Let’s be clear about what is going on. In the 2008 Gaza War, the Associated Press purposely presented false casualty figures in Gaza because they were afraid of Hamas’s retribution. Journalist Matti Friedman explains that a journalist’s life was threatened by Hamas, so the reporter fudged the truth on the casualty rate:
Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.
There was a great deal at stake, and the result of this lie was significant:
Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.
What does that have to do with today? A great deal. David French, over at National Review, writes:
Let’s put this as plainly as possible. Media distortions provided Hamas with further incentives to use human shields. And when Hamas uses human shields, people die. Not only do people die, but international activists and foreign governments use their deaths to discredit Israel and discredit its efforts at self-defense. I can sympathize with the need to protect a source. It’s tough to imagine the agony of thinking that a story you print could cost a man his life. But isn’t that what AP contributed to anyway, except on an even larger scale?
Exactly. Lives are at stake here, one way or the other. It is a shame that the American media will lie to protect evil, bloodthirsty, horrific people. Our so-called elites laugh when Donald Trump uses the phrase fake news.
But this is beyond fake news. This is lying. This is journalistic malfeasance. This is a national shame.
Image Credit: By ISM Palestine [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Hat Tip: National Review