arab rulers split over who is to blame for attacks,” Jan. 3)

Sixteen died here, he [the journalist’s cab driver] stated as we passed a five-storey building pancaked into just two by an Israeli bomb.
(“My driver took the horror route into Gaza City. Sixteen died here, he stated,” Jan. 22)

The Israelis dump bruised fruits and vegetables on our markets, stated one woman.
(“Shelling of Gaza coast injures four Palestinians” Jan. 23)

Examples of Jansen’s Pejorative Editorial Comments

Commenting on the 400 Israeli settlers who dwell in Hebron’s old city among 20,000 Palestinians who suffer abuse and violence from the settlers
(“Abbas appeals for unity,” Dec. 27, 2008)

Israel’s aerial and ground attack on the Gaza Strip is disproportionate to the badly-equipped resistance it is meeting.
(“Hamas’s capacities ‘exaggerated’ by Israel to justify its military actions,” Dec. 31)

East Jerusalem is under siege.
(“No rest for the angry on Friday’s day of prayer,” Jan. 10)

They understand that what Israel is doing is beyond comprehension.

(“Hopes of settlement dead, says veteran peacemaker,” Jan. 15, 2009)

But unilateralist Israel refuses to talk, even indirectly to Hamas.
(“Offensive widens discord between Fatah and Hamas, Jan. 20)

We all suspect the [Israeli] authorities are cracking the gates…to prevent the world from being deluged by horror stories.
( “Waiting and waiting for entry to the devastation that is Gaza,” Jan. 21)

The blockade on truth-telling has been lifted.
(“My driver took the horror route into Gaza City. Sixteen died here, he stated,” Jan. 22)

3. Mark Weiss

Weiss was the only correspondent who reported responsibly and objectively. His style was straightforward and factual, reporting without judgmental or pejorative language. He provided perspectives from both sides of the conflict – citing both Palestinian and Israeli spokesmen, and he made an attempt to provide context, albeit laconically. For example, several of Weiss’ earlier articles mention Hamas’s rocketing of Israeli cities as a reason for Israel’s contemplating a military campaign. He also briefly noted Israeli humanitarian efforts and Hamas arms-smuggling tunnels. In reporting on Israel’s killing of Hamas leader Nizar Rayan in his home, Weiss mentioned — as an IDF claim — that the targeted building was used as a storage house for weapons and that warnings were issued to residents before the strike. While the overall focus of his articles was not on the Israeli point-of-view, Weiss did write one article from Sderot, describing the effect of Hamas’s rocketing on residents there.

It is important to note that Weiss’ occasional context and brief referencing of Israeli perspectives did not balance the overwhelming anti-Israel perspective from which both Marlowe and Jansen reported.

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