Staff Editorial: Ethics of Covering Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Following an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, a militant group in Gaza, in which hundreds of civilians were killed, Israel declared war on the group the same day and has been firing airstrikes since, according to ABC News. The USF and broader San Francisco communities have since responded, which the Foghorn covered in the article “San Francisco Responds to the Israel-Hamas War” on pages 4 and 5. 

The Foghorn has taken extreme caution with our reporting, examining existing mainstream news coverage to decide how to go about our coverage of the Israel-Hamas War, excluding biased writing. For example, an Oct. 20 AP News article “Israel says it doesn’t plan long-term control of Gaza after war with Hamas” reads, “Muslims around the world protested in solidarity with Palestinians.” 

While many supporters of Palestine are Muslim, mentioning only Muslim protestors excludes the many pro-Palestine protests that have been organized by Jewish organizations. For example, on Oct. 18, “thousands of Jews and allies marched on Capitol Hill” at a pro-Palestine rally organized by two of the largest U.S. Jewish groups, as reported by CNN

According to CNN, Israeli officials have “not confirmed the specific claim that Hamas attackers cut off the heads of babies,” a claim that was previously spread by Israeli media. Al Jazeera reported that these claims have been used “as justification for revenge attacks and the collective punishment of civilians in Gaza.” 

The BBC has received more than 1,500 complaints for their coverage of the war, according to the Guardian. In their response, the BBC stated, “The huge loss of civilian life on both sides makes this a shocking and difficult story to cover.”

In The New Humanitarian on Oct. 24, Mariam Barghouti, a Palestinian-American writer and journalist, called coverage about the conflict a “journalistic malpractice.” 

We have discussed extensively how to meet our goal of being as unbiased as possible while reporting a range of perspectives and experiences. With this in mind, we have carefully evaluated our use of the “Israel-Hamas War.” 

Major news outlets, such as CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP News, and Al Jazeera, use “the Israel-Hamas War” to refer to the conflict. We also use this term. We do not mindlessly use it and do not wish to exclude Palestinian voices nor suffering from our reporting. We chose to use this term after careful consideration and discussion between the writers of the story, our editor in chief, managing editor, and our advisor. We considered using other terms, but ultimately decided against doing so — Israel and Hamas are the combatants in this war. Palestinians, the civilians killed, and Gaza are the victims of it. 

Our coverage of the conflict is a news article, not an opinion piece. Because we are a student-run newspaper and not experts on the conflict, we aim only to provide a basic overview of the war and focus on how our communities have responded. We encourage readers to do their own research on the topic. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *