Over the past week, Israel has been receiving its most positive TV coverage since the advent of cable news over two decades ago.
It is sad that it took such a tragic event for this to happen, especially as there are many great stories in Israel itself which journalists regularly ignore. In America, ABC, NBC and CBS as well as the two main cable channels, CNN and Fox, have run detailed stories outlining the central role the IDF has played. CBS (in a piece also rebroadcast on Sky) called the Israeli hospital “the Rolls Royce of emergency medicine in Haiti” and noted that Israel had also helped after disasters in Kosovo, Turkey, Kenya and India.
A report on CNN — a channel which has so often been hostile to the Jewish state — called the level of medical care Israel was providing “amazing”. “The Israelis came from the other side of the world” and yet “had bought much more sophisticated medical aid than almost any other country,” said the channel. It quoted one American relief worker standing by the large IDF field hospital saying, “it makes you almost embarrassed to be an American”.
ABC and Fox explained that because of Israel’s long history of enduring bomb and missile attacks, the IDF is one of the most experienced in the world in treating mass injuries and using specially trained sniffer dogs to locate wounded people in the rubble. They filmed as Israelis risked their lives in highly complex manoeuvres to extricate trapped Haitians.
Sky’s Mideast correspondent Dominic Waghorn, who flew to Haiti on an IDF jet, has been filing heart-warming reports giving Israel full credit. (This contrasts with some very unfair coverage he has given Israel from the Middle East recently.)
One notable exception has been the BBC which, by contrast with other networks, has gone out of its way to minimise the central role the Israelis have played.
As for Iran’s Press TV, they haven’t actually blamed the Jews for causing the earthquake yet, but they have said that Israeli doctors are there “in order to steal more organs”.