The mainstream media know their role in the Gaza conflict: to find–or create–a disaster big enough to create an international outcry that will stop the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). First, they tried using the deaths of four boys on the beach in Gaza. Then, they tried using the attack on Al-Shifa hospital–which turned out to have been hit by Palestinian rocket fire. Now they have a new candidate: an attack on a UN school in northern Gaza.
NPR reported the attack as if it was immediately clear that Israel had shelled the facility. When Israel reported that it had no knowledge of any of its forces attacking the building, NPR said that Israel “did not know” what happened–suggesting that Israel was actually admitting culpability, rather than the opposite. And of course NPR neglected the recent reports of Hamas using UN schools to store and launch rockets were not mentioned.
The pattern has been the same at other outlets throughout the conflict. Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles Times reported the Al-Shifa attack as if it was Israel’s fault, basing its assessment only on Palestinian reports and “eyewitness” accounts among individuals living in Hamas’s totalitarian media bubble. When even the New York Times felt compelled to include IDF protests that it was not responsible, the L.A. Times updated its story.
The knee-jerk reaction by foreign journalists–and American journalists are not the worst offenders–is to blame Israel and absolve Hamas of all culpability, even when the organization itself boasts of its use of Palestinians as human shields. The media generally do not want to acknowledge the real causes of conflict and so resort to body counts to pressure Israel–effectively siding, ironically, against the side that lets them operate freely and safety.