In its Nov. 15 edition, the Washington Post features at the top of the front page a four-column color photograph of an anguished Gaza father holding what the caption describes as the body of his son. The full caption reads: "Jihad Masharawi weeps as he holds the body of 11-month-old son, Ahmed, at al-Shifta hospital after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. The Israeli military said its assassination of Hamas's military chief marks the beginning of an operation against Gaza-based militants."
It goes without saying that the Post never gave such prominent, dramatic, front-page position in the paper to a photograph of a weeping Israeli parent during months and years of rocket attacks on civilian populations in southern Israel. Palestinian suffering counts for more than Israeli suffering at the Post. In fact, the Post itself makes this crystal-clear in the same Nov. 15 edition by featuring in the middle of Page A14 another four-column, color photo of Israelis huddling in a bomb shelter -- "A woman and children take refuge in a bomb shelter in Netivot, Israel. Israeli officials ordered all residents living within 25 miles of Gaza to stay indoors, in shelters or in safe rooms, after militants fired rockets at southern Israel in retaliation for the killing of Hamas's military chief."
For Palestinian suffering, the Post pulls out a heart-tugging picture of utter grief, while Israeli pain gets back-of-the-bus treatment on an inside page. Nor do the captions inform readers that Israeli civilians are deliberately targeted by Gaza terrorist groups, while these groups deliberately embed themselves in populated neighborhoods and fire rockets from behind "human shields." The net impression left on readers by the uneven juxtaposition of the two photos is to convey more sympathy for one side -- the Palestnian side -- than for Israelis under incessant rocket bombardments. I guess it didn't occur to Post editors to strive for a modicum of fairness and run these two photos side by side.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.