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Systematic Selective Headlines Portray Skewed Narrative in Favor of Israel

Dina Faisal Dina Faisal
11th May 2021
Systematic Selective Headlines Portray Skewed Narrative in Favor of Israel
The reporting on the situation is biased (Screenshot).

The Claim

Palestinian terrorists attack and target Israel by launching rockets following Jerusalem clashes.

Emerging story

Headlines were made worldwide that Gaza or Hamas in Palestine had attacked and launched rockets or ‘fire devices’ targeting Israel after ‘clashes’ in the Al-Aqsa Mosque occurred. Some headlines use the word ‘terrorists’ to describe Hamas. The attacks have been condemned by the US and called an “unnecessary escalation.”

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Misbar’s Analysis

MENA: Misbar's investigation found that the headlines used by world-leading media publishers are selective and paint a skewed picture of the ongoing situation. Israeli forces attacked Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, using tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets, which under the Rome Statute of 1998 is a war crime. Afterwards, Hamas asked Israel to withdraw from the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah and release all related detainees arrested, or it would respond. While it is true that Hamas did launch rockets into Israel, it is vital to note that this was done following the violence carried out by Israel. Palestinians were trapped with little to defend themselves against the well-armored Israeli forces. Moreover, the rockets were homemade, also known as Qassam rockets, which means they did not have anywhere close to the effects of a military airstrike. Defense Minister Director-General Yaakov Toran said in 2006 that “these rockets are more of a psychological than physical threat. Statistically, they cause the fewest losses.” At the same time, Israel is equipped with an Iron Dome aerial defense system, radars, early warning systems, and bomb shelters for its citizens. This is the first time any rockets were fired from Gaza since 2014. It's important to note that despite international condemnation, Netanyahu said that "both the might of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased” following the deaths of two Israeli women. While the US condemned Hamas' self-defense, it did not mention the violence by Israel.

The headlines do not convey the state-sanctioned attacks, violence against protestors, and forceful evictions by Israelis that led up to the rockets being fired by Hamas. They also do not mention the  air strike force by the Israeli army, which killed 26 people, including nine children, and injured hundreds. A stark example can be seen below by the New York Post. When they reported that Hamas caused deaths, the headline includes the number of fatalities and mentioned children. However, when they corrected the false news, showing that Israel had actually caused the deaths, they omit vital information while still scapegoating Hamas as the attacker. 

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The terms ‘fight’ and ‘clash’ are often used, which implies an asymmetry of power, which is not the case.

The reporting on the situation is biased, specifically, actor-specific reporting bias, which is the propensity to report violence by some actors more than violence by others, promote certain elements, and deliberately prevent other news from spreading. The news systematically under reports on the atrocities committed by Israel, the instigator, and the escalator. 

We at Misbar have noticed systematic and iterative patterns of inaccurate, biased, and misleading media coverage of some mainstream media outlets regarding the latest tensions ongoing in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip as Israel Forces are forcing displacement, arresting Palestinians, and killing children in Palestine.

The mainstream media is currently neglecting the historical and political context of the previous events to promote the Israeli narrative and justifies its human rights violations in Palestine.

As a matter of our responsibility to uncover misinformation in the digital and public sphere and debunk misleading and biased media reports, we invite you to contact Misbar if exposed to this kind of media coverage.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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