A week ago today, I was in the office of my friend alert reader hank k., who was ranting about the L.A. Times‘s coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. He still brings his paper to work every weekday, and showed me the front pages from the last week or so, which were just sitting around his office.
I don’t subscribe anymore, so I’d missed these. I started leafing through the front pages, and was aghast at what I saw: page after page after page of Lebanese suffering, with scarcely a hint of any suffering by Israeli civilians.
I asked my friend if I could borrow his newspapers to bring home, so I could eventually do a blog post about what I’d seen. He lent me the papers, and last night I took a bunch of photos of the front pages of each of these papers.
Here’s what I saw, beginning with the first Page One that my friend gave me:
Friday, July 14, 2006:
The banner headline is: Israel Blocks Lebanese Coast. And the picture on the front page depicts Lebanon ravaged by Israel:
NIGHTTIME STRIKE: Fuel tanks burn at Beirut’s international airport after Israeli planes bombarded it for the second time in a day. As the international community called for restraint, neither Israel nor Hezbollah shows signs of backing down.
Directly below that is an article titled “Despite Hezbollah’s Ties to Iran and Syria, It Does Act Alone.” The article does not bear out the promise of the headline; it says only that “some officials and experts say can Hezbollah can also move on its own initiative.” Next to the article is a picture of body bags, with the caption:
CASUALTIES: A member of the Lebanese Red Cross transports bodies to a hospital morgue in Tyre.
Moving on to Monday, July 17, 2006, where the picture on the front page depicts Lebanon ravaged by Israel:
THE RUINS: A woman carries pillows she retrieved from her apartment in a bombed-out section of Beirut not far from the destroyed Hezbollah headquarters. She salvaged her belongings minutes before another Israeli airstrike hit the area.
I posted about the lead stories in this newspaper the day the stories ran. One article called the battle between Israel and Hezbollah a “blood feud,” while another said that “some” believed that Israel was using a “pretext” to attack.
The front page on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 depicts a Lebanese family driven from Lebanon by Israeli attacks:
SEEKING AN EXIT: A French family trying to leave Lebanon approaches an outdoor embassy desk in Beirut, hoping to leave on a ferry to Cypress. Tens of thousands have fled the country.
Below the fold is a picture of a bandaged and crying Lebanese girl, and — for a little balance — a picture of a man wounded by a rocket fired from Lebanon.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006:
GETTING OUT: An American woman and two children wearing protective gear are escorted to a Marine helicopter evacuating them from the U.S. Embassy near Beirut to Cypress.
They need to leave, you see, because of those damn Israeli attacks. And you can see from the headline that “Israel’s Attack is 3-Pronged.” Which is a lotta prongs.
Oh, just under the fold, the headline reads: “Dazed Refugees Flood Beirut.” With a sub-headline: “Lebanon is facing a vast humanitarian crisis, with the displaced estimated at 500,000.” The refugees are “frazzled,” “[t]raumatized and disoriented.” Their eyes “brim with tears.” Sure, tens of thousands of Israelis have also been displaced from their homes due to Hezbollah rocket attacks, “but they have not suffered the food, water and medical shortages facing the Lebanese.”
Get ready for more wailing. We’re heading into:
Thursday, July 20, 2006:
DEVASTATION: A Lebanese woman cries out near a truck that had been part of a convoy targeted by Israeli warplaces in Beirut.
As you can see, the banner headline screams: “Bombs Rain on Bunker in Beirut.” It was “the single deadliest day for Lebanese civilians in a week of fighting.”
We are told of “[t]hunderous blasts” over Beirut. We hear about the 55 Lebanese civilians killed, raising the death toll beyond 300. The U.N., of course, blames both sides. We are told:
Critics have said Israel’s response to the killing of eight soldiers and the capture of two others by the Shiite Muslim guerillas last week is disproportionate.
Ah, critics. Is there anything they don’t know?
Friday, July 21, 2006:
Look at the bottom of that picture: “Fleeing for Their Lives Into the Grim Unknown.”
And onto Monday, July 24, 2006:
FACE OF WAR: Injured Lebanese civilians are brought to Jabel Amel Hospital in Tyre. The area around the city, identified by Israel as a major source of Hezbollah rocket attacks, was repeatedly struck by jets. Dozens of fleeing civilians were caught in the attacks.
And it was that Monday morning when my friend handed me the stack of newspapers. In fairness, days later, he also gave me newspapers from the weekends, which were just as bad. But I left them at the office and can’t show you those front pages today.
Here’s something you probably won’t be seeing in the L.A. Times — a story
with referencing a picture that shows that Hezbollah stages its rocket attacks in the middle of civilian areas.
But why provide that context, when you can run pictures of crying, suffering Lebanese — day after day after day after day after day after day after day?
P.S. From the linked story:
The images, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Herald Sun, show Hezbollah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-calibre weapons.
In case any of you can’t read . . .