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The impact at the time is hard to determine, Scharnberg writes: “Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that the intuitive sympathies and antipathies of American newspaper readers were not unaffected, at least in the short-term, by pictures that usually depicted the Germans as triumphant blitzkrieg fighters and their opponents as sullen, sly military failures.” The historian’s report was damaging enough to warrant a fascinating and deeply researched counter-report from the AP on its wartime record, published last month.
The factual findings of the AP’s own report do much to amplify Scharnberg’s indictment, and in the right hands could have been an admirable exercise in self-criticism.
Certain rules were made clear to the local staffers in Gaza, and those of us outside Gaza were warned not to put our Gazan staff at risk.
(The AP was unhappy with Thayer’s report and dismissed his claims, but it didn’t refute them.) The most relevant example from my own experience as an AP correspondent in Jerusalem between 20 is Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, and where the AP has a sub-bureau.
Hamas military actions were left vague or ignored, while the effects of Israeli actions were reported at length, giving the impression of wanton Israeli aggression, just as Hamas wanted.
When a reporter wrote a story about Hamas censorship in the summer of 2014, editors shelved it.
The argument in the AP’s counter-report is that while mistakes were made here and there, the big decisions were right.
Whatever the cost, the AP “concluded it had to remain to provide coverage for U. newspapers and the American public.” *** The AP’s justification for its actions is what makes the dueling reports worthy of attention, and not just from historians.
But the AP chose to present its findings with a defensive tone that suggests that while the news organization has unearthed a great deal of information, editors there remain confused about what it all means.