Germany won the World Cup tournament on Sunday, July 13. From July 10 to July 13, Foreign Policy magazine ran four different articles about Argentina, Germany, and the World Cup. In comparison, the magazine wrote only one article about Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli siege on Gaza. It was a callous choice for a magazine that bills itself as focused on important events in international news.
For the past three weeks, news outlets have provided constant coverage on Operation Protective Edge, with some media channels attempting to humanize the conflict. The problem, however, is the humanization has often been one-sided.
The New York Times recently published a compelling, compassionate piece about the situation and its impact on the Israeli civilian population in Tel Aviv. It described the helplessness and fear felt by average Tel Aviv residents. What the newspaper has not done, however, is provide equal coverage for the suffering of Palestinians, aside from a constantly updated body count, brief interviews with Gaza residents, and political theorizing.
Over the past month, The New York Times has published approximately 30 Israeli-centric articles. These articles ran the gamut from the kidnapping and murder of three young Israeli students to the Israeli military’s bombardment of Gaza. Over the past three weeks, approximately twenty articles, image galleries, and videos have been devoted to Palestinians. Among those pieces, eight directly discussed the Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who had been kidnapped, lynched, and burned alive. Only one article addressed the beating of his cousin, Tarek Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian-American on holiday in Jerusalem.
But, The New York Times is not the only culprit. The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC have similar ratios when it comes to covering the latest crisis in Israel-Palestine. Only one media station has approximately equal numbers (MSNBC), and only one outlet arguably favors Palestinians (The Huffington Post). Surprisingly, the most balanced “media station” is Buzzfeed.
“Regrettable, unfortunate, but ultimately the fault of terrorists” are all words that have been used to describe the rising Palestinian body count. The United Nations has estimated the current casualty count at around 192 (as of July 15), with approximately 80% being civilians. Several media stations have also written extensively about the Israeli army warning Palestinian civilians about imminent bombings, as a way of reducing the body count. The problem with this strategy, however, is that the average resident of Gaza is trapped inside the territory and has nowhere else to go.
For the past month, Palestinian civilians have carried the brunt of pain and suffering in this conflict. It is regrettable and unfortunate that mainstream Western media outlets continue to view them as statistics, and unworthy subjects of in-depth reporting.