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Cached image of New York Times story before headline was changed to omit words “Israeli-occupied West Bank.
A New York Times headline accidentally told the truth today about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, before it was ‘fixed.’
The original headline read “Palestinians Set Up Camp in Israeli-Occupied West Bank Territory.” Later, the headline was altered to remove the words “Israeli-occupied.” It now reads “Palestinians Set Up Tents Where Israel Plans Homes.”
The website Newsdiffs.org shows that the original headline was posted at 1:09 PM EST. It was discovered to have been changed at 7:10 PM EST.
A key goal of Israeli propaganda is to eliminate the term “occupied” from media coverage of Israel’s, well, occupation. Many media have adopted terms like “disputed” that grant false legitimacy to Israeli claims to the land which are totally null and void in international law.
The Times article still describes the area as “hotly contested piece of Israeli-occupied West Bank territory known as E1.” And yes, I’ve taken a screenshot in case they decide to change that too.
How the headline appears after the change.
— HRW: Israeli Attacks on Gaza Media Were Unlawful, Democracy Now!, 21 Dec
In accordance with the canons of good journalism, the press is supposed to tap competing sources to get both sides of an issue. In fact, both sides are seldom accorded equal prominence. One study found that on NPR, supposedly the most liberal of the mainstream media, right-wing spokespeople are often interviewed alone, while liberals — on the less frequent occasions they appear — are almost always offset by conservatives. Furthermore, both sides of a story are not usually all sides. The whole left-progressive and radical portion of the opinion spectrum is amputated from the visible body politic.
False balancing was evident in a BBC World Service report (December 11, 1997) that spoke of “a history of violence between Indonesian forces and Timorese guerrillas” — with not a hint that the guerrillas were struggling for their lives against an Indonesian invasion force that had slaughtered some 200,000 Timorese. Instead, the genocidal invasion of East Timor was made to sound like a grudge fight, with “killings on both sides.” By imposing a neutralizing gloss, the BBC announcer was introducing a serious distortion.
The U.S.-supported wars in Guatemala and El Salvador during the 1980s were often treated with that same kind of false balancing. Both those who burned villages and those who were having their villages burned were depicted as equally involved in a contentious bloodletting. While giving the appearance of being objective and neutral, one actually neutralizes the subject matter and thereby drastically warps it."