The media absolves Israeli forces of responsibility for killing Shireen Abu Akleh

Shireen Abu Akleh
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Israeli forces have killed an Al Jazeera journalist in the occupied West Bank. They shot Shireen Abu Akleh in the head while she was reporting on a raid they were carrying out. Already, the corporate media has absolved Israeli forces of responsibility for her killing.

Abu Akleh

Al Jazeera shared the testimony of a journalist who was with Abu Akleh:

Producer Linah Alsaafin wrote that:

Read on...

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At 6:30am, a vehicle carrying a group of journalists arrived at the first roundabout in Jenin refugee camp. They were there to cover an Israeli raid on the camp, and a number of Israeli snipers were stationed on rooftops… Akleh got out of the vehicle, wearing a helmet and a flak jacket clearly marked with PRESS. An Israeli sniper shot her, hitting just below her ear. She fell near a wall, and the shooting continued, hindering other journos from reaching her. Her colleague, Ali al-Samoudi, was also shot in the back. They were both transferred to Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin, and her death was announced there.

However, some Western corporate media told a different story.

Corporate media: absolving Israel of responsibility

For example, the Guardian ran with the headline:

Al Jazeera journalist killed in West Bank unrest

A picture of a Guardian tweet

This use of the passive voice, where writers don’t name the perpetrator of the action, is common. In this case, it leaves the reader not knowing who killed Akleh. Moreover, the Guardian calling an Israeli attack on a refugee camp “unrest” plays down the state’s role even more.

Axios did similar, using the corporate media’s go-to passive phrase of “clashes” to describe the Israeli attack:

A picture of an Axios tweet

Associated Press also failed to say that Israeli forces killed Abu Akleh. It tweeted that she:

was killed by gunfire in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry says. The shooting happened during an Israeli army raid in Jenin.

The New York Times went further, saying:

Al Jazeera said one of its journalists was killed in the West Bank city of Jenin during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen.

A New York Times tweet

This is not what Al Jazeera said. It tweeted that Israeli forces “shot and killed” her.

The Wall Street Journal, NBC News and Haaretz also failed to blame Israel for Abu Akleh’s killing.

Abu Akleh: “targeted killing” by Israel

As Alsaafin summed up:

Don’t believe the Israeli lies about “exchange of fire”. Don’t fall for the vacuous wording of headlines.

This was targeted killing of a journalist by Israel, something which they have done with impunity time and time again. Its standard procedure for them at this point.

This is not the first time the corporate media has covered for the Israeli state. As The Canary reported in February, some outlets did similar regarding an Amnesty report accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state”. However, the media framing this time is particularly disturbing, given that it involves the death of a journalist. When the corporate media can’t even bring themselves to defend their peers, there’s a serious and indefensible problem.

Featured image via Al Jazeera – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. The mainstream corporate news-media, at least those here in the West, have been both morally and ethically challenged for as along as I can recall; although, they seem to be now so more than ever, perhaps due to increasingly concentrated ownership.

      It’s particularly bad here in Canada. A good example of this is Canadian media conglomerate Postmedia, which is on record allying itself with Canada’s fossil fuel industry — including the mass extraction and export of bitumen, the dirtiest and most polluting crude oil. [“Mair on Media’s ‘Unholiest of Alliances’ With Energy Industry”, Nov.14 2017,].

      A few years ago, Postmedia had also acquired a lobbying firm with close ties to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in order to participate in his government’s $30 million PR “war room” in promoting the industry’s interests. Furthermore, last May, Postmedia refused to run paid ads by Leadnow, a social and environmental justice organization, that exposed the Royal Bank of Canada as the largest financer of the nation’s fossil fuel extraction. …

      But, of course, what is happening to the Palestinian people by our supposed objective news-media is atrocious and inexcusable. … And whatever happened to the honorable journalistic role of ‘afflicting the comfortable’, which went along with ‘comforting the afflicted’? In this case, the Israeli state is clearly ‘the comfortable’ desperately needing ‘afflicting’ via news-media exposure and condemnation for their crimes against the Palestinians.

      1. How can anyone with a moral compass still be a member of the Labour Party when Unity of having no opposition to the Starmer/Evans doctrine is allowed?
        At least 200,000 have found that they cannot be members whether because they were expelled or realised that they would be expelled.
        The reason in every case though is the same: they know what the truth is and were prepared to express it.

      2. Who cares what the Labour party says or does? It’s just another component in the UK’s anti-democratic, capitalist regime. Its recent banning of people for supporting the Palestinian cause is just the latest example of its anti-socialism, something in evidence since the party’s founding.

    2. ‘Twas ever thus. During the Second Intifada, it was a standing joke that The Guardian (yes, I actually bought it back then) reported that Israelis were killed (by Palestinians) while Palestinians “died” in clashes. You know , catapults against tanks.The BBC, inevitably, was even more blatant. Plus ca change.
      Never underestimate the power of the Hasbara. It can make the lives of journalists who don’t toe the line miserable. And in Palestine, it can celebrate and even encourage their deaths.
      Ask Keir Starmer, the UK’s leading expert on how to give-in to the Israel Lobby in the hope of winning a few votes from people who never have, and never would, vote Labour.

    3. Will this enable the ICC to intervene and demand that they have access to all the evidence in order to decide whether this was a War Crime. ( The presence of the IDF in Jenin was of course a War Crime. )
      The forensic study of the bullets hitting the victims and the weapons used by the IDF is all that is needed to clear up this assassination, one of the many which occur but which are conveniently ignored by the likes of 100% Zionist supporting Starmer Brigade.

    4. Perhaps it’s a profession that’s become motivated more by a buck and a byline — i.e. a regular company paycheque and a frequently published name with stories — than a genuine strive to challenge the powers-that-be in order to truly comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable in an increasingly unjust global existence.

      Also, journalism’s traditional function may have been quietly changed. The adage-description of journalism’s fundamental function can remain the same, but revision of terminological representation is definitely in order. While it remains “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” there has been a notable mainstream-news-media alteration as to what/who constitutes an “afflicted” and “the comfortable”.

      For example, an “afflicted” of our contemporary news-media times needing comforting may be an owner of a multi-million-dollar home that’s worth too much, thus taxed higher, and he/she therefore desires tax respite. Or, the new “afflicted” requiring news-media comforting is an already very profitable fossil-fuel-producing corporation that needs more taxpayer-funded subsidies along with our convenient complacency in its multiplying many-fold its diluted bitumen export thus accompanying eco-threats for the sake of even greater profit.

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