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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

British Papers Cover For Hamas Again In Latest Ceasefire Breach

Hamas set off a massive roadside bomb at the Gaza border, killing an Israeli soldier and wounding several on the Israeli side of the border. In return fire, one Palestinian was killed. So how do British papers report the story? Here are the headlines:

Notice the moral equivalence. Palestinians attack, Israelis respond, both to blame for breaching ceasefire. While each story noted the sequence in the body of the story, headlines typically are written by the editorial or production staff, not the reporter. The headlines reflect the attitudes of the publishers, and in this case, the false moral equivalency which dominates the mainstream media on the other side of the pond.

Since many people focus on headlines, misleading or agenda-driven headlines can have a huge impact on public opinion. It is no wonder that Britain is the center of anti-Israel boycott movements.

At least the AP, not known for being sympathetic to Israel, got it right: "Deadly roadside bombing threatens Gaza truce."
UPDATE: Leave it to The New York Times to emulate the Brits in the moral-equivalence headline department: "Two Killed in Violence on Gaza Border." The NY Times takes it once step further with a moral-equivalence first paragraph, which requires the reader to delve deeply into the story to understand the sequence of events: "An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian farmer were killed along the Gaza-Israel border on Tuesday in the first known fatal breach of the cease-fires that brought a halt to the Gaza war 10 days ago, according to Israeli officials and Palestinian witnesses. It was not immediately clear how the deaths would affect the truce."

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