A Guardian editorial uncritically amplified the discredited claims of an NGO accusing Israel of intentionally murdering Palestinian journalists. The editorial (“The Guardian view on Gaza’s journalists: their lives, and press freedom, must be protected”, Jan. 18) cites the Committee to Protect Journalist’s (CPJ) report claiming that seventy-six Palestinians journalists were killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza, which the editorial characterises as “shocking and disproportionate” toll.
Reinforcing their framing, the editorial warns that “Attacks on journalists are not only attacks on civilians”, but they “also strike at the truth itself: at the ability to establish it, and to share it”, and that journalists in Gaza “are the eyes of the world”.
However, as is usually the case with the Guardian, whose coverage since the antisemitic mass murder, rape, torture, mutilation and hostage-taking on Oct. 7 has ben effectively pro-Hamas, the outlet accepts the toxic allegations against Israel seemingly without critical scrutiny of any kind. In fact, as research by David Collier – published more than a week prior to the Guardian editorial – reports, roughly “half of the people that the CPJ list as journalists work for Hamas or Islamic Jihad channels”. This, notes Collier, is in direct breach of the CPJ’s own guidelines which says you can’t work for proscribed terror groups and be considered a journalist.
Indeed, as CAMERA documented in November, CPJ’s list at the time included some who “were actually the exact opposite of journalists – they were propagandists working on behalf of authoritarian regimes who sought to cover up the truth rather than expose it, while several were in fact direct employees of Hamas”.
Further, if you look further into Collier’s research, you find that he undermines the very premise of the Guardian editorial: that the seventy-six Palestinians who work in the media were targeted specifically because of their profession. Many, he shows, died not while covering the conflict, but at home, some during strikes on Hamas leadership settings. This is of vital importance as, for example, one employee of an Islamic Jihad channel is included in the CPJ list even though he died in the house of his father – who was a top Islamic Jihad commander.
Collier’s research reveals the inherent flaw in the media narrative, the conflation of journalists killed because they were journalists with those killed for other reasons, but who happened to have at some point worked in the media profession. The fact that x number of Palestinians were killed who at some point worked in the media is – in and of itself – no more relevant than asserting that x number of Palestinians were killed who at some point worked in the medical profession. In both cases, the burden of proof is on the accuser to demonstrate that they were killed (intentionally) because of the work they did. To say the CPJ list doesn’t meet this test is a profound understatement.
Additionally, Collier’s 150 page report demonstrates that more than a quarter of those on the CPJ list don’t appear to have been journalists at all, and and nearly 80% promoted and celebrated terrorism and the death of innocent civilians – public views which, in many cases, would breech anti-terrorism laws if they were in the UK.
The following video summary of Collier’s research was produced by Joseph Cohen.