WaPo's upside-down coverage of Gaza incident

In its Dec. 25 edition, the Washington Post features an article about a Christmas Eve incident along the Gaza border.

The headline in the print edition reads as follows: “Hamas figure killed, Israeli soldier hurt near Gaza.”  The distinct impression left on readers of the Post is that Israeli forces first killed a Hamas operative, prompting Hamas to react and injure an IDF soldier.

The headline’s suggestion that Israel instigated this incident is reinforced by the lead paragraph of correspondent Ruth Eglash’s dispatch – “A Hamas commander was killed and an Israeli soldier was seriously injured Wednesday in clashes along the Israel-Gaza border, Israeli military and Palestinian officials said.”

Again, the killing of a Hamas commander precedes the serious injury to an Israeli soldier.  Thus, Israel is perceived as the clear aggressor in this incident, while Hamas retaliated and left an Israeli soldier seriously injured.

It is not until a later paragraph that Eglash rectifies her misperception of Israeli aggression and finally admits that the border clashes were initiated by gunfire from the Gaza side and that “in response,” Israeli jets and ground forces targeted Hamas’s military positions in the southern part of the Strip.

Belatedly, Eglash owns up to what really happened, but only after having poisoned the well against Israel.  However, by then, many readers may already have switched their attention to other parts of the paper, unaware of the correct version and thus left with a false impression of Israeli forces initiating this incident.

And for those readers who plow through the entire article, Eglash also doesn’t distinguish herself by injecting a straight-faced declaration from Hamas that Israel was responsible for escalation in Gaza.  Why not critique such an obvious, bald lie?

Especially when she ends her article by reporting that Egypt has shut down smuggling tunnels “that once allowed Hamas to bring in goods and building materials – and, Israel claims, weapons – from Egypt.”

Note that Eglash feels compelled to attribute weapons transfers through the tunnels to Israel – not necessarily as a given, proven fact.  Another way of cleansing Hamas and putting the monkey on Israel’s back.

Finally, let’s re-examine the misleading headline over Eglash’s article: “Hamas figure killed, Israeli soldier hurt near Gaza.”  In exactly the same length allowed for the headline, the Post easily could have given readers an accurate version: “Israeli soldier hurt near Gaza, Hamas figure killed.”

Why not get it straight from the get-go?  Why engage in biased coverage that falsely depicts Israel as trigger-happy and scrubs some of the terrorism off Hamas’s back?

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.

In its Dec. 25 edition, the Washington Post features an article about a Christmas Eve incident along the Gaza border.

The headline in the print edition reads as follows: “Hamas figure killed, Israeli soldier hurt near Gaza.”  The distinct impression left on readers of the Post is that Israeli forces first killed a Hamas operative, prompting Hamas to react and injure an IDF soldier.

The headline’s suggestion that Israel instigated this incident is reinforced by the lead paragraph of correspondent Ruth Eglash’s dispatch – “A Hamas commander was killed and an Israeli soldier was seriously injured Wednesday in clashes along the Israel-Gaza border, Israeli military and Palestinian officials said.”

Again, the killing of a Hamas commander precedes the serious injury to an Israeli soldier.  Thus, Israel is perceived as the clear aggressor in this incident, while Hamas retaliated and left an Israeli soldier seriously injured.

It is not until a later paragraph that Eglash rectifies her misperception of Israeli aggression and finally admits that the border clashes were initiated by gunfire from the Gaza side and that “in response,” Israeli jets and ground forces targeted Hamas’s military positions in the southern part of the Strip.

Belatedly, Eglash owns up to what really happened, but only after having poisoned the well against Israel.  However, by then, many readers may already have switched their attention to other parts of the paper, unaware of the correct version and thus left with a false impression of Israeli forces initiating this incident.

And for those readers who plow through the entire article, Eglash also doesn’t distinguish herself by injecting a straight-faced declaration from Hamas that Israel was responsible for escalation in Gaza.  Why not critique such an obvious, bald lie?

Especially when she ends her article by reporting that Egypt has shut down smuggling tunnels “that once allowed Hamas to bring in goods and building materials – and, Israel claims, weapons – from Egypt.”

Note that Eglash feels compelled to attribute weapons transfers through the tunnels to Israel – not necessarily as a given, proven fact.  Another way of cleansing Hamas and putting the monkey on Israel’s back.

Finally, let’s re-examine the misleading headline over Eglash’s article: “Hamas figure killed, Israeli soldier hurt near Gaza.”  In exactly the same length allowed for the headline, the Post easily could have given readers an accurate version: “Israeli soldier hurt near Gaza, Hamas figure killed.”

Why not get it straight from the get-go?  Why engage in biased coverage that falsely depicts Israel as trigger-happy and scrubs some of the terrorism off Hamas’s back?

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.