Israel is massacring Palestinians by the dozen, injuring thousands, and bombing Gaza.— Zach Carter (@zachjcarter) May 14, 2018
If you’re a U.S. taxpayer, this is what you’re paying for. pic.twitter.com/GxaZOZ29mA
The New York Times has a hard time using clear language when talking about Palestinians, even if one of their own reporters witnesses Israeli officials opening fire on unarmed protesters. What are they trying to hide?
The publication’s Israel-based reporters wrote on Monday that Gaza demonstrations “turned violent,” and that in response, Israeli soldiers used “rifle fire.” In the title, the publication explained that Palestinians “have died” as a result.
Visiting from Cairo and witnessing what Walsh thought was going to be an uneventful evening, the reporter said that instead of Gazans acting violently and getting hurt or killed in return, what he saw was Israeli soldiers opening fire on people who presented no danger to them.
In Gaza, Walsh said he saw Israeli snipers on the other side of the border “barely visible in their fortified perches” twice shoot at a group of Palestinian women who were unarmed. Only one was hit: Alaa Asawafiri was shot in the stomach right before his eyes.
“She wasn’t holding a stone. So what’s the excuse for shooting her?” her brother asked Walsh. When Walsh asked Israel’s army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, he didn’t get an answer.
“In a text message he said he could not find any trace of the shooting,” Walsh said.
Walsh reported that 49 Palestinians have been shot dead since the beginning of the protests on March 30, although Palestinian officials claim the death count is at 55. According to Reuters, however, the total number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the protests has neared 100. Additionally, thousands of others have also been injured, and yet, only one Israeli has been slightly injured.
On Twitter, journalist Glenn Greenwald called out on the publication for the way it changes its reporting style when talking about Israeli soldiers.
Most western media outlets have become quite skilled - through years of practice - at writing headlines and describing Israeli massacres using the passive tense so as to hide the culprit. But the all-time champion has long been, and remains, the New York Times. #HaveDied https://t.co/rNkdz4yA5c— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) May 14, 2018
Using the hashtag #HaveDied, many others joined him.
New York Times is #FakeNews. when enemies kill innocent people, it’s headline reads “were killed” but when allies kill, headline changes to “have died”. sad to say but journalism #HaveDied too, but decades ago (not when President Trump coined the phrase)— Noam Chomsky Fan (@NoamChomskyFan) May 14, 2018
Passive language breeds passive people #HaveDied— Lara Bourdin (@larabourdin) May 14, 2018
In contrast, @democracynow's headline (for example): Gaza: Israeli Soldiers Kill 30+ Palestinians Protesting Nonviolently as U.S. Opens Jerusalem Embassy
Saddened and angry by this news. https://t.co/vog3JsjS6H
I promise you @nytimesworld they didn’t die from some incurable disease, unless you consider fighting for your freedom a disease— Ahmad Saad (@TheOtherSaad) May 14, 2018
Dozens were shot by Israeli troops. Dozens were killed by Israeli troops.#havedied #passivevoice https://t.co/p1pRaSKC9D
Unlike The New York Times, The Washington Post used more direct language when reporting on the killings.
“Israelis kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza protests, health officials say,” The Washington Post article’s headline read. But when The New York Times’ article came out, it read: “At Least 28 Palestinians Die in Protests as U.S. Prepares to Open Jerusalem Embassy.”
Later, it was changed to “Israeli Troops Kill Dozens of Palestinian Protesters as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem.” But on social media, the old headline remained.
As Greenwald mentioned, many Western news outlets have used the trick of softening the tone on headlines and articles when reporting on Israel’s killing of Palestinians. Thankfully, people like him have been loud in their criticism of such practices, helping us all realize just how biased mainstream media is when reporting on the long-lasting conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton