the kicker

(Not) Getting Into Gaza

January 5, 2009

Dion Nissenbaum, Jerusalem bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, reports that “the Israeli military has once again barred the first small group of international reporters from getting into Gaza” even as “more and more journalists continue to arrive every day in hopes of” doing just that. “For the moment,” Nissenbaum writes, “the only comprehensive coverage coming out of Gaza is from Al Jazeera English, the young channel still not available on US satellite channels.”

Nissenbaum calls those reports (available here):

graphic and stark portrayals of the situation that rarely make it on sanitized US news programs…[reports that]can at-times be hyperbolic, but US viewers should be used to that kind of thing from watching Fox News.

Especially at a time when the international media is unable to provide a view of the situation, Al Jazeera’s coverage is all-the-more valuable.

Since then, Israel has shut down the border crossing into Gaza, citing security concerns — effectively shutting out most of the Western press corps and forcing us to rely on local journalists in Gaza to serve as our eyes and ears.

But Jazeera already had a permanent position in Gaza, and its correspondents continue to risk their lives to crisscross the territory, bringing the most comprehensive coverage of the conflict available.

There’s another crucial distinction between Jazeera and the Western press. The channel doesn’t shield its viewers from the horrors of war.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.