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Call for balanced reporting by AP

7 August 2002

PMWATCH (PMW-AP group), 7 August — With over 1,700 newspaper clients in the US alone, the Associated Press is responsible for writing an enormous share of the news we read every day. What they post as "news" generally appears, verbatim, in hundreds of newspapers nationwide each day.

Last night the Associated Press posted on their national newswire a list of 73 "suicide bombing attacks," carefully and pointedly noting for each attack the number of Israelis, if any, that were killed. (See list below.)

The Associated Press releases regular summaries of Palestinian attacks on Israelis; for a previous example, see last month's "Chronology of suicide attacks against Israel" -- glance.htm

However, we have yet to find a single AP summary detailing for the same time period a history of Israeli attacks against Palestinians, with accountings for each of the 1,768 Palestinian deaths. For that matter, we have yet to see on the AP any of the following (all stats below obtained from The Palestine Monitor):

* Overviews of the 148 Palestinians killed by Israel's illegal policy of assassination of Palestinian political leaders;

* Checklists describing the circumstances of the wounding of over 7,000 Palestinian children (this is UNICEF's estimate);

* Dated flowcharts accounting for the 2,500 Palestinians permanently disabled by Israeli attacks, 500 of them children;

* Chronologies of Israeli attacks on Palestinian Emergency Medical Personnel & Services, and Israeli Shelling of Palestinian Hospitals;

* Timelines of the 15 on-duty Palestinian doctors and ambulance drivers murdered by Israeli forces, and the 180 Red Cross Emergency Medical Technicians attacked;

* Checklists on the 64 Palestinians who have died due to Israeli prevention of access to medical treatment;

* Charts describing the 167 journalists attacked by the IDF;

* Overviews of the roughly 15,000 Palestinians arbitrarily detained in mass detentions over the last 2 months alone;

* Timelines examining the Israeli shelling and demolition of over 1,600 Palestinian homes.

Data for these categories is readily available from various sources, such as:

The Palestine Center for Human Rights -

The Palestinian Crescent Society - The

Palestine Monitor -

And yet, AP chooses to publish chronologies only of suicide bombings, as if the actions of the Israelis were insignificant details not worth keeping track of.

It is also important to note the following:

(1) In the chronology provided by AP, 47% of the attacks they note caused no deaths at all. Should they not also be reporting in a similarly comprehensive manner the daily Israeli attacks on Palestinians, whether they cause deaths or not? Surely the far more numerous attacks on Palestinians cause damage and fright which is no less important than that of any Israeli.

(2) The AP chronology specifically notes that 10 of the 73 attacks occurred in the West Bank or in Gaza. However, about 30 of them occurred in the Occupied Territories. The result of this sloppy reporting is that while 40% of the attacks took place in territories illegally occupied by the Israeli military, the AP gives the erroneous impression that the overwhelming majority occurred in Israel.

(3) The AP chronology does not distinguish between civilian and military casualties, thus giving the impression that all victims were civilians, when in fact a large number of those targeted were armed settlers and members of the Israeli armed forces.

The Associated Press professes to abide by and respect the Associated Press Managing Editors code of ethics -- -- but such sub-par journalism is clearly not in keeping with that code.

The Jerusalem Bureau of the Associated Press has a very large staff and many of them are distinguished journalists who do honor to their profession. Many go to enormous and often dangerous lengths to provide coverage of this conflict. Please be sure to address them with courtesy and respect while you share your concerns.

Please consider giving them a call or sending them a fax at:

New York Headquarters: Tel 212-621-1500 -- Fax 212-621-7523

Washington Bureau: Tel 202-776-9400 -- Fax 202-776-9570

You can also send them an email via the interface at:

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For our latest report on AP, please visit: