The News Media Has Helped Normalize Hamas

(Newsweek) Dan Perry - As a former foreign correspondent in the Middle East, I've frequently found myself defending the industry with Israelis who charge media bias. But as I observe the cluelessness of Hamas apologists worldwide, I realize we have failed to tell the story of a jihadi outfit considered a terrorist group by the U.S. Support for Hamas in this war is not support for the Palestinian cause of an independent state on a share of the Holy Land. That is not only not the cause of Hamas - it is precisely what Hamas has for decades been laboring to prevent. Hamas is not in power in Gaza due to elections but because of a coup. It runs a quasi-theocratic mafia state where opposition will get you killed, and it seeks eternal war till total victory. Since the 1990s, whenever there were peace talks, Hamas tried to scuttle them with terrorism. In the case of the Gaza war, the media has largely stuck to its instincts for impartiality: "Both sides" have their narratives, and both have good and bad. One may be a terrorist group and the other a Western-leaning democracy, but in this era of progressive decolonization narratives, an association with the West will not get you very far with much of the Western media. Hamas is a violent fundamentalist movement that seeks not just the demise of Israel but also, with its jihadi fellow travelers, of the West. Hamas and its accomplices share none of the values that drive the modern world, from respect for human rights to freedom of speech to the rule of law. Are so many Westerners too feeble-minded to get this? Some argue that no one appointed journalists to connect the dots for people, and that the wisest approach would be to just "report the facts." But when the result is the normalization of a monstrosity like Hamas, that is malpractice. The writer is the former chief editor of the Associated Press in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and former chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem.

2024-04-16 00:00:00

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