The remains of Beit Hanoun. Photo credit by Samer Zaneen

It’s no secret that the mainstream American media is biased when it comes to covering the assault on Gaza. On July 7, a few days after the start of the Muslim holy month, Ramadan, Israel began a military offensive called “Operation Protective Edge.” Since then over 1,400 Gazans have been killed and over 8,000 injured. The bombings shook Gaza for the third time since 2005. Countries around the globe took to the streets in their kuffiyehs and Palestinian flags to protest Israel’s brutal attacks against the innocent lives, advocating for the Palestinians’ human rights. But the one thing that has been proven again and again is the media’s blind support and sympathy to Israel’s ‘right to defend itself.’ Not only was Gaza deprived of their rights by Israel, but they were also silenced by the media.

Ahmed Hamad, a Palestinian from Gaza currently living in Chicago and who has lost six family members since the start of the attacks, knows this too well as he experienced the bias of the Chicago media firsthand. Hamad was interviewed by CBS News last Monday to talk about living in America with family members in Gaza. The interview continued for fifteen minutes yet the final video included 15 seconds where Hamad was cut off midsentence. Hamad describes the experience,

 “[…] the situation is that we already feel attacked and we already feel not protected and not appreciated in a sense. And then for news to come and talk to me for twenty minutes and ask me to open up about how I feel about it and then be treated this way was very unfair, it was very insensitive and not human of them. It seemed obvious to me that the person who cut it, cut it for a reason.”

After the interview aired, Hamad received a call from the reporter apologizing for the quick cut and Hamad’s limited airtime, claiming it was the choice of the producer. She also apologized saying ‘we didn’t mean to come off as pro-Israel.’

 “I wasn’t surprised but I was shocked of how insensitive the mainstream media is towards Palestinians, especially the ones that are struggling.” Hamad says.

The reporter also interviewed Deb Zaluda, whose daughter is currently serving in the Israeli military. Zaluda also voiced her concern of safety towards her daughter. However, Zaluba’s interview had an obviously longer time.

The town of Beit Hanoun in Gaza, courtesy of Samer Zaneen
Beit Hanoun in Gaza, courtesy of Samer Zaneen

Hamad wasn’t the only one to receive bias treatment from Chicago media. Deanna Othman, Palestinian-American journalist, was also interviewed by CBS News. Unlike Hamad, Othman received no air time at all. The producer called Othman to apologize and say ‘we didn’t mean to offend you.’ Othman later received a call saying it will air later in the day, but when the time came, again, the footage wasn’t available.

This has become a reoccurring theme of silencing Palestinians at such a critical time. What ever happened to the Palestinian voice? And their stories?

One of the biggest misconceptions that the media does is paint these attacks as equal. Yet the media is anything but equal in their coverage of the assaults on Gaza. Time after time, the media has misrepresented the Palestinians. From Diane Sawyer to Rula Jebreal and even to changing the headline of the four young children killed on the beach of Gaza, the media has proven itself bias. Balance and equal voices are necessary in the media and journalism as a whole. What happened to ‘sticking with the facts?’

Although Othman wrote about balance and objectivity she was still disappointed by her experience and when asked about ways to improve the representation of Palestinians she said, “Seek out more opportunities to do another story. There are plenty of stories out there.”

Chicago is home to more Palestinians than anywhere else around the country. Finding a story, a voice, and an accurate representation of Palestinians is not difficult. In times like these giving the Palestinians a voice is crucial. The public needs to be aware of the robbed humanity of Gaza. It’s the first step in ending the ongoing siege. A proper education and awareness of the Palestinian struggle is needed. It’s the least the Chicago media can do for the Palestinians.

There are plenty of ways to raise the Palestinian voice- campaigns and seeking out Palestinians by establishing platforms to release stories from individuals are all ways to counter the bias. Social media is also another tool in informing and educating the public about Palestine.

 

To see more ways to help end the siege on Gaza and raise awareness please visit http://www.stopisrael.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.


4 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t see how anyone could logically trust Hamas’s fatality statistics. It amazes me to see how freely these stats are marketed, without any filter at all. Time Magazine just did a write up about this last week, and showed how the ages of the dead can’t possibly be true – demographically. They are highly exaggerated, and therefore not reliable – in terms of actual numbers dead (and age of the so-called victims). This has been proved time and time again. Also, the Palestinian kids know how to perform for the cameras. Look carefully, the next time they show them on TV. There are many times where their fake crying is almost laughable. Some can be seen waiting for the cameras to focus, and then suddenly crying. Also, a lot of the footage keeps looping over and over.

    • For shame on you!! How dare you seek to dehumanize any person!!! You are morally deficient, go back under the rock whence you came. If you are a murderer, have the back bone to stand up and claim what you are, baby killers! Do not blame these innocent children who did not choose to be born into this abhorrent Israeli apartheid that you have created! They are the victims of your crimes.

  2. Am – so the statistics that come from the Gaza Health Ministry, the UN, and various human rights groups operating in Gaza and reported by all the major news outlets including Haaretz are all exaggerated and made up. According to you, all those videos of injured children in hospitals, schools, and UN shelters are all staged? Why is it so difficult to admit that the Israeli army is simply killing large numbers of civilians including children in Gaza?

  3. I happen to agree with AM! I don’t believe most muslims want to have a peaceful co-existence with Israel or the Jewish people,at all. They”d prefer the Jews were blown off the face of the earth! those videos in Gaza were actually the same ones shown over and over. I live in Texas,and could see that from here! The videos were disturbing,but seemed to be exaggerated.. i guess it’s Ok to fire rockets over to the Israeli side,because they have the iron dome,correct? i guess it’s Israel’s fault,that if they return rocket fire, they hit densely populated areas. Gaza is clearly packed with so many people put in the line of fire,in the first place! Lest we Americans forget,most if not all, of the horrible,terrorist acts were caused by muslims who practiced Islam. Take a look at Syria and Iraq. Anyone who doesn’t practice Islam, is an infidel,or basically unfit to live. Wake up,world! Oh,yeah, I grew up Christian,but found that belief also lacking.

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