Last January’s devastation of Gaza compelled me to publish the backstory to my cartoon below. My news source for the Israeli attacks was not the U.S. media (who stayed conveniently on the sidelines), but disturbing reports from Doctors Without Borders, who remained in Gaza trying to help the Palestinian people.

Cartoon: Serving the American People

Here is the backstory to the political cartoon above: [click to continue…]

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 Image of Three Wise Monkeys in Nikko, Japan, who See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil (courtesy of David.Monniaux via Wikimedia.org)

It’s like the Sherlock Holmes case of the dog that didn’t bark. Why does the New York Times ignore or bury news that is unfavorable to the State of Israel? Two examples follow: the USS Liberty and Chas Freeman. One recent — and the other a willful silence that has continued for forty-two years. [click to continue…]

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Political cartoon showing the Israel Lobby's boot suppressing U.S.   mediaStudies show that many Americans incorrectly believe the Palestinians are the illegal settlers on their own land.

I long regarded Frank Rich a champion, whose fearless exposures of moral hypocrisy in our culture and the media rang true. My view changed after this New York Times columnist gave a talk at Cornell University.

Mr. Rich was asked about our media’s reporting in the Middle East and their unwavering presentation of Israel-as-victim. How is it that Americans are so poorly informed that a large fraction believes that the Palestinians are the illegal settlers in the Occupied Territories? Mr. Rich was asked why he, as a media critic, had remained silent on this biased coverage? Mr. Rich replied, “I’m Jewish.”

His candor is refreshing but what does he mean? Is Mr. Rich suggesting that being Jewish precludes criticizing Israel? Is he suggesting that Jewish American reporters, (and more insidiously, publishers) feel compelled to defend Israel? Where is professional responsibility to the American public?

My criticism extends beyond the failings of a single reporter. As studies have shown, many Americans believe that the Palestinians are the illegal settlers on their own land. How can we be so poorly informed? And why hasn’t the news media worked to correct this misconception?

The answer, some say, is that a conspiracy exists among mainstream media to sift and shape news to favor the Israeli government. Media’s fear, according to this belief, is that a truly informed American people would realize that the Israeli agenda and policies clash with US values and strategic interests.

I don’t believe this conspiracy theory. The pro-Israel bias, in my view, is particular to each newspaper, each TV network. Bias manifests itself in a Frank Rich silence, in a reporter’s sensitivity to his editor’s predilections, in a political cartoon first accepted by staff then rejected by an owner/publisher. Taken together, the public is deprived of fact and opinion. “This is the greatest story never told,” as Steve Lendman convincingly demonstrates in his expose of willful bias in the NY Times.

The BBC has taken seriously documented reports of a pro-Israel bias in its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The BBC governors commissioned an independent study which concluded that an Israeli viewpoint did, indeed, dominate at the expense of Palestinian concerns. The commission proposed specific remedies to correct future reporting in the Mideast. This effort would never happen in the United States.

The honored role of the media in our democracy is to promote informed, public discussion on issues important to our country. “Informed” is the key word here. Full, objective information must be available to citizens to engage in meaningful debate. Mainstream media, by providing only one-sided reporting, suppresses open discussion of Israeli policies and their effect on our national interests.

We Americans are living with the consequences.

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The New York Times continues to ignore journalistic ethics in support of the Israeli government. The Paper buried a scant reference to the September 2010 report by the United Nations that concluded Israel’s flotilla attack was unlawful and resulted in violations of international humanitarian law. Now, today’s NY Times trumpets Israel’s own “investigation” of the massacre, quoting at length how Israel “acted in accordance with international law.” [click to continue…]

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WASHINGTON (USMediaAndIsrael.com) – Last Friday in a special session, Congress passed a bipartisan bill requiring Americans to add Israel’s Star of David to the U.S. flag.

Sen. Dale Wentworth (D-NJ) told reporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

“The great nation of Israel has real Americanness. In many ways, Israel is already America’s 51st state. Thanks to our foreign aid, Israel’s per capita income rivals our own.”

Citizens who own American flags should proceed to their nearest Post Office to receive their free Star of David patch, which includes a convenient flag-ready VELCRO® backing. [click to continue…]

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Thomas Friedman was once brave. This New York Times columnist and author established his reputation reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His early work gave objective accounts of the suffering of the Palestinian people, placed blame for the failed peace talks squarely on the Israeli government, and exposed the undue influence that pro-Israel lobbyists wield on policies of the U.S. government.

Then the Israel lobby went to work on him. [click to continue…]

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Update

by David Morris

The cartoon posted on this site has been seen by millions of people from all 50 U.S. states and 137 different countries. I am less interested in the international response (they already know) than in the Americans who swallow whole the pro-Israel bias of the U.S. media.

This website has focused on the New York Times and its coverage of the Middle East to illustrate the control AIPAC and the Israel Lobby hold on news and information provided to the American people. The Comments from readers add depth to the message and are essential reading. Two selections appear below:

Your criticism of the media is quixotic. “The dogs bark but the caravan keeps moving on its way.” –ancient Middle Eastern proverb*

Perhaps it’s quixotic, but “A single stone that holds fast can change the path of an avalanche.” (Milosz, referring to an individual’s resistance to totalitarianism in Poland)*

The NY Times, arguably our finest newspaper, prides itself on accurate, balanced, in-depth reporting. However, regarding coverage of the Middle East, the Paper betrays its standards. The incidents reported above demonstrate how its publisher/owner and leading columnists can be co-opted. The “Gray Lady” indeed.

If the professional integrity of the NY Times can be compromised by pro-Israel groups, then all our institutional media is susceptible to manipulation.

The American people must have accurate and trustworthy news. A democracy demands a well-informed citizenry.

The message of this cartoon remains important. Perhaps six years from now the U.S. media coverage of the Middle East will necessitate another rebirth of this cartoon. And then again six years after that.

I hope not.