Just as we reported a few days ago, the Grand Rapids Press continues to run stories that are biased in favor of Israel in regards to their most recent bombing campaign of the Gaza strip.
On January 3, the Press ran two Associated Press (AP) stories on page A6. The main story is entitled “Muslim protests go global.” The story does reflect that protests against the Israeli military assault were happening all over the world, but even the AP article acknowledges that there were protests held by people other than Muslims. There is also no mention of the dozens of protests that have occurred in communities all across the country.
The photos that accompany the story are one of a protest in Washington DC and what appears to be Palestinian youth throwing rocks at the Israeli military in the Gaza. Thus, the Press decision to call the protest Muslim is a bit misleading and it might feed into the anti-Muslim portrayal that is prominent in US media. It is also worth noting that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, ran the same AP story but used the headline, “Worldwide protests staged against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.”
Beyond the headline, the AP article also continued to promote the Israeli position for the bombing attack. The article states, “Israel says its offensive is aimed at silencing Hamas rockets.” However, nowhere in the story is a different perspective presented, despite the fact that numerous writers have pointed out that Hamas was responding to an Israeli bombing of the Gaza that took place back in early November. Writer and historian James Petras says the Israeli state, “boasts of having systematically pre-planned the extermination campaign – months in advance – up to and including the precise hour and day of the bombing to coincide with inflicting the maximum murder of civilians.” Belen Fernandez notes in a recent posting that the reporting in US media is in part due to a well-organized PR campaign by the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC.
The second AP story that appeared in the Press was headlined, “U.N. fears crisis.” The story begins with some information about the human cost of the Israeli bombing, but omits a great deal of the original story, which had more details on the destruction from the bombing. The Press version of the AP story also only includes comments from President Bush and his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, unlike the original AP story, which included comments from Hamas leaders, a UN representative, and residents of Gaza who offered eyewitness accounts of the Israeli attacks.