Media missteps: From phantom bombings to doxxing drama, a chronicle of bad Gaza-Israel coverage
January 17, 2024
Three Palestinian men were shot in Vermont. This was immediately taken to be evidence of anti-Palestinian action, no doubt by some sort of white supremacist:
Jason Eaton shot the three students, all of whom were wearing the traditional Arab keffiyeh scarf, as they were walking down a residential street in Burlington. The shooting, which left one of the men paralyzed, was immediately cited as an example of anti-Arab hate spurred by the Hamas invasion of Israel,
As it turns out, this wasn’t the case. Three men did get shot, which is bad; one is still paralyzed, which is appalling, but the reason doesn’t seem to be that immediately assumed:
“The Vermont man who shot and wounded three Muslim American university students in late November made statements in support of Hamas on social-media, complicating the popular narrative that emerged in the wake of the unprovoked attack.”
We’d say “complicated” is the wrong word there. Disproves would be better.
Over the past few months, the American media have consistently gotten the news from Gaza and Israel wrong. It’s even managed to get the news from inside the U.S. about Gaza and Israel wrong over that same time period.
The first grand error was in the New York Times. It reported that a hospital had been hit by an Israeli bombing raid, which they illustrated with an appalling picture. Except the picture wasn’t of the alleged hospital nor damage to it. Also, the hospital wasn’t hit; it was the parking lot. And it wasn’t hit by Israel, but by a malfunctioning rocket from Islamic Jihad, another terrorist organization competing with Hamas within Gaza.
That is, they managed to get right that they were working for the New York Times but nothing else.
But there’s been a lot more. As we pointed out, the Associated Press blamed Israel for the closure of the Rafah crossing into Egypt. But Israel doesn’t control Rafah – Egypt does.
NowThis tried to do a history of Israel and Palestine and managed to leave out that that two wars were a result of the Arab nations invading Israel to wipe it out. Oh, and left out the third war altogether.
Now, some part of this could be that everyone has to rely upon journalists in Gaza to report. As we’ve pointed out a couple of times, those are locals living under the government of Hamas. Hamas, the government happy enough that they boast of killing kids at a peace music festival. So reporting what they don’t want reported might be dangerous. Or, of course, locals might actually believe Hamas.
But this hasn’t been enough for the American media. Just about everyone was insisting that the three Palestinian guys who got shot were shot because they were Palestinian. Evidence of Islamophobia, perhaps. Turns out the guy who shot them supported Hamas.
ABC tells us that both Jewish and Palestinian students are terrified. But it’s the Jewish students who were locked in the library at Cooper Union to keep them safe from the pro-Palestinian rally. It’s antisemitism that is the danger at Northwestern.
It gets close to home for us, too. Our trucks carrying the names of student antisemites have been called “doxxing trucks.” When we very carefully never do mention information they did not make public, as that would be doxxing. We simply publicized the fact that they put their names to a public document blaming Jews for all of this.
We have, of course, been doxxed in response – to the point that our president, Adam Guillette, has been repeatedly swatted.
Now, that some people get things wrong sometimes – that’s just being human. But all of the errors, both internationally and domestically in this news gathering, have been the one way. Blaming Israel and Jews, downplaying the actions of Hamas and or Palestinians and their supporters. That is, this isn’t just what’s happening among college faculty, this is wider than that.