Dear Ms. Woodruff,
I don’t usually watch the weekend edition of the Newshour, but I knew with the ongoing conflict in southern Israel and Gaza last weekend there would be mistakes, misrepresentations, and unbalanced, biased reporting. Recent Newshour reporting did not disappoint!
On Saturday, 6 August 2022, Ms. Lisa Desjardins started her report with the sentence “There is escalating violence in the Gaza Strip amid an Israeli crackdown.” (emphasis added)
I’m not sure exactly how defending the safety of a country’s own civilians as Israel was doing at the time can be called a “crackdown”.
Even though I did appreciate Ms. Desjardins mentioning to your viewers about Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rockets that misfired and landed back in Gaza, she then went on to state that “Israel claims stray rocket fire from Palestinian militants caused more civilian deaths in northern Gaza.” (emphasis added, and I’ll get to the “militants” issue a bit later)
But why “claims”? I have seen several videos of this.[1,2,3] Have you not? I can clearly see the rockets go up, slow its descent or change direction, and fall back to earth in Gaza. So did you think these videos were a deep fake by the Israeli military? If not, why not report it as fact.
And then on Sunday, 7 August 2022, Ms. Desjardins ended the section on this latest conflict by stating “Gaza officials say 31 Palestinians have been killed, including civilians.”
So Palestinian officials “say” while Israel “claims”?
And who exactly were the “officials” in Gaza?? I presume it was the Gaza health ministry. But how many of those were affiliated with terror groups.? And how many were killed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rockets that fell back into Gaza?
Don’t you think these are important questions? Context is critical in journalism. So are details.
I think you do a disservice to your viewers by not identifying these “officials.” And if it was the Gaza health ministry, you needed to note that it is under the control of the Hamas terror group, the rulers of the Gaza Strip. It is only an extension of the Hamas propaganda machine.
Did the Newshour not learn anything from the 2014 Gaza war when almost everything that was reported regarding casualties from the Gaza health ministry was ultimately proven wrong? Would you accept statistics on casualties and information from ISIS or the Taliban as fact? I doubt it.
On Monday, 8 August 2022, you reported Ms. Woodruff that “A cease-fire held today between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza after weekend fighting killed at least 44 Palestinians.” (emphasis added)
I’ll bet you already know where I am going with this…
In a statement by President Biden on the ceasefire in Gaza on 7 August 2022 , the President of the United States of America said something that apparently the PBS Newshour can’t acknowledge… "Over these recent days, Israel has defended its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the United States is proud of our support for Israel’s Iron-Dome, which intercepted hundreds of rockets and saved countless lives.” (emphasis added)
PIJ is an Iranian backed terrorist group intent on wiping Israel from the map. PIJ has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel.
Ms.Woodruff, you yourself apparently can use the word “terrorist” when talking about certain groups. On 17 Dec 2018, you stated, “The U.S. military says weekend airstrikes in Somalia killed 62 members of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab.” (emphasis added)
Please, please, please explain your policy on using the word “terrorist”?? There must be some policy statement, no? And then explain why wouldn’t PIJ meet the Newshour’s definition of a terrorist organization?
And finally, in the online summary of the News Wrap for Monday, 8 Aug 2022 it is written that “a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza is holding after Israel killed 44 Palestinians”. (emphasis added)
Honestly now, did Israel “killed 44 Palestinians”???? Where have you guys been for the last week?? Who writes this stuff? Again PBS Newshour blaming Israel and letting the Palestinians off the hook!
Numerous reports of the ~200 misfired rockets out of Gaza killing innocent Palestinian civilians [8,9] and the Newshour falsely claims that Israel “killed 44 Palestinians”???? Somehow last Saturday, even Ms. Desjardins got that detail correct.
On the same day that this false statement was posted on your website, the AP reported  about PIJ killing civilians in Gaza. Are they privileged to some information that the Newshour can’t get?
In fact, the majority of the Gaza civilian deaths were caused by PIJ.[11,12] A very different story than Israel “killed 44 Palestinians”, isn’t it?
Furthermore, of note the Israeli Air Force called off several attacks when children or civilians were seen near a target. Did PIJ stop firing rockets because they were aimed at civilian populations? Of course not.
As a matter of fact, every one of the ~1,000 rocket fired by PIJ into Israel was a double war crime. Yes, a double war crime. Firing rockets from a civilian area is a war crime just as targeting civilian areas is another war crime. Has this ever been reported by the Newshour? Of course not.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who was the commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, has said on several occasions that Israel is “the world’s most moral army.”  Why not quote him when reporting on Israel military actions?
So it does make one question if the PBS Newshour is really a news organization if it continues to get so many facts wrong?
ER S*****n Richmond, VA
(1) https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-says-gaza-terrorists-failed-rocket-launch-kills-several-palestinian-children/ (2) https://twitter.com/OhadZemet/status/1556033017428279297 (3) https://twitter.com/obretix/status/1556336728717262848 (4) https://jcpa.org/the-gaza-war-2014/casualties-gaza-war/ (5) https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/07/statement-by-president-biden-on-the-ceasefire-in-gaza/ (6) https://www.state.gov/foreign-terrorist-organizations/ (7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Jihad_Movement_in_Palestine (8) https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-says-it-significantly-damaged-islamic-jihad-during-gaza-operation/ (9) https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-believes-12-children-killed-in-gaza-by-islamic-jihads-rocket-misfires-report/ (10) https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-tel-aviv-403d37366347e0f2446e2f90a9b0d02f?taid=62f173c49fe1e80001c864a6&utm_campaign=TrueAnthem&utm_medium=AP&utm_source=Twitter (11) https://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2022/08/gaza-casualties-by-numbers-islamic.html (12) https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/idf-says-26-civilians-killed-in-gaza-fighting-15-by-terror-groups-rocket-misfires/ (13) https://www.timesofisrael.com/video-shows-idf-delaying-strike-on-pij-commander-due-to-kids-playing-nearby/ (14) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN1MkAGuVyY