WaPo Plays up Israeli Deaths
In its Sunday, July 20 edition, the Washington Post ran an article by Sudarsan Raghavan, William Booth, and Ruth Eglash about Hamas operatives used tunnels into Israel to kill IDF soldiers (“2 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza clash – Death toll tops 330 as Hamas militants step up attacks” front page)
There were three such attempts. And there were fatalities on both sides. The Post, however, shows far more interest in Israeli fatalities than in Hamas fatalities.
Here’s how the Post does it:
The lead paragraph mentions Hamas infiltration into Israel via a tunnel, resulting in the loss of two Israeli soldiers. Their loss is again repeated in the third paragraph, which belatedly mentions that the IDF returned fire, killing “one militant and forcing the rest back through the tunnel into Palestinian territory.”
And what about two other such Hamas incursions?
The three Post correspondents wait until the ninth paragraph, on the jump page, to let readers know that there was a second attempt to enter Israel through tunnels, and “that the militants were killed.” (“Undaunted, Hamas fighters emerge from tunnels” inside page A16) “In the same 9th paragraph, there is a brief mention that there also was a third such incident when “a militant emerged from a concealed tunnel entrance in souther Gaza and began firing at soldiers.” Any Hamas casualties in this third attempt? The Post doesn’t say.
In sharp contrast to the Post, the New York Times, to its credit, plays it straight in reporting IDF and Hamas fatalities. (“Despite Israeli Push in Gaza, Hamas Fighters Slip Through Tunnels” Page 10, by Anne Barnard and Jodi Rudoren)
The Times’ lead paragraph informs us that eight Palestinian “militants” emerged from a tunnel inside Israel, fired a grenade at two Israeli military jeeps on patrol, starting a battle “that killed two Israeli officers and one of the militants.”
Then, immediately in the second paragraph, the Times adds that hours later, two more “miitants” entered Israel. “One militant was fatally shot and the other died when the explosive belt he was wearing detonated.” Unlike the Post, the Times didn’t wait to bring us this news up front in the second paragraph -- the same news the Post relegated to the ninth paragraph.
And then, referring to the third incident, the Times article informs readers that there was yet another incursion when a “militant slipped through a tunnel into Israel, and fired on troops who killed him.” In contrast, the Post doesn’t get around to let readers know that there was still another infiltration until the end of the ninth paragraph – “a militant emerged from a concealed tunnel entrance in southern Gaza and began firing at soldiers.” But while the Times mentions that this Hamas intruder not only fired at IDF soldiers, but that these soldiers “killed him,” the Post version makes no mention at all that this Hamas terrorist was killed.
The Times played it straight, telling the full story in the first three paragraphs.The Post, in contrast, shows far greater interest in IDF casualties than in Hamas casualties, going so far as to ignore completely a Hamas fatality in the third infiltration incident.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers