A breakthrough in the decade long battle to hold the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization liable for supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel occurring between 2002-2004, in which Americans were killed and injured, has just come to a verdict: guilty. A New York jury ruled in favor of the United States and Israel,with the decision that the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization must pay $655 million in damages. The New York Times in their daily newspaper, The Wall Street Journal on their online site, and CBS New York on their radio broadcast, all reported on this story. Although occurring on different platforms, all three reports are strikingly similar, beginning with the hard facts, including statements from an Israeli and/or Palestinian source, and then ending by discussing the victims of these terrorist acts, the plaintiffs.
The New York Times, one of the most renowned sources for news, titles its article, written by Benjamin Weiser, a journalist, author, and Pulitzer Prize nominee, “Palestine Groups Are Found Liable At Terror Trial.” It quickly moves to all of the details associated with this trial, such as, the criminals who committed these acts of terror were mostly employees of the defense, and that this case was brought to court under the Antiterrorism Act, which, “allows American citizens who are victims of international terrorism to sue in the United States courts.” The New York Times also includes a peculiar statement from the Palestinian Authority stating that, “We tried to prevent violence from all sides.” But with objectivity, Weiser found within the testimony that the Palestinian Authority had paid salaries to, “terrorists imprisoned in Israel and had made martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers.” Ending with shocking testimonies from the plaintiffs, victims of these terrorist attacks, graphic descriptions such as a severed head laying next to one of the victims provide a jaw-dropping conclusion.
There is no obvious bias in the way the facts are reported in The New York Times newspaper, and although the facts are the same in The Wall Street Journal, there is a hint of a shift towards Palestinian commentary in their online article, “Jury Finds Palestinian Authority, PLO Liable for Terrorist Attacks in Israel a Decade Ago,” by Nicole Hong with contributions from Nicholas Casey, making somewhat of a varied argument. The article states the crucial facts such as the amount in damages, the Antiterrorism Act, and the affiliations of the terrorists. But regarding the topic of the $655 million in damages now owed, The Wall Street Journal brings up the financial crisis that Palestine is in, due to sanctions by Israel surrounding the Gaza Strip conflict. The possible United States bias is also brought up in the Wall Street Journal’s article when the Chairman of the PLO’s Department of International Affairs, Ghassan Shaka’a states that, “It is a politically biased verdict based on [America’s] bias and siding towards Israel.” Incorporating this statement into the article gives a better in-depth view of the issue, but it could be called into question whether the journalist’s who wrote the article have some support for Palestine. This article also includes the victims of the attacks, but without their gruesome accounts, as written in the New York Times. Instead, the Wall Street Journal’s article includes a statement about the trial itself saying that it was, “Emotional at times, especially during testimony from the victims and their families, when they vividly described the mental and physical injuries they sustained.”
The radio broadcast by CBS New York’s Alex Silverman titled, “NYC Jury Finds Palestinian Authorities Liable For Terror Attacks,” follows the same format as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. This broadcast reports the facts, and includes testimony from an Israeli lawyer, as well as a brief statement from the defense, to which which no other comment was attached, most likely due to the interest of time. Alex Silverman reports than an Israeli lawyer said that in light of the verdict, the defense now understands that there is a price for supporting terrorist networks. A brief statement from the defense was also noted, stating that the terrorists attacked on their own. Comparable to the Wall Street Journal’s account of the victims, this CBS New York broadcast brought up one victim’s emotional account of the attacks while on the stand.
All three news sources did a thorough and accurate recounting of this trial. Surprisingly, even with three different platforms, all three stories complimented each other, and reported the same general facts, with unique spins to the story.