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April 04, 2019

The New York Times' Slow Reaction to Hamas Crackdown on Palestinian Protesters

hamas crackdown gaza protests.jpg

The New York Times took a slight jab at Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, in a recent story about Hamas's crackdown on Palestinian protesters who spoke out against its policies in Gaza.

The March 24 story, which points out that Hamas beat protesters and journalists and arrested about 1000 of its citizens, made a point of contrasting the government's "assiduous" reporting on casualties during violent anti-Israel riots with its silence about those injured during the internal protests:

Gaza’s Health Ministry, which has assiduously reported on the nearly 200 Palestinians killed and thousands wounded by Israeli troops during often-violent protests along the fence dividing Gaza from Israel, has not reported the number injured by Hamas in quelling the protests.

Indeed. What the Times doesn't tell you, though, is that it's guilty of the very same discrepancy.

While the newspaper gave some press to last year's anti-Israel protests already during the planning stages, days before rioters first gathered on the Israel-Gaza border, its March 24 story was the first time the reporters seriously covered the Hamas crackdown, which had been going on for two weeks with hardly a passing mention.

Here's a (partial) timeline that shows when Times reporters, eventually, decided to run a story on the violence:

March 10: Hamas arrests, and reportedly tortures, 13 Palestinian activists planning the demonstrations.

March 14: The protests and crackdown begin. The Associated Press covers the story, noting that "Videos circulated on social media showed police firing live rounds in the air, beating protesters and hauling them into police vehicles."

March 15: Haaretz reports on "Hamas police officers shooting, beating and arresting protesters, as well as detaining journalists and human rights activists," and CBS News is among the news outlets worldwide picking up AP coverage about how Hamas "violently broke up a rare protest by demonstrators angry about the dire living conditions in Gaza."

March 16: AP, China's Xinhua, and Palestinian reporters in the West Bank are among those reporting on the unrest.

March 17: Reuters and the Jerusalem Post are among those covering the crackdown and noting that the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process strongly condemned the "campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days" and the "brutal beating" of reporters and rights activists.

March 18: Amnesty International decries "beatings, arbitrary arrest and detentions, and torture and other forms of ill-treatment since 14 March." In the UK, the Telegraph reports serious injuries as "videos appeared to show officers clubbing unarmed protesters."

March 19: AP, CNN, NPR, Al Jazeera, the Independent, and Ma'an are among those covering the Hamas violence.

March 20: Human Rights Watch publishes a report and
Hamas itself acknowledges the story, apologizing " for any psychological or material harm inflicted on any Palestinian citizen."

March 21: On the Opinion pages, a New York Times columnist criticizes his own newspaper's failure to cover the crackdown, saying it, and the Western press in general, "for too long has been depressingly incurious about any form of Palestinian suffering for which Israel cannot be held responsible."

March 22: etc...

March 23: etc...

March 24: ... and finally, the news pages of the paper that promises "all the news fit to print" gets around to writing a story about the crackdown.

Why so slow? See the March 21 entry above.

Posted by gi at April 4, 2019 03:08 PM


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