The Associated Press Accidentally Tells the Truth about Its Coverage of Hamas

In reports from Gaza that appear in major Western media outlets—as the journalist Matti Friedman has pointed out—it is extremely rare to see a photograph of a Hamas or Islamic Jihad missile launcher, or of a wounded jihadist. Reporters refrain from including such images lest they spark the ire of Hamas, which can take away their journalistic privileges, or worse. As a matter of policy, the Associated Press has stated that it keeps mum about Hamas’s intimidation of its employees, which helps to ensure that this intimidation achieves its goal. But something very unusual happened during the recent flare-up between Israel and Islamic Jihad, as Toby Dershowitz writes:

In a stunning exposé, a recent Associated Press article revealed a Hamas directive to journalists not to report on Gazans killed by Palestinian rockets that misfired and killed local families rather than their intended Israeli civilian targets. Reports indicate Palestinian Islamic Jihad killed more Palestinians in the early August Gaza-Israel conflict than did Israel.

Hamas also requires all visiting reporters to hire a local “sponsor,” a fixer or stringer, often a Palestinian journalist or translator. Hamas’s media directive says sponsors will be held responsible for what the journalists produce.

Let this sink in: if Hamas judges sponsors to have failed, they and perhaps their families will be punished. Punishment is not merely revoking licenses. Palestinian reporters have been subject to physical violence. Sponsors will make the consequences clear to reporters they assist: . . . the sponsors were warned that they must “defend the Palestinian narrative and reject the foreigner’s bias to the Israeli narrative.” If you’ve had confidence in reporting from Gaza, this interference should shake that confidence.

During the May 2021 Gaza war, publications used Hamas-provided images of people outlets had reported were killed in the ten-day conflict, who in fact were not. Should media outlets now conduct thorough investigations of statements, images, and statistics from Hamas-run ministries that were used in their coverage?

Read more at National Interest

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Media


How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus