Anyone following the mainstream media couldn't miss the news today. CNN reported that two suicide bombers set off almost simultaneous blasts on buses in Beer Sheva, killing 16 people in addition to themselves. At least 93 people were wounded. Usually, such attacks are followed with a wide range of condemnations. Ariel Sharon said: Israel will continue fighting terror with all its might." Most news reports stated that Palestinian groups had not carried out a major attack inside Israel since March 14, when 11 Israelis were killed in the port of Ashdod. None, however, referred to the number of Palestinians, mostly civilians, killed in the months between. |
The media's tendency to downplay -- or completely ignore -- Palestinian suffering and death is nothing new. In late 2001 and the beginning of 2002, for example, a loose cease-fire declared by Yasir Arafat led to a period of very few Israeli deaths, but sustained Palestinian deaths -- and the mainstream media repeatedly referred to it as a time of "relative calm". In order to convey the Mideast crisis in all its complexity, journalists need to take seriously the violence suffered by all communities. References to "relative calm" while Palestinians are being routinely killed only serve to trivialize human life and obscure the cycle of violence that afflicts the region.
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