OpinionIsrael at War

The anti-Israel media are failing due to their bias

Despite a U.N. report denying famine in Gaza, anti-Israel media continue the lie. Why?

The front of “The New York Times” building on Eighth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan during a rainy night on Jan. 24, 2024. Credit: Craig T. Fruchtman/Getty Images.
The front of “The New York Times” building on Eighth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan during a rainy night on Jan. 24, 2024. Credit: Craig T. Fruchtman/Getty Images.
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

Many major American media are in a death spiral. News outlets like CNN, NPR and The Washington Post are losing audiences in droves, hemorrhaging cash and laying off staff.

A key reason for these failures is surely the media’s lowest public trust rating in history. Indeed, a Gallup poll showed that nearly four in 10 Americans have zero confidence in the media—a new record in distrust. Little wonder: So many former bastions of “objective coverage,” like The New York Times, have abandoned balanced, fact-based reporting for journalism that blatantly pushes a biased, political agenda.

Nowhere is this bias more obvious than in the reporting by leading media on Israel in general and its war against Hamas specifically. Even today, media like CNN, The New York Times and NPR persist in trumpeting the lie that Gaza faces imminent famine—a myth they’ve been promoting hysterically for nearly nine months.

Yet amazingly, just last week, the U.N.’s Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) issued a report stating there is no famine in Gaza: “The available evidence does not indicate that famine is currently occurring.”

Almost since the Israel-Hamas war’s beginning, the media have parroted the claim made by various aid organizations that famine is imminent or actually taking place in Gaza. Back in January, a CNN headline falsely claimed, “Hundreds of thousands are starving in Gaza as famine arrives at ‘incredible speed.'”

Even today, despite the U.N.’s admission that no data supports these famine fears, major media have continued to perpetuate unverified claims of starvation. Two weeks ago, NPR‘s Hadeel al-Shalchi reported, “In Gaza, which aid groups say is on the brink of famine, food is hard to come by.” This is despite reports of overflowing Gaza markets.

If the media want to regain Americans’ trust—and aid their own survival—they would be well-advised to return to the tradition of balanced, fact-based journalism. They should abandon coverage that promotes strictly “progressive left” (especially anti-Israel) narratives that avoid offering facts and opinions that challenge their biases.

Big-name media are rapidly failing, losing their audience, losing money and losing staff. At The Washington Post, the number of digital subscribers has declined 15% since 2021 and the overall digital audience has declined by 28% over the same period. In October of last year, the Post shed 10% of its workforce—likely a byproduct of losing $77 million in 2023. NPR also let go of 10% of its workforce. Meanwhile, CNN has seen its primetime viewership decline by 24% year-over-year, the biggest decline among the major news networks.

Major news organizations suffer from anti-Israel bias. Uri Berliner, NPR’s former senior business editor, noted his former employer’s anti-Israel bias, saying NPR highlights “the suffering of Palestinians at almost every turn while downplaying the atrocities of Oct. 7, overlooking how Hamas intentionally puts Palestinian civilians in peril and giving little weight to the explosion of antisemitic hate around the world.”

Coverage of Israel at The New York Times is also famously biased, consistently using libelous terms to describe the Jewish state. According to a study by Israeli journalist Lilac Sigan and Bar Ilan University Professor Eytan Gilboa, the pejorative combination of “Israel” and “apartheid” appeared together 39 times in the Times during 2022, while the words “Israel” and “colonialism” appeared together 16 times. In contrast, the words “Hamas” and “terrorist organization” appeared together only 13 times.

At The Washington Post, at least six members of the foreign desk formerly wrote for Qatar-based Al Jazeera, including the paper’s Middle East editor, Jesse Mesner-Hage. Al Jazeera is financed by the Qatari government, which gives financial support to Hamas. An Israeli court described the network as an “intelligence and propaganda arm” for Hamas and it is now banned in Israel. Nevertheless, the Post sees nothing wrong in hiring a clique of staffers who worked there.

The media have for nine months falsely reported starvation and now distort the U.N. report to cover their lies. Yahoo News, for instance, published a headline last March saying “Gaza’s catastrophic food shortage means mass death is imminent.” In April, Yahoo said, “U.S. Government Believes Famine Is Occurring in Gaza.” The IPC report proves these headlines dead wrong.

But instead of admitting to their audiences there is no famine in Gaza, the media emphasize the report’s speculation: “A ‘high risk’ of famine persists across the whole of the Gaza Strip, as long as conflict continues.” No mention that Hamas started and could instantly end the conflict by surrendering.

Rather, on June 25, CNN published an article with the headline, “Gaza population at risk of famine as it continues to face emergency levels of hunger, report finds.” While the article ultimately mentioned the IPC’s conclusion there was currently no famine in Gaza, it buried this fact in paragraph 10. Worse still, the Instagram version completely omits this inconvenient truth.

Israel supporters alone cannot defeat corrupt media but we can defeat their lies. The American people support Israel because they get their information from more reliable, alternative sources. We can be thankful for hundreds of pro-Israel media and advocates that report the truth, as well as millions of Israel-supporters on social media.

Ultimately, the marketplace will decide the fate of the failing “legacy media.” Some are even seeing the error of their ways. At The Washington Post, for example, editor Sally Buzbee resigned due to disputes with publisher Will Lewis over, among other issues, the outlet’s skewed Israel coverage. Buzbee was reluctant to investigate the financing of anti-Israel protests on American college campuses and later revealed that her daughter was participating in those protests. Perhaps the jihadi foreign desk will be next to go.

The real weapon of Israel-lovers against biased media is the truth. It’s spread by millions of individuals who speak up at work, on social media and at the dinner table. It’s also spread by hundreds of small media and organizations that fight media lies against Israel and spread the truth to Americans.

We need our media to stop pushing political agendas and return to the honored tradition of balanced, fact-based journalism. Certainly, a majority of Americans—who support Israel’s brave fight against Islamist terrorists—would be grateful.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates