American Media Erase Palestine – Even
10, 2017 "Information
Palestine Friday. The cause of death was teargas
inhalation from an Israeli invasion of his
village two months ago.
wasn’t a major invasion; just another of the
routine ones that happen almost every day in the
West Bank. U.S. media call these “incursions,”
when they bother to mention them. Which is
toddler’s name was Abdul-Rahman Mahmoud
Barghouthi, a name that feels incongruously long
for his short life.
When he was injured,
Israeli soldiers held up
an ambulance rushing to him, forcing medics to
go to his home on foot and carry him back to the
ambulance in their arms – a 60 minute round
In the past three months, Israelis have
Palestinians, including an eight-year-old and
10-year-old, and Palestinians have killed two
I don’t see any US mainstream news media
mentioning the end of Abdul’s short life, the
final two months likely infused with pain. If an
18-month-old Israeli child had been killed by
Palestinians, I suspect there would be
headlines, and the President would go on CNN and
condemn the killers.
Palestinians are killed so often that to the
media it’s just not newsworthy, a little like
the old saying that ‘dog bites man’ is not news,
while ‘man bites dog’ is news. Israelis killing
Palestinian children is not news. However, it is
literally news to most Americans, since they so
rarely hear about it.
personal experience in writing about this issue
for more than a decade and a half illustrates
the very American tale of media omission on
Palestine. Just last week another episode showed
that the saga continues.
written about this sort of thing before, on more
than one occasion.
The first time I wrote about tiny dead
Palestinian children was
15 years ago. I
described small deaths and quoted the words of
poet Shawqi Baghdadi:
few years later I wrote about Palestinian
Israeli drones, and a few years later about
children shot in the head.
I wrote stories about dead Palestinian mothers,
Anatomy Of A Cover-Up: When A Mother Gets Killed
Does She Make A Sound?
Another Mother Murdered.”
The titles give you the gist.
write stories like this over and over, if I
could bear it. Because the deaths keep coming,
and the misery and the cruelty, and the media
keep ignoring so much of it.
that’s the point of this story. Americans need
to know important facts that they aren’t
learning in the very filtered reporting we get.
We need to know what’s happening in Palestine,
and we need to know what’s enabling this in the
U.S. The latter stories are even more covered
we expose and break through the media bias and
omission, the children will keep dying, and the
tragedy and carnage and injustice will grow and
In the past I’ve conducted
that document the disparity in reporting on
Palestinian deaths compared to Israeli deaths,
deconstructed news reporting.
Through the years I’ve periodically written
describing the flawed system of reporting on
Palestine, including a
chapter for a
Project Censored book on the subject.
time I’d like to give a few small, personal
anecdotes – one from last week.
a reporter for the Gannett news chain
interviewed me at length about what I had just
seen firsthand in Gaza and the West Bank at the
height of the Second Intifada, and about the
founding of If Americans Knew. Gannett is a
major chain and this would have been a
significant breakthrough for information on
Palestine to get to the general public. The
reporter sent a photographer to take pictures of
me and told me his feature was about to come
never did. The reporter later told me a
higher-up had killed the story, saying it was
“missing something.” He hadn’t explained what.
time a journalist at the other end of the media
scale, a reporter working for a small town
newspaper, wrote a similar story about me. It,
too, was killed by a higher-up. The reporter
told me this was the first time that had ever
happened to him.
later, a letter I had written about Palestine
had gone through the usual editorial process and
was slated to be published in the Washington
Post. At the last minute it, too, was
blocked by a superior.
Most recently, Truthout, a progressive website
with a large readership that publishes much
excellent work, accepted an article I had
submitted about government monitoring of
Palestine activism. My piece went through the
standard editing and fact-checking, and the next
day the article was
the website. Briefly. It was quickly
higher-ups saw it and the staff then told me
courteously and apologetically it wasn’t “the
right fit for Truthout.”
asked what this meant, exactly, but haven’t
heard back. We’ve now published the
article on our
Naturally, news organizations can’t publish
everything that’s submitted to them, and all
have the right to decide what they will publish
and what they won’t.
it’s unusual for pieces that have gone through
the usual channels and passed the standard
hurdles to suddenly get killed for unidentified
reasons. And it’s disturbing when this fits into
a pattern of news filtering that has life and
death consequences, and has gone on year after
year after year.
news media are telling us more than they used to
about Palestine, but they continue to leave out
important aspects. Sometimes a half truth is a
Meanwhile, Israel and its partisans have
governmental definition of “antisemitism” to
include criticism of Israel and embedded this
in governments and law enforcement agencies
around the world, so that eventually articles
like this one may be banned as “hate speech.”
won’t learn that in Truthout.
Alison Weir is
executive director of If
president of the Council
for the National Interest,
and author of Against
Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How
the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.
article was first published by
views expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of Information Clearing House.