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Fox News Favoring Israel in Mideast Coverage

Reported by Judy - July 14, 2006 -

You wouldn't know it from watching Fox News' "Dayside" on Friday (July 14, 2006), but at least 73 Lebanese have been killed as a result of Israeli bombing raids.

Fox News has been providing coverage from a team of reporters in the region, but although the reporters are in Israel, Gaza, and Beirut, the tone of coverage is decided different depending on where the reporter is at.

Mike Tobin, reporting from Israel, has been showing close-up pictures of holes in the pavements where rockets landed, broken windows in buildings, and debris in the streets. He has mentioned how many people were injured, emphasized the power of the rockets, and described what happens when they landed, even as he admitted that most of the "waves and waves" of rockets have fallen in empty fields rather than populated areas.

When "Dayside" switched to reports from Greg Burke in Beirut, the video and subjects changed. The video was of huge billowing clouds of black smoke and flames, all shot from a distance. The only mention of a casualty is the false report that the leader of Hezbollah was killed in one of several bombing raids. Even though Burke says there have been three bombing raids by the Israeli air force in the last half hour, Fox News was unable to capture much in the way of civilian panic or damage.

Burke did not attempt to recap any sort of human toll, restricting his comments to saying that the Israelies "hit a lot of bridges, a lot of power stations. Now we've also seen cell phone towers. It seems to be a sort of isolation campaign, get the country of Lebanon isolated, which they have done through the air and sea blockade, and get the different parts of it isolated, first the south where Hezbollah is so strong ... and now hitting very hard the southern suburbs of Beirut," he said.

The viewer is almost relieved. The Israelies are just hitting bridges and cell phone towers, .not actually killing anybody like the "two elderly people" who were injured by the nasty rockets that hit Israel. No question who the villain is in this piece. It can't be Israel. They haven't even killed anybody, right?

David Lee Miller reporting from Gaza did not help much. He filed a confusing story about Palestinians blowing open a border crossing with Egypt to allow Palestinians to cross into Gaza, which had been closed since June 25, trapping many people there in inadequate shelters and without water, resulting in eight deaths.

So who closed the border? Miller doesn't tell us.

Next Fox News goes to Reena Ninan, reporting from the United Nations, who focuses on the Israeli ambassador lecturing the Lebanese representative, but then includes no response at all from the Lebanese government.

Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt followed up with praise for the Israeli ambassador and for Israel.
"They're at war. Israel is at war. They’ve been surrounded, they’ve had their soldiers taken and they’ve had these rockets, these are 100 pound rockets exploding in towns killing them. ... We've got to help our friends," he said.

"Dayside" co-host Mike Jerrick noted that the Israeli ambassador commented that he was sorry for the everyday citizens of Lebanon, but beyond that there was little acknowledgement that anyone was suffering besides Israelis. As The AP has noted, the 73 Lebanese casualties (almost all civilians) far outweighs the 12 (including 8 soldiers) in Israel.