Former AP Reporter Exposes Anti-Israel Media Bias
JERUSALEM, Israel -- During the summer of 2014, Israel and Hamas fought for 50 days. Reporters from all over the globe covered the fighting, often filling their stories with conflicting information and questionable reporting.
After the war, former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman wrote an article entitled "An Insider's Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth."
"I decided at the end of the summer to write an essay looking at what has gone wrong through the lens of my own experiences," Friedman told CBN News.
For seven years, Friedman reported for the Associated Press, a giant news organization that provides information to many other media outlets worldwide.
He said the AP and the mainstream press suffer from two malfunctions. One, Israel gets a disproportionate amount of coverage and two, the press has taken sides.
"The mainstream press corps here [in Israel] has largely adopted an advocacy role. They've decided to play a political role in the conflict," he explained. "They've decided to lobby for the side that they think is right and political decisions are disguised as journalistic decisions."
Friedman said Hamas took advantage of the bias.
"Hamas has a very smart strategy, a ruthless strategy but it is highly effective," he said.
"Their strategy is to terrorize Israeli civilians using rockets, provoke an Israeli response," Friedman explained. "Put civilians in Gaza in between the Israelis and Hamas fighters by storing weapons, by storing rockets in basements and basements of mosques and schools. And we've seen all this documented this summer -- and then having the huge international media contingent in Gaza film the civilian casualties and not the armed men and use those pictures to spark outrage against Israel abroad."
"And that will prevent Israel from acting to the full extent," he concluded. "That's the strategy that any intelligent person can see it and yet it's not covered like that."
The Associated Press refuted Friedman's claim, issuing a statement that read in part: "His arguments have been filled with distortions, half-truths, and inaccuracies, both about the recent Gaza war and more distant events. His suggestion of AP bias against Israel is false."
The AP denies Friedman's claim that it and other media outlets ignored or under-reported on Hamas firing from mosques, schools, and U.N. facilities.
Friedman maintains the world is getting a skewed version of what's actually happening here in Israel.
"The story is -- if you read between the lines and through the lines of the stories themselves -- is that Israel is faced with a clear moral choice and is making the wrong choice," he said. "Israel could have peace but it chooses war."
"That story is false," Friedman said. "But everything is done to maintain it. Even in the face of contradictory evidence."