If We’re Going to Talk About Bias in the Media…

KATIE PICKRELL

I once read a book that was titled “You Know You’re a Liberal When…” No doubt, I realized I was, indeed, a liberal.

One statement made referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “You know you’re a liberal when… the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the approach taken to it, makes you cringe.”

I had heard a lot about the conflict up to that point and it was something that made me sick. I don’t approve in systematic killings or breaking of international law. I don’t approve of building concrete walls to draw lines in the sand between two groups of people. I don’t approve of one industrialized, advanced nation bombing or shooting at citizens of a nation without an army or any way of defense.

As a member of the media myself, I pride myself on reading and watching the news at any opportunity I’m given. Whether it’s MSNBC, CNN or Fox, I watch whatever is available to gain the most knowledge from every side of the story.

Something I find only scarcely is coverage on what I view as such a large, borderline offensive issue.

A headline may run “Two IDF soldiers killed by Palestinians” while the body text elaborates on the dozens of civilians shot by the IDF.

Reports don’t come telling everyone that Israeli forces have been arresting Palestinians at unprecedented rates. Reports don’t come telling us that soldiers we support are killing students and children. Reports don’t come telling us that even the peaceful are targets. Reports don’t come telling us that hospitals, places of worship, parks and beaches are being targeted.

Reports don’t come with any sense of humanity.

Reports come with political bias attached in an attempt to secure a sense of correctness for those who don’t know what’s really going on.

I might not be the most qualified to speak on an issue I am so passionate about, but I feel that the current coverage we are facing is not just either.

Just a single example of how current coverage is flawed would be the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu receives plenty of press attention while Palestinians hardly appear in the news in almost any circumstance.

Another issue regarding the reporting is the lack of addressal towards the past. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t anything new. It’s been harboring for years without any sign of letting up.

For a quick history lesson…

Palestine was obtained by Britain at the end of World War I with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Everything east of the Jordan River was then created into the country of Jordan, and many revolts occurred between Israelis and Arabs.

It wasn’t until 1947 that the United Nations recommended that Palestine be split into two nations, one for Jews and one for Arabs. The proposal made by the UN was already unrepresentative of honest map2demographic distributions.

A year later, Zionist leaders proclaim the state of Israel, causing the displacement of 700,000 Arab Palestinians. Jordan still controlled the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization was created in 1964 in an attempt to grant autonomy to Palestine.

In 1967, Israel began illegally settling in portions of Palestine which they did not own.

These actions all eventually led to immense amounts of conflict on both sides (ie. the Yom Kippur War, the First and Second Intifada, the capturing of Israeli hostages, the massacring of Palestinian refugee camps).

In more recent years, throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Palestinians and Israelis have fought over land in the West Bank and Gaza, land that completes only 22 percent of what was originally Palestine.

Now, aggressions from the Israelis are claimed as self defense. Aggressions from Palestinians are seen as attacking.

It’s also rare to hear about how unfair the battle is. Rockets fired by Palestinian forces (which are not a faction of an official military, as Palestine has no recognized government to organize a military) usually dud out long before causing any harm. Many sources even claim that no Israelis have died as a result of rocket fire from Palestinians.

In recent years, Israel has even created a defense system many refer to as an “Iron Dome” which has shot down more than 90 percent of rockets fired from Palestine. That aside, almost all public buildings in Israel have built in bomb shelters. Sirens are also set off when civilians may be in danger of fire.

Palestinians have no Iron Dome. They have no infrastructure to build bomb shelters. They have no warning when a rocket comes hurdling at a beach or a playground.

And so Israel claims that Palestinian leaders should be responsible for protecting Palestinians– but Palestine is far from obtaining viable leadership.

Currently, Palestine’s “governing” force in the Gaza Strip (where Israeli attacks have been the worst) is Hamas– an Islamist organization committed to armed resistance against Israeli rule. Sounds pretty terrible, and no doubt it isn’t anything great, but what are nations in such large amounts of turmoil to do? Without justifying the things Hamas has done that are absolute disgraces to natural human rights, I still would like to point out that when a group of people become desperate, they speak out and act out in desperation.

Because Hamas has no way of effectively protecting civilians, militancy is often the average approach. There’s no leaving Gaza because of travel restrictions. There’s no warning siren or bomb shelters because there’s no money to provide for them.

Instead there is low grade weaponry and commitment to the cause of a free nation.

The Palestinian people are outnumbered, outspent and out equipped yet they still have not lost. The people of Palestine, not the settlers or IDF soldiers, have the will to fight. That will is what is leading to many of their deaths but is also what may lead to their success.

So, while Israel calls on Hamas– the organization committed to their demise– to help out their own people, they are also bombing the most densely populated areas of Gaza.

The death toll continues to rise but interest (and knowledge) remains low. When the death toll is excessively shifted towards one side of the battle, the question must be raised as to who is committing terrorism.

This should not be a religious issue or a state issue, this should be an issue of directly violating human rights– and systematically killing individuals is the biggest violation I can imagine.

It’s hard to write all there is to say, if you have any questions, contact me at katiepickrell1998@gmail.com.

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