On Sunday, October 11, the Los Angeles Times ran the headline “6 Palestinian Teens Die Amid Mideast Unrest.” It was, technically, true. But it left out a few key details.
Try the opening sentence, instead: “Two Palestinian teenagers were shot to death Saturday in Jerusalem, officials said, after they carried out separate stabbing attacks on an ultra-Orthodox Jew and two Israeli police officers.” Among Palestinians, stabbing Israelis is in vogue at present — as are shooting them, ramming them with vehicles, and bludgeoning them with meat cleavers, all of which have also taken place in the “unrest” of the past few weeks. Seven Israelis have been killed and dozens wounded in attacks since Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, ended on September 15. The purported reason for the renewed violence is the rumor, despite Benjamin Netanyahu’s assurances to the contrary, that the Israeli government plans to reopen the Temple Mount to Jews. But the rash of violence is better explained by a century-long virus of hatred.
Western media outlets, as this latest flare-up reminds us, suffer their own mild case of this virus, manifested in their headlines. NBC News recently published a story entitled, “Dispute Over Viral Video of Shot Ahmed Manasrah Sums Up Israel-Palestinian Conflict.” What it summarizes is nothing; what it omits — that the wounded 13-year-old Palestinian and his 15-year-old cousin were shot after stabbing and seriously wounding two Israelis — is quite a bit. At the New York Times, there was, “Israeli Police Officers Kill Two Palestinian Men.” (Guess why). On its website, CNN blared, “Palestinian Youth: ‘Now We’ll Fight,’” with the subtitle, “Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate with Four Violent Attacks.” Yahoo News got in on the action with, “Israeli Police Shoot Dead Palestinian at Entrance to Jerusalem’s Walled Old City,” which is both biased and grammatically ambiguous. And while no one expects Al Jazeera to be fair and balanced on this subject, its Twitter tease for a (less egregious) article on a stabbing that killed two Israelis in early October was nothing short of extraordinary: “Palestinian Shot Dead after Fatal Stabbing in Jerusalem; 2 Israeli Victims Also Killed.”
Overseas, coverage has been, if possible, worse. Earlier this month, the BBC titled an article “Palestinian Shot Dead after Jerusalem Attack Kills Two.” (The tweet advertising the article simply read, “Attacker kills two in Jerusalem.”) When that headline garnered the wrong kind of social-media attention, the BBC modified it — “Jerusalem Attack: Israelis Killed in Old City ‘By Palestinian’” — making use of what can only be called unorthodox punctuation. Soon, they stripped the quotation marks, then later changed the headline again: “Jerusalem: Palestinian kills two Israelis in Old City.” Meanwhile, the Independent wailed, “Israel Kills Pregnant Mother and Her Baby in Revenge Attacks,” a curious way of describing “airstrikes in Gaza targeting Hamas weapons manufacturing facilities,” as the article eventually acknowledges.
#share#Conscious manipulation is on display here — someone at Al Jazeera worked hard to come up with that misleading tweet — but one senses, more than intent, the inevitable results of an implacable mindset. The New York Times and the BBC and the rest see what the Palestinians are doing; but they long ago committed themselves to making Israel’s legitimacy a matter of debate. They believe that the Jews have oppressed and occupied and reduced the Palestinians to poverty and despair. In such circumstances, they think, who wouldn’t lash out?
RELATED: There Is No God But Hephaestus
For nearly 70 years the Left has trafficked in false moral equivalences between terrorists and those in Israel defending themselves from terrorism. A responsible media would expose that unconvincing narrative. The one we’ve got has decided to participate in its propagation instead.
If you need more evidence, just tune in. The intifada will surely be televised.
— Ian Tuttle is a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.