Anatomy of Disinformation

You’d think they’d learn by now. But news reporting is a medium rarely well done.

A report from Associated Press this week is a case study in skewing the news to fit preconceived bias.

A Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli soldier. Israeli troops shot the terrorist. How did AP report it? Did the headline focus on the attack on the soldier? Did it focus on the quick-acting soldiers saving the life of their buddy and possibly many more lives?

Here is the headline on the wire story:

“Palestinian assailant killed after stabbing Israeli soldier”

OK, they did say he was an “assailant,” not an alleged assailant. Score that one for them. But the emphasis was clearly on his being killed.

Here is the lead:

“JERUSALEM (AP) – A Palestinian assailant was shot and killed by Israeli forces after stabbing and seriously wounding an Israeli soldier in the West Bank on Wednesday, the latest in an unrelenting, two month-long wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.”

Let’s take a closer look at that.

Again, the focus in on the Palestinian being shot and killed.

He was shot by “Israeli forces.” The implication is that the response was disproportionate.

Perhaps most insidious is not calling the attack terrorism, rather “the latest in an unrelenting two month-long wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence,” suggesting the moral equivalence of wanton savagery vs. self-defense.

This warped view is reminiscent of The New York Times handling of the riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 1991.

The Times sent their religion editor, Ari Goldman (now a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism), to cover the riots. The next day, Goldman saw that “rewrite” didn’t just rewrite, but reinvented, the reports he filed.

Instead of a violent anti-Semitic riot, culminating in the murder of Yankel Rosenbaum, Hy”d, a yeshivah student from Melbourne, Australia, The Times presented the story as a Jewish/Black racial clash. One headline read, “Two Deaths Ignite Racial Clash in Tense Brooklyn Neighborhood.”

“And, worse,” wrote Goldman in The Jewish Week, 20 years after the riots, “I read an opening paragraph … that was simply untrue: ‘Hasidim and blacks clashed in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn through the day and into the night yesterday.’”

Goldman wrote that he never saw — or heard of — any violence by Jews against blacks.

“But The Times was dedicated to this version of events: blacks and Jews clashing amid racial tensions.”

So firmly and deeply did the editors at The Times believe their own narrative, that they couldn’t see anything else.

Even after Goldman called and yelled at his editor that what they are printing isn’t true, the paper still persisted in their narrative of moral equivalence in the accident that tragically killed 7-year old Gavin Cato, and the riot that climaxed in the wanton stabbing murder of Yankel Rosenbaum.

Only former executive editor of The Times A.M. Rosenthal had the courage to call the riots what they were.

Rosenthal wrote in an editorial, two weeks after the riots, “The press treats it all as some kind of cultural clash between a poverty-ridden people fed up with life and a powerful, prosperous and unfortunately peculiar bunch of stuck-up neighbors — very sad of course, but certainly understandable. No — it is an anti-Semitic pogrom and the words should not be left unsaid.”

While AP has been relatively free of some of the anti-Israel Orwellian newspeak that passes for reporting in The New York Times, it is not immune to the politically correct palaver that supplants thought.

The AP report went on to say:

“The attack comes a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region to try to calm tensions. The violence erupted in mid-September over tensions surrounding a sensitive Jerusalem holy site and quickly spread across Israel and into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The past week has been the deadliest of the outburst so far.”

Again, the one-sided barbaric attacks of terror are portrayed as general “tensions” and “violence.”

The nefarious scheme of incitement over a non-existent threat to al-Aqsa Mosque gets termed “tensions surrounding a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.”

Then comes the scoreboard — a favorite tool of the media to demonstrate the “disproportionate” response of Israel forces to terror:

“Attacks by Palestinians have killed 19 Israelis and 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, among them 58 said by Israel to be assailants.”

Then, throwing a bone to fairness, the story continues, “Israel says the violence stems from Palestinian incitement and incendiary videos on social media.”

However, lest you sympathize with those Israeli military bullies, AP adds, “Most of the attackers have been young Palestinians in their teens and early 20s.”

What do the ages imply? Mere children… And what is a child, if not the picture of innocence?