The Associated Press, a leading news agency whose stated mission
is “advancing the power of facts” with “world-class journalism,” on Monday appeared to have taken a page out of the open letter signed this month by hundreds of journalists against ethical journalism.
The letter’s signatories seek to replace factual reporting with a partisan, anti-Israel agenda falsely painting Israel as a criminal, apartheid state and Palestinians as blameless victims of Israeli oppression (“From journalists to journalists: Why reporting on Palestine has to change“).
“We have failed our audiences with a narrative that obscures the most fundamental aspects of the story: Israel’s military occupation and its system of apartheid,” charge the media crusaders.
“We are calling on journalists to tell the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor, to recognize that obfuscating Israel’s oppression of Palestinians fails this industry’s own objectivity standards.”
The “contextualized truth,” of course, is Israel’s alleged apartheid nature and military occupation.
AP heeded the anti-Israel call. On Monday it funneled information through the prism of “military occupation”. But AP discarded inconvenient facts that didn’t align with the cause
of “the Palestinian people,” as the letter puts it.
The closing lines of a report yesterday by Laurie Kellman, Matthew Lee and Ellen Knickmeyer (“Blinken, Lapid meet in Rome amid reset US-Israel relations”) editorialize:
“Biden has moved to reverse Netanyahu-backed Trump policies that alienated the Palestinians, and the administration has said Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of security and prosperity.”
“But the U.S. has yet to explain how it intends to bring that about without ending Israel’s half-century military occupation of the West Bank, its blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza and discriminatory policies in Jerusalem that fueled a spring of unrest.”
This is an extremely partisan formulation. It intentionally and completely ignores the following obstacles to peace and security:
*** Palestinian demands for a so-called “right of return” of refugees and their millions of descendants, which fair observers understand as an existential threat to the only Jewish state.
*** Palestinian rejection of Israel as a Jewish state.
*** The persistent Palestinian rejection of offer after offer by Israel of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
*** Palestinian denial of any historic Jewish connection to the land, including its most holy site in Jerusalem, despite incontrovertible historical proof, conceded even by Arab sources.
*** PA-government-organized systematic incitement of the entire population, including children from a young age on, calling for attacks on Jews and the liberation of Jerusalem “with their blood”.
*** Systematic vicious revisionism by the PA, creating maps of Israel, calling it “Palestine from the River to the Sea”.
*** Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and their families.
*** Palestinian investment in terror infrastructure such as rockets and tunnels at the expense of investment in its civilians.
*** Palestinian rocket-firing on Israeli civilians and arson attacks on southern Israel.
*** Hamas camps that brainwash a generation of kids to admire suicide bombers and other terrorists.
And so on.
All of these points are obviously insurmountable obstacles to conflict resolution. Every single one of them counters the “full, contextualized truth” as the media crusaders, including one anonymous AP journalist, see it and as they claim, have no place in reporting on behalf of the Palestinian narrative.
“Expand the reach of “factual” reporting,” promises the AP, even as it advances an anti-Israel narrative, and suppresses information that counters that narrative.
“The free exchange of information has been replaced with the free expungement of inconvenient information,” wrote this media critic last week in The New York Daily News, weighing on the open letter’s heavily partisan agenda as anathema to ethical journalism.
“Label advocacy and commentary,” exhorts the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. Turn news into advocacy, counter the unethical practitioners.
And the Associated Press, quietly laying aside its longstanding commitment to factual reporting, obliged.
So much for journalistic integrity. So much for truth. So much for AP.
Tamar Sternthal is director of the Israel office of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
This article was first published by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis.