Reading the Washington Post online this morning I came across two articles from the Associated Press written about Land Day. The coverage struck me as particularly biased towards Israel, especially for a news agency that has the global reputation of merely reporting the news with the bare minimum of opinion or slant. I have personally met some high-ranking members of the AP staff in Jerusalem and I am well aware of their partisanship. My colleague Roi Maor already penned a piece about the Associated Press’ horrible coverage of the Mahmoud Abbas speech to the UN in September, but I thought it would be useful to analyze their treatment of the Land Day protests to show that such bias is not a one-off.
Here is an AP piece on Land Day, carried, among others, by the Washington Post. Let’s start with the headline.
Umm, excuse me? First of all, Land Day is not a protest against the Jewish State. It is a commemoration of the 1976 demonstration by Palestinian citizens of Israel against massive expropriations targeting Arab-owned land for Jewish settlement purposes. The protest left six Palestinians dead and hundreds injured. Today’s Land Day demonstrations, which occur throughout the whole of the country occur to protest the continuation of this policy by the Israeli government.
Secondly, the entire framing of the news forces the reader to associate Palestinian demonstrations with a security threat to Israeli citizens, which it clearly is not. I don’t remember any Israelis getting killed during Land Day demonstrations, but I do remember quite a few victims from among Palestinians and other Arabs. Now, it is possible that this headline was written by the Washington Post: The Associated Press usually gives a title that the publishing outlet is free to change at their leisure, I believe. I am not sure which is the case in this instance. But even if it was from the Post, I am not surprised they would choose such a title given the article’s content.
Moving on to the body of the text.
This first sentence frames the entire article. “Israeli soldiers in riot gear.” The demonstrations are labeled indirectly as riots from the outset, justifying the use of riot control measures against them.
Palestinians threw rocks and Israeli troops responded with stun grenades. No casualties were reported. Elsewhere things were calm.
Palestinians were banned from entering from the West...