May 29, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11362

Iraqi Journalist: Instead Of Covering The Gaza War Objectively, The Arabic Media Sells The Viewers Illusions And Prevents Any Criticism Of Hamas

May 29, 2024
Iraq, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11362

In a December 31, 2023 article on the Saudi website Elaph, Iraqi journalist Falah Al-Mash'al, formerly the chief editor of the Iraqi daily Al-Sabah, wrote that the Arab media does not cover the Gaza war in an objective manner, but instead sells its consumers illusions that are far removed from reality and even echoes Hamas' claim that it is defeating the Israeli army. Al-Mash'al slammed the Arab channels for refusing to examine the question of Hamas' responsibility for the war, which is exacting a very heavy price from the Palestinian people. In fact, he said, these channels sanctify Hamas, prevent all criticism against it and harshly attack anyone who refuses to toe the line – which makes them complicit in the current destruction that has been visited upon Gaza and its residents.

Falah Al-Mash'al (Image:

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

"The extensive Arab media, which produces hundreds of reports, interviews and articles every hour, perpetuates its biased political message… by turning illusions into decisive facts and using descriptions that play on the emotions of the Arab consumer, while shying away from providing its consumers with information that is based on the facts on the ground… [For example, in 2003], when the U.S. army attacked the [Iraqi] capital of Baghdad from four directions, and [also] from a fifth direction, namely from the air, by landing [forces] in Baghdad's International airport… Iraqi Information Minister [Muhammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf] mouthed reports about the previous day's battle, and said that the enemy had been defeated, when he could see the [enemy] tanks right in front of him, creating facts on the ground that were very different [from what he was reporting]. 

"This [scenario] repeats itself every three months with events in Gaza and the West Bank. The Arab television and satellite channels preoccupy themselves with talk about the victories of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] and the heroic operations [of these movements], [and about] the crushing of the Israeli army and its imminent surrender. This is media that identifies emotionally with Hamas and its attitude… does not speak about vision, does not analyze the foundations of the Palestinian issue, [and does not ask] why Hamas rushed out, all by itself, to carry out an act of vengeance that looks more like suicide and which resulted in tens of thousands of casualties and in severe damage.

"[This media] creates a halo of sanctity around Hamas and the PIJ, without examining them or judging them for [bringing about] the death and wounding of over 80,000 unarmed Palestinian civilians, the flattening of over half of the cities and neighborhoods in the [Gaza] Strip, the expulsion of over half a million Palestinians, who are now homeless and suffer cold and hunger, and the destruction of all life in Gaza and the adjacent cities.

"With a few exceptions, most of the Arab channels and media did not dare to examine the role of Hamas, to condemn it for its uncalculated operation, or [to address] the heavy price [of the war, which] exacerbated the destruction of the Palestinian cause and of the human, economic and military resources of the [Gaza] Strip…     

"The Arab media is still afraid to examine itself and to objectively face reality… After the events in Gaza, it began to treat Hamas as a complete saint, almost like the Holy Spirit, while ignoring the criminal deaths, whose number grows from day to day but which are ignored because they [constantly] recur!

"Anyone who claims that Hamas failed, and accuses it of committing a devastating strategic mistake, is ostracized. More than that, just interviewing a Palestinian who opposes or criticizes Hamas is enough to be accused of collaborating with the enemy or of being a Zionist, and to be called all sorts of other names. This creates a climate of fear around any criticism against Hamas or against the consequences of its actions. This reality makes the media complicit in the fatal silence that surrounds an important part of the facts and realities experienced by the Palestinians who are seeking shelter in the latest [Palestinian] displacement."


[1], December 31, 2023.

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