All Israel
op-ed

Be thankful the Associated Press is not in charge of Israel's war strategy

 
AP logo on a mobile device (Photo: Shutterstock)

Israel is justifiably proud of being the only democracy in the Middle East and – as such – championing freedoms rarely seen in its regional neighbors. Among these are the right to vote, freedom to worship as one pleases, and the operation of media outlets that are free to inform citizens with honest, factual news reporting…never more important than in times of war.

Unfortunately, Israel is being sandbagged by a familiar purveyor of biased coverage: The Associated Press. Over the years in my profession as a broadcast journalist, I have personally documented countless examples of the AP’s bias, in which this monopoly “news service” co-mingles partial facts with slanted, left-leaning political bias, especially when covering news about former U.S. President Donald J. Trump. 

The result is news coverage heavy on opinions and political agenda but sadly thin on objectivity and truth. This played out badly on the world stage when the AP and others (as reported in ALL ISRAEL NEWS) were caught red-handed using photos of the bloody Oct. 7 terrorist attack, apparently choreographed in cooperation with Hamas.

Until today it was easy for the Associated Press to hide behind word-processed denials and veiled suggestions that its critics were right-wing media types with their own axes to grind.

However, the curtain of deceit has now been pulled back by one of AP’s own former employees who is charging the organization with not only “collaborating” with Hamas but also declaring that the terror group is actually shaping AP’s coverage of the current war.

Former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman appeared on Monday’s episode of the Dispatch Podcast and detailed ethical abuses at the AP that he says stretch back to 2008.

Friedman said that during the 2008 war, any time the Israeli military reviewed an AP story, the organization would add an editor’s note “that warned the reader that the copy had been vetted by the Israeli military censor.” This note was added even though, Friedman contends, the Israelis would rarely make any changes to stories unless they contained topics related to Israel’s nuclear program. However, whenever Hamas objected to coverage and demanded changes, no such notation was made on the AP wire. 

“I thought it made sense to tell readers that AP coverage in Gaza was now being shaped by Hamas,” Friedman told the podcast audience. “But I was overruled, and the story went out without very relevant information.”

Friedman says he thinks that the AP’s collaboration with Hamas “has only really deepened and become much, much more damaging and complicated in the years since.”

The bottom line, says Friedman, is that people who rely on Western press coverage of the war – and most notably what is being cranked out by the Associated Press – are not getting the facts that Hamas is a deeply irrational organization dedicated to only one thing: The destruction of the State of Israel.

Thus, stories focus on the so-called moral failings of Israel and the IDF, in Friedman’s terms, who “are depicted as stormtroopers.” Meantime, Palestinians are portrayed as “people growing organic olives and hoping for a peaceful future” rather than the enablers who voted in the Hamas terrorists as their leaders.

Predictably, the Associated Press reacted to Friedman’s charges with another of the aforementioned, carefully worded denials. In a statement published online, AP’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Lauren Easton stated: “The Associated Press does not collaborate with Hamas, nor has it ever.”

She added: “Matti Friedman has not worked for the AP in over a decade. His suggestion of AP bias against Israel is false.”

However, well before this week's podcast, Friedman was sending up warning flares about the AP, including a meticulously detailed article in Tablet Magazine in 2014.

One highlight from that 2014 bombshell was this passage written by Friedman: While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession my profession here in Israel.

It is the unquenchable thirst for – and commitment to – the truth that prompted the creation of ALL ISRAEL NEWS. Stories published here are factual and without bias. When opinions are presented, such as this op-ed – they are clearly labeled, and acknowledged as the views of the columnist…not necessarily of ALL ISRAEL NEWS or its staff.

My opinion is that, in a democracy, people should be encouraged to explore a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions. As iron sharpens iron, debate and discussion are vital parts of enriching one’s mind and making logical decisions. This assumes, however, that we are exposed to factual, unbiased news coverage rather than AP news articles which then metastasize into further distortions when republished and repurposed by newspapers and television channels around the globe.

In the current war with Hamas, for example, there have been many heated discussions about the “pause” in fighting…with some arguing it only serves to let Hamas resupply their forces while others contend that if it leads to the release of all the hostages being held in Gaza, then the pause will have been worth it. Those are philosophical positions with which every citizen has a right to agree or disagree.

One thing that is not debatable: The leaders of the Israeli Defense Forces have already shown their capability of surgically removing Hamas terrorists while doing everything in their power to limit civilian casualties.

The IDF recognizes that Hamas is a violent collection of bloody terrorists who rape, kidnap and use hostages as human shields…regardless of how their apologists in the Associated Press choose to sanitize their actions or draw infuriating “moral equivalence” arguments equating IDF retaliation for Oct. 7 with “attacking hospitals in Gaza.”  

Tom is a contributing editor for ALL ISRAEL NEWS. He has long served as vice president of News & Talk Programming for the Salem Radio Network and SRN News, the #1 Christian radio news network in the United States.

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