Reps. Slam Media at DC Rally: ‘Cool To Talk Bad About Israel’

Speakers at Washington, D.C. rally call out journalists for anti-Israel bias.

Politicians struck back at the media “groupthink” that depicts Israel as a villain.

On Oct. 5, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Concerned Women for America CEO and President Penny Nance organized a “Stand with Israel Rally” in Washington, D.C. The event brought together supporters of America’s No. 1 Mideast ally following the latest conflict between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas.

Following their speeches at the event, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., and Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., slammed media coverage of Israel. Both noted a “real media bias” and a “dual standard” – going so far as to say the media find it “cool to talk bad about Israel.”

During an interview with the Media Research Center, Hartzler stressed a “real media bias” and noted how the media are “systematic in what they report and what they don’t.”

“It’s a kind of groupthink,” she explained. “It’s cool to talk bad about Israel, and to view them as a negative force instead of a positive force. I think they feed off each other.”

As an example, she cited how more “violent deaths” occurred in Portland, Oregon, than in Jerusalem last year. “In 2013,” she continued, “there was 42 deaths in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but [the media] failed to mention that’s how many deaths there are in Chicago every month.” Chicago police reported 415 murders in 2013, or about 35 deaths per month. The homicide count for 2014 stands at 298.

Even the media’s own have observed the discrepancy. Hartzler cited a “scathing article” written by a former Associated Press correspondent calling out the media for Israel coverage. “I think that’s pretty compelling,” Hartzler said, “to have one of their own expose all this media bias.”

Similarly, Franks told the MRC how “Israel is always faced with a dual standard in the media.” He explained:

“When people attack America, we respond quickly, we want to go after the bad guys. But when people attack Israel, Israel is called upon to restrain themselves. It’s always a tragedy when they’re picking up the pieces of their women and children off the floor of pizza parlors, they’re said that they should practice restraint.”

As for media reasoning, he blamed the bias on the “the political correctness of the left” and how “they just simply are out of touch with reality.”

“If anybody was doing to America the things that Hamas and the jihadists have done to Israel,” he argued, “we would all be of one voice to defend ourselves and go after the perpetrators. But when it comes to Israel, somehow they don’t have that right.”

Providing an alternative to the media’s portrayal, both representatives emphasized a positive side to Israel.  Hartzler acknowledged: 

“Very rarely do you see the media portraying Israel in a positive light and all of the contributions [Israel is] making to the world through their technology and through their research and through being a beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.”

Franks also argued:

“Israel has set a standard for the whole world in many ways. They’ve outpaced us all, they’ve gone in and done what was necessary to protect their country and yet they are absolutely brilliant and almost magic in how they work to protect the innocent civilians in the middle of it all.” 

“America will always be there for Israel,” he concluded. “Our war is their war.”

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.